Robert M. Gates quotes

  • If Iraq and Afghanistan have taught us anything in recent history, it is the unpredictability of war and that these things are easier to get into than to get out of, and, frankly, the facile way in which too many people talk about, 'Well, let's just go attack them.
    -- Robert M. Gates

    #War #Iraq #People

  • Congress is best viewed from a distance—the farther the better—because up close, it is truly ugly. I saw most of Congress as uncivil, incompetent at fulfilling their basic constitutional responsibilities (such as timely appropriations), micromanagerial, parochial, hypocritical, egotistical, thin-skinned and prone to put self (and re-election) before country.
    -- Robert M. Gates

    #Country #Distance #Responsibility

  • I'm a big advocate of drones.
    -- Robert M. Gates

    #Drones #Bigs

  • In my opinion, any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should 'have his head examined,' as General MacArthur so delicately put it.
    -- Robert M. Gates

    #Army #Land #President

  • A wild and crazy weekend involves sitting on the front porch, smoking a cigar, reading a book.
    -- Robert M. Gates

    #Crazy #Book #Reading

  • There will be boots on the ground if there's to be any hope of success in the strategy.
    -- Robert M. Gates

    #Military #Boots #Strategy

  • Development is a lot cheaper than sending soldiers.
    -- Robert M. Gates

    #Soldier #Development #Cheaper

  • What I know concerns me. What I don't know concerns me even more. What people aren't telling me worries me the most.
    -- Robert M. Gates

    #Life #Worry #People

  • Every time we have come to the end of a conflict, somehow we have persuaded ourselves that the nature of mankind and the nature of the world have changed on an enduring basis and so we have dismantle our military and intelligence capabilities. My hope is that as we wind down in Iraq and whatever the level of our commitment in Afghanistan, that we not forget the basic nature of humankind has not changed.
    -- Robert M. Gates

    #Military #Commitment #Wind

  • One of my favorite little sayings is, 'To avoid criticism, say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.
    -- Robert M. Gates

    #Criticism #Littles #My Favorite

  • No president is well-served by groupthink or by everybody singing from the same sheet of music they think he's on.
    -- Robert M. Gates

    #Thinking #Singing #President

  • There's a lot of books out there about how you lead change in business, but I've certainly not seen any... on how you do that in public institutions.
    -- Robert M. Gates

    #Book #Institutions

  • Most governments lie to each other. That's the way business gets done.
    -- Robert M. Gates

    #Lying #Government #Way

  • Things have gotten so nasty in Washington.
    -- Robert M. Gates

    #Nasty

  • Well, I've ruffled a few feathers at all the institutions I've led. But I think that's part of leadership.
    -- Robert M. Gates

    #Thinking #Institutions #Wells

  • I mean, when you get down to very low numbers of nuclear weapons, and you contemplate going to zero, how do you deal with the reality of that technology being available to almost any country that seeks to pursue it? And what conditions do you put in place?
    -- Robert M. Gates

    #Country #Zero #Mean

  • The United States has been a global power since late in the 19th century.
    -- Robert M. Gates

    #United States #Century #States

  • I've been very sensitive for a long time to the repeated pattern, during economic hard times or after a war, of the United States' essentially unilaterally disarming.
    -- Robert M. Gates

    #War #Hard Times #Long

  • I've spent my entire adult life with the United States as a superpower and one that had no compunction about spending what it took to sustain that position. And it didn't have to look over its shoulder because our economy was so strong.
    -- Robert M. Gates

    #Strong #United States #Looks

  • I've seen, all too often in my career, people coming in to lead agencies and organizations and trying to impose change from the top down. Never works. You never have enough time.
    -- Robert M. Gates

    #Agency #Careers #Organization

  • It has become clear that America 's civilian institutions of diplomacy and development have been chronically undermanned and underfunded for far too long - relative to what we spend on the military, and more important, relative to the responsibilities and challenges our nation has around the world.
    -- Robert M. Gates

    #Military #Responsibility #America

  • When I was the director of Central Intelligence in the early '90s, I tried to get the Air Force to partner with us in building drones. And they didn't want to, because they had no pilots.
    -- Robert M. Gates

    #Air #Want #Pilots

  • One of the big changes in the Congress since I first came to Washington is that all of these folks go home every weekend. They used to play golf together; their families got to know each other, go to dinner at each other's homes at weekends - and these would be people who were political adversaries.
    -- Robert M. Gates

    #Home #Golf #Weekend

  • Some people have said, in so many words, that I'm kind of wooly-headed in believing that the Iranians would see not having nuclear weapons as more in their security interest than not.
    -- Robert M. Gates

    #Believe #People #Nuclear

  • The reality is, the United States has global interests. Our defense budget is about the same as the defense budgets or military budgets of every other country in the world put together.
    -- Robert M. Gates

    #Country #Military #Reality

  • There is no international problem that can be addressed or solved without the engagement and leadership of the United States and everybody in the world knows that, its just fact of life. So sometimes I think we could conduct ourselves with a little more humility.
    -- Robert M. Gates

    #Humility #Thinking #United States

  • Well, what I've said is that the war in Iraq will always be clouded by how it began, which was a wrong premise, that there were in fact no weapons of nuclear - weapons of mass destruction.
    -- Robert M. Gates

    #War #Iraq #Weapons

  • I wish I could set deadlines for the Congress, but that's just not the way the Constitution is written.
    -- Robert M. Gates

    #Wish #Way #Constitution

  • Congress is best viewed from a distance—the farther the better—because up close, it is truly ugly,
    -- Robert M. Gates

    #Distance #Ugly #Congress

  • We should never lose sight of the ethos that has made the Marine Corps - where 'every Marine is a rifleman' - one of America's cherished institutions and one of the world's most feared and respected fighting forces
    -- Robert M. Gates

    #Military #Marine #Fighting

  • If there's ever an example that military power alone cannot be successful in Afghanistan, I think it was the Soviet experience.
    -- Robert M. Gates

    #Military #Successful #Thinking

  • Future U.S. political leaders, those for whom the Cold War was not the formative experience that it was for me, may not consider the return on America's investment in NATO worth the cost.
    -- Robert M. Gates

    #War #America #Leader

  • America's civilian institutions of diplomacy and development have been chronically undermanned and underfunded for far too long.
    -- Robert M. Gates

    #America #Long #Development

  • power... Military success is not sufficient to win: economic development, institution-building and the rule of law, promoting internal reconciliation, good governance, providing basic services to the people, training and equipping indigenous military and police forces, strategic communications, and more of these, along with security, are essential ingredients for long-term success...
    -- Robert M. Gates

    #Peace #Military #Communication

  • You know, if I were an - if I were a Taliban, I'd say, 'What did al-Qaida ever do for me except get me kicked out of Afghanistan?'
    -- Robert M. Gates

    #Als #Afghanistan #Taliban

  • Well, Israel, obviously, thinks of the Iranian nuclear program as an existential threat to Israel.
    -- Robert M. Gates

    #Thinking #Israel #Nuclear

  • And so the greatest of American triumphs... became a peculiarly joyless victory. We had won the Cold War, but there would be no parades.
    -- Robert M. Gates

    #War #Victory #Would Be

  • Defense is not like other discretionary spending.
    -- Robert M. Gates

    #Defense #Spending

  • I will always be an advocate in terms of wars of necessity. I am just much more cautious on wars of choice.
    -- Robert M. Gates

    #War #Choices #Term

  • I think that Iran with a nuclear weapon is extremely destabilizing. I think it could precipitate a nuclear arms race in the region.
    -- Robert M. Gates

    #Thinking #Iran #Race

  • I read in the press, and therefore it must be true, that no secretary of defense had ever been quoted as arguing for a bigger budget for State.
    -- Robert M. Gates

    #Defense #Arguing #Bigger

  • I have tried to maintain civil relationships with everyone I meet - and, even if I violently disagree with them, try to be respectful.
    -- Robert M. Gates

    #Trying #Respectful #Be Respectful

  • I have always voted for who I believed was the best person.
    -- Robert M. Gates

    #Persons

  • I had no difficulty as Secretary of Defense moving from the Bush administration to the Obama administration.
    -- Robert M. Gates

    #Moving #Administration #Defense

  • I don't think any president that I worked with has ever said 'pretty please.
    -- Robert M. Gates

    #Thinking #President #Said

  • I consider myself a Republican.
    -- Robert M. Gates

    #Republican

  • Even when I was at CIA, I'd go to visit foreign leaders and I'd say, 'You know, I'm not a diplomat. I'm just an old CIA guy'... I said, 'If I wanted to be diplomatic, I'd have been a diplomat.'
    -- Robert M. Gates

    #Guy #Leader #Diplomats

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