Should America Still Police the World?

Daniel Immerwahr in The New Yorker:

Robert Gates’s first memoir was titled “From the Shadows,” and that is an apt description of where Gates has comfortably resided. He is not a flashy man—a colleague once likened him to “the guy at P. C. Richards who sold microwave ovens”—but he has been for decades a quietly persistent presence in foreign policymaking. Gates has served as the Defense Secretary, C.I.A. chief, and deputy national-security adviser, among other roles. Unusually, he has occupied high positions under both Democratic and Republican Presidents. After George W. Bush placed him in charge of the Defense Department, Barack Obama kept him there as a trusted source of counsel. He has called Biden “a man of genuine integrity” and Trump “unfit to be Commander-in-Chief.”

Gates’s latest book, “Exercise of Power,” offers a stark view of the world. The country is “challenged on every front,” Gates believes. The places the United States must police are, in his various descriptions, a “bane” (Iran), a “curse” (Iraq), a “primitive country” (Afghanistan), and a “sinkhole of conflict and terrorism” (the Middle East). Its adversaries form a rogue’s gallery of “bad guys,” “thugs,” “serial cheaters and liars,” and “ever-duplicitous Pakistanis.”

More here.