No single person, with the possible exception of the president himself, will have a greater role in deciding how the United States will confront its enemies during Barack Obama’s administration than the Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates. In Foreign Affairs, Gates outlines what he sees as the threats facing the United States and how they should be met: “Direct military force will continue to play a role in the long-term effort against terrorists and other extremists. But over the long term, the United States cannot kill or capture its way to victory. Where possible, what the military calls kinetic operations should be subordinated to measures aimed at promoting better governance, economic programs that spur development, and efforts to address the grievances among the discontented, from whom the terrorists recruit. It will take the patient accumulation of quiet successes over a long time to discredit and defeat extremist movements and their ideologies.”
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