China, America, Taiwan discussed on 60 Minutes

60 Minutes


I've worked for 8 presidents Anderson. I've never encountered a single one of them who ever said, well, I really blew that one, really? Is that really true? Never. They just don't do that. You know, deep in their heart, they may know it, but they really said. Do you think it would be better if they did? Yes. I think it would make them more credible. What's happening in Afghanistan has been devastating for President Biden domestically can Biden recover? Oh, I think so. I think that the submarine deal between the United States the United Kingdom and Australia. I think is a great strategic move. It sends a powerful message all around the world to China all around the world, including to China that the United States still has a lot of arrows in the quiver and that we will remain a force to be reckoned with in the western Pacific. That deal to help Australia deploy nuclear powered submarines comes as China is increasingly threatening Taiwan. If China moves on Taiwan, is that a field that the U.S. would fight on? There are two strategies that we need to focus on. One is deterrence, strengthening our own military presence in the region, and the second piece of the strategy is to strengthen Taiwan's ability to defend itself. Internationally, Gates sees China as the preeminent military and economic threat to the United States. I think this is a place where president Trump got it right. He basically awakened Americans and I would say especially the business community to China that the assumptions about which we had gotten wrong. And the assumption for 40 years was that a richer China would be a freer China. And that's clearly not going to happen. But there's another piece of this puzzle with China. And that is the economic side. Chinese now managed something like three dozen major ports around the world. They are the biggest trading partner of more than half of South America. They are everywhere. And what are we doing in these non military arenas to compete with the Chinese Robert Gates has always considered himself a Republican, but while he agreed with some of president Trump's policies, he remains highly critical of the former president. Do you think the former president will run again? President Trump? I hope not. Why do you hope not? I'm a strong believer in institutions. Whether it's intelligence community, the Defense Department, the State Department, the Justice Department, the FBI, he disdains institutions. And I think he did a lot to weaken institutions. You called him a thin skinned temperamental shoot from the hip and lip, uninformed commander in chief, too great a risk for America. You said, I would not edit that at all. What do you think the greatest threat to democracy is in this country right now? The extreme polarization that we're seeing. The greatest threat is found within the two square miles that encompass The White House and the capitol building. When you watch the insurrection on the capitol, what do you think? The attack on the capitol was the first time armed enemies of democracy had been in the capital since the war of 1812. I mean, seeing somebody parading through the capitol carrying a confederate flag, that never happened during the Civil War. What's worse, the event itself or even now all these months later, to have members of Congress trying to rewrite its history? I don't understand. Such a denial. And these same people who were terrified on January 6th and whose lives were in danger to now basically say, well, these are just your normal tourists. The whole of our society seems to be coming unhinged. And there's just I've never seen so much hatred. And the continued propagation of former president Trump's big lie about the election, how big of a national security threat is that for future elections. It seems to me that it underscores the theme that China is sounding around the world that the United States political system doesn't work. And that the United States is a declining power. Robert Gates doesn't believe America's power is declining. But after serving under 8 presidents and seeing up close what happened in Afghanistan and Iraq, he's come to accept the limits of America's military might. You said, one of the enduring lessons of the Cold War in the demise of the Soviet Union is that lasting change in a country will come only from within. I find that to be an extraordinary statement from somebody who ran military interventions in countries. You're saying that in the end from the outside, you can not change a country. I believe that. And I think that, you know, there are a handful of exceptions, Germany and Japan after World War II, our examples, but we had essentially destroyed both countries. Total defeat. Foreign policy at the end of a rifle doesn't work. You know, one of my favorite quotes is from Churchill, democracy is not a harlot to be picked up in the street at the point of a Tommy gun. And I totally believe that. I'm not sure he could get away with saying that today. I don't think anybody ever accused him of being political. That's for sure. Is there a Gates doctrine? I am very much a believer in the importance of military power. And in the United States having predominant military power. I also am firmly convinced that the use of the military should be the very last resort. In dealing with any international situation because no matter why and how it starts, no one can predict what will happen. The cattle drive is an enduring symbol of the American West, the image of tough cowboys pushing huge herds of cows across the open range is stamped on our imaginations, but by the 21st century with western states growing and changing fast, most horseback cattle drives have been run off the range by suburban sprawl, government regulation, lower beef consumption, and the return of protected predators. But there's a group of stubborn men and women in Wyoming, who every spring push thousands of cows along the same 70 mile route their ancestors pioneered 125 years ago. This throwback to the old west is called the green river drift, and it's the longest running cattle drive, left in America. Just after dawn, one Saturday in late June. I'm trying to help Wyoming rancher Albert summers. And his team move hundreds of cows. Most of them mothers with new calves in a cloud of dust toward high green pastures where they'll graze all summer. And if you feel inclined Bill, you can whistle. You can yell. I do anything. This is like cowboy's therapy. You get to voice everything out. Come on, Indy. I do the best I can..

Coming up next