Secretary discussed on Morning Edition

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Protests I asked secretary gates if what he saw on June first was an abuse of presidential power I don't know that it whether it was an abuse of presidential power it certainly was in my view misguided and a bad mistake in terms of pushing away peaceful protesters hi I do agree with my former colleagues opposition to the invocation of the insurrection act I think that would have been a mistake obviously the president has the authority to use it but it would have been very analyze because of the demonstrations about racial injustice that are happening right now the Pentagon is considering changing the name of several military bases that bear the name of Confederate generals Fort Bragg Fort Hood Fort Benning just to name a few do you think it's time to change those names I think so yeah I did see that the president has come out against any change I agree with the secretary of defense Caspar and the secretary of the army Ryan McCarthy that we should entertain changing the names of those of those military facilities I do it's always puzzled me we don't have a fort he Leslie says grant or or a warrant of military facility name for an African American medal of honor recipient and and I think what what we see today is a movement to remove the symbols of the confederacy that celebrate it as opposed to an understanding it and remembering in retrospect do you wish that you had pushed to change those names when you were secretary we were involved in two active wars when I was secretary of defense I just think that I think that there comes a moment in time when things become possible and people ought to seize that moment when it presents itself I think this is such a moment a man you will know marine corps general and former secretary of defense Jim Mattis wrote this in a statement released last week Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people does not even pretend to try instead he tries to divide us do you agree with that statement I think it's so just a reality that that this president has not seen it as one of his priority is to try and bring people together either in general or in response to the terrible events whether it's the pandemic or the response to to George Floyd's death I it's hard to disagree that this president is a divider is not the only one in American history but he certainly has taken and I think to a level that we haven't seen in quite a long time so I in that respect I agree with Jim Mattis do you think Donald Trump has the judgment necessary to serve another four years as president well I think I think that there's a distinction to be made between what he says and what he does for example I was I supported his outreach to Kim Jong un in North Korea everything else we tried for the preceding quarter of a century had not worked I support it is challenging and the Chinese the Chinese have gotten away with a lot of things for a lot of years so there are important things at least in the realm that I'm familiar with where where I have thought he and his initiatives at least were the right things to do they haven't proved to be particularly successful but at the same time he has weakened our alliances which I think is a critically important element of American national security you know there are there are puts on their tanks I think that we are in a weaker position in the world today than we were three years ago I've already asked you about president trump's suitability for the presidency I'd like to use the moment to ask about Joe Biden would you publicly endorsed him what I will say is hi I wrote in my book Judy in two thousand fourteen that I thought Joe Biden had been wrong on almost every major foreign policy issue over the preceding forty years I wrote on the same page they'll that I've regarded Joe Biden as a man of great integrity a very decent human being somebody that if you had a personal problem or an issue Joe Biden would be there to help you so although I've got a lot of policy disagreements with the former vice president he is a decent person is decency of great importance though in this moment I think that what the country needs is somebody who will try to bring us together former secretary of defense Robert gates he expands on those thoughts and many more in our conversation more of what you will hear on Monday his new book is titled exercise of power American failures successes and a new path in the post Cold War world Russia's president Vladimir Putin declared a state of emergency in a remote arctic region of Russia in that region twenty thousand tons of diesel fuel spilled into a river two weeks ago here's NPR's Lucy and Kim the accident took place at a power plant and no real sick an industrial city north of the Arctic Circle almost two thousand miles from Moscow where than six hundred workers are now collecting the mixture of oil and water the type of criminal scare a local environmentalist says it could take decades for the delicate arctic ecosystem to recover the KFC flourishing at the national level she told the Reduxio YouTube channel that talks since could enter the food chain affecting not only aquatic life also the reindeer population for employees of the power plant had been arrested on charges of violating environmental regulations connection will check with the middle name okay on Thursday a spokeswoman for Russia's investigative committee said on state TV that no real six mayor was being charged with negligence the accident has been compared to the nineteen eighty nine Exxon Valdez spill the one big difference is that the diesel fuel has not reached the open seat today to check out was the chief operating officer of Norilsk nickel which owns the fuel tank he blames global warming for thawing permafrost beneath it and dramatic happen with the temperature right and you can actually look at the impact on the ground in a call with investors this week he promised the company would start monitoring the permafrost below its facilities I am repeating again that we are going to have you come across one entrance so now Norilsk nickel is focused on the clean up it estimates the cost at one hundred fifty million dollars the scene Kim NPR news Moscow.

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