U.S. FOREIGN POLICY: Colleagues describe former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates as “calm and courtly”—and he did serve two parties and two presidents in two wars—but Gates in his new memoir can properly be described as a man of fury. Most of his anger gets directed at President Barack Obama and “the controlling nature” of the White House with “its determination to take credit for every good thing that happened while giving none to the career folks in the trenches who had actually done the work.” Out of office, Gates is forthright in his criticism of Obama’s handling of Afghanistan:
“As I sat there, I thought: The president doesn’t trust his commander, can’t stand Karzai, doesn’t believe in his own strategy and doesn’t consider the war to be his,” Mr. Gates writes. “For him, it’s all about getting out.”
MORE: Former U.S. Ambassador to the UN John Bolton also summarizes well this week the high cost of the Obama administration’s distraction in the Middle East.
Israel, in turn, faces even graver problems, notably Iran’s nuclear-weapons program, resurgent terrorism, and the failure of the Arab Spring. Every hour spent talking to Secretary of State John Kerry about West Bank apartment construction is an hour not spent addressing these more serious issues.
LIBYA: A former detainee at Guantanamo has been implicated in the attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. U.S. officials are also investigating whether any of those involved in the Benghazi raid had a role in the killing of Ronnie Smith, an American schoolteacher gunned down in Benghazi last month.
SOUTH SUDAN: The infighting and chaos in South Sudan presents Khartoum (the Islamist government of Sudan) with a perfect opportunity to invade and seize the oil fields of South Sudan and potentially take advantage of the disunity to launch a new war.
HAITI: I am on my way to Haiti and here’s why. Plus, I’ll be looking at how faith-based organizations and individual Christians can possibly help in an aid-saturated country that remains one of the neediest places in the Western Hemisphere on the eve of the fourth anniversary of the massive 2010 earthquake.
Globe Trot will not run on Friday, Jan. 10.