‘Anti-Rumsfeld’ Cools Iran War Rhetoric

Servant to 7 presidents prefers 'soft power' to VP's battle plans
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 3, 2007 7:35 PM CST
U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates arrives, Monday, Dec. 3, 2007, in Djibouti, Djibouti. (AP Photo/Pool, Haraz N. Ghanbari)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Dubbed the “Anti-Rumsfeld,” Defense Secretary Robert Gates is soothing fears that the US will bomb Iran—while trying to guard against mishaps that might trigger a war. Certain that a Tehran strike would spark a wider conflict and terror in Europe, Gates coolly tries to “lower the temperature,” Newsweek reports, as a Cold War-style counterbalance to the VP's battle plans.

A veteran, anti-partisan servant of 7 presidents, Gates embraces nation-building—a term Rumsfeld scorned—and recently stunned Capitol Hill by advocating more money for diplomats and aid workers. He scoffs at a claim that he's jockeying to stay on with a Democratic president, saying he carries a clock that ticks down to his last day in office—inauguration day, 2009.