Robert Gates: There’s value in Trump’s ‘disruptive approach’

Gates said that if he had been defense secretary when Russian jets made “dangerously close passes” over U.S. warships in the Baltic Sea in April, “I’d have recommended that we send a message to Moscow that the next time you do it, I’ll ‘paint’ you [with targeting radar], and I may shoot.”

.. The three have a consulting firm, RiceHadleyGates, which has proposed candidates for Cabinet and sub-Cabinet jobs, including Rex Tillerson and retired Marine Gen. James N. Mattis, the choices for State and Defense, respectively.

.. “There will be a rough break-in period,” Gates predicted. Part of the challenge is that Trump believes his success stems from his freewheeling, undisciplined style, and personal messaging through Twitter — which makes him resist limits.

.. Trump, by accident or design, has created a hint of the triangular dynamic among the United States, Russia and China that was a hallmark of Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger’s diplomacy. Ideally, said Gates, the United States could play off Russia and China so that “they’re both uncertain about where we’re headed.”