In a speech given at the Ronald Reagan Building Secretary Gates had this to say:
"As most of you here remember, when Ronald Reagan took office, there was little to joke about, or smile about for that matter. In the previous decade we’d seen:
- A collapse in Vietnam, and the deaths of millions across Southeast Asia;
- Two energy crises;
- The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan;
- Revolution in Iran, an embassy taken hostage, a failed rescue mission;
- Tens of thousands of Cuban soldiers in Angola and Ethiopia;
- Nicaragua was fast moving into Cuba’s orbit and there were Cuban supported insurgencies in El Salvador and elsewhere in the region;
- And by late 1980, a Soviet invasion of Poland was a very real possibility.
When Reagan became President, the Soviet Union seemed ascendant and we were reeling. Some of you here today remember what it was like to work in national security during that time, or anytime during the Cold War – always carrying a heavy burden, always facing an existential threat not just to our country, but to the entire world.
But President Reagan – nearly alone – had the bedrock conviction that the Soviet system was rotting from within, was fundamentally vulnerable, and could be brought down. Remarkably, again mainly alone, he believed it could happen on his watch, not at some undefined future time and he believed this from the very beginning of his Presidency."--------------------------------------
How many times have we heard that Obama took office with challenges "no other" President faced in history. With Gates headed out the door is this a subtle jab saying, "Other Presidents faced greater challenges AND SUCCEEDED", unlike Obama who is floundering badly with failed economic policies and the world in chaos?
The rest of the speech: