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Screenshot via NBC

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates — who played the unusual role of bridging the Bush and Obama administrations, and served eight presidents of both parties — is out Tuesday with "Exercise of Power: American Failures, Successes, and a New Path Forward in the Post-Cold War World" (Knopf).

The big picture: Gates argues that the U.S. should have withdrawn from Afghanistan in 2002, cyber has become the most powerful weapon in a nation's arsenal, and North Korea has no intention of ever giving up its nuclear weapons.

Why "Exercise of Power" matters, from Gates' prologue:

There are many studies and books on how the United States has applied its power since 1993 and should apply it in the future. Few of those authors, however, have actually had power and exercised it; only a handful have been firsthand witnesses to history making, and then nearly always under just one or two presidents.
The authors are mostly foreign policy mavens, historians, and political scientists who write from think tanks, universities, institutes, and other such perches. ...
I witnessed and participated in decision making under more presidents of both parties than any other contemporary senior official.
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Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
Sep 15, 2020 - Health

Exclusive: Melinda Gates slams Trump's COVID-19 response

Melinda Gates told "Axios on HBO" that the Trump administration has neutered the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and continued to bungle its coronavirus response, concluding that only a "lack of leadership" explains why far more people have died in the U.S. than in other developed countries.

Why it matters: The comments mark the sharpest rebuke yet from the co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has emerged as the largest funder of the World Health Organization after the U.S. yanked funding earlier this year.

Ina Fried, author of Login
Sep 15, 2020 - Health

Melinda Gates: COVID-19 erased 25 years of vaccine progress in 25 weeks

The impact of COVID-19 led to "devastating" reversals of global gains in education, poverty eradication, vaccinations, and maternal and child health, according to the findings from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's annual Goalkeepers report, which were shared exclusively with "Axios on HBO."

Why it matters: The coronavirus is proving to be more than just a health crisis, thrusting millions into poverty.

Updated 1 hour ago - World

U.S. airstrike kills senior al-Qaeda leader in Syria, DOD says

A displacement camp near the village of Qah in Syria's northwestern Idlib province. Photo: Ahmad Al-Atrash/AFP via Getty Images

A U.S. airstrike in northwest Syria on Friday killed senior al-Qaeda leader Abdul Hamid al-Matar, U.S. Central Command said in a statement.

Why it matters: Syria serves as a "safe haven" for the extremist group to plan external operations, according to U.S. Army Maj. John Rigsbee.