Ashton Carter: Gulf Arabs Need to Get in the Fight, Cont'd

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

Jeff’s interview with the U.S. defense secretary was closed for comments, but one reader’s message got through:

On Friday, American magazine The Atlantic published an interview with the US defense chief, in which he alleged, “If you look at where the Iranians are able to wield influence, they are in the game, on the ground” in a number of countries. [...] Iran’s defense minister has warned his American counterpart to mind his words, following accusations by the US official that the Islamic Republic is militarily active in certain countries in the Middle East. “US Secretary of Defense [Ashton Carter] had better go over his past record in this position of authority and reconsider his bully-like and aggressive stances and talk more sensibly and circumspectly henceforth,” Brigadier-General Hossein Dehqan said on Sunday.

It would have been great to see that comment pop up in Disqus rather than a state-owned media outlet, especially if the avatar was this photo of the fuming general. If you’d like to comment on the interview yourself, email and I’ll post the best ones. Update from a reader:

So why are Gulf Arab states so disengaged when it comes to a huge threat right in their own backyard? Is it religious/ethnic rivalries and hatreds? Is it apathy? Or are their own armies so inept that they aren’t any good at anything except pushing their own populations around? Why are we forever on the hook in this part of the world? Why are we the Policemen of the Middle East? If someone could explain that to me, I’d be surprised.