New U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates in damage-control mode:
So as he neared the end of his remarks, Gates made a deliberate move to separate himself from Rumsfeld and any lingering discord.
In the run-up to the Iraq war, Rumsfeld sharply criticized nations opposed to the conflict — specifically France and Germany — referring to them as ”Old Europe.”
Without mentioning Rumsfeld’s name, Gates said some people have tried to divide the allies into categories — such as east and west, north versus south.
”I’m even told that some have even spoken in terms of ‘old’ Europe versus ‘new,”’ Gates said. ”All of these characterizations belong in the past.”