City of Roses
I just wanted to add some additional insight here to why I believe both Rumsfeld's ouster and Robert Gates' induction is HUGE in regard to both the war in Iraq and potential conflicts/resolutions with Iran and other nations.
First of all, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and George W. Bush have all appeared and have been linked as a sort of triumvirate toward the war in Iraq, but more generally in promotion of the neoconservative "long war" foreign policy agenda, which essentially believes in America's ability to shape the world in its own image, and see the United States as a "benevolent hegemony" with the power to compel other nations to adopt liberal democracy, which Iraq was a experiment of theirs in hope of ultimately evolving into a bastion of democracy in the Middle East.
The removal of Rumsfeld has broken that triumvirate, and in result has not only put the neoconservatives in disarray in the White House and the Pentagon; it has polarized them, where you have Richard Perle now openly admitting in January 2007's edition of Vanity Fair that we could have stopped Hussein from building any form of unconventional weapons "by means other than a direct military intervention."
Then there's also Ken Adelman, who was quoted in 2002 for saying that liberating Iraq would be a "cakewalk" and now has said in this Vanity Fair article:
"I just presumed that what I considered to be the most competent national security team since Truman was indeed going to be competent. They turned out to be among the most incompetent teams in the post-war era."
But what's even more interesting about the ouster of Rumsfeld and the inviting of Robert Gates is that President Bush is basically railing against Vice President Cheney's approach to the war on terror, who is more attuned to the neoconservative ideals. Now following this election and the removal of Rumsfeld, Cheney (who heavily influenced the Bush Administration during the first term) has lost much of his political clout and is even beginning to get called a "lame duck vice president" a lot.
In contrast to Rumsfeld, who alligns more with the neoconservative way of thinking on foreign policy, Robert Gates is alligned with a more pragmatic, realist approach to foreign policy that is more reminiscent of Bush #41 than Bush #43, who is a member of the Iraq Study Group co-chaired by former Secretary of State, James Baker, who Baker himself has suggested that there is an alternative between "staying the course" and "cut and run".
It's important that we don't forget that many of President Bush #41's senior advisers have been surrounding President Bush #43 for the past six years, and also that Gates himself was more of a hawk during the Cold War era. But I think this whole transition is groundbreaking in that it can arguably represent both the beginning of the end toward making the transition to ending our occupation in Iraq, and the beginning of the end of the neoconservative revolution in the White House and the Pentagon at least to some extent.
"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"