Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates says he thinks direct U.S. intervention in Syria's civil war — particularly direct military involvement — would be a mistake.
Gates, who served both President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama, says he oversaw wars that began with quick regime change "and we all know what happened after that."
He asks on CBS' "Face that Nation, "Haven't we learned that when you go to war, the outcomes are unpredictable?"
To those who think intervention might be 'clean" and "neat," Gates says "most wars aren't that way."
He says that if the U.S. were to do anything in Syria, it might be picking opposition groups that the U.S. believes would have some degree of moderation, and providing them with intelligence and basic military equipment.
Gates also said he worries about North Korea. He believes that North Korea's young leader and his generals don't realize there's been a "dramatic change" in public opinion in South Korea in how to respond to belligerent actions by the North.
Gates said that after many years of "swallowing provocation," the South Koreas "are not prepared to take that anyone."
Gates says that creates a situation where the next act of provocation "could result in an escalation and the situation getting out of control."
Gates said that he worries that the North's young leader, Kim Jong Un, "does not have an understanding of that."
He says that while Chinese do have influence with Kim, "they don't have control and that worries me."
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