The United States needs a “long-range game plan” in the Middle East similar to the Cold War because the Obama administration is “thinking strictly in month-to-month terms,” former Defense Secretary Robert Gates told Congress on Wednesday.

“We face a generation of conflict in the Middle East,” Gates, who served from 2006 to 2011, told the Senate Armed Services Committee, The Daily Caller reports. He was questioned by Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama.

“We have four, at least four, conflicts going on simultaneously,” he said. “Shia Islam led by Iran versus Sunni Islam led by Saudi Arabia: reformers versus authoritarians, Islamists versus secularists.

“Then, the question of whether these artificially-created countries — Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria — comprised by historically adversarial ethnic and religious groups can hold together at all,” Gates added.

Noting that all the activity is centered in Syria, Gates reflected on the “containment strategy” of the United States during the Cold War with Russia, according to the Daily Caller.

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