'BEYOND REPAIR': Former US Defense Secretary Robert Gates tears into Donald Trump

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Former US Defense secretary, Robert Gates is having doubts about both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

Gates, who has served eight US presidents including George W. Bush and Barack Obama over the course of 50 years, said there is still too much that we do not know about Clinton's and Trump's foreign-policy positions.

"Neither candidate has seriously addressed how he or she thinks about the military, the use of military force, the criteria they would apply before sending that force into battle, or broader questions of peace and war," Gates wrote in a Wall Street Journal column published on Friday.

PHOTOS: Donald Trump's 2016 campaign

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Donald Trump's 2016 campaign
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Donald Trump's 2016 campaign
CHARLESTON, WV - MAY 05: Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during his rally at the Charleston Civic Center on May 5, 2016 in Charleston, West Virginia. Trump became the Republican presumptive nominee following his landslide win in indiana on Tuesday.(Photo by Mark Lyons/Getty Images)
Donald Trump, president and chief executive of Trump Organization Inc. and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, gestures to attendees during a campaign event in Evansville, Indiana, U.S., on Thursday, April 28, 2016. Trump said he's campaigning hard to win Tuesday's presidential primary in Indiana and that if he prevails, his party's nomination contest will be 'over.' Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images
TAMPA, FL - MARCH 14: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to supporters during a town hall meeting on March 14, 2016 at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa , Florida. Trump is campaigning ahead of the Florida primary on March 15. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH- MARCH 13: Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses his campaign supporters during a campaign rally at the Savannah Center March 13, 2016, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Trump continue to campaign before Ohio March 15th primary day. (Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images)
PALM BEACH, FL - MARCH 15: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a primary night event at the Mar-A-Lago Club's Donald J. Trump Ballroom March 15, 2016 in Palm Beach, Florida. Trump won the state of Florida and Ohio Gov. John Kasich won the state of Ohio. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
HICKORY, NC - MARCH 14: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, left, talks with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, right, during a campaign rally at Lenoir-Rhyne University March 14, 2016 in Hickory, North Carolina. The North Carolina Republican primary will be held March 15. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
BLOOMINGTON, IL - MARCH 13: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump pulls Alex Stypik from a crowd of supporters to show off his shirt during a rally at the Central Illinois Regional Airport on March 13, 2016 in Bloomington, Illinois. The Trump campaign cancelled a recent rally in Chicago after learning hundreds of demonstrators were ticketed for the event. Illinois voters go to the polls on March 15. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
JUPITER, FL - MARCH 08: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump holds up his book after holding a press conference at the Trump National Golf Club Jupiter on March 8, 2016 in Jupiter, Florida. Trump is projected to win the Republican Presidential primaries in Mississippi and Michigan. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
GREENVILLE, SC - FEBRUARY 15: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally held in the TD Convention Center in Greenville, SC on Monday Feb. 15, 2016. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, NH - FEBRUARY 09: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump greets people as he visits a polling station as voters cast their primary day ballots on February 9, 2016 in Manchester, New Hampshire. The process to select the next Democratic and Republican Presidential candidates continues. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
US Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump speaks to the crowd during a rally February 8, 2016 in Manchester, NH. US presidential candidates, including billionaire Donald Trump and under-pressure Democrat Hillary Clinton, criss-crossed snowy New Hampshire in a final frantic bit to win over undecided voters before Tuesday's crucial primary. / AFP / Don EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
HOLDERNESS, NH - FEBRUARY 7: Patrons reach out for photos and signatures from republican presidential candidate Donald Trump as he greets people after speaking at a campaign rally at Plymouth State University in Holderness, NH on Sunday Feb. 07, 2016. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign stop at Farmington High School, Monday, Jan. 25, 2016, in Farmington. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
MARSHALLTOWN, IA - JANUARY 26: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a rally on January 26, 2016 in Marshalltown, Iowa. Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the anti-immigration sheriff from Maricopa County, Arizona, today announced his support for Trump's presidential bid. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, left, endorses Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump during a rally at the Iowa State University, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
WINTERSET, IA - JANUARY 19: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at the John Wayne Birthplace Museum on January 19, 2016 in Winterset, Iowa. Trump received the endorsement of Aissa Wayne, John Wayne's daughter. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump waves to supporters after meeting with volunteers at the local Pizza Ranch restaurant, Friday, Jan. 15, 2016, in Waukee, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump stands on the stage before the Fox Business Network Republican presidential debate at the North Charleston Coliseum, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016, in North Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
NORTH CHARLESTON, SC - JANUARY 14: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump participates in the Fox Business Network Republican presidential debate at the North Charleston Coliseum and Performing Arts Center on January 14, 2016 in North Charleston, South Carolina. The sixth Republican debate is held in two parts, one main debate for the top seven candidates, and another for three other candidates lower in the current polls. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign stop at the Flynn Center of the Performing Arts in Burlington, Vt., Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE - Emmy Award-nominated 'Jimmy Kimmel Live' airs every weeknight (11:35 p.m. - 12:41 a.m., ET), packed with hilarious comedy bits and features a diverse lineup of guests including celebrities, athletes, musicians, comedians and humorous human interest subjects. The guests for Wednesday, December 16 included Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump and musical guest Gary Clark Jr. (Photo by Randy Holmes/ABC via Getty Images) DONALD TRUMP, JIMMY KIMMEL
GRAND RAPIDS, MI - DECEMBER 21: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to guests at a campaign rally on December 21, 2015 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The full-house event was repeatedly interrupted by protestors. Trump continues to lead the most polls in the race for the Republican nomination for president. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
MESA, AZ - DECEMBER 16: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to guest gathered during a campaign event at the International Air Response facility on December 16, 2015 in Mesa, Arizona. Trump is in Arizona the day after the Republican Presidential Debate hosted by CNN in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL - NOVEMBER 13: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump waves as he is introduced during the Sunshine Summit conference being held at the Rosen Shingle Creek on November 13, 2015 in Orlando, Florida. The summit brought Republican presidential candidates in front of the Republican voters. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump reacts to a reporter's question in the spin room following the Republican Presidential Debate hosted by Fox Business and The Wall Street Journal November 10, 2015 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. AFP PHOTO / JOSHUA LOTT (Photo credit should read Joshua LOTT/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 03: Donald Trump attends a press conference for the release of his new book 'Crippled America' at Trump Tower on November 3, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/WireImage)
Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump speaks during a press conference during a event to launch his new book 'Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again' at Trump Tower on November 3, 2015 in New York. Donald Trump published a book about the ills of America to another media frenzy Tuesday, signing copies for fans, insulting his rivals on the campaign trail and telling Americans to elect him president. 'Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again,' offers the everyday reader his take on the problems facing the country and why they should elect him to the White House to fix them. AFP PHOTO/Kena Betancur (Photo credit should read KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump greets supporters during a rally, Saturday, Oct. 31, 2015 in Norfolk, Va. (AP Photo/Jason Hirschfeld)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump looks out from his car window as he leaves after speaking at a town hall meeting at the Atkinson Country Club in Atkinson, N.H., Monday, Oct. 26, 2015. (AP Photo/Cheryl Senter)
RICHMOND, VA - OCTOBER 14: Republican presidential candidate and front-runner Donald Trump walks out on stage during a campaign rally at the Richmond International Raceway October 14, 2015 in Richmond, Virginia. A New York real estate mogul and reality television star, Trump is now in a statistical tie with retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson in a Fox News survey of likely Republican voters released Tuesday. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump holds up a cap that he signed for a supporter during a rally at the Expo Hall of the Richmond International Raceway on October 14, 2015 in Richmond, Virginia. AFP PHOTO/MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
RICHMOND, VA - OCTOBER 14: Republican presidential candidate and front-runner Donald Trump arrives at a campaign rally at the Richmond International Raceway October 14, 2015 in Richmond, Virginia. A New York real estate mogul and reality television star, Trump is now in a statistical tie with retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson in a Fox News survey of likely Republican voters released Tuesday. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 28: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump arrives to give a speech outlining his vision for tax reform at his skyscraper on Fifth Avenue on September 28, 2015 in New York City. Under the plan there would be four tax categories, with people earning less than $25,000 per year paying 0% tax. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, SC - SEPTEMBER 23: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to the media before a campaign event September 23, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. Earlier today, Trump tweeted 'FoxNews has been treating me very unfairly & I have therefore decided that I won't be doing any more Fox shows for the foreseeable future.' (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 14: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump greets supporters during a campaign rally at the American Airlines Center on September 14, 2015 in Dallas, Texas. More than 20,000 tickets had been distributed for the event. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gives a national security speech aboard the World War II Battleship USS Iowa, September 15, 2015, in San Pedro, California. AFP PHOTO /ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 14: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the American Airlines Center on September 14, 2015 in Dallas, Texas. More than 20,000 tickets have been distributed for the event. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump holds his pledge during a news conference, at Trump Tower in New York, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015. Trump ruled out the prospect of a third-party White House bid and vowed to support the Republican Party's nominee, whoever it may be. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, center, stops to take a photograph with Jim Tranz, of Port Charlotte, Fla., as he walks with a crowd during the final round of play at The Barclays golf tournament Sunday, Aug. 30, 2015, in Edison, N.J. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, second left, applauds play as he walks with a crowd during the final round of play at The Barclays golf tournament Sunday, Aug. 30, 2015, in Edison, N.J. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
Donald Trump, president and chief executive of Trump Organization Inc. and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, greets attendees during a rally at Grand River Center in Dubuque, Iowa, U.S., on Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2015. President Barack Obama's top business ambassador dismissed Trump's call for a wall along the Mexico border, saying the U.S. is focused instead on expanding business with one of its biggest trade partners. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A woman with her baby shows excitement when the Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump greets them after he speaks at a campaign pep rally, Friday, Aug. 21, 2015, in Mobile, Ala. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
MOBILE, AL- AUGUST 21: U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump introduces Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions (R) Mobile during his rally at Ladd-Peebles Stadium on August 21, 2015 in Mobile, Alabama. The Donald Trump campaign moved tonight's rally to a larger stadium to accommodate demand. (Photo by Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate businessman Donald Trump speaks during a campaign pep rally, Friday, Aug. 21, 2015, in Mobile, Ala. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
UNITED STATES - August 15: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump greets fairgoers as he visits the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa, on Saturday, August 15, 2015. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)
DES MOINES, IA - AUGUST 15: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump greets fairgoers while campaigning at the Iowa State Fair on August 15, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa. Presidential candidates are addressing attendees at the Iowa State Fair on the Des Moines Register Presidential Soapbox stage and touring the fairgrounds. The State Fair runs through August 23. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump greets the crowd at the Iowa State Fair Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Des Moines. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump talks to the media after arriving by helicopter at a nearby ballpark before Trump attended the Iowa State Fair Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Des Moines. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump appears before addressing a GOP fundraising event, Tuesday, Aug, 11, 2015, in Birch Run, Mich. Trump attended the Lincoln Day Dinner of the Genesee and Saginaw county Republican parties. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Real estate tycoon Donald Trump flashes the thumbs-up as he arrives on stage for the start of the prime time Republican presidential debate on August 6, 2015 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. AFP PHOTO/MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
AYR, SCOTLAND - JULY 30: Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump visits his Scottish golf course Turnberry on July 30, 2015 in Ayr, Scotland. Donald Trump will answer questions from the media at a press conference where reporters will be limited to questions just about golf. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)
Presidential contender Donald Trump poses for the media during the third day of the Women's British Open golf championship on the Turnberry golf course in Turnberry, Scotland, Saturday, Aug. 01, 2015. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)
Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump drives a golf buggy during his visits to his Scottish golf course Turnberry on July 30, 2015 in Ayr, Scotland. Donald Trump answered questions from the media at a press conference held in his hotel. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Presidential contender Donald Trump, right, does a high five with Jonathan Lynch, during the second day of the Women's British Open golf championship on the Turnberry golf course in Turnberry, Scotland, Friday, July 31, 2015. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)
FILE - In this July 25, 2015 file photo, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks in Oskaloosa, Iowa. Trump, widely believed to the be the wealthiest American ever to run for president, is nowhere among the ranks of the country’s most generous citizens, according to an Associated Press review of his financial records and other government filings. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 22: Donald Trump greets supporters, tourists and the curious after taping an interview with Anderson Cooper at a Trump owned building in mid-town Manhattan on July 22, 2015 in New York City. Trump, who is running for president on a Republican ticket, has come under intensifying criticism for his behavior on the campaign trail. The billionaire's most recent comments on Senator John McCain's war record in Vietnam have resulted in almost universal criticism from fellow candidates. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
LAREDO, TEXAS - JULY 23: Republican Presidential candidate and business mogul Donald Trump talks to media from his car wearing a, 'Make America Great Again,' hat during his trip to the border on July 23, 2015 in Laredo, Texas. Trump's recent comments, calling some immigrants from Mexico as drug traffickers and rapists, have stirred up reactions on both sides of the aisle. Although fellow Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry has denounced Trump's comments and his campaign in general, U.S. Senator from Texas Ted-Cruz has so far refused to bash his fellow Republican nominee. (Photo by Matthew Busch/Getty Images)
LAREDO, TEXAS - JULY 23: Republican Presidential candidate and business mogul Donald Trump talks to the media at a press conference during his trip to the border on July 23, 2015 in Laredo, Texas. Trump's recent comments, calling some immigrants from Mexico as drug traffickers and rapists, have stirred up reactions on both sides of the aisle. Although fellow Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry has denounced Trump's comments and his campaign in general, U.S. Senator from Texas Ted-Cruz has so far refused to bash his fellow Republican nominee. (Photo by Matthew Busch/Getty Images)
AMES, IA - JULY 18: Republican presidential hopeful businessman Donald Trump fields questions at The Family Leadership Summit at Stephens Auditorium on July 18, 2015 in Ames, Iowa. According to the organizers the purpose of The Family Leadership Summit is to inspire, motivate, and educate conservatives. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks before a crowd of 3,500 Saturday, July 11, 2015, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
PHOENIX, AZ - JULY 11: Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses supporters during a political rally at the Phoenix Convention Center on July 11, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona. Trump spoke about illegal immigration and other topics in front of an estimated crowd of 4,200. (Photo by Charlie Leight/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump pauses as he speaks before a crowd of 3,500 Saturday, July 11, 2015, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump waves to the crowd as he arrives to speak at a rally before a crowd of 3,500 Saturday, July 11, 2015, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Donald Trump gestures while speaking surrounded by people whose families were victims of illegal immigrants on July 10, 2015 while meeting with the press at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, where some shared their stories of the loss of a loved one. The US business magnate Trump, who is running for president in the 2016 presidential elections, angered members of the Latino community with recent comments but says he will win the Latino vote. AFP PHOTO / FREDERIC J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump smiles as he leaves after speaking at a news conference about immigration, Friday, July 10, 2015, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Donald Trump gestures while speaking surrounded by people who's families were victims of illegal immigrants on July 10, 2015 while meeting with the press at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, where some shared their stories of the loss of a loved one. The US business magnate Trump, who is running forpPresident in the 2016 presidential elections, angered members of the Latino community with recent comments but says he will win the Latino vote. AFP PHOTO / FREDERIC J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 06: Donald Trump attends the 2015 Hank's Yanks Golf Classic at Trump Golf Links Ferry Point on July 6, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump talks with reporters after speaking to members of the City Club of Chicago, Monday, June 29, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Real estate mogul Donald Trump announces his bid for the presidency in the 2016 presidential race during an event at the Trump Tower on the Fifth Avenue in New York City on June 16, 2015. Trump, one of America's most flamboyant and outspoken billionaires, threw his hat into the race Tuesday for the White House, promising to make America great again. The 69-year-old long-shot candidate ridiculed the country's current crop of politicians and vowed to take on the growing might of China in a speech launching his run for the presidency in 2016. 'I am officially running for president of the United States and we are going to make our country great again,' he said from a podium bedecked in US flags at Trump Tower on New York's Fifth Avenue. The tycoon strode onto the stage after sailing down an escalator to the strains of 'Rockin' In The Free World' by Canadian singer Neil Young after being introduced by daughter Ivanka. His announcement follows years of speculation that the man known to millions as the bouffant-haired host of American reality TV game show 'The Apprentice' would one day enter politics. Trump identifies himself as a Republican, and has supported Republican candidates in the past. But in his announcement speech he did not explicitly say if he was running for the party's nomination or as an independent.AFP PHOTO/ KENA BETANCUR (Photo credit should read KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 16: (L-R) Eric Trump, Lara Yunaska Trump, Donald Trump, Barron Trump, Melania Trump, Vanessa Haydon Trump, Kai Madison Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Donald John Trump III, and Ivanka Trump pose for photos on stage after Donald Trump announced his candidacy for the U.S. presidency at Trump Tower on June 16, 2015 in New York City. Trump is the 12th Republican who has announced running for the White House. (Photo by Christopher Gregory/Getty Images)
Photo by: Dennis Van Tine/STAR MAX/IPx 6/16/15 Donald Trump announces his Candidacy for President of The United States of America at Trump Tower. (NYC)
PHOENIX, AZ - JULY 11: Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses supporters during a political rally at the Phoenix Convention Center on July 11, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona. Trump spoke about illegal immigration and other topics in front of an estimated crowd of 4,200. (Photo by Charlie Leight/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 16: Business mogul Donald Trump gives a speech as he announces his candidacy for the U.S. presidency at Trump Tower on June 16, 2015 in New York City. Trump is the 12th Republican who has announced running for the White House. (Photo by Christopher Gregory/Getty Images)
DES MOINES, IA - MAY 16: Businessman Donald Trump speaks to guests gathered for the Republican Party of Iowa's Lincoln Dinner at the Iowa Events Center on May 16, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa. The event sponsored by the Republican Party of Iowa gave several Republican presidential hopefuls an opportunity to strengthen their support among Iowa Republicans ahead of the 2016 Iowa caucus. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
DES MOINES, IA - MAY 16: Businessman Donald Trump speaks to guests gathered for the Republican Party of Iowa's Lincoln Dinner at the Iowa Events Center on May 16, 2015 in Des Moines, Iowa. The event sponsored by the Republican Party of Iowa gave several Republican presidential hopefuls an opportunity to strengthen their support among Iowa Republicans ahead of the 2016 Iowa caucus. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 16: Business mogul Donald Trump arrives at a press event where he announced his candidacy for the U.S. presidency at Trump Tower on June 16, 2015 in New York City. Trump is the 12th Republican who has announced running for the White House. (Photo by Christopher Gregory/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 16: Business mogul Donald Trump arrives at a press event where he announced his candidacy for the U.S. presidency at Trump Tower on June 16, 2015 in New York City. Trump is the 12th Republican who has announced running for the White House. (Photo by Christopher Gregory/Getty Images)
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump greets supporters at a campaign rally in Clive, Iowa, U.S., September 13, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump gestures to supporters as he departs a campaign rally in Clive, Iowa, U.S., September 13, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally, Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016, in Clive, Iowa. A war of words over Donald Trumpâs âdeplorablesâ is intensifying as Republicans and Democrats fight to score political points over Hillary Clintonâs charge that millions of the New York billionaireâs supporters are racist, sexist and homophobic. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
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Gates noted that both the Democratic and Republican presidential nominees have largely stuck to speaking in generalities about the complex issues that they would face after being sworn into office.

Those issues, Gates asserted, are numerous and fraught with potential trap doors. Among them, China's claims to the South China Sea, North Korea's nuclear ambitions, Russian President Vladimir Putin's authoritarian regime, Iran's aggression, and the long-playing unrest in the Middle East, which is compounded by ISIS-related terrorism and the Syrian civil war.

According to Gates, dealing with China in particular "requires a president with strategic acumen and vision, nuance, deft diplomatic and political skill." He suggested that such qualities are lost on a presidential candidate like Donald Trump.

Writing about the real-estate mogul's hawkish position on China, Gates said, "All we really know is Mr. Trump's intention to launch a trade war with a country holding over $1 trillion in U.S. debt."

He took a swipe at Hillary Clinton's opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership — a trade agreement she initially endorsed — "the failure of which would hand China an easy political and economic win," Gates wrote.

PHOTOS: Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail

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Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign
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Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 10: Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton holds a campaign rally at City Garage April 10, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. Voters will head to polling places for Maryland's presidential primary April 26. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton laughs as she listens to Representative Steve Israel (D-NY) speak on a gun control panel in Port Washington, New York April 11, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 09: Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton holds a Latino organizing event on April 9, 2016 while campaigning in the Brooklyn Borough of New York City. The New York Democratic primary is scheduled for April 19th. (Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)
SPRINGFIELD, MA - FEBRUARY 29: Democratic presidential candidate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during a 'Get Out The Vote' rally at the Lyman & Merrie Wood Museum of Springfield History on February 29, 2016 in Springfield, Massachusetts. Hillary Clinton is campaigning in Massachusetts and Virginia ahead of Super Tuesday. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks to supporters at the Old South Meeting Hall during a rally in Boston, Massachusetts on Monday February 29, 2016. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MARCH 01: Democratic presidential candidate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton greets patrons at Mapps Coffee on March 1, 2016 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Hillary Clinton is campaigning in Minnesota as Super Tuesday voting takes place in 12 states. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton greets supporters as she arrives at a rally at Abraham Lincoln High School in Des Moines, Iowa, Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at a rally at Abraham Lincoln High School in Des Moines, Iowa, Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, accompanied by her daughter Chelsea Clinton, reacts to applause as she arrives for a rally at Abraham Lincoln High School in Council Bluffs, Iowa, Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, left, hugs Annette Bebout, 73, of Newton, during a campaign event at Berg Middle School, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016 in Newton, Iowa. Bebout told her story of how she lost her home to the audience. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, accompanied by former President Bill Clinton, right, and their daughter Chelsea Clinton, left, arrives to speak at a rally at Washington High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at a rally at BR Miller Middle School in Marshalltown, Iowa, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton makes a point during the Brown & Black Forum, Monday, Jan. 11, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, right, and high school teacher David Swaney laugh about their colorful outfits before Swaney asks Clinton a question during a town hall at NewBo City Market in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Monday, Jan. 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton reacts to applause from the audience while standing with Brenda Bouchard, an Alzheimer's research advocate, during a town hall style campaign event, Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2015, at South Church in Portsmouth, N.H. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks about her counterterrorism strategy during a speech at the University of Minnesota Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton meets local residents at Apple Orchard Cafe Friday, Dec. 4, 2015, in Fort Dodge, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Hillary Rodham Clinton reacts as she talks to supporters after a Democratic presidential primary debate, Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton greets supporters before speaking at a campaign rally in Boulder, Colo., Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton smiles as she arrives to speak at a town hall meeting Sunday, Nov. 22, 2015, in Clinton, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks from a gymnasium side porch to people who weren't able to fit in to hear her speech at Fisk University Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton shakes hand with a supporter during a town hall meeting Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015, in Coralville, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks to customers at the White Mountain Cafe & Bookstore, Thursday, Oct. 29, 2015, in Gorham, N.H. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks during a meeting of the Alabama Democratic Conference in Hoover, Ala., Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015. Clinton tells black Alabama Democrats that she'd champion voting rights in the White House. She says Republicans are dismantling the progress of the civil rights movement. (AP Photo/Mark Almond)
MOUNT VERNON, IOWA - OCTOBER 7: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks to voters during an outdoor town hall meeting at Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa on Wednesday October 7, 2015. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton reacts to a supporter before speaking at a community forum, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015, in Davenport, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
MUSCATINE, IOWA - OCTOBER 6: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks to a voter before leaving a farm in Muscatine, Iowa on Tuesday October 6, 2015. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, NH - OCTOBER 05: Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton holds a town hall meeting at the Manchester Community College on October 5, 2015 in Manchester, New Hampshire. Clinton spoke about the need for gun control on the wake of a mass shooting at another community college in Oregon. (Photo by Alfredo Sosa/The Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton gestures as she speaks at Human Rights Campaign gathering in Washington, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015. ( AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
DAVIE, FL - OCTOBER 02: Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks about gun control during her campaign stop at the Broward College à Hugh Adams Central Campus on October 2, 2015 in Davie, Florida. Hillary Clinton continues to campaign for the nomination of the Democratic Party as their presidential candidate. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks at a grassroots organizing meeting at Philander Smith College Monday, Sept. 21, 2015, in Little Rock, Ark. (AP Photo/Gareth Patterson)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 19: Hillary Clinton attends the Phoenix Awards Dinner at the 45th Annual Legislative Black Caucus Foundation Conference at Walter E. Washington Convention Center on September 19, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Earl Gibson III/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, NH - SEPTEMBER 19: Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton claps on stage during the New Hampshire Democratic Party Convention at the Verizon Wireless Center on September 19, 2015 in Manchester, New Hampshire. Challenger for the democratic vote Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has been gaining ground on Clinton in Iowa and New Hampshire. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)
PORTLAND, ME - SEPTEMBER 18: Hillary Clinton brings her Democratic presidential campaign to Maine for the first time, speaking at King Middle School. Clinton is welcomed as she is introduced at the event. (Photo by Derek Davis/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
CEDAR RAPIDS, IA - SEPTEMBER 7: Democratic Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton takes time to meet supporters and take photos at the Annual Hawkeye Labor Council AFL-CIO Labor Day picnic on September 7, 2015 at Hawkeye Downs in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Clinton spent a busy Labor Day weekend in Iowa, meeting supporters throughout the state while trying to maintain a lead over Bernie Sanders for the Democratic nomination. (Photo by David Greedy/Getty Images)
US Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton takes part in a discussion after speaking about the Iran nuclear deal at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC, on September 9, 2015. Clinton expressed firm support for the nuclear accord with Iran, calling it flawed but still strong. Clinton added that the agreement must be strictly enforced and said that if elected president next year, she would not hesitate to use military force if Iran fails to live up to its word and tries to develop a bomb. AFP PHOTO/NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
PORTSMOUTH, NH - SEPTEMBER 5: Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen take an off the schedule stop in the River Run Bookstore before shaking hands with onlookers on September 5, 2015 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. (Photos by Charles Ommanney/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
PORTSMOUTH, NH - SEPTEMBER 5: Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton receives an endorsement from U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) September 5, 2015 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Clinton attended a Women for Hillary event at Portsmouth High School. (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)
PORTSMOUTH, NH - SEPTEMBER 5: Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton walks downtown Portsmouth and takes pictures with people September 5, 2015 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Clinton attended a Women for Hillary event at Portsmouth High School earlier in the day and received an endorsement from U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH). (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - AUGUST 18: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton answers questions from journalists after speaking to north Las Vegas voters at a town hall meeting in Las Vegas, on Tuesday, August 18, 2015. The former Secretary was answering questions about emails sent and received a private server system, now in question, while she was the Secretary of State. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - August 15: Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton greets fairgoers as she tours the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa, on Saturday, August 15, 2015. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton tours the Des Moines Area Rapid Transit Central Station with general manager Elizabeth Presutti, left, and building superintendent Keith Welch, Monday, July 27, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
CARROLL, IA - JULY 26: Democratic presidential hopeful and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks to guests gathered for a house party on July 26, 2015 in Carroll, Iowa. Although Clinton leads all other Democratic contenders, a recent poll had her trailing several of the Republican candidates in Iowa. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton greets supporters after a campaign event, Thursday, July 23, 2015 in Columbia, S.C. Clinton talked about what she said was a lack of educational and economic opportunities, and a criminal justice system that treats blacks more harshly than whites. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)
Chelsea Galinos, 21, left, who painted a picture of the democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton, right, greets Clinton after a campaign event in New York, Monday, July 13, 2015. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks during a campaign stop at the Iowa City Public Library, Tuesday, July 7, 2015, in Iowa City, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
FILE - In this June 20, 2015, file photo, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks at the U.S. Conference of Mayors 83rd Annual Meeting in San Francisco. Clinton’s presidential campaign jumped on the Supreme Court decision, changing its red campaign logo to a rainbow colored H, releasing a gauzy video of gay wedding ceremonies, and blasting out supportive tweets aimed at building its campaign list. But like President Barack Obama, such expressions of support mark a remarkable shift for Clinton, who opposed gay marriage for more than two decades as a first lady, a U.S. senator and a presidential candidate. (AP Photo/Mathew Sumner, File)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks to supporters during a rally, Sunday, June 14, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa. Seeking an army of volunteers, Clinton is trying to build an organizational edge in Iowa as some of her lesser-known Democratic rivals clamor for attention in the state that tripped up her first presidential campaign. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks to supporters during a rally, Sunday, June 14, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa. Clinton's campaign has signaled Iowa will be the centerpiece of its ground game. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Democratic presidential candidate former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton waves to supporters as her husband former President Bill Clinton, second from right, Chelsea Clinton, second from left, and her husband Marc Mezvinsky, join on stage Saturday, June 13, 2015, on Roosevelt Island in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Democratic presidential candidate, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks at the "Hillary For America" official campaign launch event at Four Freedoms Park, Roosevelt Island on Saturday, June 13, 2015, in New York. (Photo by Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
Supporters watch as democratic presidential candidate, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks Saturday, June 13, 2015, on Roosevelt Island in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Democratic presidential candidate, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks to supporters Saturday, June 13, 2015, on Roosevelt Island in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton delivers a speech at Texas Southern University in Houston, Thursday, June 4, 2015. Clinton is calling for an expansion of early voting and pushing back against Republican-led efforts to restrict voting access, laying down a marker on voting rights at the start of her presidential campaign. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
CHICAGO, IL - MAY 20: Democratic presidential hopeful and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives for a meeting with parents and child care workers at the Center for New Horizons on May 20, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. Clinton arrived in Chicago after campaigning Monday and Tuesday in Iowa. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton greets a local resident while visiting local shops on main street in Independence, Iowa, Tuesday, May 19, 2015. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
LAS VEGAS, NV - MAY 05: Democratic presidential candidate and former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (C) poses with students and faculty after speaking at Rancho High School on May 5, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Clinton said that any immigration reform would need to include a path to 'full and equal citizenship.' (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Hillary Rodham Clinton, a 2016 Democratic presidential contender, steps to the podium to speak at the David N. Dinkins Leadership and Public Policy Forum, Wednesday, April 29, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 23: Hillary Rodham Clinton (L) and actress Maggie Gyllenhaal attend the 2015 DVF Awards at United Nations on April 23, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Stewart/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 29: Democratic presidential hopeful and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during the David N. Dinkins Leadership and Public Policy Forum at Columbia University April 29, 2015 in New York City. Clinton addressed the unrest in Baltimore, called for police body cameras and a reform to sentencing. (Photo by Kevin Hagen/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton meets with employees at Whitney Brothers during a campaign stop, Monday, April 20, 2015, in Keene, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

Hillary Clinton announced her campaign for president on Sunday April, 12, 2015 with a video on YouTube. 

(Screenshot from YouTube)

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Gates saved his most searing rebukes for Trump, who has built the foreign-policy arm of his presidential campaign on bluster and innuendo — the likes of which have rattled US allies around the world.

While noting that both Clinton and Trump have credibility issues on foreign policy, Gates added that "Donald Trump is in a league of his own" in that regard.

Trump had some words for the former defense secretary in response: I never met [him]. He knows nothing about me. But look at the results under his guidance - a total disaster!"

Here's more from Gates on Trump:

"The world we confront is too perilous and too complex to have as president a man who believes he, and he alone, has all the answers and has no need to listen to anyone ... At least on national security, I believe Mr. Trump is beyond repair. He is stubbornly uninformed about the world and how to lead our country and government, and temperamentally unsuited to lead our men and women in uniform. He is unqualified and unfit to be commander-in-chief."

NOW WATCH: Watch Clinton's brutal attack ad showing veterans watching Trump's controversial statements

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