Outgoing of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is feeling free to speak his mind now that his government post will shortly expire. In a speech delivered in Brussels last Friday, Gates said that N.A.T.O.’s bombing campaign over Libya demonstrates how the military alliance has eroded. “America’s European allies, Mr. Gates said, are ‘apparently willing and eager for American taxpayers to assume the growing security burden left by reductions in European defense budgets.'” While all members approved the Libyan action, less than half are participating.
What’s the Big Idea?
What is the future of N.A.T.O. without the United States? Do not expect the U.S. to withdraw from the alliance tomorrow, but do expect less generosity. “Mr. Gates blasted the alliance for failing to develop intelligence and reconnaissance assets, forcing N.A.T.O. to rely on American capabilities to develop targeting lists. ‘The most advanced fighter aircraft are little use if allies do not have the means to identify, process and strike targets as part of an integrated campaign,’ Mr. Gates said. … ‘Decisions and choices are going to be made more on what is in the best interest of the United States going forward.'”