Monday, June 13, 2011

Gates on NATO

You've probably heard about the speech last Friday by outgoing Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in which he warned the Allies that they were contributing so little that the future of NATO was endangered.

That's all true, but as Joe has pointed out to me, that's not the worst of it. No, the worst of it is that the contortions underlying the decision to intervene in Libya have caused NATO to engage in widespread lying about its intentions and its actions.

The United States, of course, has contributed significantly to this problem. For example, I defy you to tell me just what U.S. goals are in Libya: regime change? protecting civilians? advancing democracy? supporting Islamists? And, by the way, since when is NATO something separate from the United States, as it appears to be in President Obama's mind?

I have felt for years that NATO could not survive the sharp drop in European military capabilities after the end of the Cold War. Now, with the pressure of the Libyan operation added to that of the one in Afghanistan, we may be approaching a point of no return. And we're doing so in the worst possible way: we've let ourselves be sucked into an operation that is not in our national interest, only to discover that our Allies want us to do their heavy lifting.

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