They are parasites feeding on the US and it’s time to stop.
Outgoing Defense Secretary Robert Gates met with NATO representatives and gave this blunt speech.
Jun 10, 5:30 AM (ET)
By ROBERT BURNS
BRUSSELS (AP) – America’s military alliance with Europe – the cornerstone of U.S. security policy for six decades – faces a “dim, if not dismal” future, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Friday in a blunt valedictory address.
In his final policy speech as Pentagon chief, Gates questioned the viability of NATO, saying its members’ penny-pinching and lack of political will could hasten the end of U.S. support. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was formed in 1949 as a U.S.-led bulwark against Soviet aggression, but in the post-Cold War era it has struggled to find a purpose.
“Future U.S. political leaders – those for whom the Cold War was not the formative experience that it was for me – may not consider the return on America’s investment in NATO worth the cost,” he told a European think tank on the final day of an 11-day overseas journey.
Gates has made no secret of his frustration with NATO bureaucracy and the huge restrictions many European governments placed on their military participation in the Afghanistan war. He ruffled NATO feathers early in his tenure with a direct challenge to contribute more front-line troops that yielded few contributions.
(AP) ADDS IDENTITY OF PERSON RECEIVING THE SIGNED MAGAZINE U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates hands…
Even so, Gates’ assessment Friday that NATO is falling down on its obligations and foisting too much of the hard work on the U.S. was unusually harsh and unvarnished. He said both of NATO’s main military operations now – Afghanistan and Libya – point up weaknesses and failures within the alliance.
“The blunt reality is that there will be dwindling appetite and patience in the U.S. Congress – and in the American body politic writ large – to expend increasingly precious funds on behalf of nations that are apparently unwilling to devote the necessary resources or make the necessary changes to be serious and capable partners in their own defense,” he said.
Without naming names, he blasted allies who are “willing and eager for American taxpayers to assume the growing security burden left by reductions in European defense budgets.”
The U.S. has tens of thousands of troops based in Europe, not to stand guard against invasion but to train with European forces and promote what for decades has been lacking: the ability of the Europeans to go to war alongside the U.S. in a coherent way.
The war in Afghanistan, which is being conducted under NATO auspices, is a prime example of U.S. frustration at European inability to provide the required resources.
“Despite more than 2 million troops in uniform, not counting the U.S. military, NATO has struggled, at times desperately, to sustain a deployment of 25,000 to 45,000 troops, not just in boots on the ground, but in crucial support assets such as helicopters, transport aircraft, maintenance, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and much more,” Gates said.
For many Americans, NATO is a vague concept tied to a bygone era, a time when the world feared a Soviet land invasion of Europe that could have escalated to nuclear war. But with the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991, NATO’s reason for being came into question. It has remained intact – and even expanded from 16 members at the conclusion of the Cold War to 28 today.
But reluctance of some European nations to expand defense budgets and take on direct combat has created what amounts to a two-tier alliance: the U.S. military at one level and the rest of NATO on a lower, almost irrelevant plane.
Gates said this could spell the demise of NATO.
“What I’ve sketched out is the real possibility for a dim, if not dismal future for the trans-Atlantic alliance,” he said. “Such a future is possible, but not inevitable. The good news is that the members of NATO – individually and collectively – have it well within their means to halt and reverse these trends and instead produce a very different future.”
Gates has said he believes NATO will endure despite its flaws and failings. But his remarks Friday point to a degree of American impatience with traditional and newer European allies that in coming years could lead to a reordering of U.S. defense priorities in favor of Asia and the Pacific, where the rise of China is becoming a predominant concern.
To illustrate his concerns about Europe’s lack of appetite for defense, Gates noted the difficulty NATO has encountered in carrying out an air campaign in Libya.
“The mightiest military alliance in history is only 11 weeks into an operation against a poorly armed regime in a sparsely populated country, yet many allies are beginning to run short of munitions, requiring the U.S., once more, to make up the difference,” he said.
His comment reflected U.S. frustration with the allies’ limited defense budgets.
“To avoid the very real possibility of collective military irrelevance, member nations must examine new approaches to boosting combat capabilities,” he said. (Follow the links to read the entire article.)
I am a child of the cold war. We had “duck and cover” drills when I was in grade school. I had just started high school when the Cuban Missile Crisis occurred and watched neighbors digging fallout shelters “just in case.” The draft was a cultural imperative. Everyone served in one form or another in the Armed Services. Anyone who didn’t was a coward and subject to ridicule.
The US and NATO caused the fall of the Soviet Empire by the strength of our resolve, our economies, and our alliance. Now twenty years after the fall of the USSR, the European Marxists are creating through the European Union what the USSR could not create through force of arms.
The US invoked NATO’s mutual defense agreements after 9/11. It’s a good thing we really didn’t need them.
The mission of NATO has been completed. Now, it must be revised to provide a more balanced participation or be dissolved. Frankly, if it weren’t for our need of forward bases to protect the US from the new generation of enemies, I’d say let Europe dissolve in the anarchy of their own creation.
Perhaps that will still happen. Perhaps it is time to create new alliances to replace NATO. I note that Japan is continuing to build up their Self Defense Force. South Korea and Taiwan, for all the negative rhetoric, still has a large and modern militaries. Perhaps it is time to look west against the growing menace of China instead of east to the former USSR.
I note that Vietnam is now seeking US support against China’s aggressive moves in the South China Sea oil fields—fields also claimed by the Philippines
NATO is not valid except to the extent that the US foots the bill.
SO – We need to allow the Europeans to defend themselves and act in our own self-interests (as best defined by our military leaders).
I feel we should pull out of NATO and the UN; let all those socialist Europeans take care of their own defense for a change.
LL beat me to it, and this administration would 'love' to dismantle ALL of our mutual support treaties…