I haven’t always agreed with Defense Scty Gates, but I sure do agree with his warning shots to the world as he prepares to step down. NATO is, unfortunately, a farce. They were unable, with a week notice, to find enough aircraft to enforce the Lybia no-fly zone. Then they ran out of munitions for those aircraft.
It really annoys me when I hear the ops in Afghanistan referred to as a NATO op or see the NATO arm patches worn by our soldiers and Marines. It’s simply a political farce and all it gives us is a very thin shell of political protection so our spineless politicians can say that it isn’t just us, it’s NATO. We supply 95% of the troops, almost all of the heavy lift transport and combt aircraft. What do our other NATO allies do? A tiny contingent of Brits and Aussies are the only one who ever fight. And counties like Japan that send some military who sit in garrison and never come out to do anything at all but brag that they’re supporting the ops there.
Gates warned our NATO allies that they face a “dim, if not dismal future” if they don’t begin to beef up their defense capabilities and really contribute to military ops like in Lybia and Afghanistan. Most of our allies are so used to the US military umbrella that their militaries are scarcely capable of more than ceremonial duties. Yeah, they all have some special ops folks, but these nations can’t even defend themselves. Will the Europeans respond to this challenge? I don’t think so; welfare states have mighty little money left over after paying people not to work. Stay tuned.