Speaking today in his final policy speech, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates blasted NATO, predicting a “dim if not dismal” future if the other member nations didn’t become dramatically more hawkish and commit more money and troops to its assorted conflicts.
The comments come after a public lashing earlier this week by Gates for a number of specific member nations, including Poland and Germany, for their lack of involvement in the illegal war against Libya. He also demanded that Spain, Turkey and the Netherlands start launching strikes on ground targets in the nation.
The comments reflect a growing strain in relations among the member nations, and increasingly a philosophical split as nations face budget deficits and look to limit them with military spending cuts.
This is likely an entirely foreign concept to Gates, whose Pentagon can reliably count on a new budget every year that dwarfs any other in the history of mankind, and still sees some success in railing at the notion of slower growth in its budget going forward as a grave threat to national security.
Gates warned if the other nations didn’t follow America’s lead in contributing more weapons, money and personnel to the alliance’s assorted wars, which by and large are simply America’s assorted wars, they risked “irrelevance.” For many of the nations, this irrelevance will seem not jsut the preferable choice, but the only choice.