Gates complained that the current state of Nato is unacceptable, with some nations—namely the United States—producing security and others consuming it. He was scathing about what the Libya mission had revealed about European defence capabilities, ‘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.”’
Britain’s defence cuts also came in for particular comment. With Gates noting that ‘even military stalwarts like the [United Kingdom] have been forced to ratchet back with major cuts to force structure.”
Europe would be well advised to heed Gates’ warning. The US defense budget will not survive the coming fiscal crunch in the States. In these circumstances, Washington will not be prepared to pick up so much of the tab for transatlantic security for much longer.