….var det när USA:s försvarsminister Robert Gates idag höll sitt sista policytal inför NATO:s försvarsministrar.

Hela talet var en lång uppmaning till Europa att ta sig samman när det gäller ansvaret för sin egen säkerhet, för annars kommer de (vi) få göra det. Jag har tidigare skrivit om att USA:s andel gått från 50% till 75% av den totala summan som medlemmarna lägger på sina försvar.

Försvarsminister Gates tog bland annat operationen i Libyen som exempel på hur Europas brister kommer i ljuset:

”In particular, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assets are lacking that would allow more allies to be involved and make an impact.  The most advanced fighter aircraft are little use if allies do not have the means to identify, process, and strike targets as part of an integrated campaign.   To run the air campaign, the NATO air operations center in Italy required a major augmentation of targeting specialists, mainly from the U.S., to do the job – a “just in time” infusion of personnel that may not always be available in future contingencies. We have the spectacle of an air operations center designed to handle more than 300 sorties a day struggling to launch about 150.  Furthermore, 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.”

Mest beröm fick Norge och Danmark som enligt Gates får större genomslag än sin storlek tack vare att dessa länder har hittat sätt att spendera sina pengar effektivt. Kul för våra nordiska vänner.

Robert Gates rundade av med några varningens ord:

”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.  Nations apparently willing and eager for American taxpayers to assume the growing security burden left by reductions in European defense budgets. 

Indeed, if current trends in the decline of European defense capabilities are not halted and reversed,  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. ”

En av de vassaste amerikanska pennorna, Andrew Exum, avslutar sin betraktelse över Gates tal så här:

” If Germans complain with justification that their workers subsidize Greek hair-dressers taking early retirements, it’s perfectly fair for the United States to complain German workers enjoy comfy state benefits in part because U.S. tax-payers underwrite their national defense.”

Både försvarsminister Gates och Andrew Exum uttrycker vad många amerikaner känner. Europa är nu varnat. Vi får hoppas att Finansdepartementet har börjat ta grundkurser i strategi.

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