Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates about NATO: “a dim if not dismal future”

Ottawa, Canada
The Warsaw Pact was created in 1955 as a reaction to NATO (created 1949) remilitarizing West German and extending it NATO membership by way of the Paris Pact of 1954.
NATO has basically been a modern Delian League. NATO rapidly became a cover story for an Imperial Power and its relationship with its vassal states. That relationship evolved as the overwhelming economic and military clout of the USA ebbed. Europe was no longer a bombed out ruin and the threat of Soviet expansion began to recede as soon as Stalin died - except of course in the self serving analysis of the military industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned his fellow citizens about.
At the present time it is reasonable to characterize the US economy as a plutocratic guns and butter (less and less butter) economy - built on debt - uncomfortably wearing democratic clothes inherited from previous generations that seem to fit less and less every day.
What's the score card like ?
Leader in public education start of 20th century - also ran start of 21st century
Spends as much on military, spies, etc. ..., as the rest of the world combined
Only rich western country without universal medical insurance for its population
Incarcerates more people than any other country in the world and runs as brutal a penal and police system as any in the world
On the brink of a sovereign stealth default through inflating its way out of its domestic debts and devaluing its way out of its foreign debts.

Paris, France
And thar she blows, matey, the last gasps of a cold war dinosaur hoisted on his own petard. The US has spent itself into "bankruptcy" and now will sink into isolationism for the next couple of decades, at least, following only a couple of decades later than that other "Evil" empire, and for the same reasons.

What imperious need called for a Bradley fighting machine, a second engine on the F35, and countless more boondoggles if not the patriotic imperative to boost the quarterly results and balance sheets of the military industrial complex, all the while walking American tax payer off the proverbial plank?

It's no wonder the Tea Party appears to lead political debate in the US, as government only means robbing the middle class to give benefits to everyone else. Instead of social welfare keeping the marginal from falling off the edge of society, the desperate choose between pointing a gun at their fellow citizens for a fistful of dollars, or signing up and doing the same to foreign devil for a paycheck.

And this anachronistic cold warrior would have others follow the US lead down the path to oblivion? The pendulum is in full swing back the other way Mr Gates, and you are on the wrong side of history alas, witnessing perhaps all the values you appear to stand for be swept away. Can you seriously look back at your contributions, the hundreds of thousands (maybe more?) victims of US foreign adventures over the past decades, and rejoice?

None of this is cause for schadenfreude on the part of Europeans nor any other human being on the planet aspiring to a better, freer life. Because along with the sickening perversions of American ideals represented by the follies of Iraq, and to a lesser extent, Afghanistan, were efforts that only the US is (was) capable of : Kosovo. Now Libya. Make no mistake history will repeat itself and the US will retire from the world. The question is will it then take another Pearl Harbour to awaken it?

Take a good, hard look at yourself Mr Gates, and reflect on your values and the priorities of the US as a society. Is it health care, education, pensions for its citizens... or endless wars which impoverish the vast majority of your fellow citizens, while making them less secure, only for the benefit of a select few?

I'll even give you a hint at where to start, though I know full well neither you Mr Gates, nor your fellow citizens, is ready to hear it:

Gasoline at $8/gallon.

1. No more budget deficit (what???!!!)
2. No more foreign adventures to secure oil, support despotic regimes (or even democratic ones which enslave others)
3. ...which means reasonable defence spending (the US can remain world leader by leaps and bounds with a $500 billion defense budget)

You'll import less oil, because you'll be using less, no more soccer moms driving 2+ ton monster automobiles to carry 150lbs of passenger. A myriad other conservation and adjustments will make you stronger, not weaker, for having weened off oil. And before you know it you'll have kicked the habit.

It's called demand and supply, the invisible hand, Adam Smith, remember that? Or does market ideology only count when it lines the pockets of banksters? Guess what, Mr Gates. It's not impossible. The Europeans do it, and do very well from it.

Honesty. Integrity. Balance. Introspection. Clearly these are no longer skills Americans master today. But are they even American ideals anymore? 

Oh, I get it. The USA wants to lay the blame for losing all these wars on NATO. How convenient.

The USA won't be happy until it can tax every country in the world to support its War Machine and war profiteers, which are propping up the US economy from complete collapse. Since it can't tax the world (yet), it will settle for shaming or coercing NATO to cough up more money. That's just what Empires do. Before they fall.

Kenan Porobic
Charlotte, NC
Instead of criticizing our European partners, we would be better served if we analyzed our own shortcomings.

We cannot want freedom and democracy more than the locals in Iraq and Afghanistan. They got far more aid, training, money, weaponry and expertise than the Taliban ever got. Having the NATO fight the Taliban is a diminishing role for the NATO because such a conflict lowers its prestige to a level of a rag tag militia. Doing it for a decade makes even less sense.

Taliban never attacked anybody outside Afghanistan. If the Taliban failed to eradicate the Al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan before the 9/11, the NATO failed to accomplish the same goal in post-9/11 era with far more superior weaponry, mobility, tactical expertise, intelligence-collecting capabilities, resources and everything else. The Taliban fought the occupying Russian force in Afghanistan long before the Al Qaeda was created so connecting their resistance to the terrorism doesn’t make any rational sense.

However, let’s imagine for the sake of discussion that the Taliban are a danger to the world peace. If that were the case, why should the US taxpayers pay for the wars? Shouldn’t the Chinese and the Indians living in their very vicinity be far more concerned than the Americans isolated from the trouble by three oceans? What amount of the money would the Pentagon demand for the military spending if we were bordering Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Vietnam, North Korea, Mongolia, Burma, Laos, Kirgizstan, Bhutan and Nepal like China does?
Is there any problem in the world that the US government wouldn’t try to put on the tab of the US taxpayers?

Similarly, we cannot want the NATO more than our European partners. If the Europeans are cutting down the contributions to the NATO, Washington DC should do the same to keep the same percentage and ratio between us. If the Europeans don’t need NATO, we need it even less than they do, just look at the geopolitical map of the world. 

"NATO" is waging many wars of aggression. Read the definition below and stop publishing nonsense.

A war of aggression, sometimes also war of conquest, is a military conflict waged without the justification of self-defense usually for territorial gain and subjugation. The phrase is distinctly modern and diametrically opposed to the prior legal international standard of "might makes right", under the medieval and pre-historic beliefs of right of conquest. Since the Korean War of the early 1950s, waging such a war of aggression is a crime under the customary international law.

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