Outgoing defence Secretary Gates told a group of diplomats, military officers, and former alliance officials that NATO is facing “collective military irrelevance’ unless member nations increase their spending.According to the L.A. Times, Gates pointed out that less than half of NATO’s 28 members were participating in the military operations in Libya and fewer than a third are considering airstrikes against ground targets.
Gates said Libya has “laid bare” NATO’s shortcomings, pointing out many members fail to participate in actions not because they don’t want to, but because they can’t.
“The military capabilities simply aren’t there,” he said. “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.”
He also mentioned that the Libya campaign is in Europe’s neighbourhood and vital to its interests; he then criticised Germany and Poland for for refusing to participate in the Libya campaign.
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