Thursday, February 07, 2008

Collective Inaction

(Secretary Gates jokes that A NATO divided against itself cannot stand)

Just to clarify on the previous post, Robert Gates has said neither "tonayto" or "tonato", though he is flirting with the phrase "Two-NATOs" (I win). He recently told the Senate Armed Services Committee that NATO risks becoming a “two-tier” alliance. "You have some allies willing to fight and die to protect peoples’ security" he stated, "and others who are not. It puts a cloud over the future of the alliance, if this is to endure and perhaps even get worse." He would add that some countries are "really over there on the line and fighting. But there are a number of others that are not.” before forcibly coughing the word "Merkel" and sheepishly grinning.

The comments were interpreted as a swipe at Germany who, according to the Economist, had been contemplating a politically risky increase in NATO operations. The odds of this are now unlikely due to the latest bit of harsh rhetoric from Mr. Gates, who insulted many allies by implying that European troops Southern Afghanistan pretty much suck when it comes counter-insurgency tactics. He did, however, refrain from calling anyone childish names.

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