Defense Secretary Gates Attacks NATO’s Pacifism

Thursday, February 25, 2010
(graphic: Ban T-Shirts)

U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is not a fan of peace, love and understanding when it comes to America’s NATO allies. Coming only days after one European country announced its plans to pull troops out of Afghanistan, Gates complained about “the pacification of Europe” and how this trend might encourage dangerous forces to act aggressively toward the West.

Furthermore, Europe’s unwillingness to pay its share of security costs is making it difficult for the U.S. and its allies “to operate and fight together.” Gates said only five out of 28 NATO partners are meeting the goal of spending 2% of their gross domestic product on defense. The U.S. spends 4%.
“The demilitarization of Europe, where large swaths of the general public and political class are averse to military force and the risks that go with it, has gone from a blessing in the 20th century to an impediment to achieving real security and lasting peace in the 21st,” Gates told NATO leaders in Washington.
His remarks came after the government of the Netherlands collapsed over the issue of Afghanistan. Dutch leaders now plan to withdraw most of their 1,600 combat troops from the war by the end of the year, and the U.S. is worried more European nations may follow.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Gates Calls European Mood a Danger to Peace (by Brian Knowlton, New York Times)


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