That’s the argument Ben Friedman and I made in our “Think Again” piece for Foreign Policy magazine. Our point there was that someone reading newspapers and watching television would think that Secretary Gates was some sort of transformational figure who took hold of a boneheaded grand strategy, two failing wars, and one broken bureaucracy and made them into successes. We argued that this description, which one finds almost everywhere one finds the secretary’s name, is wrong.
“If the Department of Defense can’t figure out a way to defend the United States on a budget of more than half a trillion dollars a year, then our problems are much bigger than anything that can be cured by buying a few more ships and planes.”
- Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Speech to Economic Club of Chicago, July 16, 2009
Two weeks ago in Defense News, I argued that America’s alliances are growing increasingly detached from American security interests. With reference to Defense Secretary Bob Gates’ visit to the newly-minted government in Japan, I wrote that
On Wednesday, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta issued a warning to NATO allies that reducing military spending on both sides of the Atlantic will risk “hollowing out” the alliance’s capabilities. Panetta implied that Europeans cannot continue to rely on the United States for their security.
Better late than never.
The House of Representatives today debated two different resolutions purportedly aimed at forcing the Obama administration to comply with its statutory and constitutional obligations to secure formal authorization for the ongoing military campaign in Libya.
I don’t know what the right word is here, but there is something remarkable about the fact that the United States is currently borrowing money from China to buy precision-guided munitions to give to the Europeans to drop on Libya, isn’t there?