I’ll leave it to foreign policy wonks to explain the strategic rationale for having your outgoing Secretary of Defense deliver a very public rebuke to our NATO allies on the duties they owe to maintaining US hegemony. I’m sure it’s more complicated than a mere scarecrow could possibly imagine.
I’ll just limit myself to note how preposterous it is, never mind arrogant and cluelessly not-self-aware, for an American official to pretend that it’s Europe, and not US taxpayers and their elected Congress, who have steadfastly refused to pay the cost of US foreign adventures.
No doubt we will hear from those who remind Mr. Gates and his boss that it was the US President and his serial fabricators, including Tony Blair, who knowingly lied about WMD and misled the coalition of the duped, bribed and cynical to invade and occupy Iraq and literally remove its head of state. I guess our allies owe us big time for not talking us out of that disaster.
Two US Presidents similarly conned NATO and others into occupying and trying to pacify an ungovernable Afghanistan on the grounds that they need to help us fight those who dislike us in their countries over there so they only bomb European subways and not our own. The families of Canadian and European soldiers killed and maimed there must be wondering about that.
And why is Gates, the man who clearly warned it was folly to pretend a no-fly zone over Libya was an easy or sufficient strategy, sent forth to admonish skeptical NATO Allies that gave up their empires long before the French and British? (Greenwald has more on US motives.)
But what must rankle Gates’ targets more is the sheer hypocrisy of the Americans complaining about US taxpayers bearing the burdens of American hegemony while ignoring the fact that US taxpayers have done nothing of the kind. Both Bush and Obama Administrations have repeatedly demanded supplemental funding of our wars outside the normal budget process and have never once asked the American tax payers to pay more in taxes to support the wars.
Today’s Tea-GOP would rather default on our debts than raise a dime in taxes to support government, even these misadventures. So to whom is Gates credible?
Instead, we’ve been funding our wars via bonds sold to Wall Street and foreign investors, including the Chinese who find it a convenient way to deal with their large trade surpluses against the US. And Congress has been perfectly fine with this.
If the Congress and the Administration go to the country, explain what our war policies are and why taxpayers should pay for them, and then pass the tax increases to pay for them, then perhaps Gates might have a point. In the meantime, the expected NATO response will be, “stuff it, America.”