Since the Cold War’s end, the combined GDP of NATO’s European members has grown 55 percent, yet their defense spending has declined almost 20 percent. Twenty years ago, those nations provided 33 percent of the alliance’s defense spending; today, they provide 21 percent.
This is why Robert Gates, before resigning as US defense secretary, warned that unless Europe’s disarmament is reversed, future US leaders “may not consider the return on America’s investment in NATO worth the cost.” Born to counter the Soviet army on the plains of Northern Europe, NATO may be expiring in North Africa.
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