A Call to Arms

February 14, 2008

It was, at first blush, the same old depressing script. When U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates gave a major speech on the need for NATO members to step up their efforts in Afghanistan at the annual Munich Conference on Security Policy last week, a quick scan of the headlines would have made you think we were back where we were five (or, to be honest, 25) years ago. That is to say: an American policymaker comes to Europe and lectures the Allies on the need to recognize that it’s a dangerous world out there, that the comfortable folk on the eastern shores of the Atlantic can’t leave it to their cousins to the west (plus a few pals) to bring order to chaos, that they have to step up and help. To which Europeans reply that the trouble with Americans is that they shoot first and ask questions later, don’t hug enough old ladies on the streets of Kabul, yada yada yada … more