Thursday, 25 August 2011

Libya: No reason for too much NATO celebration in Europe

James Joyner, managing editor of the Atlantic Council notes that there there is not very much to celebrate for the European members of NATO after the recent events in Libya:

The fighting in Libya demonstrated just how hollow most European militaries are. Despite President Obama's continued assurance that the U.S. role would last "days, not weeks" and that the European allies would take the lead, the fact of the matter was that they simply lacked the resources to do so. Yes, Europeans eventually flew the bulk of the "strike sorties" in Unified Protector. But the Americans provided virtually all of the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; suppression of enemy air defenses; and aerial refueling missions.
Reeling from ten years of fighting in Afghanistan, most NATO forces are spent. Libya hastened the decay, using up resources to such an extent that several allies were literally out of ammunition and fuel and had to beg others for resupply. And, with austerity a way of life for the foreseeable future, few are prioritizing necessary replenishment, much less retooling for future fights.

Read the entire article here

Joyner is, of course, right. And, regrettably, there are no signs that the key European NATO member countries intend to strengthen their defense capabilities in the near future. So, in spite of the modest success in Libya, the future of NATO does not look very good.

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