Then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates traveled to Brussels in June, where he warned European allies of the “dwindling … patience in the U.S. Congress” with NATO and declared that if allies did not get serious about meeting their NATO responsibilities they could soon find that American leaders “may not consider the return on America’s investment in NATO worth the cost.” It has been just a few weeks since Gates spoke those words, and already his predictions are beginning to come true. This week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) called off a Senate vote on legislation authorizing the U.S. mission in Libya for fear he did not have the support to pass it. The House recently rejected similar legislation authorizing the mission by an overwhelming vote of 295-123 – an unprecedented vote of no-confidence in NATO. And recently, our friend Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, spoke for many when he wrote in the Washington Post that “Europe no longer matters” and asked: “If NATO didn’t exist today, would anyone feel compelled to create it?”


Cohen, William S, Nicholas Burns, and George Robertson. "NATO on the Brink." The Hill, July 11, 2011.