Commentary Magazine


Contentions

Old Europe vs. New Europe once again

On Friday, outgoing U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates issued a stern rebuke to NATO as European countries fail to live up to defense commitments and pull their weight in the partnership. His remarks came against the backdrop of NATO states ending their commitment to the multilateral mission in Libya, either forcing the United States to pick up the pieces or to let Libyan dictator Muammar Qadhafi reconsolidate control.

In the early years of the Iraq conflict, Gates’ predecessor Donald Rumsfeld was pilloried by diplomats and the press for differentiating between Old Europe (America’s traditional allies in Western Europe) and New Europe, those states freed from the Iron Curtain which did not take principles like liberty and freedom for granted.

Alas, it seems  Gates would do well to be a bit less polite. I spent several days last week in Brasov, Romania, headquarters of the 2nd Romanian Mountain Brigade, who hosted the Romanian Land Forces Seminar on Afghanistan. The Romanians are about to send more troops into Afghanistan’s troubled Zabul province. This is no symbolic mission to simply put a few boots on the ground: While contingents like the Germans and Italians bend over backwards to do as little substantive as possible, and even then do it poorly, the Romanians are pulling more than their weight. The Romanian officers were smart, enthusiastic and serious. Not only are the Romanians assisting the United States in Afghanistan, but they are positioning themselves to play an increasing integral role in NATO. While countries like Turkey pull away from the West and with myriad restrictions making military cooperation with the Turks increasingly onerous, Romania is expanding its basing and welcoming a larger American presence.

Gates is right to lament Old Europe’s lackluster commitment to defense, but he should not hesitate to praise Poland, Romania and the Czech Republic. Together, they show what friendship and alliance should really mean.



Join the discussion…

Are you a subscriber? Log in to comment »

Not a subscriber? Join the discussion today, subscribe to Commentary »





Pin It on Pinterest

Shares
Share This

Share This

Share this post with your friends!

Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
YOU HAVE READ 8 OF 8
FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
for full access to
CommentaryMagazine.com
INCLUDES FULL ACCESS TO:
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
CommentaryMagazine.com.
LOG IN WITH YOUR
COMMENTARY MAGAZINE ID
Don't have a CommentaryMagazine.com log in?
CREATE A COMMENTARY
LOG IN ID
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.