Defence: Nato’s troubled terrain –

Posted on June 28, 2011


Mr Gates’s tenure as defence secretary has seen many of the Rumsfeld-era wounds healed, thanks in no small part to Mr Gates himself. But as he prepares to leave office on Thursday, that rapprochement is being tested over the skies of Libya, raising new questions over whether Mr Gates’s tenure set Nato on a new, firmer path – or was merely a respite in the post-cold war unravelling of history’s most enduring alliance. Mr Gates’s address in Munich was a conscious attempt to stanch the bleeding, specially renouncing Mr Rumsfeld’s famous “old” Europe versus “new” formulation and acknowledging American prestige had been harmed by its treatment of terror suspects at Guantánamo Bay and mistakes made in the wars that followed the September 11 2001 attacks. “When you’re the world’s sole remaining superpower, even if you’re in economic trouble, you don’t have to be tough,” says Mr Gates, in an interview with the Financial Times on his last official trip to Europe. “The truth is, approaching people with some modesty and some humility and a willingness to listen – everybody knows