NATO: Mali Shows Europe Must Work to Plug Defense Gaps

Friday, 01 Feb 2013 04:07 AM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
BRUSSELS — France's need for U.S. help during the Mali operation shows Europe must do more to fill worrying gaps in its defenses, NATO's chief said on Thursday.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen also sounded the alarm about growing disparities between what the United States and Europe spend on defense and warned that NATO's military power and global influence could be put at risk if allies continue to slash their defense budgets — while emerging powers boost theirs.

France's intervention in Mali has illustrated his point by again exposing European military deficiencies that were laid bare during the 2011 Libya campaign when European states relied heavily on the United States for air-to-air refueling, intelligence and surveillance.

Rasmussen praised France for taking "swift and effective action" in Mali. Paris intervened militarily in Mali in early January to halt the advance of al-Qaida-affiliated militants who launched an offensive that threatened the Malian capital Bamako.

While NATO is not involved in Mali, some European members of the alliance as well as the United States and Canada have supported France with transport aircraft and other help.

"The operation also illustrates that European allies still need strong support from the United States in their endeavors to carry out such an operation," Rasmussen told a news conference.

"The Mali operation once again points to the need for increased European efforts to fill the gaps when it comes to essential military capabilities such as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance," he said.

The United States agreed to a French request to fly tankers to refuel French jet fighters and bombers attacking the militants. The United States is also sharing intelligence and helped to transport some French troops.

EUROPEAN LEAD

The United States, shifting its security focus increasingly to Asia, wants the Europeans to take the lead in military operations in its neighborhood, such as in Libya and Mali.

Releasing his annual report, Rasmussen voiced concern that defense cuts by Western states trying to rein in budget deficits because of the financial crisis risked weakening their security.

"Of course, governments must reduce deficits and borrowing," he said. "You can't be safe if you're broke. But . . . we have to invest to keep our societies safe. Because security threats won't go away while we focus on fixing our economies."

Rasmussen warned that defense spending among the NATO allies is increasingly uneven, not just between North America and Europe, but also among European allies.

This could lead to a growing capability gap that could limit the allies' ability to work together and risk weakening political support for NATO in the United States. At the same time, emerging powers were spending more on defense.

"The rise of emerging powers could create a growing gap between their capacity to act and exert influence on the international stage and our ability to do so," Rasmussen wrote in the annual report.

He did not name any countries but China boosted military spending by 11 percent last year, continuing a near-unbroken string of double-digit rises across two decades.

Rasmussen also warned that too deep defense cuts could worsen the West's economic crisis by weakening defense industries that are key drivers of innovation, jobs and exports.

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Retype Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Israel Claims West Bank Land for Settlement

Sunday, 31 Aug 2014 22:35 PM

Israel announced on Sunday a land appropriation in the occupied West Bank that an anti-settlement group termed the bigge . . .

US: Israel's West Bank Land Grab 'Counterproductive' to Peace

Sunday, 31 Aug 2014 17:38 PM

The United States sees Israel's announcement on Sunday of a land appropriation for possible settlement construction in t . . .

Britain May Temporarily Bar UK Islamist Fighters from Returning

Sunday, 31 Aug 2014 17:37 PM

Britain could temporarily ban British Islamists who go to fight for militants in Iraq and Syria from returning home, the . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved