BRUSSELS (AP) — U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates says America's military alliance with Europe, which has been the cornerstone of U.S. security policy for six decades, faces a "dim, if not dismal" future.
In a blunt valedictory address Friday in Brussels, Gates questioned NATO's viability, saying its members' penny-pinching and lack of political will could hasten the end of U.S. support. NATO was formed in 1949 as a U.S.-led bulwark against Soviet aggression, but in the post-Cold War era it has struggled to find a purpose.
Gates says future U.S. political leaders whose worldview wasn't molded by the Cold War may not consider the return on America's investment in NATO worth the cost.
Gates spoke to a European think tank at the end of an 11-day overseas journey. He retires on June 30.
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