Outgoing Defense Secretary Robert Gates has done a lot of good things over his tenure: he carved out a bureaucratic space for the small-wars crowd (Army, Marines, SOF) and he engineered the Navy-Air Force Full Employment Act (otherwise known as the AirSea Battle Concept) to keep the rest of the Building happy; he was tough enough on the budget but likewise hard enough to make sure he got more for the frontline troops. All in all, I can't fault him on anything major. He was just what we needed after Rumsfeld.
Now he does us the final favor of speaking the truth about our European allies and a relationship that has clearly run its historic course. I have been writing about needing to shift from West to East for almost a decade ("Forget Europe: How About These Allies?" 11 April 2004, WAPO; "The Chinese Are Our Friends," November 2005, Esquire), and for years my suggestion that our future strategic partnerships will be with India and China instead of the UK and the rest of NATO were greeted with wide-eyed shock by briefing audiences. But the global financial crisis opened a lot of eyes.
Read the entire post at Time's Battleland.