Saturday, April 14, 2012

Post-American World (Not)

. Saturday, April 14, 2012

Remember all that talk about how the Libya intervention -- sanctioned by the U.N. and carried out by NATO -- was emblematic of the dissipation of U.S. hegemony and the capability of other actors to pick up the slack? "Lead from behind" and all that? I pushed back against that talk at the time (here's one example and here are others), and it now appears that NATO's on my side:
Despite widespread praise in Western capitals for NATO’s leadership of the air campaign in Libya, a confidential NATO assessment paints a sobering portrait of the alliance’s ability to carry out such campaigns without significant support from the United States. 
The report concluded that the allies struggled to share crucial target information, lacked specialized planners and analysts, and overly relied on the United States for reconnaissance and refueling aircraft.

The findings undercut the idea that the intervention was a model operation and that NATO could effectively carry out a more complicated campaign in Syria without relying disproportionately on the United States military. ... 
The report also spotlights an important issue for the alliance that dates to the Balkan wars of the 1990s: that the United States has emerged “by default” as the NATO specialist in providing precision-guided munitions — which made up virtually all of the 7,700 bombs and missiles dropped or fired on Libya — and a vast majority of specialized aircraft that conduct aerial intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions, or I.S.R. in military parlance.

“NATO remains overly reliant on a single ally to provide I.S.R. collection capabilities that are essential to the commander,” the report said.
Etc.

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