In his first major speech since he was appointed U.S. Defense Secretary, Robert Gates has called on Europe to devote more funds and commit more troops to Afghanistan. Speaking on the last day of the international security conference in Munich, he said a failure to increase spending would be a “mark of shame” for the richest countries in the world:
“An alliance consisting of the world’s most prosperous industrialized nations with more than two million people in uniform, not even counting the American military, should be able to generate the manpower and material needed to get the job done in Afghanistan. It’s a mission in which there is
virtually no dispute over its justness, necessity or
The forty-third annual conference in Munich has seen frank speeches from the world’s most powerful leaders, as well as informal talks on the sidelines.
Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the US of seeking to impose its will on the world, sparking fears of an arms race.
Robert Gates replied that Washington had no wish for another Cold War and instead sought partnership with Moscow.
Iran’s top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani was no- doubt an unwilling audience to many attacks on his country’s nuclear program.
He replied that it was aimed at generating electricity not bombs.