Former NATO Supreme Commander General Sir Richard Shirreff said the West must wake itself up and re-arm if it wants any real chance of stopping “Russian adventurism.”
He said the West is making a mistake by talking big but not backing it up. He also believes the West shows its weakness in instances such as UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s admission that Britain has no plans to commit troops to counter Islamic State (IS) advances.
According to BBC News, General Shirreff pointed to a “dismantling of military capability” and said European nations need to reach “in their pockets and spend more money on defense” to reverse this trend.
I’ve no doubt it’s an unpopular message, but it’s a message that our political leadership need to take home and listen to and act on if they’re serious about ensuring that NATO has the means to defend itself in the future.
Concerning IS, General Shirreff said the West needs to start with a mindset that “[rules] out nothing.” He said the other approach – the one PM Cameron took when he ruled out “combat boots or boots on the ground” – is tantamount to telling IS, “We don’t want to fight.”
General Shirreff said that approach “gives… [IS] 15 or 30 points up at the beginning of the match.”
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.