The at-the-moment lesson from Secretary of Defense Roberts Gates’ smackdown of NATO is that international cooperation doesn’t really work unless the partners are equally vested and yoked.
Norway, for example, who has been a major bomb-dropper in the NATO-led kinetic military operation against Libya, will be calling it a day (so to speak) in two months, well before the UN’s authorization to strike Libya expires. Why? Perhaps because they’re tired of doing much of the heavy lifting in the operation or maybe because they see little to be gained in the Libyan operation.
The larger lesson is little different and it shows that vacuous diplomatic boilerplate and goals like ‘increase international cooperation’ or ‘engage the international community’ doesn’t really mean very much.
Important tip to discern what’s really important: watch what gets funded.