Asked if he could see a scenario where the U.S. Marines headed to that area could stay beyond seven months to help the Canadians and others, Gates responded: "No."
"This is a one-time plus-up, this 3,200 Marines that we're sending over there," Gates said. "But I have started a dialogue with my NATO colleagues about falling in behind the Marines when the Marines come out, for others to go in and take on some of the responsibilities that they have – that they will have carried out."
Gates said he hopes that at upcoming high-level meetings, including the summit of NATO leaders in Bucharest in April, NATO allies will have "a more positive reaction and provide the kind of additional support that ... the (Manley) report has called for."
The Americans are trying to pressure other NATO countries to commit troops into the volatile south. Heading into the critical summit in April, does anyone really expect Gates to commit prior to negotiations? Taking Gates at face value here is naive. Do we expect the Americans to say- hey NATO, don't worry about those troops we asked for, we've got it? Do we believe unnamed sources or do we buy Gate's public face? In my mind, given the stakes, the posturing, the negotiations, anything less from Gates at this point is irresponsible. I think my friend Raphael needs to consider one word- leverage.