Few cover NATO better than The Economist. Skippy linked to one of their graphs last week, but there is more to consider. It and another are in this post - I think they speak for themselves and flow quite well with SECDEF Gates's comments a couple of weeks ago.
Some more things to ponder.
ONCE they lobbied hard to join NATO. After Russia’s war with Georgia, they begged for coherent plans to defend them. But now the alliance’s eastern members are finding it hard to keep defence spending anywhere near 2% of GDP, the official NATO target they agreed to meet. ... But others are at 1% or even less, or are unrepentantly heading in that direction.
Slovakia’s prime minister, says bluntly that defence is “not a priority”.
America's ... defence spending, which, at nearly $700 billion, is bigger than that of the next 17 countries combined.
They end up with a phrase right off the front porch.
... why should outsiders bother to protect countries that won’t take their own defence seriously?Exactly.
If you didn't catch last Sunday's Midrats, you need to. Some very good stuff on NATO's future and more. You'll find my thoughts and context there.