Top British defense officials listened politely in London last week while a U.S. Navy task force argued the merits of a missile-firing surface fleet manned by mixed NATO crews. The Britons' real feelings toward the multilateral force (MLF) were best expressed in a sardonic limerick that made the rounds of Whitehall:
Hooray for the Multimixed Force,
German, British and Yankee, of course!
Each produces a knight,
And the plan is to fight-Ordeter-with all three on one horse.
Behind U.S. efforts to sell MLF was the ill-concealed fact that military Washington does not really believe in it either. Privately the Pentagon considers it at best...