U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter thinks America's Arab allies have their heads in the clouds. He makes a good point: The monarchies of the Persian Gulf are going to have to get grounded if they hope to effectively counter Iran, Islamic State and other threats in the region.
"If you look at where the Iranians are able to wield influence, they are in the game, on the ground," Carter told the Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg. "There is a sense that some of the Gulf states are up there at 30,000 feet."
Carter continued: "The reason they lack influence, and feel they lack influence in circumstances like Iraq and Syria, with [Islamic State], is that they have weighted having high-end air- force fighter jets and so forth over the hard business of training and disciplining ground forces and special-operations forces."
The numbers bear out Carter's case. Defense spending among the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council has risen by 71 percent since 2010, and overwhelmingly this spending has gone into building state-of-the-art air forces.