According to outgoing US defense secretary Robert Gates, the US is getting tired of carrying the load for its European allies. Gates, in a moment of abject hilarity, said the US has a "dwindling appetite" to serve as everyone's heavyweight partner in the military order that has existed between America and Europe since WWII.
A dwindling appetite? Really? The planet's sole warfare state has lost its taste for warfare? And, besides, this was never much of a partnership anyway. Something more of a master-servant relationship in which the master sounded the call to war and the servants either dutifully showed up or were given a damned good spanking for refusing.
If Afghanistan was a partnership deal, why did the lead partner take the afternoon off to cavort in some pub in Iraq? And, when it comes to Iraq, why did the lead partner suck the week and foolish in with a pack of shrewdly crafted lies and turn on those who saw through them?
America has some very self-serving notions about its place in the world. It has established itself in a most imperial fashion. In this world order, America's allies aren't its partners but something much more like its sometimes reluctant Foreign Legion. Every nation that is signing on to buy the F-35 knows that.
The F-35 is a bomb truck. It's not a fighter or at least not much of a fighter. The F-22 Raptor turns twice as fast as the F-35 and, in air combat, that means the F-35 is not a standalone aircraft. In a stealth operation, the 35 will be entirely dependent on other air assets that many of the purchasers don't actually have. It will require stealth fighter escort - the United States Air Force F-22. It will require long-range tanker and airborne command aircraft. Think of the F-35 as an aerial spear carrier, utterly expendable in service to its lord, the guy with the armour sitting astride the war horse.
As for America's appetite, you'll know that's in trouble the moment Washington pushes itself away from the military/industrial/commercial warfighting complex banquet table. Wait for it but, please, don't hold your breath.