Wednesday, September 13, 2006

NATO letting us down once again..

From the always outstanding Captain at NATO's Secretary-General has publicly scolded member nations for reneging on their commitments to supporting the mission in Afghanistan, apparently despairing of getting the promised level of troops. The rebuke comes as a demonstration of a consistent refusal of Europe to fight the war on terror, even against the Taliban of Afghanistan, which most Europeans concede was a necessary step after 9/11: THE political head of Nato appealed yesterday for alliance members to provide hundreds more troops for the mission in southern Afghanistan. With most of the fighting burden falling on the shoulders of the British, US, Canadian and Dutch troops in the South, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, the Secretary-General of Nato, said that some countries had failed to live up to their promises on troop numbers.In an interview with the Today programme on BBC Radio 4, he said that he could not accept a scenario in which Nato members would fail to supply the necessary troops. Alliance foreign ministers will meet in New York next week to discuss the crisis. Mr de Hoop Scheffer said: “I am calling for alliance solidarity because some nations are carrying more of the burden than others.” He was speaking out after The Times revealed that many Nato members had made it clear they had no intention of sending more troops. General James Jones, the American Supreme Allied Commander Europe, has asked for another 2,500 soldiers for southern Afghanistan.Britain can hardly do more. The UK has over 5,000 troops in Afghanistan already and many more than that in southern Iraq. The Italians now have troops in both countries as well as Lebanon. Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and Turkey have shrugged their shoulders, and now NATO wants the Poles to fill the gap that the rest of the alliance has ignored. Perhaps people might recall the insistence of Europe and many here in America on engaging Afghanistan and Iraq through international alliances. We tried in both cases, and we had a lot more support from our allies with Afghanistan, as it had created much less controversy than the war against Saddam Hussein. Our relief by NATO was supposed to show America the benefits of "true" international coalitions in dealing with the complex problems of Southwest Asia. However, once again, we see that the global community lacks the fortitude to make good on their promises and meet the challenge of their own demands. The same nations that scolded us over our supposedly unilateral approach now refuse to answer the phone when NATO calls on them to meet their pledges of troop support. The French do not belong to NATO, but the rest of Europe will blithely sit and watch Afghanistan's new democratically-elected government fall victim to a resurgent Taliban rather than lift a finger to help. Even Germany, with 2700 troops stationed in the quiet north, refuses to redeploy to assist the US, UK, and Canada in the more volatile southern region.As with Lebanon, we hear a lot of posturing from Europe on how to conduct war and demands to implement their peace strategies. When it comes time to put themselves on the line for their strategies and goals, they increasingly go AWOL.

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