Politics, Foreign Policy, Current Events and Occasional Outbursts Lacking Couth

Friday, February 01, 2008

NATO is Wobbling

The reticence of some NATO members to shoulder a more active role in Afghanistan is painting a bleak picture for any glimmer of victory. Via War is Boring:

"Afghanistan risks sliding into a failed state and becoming the “forgotten war” because of deteriorating international support and a growing violent insurgency, according to an independent study:”

The assessment, co-chaired by retired Marine Corps Gen. James Jones and former U.N. Ambassador Thomas Pickering, serves as a warning to the Bush administration at a time military and congressional officials are debating how best to juggle stretched warfighting resources.

This at a time when Canada — one of the ass-kickingest members of the Afghanistan coalition — is threatening to pull out its troops if other NATO members don’t pony up more soldiers, choppers and cash. Such a move by Canada could undermine NATO’s relevance in a post-Soviet world, some say. The U.S. is promising a few thousand extra Marines, but as The Netherlands proved this summer, a battalion-sized commitment and a handful of deaths are all that many NATO nations will tolerate.

And Germany? Don’t get me started on Germany …

A snippet of the article linked regarding Canada's drawing a line in the sand:

Canadian forces will remain in Afghanistan beyond February 2009 only if another NATO nation sends an additional 1,000 combat troops to Kandahar province -- where the troops are based, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Monday.

Most of the 2,500 Canadian troops in the country are in Kandahar as part of a NATO-led mission to stabilize Afghanistan. Their presence has sparked controversy in Canada, with some political parties calling for the troops to come home.

On Monday, the Canadian prime minister endorsed the recommendations of a panel he appointed to examine Canada's future in Afghanistan. The panel suggested that Canadian troops stay in Afghanistan only if another NATO nation dispatches an additional 1,000 troops to southern Afghanistan.

"If NATO can't come through with that help, then I think, quite frankly, NATO's own reputation and future will be in grave jeopardy," Harper said.

An honest question could be: Is NATO, as defined, already irrelevant?


Adrian said...

NATO irrelevant?

Why is the North Atlantic Treaty Organization fighting a counterinsurgency in central Asia?

I think NATO needs to expand to stay relevant - bring in the Aussies and New Zealanders, and make it a global force.

Jay@Soob said...

I'll second your expansion and suggest that NATO evolve to a more appropriate treaty. The Cold War, as we knew it, is over. I'd add Japan, Israel and maybe South Korea as well. What would we call this new treaty?

Adrian said...

Perhaps we would call it "Global NATO"?

Jay@Soob said...

Heh. Daalder and Goldgier's article is understandably optimistic. Maybe GTO? Nah, that's a bit too Pontiac. GISN (Global Initiative for Sustainable Nations?) Maybe an open thread?