European leaders are expected to resist American pressure today to join in the Pentagon's military "surge" in Afghanistan, disappointing Barack Obama. The US president has made the campaign against the Taliban and al-Qaida the centrepiece of his new foreign policy.
A Nato summit opening in France and Germany will also struggle to commit civilian resources to match the increased US military deployments, may fail to agree on a new alliance secretary general despite months of negotiation, and is also split over policy towards a resurgent Russia. . .
With the campaign in Afghanistan repeatedly said to be Nato's biggest challenge and a test of whether the alliance will survive in the long term, the new White House appears frustrated with European reluctance. "What we expect and want is for people to look at themselves and make commitments on what they will do," said a senior US official.
But a senior German politician said public opinion in his country no longer shared the view that Germany's security was being protected "in the Hindu Kush".
"For internal political reasons, we're not in a position to produce massive new troops," said a senior European Union official. "And the scale of a civilian surge needed to match the US military surge is not there yet either."
British officials denied UK press reports that London could agree to send 2,000 more troops, raising the British contingent in Afghanistan to 10,000. "What the UK brings to the table is the civil side, the development side, not the military side," said a senior official. "There are no plans, there have been no requests," said another diplomat.
Resigned to a half-hearted response from the Europeans on Afghanistan, the Americans have already scaled back demands in order to avoid being snubbed publicly and will instead focus on manpower to train the Afghan police and to enhance security in the run-up to elections in Afghanistan in August.
"We feared this would be the first acrimonious disappointment with the Obama administration," said the EU official, "but they became realistic and asked instead what can we deliver."
Sunday, April 05, 2009
"Oceania was Always at War with Eurasia" of the Day
I thought this wasn't gonna happen once George Bush wasn't in charge: