Friday, 1 February 2008

Friendly fire ......... or lack of it

All NATO countries signed up to fight the Taliban and bring stability and security to Afghanistan. But only the US, Canada, the UK, Holland, Denmark, Sweden and Estonia are pulling their weight. The US Defense Secretary has warned that unless the other NATO countries start playing their part, the situation in Afghanistan will deteriorate to such an extent that stable government will no longer be sustainable. There is a growing tendency towards isolationism in the US and this duplicity on the part of certain European countries will only serve to encourage these feelings.
The Canadians, who have borne a disproportionate load of the fighting and the losses, have threatened that unless other NATO allies put in more resources, they will pull out.
There is a danger here that North America might give up on Europe altogether and who can blame them?
Of course no one cares that the French aren't there. But what are the Germans doing? Sitting safely in the quiet north of the country playing games, keeping office hours, eating cakes, and steering clear of anything that has the slightest whiff of danger about it. R├╝cksprung durch Kuchenkraft, as they say. The Germans, who promised to train the Afghan police force, provide logistic support, rebuild the Afghan infrastructure and whose Bundeswehr is getting somewhere near to being a proficient force, have categorically refused to help their friends.
What this betrayal by Germany and, OK then, France highlights is that when it comes to actually doing anything militarily that requires a bit of guts and determination, our European "allies", the Dutch, Danes, Swedes and Estonians aside, cannot be relied upon. And yet what's even more worrying is that Hash Brown and his mates are allowing Britain to slide into full-scale membership of the European Defence Agency. The EDA seeks to unify EU armed forces into one Euro-Army under the command, God-forbid, of a French general. Of course the French want a Euro-Army because it will enable them to hide their own military weakness in a European comfort blanket. The Germans probably favour it because of their history. But what's in it for Britain? How can we possibly be considering handing over command of our Armed Forces to a load of pathetic European dilettantes who renegade on their promises when the going gets tough? These European allies, by their failure to commit their own troops, are putting the lives of the soldiers who are actually doing the fighting at a yet far greater risk.
With friends like these, who needs enemies?