Thursday, 5 February 2009

European freeloaders prodded to honour commitments

"An alliance worth its name must be one that shares the burden of membership equally amongst its members, because there can be no freeloading when it comes to collective security." So said Defence Secretary John Hutton at a meeting of NATO ambassadors earlier in the week.
And he went on: "Volunteering, not waiting to be asked, must be the hallmark of a proper relationship between the transatlantic members of this alliance."

While the UK, Canada, the US, the Netherlands, Denmark and Estonia have their troops fighting in the frontline against the Taliban, the other European NATO allies are sitting on their hands in some cushy billet in Alsace-Lorraine or some such place.
It was NATO which collectively agreed to take the fight against terrorism to Al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan but it would seem it's one thing to put your hand up but quite another to put boots on the ground.

In his speech John Hutton also said it was time all NATO countries woke up to the fact that NATO is at war: "we don't need a peacetime mentality in NATO about Afghanistan because there is no peace in Afghanistan." Peacetime bureaucracy is stiffling progress and crippling decision-making.

Unless other NATO countries, (particularly France and Germany but also Italy, Spain, Poland, Greece.....,) "step up to the plate" there is a danger that not only will Al-Qeada and the Taliban win but also that the US will turn its back on Europe altogether; then there'll only be the EuroWehr to defend us.