Sunday, February 10, 2008

NATO and Afghanistan

Robert Gates recently criticized NATO for welshing on their commitments to Afghanistan.

"I am not ready to let NATO off the hook in Afghanistan at this point," Gates told the House Armed Services Committee. Ticking off a list of vital requirements -- about 3,500 more military trainers, 20 helicopters, and three infantry battalions -- Gates voiced "frustration" at "our allies not being able to step up to the plate."

That set of a storm of outrage in European capitals. In an article soon to be available to non-subscribers of the Wall Street Journal Gates repeats the accusation unabashedly, but in less strident tones.

In his speech, Mr. Gates praised NATO allies for their contributions in Afghanistan ... but he said pointedly that more effort is needed and the alliance must find a way to win the fight against a resurgent Taliban.

"In NATO, some allies ought not have the luxury of opting only for stability and civilian operations, forcing other allies to bear a disproportionate share of the fighting and the dying," Mr. Gates said. He named no individual countries, but U.S. officials have been pressing Germany to do more.

NATO, through its International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF, is in charge of the military mission in Afghanistan, although the top commander is an American, Army Gen. Daniel McNeill, and the U.S. is the biggest provider of troops. Of the 42,000 total ISAF troops, about 14,000 are American. The U.S. has another 13,000 separately hunting terrorists and training Afghan forces.

The code word Gates used is the warning that NATO would become a 'two-tier alliance', that is to say one consisting of Free Riders piggybacking on those who are willing to do the Lifting.

"We must not -- we cannot -- become a two-tiered alliance of those willing to fight and those who are not," Mr. Gates told the Munich Conference on Security Policy, where Afghanistan was a central topic. "Such a development, with all its implications for collective security, would effectively destroy the alliance." ... A central theme of Mr. Gates's speech was his assertion that al Qaeda extremists, either in Afghanistan or elsewhere, pose a greater threat to Europe than many Europeans realize.

The only way to discourage Free Riding is to ensure only those who contribute can capture the benefits. In the context of NATO the only way that could be accomplished would be to limit intelligence distribution, for example, to the Lifters. The Free Riders would find their access expired. But this would effectively split the alliance. Moreover it would create vulnerable spots in Europe -- which is objectively a strategic theater -- which an enemy could attack.

But if the current situation continues, some form of Pay-As-You-Go security scheme in NATO may have to be implemented.


Blogger RWE said...

One report said that Secty Gates attributed the NATO failure to "anger in Europe over the U.S. invasion of Iraq."

Given that the majority of European countries not only supported our invasion of Iraq but sent troops there - and given that the leaders who most strongly opposed Operation Iraqi Freedom were turned out and replaced by virtual polar opposites - well, how "angry" can they have a right to be?

I think what the SECDEF means is that the leaders of Europe are more afraid of their moonbats than we are of ours. And that may well, by itself, make NATO irrelevant.

2/10/2008 04:23:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

I thought we cut France off from intelligence sharing when they were caught giving NATO secrets to the Serbs in Kosovo.

It seems to me that if Europe wants to give in to their Muslims and institute Sharia law and all that implies, there really isn't a lot America and its real allies can do about it. Therefore, allowing those same countries to cower under the umbrella of NATO (and American) military protection so that "enemies" won't take advantage of them is not strategic at all, but the merest of wishful thinking.

Be interesting to watch Germany react to being between the pincers of Muslim hysteria and Putin's newfound desire for a second Cold War. Of course, he probably only wants to invade Estonia, but really, don't you think the Russians really really want East BErlin/Germany back to solidify the position in the upper hierarchies again.

And this time, NO Berlin airlift. Let them eat camel.

2/10/2008 04:24:00 PM  
Blogger Cannoneer No. 4 said...

Why are American troops in Afghanistan?

Official reason: to conduct full spectrum operations throughout its [CJTF-82's]operations area to defeat the enemy extremist movement, establish an enduring security and reshape its posture for the “Long War” in order to set conditions for long-term stability in Afghanistan.

Real reason: Mission creep, continued failure to acquire the head of Osama bin Laden, Jacksonian refusal to accept the fate of the Macedonians, Persians, Mongols, Mughals, British and Soviets, Wilsonian refusal to rub out the Pashtuns.

Why are NATO troops in Afghanistan?

Official reason: Helping to bring security, stability and foster
development in Afghanistan

Real reason: The UN couldn't keep ISAF running, so since most of the ISAF troops were from NATO countries, NATO got roped into it. Each country has their own purpose to serve in Afghanistan.

Some want the American money, training, and equipment.
Some want to field a team in the Special Forces Olympics.
Some want to do the bare minimum to stay off the American shit list.
Some take sincere pride in punching above their weight and showing the Americans how it's done.
Some want to play in the Great Game.
Some sincerely want to do their part as American allies to win the Long War.

2/10/2008 05:38:00 PM  
Blogger Papa Ray said...

I know a way to get them to stand up to the line.

Take our apx 250,000 troops out of Germany.

Close all U.S. Bases and then see what they say?

The transit population that travels through Germany is not included in the above number. It is in the thousands each month and all of those in transit want to buy something from Germany to take back to their families or friends.

Hit them where they understand and do it now.

No compromise this time.

Papa Ray

2/10/2008 05:44:00 PM  
Blogger Kinuachdrach said...

Papa Ray is right about pulling out of Germany. And it will shortly become US policy, even if in an unintended fashion.

The smart money is on Obama as the next president -- the same Obama who is going around saying that we need to get out now, and mocking McCain for talking about being there for the next 50 years.

But we have already had US forces in Germany for 60 years since "mission accomplished" there. It is only a matter of time until someone asks Obama the obvious follow up question on TV, and Obama gives the answer that his own logic dictates. Once US forces are back in the homeland, NATO is effectively a dead letter.

Euro-lefties have been calling for US withdrawal from everywhere for a long time. They don't have much longer to wait. As the old saying goes -- Be careful what you wish for, you may get it.

2/10/2008 06:08:00 PM  
Blogger El Baboso said...

Oh, there's all sorts of things that we can hose the Euros with if they don't play step up. We can freeze foreign military sales. We can stop all of those fun officer exchanges. Technology transfers, no mas. Reduce our presence off Somalia and the Malacca Straights and let them deal with Tariq and the Pirates. Stop providing logistics support for everything from Kosovo to the Sinai. You'd be shocked, shocked I tell you if you knew what percentage of the heavy lift the US provides/ed in places like East Timor and Sierra Leone. Make the rat bastids buy their own C-17s and aerial refulers. I could go on. Afghanistan ain't the only place they are free riding!

2/10/2008 06:14:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Obambi is not going to be the next President. Selling defeat is not easy. Selling defeat to Osama even harder. We will stay in Iraq, particularly since it's nearly "won." At far greater cost than promised. But Americans are hungry for a win which is why McCain is the Rep nominee.

Obambi has the support of young people without families. Families and homeowners are far more conservative and want to avoid risk. Particularly a run of defeats that's sure to occur with Pres. Obambi. And young people mostly don't vote -- victories are won on families.

NATO is effectively dead anyway. None of the other NATO powers spend anything close to what the US spends GDP wise -- they can't afford it with their huge social payoffs to avoid riots given their stagnant economies. Aka the European Welfare state.

2/10/2008 09:14:00 PM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Whiskey_199 said...

"Obambi is not going to be the next President. Selling defeat is not easy. Selling defeat to Osama even harder."

I wish I had your confidence. Supposably it was impossible for Pelosi to become Speaker of the House. Besides, haven't you heard? The MSM has proclaimed Obama as the moonbat messiah. Our chickens (or moonbats) are coming home to roost.

Not having Obama or Hillary as President is going to be very tricky. McCain will have to select his vice President very carefully and run a flawless campaign. The Republicans will have to not be stupid and line up behind McCain rather than stay at home. The economy will have to hold together for just a little bit longer. Finally Obama and Hillary will have to engage in full scale fratricide, splitting and demoralizing the Democrat political base. There are too many things that can go wrong. The United States is in serious trouble.

2/11/2008 08:27:00 AM  
Blogger Cannoneer No. 4 said...

Abdul Hakim Jan — Cop, Alokozai Arbakai, Militia Chief

2/17/2008 12:02:00 PM  

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