The Corner

NATO’s Betrayal

The magnitude of NATO’s failure in Afghanistan is emerging.  In retrospect, it’s clear that yesterday’s posts about Norway were preliminary indications of the unraveling scandal.  Yes, this failure of the NATO alliance is nothing short of scandalous.  American and British troops are stretched to the limit, while the Taliban surges.  Behind the scenes, it turns out that our supposed allies in NATO have been shirking their troop obligations in Afghanistan for well over a year. The developing problems in Afghanistan have much to do with this failure.  The Telegraph rightly asks, “Has NATO Betrayed Britain on Afghanistan?” In the Independent: “Blair: We need help to stop Afghan failure.”  In “Nato nations refuse to commit more troops,” the Telegraph details the minuscule numbers involved.

This is not a matter of military incapacity.  It is a deliberate refusal of our so-called allies to fight.  Supposedly, Europe was with us on Afghanistan.  Who but the most radical leftists and pacifists opposed that action?  Yet our NATO allies are plainly unwilling to involve themselves in a fight that they themselves said was justified and necessary.  If Afghanistan collapses, it will prove that Europe has entirely lost the will to fight.

Sadly, this is more along the lines of Spain’s capitulation to terrorist blackmail.  The same Spanish government that pulled out of Iraq is now among those now refusing to fight in Afghanistan.  Fear of internal terrorism by Muslim immigrants likely has much to do with the reluctance of the other Europeans to fight.  More broadly, this shows that the West as a whole lacks the troops needed for the war on terror.  The failure of will and capacity here is obvious to our enemies, who can only be spectacularly encouraged.

Again, this is Afghanistan, where we’ve been happily multilateral, not Iraq.  If NATO cannot fight here, what good is it?  Given a chance to help us, in circumstances where we are in agreement, our European allies have simply failed.  Can the Europeans seriously hope to bargain Iran into giving up its nuclear weapons when it can’t collectively scrounge up 2,500 troops, all of whom were supposed to have been committed more than a year ago?  Bin Laden is laughing.  Ahmadinajad is doubled over.  And NATO is just plain over.

Here is John Kerry’s response: an utterly unconvincing attempt to blame the United States for the problem (says Kerry, we should goad the Europeans by sending more troops ourselves).  And here’s Captain Ed on the issue.

Stanley Kurtz is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

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