Monday, November 10, 2008

Take a Powder – multilateralists

Ahhhh, the glories of change. Doesn’t everyone know that the world doesn’t hate, envy, and despise the USA as a nation – or the USA as an idea – but only George Bush? Why, if it wasn’t for Bushitler – the world would be so much more accommodating to the USA. They would see that we are a force for good in the world. It is only Bush that is stopping the international community from doing more from Darfur to Afghanistan. Once we atone for our collective sins and elect The One – why all that anti-Americanism and lack of support will just drift away like the bad dream that the last eight years have been. You know its true.

Multilateralists; Take a Powder.

There are some things that are put out there in an election that are so ungrounded in reality of the world as it is, that you almost think that they aren’t worth commenting on because they are so cluelessly presented.

Well dear readers, I have failed you. What I failed you on was the statements by Obama supporters and policy makers (some who should have known better) that the reason no one is contributing more troops to Afghanistan all has to do with the Bush Administration and the poisoned relationship they created. In their one-dimensional world – that is what they were putting out there.

Of course, that is just foolish – but I didn’t call them on it. However, other nations policy makers were seeing that trial balloon and are not taking any chances – at least when it comes to putting more troops into AFG. No, before Obama takes office they want to make it very clear that who is in the White House has no impact on their policy.

First, Canada.
President-elect Barack Obama's pledge to boost U.S. military operations in Afghanistan "will not change Canada's position" on a troop pullout in 2011, Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon said Sunday.

Cannon said Canada will start to withdraw soldiers from the war-torn country on schedule, as promised by Prime Minister Stephen Harper during the federal election.
Then Australia.
"Both Kevin Rudd and Barack Obama have said that Afghanistan is the ‘right war’ rather than Iraq, so there’s a lot to work with there," says Garrett.

But with continuing rumblings of discontent -- particularly from the U.S. and Australia -- over perceptions that some of the 41 nations contributing to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to Afghanistan are not accepting their share of the burden, Garrett expects Obama to request more from Australia.

He argues that with the U.S. military "running on empty" -- as well as the public’s likely opposition to an increased involvement in Afghanistan -- and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) members Germany, France and the Netherlands not likely to boost troop numbers, a request to Rudd could well be made in 2009.

But in what is a potential sticking-point between the U.S. and Australia -- the largest non-NATO contributor to Afghanistan with around 1,100 troops in the country -- Rudd dismissed, last week, suggestions that Australia’s commitment will grow.

"We have got no plans to increase [troops] in the future," he said.
Then Germany where they loved him so much - RTL Television's survey found,
A majority of Germans are opposed to a greater commitment of the Federal Republic of Germany in Afghanistan...four out of five Germans rejected a relevant request voiced by US president-elect Barack Obama.
...but they marched for him!

Now Britain.
Mr Obama has spoken of his desire to see a surge in troop numbers in Afghanistan, similar to that which appears to have had success against extremists in Iraq, to finally quell the Taliban insurgency.

But Sir Jock said that British troops were already struggling to cope with fighting in the two theatres of Iraq and Afghanistan, and could not take on more demands.

His words were echoed by David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, who agreed that other Nato countries should take responsibility for any fresh surge in Afghanistan.

Both men also ruled out sending British troops to the Congo to bolster the United Nations force in central Africa.
Sir Jock said that they should not be redeployed to Afghanistan once their mission in Iraq ended, adding: "I am a little nervous when people use the word 'surge' as if this were some sort of panacea.

"We welcome more military force being sent to Afghanistan. Everybody needs to do their share, we are very clear on that.

"In the context of what we are doing in Iraq and Afghanistan, we are shouldering a burden which is more than we are able to shoulder in the long term, so we expect the others to take up their share of that burden."
BTW, you have to admit that only the Brits can get away with having a GOFO with the name "Jock Stirrup."

One of the great ungrounded pie-in-the-sky half-truths of the elections should be seen clear as day for what it was – misty-eyed hope. Hope is not a plan – but it is what people rested their vote on.

With all these penguins already off the ice shelf - expect more to follow, if they haven't already. I have a feeling that hope is going to have a rough few years. At least in national security issues – regardless who is in the White House; America more often than not is The Little Red Hen.

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