After President Obama announced his revised Afghan strategy in December, including the deployment of 30,000 more U.S. troops, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said allies had pledged about 7,000 "fresh forces." He also raised expectations that further commitments would be announced soon.Wait for it.
NATO has not provided a precise breakdown of where its promised 7,000 new troops will come from. But it appears that only about 4,000 of those forces were not previously announced or deployed.I won't even go into a description of the caveat problem this time either.
For instance, U.S. State Department officials have acknowledged that NATO is counting 1,500 troops sent to Afghanistan last year to provide security for the August presidential election; they will remain in the country, instead of returning home as originally planned.
Similarly, U.S. and NATO officials have touted the forthcoming deployment of 900 soldiers from Georgia, which is not a member of NATO, even though the government in Tbilisi had committed to the mission well before Obama announced his revised Afghan strategy.
NATO is also excluding the planned withdrawal of some forces from Afghanistan this year, including the entire Dutch contingent of about 2,000 soldiers, scheduled to leave in December.
Uncle Sam is taking back the keys - and has been for the last 24 months - but NATO still wants to play "I have a flag outside the HQ" then so be it.
Remember, besides a handful of nations, most are only doing enough to have a flag outside ISAF HQ - but not enough so that if all falls apart, they can simply blame the USA.
We can win this too if we have the patience and will .... but have no illusions, 85% of the military effort from nations outside AFG will be Uncle Sam doing the dying. Accept it, and we should continue to decouple from Europe.
A few Joint/Combined logistics centers, training areas, staff jobs ... but that is it. Everyone else, home. Europe has become a military spoiled child. I have tired of being their nanny.