Thursday, September 14, 2006

Further cheery news on NATO

As EU Referendum happily reports, Poland has volunteered an extra 900 targets troops for Afghanistan. But not 'til February.

I thought I was gloomy but this is much worse:

"The Soviet campaign underlined the role of airlift for re-supply, the vital need for attack helicopters and all-weather, fixed wing ground attack aircraft and for high levels of mobility and firepower. These are precisely the assets which are most lacking in the current campaign.

Without this type of modern equipment necessary to fight a counterinsurgency, the fear is that the Polish forces may prove of little value and could instead be a liability, as indeed are the other forces – and especially the British – which simply do not have the equipment to do the job."


Icepick said...

So I've decided to read your archives to see if I'm wrong to denigrate Europeans. It's an admittedly small sample, but hopefully you can at least lead me in some sort of positive direction.

But this post and the post it's derived from makes me think that I'm not. The post in question assumes that key members of the EU are looking to undermine the NATO effort in Afghanistan in order to destroy that organization (NATO), set up a counterbalance to the USA (unstated in this piece but assumed), and ruin the effort in Afghanistan (by implication).

Even worse, it points out that for the most part the US allies are more a hinderance than a help. (I'm not sure I believe that the British lack the ability to be helpful. I don't know that they can be helpful in large enough numbers to matter, however.)

All this does is continue to reinforce my belief that the US should have taken on no allies in Afghanistan other than those absolutely necessary, which is to say only those who had an immediate stake in the outcome. That would leave Pakistan (if they didn't offer us fly-over and other rights, we would have blasted them to Hell per Armitage's and Powell's 'negotiations') and certain Central Asian republics formerly members of the USSR (they would have no stake in Afghanistan, but probably would have had interests in having the USA as a counter-weigth to Russian and Chinese influence). Perhaps India would have made a good ally as well, as destroying the Taliban would be bad for Pakistan, and India would appreciate that.

Allies are only good as long as their interests are aligned. The geo-political interests of the major European nations no longer align with ours. Therefore, those nations shouldn't be trusted in grave matters. So, I see no reason why I have to respect them. Should their interests and ours ever align again, then we'll be pals again, as insincere as ever. But in the meantime the EU and NATO are no more trustworthy than Russia or China. So why not " gratuitously insult the people of other nations?" It's not like I think they're on my side.

Canker said...

I respect your point of view while considering it severely wrong for several reasons.
1)Politeness costs nothing, especially when you're dealing with potential allies.
2)Britain is currently doing a large proportion of the work in Afghanistan, it's just it's doing it with inadequate kit. Cost to the USA:nil.
3)Nations aren't people. This is always the argument of the realpolitik brigade whom you're quoting.
It's a two-edged observation. No group of people acts like a single person. Single people aren't always consistent and groups are less so, up to a point. Beyond that point they behave very like people with loyalty and "irrationality" and all that stuff. The oh so realistic view of coldly calculating entirely self-interested nation states is therefore (in my opinion) just as weak an explanation in times of crisis as the "friends together" description can be.

In short, I think you're wrong and the attitude you espouse is one which will alienate potential friends and allies; moreover there do exist friendly nations and-in just the same wauy as people they won't do exactly what you want but they will give some weight to your collective interests.

The biggest criticism of American foreign policy has always been that it's black and white in its perception of other countries attitudes-I've lost count of the number of times I've read in American blogs the phrase `you're either with us or against us' when it was clearly inappropriate. Like it or not, I think your attitude reflects part of the problem.

Having said which, I don't think any of my comments are relevant in the context of the fight against Islamism. Here I think any country or person who doesn't realise that this is western civilization versus chaos and that we need to stick together as closely as possible is mad, bad or deeply deceived.