Written by Dani Reshef
April 5, 2008
by Dani Reshef
Europe, closer to Russia and heavily dependent on Russian energy, has an interest to cooperate with Russia rather then to confront Russia. Therefore USA request to join Ukraine and Georgia to NATO was denied despite American pressure. In return Russia agreed to allow NATO supplies for Afghanistan to cross Russian territory which eases the complicated logistic of NATO-ISAF in such a remote region as Afghanistan.
NATO confirmed to open negotiation with Croatia and Albania, both on the Adriatic coast, about their conjunction to NATO.
European NATO allies back U.S. controversial plans for a missile defense shield in Poland and the Czech Republic which is in a bitter dispute with Russia, but the negotiation will be delayed to the next administration in USA and Russia as well.
The Second issue was the commitment of NATO in Afghanistan. There are about 45,000 NATO -ISAF troops in Afghanistan, Half of them American and British units, giving the Afghanistan territory, 625,000 km - much more then Iraq, and the sectarian divided population of about 28 millions, also more then in Iraq, the numbers of NATO troops are ridiculous. In addition, most of them operate under very strict rules of engagement, issued by their governments, which practically prevent them from taking part in aggressive military operations. The real fighting is carried out mainly by UK and USA troops. (SEE – AFGHANISTAN FAILURE)
A study of a USA diplomatic and military team, led by former UN ambassador Thomas Pickering and retired Marine Corps General James Jones was published, on 01/30/2008, and has concluded that Afghanistan risks turning into a ‘failed state’ and becoming a forgotten war. It is obvious that without drastic measures such as a substantial reinforcement of NATO-ISAF the war in Afghanistan is about to be in vain.
Europe, from its point of view, sees Iraq as nightmare, as a swamp which swallows everything where success is short lived. Europe is determent not to turn Afghanistan to Iraq and not to be eroded to an Iraq-like situation. Europe prefers to conduct the war on terror in a more defensive and law profile strategy then sending large number of troops to occupied remote countries.
Canada already threatened to pull out its troops from Afghanistan up to 2011 if Europe will not increase, substantially, its commitment to NATO-ISAF in Afghanistan. French President Nicolas Sarkozy had last week said more French troops would be deployed to Afghanistan, easing fears of a crisis within the Western coalition there.
Assuming that each of the main NATO countries Germany, French, Italy and Spain will reinforce their troops in Afghanistan in, for instance, 2,000 soldiers in edition to few thousands more of American troops and the general number of NATO-ISAF soldiers in Afghanistan will reach up to 60,000, it will be still far from enough to cope with the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan. I edition there was no clear commitment to change the European very strict rules of engagement which limits combat operations in Afghanistan.
NATO Summit ended with political balanced decisions not to confront Russia and not to provoke a new cold war. To reinforce in some degree NATO forces in Afghanistan, in order to please the USA ally, but not to drown in the Afghanistan swamp.