February 06, 2008

More Troops to Afghanistan?

Call Abu Muqawama crazy, but here's what he sees as the biggest problem facing U.S. diplomats and public officials when they ask Europeans nations to contribute more troops to Afghanistan: why should they send more troops to Afghanistan when U.S. officials are telling American citizens, similarly concerned about the U.S. mission there, that Afghanistan is an "economy of force" mission -- and must remain so -- while the main effort takes place in Iraq? It's not as if Europeans don't read U.S. newspapers and don't know what our own politicians are telling us. They know Afghanistan is not the #1 priority for this president right now.

Abu Muqawama knows this isn't the way it's supposed to be. NATO countries should be prepared to pick up the slack in a coalition fight if one nation's military is overstretched. But this is the reality, and until the U.S. is willing to make Afghanistan its #1 foreign priority, we shouldn't expect others to contribute more troops. Does that make sense to everyone or is it something else?

(Abu Muqawama has no excuse for why the Germans will not get their hands dirty in the south, though. That must send Moltke the Elder twirling in his grave.)