Freeloading On The Back Of U.S. Military Security

If we’re honest… we know that sometimes, on both sides of the Atlantic, we have drifted apart and forgotten our shared destiny.

So said then-candidate Obama in Berlin this past summer. The crowds in Europe adored Obama as much as the crowds in the United States. That right there should have been enough for any discriminating individual to vote for McCain.

But the past is the past, and now we have Afghanistan Appeal May Temper European Allies’ Ardor for Obama in today’s Washington Post, which begins

MUNICH, Feb. 5 — European leaders cheered when Barack Obama was elected president in November. They cheered again when he proclaimed during his inaugural address that America was “ready to lead once more” in the world, and yet again when he pledged to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

But when Obama sends his vice president and other top emissaries to an international security conference here this weekend to seek help with the war in Afghanistan, NATO allies are unlikely to be as enthusiastic, European defense officials and analysts said in interviews.

The Obama administration is expected to announce plans to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan, where the United States and its allies fear they are losing ground in the war against the Taliban. Although European leaders say they are eager to curry favor with the new U.S. president, they are proving just as reluctant to contribute more soldiers or money to the NATO-led operation as they were during President George W. Bush’s last years in the White House.

French Defense Minister Hervé Morin said last month that “there is no question, for now, of considering extra reinforcements” from Paris. Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said his country would start drawing down its 1,770 troops in Afghanistan next year. German officials have also ruled out sending more soldiers beyond a parliamentary decision last year to expand the force to 4,500.

I’ll be sure to send my thanks to France, Holland, and Germany. I mean, we are talking about Afghanistan here, right? This isn’t Iraq. The fantasy continues

Some European defense officials, however, have warned that a perceived lack of support for the Afghan mission will damage the political credibility of NATO members who otherwise want to be taken more seriously in Washington.

Who are these bed wetting European defense officials? What makes them think the US merely “perceived” lack of support? What credibility? If they want to be “taken more seriously”, they should stand up and deliver.

“If Europeans expect that the United States will close Guantanamo, sign up to climate-change treaties, accept European Union leadership on key issues — but provide nothing more in return, for example in Afghanistan, than encouragement — they should think again,” NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said in a Jan. 26 speech in Brussels, where NATO has its headquarters. “It simply won’t work like that.”

John Hutton, Britain’s defense secretary, last month chided unnamed European members of NATO for “freeloading on the back of U.S. military security” and said they had a “limited appetite” for the Afghanistan campaign.

Jaap de Hoop Scheffer and John Hutton actually get it. John Hutton especially stands out for reading supine Europeans the riot act. The UN, NATO, Europe, and Japan have been “freeloading on the back of U.S. military security for more than half a century. We should charge them their fair share.

There was a time when the United States had a representative to the United Nations that was as blunt and plain-spoken as John Hutton. His name was John R. Bolton but he was considered too blunt. We wouldn’t want to offend the sensibilities of a bunch of kleptocratic jihad-apologists.

John Hutton - Not an EU Panzie

John Hutton - Not an EU Pansy

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