Following on from Richard North’s post on the farcical nature of the EU’s first military deployment in its history to Chad (it was cancelled when threatened with would-you-believe-it the possibility of casualties), comes the expression of frustration from Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper, that Germany, France Spain and Italy are not carrying their fair share of the fighting in Afghanistan, as part of the Nato forces there.
The Wall Street Journal of today states that
‘The Continentals fill up lots of air space at (NATO) policy conferences talking about Europe’s readiness to play a prominent role in global affairs.
The problem is of course that European countries are not willing to take any casualties, so the prominence of their aspired to role in military and strategic matters is curtailed accordingly.
The WSJ continues – ‘though the mission in Afghanistan flies a NATO flag, Germany, Italy and Spain put caveats on their troops, preventing them from leaving more peaceful areas to reinforce the Canadians, and others in the South and East. The Canadians are now…… calling their bluff.’
The US, Britain, The Netherlands and Canada are indeed carrying a disproportionate load. Canada alone has lost 78 soldiers in Afghanistan. It maintains a force of 2500 there, and is now refusing to increase that unless the Euroepan nations start getting down to business and actually doing some of the fighting.
The USA is as usual carrying the load, and is deploying an extra 3200 ‘temporary’ marines to plug the gaps.
European nations, apart from Britain and The Netherlands are displaying the kind of weakness that invites and excites potential enemies such as Russia and Iran.
It’s just another sign of the unreality of the European project that (even though this a NATO force) they imagine they can rely on others to do their dirty work for them while parading their overblown egos around nice comfortable carpeted conferences.
Canada is doing the right thing to be calling their bluff.