Yeah, because these guys were oh so helpful in Iraq...
"President Barack Obama already is testing whether Europe will match its enthusiastic words about his administration with concrete actions. After seeking help shutting the Guantanamo Bay prison, Obama now has a potentially more contentious request: He wants more European troops fighting in Afghanistan."
Yes, we need more European troops that will be confined to barracks because their governments refuse to have them actually fight (which is happening to at least two countries).
" 'Europeans are still hoping they won't be asked" about Afghanistan, said Julianne Smith, director of the Europe program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "But Obama ran on the message `the urgency of now' and he seems to consider Afghanistan urgent.' "
That we need more troops in Afghanistan is something I can understand. In order to even have a chance at winning there, more troops are clearly needed. However, I'm puzzled as to why we have to rely on, once again, "allies" which are generally lukewarm about committing troops anywhere. NATO doesn't have the ability to project the size of forces that we can. Their infrastructure does not allow it. Therefore, in order to make this happen (assuming the Europeans actually cough up the troops) we'll have to transport troops from Europe using our own assets. Let's make this clear. Instead of using our own forces which are clearly capable, we're going to bring troops over from countries which don't really want to fight this war. So, are we going for a war of symbolisms (which is what the NATO troops are there for, decoration), or are we actually going to be serious about fighting? Let's face it, this is a cosmetic answer to a pressing need for troops over there.
"Leaders in some European countries, including Germany, believe they are better equipped for primarily noncombat missions in an impoverished country whose problems cannot be solved on the battlefield alone."
Jesus, what's the point of these countries even having a military???!!! I can already see what's going to happen here. These NATO countries will eventually send some more troops over, they'll be stuck in the areas where there's no fighting. This will leave the US forces, once again, in the position of actually fighting and dying while the Europeans can sit in their cozy barracks.
I think the question is whether we really need to be allied with these clowns...
"Europeans who widely admire the new U.S. president may expect Obama to fulfill campaign promises to heal trans-Atlantic relations and expand cooperation. But on this issue, at least, Obama is signaling that trans-Atlantic cooperation means greater demands."
This passage is dead on, of course. The cooperation goes both ways. The Europeans need to get off their collective asses and actually do something, rather than just dictate. That's how NATO is, though. They want something for nothing, kind of like how they acted in the Cold War. You didn't really think the Soviets were worried about the big, bad Dutch or Belgian armies now, did you?