The 21st Century Phenomenon



President Barack Obama hailed “strong and unanimous support” from NATO allies, on Saturday 04/04/2009, for his stepped-up anti-terror strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan and welcomed their “down payment” promises of 5,000 fresh forces. NATO allies agreed to send up to 5,000 more military trainers and police to Afghanistan, including forces to help protect candidates and voters at upcoming elections.

The allies rebuffed USA appeals for more combat forces to join the war, but the backing Obama did gain at a European summit allowed him to claim an early victory on the world’s foreign policy stage. Obama called that “a strong down payment” on both Afghanistan and NATO itself at the end of a gathering celebrating the 60th anniversary of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in Strasbourg, France.

President Barack Obama has begun switching America’s anti-terror emphasis to fighting Al Qaeda in the Afghanistan-Pakistan area as the war in Iraq winds down. The new president insisted that “terrorists threaten every member of NATO,” but he also said he had no intention of trying to dictate to European countries the scope of their contributions.

“This was not a pledging conference,” he told a wrap-up news briefing packed with both American and foreign journalists. “We came expecting consensus and we’re gratified getting that consensus.” He said more help of all kinds will be needed. But he also said, “I am pleased that our NATO allies pledged their strong and unanimous support for our new strategy.”

Among countries resisting U.S. appeals for more combat troops were France, which on Saturday rejoined the alliance as a full military partner after decades of being a nonmilitary member, and Germany.

The main problems NATO-ISAF is facing in Afghanistan is the immense degree of corruption in Hamid Karzai’s regime, the sectarian splitting, the unsealed borders with Pakistan and the ongoing deterioration  in Pakistan itself, the radical interpretation of Islam accepted and exercised by the Afghan people, especially by the Pashtu tribes, and the basic resentment toward strangers interfering in local affairs. 

Many European countries fear Afghanistan might turn to a second Iraq which will suck endless resources for years to come and doubt if it worth it.

Giving the economic sources of Europe, the population of about 350 millions and the combined military strength, NATO pledge very little. Few hundreds soldiers from countries like Italy or Spain, less from smaller countries like Holland or Denmark. Most of NATO-ISAF reinforcement in Afghanistan is on a temporary base to support and secure the coming national elections in 08/2009.  Eventually USA was left alone, with some help of British troops, to cope with the ongoing situation in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Europe had enough.  


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