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Ah yes our allies the Germans. Strong supporters of NATO. Key international players Wantbe members of the UNSC.

This should trigger another post from the Jorg's of the world of how Germany is making a MAJOR contrbution. Let us not forget all that Germany is doing.

The expectation that Germany would act like a Cold War ally in the GWOT is unrealistic and naive. Germany, France, and other old European countries are no longer military allies of the US, they are strategic competitors.

The new American allies are countries with similar values based on like economic interests (India comes to mind). These dynamic, newly capitalist countries have a vested interest in defeating the disrupting influence of Islamic radicalism and expanding their influence in the new world. The old economies of Europe play global economics as a zero sum game and have less interest in economic globalization.

There are places where the US and old Europe can cooperate. The recent DOJ initiative to coordinate responses to the terrorist threat comes to mind. But we should not expect proactive military cooperation from countries that are happy to watch 250,000 Bosnians slaughtered in their own neighborhood. Countries with so little interest in the welfare of people on their continent are never going to be of any use in conflicts further from home.

American interests are in Asia. We should do more to establish a NATO like military structure with our friends in Asia and the sub-continent. France, Germany and others should be left to the influences of Russia and the Middle East, and take responsibility for their own decisions regarding those regions.

Allow me to add some detail to Jake's excellent comment: There is only one reason that Germany has personnel in Afghanistan at all, and that is so the German Left can claim (implausibly) that they (or the U.N.) are peacefully cleaning up the mess that the militaristic U.S. is making there. The German Left will not allow German troops to actually DO anything, as this would subject their personnel to SCRUTINY. As long as they have personnel in Afghanistan doing nothing, the Germans can claim to be making a positive contribution while everything is going well, while denying responsibility if things do not go well.

Moreover, active military participation by the German military in Afghanistan would pit German troops against the side that many in the Left would really like to see win. Not that the Left would particularly like to see the Taliban back in power -- just SOME brutal depotic regime. That way, they could claim that the U.S. ruined the situation in Afghansitan despite their (the Left's) best efforts then assert that any actions the above-mentioned despotic regime takes are the fault of the U.S. And they know full well that much of the Western media will go right along with their propaganda.

This is the same perverse game the Left has been playing since the beginning of the twentieth century. Take the Taliban for example. It was the 1979 invasion (provoked in part by the weakness of the imbecilic President Carter) of Afghanistan by the old Soviet Union, the former darling of the Left, that resulted in the Taliban coming to power. Yet the Left have claimed that the U.S. brought the Taliban to power. Now, the German Left actively agitates against the U.S. efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq, and should those efforts fail, will claim that the U.S. is responsible. Ultimately, it is not just the Islamofreaks that we are fighting against. This is truly a World War.

You are both correct. As long as the left controls most of old Europe, it will continue its path of economic, military and moral decline. At least they are so much more wiser than President Bush, right? It seems however that America can have good and useful allies in some of the eastern European nations. Chirac didn't call them defiant without a reason.

I really wonder how much of this is driven simply by military impotence. Didn't Germany have to 'rent' troop transport from another country?

Pamela,

You are correct but this is a choice the Germans made. They decided to be impotent. The choice they faced was to either support NATO by funding their military at 3% of GDP or fund their failing social welfare state. They chose the latter.

The truth of the matter is the only reason Germany is in Afghanistan is they fear not being there would lead to the unwinding of NATO. Remember NATO is the shield the Germans and most of the euros feel will protect them. At present you can read NATO to really mean the English speaking part of the alliance. This is in no way to demean those nations who actually are contributing their nation's treasure in Iraq and Afghanistan. Those nations do not include however the french, Germans, Spanish or the Italians.

The Germans are only engaged to protect their long term security which is centered on the military might of the US. So one could in this case say the Germans are extremely smart and the Americans extremely dumb.

This is one of the many reasons I think that only behind the Islamic terrorists NATO is the second most serious threat to the US national security.


Hi joe! I just knew you'd show up on this one!

I'm beginning to agreee with you - let NATO go down the tubes. Let the EUnichs strut the vaunted 'European Rapid Reaction Force'. Essentially, let the games begin.

Sounds very much like the German deployment in Lebanon: stay as far away as possible from the action. But still allow themselves to be presented back to their media as doing serious sacrifices...

Although factually reported, there has been zero point zero commentary in the German MSM as to the merits of the political decision not to send German troops into the south. The silence is deafening.

The politicans are of course, doing their best to pander to immoral pacifist sentiments. Peter Struck actually had the cajones to imply that things are more peaceful in the north because of the peaceful nature of the mission there (not simply because there are far less Taliban sympathisers in the land of the former Northern Alliance)... Einfach peinlich.

beimami wrote

Take the Taliban for example. It was the 1979 invasion (provoked in part by the weakness of the imbecilic President Carter) of Afghanistan by the old Soviet Union, the former darling of the Left, that resulted in the Taliban coming to power. Yet the Left have claimed that the U.S. brought the Taliban to power.
What to make of this interview by Zbigniew Brzezinski? Is it fake? Was he nuts? Was he rewriting history or obfuscating?

In addition I found this when digging for lefist sites:

In his memoirs, former CIA director Robert Gates (1991-1993) said that the U.S. provoked the December 1979 Soviet intervention in Afghanistan by giving military assistance to the mujahideen. Gates recalls a meeting, nine months earlier, on March 30, 1979, when Under Secretary of Defense Walter Slocombe said "there was value in keeping the Afghan insurgency going, 'sucking the Soviets into a Vietnamese quagmire.'"
Allegedly citing Robert Gates, From the Shadows: The Ultimate Insider's Story of Five Presidents & How They Won the Cold War (1997). Sorry, I do not have access to the book; I do not know whether this citation is accurate and fair. If it holds, would you consider Robert Gates a leftist?

Part of the German framework of politics is our Basic Law:

Article 26 [Ban on preparations for war of aggression]
(1) Acts tending to and undertaken with intent to disturb the peaceful relations between nations, especially to prepare for a war of aggression, shall be unconstitutional. They shall be made a criminal offense.
(2) Weapons designed for warfare may be manufactured, transported, or marketed only with the permission of the Federal Government. Details shall be regulated by a federal law.
It has its roots in our history, it does not allow for today's rogue states; you need a two thirds majority to change it. The latter has not been done; the interpretation is up to you.

As for the Bundeswehr, in Germany we have a conscription army, which was designed for home defense only. Current enrollment is for 9 months, back when I was drafted it was 15 months. Up to 1990 that was fine, afterwards we were "surrounded by 'friends'". We only have up to 18,000 military personnel for out of area missions.

I forgot to mention: We are much better, when it comes to keeping everyone in the Middle East supplied with weapons. Just where did I leave my cynicism tags?

@blue

For the sake of argument, I'll accept your sources as correct. I stand by all above statements and consider your input as corroborating evidence.

@blue

damn, sweetie, you are good!

Re: the ZB interview. ZB is a man who would take credit for the sun rising if he could get away with it.

This is not to say that the U.S. did not give material support to the anti-Soviet concerns in Afghanistan. I have no idea if the U.S. did or did not. (I'm checking).

But that's not why the Soviets invaded. If you check the records, you'll find that a pro-Soviet gov't was extant at the time. It was losing support however, and about to fall. That's why the USSR invaded.

Did American money have anything to do with that lack of support?

I doubt it.

Over the years, I've met many Afghanis and former Soviets who have relocated to the U.S. and we've talked. The weird thing is without exception, the Soviets think a good part of the problem was with Chechnya - basically Islamic radicalism being given support from Afghanistan.

The expat Afghanis I talk to are all from Kabul and the majority are women. They liked the Soviet occupation. They had freedom, they could go to school, etc. Without exception, each and every one would personally kill Hakmatyar if given the opportunity.

Is there a linear narrative in all this? Nope. But I have ordered Gates' book based on your post, and I thank you for that.

Oh, and no, Gates is not a 'leftist'. He's a 'realist', which in my book is synonomous with 'cynic'.

Just remembered. This is a fascinating book about the U.S. involvement in Afghanistan. For what it's worth

Charlie Wilson's War

Having "Old Europe" not helping us may not be a bad thing, at least when we talk of France as a partner.
go to Google.com
do a search: french military victories
hit the "I feel lucky" search button
It isn't much better when you hit the regular search button.

just in case.....it is the start of a long weekend and we should all have a chance to smile and joke. This has to have been gamed...I did however find it funny!

Hi Pamela, have you ever heard of Napoleon?

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