The U.S. and Canada question - gasp! - Germany's willingness to share the burden of NATO's Afghanistan mission:
AP: Report: Gates letter urges Germany to increase troops to Afghanistan / January 31, 2008
U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has written to his German counterpart urging Berlin to send an additional 3,200 troops to Afghanistan, warning that the NATO-led force there could lose credibility without reinforcement, a Defense Ministry spokesman confirmed Thursday. (...) Gates specifically asks Germany to drop caveats limiting its troops to the north of Afghanistan and to send helicopter units, infantry and paratroopers that could join the fight against Taliban militants in the south... While all 26 NATO allies have units in Afghanistan, France, Turkey and Italy, as well as Germany, refuse to send significant numbers to the southern combat zone.
WSJ: NATO's Afghan Failure / February 1, 2008
(...) Maybe France, Germany and other so-called NATO allies (...) heed the Canadian Prime Minister's call to share the war-fighting burden in Afghanistan.
Miracles happen. For the time being, however, the Continentals are in no apparent hurry to break a five-decade habit of enjoying a free ride on security. None seriously answered NATO's call for up to 7,000 more troops for Afghanistan. So the U.S. last month announced a "temporary" deployment of another 3,200 Marines, the second large reinforcement in a year. That brings the U.S. deployment to nearly 30,000, with about half those troops as part of the NATO force of 42,000.
The plight of the Canadians ought to shame other allies. Mr. Harper warned that his country wouldn't extend its 2,500-strong mission in Afghanistan's unstable southern provinces unless Europe ponies up troops and equipment. (...) Though the mission 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 Continentals fill up lots of air space at policy conferences talking about Europe's readiness to play a prominent role in global affairs. The Canadians are now usefully calling their bluff.
This just in: Germany categorically refuses to send troops to Afghanistan`s south.
Our American and Canadians friends can be rest assured that Germany will unswervingly stick to its commitment to verbally fight terrorism with all possible means, weekdays from 9 to 5.
Update: Times Online: Frosty German reply to US call for help in Afghanistan
Comment from Ray: Germany should not complain that others do not see the nation as a first-rate power or take it seriously after this shameful episode.
First Germany criticizes the United States for being too unilateral in the fight against terror - then when the United States calls for more support from its German ally - it is decisively rejected. This may prompt Canada to abandon the fight - reinforcing views in the USA that many of the NATO allies are not entirely reliable or worth consulting when the going gets tough.