Monday :: Feb 4, 2008

Losing wars and antagonizing allies


by Turkana

So, with the Bush Administration having failed to win the war in Afghanistan, having blamed our NATO allies for that failure, and having thus enabled the failure of Afghanistan, this news from the Independent should come as no surprise:

A bitter diplomatic row between Germany and the United States deepened yesterday after Berlin flatly rejected demands from Washington that it deploy troops in war-torn southern Afghanistan and angrily dismissed the request as "impertinent" and a "fantastic cheek".

Defense Secretary Robert Gates sent a sharply worded letter to his German counterpart, Franz Josef Jung, accusing Germany of not doing its part. Of course, neither Germany nor NATO would have a part to do, had the Bush Administration done its part, pursuing justice for the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks rather than getting distracted by launching a war that had nothing to do with those attacks.

As Spiegel Online explained:

The letter's negative tone put German politicians on the defensive on Friday. "I stand behind my position that we should continue to fulfil our mandate in Afghanistan," Jung, of the conservative Christian Democrats, said on Friday. But he rejected calls to send German combat troops to southern Afghanistan. "We need to keep our point of focus in northern Afghanistan," he said.

The Independent added:

Germany's response was a mixture of outrage and surprise. Initial comments leaked from an unnamed defence ministry source described the Gates' letter as "impertinent", and as a "fantastic cheek". One official accused Mr Gates of trying to inflict "psychological torture" on Germany.

Chancellor Angela Merkel let it be known through her spokesman that the issue was "not up for discussion". Franz-Walter Steinmeier, the German Foreign minister, also flatly rejected the idea. "I think we must continue to focus our attention on the north," he said.

And just to make clear that, unlike the Bush Administration, Germany actually is living up to its responsiblities, Spiegel also has this:

The Afghanistan mandate for Germany's military, the Bundeswehr, permits a maximum of 3,500 troops to be stationed in less dangerous northern Afghanistan. The mandate limits the Bundeswehr's deployment in southern Afghanistan to providing emergency aid to its allies in exceptional situations.

Looking forward to a U.S. Administration that takes national security seriously? Looking forward to a U.S. Administration that takes diplomacy seriously?

Turkana :: 2:02 PM :: Comments (14) :: Digg It!