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Should timid NATO countries be providing kit instead of troops?

geo

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No troops? Help any way: MacKay
Afghanistan can use critically needed equipment, defence minister says

PETER O’NEIL CANWEST NEWS SERVICE

AGENCE FRANCE- PRESSE CONTRIBUTED TO THIS REPORT

Countries too timid to send troops to Afghanistan’s most dangerous areas are being pressured to come up with alternative ways to help, such as providing critically needed equipment, Defence Minister Peter MacKay said yesterday.

But MacKay said Canada and other NATO allies active in the dangerous south, such as the Americans, the British and the Dutch, won’t give up efforts to convince countries like France and Germany to share more of the burden.

There’s a “realization that while we’re willing to accept that it may be prohibitive for some in the alliance to contribute troops, it doesn’t prohibit, in our view, other contributions,” MacKay said during a conference call with media after yesterday’s meeting in Scotland with ministers representing countries active in the dangerous south.

MacKay said countries could help with equipment maintenance, road construction or such hardware contributions as helicopters, transport aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles used for tracking Taliban activities.

MacKay said these contributions could help limit the most dangerous threat to Canadian soldiers – roadside improvised explosive devices.

Still, Canada and its partners will continue lobbying efforts to get troop commitments from countries fearful of a political backlash if they send their troops to areas where there is an increased likelihood of casualties, MacKay said.

“We haven’t ruled out future contributions from France, Germany or any countries for that matter,” he said.

MacKay and Foreign Minister Maxime Bernier attended the gathering, along with counterparts from the U.S., Britain, the Netherlands, Australia, Denmark, Romania and Estonia.

Bernier said ministers at the meeting didn’t have a problem with the Canadian government’s decision to appoint an independent panel, headed by former Liberal foreign minister John Manley, and hold a parliamentary debate on the future of Canada’s mission after the current commitment lapses in February 2009. In Kabul today, a car bomb outside the headquarters of the Kabul police killed five civilians and wounded several more people, Afghanistan’s interior ministry said.

“Five civilians have been killed and two police have been wounded. Some civilians have been wounded too, but we don’t have a figure,” an interior ministry spokesperson said.

A witness told AFP that one of the dead was a man who had been pushing a cart in the area.

The extremist Taliban movement said it carried out the attack in a busy part of the centre of the Afghan capital.

http://digital.montrealgazette.com/epaper/viewer.aspx

Interesting article in the papers..... 
 

Edward Campbell

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See Ruxted's Submission to the Manley Commission - specifically the 23rd (roughly) paragraph (in the lower half) beginning "The Afghan National Army needs more than just ..."

The ANA and ANP both need money and equipment and the many nations, mainly the European military tourists, hiding behind their caveats should be  paying the freight.
 

cameron

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NATO isn't a free ride so if you're not willing to fight then at least make yourself useful in some other way.
 

Edward Campbell

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cameron said:
NATO isn't a free ride ...

But it was, for Canada, from 1970 until, arguably, after 1990.

Despite the sterling performances turned in by our navy and air force we took far more, in terms of collective security, than we gave for 20 years.

I think we redeemed our (army) reputation - 'boots on the ground' matter a lot - in the Balkans, in the '90s and in Afghanistan but we would still do well to remember that we took a turn at 'freeloading' throughout the Trudeau and Mulroney years.
 

cameron

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E.R. Campbell said:
But it was, for Canada, from 1970 until, arguably, after 1990.

Despite the sterling performances turned in by our navy and air force we took far more, in terms of collective security, than we gave for 20 years.

I think we redeemed our (army) reputation - 'boots on the ground' matter a lot - in the Balkans, in the '90s and in Afghanistan but we would still do well to remember that we took a turn at 'freeloading' throughout the Trudeau and Mulroney years.

That's so true Campbell, and my remarks were addressed at all politicians (and their constituents) who have an apathetic attitude towards the philosophy of collective security, be they German, French or Canadian.  Let's hope Canada never goes back to those dark days of apathy again.  The spoutings from some politicians in Canada still hearken back to those days.
 

tomahawk6

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If they are timid they should disband their militaries and have the EU protect them. In time individual states in Europe will just be provinces of a greater EU.
 

geo

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If the individual states are all part of a greater Europe then it's time for the establishment of a greater EURO FORCE that would be employable - based on a single decision instead of decisions by consensus..... which never work.

A greater EU is something that should be expedited.
 

tomahawk6

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A greater EU definitely wont be deployed in Afghanistan. In fact I doubt they would be deployed beyond Africa and certain other UN peacekeeping missions. They will be a Europe centric force concentrating on the defense of the land mass from the Russian Bear. ;)
 

geo

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Possible, probable... but at least we'd know where to stand WRT our Allies.  If NATO is dead, then it might be high time to publish it's epitath and start forging new alliances upon which we can depend on.   An Anglo saxon alliance may be the ultimate pact that binds us together.

BTW, WRT the Russian Bear... I think that, with it's new PETRO MIGHT", the Russian bear's teeth will be be at the control of those pipelines feeding the European economy.  The Russian military's brute force won't be as essential a tool in their arsenal.
 

tomahawk6

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Ya I think our pal Putin has figured out that economic blackmail might be more effective than saber rattling, or else its just another tool in the Kremlin's tool box. ;D
 

Kirkhill

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In addition to the muslims the Euros have got another problem.  While some of them dream of recreating Charlemagne's empire that only lasted as long as he was alive and he spent most of his life assembling it.  His sons immediately taking it apart.  The Holy Roman Empire was never anything more than a collection of warring city states flying in loose formation with half a dozen families fighting for the dubious privilege of being Emperor.

The Euros seem congenitally afflicted with the Bourbon disease: they remember everything and learn nothing.

At the same time as they are suborning the nation-state in their grand empire, they are undermining those same states by encouraging the Scots, the Irish, the Welsh, the Bretagnes, the Flemings, the Basques, the Bavarians and the Kosovars to seek their own identities. It seems to have belatedly occured to them that allowing the Kosovars independence, the same way they allowed the Croatians, Slovenians and Bosnians, then there is no moral ground to prevent the others splitting from their parent states.  And if collections of 4 Million people are allowed to call themselves countries within the empire then Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain could all conceivably degenerate into a dozen countries each.  There are at least that many provincial identities within each of those states.  All of a sudden they are creating the conditions to revert to the 1100s and the North - South wars between the German Pope of the North in Mainz and the Italian Pope of the South in Rome. 

A Geordie from Newcastle in England has more in common with an Ayrshireman from Scotland than he does with a Londoner or a Welshmen and none of them have enough in common with Normans and Castillians and Westfalians, not mention Estonians or Romanians, that they can ever see themselves as anything other than Geordies or whatever stuck in some foreign construct.

Spain is Europe's longest running union and you can check with the Basques and Catalunians as to how well they have melted into one nation.  As to Germany, its Union date used to be 1867 IIRC.  I don't know but what that clock shouldn't be reset to 1990.

The European Union may be the end of the European Nation State but it sure won't result in any super state.
 

beenthere

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If you take a look at some of the newer NATO members that were fast tracked into the alliance under the "sponsorship" of the U.S. and look at the military forces and equipment that they have there's no way that anyone would want them as part of a fighting force.
Most of them are basket cases that have nothing to offer. They have to be timid. Very timid.
 

geo

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The new members of the alliance are, in many respect, the ones who ARE stepping up to the plate and contributing troops & equipment.

EG: Roumania, Poland, Estonia - they have troops & equip^ment AND are prepared to fight....

The older original countries who shaped NATO are the ones who have been timid, very timid...
 

cameron

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geo said:
The new members of the alliance are, in many respect, the ones who ARE stepping up to the plate and contributing troops & equipment.

EG: Roumania, Poland, Estonia - they have troops & equip^ment AND are prepared to fight....

The older original countries who shaped NATO are the ones who have been timid, very timid...

+1 Geo
 

The Bread Guy

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tomahawk6 said:
A greater EU definitely wont be deployed in Afghanistan. In fact I doubt they would be deployed beyond Africa and certain other UN peacekeeping missions. They will be a Europe centric force concentrating on the defense of the land mass from the Russian Bear. ;)

....AGAIN, as it happens -- not to mention the coming (if you believe the analysts) unpleasantness around Kosovo.

As for the original question, if NATO governments who don't see themselves politically able to send their own soldiers/sailors/airmen-women, or their own war machines, I have no problem if they cut significant cheques to, say, allow NATO to lease choppers needed to get the job done, or whatever else might be needed and able to be leased.  It won't solve the shortage of troops problem, but in the shorter term, it could allow better use of the boots presently on the ground.

In the longer run, though, I don't know how much help countries can offer a place like Afghanistan, that needs a lot of help on a lot of levels, without some level of realistic presence on the ground - either lotsa troops, or lotsa aid workers on projects (not accounting).
 

beenthere

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tomahawk6 said:
If they are timid they should disband their militaries and have the EU protect them. In time individual states in Europe will just be provinces of a greater EU.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/03/20040329-4.html The U.S. welcomes these seven new members to NATO although all seven of them together would have a problem mustering enough equipment and troops and transporting them to Afghanistan to provide a latrine detail for a brigade.
 

The Bread Guy

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beenthere said:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/03/20040329-4.html The U.S. welcomes these seven new members to NATO although all seven of them together would have a problem mustering enough equipment and troops and transporting them to Afghanistan to provide a latrine detail for a brigade.

To be fair, there's a case to be made for proportionality as well - I suspect Estonia sending a company of troops could be more of a burden to the country than, say, the UK sending a battalion-minus....

 

geo

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Without making reference to any Brit brigade, I would say that an Estonian Coy conducting field operations is a heck of a lot better than Italian, German or Spanish Battle groups manning the quiet north of Afghanistan.

I have worked with the German military in the old West Germany and have the utmost respect for their capabilities.  Now if their masters would only let them do what they have been trained to do.
 
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