Monday, April 6, 2009

France and Germany Stand Pat/U.S. Continues to Bear Disproportionate Burden

The Associated Press reports that France and Germany have rejected President Obama's request for additional troops for Afghanistan. This despite the AP Headline that the two nations "endorse" President Obama's new strategy for Afghanistan. That strategy, of course, includes a "surge" of NATO forces in the country. The United States, which already deploys 38,000 troops there, is adding another 30,000, to bring our total to 68,000.

According to the French Ministry of Defense, there are about 3,000 French troops in and around Afghanistan.

Britain, by contrast, has announced it will send another 1,000 troops, on top of the 8,000 or so it has altready deployed there. Canada, whose population is just over half that of France (33 million compared to 61 million), maintains 2,500 troops there. Italy, who, like Britain, was also an ally in the Iraq War (Thank you!), deploys nearly 3,000 troops in Afghanistan.

I do not mean to understate the French contribution in the war on Al Qaeda, both in Afghanistan and elsewhere. Indeed, it was France who introduced the Security Council Resolution authorizing the 2001 invasoion of Afghanistan, and 27 French soldiers have died there. And, we all know that France helped America gain her independence in the first place, more than 200 years ago.

At the same time, we also know that, given the impressive capabilities of the French military, the largest in the European Union, it seems that France could do more. And, I don't mean to pick on Franch --- Germany could do more, too! Let's hope both nations reconsider !