UK Slams EU for Wimping it in Afghan: Legit or Hypocrit?

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Andy_S, Jan 17, 2009.

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  1. Andy_S

    Andy_S LE Book Reviewer

    I can't argue with Hutton dissing most of the EU for not manning up and wading in, but do I detect a hint of "holier than thou" in this...aren't the US equally unhappy with the UK for not deploying the appropriate force levels to do the job?

    UK Minister Blasts NATO Allies Over Afghan Troop Offers

    LONDON (AFP)--U.K. Defense Secretary John Hutton Thursday criticized the failure of fellow North Atlantic Treaty Organization countries to send enough troops to Afghanistan, saying that "warm words" alone aren't enough.

    Other nations cannot keep relying on the U.S. to shoulder the main burden in Afghanistan, Hutton said in his sharpest comments to date.

    With nearly 9,000 personnel in Afghanistan, the U.K. is the second-biggest contributor to the ISAF force after the U.S.

    President-elect Barack Obama is reportedly set to agree to send up to 30,000 more troops.

    The number of troops sent by other nations trails off significantly after the U.K. and the U.S. - the third biggest contributor is Germany, with around 3,400 troops.

    "There should be no-one in NATO who believes that all that is needed is a bit of soft power, a bit of nice warm words for the Afghan government. That is not going to beat Al-Qaeda and the Taliban," Hutton said in a press conference in London ahead of a keynote speech later.

    "We need a full complement of effective forces and we don't have those in theatre at the moment."

    Without naming specific countries who he wanted to do more, Hutton added that it wasn't fair to expect the Americans to do all the "heavy lifting."

    "We are going to have to do more, all of us in ISAF need to understand that, if we want this mission to be successful," Hutton said.

    In his speech Hutton was set to accuse other European countries of " freeloading" on the back of U.S. and U.K. military commitments in Afghanistan, according to the Daily Telegraph and Financial Times.

    Speaking to reporters, Hutton added: "We've got to step up to the plate, everyone in NATO's got to do that and the point of my remarks later on today will be to say it is not honest, credible or I think sustainable for us constantly to say, 'well the Americans can do it all.'

    "That isn't an alliance, that's one-way traffic. That's not good enough."
  2. Biped

    Biped LE Book Reviewer

    Holier than thou - absolutely. WE are still too short of aircraft and and vehicles and WE are still too short of feet on the ground to do what we need to in our area.
  3. Germany cannot supply as many troops as it wants due to its mandate, but it is supplying transport aircraft. They do have other peacekeeping roles in the world

    France has riots every other months it seems, so a tough political stance many make the current government even less so.

    Spain has trouble with ETA at the minute, if they go in heavy handed then ERTA will no doubt get support from AQ

    Dutch and Belgium, dutch have sent troops they have other peacekeeping roles.

    As for the rest, I think as they are fledgling members of the EU like Poland, they dont want to be drawn into a protracted war.
  4. Worked with the Germans out there and top chaps they were too. Earlier on in the conflict they had had a contact - usual car fails to stop routine - and the gents behind the trigger were now facing all sorts of investigations, lawyer hassles etc so they were quite rightly incensed by all this political bollox.
    Not surprising they are reluctant to get out in the heat if they start risking more crap like this. Only solution would be to get the fecking lawyers out in each patrol.
    Back to the topic though - pull out all the troops and leave em to it. No oil there so whats the point? CIA found a buried space ship there or summat? Maybe they want to corner the Afghan rug market?
  5. I predict Hutton will be just as direct with the Afghan Government shortly. Hilary Clinton has already intoned she's not going to take any more excuses from Karzai , I think she'll find a ready ally in Hutton.

    Once the two of them read that backsliding charlatan the riot act, we may see more willingness from the EU to start committing.

    I feel a real barrier to EU participation, is the Afghan Government, or rather, the lack of it.
  6. What mandate do you mean?
  7. Seem to remember that Spain suffered the Madrid train bombing then promptly withdrew troops from Iraq. Hardly resolve in the face of the enemy is it?

    The fact that AQ has finally been defeated in Iraq is no thanks to the socialists occupying seats in the Madrid parliament.

    Typical approach of socialist politicians, just as the socialist party in Norway has made every effort to limit its troops involvement in Afg. Commitment-lite, resolve-less call it what you like. Useless allies more like. Which is a shame, because Norway in particular has some crack troops, pity about some of its political leaders.

    Perhaps the troops in some of these smaller european countries should come under the banner of special forces, then, presumably there would be more freedom of deployment and "usage".
  8. I suspect most people are missing the point with this one.
    Whilst the public in the UK support the armed forces in Afghanistan and have enormous respect for them, nobody has a clue why Britain has thousands of service men/women in Afghanistan in the 1st place.
    Most of the public can't see any point at all in British lives being lost and billions of quid chucked down the drain.
    Few people complain because that would appear to be anti Armed Forces (which the public most certainly is not)
    Just like Iraq, there is no tangible benefit for the UK from the loss of life and hard cash cost. There is no great over-riding moral reason and as far as the world in general is concerned the UK followed the US into Iraq and Afghanistan to kiss the arse of Bush and make the likes of Haliburton rich.
    If a goodly chunk of the UK see's things this way why on earth are the rest of NATO going to send troops?
    All that Afghanistan is achieving is a growing list of good men (and women) coming home dead or maimed. There is no financial benefit, there is no moral benefit. There is nothing in it for any of the NATO states except political demise for those that send their troops to die.
  9. It would help if the UK and the US could actually put together a coherent argument why other EU member states should get more involved in Afghanistan.

    Presently, most EU capitals see the request along the lines of, 'we've screwed up big time and we're desperate for more boots on the ground but we can't send any more of ours because we don't have the political will.'.
  10. Putting the rights and wrongs of Iraq and Afg aside. Would you hand over the security of the UK and its people to a European Army, requiring the agreement of European leaders before its use? Would you give up current UK military capability because it could be done with European capability?

    That is what is at the heart of this argument, because that is the direction European leaders want to take us.
  11. Even an EU Army would have caveats in place over deployments like this I think Nige.

    You have to give other EU nations an incentive and identifiable benefits to get involved. An identifiable benefit that can be taken up by the populations of those countries.

    So far, nothing has been suggested to them,to make them feel that way.

    "Fighting them there so we don't do it here" is not going to cut it. Short of an atrocity in European cities, with responsibility claimed by the Taliban , I don't see readily, how it can happen.

    The key has to be trade, or something tangible of that order. Or we invite the Chinese in to protect their investments? 100K PLA Infantry should lock the country down nicely, and how can Pakistan protest Chinese involvement with the deals they currently have going?
  12. Politics at work, there was an election due. The other party made a promise that if they were elected that all Spanish Tps would be withdrawn.
  13. The Spanish did contribute when everything first kicked off in Afghanistan, we shared a camp with them just pasted Souter. They did a reasonable job.

    I don't think we are being too hypocritical. How can a nation say we oppose terrorism etc and not contribute a reasonable size force?
  14. I think that Jagman and Whitecity have it. Most people don't see the connection or reason for us to be there. They view it as a no win situation and that as soon as we're gone (whenever that may be in the future) the vacuum will be filled by the Taliban. Like Gaza, it's a front line for remote nations whose funding, material support and extremists use it as an arms-length engagement against infidel influence. Our people are doing a fantastic job there but long term, it is a pointless waste of our lives and resources.
  15. It could be done. Hu has quite a surprising amount of goodwill despite all the recent fuckups re food, water, corruption, etc. If anyone can sell a foreign deployment to the Chinese public, it's him.

    The pros from the Chinese side would be security of resources - copper, uranium and bauxite IIRC - and the ability to smack their own Islamic extremists where they live. Afghanistan is to the Xinjiang Islamists what Pakistan is to the Taliban, after all.

    The Naval deployment off Somalia might be a first step to a larger military deployment outside PRC borders. Success could temper public opinion, which at the moment really doesn't see the point of worrying about the outside world with all their own problems to contend with.

    As to why the Europeans should get involved, I think Jagman and Whitecity have hit the nail squarely. The current mission in AFG isn't what the other NATO members signed up to. It was unilaterally changed by the seppoes and we followed on their coat-tails. Just because we've abandoned our sovereignty of decision-making to Washington doesn't mean the others are somehow obliged to do the same.

    If we want them to help us out, we have to convince them that it's in their interests and that the results we want are achievable. Neither of which is being done at the moment and in my view won't ever be with Karzai in charge.