Rasmussen: NATO’s Problems and Promise

From NATO: Diplomats, defense ministries and development experts sit together, plan together and operate together, including in Provincial Reconstruction Teams all over Afghanistan.

But at the international level, this lesson has simply not yet been learnt. Let me illustrate it by a concrete example. The European Union does both development and police training in Afghanistan. Nevertheless, the EU and NATO do not plan or coordinate together. For political reasons totally separate from Afghanistan.

The same is basically true of NATO and the United Nations. I consider this to be an unacceptable waste of resources and effectiveness. …

I see that the number of countries under the NATO umbrella has now risen to 45 – despite all the casualties, and all the challenges. I see that 40% of the one-hundred-thousand troops come from non-US countries. I see that non-US countries take about 40% of the casualties as well: true burden sharing.

To my mind, a fundamental lesson of Afghanistan is that NATO can take on the toughest operation in the world. Maintain its unity, and its cohesion, and its strength, over years, in the most challenging conditions. And, I’m quite sure, prevail. I believe that when this mission is complete, the Alliance will emerge stronger, more effective and more united than ever.

Excerpts from speech by Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at the University of Chicago.  (photo: NATO)

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