[T]ake Afghanistan. As President Obama works to develop a sustainable U.S. policy, most European leaders are watching from the sidelines, hoping to avoid new commitments of troops and treasure for what they see as an unwinnable war. They don’t regard the war as a true NATO operation to which they are fully committed or fully involved. With the exception of the British and the Canadians, most NATO countries have sent small contingents as an act of solidarity with America after 9/11, not because they believe that defeating the Taliban will affect the security of Europe. Long before the latest crisis in the legitimacy of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, they concluded that success in Afghanistan is not likely at an acceptable cost and not necessary to prevent large-scale terrorist attacks.
Aware of Europe’s tenuous commitment, Washington policymakers seem uninterested in pursuing a full-fledged partnership with European allies. Otherwise, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would already have been dispatched for intense consultations in London, Paris, Berlin and Brussels on the scope of the military mission, the political goals and the exit strategy. Most Europeans are simply not making contributions commensurate with their economic and military might. A proper NATO mission would entail giving Europeans a far greater say in exchange for many tens of thousands more troops. (photo: NY Daily News)