Way back when Great Satan was prepping to knock out the largest Arab army in history in 2o days and commit to a "generational commitment" to penetrate and impregnate the arrested development of the Middle East and raise up a sweet little baby democracy, original Vulcan - then Def Sec - the rowdy, rascally Rumsfeld made an off hand commentary - that in retrospect - was and is highly accurate.
Blowing off multilateral minions who panicked that Great Satan had dissed long time Cold War era allies - like Germany and Cold War era frienemies - like France, Rumsfeld gave the impression that certain allies may have feelings too - but like, who cares?
Back in the last millennium, Europa couldn't even take an 8 hour panzer ride to Serbia to put Milosevic out of biz. Great Satan had to take out the trash for them in a humanitarian inspired military intervention that never served any Real - or Macht Politik's definintion of nat'l interests.
NATO Allies were almost useless - in their own backyard.
"Multinational diplomacy was unnecessary; the United States
could go it alone. Fine if allies wanted to come along; even better—less
constraining—if they didn't.
"American power seemed not merely undiminished but nearly absolute. It was a new era, time to devise new ways of seeing and dealing with the world—new strategies that would take full advantage of what they saw as their unbridled supremacy. The traditional paths to influence were waved off as the figments of ''old thinking.''Those arrogant daemoneocons!
"New Thinking" - as espoused by overtly robust Cato cat Dr Ted Galen Carpenter in "Smart Power: Toward a Prudent Foreign Policy for America" was recently fired up at Madame Sec HRC's PR blitz
"America cannot solve the most pressing problems on our own, and the world cannot solve them without America"
Except it looks like Great Satan will have to solve pressing probs ala carte'. Except for a few trusted, expert killers like Aussie Land and Great Britain in her bossy posse.
A new secret report to 44 from Great Satan's Regime Changers points out it's a war and may have to rename the Afghanistan Surge the Pakistan Surge.
“We cannot accept that Al Qaeda leadership, which continues to plan
against us every single day, has a safe haven in Pakistan and could resume one in Afghanistan”
Dr Carpenter redraws his own map of future foreign policy with an interesting bit that may totally freak Realpolitik fanboys and girls.
"Given how militarily useless many of the existing European
deployments have been, that may not prove to be a big loss. But the feckless conduct of some of the European members of NATO in Afghanistan is indicative of a larger problem. The reality is that Washington’s much-touted alliances now involve more symbolism and tokenism than any meaningful addition to America’s military power."
Indeed, most of the NATO governments seemed to view their troop
deployments as personnel for humanitarian relief and nation-building tasks rather than for combat operations. The military heavy lifting was by and large left to U.S. forces and those of a few other countries, primarily Canada, Britain and the Netherlands.
Most NATO members have placed various caveats on the use of their
military personnel. Some are prohibited from night operations (which are inherently more dangerous). Others are prohibited from being deployed in certain areas of the country—specifically, those areas where significant combat is occurring and additional troops might actually prove useful."
In what is certainly a sign of the times - one ally that benefitted the most from rowdy GI's standing decades of watch along scary Iron Curtains and Warsaw Pact lines is Germany.
Deutschland in geopolitical speak. The Deutschers had a stellar reputation for fighting all their neighbors - many times winning and many times fighting them all at once and winning in the begining- at least til Great Satan hopped in the mix.
Yet against the Taliban - and let's just cut to it shall we, of all the enemies enlightened, crunk and disorderly fun, free choice democracies have - the Taliban is certainly at the top of the list - Deutschland totally sucks - instead of acting like the spiritual sons of the old school professional Werhmacht - German allies in Talibanistan are not only useless but also drunk, fat and stupid.
"Germany is one of the worst offenders in that regard. Berlin has
restricted its troops to the northern regions of Afghanistan, where virtually no fighting is taking place. Despite Washington’s repeated requests, the German government has refused to lift that restriction.
Many of America’s supposed military partners are more interested in
engaging in tokenism and security symbolism than they are with playing a meaningful military role. The governments of those countries want to show that they are good allies and willing participants in U.S.-led missions, while incurring few, if any, battlefield risks.
That sort of conduct may salve the consciences of political leaders
in allied capitals, and it may appeal to U.S. policymakers for whom symbolism is more important than substance. It may even gull an otherwise suspicious American public.
And it provides little useful addition to America’s own military power.
"One wonders at times if U.S. leaders believe that this country
should have allies for the sake of having allies, even if those military
partners bring little of value to the table. Why else would American officials tolerate the tokenism evident with the allied contributions in both Iraq and Afghanistan? "
Dr C makes a good point - The last round of NATO expansion brought on board such military powerhouses as Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovenia.
According to the 2008 edition of the widely respected publication The Military Balance, Estonia’s annual defense budget is $386 million, and the country fields 4,100 active-duty troops. The figures for Latvia are $471 million and 5,996 troops; Lithuania, $470 million and 13,850 troops; and Slovenia, $750 million and 5,973 troops.
At NATO’s summit last year in Bucharest, alliance leaders gave the green light to membership for Croatia and Albania. Croatia’s accession would add $875 million and 17,660 troops, while Albania’s would add $208 million and 11,020 military personnel.
Collectively, these cats spend less on their militaries in a year than Great Satan blings in Iraq in 2 weeks.
Hooking up with such non game token players in a dangerous place like Talibanistan and enhancing security and success at the same incredible moment is a mystery.
"Allies are neither good nor bad, per se. But American officials should not pretend that allies are making meaningful military contributions when the evidence indicates otherwise. Security symbolism and tokenism is of little practical use, yet that is the level of assistance that has become all too common from America’s alliance partners."
Pic - "Allies closing in"