23 October, 2006

Do not mention the war.

Nicholas Burns, US Under Secretary of State, has been in Berlin vainly asking Germany, whose small ISAF contingent is restricted to the relative safety of northern Afghanistan, to make a more positive contribution to NATO. According to Reuters he said,

"I would very respectfully ask Germans ... to reflect on whether the very narrow and very rigid restrictions put on the German troops make sense for NATO."

"Wouldn't it be better if Germany and France ... could be willing to have those troops sent sometimes on a periodic, temporary basis to help the Dutch, British, U.S. and Canadians that are undertaking the major share of the fighting?"
I suppose Burns had to go through the motions. It is also to be hoped that, in private, Burns is telling NATO members like Germany that the organisation has outlived its usefulness; the free ride is over and whatever new structures replace NATO will require any member states to actually fulfil their treaty responsibilities.

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