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Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

August 13, 2003

August 13, 2003




**  NATO takeover "gives new hope" of stabilizing "faction-ridden" Afghanistan.


**  Mission outside its "heartland" has "enormous" symbolic importance for the Alliance.


**  NATO role in Afghanistan may be a "warm-up before Iraq."




NATO taking command in Afghanistan is 'a welcome development'--  European commentators saw NATO's deployment beyond its "traditional zone of operations"--which would have been "totally unthinkable" a few years ago--as a "laudable" development demonstrating NATO had become "a globally responsible alliance."  NATO had been "searching for a role" that would justify the Alliance's costs and keep it militarily prepared.  The proliferation of "failed" states and the terrorists "incubated therein" has given the Alliance "renewed purpose."  Outlets in Afghanistan said the transfer of command to NATO "is a valuable measure that enhances the hope for peace."  A common hope, expressed in Kabul's Dari-language Eslah-e Meli, was that "NATO will not only entrench itself in big cities, but also extend its activities throughout the country and pave the way for restoring security."  Germany's left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau, discussing Provincial Reconstruction Teams, observed that "without security for the population, there will be no reconstruction." 


The Afghan mission 'is an important test' for NATO--  The out-of-area intervention showed in practice "how far political thinking about security has come" since the Cold War's end and provided "an opportunity" to restore bruised transatlantic relations.  "European...diplomacy must seize that chance," said Belgium's independent Christian Democrat De Standaard.  Despite the rift between the U.S. and "Old Europe" over Iraq, a conservative Canadian paper held, NATO members "recognize that the U.S. can't fight alone against fanatics trying to acquire nuclear weapons."  A French daily observed that France, "long opposed" to the extension of NATO's operational area, approved of the Afghanistan operation "in the name of preserving transatlantic relations."  German writers noted that the Europeans "have only reluctantly set out on this course" and warned against a "fatal burden sharing" where the U.S. "leads the willing into a war whenever it considers this necessary and right, and then leaves it to the Alliance to clean up." 


Is the Afghan mission a 'test case' for NATO in Iraq?--  One consequence of the Afghan mission for NATO was that "people are already talking about" a NATO mission in Iraq.  "The Afghan episode is a test for NATO before a possible intervention in Iraq," France's right-of-center Le Figaro maintained; economic-oriented Les Echos said NATO " the Polish troops in Iraq" and that a "broader NATO involvement in Iraq is at issue, contingent on approval by the UN."  After what the Irish Times termed "surprisingly warm words of praise for Germany" from President Bush, a German paper remarked that Defense Minister Struck "is entirely able to imagine a NATO deployment in Iraq."  Norway's independent VG editorialized that a NATO mission in Iraq "demands a new and clear decision" from the UN Security Council.    

EDITOR:  Steven Wangsness

EDITOR'S NOTE:  This analysis is based on 28 reports from 15 countries, August 9-13, 2003.  Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.




BRITAIN:  "New Front:  NATO's New Role In Afghanistan Is Welcome"


The conservative Times declared (8/12):  "Ever since the demise of the Soviet threat, NATO has been searching for a role that would justify the costs of the organization and keep its military preparedness at a peak.  The body's primary aim, the defense of the West, no longer presents any challenge on the plains of Northern Europe: no Soviet tanks are now massed on the German border....  The alliance is already deployed, out of its Cold War area, in Bosnia and Kosovo on similar missions to underpin a shaky peace.  Afghanistan, wilder, more devastated and further removed from NATO's heartland, demands a similar mission, but on a far more challenging scale....  For Afghanistan, the NATO takeover is doubly important.  First, it gives new hope to Hamid Karzai, the embattled Afghan President, that his constant pleas to the West for military reinforcements to stabilize the still faction-ridden country will not be ignored....  Secondly, the formal acceptance of responsibility by the West’s collective defense arm means an end to the awkwardness of six-monthly rotating commands....  More troops may be needed and the cost will be enormous.  But the enhanced commitment to Afghanistan will send signals far beyond the country’s borders."


FRANCE:  "NATO Venturing Outside Of Europe"


Economics-oriented right-of-center Les Echos maintained (8/12):  “Afghanistan should not be the only mission outside of Europe for the Atlantic Alliance.  It must also support the Polish troops in Iraq in their effort to keep the peace.  A broader involvement of NATO in Iraq is at issue, contingent on approval by the UN....  But for NATO to have a strong role in ensuring security in the 21st century, it must first reduce the rifts between its members.  This implies a political willingness that is still a long way off.”


"Atlantic Alliance Takes Over Command"


Luc de Barochez opined in right-of-center Le Figaro (Internet version) (8/11):  "Since the end of the cold war nearly 12 years ago, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has been looking for work.  It has just found some far from its traditional zone of operations: in Afghanistan....  France has long opposed the extension 'outside the zone' of the jurisdiction of an organization that the United States dominates a bit too much for its taste.   Paris finally granted its approval for the operation last spring, in the name of preserving transatlantic relations suffering from the Iraq war.  It must be said that candidate countries were not trying to outdo one another to take charge of ISAF....  Since no one else volunteered, the NATO intervention suits everyone.  The decision corresponds to the emphasis that the Atlantic Alliance wants to put on the fight against terrorism from now on....  The arrival of NATO has reopened the debate on a possible extension...of the multinational force into the provinces....  The United States, which opposed the extension of the operations of the multinational force into the provinces out of concerns about interfering with its own anti-Taliban military operations, now approves the plan....  The Afghan episode is a test for NATO before a possible intervention in Iraq, where the American-British coalition, facing difficulties on the ground, could need backup....  NATO would be assuming global competence for re-establishment of peace, far beyond European borders....  After playing a passive deterrent role for a half-century, the Atlantic alliance has certainly never been as active since the disappearance of the Soviet Union."  


GERMANY:  "Small Steps Outside Kabul"


Rolf Paasch noted in an editorial in left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau (8/13):  "The misguided separation between anti-terror war and nation-building has turned out to be an obstacle for the pacification of Afghanistan.  Even strategists in Washington have understood this, for without security for the population, there will be no reconstruction and without reconstruction a return of the Taliban and terrorists is looming.  This is the background of the discussion over the use of 'Provincial Reconstruction Teams.'...  These teams may promise a certain protection to the Afghans from the arbitrariness of local warlords.  But such operations will be effective only if they mark the beginning of a greater engagement....  In any case, the precarious situation of the Afghan population requires sending more German, French, and U.S. soldiers....  But those who call for 'political concepts' before sending more soldiers should know that reality allows at best a sketch for the next minor steps of the intervention force.  The only alternative to European coordination efforts before sending and equipping the reconstruction teams and a dialogue with the Bush administration about a new UN mandate for Afghanistan, is a withdrawal from the Hindu Kush."


"They Are Not Safe"


Christoph von Marschall judged in centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (8/12):  "German soldiers are to be sent to Afghan provinces in small reconstruction teams to repair bridges and hospitals and to create a good mood.  Will such a middle way be the solution if an expansion of the mandate is necessary but nobody is willing to send the forces that would be necessary to turn such an expansion a calculable risk?  But the German government only has this possibility if it is convinced that a simple stay-the-course will ruin all previous successes in Kabul.  The government in Berlin is pinning its hopes on optimism and momentum and that the forces that appreciate the benefits of peace will become stronger; and that in the end these forces will be strong enough to gain the upper hand despite all obstacles and dangers.  It would be nice if we could share this optimism."


"Afghan Makeshift Solution"


Business daily Financial Times Deutschland of Hamburg noted (8/12):  "The preconditions to dry the ground of terrorism are favorable.  It is only a minor, radical minority that tries to spread terror and fear to stop the reconstruction process in the country....  Many militia forces would like to drop their guns and return to a civil life.  But they will do so only if they see perspectives and chances to get a job.  But thus far, investors have shied away from investments in Kabul because the situation on is too unsafe.  And here the U.S. plan of Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRT) tries to help....  The risks are great...but under the current conditions, the PRTs are the only realistic option.  If this experiment fails, the international community will have to pay a high price for the fact that it has planned to restore security in Afghanistan on the cheap.  Nobody can afford a second 9/11."


"Considerable Challenges"


Centrist Badische Zeitung of Freiburg declared (8/12):  "It is the first time that NATO acts beyond its old alliance borders....  It has thus become a globally responsible alliance.  But this role is creating considerable challenges for NATO.  On the one hand, the U.S. should take good care not to tell allies what they have to do, and the allies will have to learn that they cannot always call for U.S. assistance.  On the other hand, people are already talking about an expanded ISAF mandate and about a mission in Iraq.  This may be reasonable in individual cases if it is not based on a fatal burden sharing:  First, the U.S. leads the willing into a war whenever it considers this necessary and right, and then leaves it to the Alliance to clean up.  If this becomes standard practice, the new NATO will quickly come to its end."


"Alliance On Probation"


Nikolas Busse noted in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (Internet version) (8/11):  "Neither war cries nor festive fanfares will be heard when NATO assumes command of the peacekeeping force in Afghanistan....  The mission is militarily too inconspicuous, it does not stimulate the political imagination enough in the member states.  But the symbolic significance concealed behind the changing of the guard in Kabul is enormous....  In doing so, for the moment the Alliance is following the script of U.S. defense policy.  In Washington, people would not have cared a whit for an alliance that had not taken up the dual issue of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.  NATO's rapid reaction force in particular....points in this direction....  The Europeans have only reluctantly set out on this course....  Washington and the European middle powers will agree among each other on the fate of the Alliance, and possibly quite soon: in Iraq, NATO will support Poland, and voices can be heard from America that want more.  These have also been heard in Berlin, as shown by the statements of Defense Minister Struck, who is entirely able to imagine a NATO deployment in Iraq.  Preferably there would not be another dispute like the one before the war, when Paris and Berlin blocked protective measures for Turkey.  Otherwise, the NATO mission in Afghanistan will remain a last staff outing of an alliance that time has passed by."


RUSSIA:  "Facing Real Enemy Again"


Roman Streshnev remarked in centrist army-run Krasnaya Zvezda (8/13):  "NATO, which has been predicted to fall apart soon, has a tangible enemy now.  Performing combat and peacekeeping missions may keep the Alliance going for years."


"Support From Local Population Is A Must"


Aleksandr Kapralov remarked in reformist Vremya MN (8/12):  "With the military operation in Afghanistan over, the U.S. has failed to nab Usama Bin Laden and do away with the al-Qaida terrorists.  Now it is for NATO to take a shot at that....  Experience shows that it is easy to win a quick victory in Afghanistan and Iraq.  But it is impossible to exploit the success without support from the local population.  No one has been able to do that.  NATO will hardly be an exception to the rule."


AUSTRIA:  "No Willingness For Cleaning-Up Operations"


Livia Klingl stated in mass-circulation Kurier (8/12):  “The short war in Afghanistan, a consequence of the events of 9/11, was seen by many to be a positive step....  Since then, the country has been--diplomatically speaking--'decentralized.’  This means that the warlords have accumulated more power in their separate spheres of influence....  It sounds pretty obvious that a country twice as large as Germany cannot be controlled by 5,000 soldiers stationed in the capital.  The German Minister of now contemplating the expansion of the operational area.  However, there is no reason for optimism.  Mister Struck can only imagine 300 soldiers in Kunduz in northern Afghanistan--a small town in the sphere of influence of the ‘Northern Alliance.’  Those are exactly the warlords who were presented to the West as the ‘good guys’ only a short while ago.  Nobody can seriously expect that NATO is going to save Afghanistan from chaos and anarchy now.  It is to be feared that in Iraq, the 'liberation’ will end similarly.”




Frank Schloemer wrote in independent, Flemish-language De Morgen (8/12):  “A few years ago it was totally unthinkable.  Yesterday it became a fact.  In Afghanistan, NATO started its first out-of-area intervention.  For the first time since its creation in 1947, the military alliance is carrying out a mission outside Europe....  NATO circles in Brussels say that this evolution shows that the Alliance ‘has the will to play a role in world events.’”


"Milestone In Afghanistan"


Deputy chief editor Bart Sturtewagen wrote in independent Christian-Democrat De Standaard (8/11):  “The fact that NATO is taking up [command of the international peace force in Kabul] shows that Washington realizes again that the Alliance is still important....  During his radio address to the nation last weekend, President George W. Bush emphasized that he wanted to thank Germany for the role that it is playing in Afghanistan.  That is not a detail for those who remember the sharp conflict between the White House and Berlin that began one year ago....  The time when the Bush administration could push through its assertive international agenda is over.  Referring to the danger of international terrorism to legitimize that policy doesn’t work anymore....  Anyway, there is an opportunity today to restore the Atlantic relations.  European--and Belgian--diplomacy must seize that chance.  As of now, the discussion about what happened [over the war in Iraq] should be a subject for historians.  The return to a multilateral world order is more important than the settlement of old accounts.”


CROATIA:  "NATO All The Way To Kabul"


Zagreb's Government-owned Vjesnik opined (8/12):  "The Afghanistan theorem will be a valuable experience for NATO.  The Taliban is gone, but anarchy and chaos still rule in Afghanistan.  It has been proven once again that fighting arms with arms doesn't bring long-term success, unless it is simultaneous with the removal of the reasons which had led to the crisis.  In the case of Afghanistan, which has become the epicenter of world terrorism, nothing will change significantly without, for example, investments in educational and health institutions.  And this costs a lot.  That's where NATO can neither help nor hurt.  Same thing with Iraq.  If only peacekeeping and preservation of order are taken into account, in which NATO's engagement within the UN mandate is more than welcome, there will be no results."


IRELAND:  "NATO Leads Peacekeeping Force In Kabul"


Derek Scally stated in the center-left Irish Times (8/12):  "NATO has taken over command of international peacekeeping troops in Afghanistan from Germany and the Netherlands....  The peacekeeping force was created to stabilize Kabul and protect the government in the wake of the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan that toppled the Taliban.  Hamid Karzai, the interim president, used the handover ceremony yesterday to make another call for ISAF's mandate to be extended beyond Kabul, a safe island surrounded by unstable regions ruled by rival warlords....  The end of Germany's six-month term leading the ISAF brought surprisingly warm words of praise from President Bush....  The comments came after months of chilly transatlantic relations because of disagreements over the Iraq war and were interpreted in Berlin as an attempt to prepare the ground for a U.S. request for NATO help in Iraq.  Mr. Struck said at the weekend that Germany would be prepared to send soldiers to Iraq under an appropriate UN mandate.  But yesterday the government strenuously denied it had any such plans.”


NETHERLANDS:  "NATO In Afghanistan"


Influential independent NRC Handelsblad editorialized (8/9):  "The Afghan mission will constitute an important test for NATO.  Will the alliance be capable of living up to high expectations in the organizational and military fields?  NATO's future will largely depend on the success of this mission in Kabul and the areas surrounding the capital.  The alliance will now have to prove that it can play a positive role in Afghanistan--and maybe later in Iraq.  This will only be possible if NATO member states are fully aware of their obligations.  First, they will have to cooperate closely with the United Nations, the other international organization.  This will have to be done in good harmony and without animosity, while trying to overcome all the cumbersome bureaucratic procedures that are so characteristic of both organizations.  And they will have to acknowledge that a peacekeeping mission in a former war-torn country is no sinecure.  It will require a long-time effort that will moreover entail certain risks.....  As an experiment, the deployment of NATO troops in Afghanistan is laudable.  There is no other option; if NATO were to simply rely on its former glory, it would become sidelined.  The overall ISAF force of 4,800 troops, however, will be no more than a drop in the ocean.  The force's troop strength and operational area are too limited to pacify the entire country.  This is also important lesson with respect to the situation in Iraq."


NORWAY:  "NATO On New Course"


Independent VG commented (8/12):  “NATO has now taken over the leadership of the international forces in Afghanistan, and enthusiastic NATO diplomats describe it as a new start for the alliance. This remains to be seen.  But the transformation of the command marks a final end for the period’s crass debate about whether the alliance should involve itself militarily outside its traditional area of responsibility....  The Senate in the U.S. Congress last month agreed unanimously on encouraging President Bush to seek NATO’s help in Iraq.  But this demands a new and clear decision from the UNSC.  We are not in doubt that this is the right direction for the U.S. to go.”


"NATO’s Leadership"


Newspaper-of-record Aftenposten observed (8/12):  “For the first time since the North Atlantic alliance was established it will now run an operation outside its treaty area.  This shows in practice how far political thinking about security has come since the time of the Cold War....  The Afghanistan operation aims to stabilize the relationships in a country that have broken down after the occupation, internal fights and friction that laid it open as a base for the terrorist network al-Qaida.  The international security consequences of this are still fresh in our minds....  It would have been desirable that both NATO’s military efforts and the civilian help from the international community could have been greater. But NATO now at least shows a willingness to [commit to] a more long-term obligation in Afghanistan that is a premise for greater stability and development in the country.”


POLAND:  "Warm-Up Before Iraq"


Leopold Unger held in liberal Gazeta Wyborcza (8/12):  “For the first time in its history, NATO is officially stepping beyond its ‘area of operations.’  And it is high time....  The NATO flag in Kabul may mark the beginning of a process which will help normalize a situation where we have Saudi Arabia in the anti-fundamentalist/anti-terrorist coalition...but we do not have NATO.  Also it will let the Americans review their pragmatic but cynical and deceptive doctrine which says that it is not the Alliance that defines the mission, but the mission that dictates the alliance.”


TURKEY:  "Afghanistan And NATO"


Fikret Ertan wrote in the Islamist-intellectual Zaman (8/13):  “Things will go more smoothly now that NATO has assumed charge in Afghanistan.  It will certainly help ISAF to function more efficiently and provide better results in easing the pain of the Afghan people. … Apart from the ISAF mission, however, Afghanistan is urgently in need of many other things, such as facilitating NGOs, measures to help the economy, and moves toward establishing a national army.  NATO now has a brand-new mission in Afghanistan, which basically extends the Alliance’s responsibilities outside of Europe for the first time.  The core of the NATO mission is to secure peace and stability in all of Afghanistan.  This will require ISAF to take on some additional duties, a step that should be taken as soon as possible.”




THAILAND:  "Difficult Task Ahead Of NATO"


The independent, English language The Nation judged (8/13):  “In its first operation outside Europe, NATO on Monday took over responsibility for Kabul’s 5,000-strong peace-keeping force amid calls for urgent action to be taken to address Afghanistan’s fast deteriorating security situation.  The change is a welcome development because it will end the need to find a new lead nation every six months, thus hopefully increasing the efficiency of the peace-keeping detachment, known as the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF)....  To its credit, the United States, which was initially reluctant to get involved in nation-building, is considering a more generous approach....  The internationally backed political process established for Afghanistan calls for the completion of a new constitution, its ratification by a national assembly, a census and voter-registration campaign and democratic elections for a new government-all within less than 12 months.  Completing those tasks will be next to impossible unless security conditions dramatically improve and Karzai’s government is able to extend its authority.  If the process does not go forward, the half-funded and half-hearted nation-building process led by the Bush administration and committed by other donor nations may collapse altogether.”




INDIA:  "American Ambiguity In Afghanistan" 


C. Raja Mohan contended in the centrist Hindu (8/11):  "Belated American moves reflect a new sense of urgency in Washington that nearly two years after the ouster of Taliban, progress towards peace and stability in Afghanistan has been painfully slow....  Former U.S. Ambassador to India, Robert Blackwill, is expected to be nominated by President Bush, to take charge of Afghan policy at the National Security Council and give it more purposefulness....  But the Bush administration appears far from reconciling the deeper tension between its interests in Afghanistan and those in Pakistan.  The unwilling to confront the sources of regional instability in Pakistan.  Until the U.S. comes to terms with this core contradiction in its policy towards South West Asia, strengthening the military stabilization effort and committing more economic resources for development in Afghanistan are unlikely to bear fruit....  Success is likely to remain elusive so long as Washington remains unwilling to squeeze Islamabad into full-fledged cooperation in isolating and defeating the forces threatening Afghanistan's stability....  The U.S. pressure appears to be directed more towards the Afghan President, Hamid Karzai, than the Pakistani leader, Pervez Musharraf.   For too long, the U.S. policy towards Afghanistan has been paralyzed by the fear of offending the Pakistani military.  Unless Washington liberates itself from the emphasis on the centrality of Islamabad in Afghanistan's political future, it will find it difficult to promote stability in the region."


PAKISTAN:  "The Afghan Scenario"


Lahore's populist Khabrain editorialized (8/12):  "The worsening law and order situation in Afghanistan shows that forces that were engaged in conspiracies to mar Pak-Afghan relations are also busy in destabilizing Afghanistan.  These powers are also strengthening elements working against the interim government.  The Pak-Afghan border situation continues to grow worse in the mean time....  The Afghan government needs to find the enemies hiding within its ranks posing as friends.  Peace in Afghanistan is the Allied troops’ responsibility--a task they must perform satisfactorily.  This would save Afghanistan’s relations with other countries from going sour, and spare the Afghan nation the turmoil they continue to face."


"NATO In Kabul"


The center-right English-language Nation contended (8/12):  "The deployment of a NATO contingent as the ISAF in Afghanistan, and the taking over of command by a German general in his NATO capacity, has a number of dimensions that impinge directly on the region, as well as on the world as a whole.  It also brings into focus the future of NATO as well, because NATO’s most important member, the U.S., has a contingent in Afghanistan about twice the size of the official ISAF, but it remains under national, rather than alliance, command....  There is still a divergence between the U.S. and Europe: the U.S. forces in Afghanistan have only one mission: seek and destroy Taliban and al-Qaida remnants.  This has not led to the strengthening of the Karzai government, because the U.S. has not switched over to the 'business of nation building.'   However, the NATO contingent commander has declared as a goal spreading ISAF’s activities from the security of Kabul alone, to policing other towns.  While this is not antithetical to U.S. goals, it might well lead to friction, as the U.S. forces' best friends are often the very warlords the ISAF will be moving to tame.  While the NATO deployment might play a positive role in stabilizing Afghanistan, in the long term it is a serious cause of concern for the region, and should lead to rethinking in many other parts of the world.  It implies another player in the Great Game (of Central Asian energy), which might not wish to go once it has a foot in the door.  Pakistan and other Afghan neighbors need to watch out."


AFGHANISTAN:  "NATO Presence Throughout Afghanistan Is The Need Of The Time"


Kabul's Dari-language Eslah-e Meli commented (8/11):  "NATO has done many big jobs in Europe, Africa and Asia in the fields of security and peace....  NATO is supposed to play a positive and active role in restoring security in our country.  Though ISAF under the command of Turkey and Germany has made efforts to restore security to some extent in Kabul and some other provinces during the two years of its mission, because of the inactive presence of ISAF in other cities, security is not restored and warlordism is still ruling over people's destiny.  So, the Afghan people's expectation is that NATO will not only entrench itself in big cities, but also extend its activities throughout the country and pave the way for restoring security.  The experience of the past two years has proved the fact that reconstruction of the ruined country becomes very difficult if the arms are not collected and professional people are not recruited to governmental institutions.  Also, those who have made a living by guns during the chaotic years have no plan for establishing security, but are against disarmament.  They try to always have anarchy in order to be able to have a living and exercise their power.  Therefore, under the present circumstances, the presence of NATO throughout the country is a crucial need and they should have an active role in restoring peace all over the country."


"Transfer To NATO"


Radio Afghanistan observed in Pashto (8/11):  "The transfer of ISAF [International Security Assistance Force] command from Germany and Netherlands is a valuable measure that enhances the hope for peace and expansion of government authority among the people of Afghanistan....  The people of Kabul and other cities of Afghanistan express gratitude for the humanitarian activities of the ISAF in Kabul.  They hope that the transfer of the ISAF command to NATO will boost security and peace in the capital more than ever before and that these forces will be expanded to other cities of Afghanistan....  The remnants of the Taliban and al-Qaida have not been completely stamped out in Afghanistan.  Therefore, they are still able to endanger the life of people.  We hope that forces related to ISAF will be expanded to other regions of the country and will be seriously deployed in those cities where the Taliban and al-Qaida pose dangers.  These remnants should soon be eradicated, otherwise the people of Afghanistan will lose the present chance to benefit from the reconstruction of the country and international assistance."


IRAN:  "NATO In Afghanistan"


The Dari-language Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran External Service had this to say (8/10):  "NATO reports that the organization will take over command of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan....  Some reports say that it is the first time that NATO forces have been sent to a non-member country outside Europe.  U.S. forces are facing enormous problems in Afghanistan and NATO's move comes in response to a request made by the U.S. ...  The presence of NATO forces in South Asia, next to the border with China and regional countries is of significant importance....   How will NATO treat and deal with the Afghan people and rebel groups in this country?  Can this multinational force ensure security in Afghanistan?  The U.S.'s request for a NATO presence in Afghanistan indicates that U.S. forces have failed to ensure stability and security in this country."




CANADA:  "Putting Things In Order"


The nationalist Ottawa Citizen editorialized (8/12):  "The proliferation of failed, or failing states, and the terrorists incubated therein, have made NATO more necessary than ever.  This renewed purpose was demonstrated...when, for the first time in its 54-year existence, NATO stepped beyond the borders of Europe and assumed command of the 5,000-strong International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan....  Despite the rift between the U.S. and 'old' Europe over Iraq, the alliance's 19 members recognize that the U.S. can't fight alone against fanatics trying to acquire nuclear weapons.  To those who object to 'defensive imperialism,' we reply: The West will keep its armies at home when the enemy stops training suicide bombers."


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