August 13, 2003
NATO IN AFGHANISTAN
** NATO takeover
"gives new hope" of stabilizing "faction-ridden"
** Mission outside its
"heartland" has "enormous" symbolic importance for the
** 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
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
"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
"must...support 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.
Front: NATO's New Role In Afghanistan Is
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."
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."
"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."
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
"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
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."
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
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 Defense...is 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
"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.”
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."
"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
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.”
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
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.”
EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC
"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.”
SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA
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
U.S...is 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
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."
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
"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
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."
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."