Foreign Policy Blogs

Afghanistan: US/Canada Push for Greater Participation

In yet another US diplomatic attempt, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice asked NATO members for greater participation in all aspects of the war in Afghanistan. This call comes in the background of Canadian President Stephen Harper's claim that he will withdraw his nation's troops, which operate in the southern and most dangerous part of the country, within a year unless NATO adds 1,000 more troops. A senior Bush Administration official discussed the problem of differing rules of engagement and mission perception's between NATO allies in Afghanistan by stating; "You can't have some allies talking about how they're developers and some talking about how they're fighters. We all have to be both."

There are numerous reasons (i.e. domestic politics, US war in Iraq, differing views of the threat level and ways to promote development and good governance) why the US and many of its EU alliance partners don't see eye-to-eye about troop levels and mission strategies in Afghanistan and these fissures are strongly affecting the military campaign. As Bush's term winds down, it will be interesting to see just how far his administration will push European NATO members to increase their participation in the country. Judging by Secretary of Defense Gates recent appeals and Rice's Brussels' visit, they want to keep the pressure on. EU leaders may just try to wait this administration out and see what the next president's policy toward Afghanistan and NATO might be.

Can Bush garner greater participation from NATO's EU states in Afghanistan before his term expires? Or will individual EU nation domestic constraints' keep them from providing more troops or wider rules of engagement?



Patrick Frost

Patrick Frost recently graduated from New York University's Masters Program in Political Science - International Relations. His MA thesis analyzed the capabilities and objectives of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Central Asia and beyond and explored how these affected U.S. interests and policy.

Areas of Focus:
Eurasia, American Foreign Policy, Ideology, SCO

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