NATO in Iraq? Not so fast.
Yesterday in Slate, Jacob Weisberg proposed NATO as a cure to the United States’ woes in Iraq. His basic argument is thus: The American presence incites violence, but somebody needs to keep the Sunnis and Shiites from each others’ throats. The European forces that comprise NATO, with their extensive experience in peacekeeping operations, are uniquely ...
Yesterday in Slate, Jacob Weisberg proposed NATO as a cure to the United States' woes in Iraq. His basic argument is thus: The American presence incites violence, but somebody needs to keep the Sunnis and Shiites from each others' throats. The European forces that comprise NATO, with their extensive experience in peacekeeping operations, are uniquely suited for the mission in Iraq. Sure, getting the Western European countries, especially France and Germany, on board will be difficult and require some groveling by President Bush, but "the consequences of inaction" should be ample motivation. Afghanistan, Weisberg writes, could serve as the model.
Yes, let’s use NATO in Afghanistan as a model. It is, after all, a “key priority.” But let’s remember that U.S. and British soldiers, the people Weisberg wants out of Iraq, constitute about half of NATO’s 33,000-strong force in Afghanistan. So, it looks like our model is a poor one. There, the Taliban is resurgent. Despite Bush’s pleas, France, Germany, and Italy refuse to redeploy troops to the more dangerous, southern region of the country—this, a little more than five years after we learned exactly what “the consequences of inaction” in Afghanistan were.
There is no doubt that the United States is in a sticky situation in Iraq and a little more help would be nice. Still, we can’t just pass the problem off to someone else for reasons both moral and, as shown above, practical. Iraq may end up being the world’s problem, but the United States caused it and no one else is going to jump in to save us.
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