Europe – “That’s Why We Have Americans!”

Well Europe finally has the US president they want and how do they say “boy are we glad you’re the man?”

France’s defence minister on Wednesday appeared to rule out any immediate reinforcement of French troops in Afghanistan if requested by Barack Obama, the new US president.

Hervé Morin said deploying additional French forces to the war-torn country was “not a question for now”.

France had, he said, already made the “necessary efforts” when it sent 700 extra troops to Afghanistan six months ago, taking the total to 2,900.

Mr Morin’s comments underline French and European reluctance to take part in a simple escalation of troop numbers in Afghanistan, despite widespread goodwill on the continent for Mr Obama.

France’s defence minister on Wednesday appeared to rule out any immediate reinforcement of French troops in Afghanistan if requested by Barack Obama, the new US president.

Hervé Morin said deploying additional French forces to the war-torn country was “not a question for now”.

Of course France’s President, Nicolas Sarkozy, is eager to get off to a good start with Obama, so he’s trying to soften that stance just a bit:

President Nicolas Sarkozy is eager to get off to a good start with Mr Obama and would not want to reject out of hand any possible French reinforcement, least of all on day two of Mr Obama’s presidency.

Mr Sarkozy is willing to contemplate sending additional French troops but the Elysée first wants to know exactly what Mr Obama’s intended strategy for Afghanistan is, said a diplomat.

Intended stategy?

More Europeans, of course.

Oh, he means military strategy. Uh, it’s only day two, give him some time to come up with one.

But while hope springs eternal, I wouldn’t get too giddy about the possibility of Europe committing more troops to the “good war”, Obama or no Obama:

But while the poll underscores the considerable respect Mr Obama enjoys in these European countries, it also reveals the resistance he will face if, as strongly expected, he calls on Europe to do more in the fight against the Taliban.

Some 60 per cent of German respondents to the survey said they would not wish Berlin to send more troops to Afghanistan under any circumstances. Even in the UK, the second largest contributor to Nato’s mission in Afghanistan, some 57 per cent of respondents rejected calls for any more British troops to be sent.

In both France and Italy, some 53 per cent of people said their countries should not send troops. Only in Spain is there a majority willing to consider sending additional troop numbers.

All of that means that a) he has to come up with an acceptable strategy and b) he has to convince these countries who are NATO “partners” to part with more of their troops and send them to Astan. Hmmm. This is a little harder than just talking about it, isn’t it?

I’m a bit confused though – I thought this was all taken care of with the pre-election swing through Europe? Are they saying that all those swooning Germans weren’t on board with this? Are they saying that all this “change” stuff doesn’t carry over to Europe?

But they love this guy!

True to form, it seems Europe would much prefer we remain their protective umbrella while our military and taxpayers bear the lion’s share of the defense burden. That’s what Americans are good for.

I mean how in the hell can Europeans afford their welfare-state bennies if they actually have to pay for and participate in their own defense or, heaven forfend, fulfill their part of their NATO responsibilities? It’s a blood and treasure thing. Or in the case of Europe, a blood or treasure thing. They opt for the treasure.

Of course, when we actually deploy our military, they do reserve the right to bitch and protest about that. And you have to see their side of this – how can they rightfully torch 500 cars a night if their guys are participating in the war for heaven sake?

So welcome to the big time, Mr. Obama. They love you. They’re glad you are where you are. You are the one they have been waiting for and they are tickled to death you’re the prez.

But more troops?

Heh … I don’t think so.

[Crossposted at QandO]

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