Yesterday, I wrote about the abject failure of Barack Obama to use his “smart power” to shake loose any new troop commitments for Afghanistan from our NATO partners. In fact, while Obama prostrated himself in Europe, apologizing for American arrogance in the past, our allies were so unimpressed that only the French offered any new assistance at all to match the 17,000 additional troops the US has already added. They’ve pledged 300 more troops — and will not allow them to fight.
Today, a few more troop commitments have trickled in … and when I say trickled, that’s exactly what I mean:
Barack Obama made an impassioned plea to America’s allies to send more troops to Afghanistan, warning that failure to do so would leave Europe vulnerable to more terrorist atrocities.
But though he continued to dazzle Europeans on his debut international tour, the Continent’s leaders turned their backs on the US President.
Gordon Brown was the only one to offer substantial help. He offered to send several hundred extra British soldiers to provide security during the August election, but even that fell short of the thousands of combat troops that the US was hoping to prise from the Prime Minister.
Just two other allies made firm offers of troops. Belgium offered to send 35 military trainers and Spain offered 12. Mr Obama’s host, Nicolas Sarkozy, refused his request.
The derisory response threatened to tarnish Mr Obama’s European tour, which yesterday included a spellbinding performance in Strasbourg in which he offered the world a vision of a future free of nuclear weapons.
The Times of London is incorrect, I believe, on French participation, but the plot line is clear. No one in Europe wants to send more troops, especially not to fight. Even the British, who are fighting on the front lines, will not send more fighting forces, instead only volunteering police units for the election.
In my post yesterday, I asked for a good parody of 300 that would suit this story. The Dissident Frogman sent the best one I’ve seen thus far:
Molon labe, baby. Be sure to see the full-size graphic at DF’s blog.