Remember when Barack Obama promised to strengthen relationships with our allies? Few have been as close as Canada, especially on the war in Afghanistan. Canadians have fought hard on the front lines in numbers that have only been surpassed by the UK among Coalition forces. So when it comes to war planning and new strategies, it only figures that Canada’s Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, would be on the short list for personal consultation with President Obama, right?
Prime Minister Stephen Harper will not be among the world leaders briefed personally by U.S. President Barack Obama about his plans for a new strategy in Afghanistan.
Obama will contact a number of leaders, including those of Britain, France, Germany, Italy, China and Russia. But despite Canada’s lengthy military commitment to the troubled region, Vice-President Joe Biden has been given the task of relaying the president’s plans to Harper.
Canada’s military mission to Afghanistan began soon after the attacks on the United States on Sept. 11, 2001. The current mission in Kandahar, which began at the end of 2006, includes 2,800 troops focused around an infantry battle group.
Let’s go over that list again:
- Britain – Major Coalition partner, next highest troop commitment after the US.
- France – Has several hundred forces in combat areas, slightly over 3,000 troops overall.
- Germany – Refuses to commit to combat roles, although they have suffered attacks in other areas, slightly more troops than Canada.
- Italy – Fewer troops than Canada, mainly outside of combat roles.
- China – No troops in Coalition.
- Russia – No troops in Coalition.
Now why is Obama relegating Harper to Joe Biden while schmoozing coalition partners with less combat commitment — and two nations that aren’t even part of the effort? It’s a ridiculous, shameful, and embarrassing insult to an American combat ally and one of this nation’s closest friends.
Harper says he won’t push for an extension of Canada’s commitment after the 2011 expiration of their expeditionary effort. After this, who could blame him? (via Canadian HA reader Peter L)
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