Time for Europe to step up

November 29th, 2006
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Time was that NATO was the first line of defense in the Cold War with troops arrayed along the Iron Curtain from Turkey to Narvik. Through the 1970′s the Trudeau government progressively diminished Canada’s contribution to the point of embarrassment. Now it seems the tables are turned.

Canada’s long neglected armed forces are doing the tough slogging against the Taliban in southeast Afghanistan. Some NATO allies are helping. Others, Like France, Germany and Italy have placed numerous caveats on their involvement – limiting their engagement in the shooting war.

Prime Minister Harper announced today that some of these NATO “heavyweights” will be loosening their rules of engagement.  Fair enough, but is it enough?

France, for one, seems to have had no problem sending flying columns throughout its former African colonies at a moment’s notice. And they have led with the lip when it’s come to foreign policy – on everything from Iraq to climate change. With their own Islamic “issues” at home, they should have an understanding of what’s at stake here.

Germany is still groping toward an international role sixty years after World War Two. This week’s developments may see more Liechtensteiners under fire than Germans. This may only be a foretaste of things to come, if you believe the latest German demographic statistics.

Based on this recent conduct it’s fairly obvious that the Europeans are long on attitude and short on action. This “Coalition of the Unwilling” likes to think it maintains some international clout, but this is sure to diminish further if they’re not willing to put their men where their mouths are. Full credit to Canada and her troops for the commitment and sacrifices they have made in this struggle against tyranny.

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