Lots of sizzle, very little steak
Nato announced today that all 26 nations were united in their commitment to assist Iraq........sort of.
Nato has committed "160 instructors and 200 guards and support staff on the ground in Iraq." Whoopee! There are 110 NATO instructors in Iraq now, and "over half the NATO instructors are American." So NATO, without the American contribution, will provide some 100 instructors and 200 "guards and support staff". Even less whoopee!
France and Germany, however, are still a little miffed about being made to look so completely foolish, so they've chosen to continue looking foolish.
However, in a sign of lingering differences, France, Germany and other opponents of the war will not send instructors to Iraq, limiting their contribution to training outside the country or funding for the operation.France's contribution?
French President Jacques Chirac confirmed France will participate in the NATO mission. But officials said the contribution would be limited to one officer working at NATO headquarters in Belgium.Be still my heart!
What is behind the the Franco-Germanic reluctance?
Behind Schroeder's suggestions are concerns in France and Germany that the United States is a "first among equals" in NATO, an alliance where U.S. military might far outweighs that of the European allies. They want more recognition of the EU's economic and diplomatic influence.The Euros still can't accept the fact that theirs is a declining world influence brought on by socialist policies that have deteriorated their economic power and decimated their militaries to the point that they are forced to rely on the one NATO power that hasn't been foolish the US.
Chirac backed Schroeder. "As the German federal chancellor has said, we have to keep taking account of changes on the European continent," he told the meeting.
UPDATE: Wretchard seems a bit more sanguine than I.
UPDATE2: And Mark Steyn is much less so. (Hat tip to Roger Simon.)