Saturday, March 01, 2008
Barack Obama has started talking about Europe, and TalkLeft has the entertaining give-and-take between his campaign and Hillary's. I do agree with Obama on this bit, even if he is, as Hillary maintains, late to the party:
He said] European governments had to pull their weight in Afghanistan and not rely so much on the United States to do the "dirty work" against Taliban fighters.....
He said the US needs more support from its NATO allies in Afghanistan and implied Germany should lift its ban on combat operations in the dangerous south.
At a time when "traditional allies" has become almost synonymous with "free riders," this is welcome from the candidate of the left. Now we need some principles to build upon. How about this one: We will consult extensively on collective security matters with any power that spends on defense at least 2% of GDP -- half the level of the United States -- and has the lift capacity to deliver at least some fully-equipped and combat ready soldiers anywhere in the world. List of qualifying countries.
CWCID: Glenn Reynolds.
It's been awhile since I was in the heavy lift business (retired from the USAF in 95) but I don't recall then anyone with any heavy lift capabilities and I doubt anyone has gotten better at it.
Based on the number of times I missed Christmas while hauling non-U.S. troops/peace keepers/peace enforcers/fill-in-the-blank/etc around the world pretty much convinced me that no one else could 1. Do it better and 2. Do it at all!
I use to cringe when I heard press releases saying that no American troops are being used to enforce the peace in (favorite African S***hole) and then I would look around at the 90-200 Air Mobility Command troops on the ground and the C-5s and 141s hauling everything in.
I spoke with some friend still in when the Christmas tsumanis hit the Indian Ocean in 2004 and heard the same story; no one but the USAF could haul stuff there.
Now, at least, since we've retired all the C-141's out at DM maybe some friendly country will buy a few and start their own Trash Haulers R Us?
I can find them some qualified Aerial Port people for the right money.
I think if Mr. Obama makes it to the White House and keeps up this sort of talk, he may find out that HE is now the "Ugly American", and will somehow now be morphed into a cowboy (or may a different metaphor, Chicago gangster?). Good luck with all that.
Double-plus ungood to ask sophisticated soft powers of Europe to do that oh-so-tedious "heavy lifting". Dirty fingernails and such. Tut-tut, move along simplisme Americains!
Actually, Ivan could do it, but I don't quite think that they are on our team.