Saturday, March 22, 2008

Canadian Diplomacy Pays Off

Back in January I wrote about John Manley's report on Afghanistan. It was brilliant in that it outlined why the mission is important, and why Canada should continue to fight the mission. One of my friends in the Military said the report should be required reading for every Canadian.

A key recommendation in the report was that Canada should give other NATO countries an ultimatum that Canada would withdrawal our troops unless an additional 1,000 fighting soldiers were committed to the Kandahar region. Looks like it's working. France is likely to commit 1,000 additional soldiers to Afghanistan next month. The Times article states:

The Ministry of Defence has made a working assumption that President Sarkozy will announce a deployment of “slightly more than 1,000 troops to the eastern region”, one said.

The deployment would deliver a significant fillip to the military operation in Afghanistan, ensuring that other countries such as Canada remain engaged. It would also provide concrete evidence that France was keen to forge a new relationship with NATO. . .

President Sarkozy is said to be still deciding whether the extra troops should be sent to the south to fight alongside the Canadians or east to the border with Pakistan. In the latter scenario, the presence of French troops would allow the US troops currently policing the border to be sent south.

This is how diplomacy works. Canada has been pulling more than its weight in Afghanistan, and it has re-earned credibility on the international stage. As a result, Canada has made a very reasonable demand of it's allies and they are responding. Now more than ever we should support the mission and help Afghanistan recover from the years of Taliban rule that have ravaged the country.

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