European Aid to Afghanistan

Obama’s haul looks pretty modest — about 3,000 extra troops to provide election-related security plus about 2,000 troops to do embedded police trading, plus $100 million more for training and $500 million more for humanitarian aid. Still I’d say the negative tone of the press coverage suggests the perils of expectations more than anything else. The Bush administration has been trying to get more out of the Europeans for years and failing. Obama tried and he’s got something. The extra embeddable trainers should, I think, be particularly useful.

Of course the real time to ask for additional European support in Afghanistan would have been 2002 and 2003 when many countries were eager to cooperate with the United States. Instead, the Bush administration leaned on America’s best friends in Europe and around the world to contribute tens of thousands of soldiers to Iraq.