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      Dutch Pullout Intensifies Crisis in NATO Over Afghanistan

      The latest evidence that anti-war pressures are making NATO the weak link in the Long War in Afghanistan came this week with the collapse of the Dutch government due to internal wrangling over the war.
      Defense Secretary Robert Gates immediately warned of the "danger in Europe's anti-military views", according to a New York Times headline. [Feb. 24] Gates attacked "the demilitarization of Europe - where large swaths of the general public and political class are averse to military force and the risks that go with it." The European peace sentiment, he contended, is "an impediment to achieving real security and lasting peace."
      The Times' news account on Feb. 21 reported that President Obama's popularity in Europe has not materialized in more troop commitments as previously expected. Under Obama's pressure, the Dutch prime minister agreed to extend the Dutch military commitment beyond this year. When the Labor Party balked, the government fell.
      NATO recently pledged 7,000 troops, but 2,000 consist of units already sent to Afghanistan for the presidential election. The pressure will intensify at a NATO "force generation" meeting this week.
      The Afghanistan commitment is the only glue which holds NATO together, according to national security elites like Gen. James Jones, Obama's current national security adviser and former NATO commander.


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