Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Stephen Harper on NATO in Afghanistan

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper:

The implications of failure there would be large. "Afghanistan is a serious test for NATO," he warns. "NATO has taken on a United Nations mission and NATO must succeed or I do think the future of NATO as we've known it is in considerable doubt."

The disjointed effort in Afghanistan has exposed cracks in NATO. He praises allies who have delivered more than their fair share, "the East European countries, the Danes, Australia -- not even a NATO member." France has also "stepped up its contribution" since Nicolas Sarkozy became president. He skillfully sidesteps a question about Germany. But there is no equivocating on the risk of failure. "We have to get our act together . . . or NATO will not be able to undertake these kinds of missions in the future. There may be some around the NATO table who don't think it should. But if that's their position, that's not what they are saying."

An unreliable NATO has implications for Canada not least because Russia is once again becoming a menace. The Kremlin's claim to the Arctic seabed can be discounted, he argues, because it is being pursued through the United Nations Law of the Sea Treaty. But other provocations are worrisome. "They are testing our airspace more frequently than they have been doing in a long, long time," he says. "It's the aggression in the Arctic, aggression more generally, an aggression that is increasingly troublesome just to be troublesome."

Wall Street Hournal, February 28, 2009


Manley Report

On October 27, 2007, Prime Minister Stephen Harper established an Independent Panel on Canada’s Future Role in Afghanistan. Chaired by the Honourable John Manley, the panel was given the task of advising Parliament on options for the Canadian mission in Afghanistan once its mandate ends in February 2009.

In the past three months, the panel carried out a series of consultations with Canadian and international experts, including individuals from the political, diplomatic, development and security sectors, in order to develop a series of recommendations on Canada’s future role in Afghanistan.

On January 22, 2008, the panel (also referred to as the Manley Report) released its report and recommendations to the public.

Full report

Key recommendations from the Manley Report

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