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Updated: 08-Oct-2003

SHAPE News Summary & Analysis

8 October 2003

  • Afghanistan welcomes NATO move to expand peacekeeping force


  • Rumsfeld recasts himself as NATO believer


  • According to AP, Afghanistan’s government Wednesday welcomed a decision by NATO that could pave the way for an expansion of ISAF beyond Kabul. “Providing an additional international security blanket over those parts of the country that need them most would assist in the political and reconstruction processes underway in the country,” the Afghan Foreign Ministry reportedly said in a statement. In a related development, AFP quotes the U.S. Ambassador to the UN, John Negroponte, saying Tuesday the UN Security Council could have a new resolution to approve an expansion of ISAF by the end of October. According to the dispatch, he said it was likely the resolution would be voted on before the Council makes a one-week visit to Afghanistan and Pakistan beginning Oct. 31 to assess the rebuilding effort and the peace process. “We’re hoping between now and the end of the month to have a new resolution. I’d expect action on that before we go on our trip,” Negroponte reportedly said. The New York Times reports meanwhile that senior Alliance officials said Tuesday that NATO had decided in principle to expand its force in Afghanistan beyond Kabul and final approval could come as soon as this week. According to the newspaper, the officials said it was possible that the Alliance might announce an expanded role for ISAF during an informal meeting of NATO defense ministers and military chiefs iColorado Springs, which concludes Thursday.


  • The Financial Times writes that ahead of an informal meeting of NATO defense ministers in Colorado Springs, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld tried to portray himself as a committed Atlanticist, a former U.S. ambassador to NATO during the height of the Cold War who still believes the Alliance has a central role in global security. In an interview, says the newspaper, Rumsfeld repeatedly listed NATO accomplishments that have come since he took office almost three years ago, from a complete restructuring of the Alliance’s command structure, to the establishment of a new rapid reaction force, to NATO’s first military efforts outside Europe, taking control of Afghan peacekeeping. “It says people do believe in the Alliance and it does have a value prospectively, which we certainly are convinced of,” the newspaper quotes Rumsfeld saying. Regarding Iraq, the article adds, Rumsfeld insisted that divisions that almost rent the Alliance apart in the lead-up to war were being mended, pointing to the participation of a majority of NATO countries in Iraqi peacekeeping as well as NATO’s role in supporting Poland’s command of an entire international division “With respect to Iraq, it’s interesting to me that, there again, NATO stepped forward and has been supporting the Polish division,” he reportedly noted. According to the article, he said he was not about to approach NATO with requests for more assistance, but did not rule out the possibility that the Alliance’s role could evolve similarly to the way it did in Afghanistan. The newspaper, which stresses that Rumsfeld “appears genuinely to believe that the new projects the Alliance has undertaken, particularly the new NATO response force, could reshape the Alliance,” further quotes him saying: “The advantage, I believe, may ultimately prove to be not simply the existence of a NATO capability that has the ability to go do something useful in the world but also the fact in developing it and working with it and exercising it and making it responsive, we will back those transformational aspects into their respective militaries of the NATO countries, just as we’re trying to do in the United States.” Elsewhere, the newspaper writes that Rumsfeld is inviting his fellow NATO defense ministers to take part in the Alliance’s first ever ministerial war gaming about how they might use the NRF once it is up and running. Noting, however, that it is not known now what fictional crisis Rumsfeld plans to spring on his NATO counterparts, the article argues that the precise scenario is irrelevant, because Rumsfeld’s point is just to lift the imagination of NATO defense ministers to contemplate future threats outside the area of the Alliance’s traditional operations.


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