Gordon Brown was the only one to offer substantial help. He offered to send several hundred extra British soldiers to provide security during the August election, Just two other allies made firm offers of troops. Belgium offered to send 35 military trainers and Spain offered 12. Mr Obama’s host, Nicolas Sarkozy, refused his request.
The derisory response threatened to tarnish Mr Obama’s European tour, which yesterday included a spellbinding performance in Strasbourg in which he offered the world a vision of a future free of nuclear weapons. ..
Obama is really good at spinning these “visions of the future,” it’s the reality of the real world that holds him up.
In this case much of the blame rests with President Karzai of Afghanistan who has passed law called “The Shia Family Law” trampling on women’s rights:
Back at home in Washington, administration officials have struggled this week with how to respond to Karzai’s signing of the so-called Shia Family Law without debate in the Afghan parliament. The law’s most controversial provisions address sexual intercourse in marriage.
“As long as the husband is not traveling, he has the right to have sexual intercourse with his wife every fourth night,” Article 132 of the law says. “Unless the wife is ill or has any kind of illness that intercourse could aggravate, the wife is bound to give a positive response to the sexual desires of her husband.”
Such a law runs contrary to the stated goals of the U.S. mission in Afghanistan — to pursue human rights and to help liberate women from religious oppression. It is a cause that has been championed by previous administrations, and particularly by previous first ladies.
This kind of Taliban like behavior certainly gives the Eurpeans cover to not send troops to defend Karzai’s government. Obama needs to take a firm stand, not only with NATO, but with Karzai.