Sunday, August 1, 2010

Dutch pull out of Afghanistan

The last Dutch forces have left Afghanistan, ending a 4-year deployment that the Netherlands has declined to renew. NATO's request that the Netherlands extend that commitment caused such uproar in the Netherlands that the government was forced to call early elections, which it then lost. Now the new Netherlands government has absolutely refused to stay in Afghanistan any longer. As an ugly aside, this election also saw a sizable increase in power for a right-wing racist party, buoyed in part by public disgust with the Afghan war.

Given the unpopularity of the Afghan war in Europe, (and indeed everywhere else), one cannot help but wonder if this may signal the beginning of a general European exit from the war. Of course, from the point of view of those of us in the US who oppose the war, this cannot help but be a good thing. But the Obama administration can be counted on to engage in serious arm-twisting of European "allies". Allies who are increasingly feeling that they have been used, abused, lied to, and manipulated.

Stepping back from the news for a moment, and speaking on an individual level, I have not felt such angry, ugly anti-American sentiment from Europeans since the low-point of US popularity in the 1970's. People all around the world are seriously unhappy with us at the moment, my friends, and the world has become too small a place for that to be safe.

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