SDB has this quickie up about all the nations that are helping us in Iraq. What? You thought it was just us and the UK?
Have you been reading the New York Times again?
Despite constant commentary from certain circles about cowboy diplomacy, going it alone, and our lack of respect for the “international community” (whatever the hell that is), we have a fair amount of support abroad, and it grows daily.
Bulgaria, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, and Spain have boots on the ground. I was particularly surprised by how large the Netherlands contingent was (and I offer my thanks).
Of course, the UK has the second biggest presence after our own. Australia’s not listed, but they were there for the invasion. But I’m surprised and pleased to see that New Zealand’s there. (Maybe there’s hope for the anglosphere yet. Hello, Ottawa? Care to get back into the game and make it five of five?)
Also Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua (!) are in, collectively providing some 1140 troops who are operating with the Spanish.
You also got Azerbaijan, Moldova, Georgia, Kazakhstan, the Philippines, South Korea, Thailand, Macedonia, Ukraine.
The largest contingents come from Italy (3000), Poland (2400), Ukraine (1640), Spain (1300) and the Netherlands (1106). All told it’s more than 15,000 troops, in addition to those sent by the US and UK.
Does that total compare to our deployment? Of course not. But those that tell you we blew our opportunity after 9/11 and are on our own at this point are either misinformed or lying.
No French troops? Well, we should only accept help when it will, um, help us. We’d have to protect them. No Germans? Honestly, hasn’t the world seen enough German troops in other countries to last us a while? Let them keep Europe manned. And I certainly wouldn’t expect (or even want) troops from Russia or China.
The one that troubles me the most (and is pointed out by SDB) is Canada. I think that, ten years from now, Canada may look back at 2003 as a missed opportunity. I’ve said all along that we will finally find out who our friends are. Canada certainly hasn’t acted like an opponent as France has, but their friendship has been pretty cool at best. Given the fact that we share a huge border with them and, along with Mexico, are relatively isolated from the rest of the world geographically, I think it would be in North America’s best interest to rekindle the friendship with those north of the border. 2003 will only look like a missed opportunity ten years from now if nothing changes between now and then. It doesn’t have to be troops on the ground, either.
And I don’t think it’s just a coincidence that so many of those nations on our side suffered under the USSR. They probably have an appreciation for things that France and Germany, along with others, take for granted. And they see who’s guns allowed France and Germany to get to the point where they could take things for granted.
Would we like more support? Sure. But, again, we will only accept it on our terms. Many see this as stupid. I think it’s central to victory.
UPDATE: Professor Hall at Spacecraft comments on this issue. He uses theorems and equations and dictionary definitions and stuff. Makes my head hurt. That is EXACTLY why people who teach things like Advanced Spacecraft Dynamics and Control (AOE 5984) should not be allowed to blog. Heh. Check it out.