The issue to be explored here is whether the American alliance structure can or will stand up to the political pressures generated by such a technique of crisis management, as exemplified in Iraq. Also whether such techniques are necessary, and alternatively whether the traditional allies are going to be of much relevance to this particular kind of conflict. Donald Rumsfeld, the most candid and least tact-impeded of current Administration spokesmen, has implied doubt on that point, remarking in one of his TV interviews that 'the mission determines the coalition, not the coalition the mission'. The NATO allies, other than Britain, had no part to speak of in the strategy devised for Afghanistan or Iraq, except in the provision of peacekeepers afterwards. The really vital 'co-belligerents' (to revive an old World War II term which seems likely to be useful for this conflict) for Afghanistan were Pakistan, the Northern Alliance, the Central Asian Republics, and Russia, whose cooperation must have been crucial to getting US forces and bases into Central Asia. China's acquiescience was also obviously important, and India's. For Iraq they are Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrein, along diplomatically with Britain.
|Journal||Australian Journal of International Affairs|
|Publication status||Published - 2003|