"No one believes in Afghanistan any more"

Herman Van Rompuy

European Union President Herman Van Rompuy told the United States in 2009 that “no one [in the EU] believes in Afghanistan any more,” according to a U.S. account of the meeting leaked by WikiLeaks (“‘No one believes in Afghanistan any more:’ EU leader in WikiLeaks cable,” Globe and Mail, 5 December 2010):

U.S. Ambassador to Belgium Howard Gutman, in the memo released by WikiLeaks, quotes Mr. Van Rompuy as saying in December 2009 that the EU will wait until the end of 2010 to see progress.
Mr. Van Rompuy, the former Belgian prime minister who at the time was EU president-designate, reportedly said that “if it doesn’t work, that will be it, because it is the last chance.”
“Europe is doing it and will go along out of deference to the United States but not out of deference to Afghanistan,” the memo said citing Mr. Van Rompuy. “No one believes in Afghanistan any more.”

Another political leader who supports a military presence in Afghanistan despite–we are told–not believing that the mission can succeed is of course our own prime minister, Stephen Harper.

Even elements of the U.S. government are thought to have their doubts. It remains to be seen whether the U.S. is now pursuing an “Afghanize the war and get out” strategy (cf. Vietnam) or still believes that some form of victory that doesn’t require quotation marks is achievable.

Photo by Πρωθυπουργός της Ελλάδας

Tags: Afghanistan, European Union, Herman Van Rompuy, Stephen Harper