George W Bush and Tony Blair met for their tenth summit yesterday and both were as clear as ever in their understanding of the scale of the terror threat facing the western democracies. They offered very little new in the way of policy action, however. There was no talk of putting extra troops into Iraq - the key ingredient necessary for victory.
An excellent menu of other options for the wider war on terror comes in a new paper on the US-UK relationship from the Heritage Foundation by Dr Nile Gardiner. Here are three stand-out options:
- Nato membership for Israel: "Israeli accession to NATO would explicitly extend the Western alliance's nuclear deterrent to cover Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Israel meets NATO qualifications: It is a democracy, has a free-market economy, and is able to contribute to the common defense. Unlike some new NATO members, Israel would be a major net addition to the alliance, with lift and logistics ability, a superlative officer corps, and a first-rate military capable of all aspects of war-fighting. Israel spends nearly 10 percent of its GDP on defense and has active armed forces of 167,000 men and women, with 358,000 in reserve. It possesses up to 200 nuclear warheads and a well-equipped air force and navy. Israel's intelligence capabilities have been a vital asset in prosecuting the war on terrorism. Like the U.S. and Great Britain, Israel is a genuine warrior nation. Its accession to NATO could only enhance the alliance's capabilities."
- Existing Nato members must shoulder their share of the defence burden: "The U.S. and the U.K. must urge major European NATO partners to send combat troops to southern Afghanistan to help fight the Taliban. They should call for NATO to abolish "caveats" for member countries in theaters of war and call for all NATO member states to abide by the baseline rules in NATO operations or relinquish their memberships. It is unacceptable that British, American, and Canadian troops are laying down their lives in counterterrorism operations while many fellow NATO member states participating under the same operational command refuse to help."
- Action in Darfur now - not waiting for the UN to act: "The United States and the United Kingdom should support the establishment of a NATO-enforced no-fly zone over Darfur, based on a coalition-of-the-willing strategy, in support of African Union peacekeepers. The West cannot rely upon an ineffective and morally ambivalent United Nations to take action over the biggest man-made humanitarian tragedy of the 21st century where tens of thousands of refugees face sustained attacks from Islamic militants. The U.N.'s track record in the face of genocide, from the killing fields of Rwanda to the "safe haven" of Srebrenica, has been one of appalling weakness and callous indifference in the face of human suffering."