Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Score One for the President

President Obama has gotten one of our best allies to increase their troop commitment to Afghanistan:

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who has mostly played down prospects of increasing Australia's commitment against Afghan insurgents since taking office in 2007, said he had been persuaded to increase the deployment during discussions last week with President Barack Obama.

The deployment of 450 new forces is Rudd's first new military commitment to the Afghan war, and gives him a political stake in the outcome at a time when Australian public opinion has dipped following a string of combat deaths.

The new troops would mostly focus on training the Afghan National Army in the southern province of Uruzgan and will include a temporary eight-month deployment of 120 soldiers to enhance security around the August elections, Rudd said.

Training and temporary security isn't ideal--I'd much prefer Australia to do some heavy lifting be committing a regular infantry battalion--but it is freely given help and I'll simply thank Australia for what they will do and not whine about what they won't do. That's all we ever ask of the Coalition of the Willing.

And I'll give the president credit. I'm not, so far, happy with our new foreign policy direction, but I'll not just reflexively complain about Obama's decisions. I still want us to win, after all.