NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


October 28, 2004

The issue of international alliances and America's image abroad has become a major topic of debate in this year's presidential election. Great emphasis has been placed in political speeches upon the need to "rebuild our alliances," and restore America's "credibility" in the world.

Yet, relatively little has been said about the 30-nation U.S.-British led coalition in Iraq or the 35-country security force in Afghanistan, says Nile Gardiner of the Heritage Foundation.

  • Britain remains a strong ally of the United States with some 45,000 troops combat troops deployed in the Persian Gulf -- 8,000 of which remain in Iraq.
  • There are over 145,000 Coalition personnel from over 30 nations serving in Iraq, including 23,000 non-U.S. military personnel.
  • In addition, there are now 229,000 Iraqis in the country's new security force.

While ties with some old European countries have weakened, Gardiner explains this has been more than offset by the universal backing from the nations of "New Europe," including Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, helping shift the balance of power in Europe away from Paris and Berlin. In Afghanistan, the entire membership of NATO is engaged in the International Security Assistance Force.

The White House should make the consolidation and strengthening of the existing international alliance a top foreign policy priority and hold a summit of allies to discuss the future of Iraq. At the same time, the United States can and must do more to improve its efforts at public diplomacy in Europe, Asia and the Arab world, says Gardiner.

Source: Nile Gardiner, "The Myth of U.S. Isolation: Why America Is Not Alone in the War on Terror," Heritage Foundation, September 7, 2004.


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