The defining characteristic of NATO's commitment to the Afghanistan campaign has been a lack of commitment. Most European nations have not sent many troops and the troops that have been sent have been restricted in what they can do (by so-called caveats). Even the most committed nations are now showing hesitancy. Canada, for example, has set a timetable for withdrawal. Britain is reluctant to send the scale of troops requested by Obama (although The Times thinks it should).
Fouad Ajami, writing in the Wall Street Journal, worries that President Obama has not learnt the lessons of the Iraq turnaround (our emphasis):
* This was what George W Bush said in his January 2008 State of the Union address: "One year ago, our enemies were succeeding in their efforts to plunge Iraq into chaos. So we reviewed our strategy and changed course. We launched a surge of American forces into Iraq. We gave our troops a new mission: Work with the Iraqi forces to protect the Iraqi people, pursue the enemy in its strongholds, and deny the terrorists sanctuary anywhere in the country. The Iraqi people quickly realized that something dramatic had happened. Those who had worried that America was preparing to abandon them instead saw tens of thousands of American forces flowing into their country. They saw our forces moving into neighborhoods, clearing out the terrorists, and staying behind to ensure the enemy did not return."