A lot of people have been questioning the timing of President Barack Obama’s announcement of a troop increase for Afghanistan. Obama had already delayed his decision by a few weeks, and some, like Joe Klein, wondered why he didn’t wait for the outcome of his much-heralded strategic reassessment. James Joyner doesn’t connect the dots, but his write-up of yesterday’s NATO defense ministers’ summit suggests a speculative explanation to Obama’s Tuesday announcement:
I’d had my eye on April’s NATO heads of state summit for Obama to make his move, so the Krakow meeting snuck up on me. But if you’re looking for a reason for the abrupt announcement, this seems like a good place to start. Ditto for the impact the announcement is likely to have in Europe. In a best-case scenario, Obama can count on roughly 1500-2000 additional troops, combined, from Europe. Anything else, we’re going to have to shoulder on our own. Hopefully that will be taken into account by the strategic reassessment.