Reward or bribe?

President Bush is asking Congress to set up a $400 million fund to reward nations that have taken political and economic risks to join U.S.-led coalitions in Iraq and Afghanistan. One administration official said the fund was designed to provide help to Eastern European nations, such as Ukraine, Hungary, Romania and the Baltic states. Bush is meeting March 9 at the White House with Traian Basescu, the president of Romania, which has an estimated 700 troops in Iraq.

Democratic Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., the ranking minority member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, says the fund is indicative of the administration’s inability to attract more well-to-do nations to the coalition at the start of the conflict and that the administration had no choice but to offer them help because their societies and national budgets can’t afford the cost of being in Iraq for extended periods of time.

Via Baltimore Sun

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