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Thursday, February 13, 2003

GERMANY'S SELF-RIGHTEOUS "NEW WAY IN FOREIGN POLICY" PROVOKES CRITICISMS FROM EVEN SOCIAL DEMOCRATS AND GREENS

While Chancellor Schroeder's Green-Social Democratic government stiffens its rigidly moralizing, self-righteous policy over Iraq --- dammit, chaps! we won't support a war no matter what; to hell with even a UN Security Council vote requiring it! to hell especially with the Americans, the bullying buggers . . . those habitual warmongers --- it has come under an increasing drumfire of criticism from those well placed to gauge the magnitude of the harm the novel German sanctimony and utopianism is causing elsehwere. Harm to its ties to the US. Harm to Germany's reputation in the EU, where six other EU countries -- Italy, Spain, Britain, Portugal, Denmark, and Holland --- have openly backed the Bush administration's Iraqi policy. And major damage to its role in NATO, now faced --- thanks to Gerrman, Belgian, and French connivance not to honor the request of a fellow NATO member for support in a war (unique in NATO's 54 year history) --- with a crisis of far-reaching scope, with 3 East European members of NATO openly siding with the US too . . . not to mention the Turks. And not to forget 10 other East European countries, who have openly backed the Bush policy toward Iraq, 7 of which East Europeans are joining NATO this year/
True, the populist pandering does play well with the German public, happy enough with the "New German Way" in foreign policy . . . militant self-righteous sermonizing, the equivalent in fervor and vehemence, it seems, of the militant militarism that marked Germany's past for centuries even before its national origin in 1871. The ardent anti-Americanism got Schroeder surprisingly re-elected last September, after trailing badly for months in the run-up to the parliamentary elections. And as his standing in public opinion plunges ever since to all-time lows in the Federal Republic's history since 1949, it continues, according to BBC reports, to play well with the anti-American pc-elites and much of the populace. See Schroeder Defends His Policy

More specifically, more than half the German public continues to believe that the Bush policy toward Iraq is motivated mainly by a desire to take control of that country's oil fields --- 54% to be exact, lower than in France (75-80%), but higher than in Britain (44%). "Many people believed Schroeder was speaking for them, giving voice to their fears and concerns," said John Palmer, director of the European Policy Center, a research group in Brussels. Washington Post article,/2003.


SCHROEDER'S GERMAN CRITICS

The critics, increasingly vocal, aren't confined to Christian Democrats. The head of that party, Edmund Stoiber, has publicly likened Schroeder's "New German Way" in foreign policy --- a weird mixture of stiff-necked righteousness, utopian principles that Schroeder and others clearly believe in, and large doses of anti-American pandering, plus flights of make-believefantasy about the Germans leading the world out of power politics into the castle-chasing wonderland of brotherly love and endless EU bureaucratic hagglings for settling major conflicts with the likes of Saddam Hussein --- to the "machinations" engaged in by the unstable, noticeably neurotic Kaiser Wilhelm in the July 1914 diplomatic crisis that helped provoke WWII in August that year. The critics also include some of the press --- not nearly as nationalist through and through as its French equivalents. Thus the Berliner Zeitung, an influential paper, has just called Schroeder's bungling, perversely extravagant pulpit-pounding a form of blatant "hotblooded amateurism." More telling still, the critics are also found among German Social Democrats of note and Green Party leaders.

Take the deputy head of the German parliament's foreign policy committee --- a senior member of the Social Democrats: he has has repeatedly chastised Schroeder in public for fraying relations needlessly with the US. More surprisingly, Cabinet ministers have reported that Foreign Minister Joschka Fisher -- the head of the Greens and the one man in Schroeder's Cabinet Washington respects --- has been so exasperated by Schroeder's stiff-as-poker sermonizing and self-satisifed piety that he has stormed out of some Cabinet meetings, fuming. See the following article for more details here:

Schroeder's Foreign Policy Provokes Internal Battles German leader's 'no war' pledge alarms many colleagues fearful of damage to U.S. ties.



AND SO?

And so we need to keep our eyes on Schroeder and his government, especially with the meeting tomorrow of the UN Security Council where the two heads of the inspectors for Iraq will be reporting again.

Washington has already made it clear that Iraq has repeatedly violated its legal commitments under the Security Council resolution 1441, passed unanimously last November, and it will be pressing for a new resolution with the UK on Monday for action to punish the Saddamite regime with war. We also have to watch what the French --- more cagy, far more opportunistic as always, and hence not so rigidly backed into a corner with no exit if war looks inevitable --- will do. The buggy prof's prediction: France will not exercise a veto. Its government knows full well that the US and the UK will go ahead with the support of 15 other NATO members, 1 European countries in the alliance now and 7 more that will be joining --- along with Turkey, Jordan, the small Gulf States, and Saudi Arabia -- and topple Saddam outside the UN Security Council . . . something no more novel than when NATO acted without Security Council legitimacy to wage war with Yugoslavia over Kosovo in 1999.

And Russia? It will in all likelihood act on its self-interest, which is that Russia's partnership with the US is far more important to it than siding with the moralizing German government and the amoral opportunism of the French . . . the latter no doubt sincere in its belief that the only way to trammel the US as the world's great power is through French leadership in the UN Security Council and in the EU. Sincere, but full of illusion too . . . the French likely to end up this time, as always, a perennial loser in international relations.