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I believe that the dictionary definition of 'multilateralism' includes specific mention of France and Germany. Or at very least it precludes coalitions including 'Nations you can buy on EBay'. We can therefore conclude that several members of the current EU flog their services on Ebay.

France is an interesting quandary. As the facts slowly ooze out about the 'Oil for Food' program and French Oil deals with Saddam Hussein it's becoming apparent that France can be bought - but perhaps not on EBay. Chirac's price is high it would seem. So the difference is possibly that France has a veto on the UN Security Council which is for sale and (say) Poland does not. That is the sole difference.

Keep in mind the Oil For Food program had multilateral (German/French) support as well as UN approval therefore it could never be considered bad in any way. Actually it was noble because of those reasons, a great success of international cooperation. Deposing a despotic regime in Iraq was bad because, not counting the coalition, the "adventure" was a totally unilateral war by Bush, bilateral congressional support notwithstanding.

Spot-on, Ray. France and Germany are not American allies. Rather, they are adversaries whose policies must be countered and frustrated at every turn.

european mind-sets summed up with great insight by the great Victor Hanson
http://www.nationalreview.com/hanson/hanson200408200923.asp

What they mean to say, is that it ISN'T multilateralism unless Germany is involved. That's a silly thing to say, but a normal thing to say if you're German, and not much of a realist...

@Robert,

"France and Germany are not American allies. Rather, they are adversaries whose policies must be countered and frustrated at every turn."

Adversaries, yes. Especially France. Germany strikes me more as a terminally confused neutral. Or perhaps just terminally confused. But should the US seek to counter and frustrate every French and German policy? I think not. This is not the Cold War, not at all.

I think the US must have a realistic view of the world. France, China, and Russia are adversaries whose interests and viewpoint are going to differ from those of the US. That's not bad. Sometimes the US can work with the Russians and the Chinese (as on containing North Korea for example). At other times our interests will be at odds.

Germany is a strange case. I don't think the Germans have really worked out what their role could or should be yet? Or possibly they are conflicted. There is a paradox here, and one which saps German effectiveness in world affairs. At least in the short term it does.

Don,

Robert is being kind about france when he refers to them as an Adversary. I consdier france to be an enemy of the US. I see little difference between france and North Korea or Iran.

Do forget france not only chose to not support the US, they actively worked against the US. I for one think they crossed the line.

At some point in the not too distant future, meaning in the next 20 or so years, the other nations of Europe are going to be faced with a choice. That choice is to align themselves with the US or to align themselves with france. It is not going to be one where they can have a foot in each nation.

At one time, I would have concerned myself about where Germany might come down on this issue. Today I do not care. I am indifferent. This is not to say or imply I wish the Germans ill fortune bacause I do not. I do not wish the Germans anything.

Es gibt bei Robert Kagans "American Power and the
Crisis of Legitimacy" folgende Passage dazu:

"What, exactly, made American action in Iraq “unilateral”? The United States, after all, did not act alone in invading Iraq in March 2003 but had a number of international partners, including such prominent members of the European Union as Great Britain, Spain, and Poland.
The American action was “multilateral” in some sense, therefore, even without a UN authorization, just as the Kosovo war was “multilateral” despite the lack of Security
Council approval. Nor would Europeans have denounced American action in Iraq as “unilateral” had France, Germany, and Great Britain all agreed to support the war but Russia and China had opposed it—just as Europeans did not condemn their own war in Kosovo as “unilateral” just
because Russia and much of the developing world were opposed."

http://www.ceip.org/files/pdf/KaganAfterword.pdf

Downer, 90% of the troops in Iraq are US. Do you really call that 'multilateral'? You might want to see the great documentary film "Fog of War" about Robert McNamera. One of the 12 'McNamera Rules' is 'never go to war without the support of your allies.' We broke that rule in Vietnam, and are now paying the price for breaking it again in Iraq.
Oh, great topic, by the way.

@Joe,

I think France crossed a line, the line between friend and adversary. An adversary is a country with which you may cooperate with or otherwise, depending upon the circumstances.

An enemy is something like the old USSR before Gorbachev. Describing France that way right now is way over the top. They may be on their way to that, but even that is no great cause for concern unless they manage to bring the entire EU over to their POV. France is no active danger to the US.

@Vic, 95% of the fighting in the Kosovo war was done by US forces. Do you call that 'Multilateral'?

@ Vic

What about Germany's unilaterial recognition of Slovenia's independence. This single event is credited with starting the break-up of Yugoslavia and starting the civil war in the Balkans.

There are some still in Germany who think that this act was forward looking diplomacy.

Don,

Because france is no active danger to the US does not change the fact that she is an enemy of the US.

You cite the USSR as an example of an enemy. The US and the USSR did work together in some areas during this time even as they continuded to distrust each other and undermind or attempt to undermind the goals and influence of each other.

The difference today is while france continues to undermind the US and aggressively act against the interests of the US, the US has done little to reciprocate. This lack of action on the part of the US is what I find personally disappointing.

I trust Chnia more than I trust the french. With China, one knows what to expect.

Geroge,

An excellent point. Some want to forget this was the trigger, Germany reaching out to its former allies from WWII. This seems to have been forgotten in the debate.

Is this forward thinking what one could expect if Germany were to become a member of the UNSC?

No where have I read where Germany has even acknowledged that this might be one of the "root causes" of this conflict or the reason so much suffering and resources have expended to correct this.

Don & SleepinginSeattle:
Has the UNITED NATIONS/ French "Food for Oil" scandal even been brought up in the European medias?
I haven't seen it in the mainstream U.S.A. media much either, except for once in the Economist and the continuing WSJ articles by Claudia Rosette.

I wonder; were there more European countries in the U.S. led coaltion to liberate Iraq or were there more European countries willing to accept the status quo and profit from trade with the criminal hussein regime? Could we describe the French as leading a "unilateral trading coalition?" Granted their coalition was safer and easier because it didn't require anything of them . . . besides cashing saddam's checks.

I prefer Tommy Franks description of it as a "Food for Palaces" program. And obviously, as we just witnessed, that was ok with several nations of 'old Europe.'

Tyranno

Don: France is no active danger to the US

Depends on what you understand by "active danger". The French don't try to kill Americans yet. Anyway, they are good friends with those who support the killing of Americans. For me this is quite an active danger.

"France and Germany are not American allies. Rather, they are adversaries whose policies must be countered and frustrated at every turn."

Not if the policies have a positive influence on the US.
There is no such thing as "allies" when you presume an allie is somebody that has solely the same interests as you.
The term "allie" though, is used to describe a country for that matter, that basically is your partner, but since two countries are as well always rivals, has different goals. Sometimes they're coherent, somtimes they arent.
I think you should use the term "enemy" with a little bit more awareness.
Although, I also think that France as well as Germany, Russia or China are active dangers to the US AND to themselves. When you look at the fight on terror it comes down to determination. With the countries above fighting with each other on how to fight the war on terror you encourage the enemy.


To call Germany the trigger of the war in the balkans is quite ignorant. Maybe it was one part of the puzzle that made the balkans explode, but anybody who knows about the history of that particular part of europe will acknowledge the fact, that it would have exploded one way or the other.


The problem I have with my country (Germany) and with France is, that they usually let the US do the dirty work (Balkans, Iraq) and then rise to a somewhat moral authority.
Dont remember where I heard that, but somebody said: Everytime the US makes a so called unilateral decision to end mass murder somewhere in the world, after the UN passed its 50th non binding resolution, everybody in charge at the UN goes home relieved.


Regarding the ultimate topic of this discussion ... the US makes decision without having everybody on its side, BECAUSE THEY CAN and every country, whether its Germany, France or Malta would do the exact same thing if they tought it was the right decision BUT THEY CANNOT.
We have to live with this status and to be quite honest ... I'm pretty glad about the fact that the country who can make those decisions is the US and not lets say ... Iran or Lybia.

@Ben,

Good post.

"The problem I have with my country (Germany) and with France is, that they usually let the US do the dirty work (Balkans, Iraq) and then rise to a somewhat moral authority."

I separate Germany and France in this. Right now with Jauques Chirac in charge, France is probably an adversary of the US instead of an ally. This may change with the change of French Presidents. Permit me to doubt it.

Germany is still an ally in my eyes, although the unending morally improvement lectures and (particularly) the inexcusable political behavior of Chancellor Schroeder has put unprecedented strain on the US-German alliance.

The outcome of the ICC treaty doesn't impress me at all. The proposed division of labor in the Western alliance seems to be that the US does the dirty work, and France and Germany sit on the war-crimes tribunals which judge the US soldiers afterward. I prefer to reverse the roles: France and Germany do the dirty work, and the US judges them..... ;)

"Dont remember where I heard that, but somebody said: Everytime the US makes a so called unilateral decision to end mass murder somewhere in the world, after the UN passed its 50th non binding resolution, everybody in charge at the UN goes home relieved."

Don't forget the 'relieved' people then publically comparing Bush with Hitler, running political campaigns against the US President, making profitable deals with oil-country murdering dictators, and blaming the bad outcome entirely on the US. Generally fiddling while Rome burns and the US has to go in to solve the problem. Again. Whereupon the cycle begins again.

I'm damn weary of it, and I think that's a pretty general sentiment in the US. Isolation is a lot more popular than most people in Europe could possibly believe. In large part because our oldest and 'best?' allies merely add to the load rather than trying to bear part of it.....

I'd call France a hostile neutral at this point. They're not (contra someone else above) like Iran and North Korea - I mean, I don't expect France to nuke NYC any time soon - but they may help enemies of ours if they perceive advantage, and they see thwarting and damaging the US as ipso facto advantageous to them. All this is well known and supported by statements of French politicians. I do not expect this to change with the change of administration in France, because as far as I can tell from across the Atlantic, these policies have the support of the French themselves.

Germany's a little different. Germany seems confused. I would not call Germany an ally now, but neither would I put in the category with France. (Yet. There's enough anti-American sentiment in Germany that going in that direction is a possibility. On the other hand, anti-American sentiment in Germany isn't exactly new.)

But overall, the last three years have changed American attitudes, probably permanently. I've never heard ordinary people talk like this about Europe. Never. There was always a sense that we were all in this together, regardless of disagreements. That's gone now.

I don't get the impression that either the Germans or the French quite understand this; to quote Instapundit, they don't realize what they've done. I'm not sure there'll be clear understanding until the next time Europe needs American help. Then there will be a time of shock and surprise, and perhaps reconsideration.

But it's already far too late.

jaded,

I do not at this time expect North Korea or Iran to nuke NYC either. This is not to say they might not if they could.

france is suppose to have this ability now. I think they realize that while they might be able to take out NYC, the results would be the land along the east side of the rhine river would become ocean front.

This does cause one to consider a trade off of NYC for the elimination of france. Good thing the french have demostrated while they are enemies of the US, they are not completely stupid.

jaded,

Most people unlike Kerry and those of his stripe do see a difference between Europe and france and Germany.

Having said this there are many who are not informed as they depend upon MSM to provide them with news. MSM does not talk of Italy, Poland, Denmark, Holland, Norway, Slovak, Portugal, Lativia, Lithuania or the other European nations which not only are supporting the efforts to bring freedom to Iraq but actually have troops on the ground.

It is so unfortunate that these nations who are truly allies of the US get painted with the same broad brush that should clearly identify france, Germany, Beligum and the other members of this anti-American allance.

For this I am ashame and find it insulting to include these allied nations in the same context as france and Germany. I am sure they find it equally upsetting.

Ben, as I watched the Balkan situation explode, I did understand that there were many underlying reasons for the conflict.

But it is hard to deny, if one is honest, that Germany's unilateral recognition of Croatia, in particular, was the match that lit the fire. It was unfortunate, given the history of some of the Croatian leaders & parties involved.

I do not consider Germany an enemy, or at this point an adversary. I see the German situation through two sets of German eyes - those of my mother-on-laws's family who considered themselves German until they were forced to leave the Sudetenland and my brother-in-law, who emigrated here in the 1960s. My nieces visit their relatives there regularly for extended periods.

Moreover, I recognize the ways in which our governments are cooperating with regard to fighting terror networks.

Still, it is difficult for many Americans to trust that Germany will be reliable and predictable in her relationships with us. I personally find myself increasingly unwilling to tolerate the contemptuous abuse poured out by many Germans on Americans and America. It is a trend that has grown steadily for over a decade now, and needs to be addressed one way or another.

France is a different story - that country's elite have been working openly and directly against the US in many ways since WWII.

Actually, Vic, I think very, VERY poorly of Robert McNamara -- he's one of those "if the sky's said to be blue, look twice" types to me.

A few words on one of the things that fuel this Eurolateralism - German media.

I just saw on TV something called "ARD reporter in Baghdad"(ARD-Reporter in Bagdad), ARD being the No. 1 German TV channel, sponsored by the state through direct taxes. This was about ARD reporter Jörg Armbruster's life in Baghdad and it was made by ARD reporters.

This is about how he identified the two major warring parties in Iraq, the Americans and the "resistance". First he shows masked people with weapons in a room (well known pictures by now). Then he says that after interviewing them he realized that those aren't Baathists, but average Iraqis who just got mad at the Americans because of house searches (and yes, hurt pride was mentioned too) and thus became somewhat violent. No questions about all the civilian Iraqis casualties, about the murderous nature of their "resistance". No need, that's all German viewers need to know - Iraqi resistance is made up of disappointed citizen.

Change of scenery: now Armbruster sits in front of a Humvee with American soldiers around him. He first feels the need to explain why he does that: in the name of journalistic duty("journalistishe Aufgabe"). Well, I thought, great. He will now show the other side of the story. If he wasn't able to do a good job with the "resistance", he will surely prove his professionalism now, covering the Americans. He mentions that he is embedded but finds no problem with that as long as objectivity doesn't suffer. Now I thought - wonderful, the guy still remembers (in theory, at least) what a journalist has to do. We might have a real journalist here.

What was the conclusion of covering the Americans ? He is "irritated", especially after he was explained the history of one particular American unit fighting there. What is the best antidote to all the American "patriotism" he heard (which seems to be a bad thing for him) ? He finds one GI who says he doubts they help too much by being in Iraq and things of that nature. Armbruster's "irritation" has now been alleviated and he goes over to other aspects of his brave life in Iraq.

To sum it up, this is how an experienced German journalist sees the armed conflict in Iraq in the name of the No.1 TV channel - disheartened Iraqi fathers, who out of hurt pride fight propaganda brain-washed American soldiers. Those Americans admit in private conversations that they don't believe in the mission. Baathists aren't a issue and foreign fighters aren't mentioned. End of story. This is how simple that whole thing is. You only need a good German journalist and things start to make sense. The "journalistic duty" was thus bravely fulfilled.

The fact that the ARD makes a documentary on one of its own people shows that this particular guy is quite an important member of ARD's journalistic team. This is what German viewers get to see on Iraq. And never forget, in Germany there is no Fox News, there are no radio stations. This view of Iraq is the only sort they serve here. You want more than that ? Sure, you get more of the same.

I think a large part of the problem is perception. The U.S.A. has been exceptionally accomodating to France and Germany over the years and they had become quite comfortable and use to it being that way.
They had arrogantly and eurolaterally started to believe their own myths ~ about themselves being the "Euro-brain" behind the "U.S. brawn," not unlike their condescending attitude towards the rest of new Europe. Their preferred perception was this being the natural order of things in the western world.
And, over the years, for the most part the U.S. ignored the incessant flood of petty criticisms that emanated from our "allies" as local politics, and went along with it all because as was stated here earlier, there was a dovetailing of our national interests.

September 11, 2001 changed everything for America and the Americans. Now, the usual international anti-American sniping for national political benefit from our European allies, that we all have grown so accustom to and generally ignore, took on a different color.
Americans began to question, Doesn't the endless barrage of general anti-American invectives about EVERYTHING we do from our alleged allies embolden our enemies?
Doesn't the endless questioning of every stated motive from our alleged "allies," (and AmiDemocrats) due to it being an election year, about EVERYTHING we do embolden our enemies?
Doesn't the generally negative European conversation on all things American underline the perception of America always being wrong, always being on the wrong side of the argument, always being a bully, always doing what it does only for self serving reason dovetail nicely into their necessary myth of the U.S.A. as the Great Satan?

In those dark days around 9/11, when America went looking for allies to stand with it, she discovered an old Europe, that after a very few short weeks (days?), not even willing to provide the only kind of support they are able to, the moral support of their political conversation.
Sure they signed NATO statments of support, mouthed self-serving pieties about how "we are all American's now!" They burned candles outside of U.S. facilities and sang John Lennon's song
"Imagine."
And then, in a very short time, about as long as it took the candles to burn out and the flowers to wilt, they started writing and speaking and demonstrating that it was "Bush's War for Oil" and "the U.S. had it coming!"

Americans began to question: Why us?
- Why no criticism of the French Total/Fina/Elf oil contracts for $Billions for the southern oil fields with the criminal hussein regime?
- Why no criticism of the Russian oil contracts for $Billions for the northern oil fields with the criminal hussein regime?
- Why no criticism of the 30 to 50 murders being committed daily as a systemic part of the criminal hussein regimes policy of controlling the Iraqi populace? (depending upon who's statistics you use, for more hit the
"NoPasaran" link. Over 350,000 unmarked grave/ corpses uncovered so far)
- Why no criticism or Euronews coverage of the multi-billion dollar UNITED NATIONS/ French
"Food for Oil" criminal scandal that, at least when the UNITED NATIONS sanctions are attributed to the U.S.A., is alleged to be responsible for the death of "one million Iraqi children!"
http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1568/is_10_33/ai_83097669

I think the blinders are coming off of more and more of those Americans who live in the "flyover" regions of the U.S. You've probably read about those yokels in condenscending and/or derogatory articles in the European media? You know the ones, they work too hard, drive pick-ups, go to church on Sunday (Sacre bleu!) and have twice in this century parked their taxi cabs, laid down their hoes,
set aside their studies, to come fight a war, not of their making, on the European continent.
Yep, those painfully simple hicks who were perhaps suffering under their own silly mis- perceptions, their own preferred myth, that in Europe we had "friends" not just mutually dovetailing "interests."
But in Europe's usual "nuanced" approach, in their more "complex and sophisticated" way, they have outed and smugly mocked their obviously simple American cousins naivete about the real world and have perhaps driven them away, forever.

Unfortunately for Europe, I suspect many more Americans than they think are saying "thank you" for their recent re-education. And I seriously hope (suspect) the dastardly, warmongering Yanks will remember this lesson in fashionable euro-cynicism (EC101), the next time Europe gets itself in a jam and starts looking over it's shoulder, and talking about "America's
responsibilities," which it historically has and inevitably will again.

Tyranno

I'm thinking that at least one reason why Euro MSM focuses so hard on anything and everything wrong or could be perceived wrong with what Americans do is the fact that the MSM is all about ratings and selling newspapers - usually with shocking headlines and liberal use of hyperbole. Nobody wants to read about Russians causing havoc, genocide in Africa, or UN issues like Oil For Food, a couple articles are plenty. American scandal is the ultimate entertainment, it's great to see the successful (therefore arrogant) US get knocked down a couple notches I guess. It fits the overall incredibly cynical nature of current German culture to only focus negative issues with regards to the US.

It's hard to take any sort of faux-compassion that Europeans have with Iraqi people seriously (when it comes to how wrong the invasion was), afterall they didn't give a rat's ass about them at any time during Saddam's long rule. Find one protest against the brutality and non-democratic (remember, Bush=Hitler) methods of Saddam Hussein in Europe by non-Iraqis, it can't be done. The only reason they liked it better with Saddam was because none of them had to actually live under Saddam. I really think it's time that French and Germans drop the issue of Iraq, because they have contributed absolutely nothing for Iraq and really bring nothing to the table - they're essentially worthless. We have a phrase in the US, "put your money where your mouth is", if you're going to talk big and criticize everything then do something about it or shut up and let the big boys get on with the job at hand.

@Edward, I think McNamara's actions during the Vietnam War approached the criminal. Not under international law, but in deriliction of duty.

Duty to the American public and particularly to the GI's fighting on the ground and in the air in Vietnam.

It is one thing to do your best and fail - or to try something and be wrong. It was another thing completely to conclude that the war was completely unwinnable (as McNamara did in 1964 or 1965) and continue on in your position. When McNamara came to that conclusion it was his plain duty to resign his position as Secretary of Defense after giving the President fair notice and some time to limit the political fallout.

Doing this would have allowed a replacement (hopefully one who wasn't a defeatist) try his own ideas. Or it may have rung a wake-up bell in Congress. One thing which Vietnam desperately needed (and didn't have) was something like the Truman Committee during WWII. An independent oversight in the Senate run by a completely loyal (but independent) Senator. McNamara's resignation might have caused the Senate to create one....

just a quick thing on "real allies" like poland.

There are countries, that truly support the US policiy at this time, like Italy, but there are as well countries, like poland, that make decisions not based on their overall political agenda, but on the fact that theres something in for them.
Poland took a diplomatic shortcut that is worth 50 years by becoming an allie to the us in the war on iraq ... but are they therefore "real allies"? I doubt it, because next time France has got something for them, they'll switch faster than car in warsaw.

I'm gonna say somehting about the current anti americanism in germany later on ...

and by the way ... some of the allies that the us aquired from 3rd world countries are just in in this because otherwise the us would have (in an unrelated policy decision of course) cut foreign aid and cancelled import/export agreements.
I really consider myself on the US side on this whole argument, but some of the things they say are a certain way, just arent or arent quite what they seem to be.

What was the conclusion of covering the Americans ? He is "irritated", especially after he was explained the history of one particular American unit fighting there.

What unit was this? Something in me wants to hear his *ahem* seething rage ... give me details,
please?

It is one thing to do your best and fail - or to try something and be wrong. It was another thing completely to conclude that the war was completely unwinnable (as McNamara did in 1964 or 1965) and continue on in your position.

Agreed -- or undercut your commander on purpose.

**

Ben -- re: the aid -- and this is bad how??

Don posts:
"It is one thing to do your best and fail - or to try something and be wrong. It was another thing completely to conclude that the war was completely unwinnable (as McNamara did in 1964 or 1965) and continue on in your position. When McNamara came to that conclusion it was his plain duty to resign his position as Secretary of Defense after giving the President fair notice and some time to limit the political fallout."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This great "liberal" and now "anti-war" advocate proves his ideological brethren Stalin's famous diktum: "One mans death is a tragedy, a million . . . just a statistic!"
Liberals are never wrong and don't quit! Witness clinton!

Roosevelt countenanced Stalin.
Johnson . . . McNamara.
Good liberal democrats ~ all.

Things that make one go HHHhhhmmmmm......

Tyranno

NcNamara? Great? Well, no. You will rarely hear even a left-wing Democrat say anything about McNamara. Occasionally they will use a point out of one of his books to buttress one of their arguments about Vietnam - that is all.

I'm trying to think of a major figure from the 'geniuses' of the Kennedy/Johnson foreign policy establishment who has been well-regarded in the long term. I cannot think of a single one. McGeorge Bundy did better than Mac, but it didn't take much to do that.

Multilateralism Euro-style: UN sends forces to fight Korean War 1950.

US sends over 300,000 troops.
France sends barely 1,100.
Germany sends its best wishes for a victory.

"Germany sends its best wishes for a victory."
Maybe because something like "german forces" was forbidden by the allies then and 99 percent of the soldiers were dead or pow.

"Ben -- re: the aid -- and this is bad how??"
Its not like I do resent it per say (its politics, its reality), its just the sematics ... so why dont we call it "Coalition of mostly 3rd World poor fuck countries that didnt have another choice but become willing" instead of "Coalition of the Willing" .

What unit was this? Something in me wants to hear his *ahem* seething rage ... give me details, please?

I don't remember. I was fascinated by the German reporting and paid little attention to what the GI was actually saying. I remember only it was a unit dating back to the American-Indian wars, which in Germany automatically means involvment in genocide, to say the least.

Ben,

And you are saying this is not the same game Germany has played with the US for these many many years.......??

"And you are saying this is not the same game Germany has played with the US for these many many years.......??"

regarding what?

btw: is that plain html code you are using here to mark bold?

@Ben..
regarding the POles..
perhaps there is self interest in their decision..
but they have no love for France..
The French were supposed to protect them from Germany, remember? they did a good job, didn't they? Collective memories die hard..

I dont deny that. The point is that this has got nothing to do with "true allie" but with plain politics.
Like I said ... next time say Russia (if not france for whatever reasons) has got something for them, they go for it.

Ben,

It would seem this is the same game Germany is playing now and has been playing when it comes to be an ally of the US. When there was something in it for the Germans well guess what they were there. When they see or think they see nothing for them .....then they are no where to be found.

We have this term here in the US.....it is called fair weather friends.......it means when things are great you can count on your friends....when things turn bad then that is when you find out who your true friends are.

You had better hope that at some point in the future Germany does not need a friend or not one from this side of the Atlantic because if they do I for one hope you can find them in Canada and not in the US.

As for "true allies" the Poles stand head and shoulders above the Germans.

I disagree Ben..
The Poles went out on a limb.. they pissed off their major allies in Europe (remember Chirac and 'not well behaved'?) and their big neighbor Germany.. THAT is behavior worthy of a 'true ally'
as far as them making lovey dovey with Russia in the near future.. I doubt it..
Ever hear of the wall they are building on the Polish/Ukraine border?
Poland is now part of the West and they are glad to be there. Going back to Russia? I doubt it..
Of course they are acting in their own self interest as well.. what country doesn't?

"Of course they are acting in their own self interest as well.. what country doesn't?"
That's all I'm saying. It's not more of a real allie as germany, but it has, in this particular question decided to stand on the side of the us, not because its the us' side, but its the side where the most is in for them.

@ Joe
I dont see it completly that way.
I thought we already agreed that two countries can't possibly be friends. They can be allies.
The thing I resent my country is the way they handled the disagreement with the us. I bet nobody in the us admin. would have had harsh feelings if germany said: look, our military is already struggling because of afghanistan and we are not completely behind a war on iraq, but we see your point, wish you all the best and we will support you in every possible (but military) way, to bring democracy to iraq.
What germany did was unfortunately everthing but that.
They used the disagreement to condemn the us as a blood (and oil for that matter) thirsty country that uses his military force to repress poor middle east dictatorships.
Although people like Cheney most likely had oil on their minds when they thought about iraq, that wasnt the main reason for the majority of people in the us to be for the war.

In general, not in terms of the war on iraq I have to say that a "fair weather friend" is probably as bad and hazardous as a friend who blindly agrees and follows his friend before making up his mind for himself. The outcome could be that both friends go down, cause sometimes shitty decisions are shitty decisions.

Ben wrote:

"There are countries, that truly support the US policiy at this time, like Italy, but there are as well countries, like poland, that make decisions not based on their overall political agenda, but on the fact that theres something in for them."


Ben, there are also countries who opposed the US policy likely because there was a very large economic stake in it for them. Specifically, France. French companies and politicians were among the highest beneficiaries from the corrupt Oil for Food program. French oil companies had contracts worth in excess of 100 billion euros (highly beneficial contracts) with the Hussein regime. All these facts call the disinterestedness of the French votes in the UN into as much or more question than the Polish and Spanish actions. I don't know to what degree Germany and Germans benefitted from Iraqi oil concessions and aid contracts, so I have omitted Germany from these comments. As a rule it's an accurate assumption that Russia must be bought in most affairs of any magnitude, and China is not known for any degree of disinterestedness either.

I would suggest that given the degree of self-interest inherent in international affairs generally it is somewhat discriminatory to decry the actions of countries such as the Eastern Europeans, Latin Americans, and African without mentioning that countries higher in international status behave with a cupidity and malice often exceeding anything dreamed of by Poland.....

Why does the Arab World condemn the kidnapping of two French journalists in Iraq while other kidnappings and the ruthless murder of Israeli citizen does not trigger any reaction whatsover (except of supporting the killing...)?

Why does the Arab World condemn the kidnapping of two French journalists in Iraq while other kidnappings and the ruthless murder of Israeli citizen does not trigger any reaction whatsover (except of supporting the killing...)?

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