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I titled this post Nuke Iran? but after reading this I realize I could have titled it "What Lies in the Secret Hearts of Germans?"

I was just about to ask what happened to this article. Outstanding work.

One item that has been left out of concerning the UN. While the corruption of the Food for Oil scandal is noted everyone is forgetting about a recent report that over one-third of the money the UN received for tsunami relief (over 350 million dollars US) has been spent on UN administrative expenses. This is equal to the entire US contribution!

As an American taxpayer, I am getting tired of this waste! I'm all for cutting or even eliminating any US taxpayer funding of the UN. I'd even go so far as to say the UN has outlived its usefullness and the US and other major financial supporters should withdraw. Let them try to function without funds for awhile and they'll make that failure, the League of Nations, look like a raving success.

Phil, you're preaching to the converted. I saw the UN close-up in action in Kosovo, and if I told you what went on there, you wouldn't believe it. Suffice it to say that I always thought the military was good at wasting money, but compared to the UN, they are only rank amateurs.

Unfortunately, Güßgen is not alone among German so-called journalists. Or has anyone, anywhere seen any fair and balanced news about the US in Germany recently? I do a lot of checking, and I haven't.

I thank you again that you put me in touch with articles I would only find with great difficulty otherwise.

I continue to believe that the psychological phenomenon Projection is at play here. There seems to be a complete inability in the bulk of the German media to understand why the US might go to war except in terms of why Germans themselves might. This constrained view leads in turn to the idea that there can be nothing altruistic about US foreign policy -- it must needs be all about advantage, revenge, and resources. THIS, in turn leads to paranoid interpretaion: the given reasons for American actions can't possibly be true, therefore, some darker reason is true and protestations of morality are doubly hypocritical and contemptible.

I am naively hopeful that the Poles, Estonians, Slovenes, and Magyars can teach what the Anglosphere has been unable to.

To be frank, in the past I have been a little turned off by some of the more extreme opinions published on this blog, as they seemed more often than not to be coming merely from the exact opposite side of the pendulum. There appeared to be no middle ground or grey zone, something that I -- a German who has been living in the US for a long time -- have always been interested in. In the end -- so at least it seemed to me -- both "sides" used more or less the same tactics of black and white painting in order to get their points through.

That said, I am thoroughly impressed by Ray D.'s reaction to the Güßgen-article. It is a fine and profound piece of deconstruction not only of the questionable and holier-than-thou "musings" of a typical German "mainstream" media journalist, but on a larger scale a deep analysis of what has unfortunately become a mainstream opinion among the entire country.

I can only hope that more Germans read blogs like this one (and I think that a toning down of polemics in favor of, or in combination with good arguments as in that article by Ray D. ultimately helps), in order to understand that what they are presented with on a daily basis by the likes of DER STERN und DER SPIEGEL is ultimately a perpetuum mobile of self-fulfilling preconceptions.

Keep up the good work!

The journalistic discourse in Europe is that of the middle-school playground. Why expect a clique of spittle-flecked ideologues to be logical? Socialism is based on ivory-tower theory rather than historical success. "The system works in theory and eventually will in practice, when it's implemented just right and enough lives are sacrificed to Marx."

Point 1:

I guess the one positive thing that can be said about the situation with Mr. Güßgen (and, by extension, with the German media, hopefully) is that to some degree he must still care what others beyond his circle think, otherwise the tone of his second article would not have changed. There's hope in that. He's obviously feeling some of the embarrassment a normal human being feels when he's talking behind someone's back and is caught by that very same person while doing so. If he truly believed everything he said, it wouldn't have made any difference to him. But since he toned down his discourse, it means he realizes he was being unfair or at the very least uncivil. It's not much, but it is an opening.

Wouldn't it be nice if he could come to the USA and live awhile with an average family in Illinois, and then Texas, and then Oregon, and then Tennessee. And then, if he absolutely has to, New York City. Maybe after that he'd be qualified to go on the way he does about what America is and how it works. But then, maybe what he had to say wouldn't be the same any more.

I don't speak German and I've never been in Germany so it has been truly shocking to me to read how woefully underinformed so many supposedly educated Germans appear to be about America and how it works. And how full of stereotypes they are. As a simple example, by all accounts, they take cowboy and Indian movies way too seriously. By all means, Germany, send your people over on exchanges. In my personal experience the most likely outcome is not that they'll change us but that we'll change them and they won't want to go back. I have plenty of German acquaintances here who came for a trip or a short-term job 10 or 20 or 30 years ago and never went home. And there seem to be more every day: Yahoo News. Sample quote: "I love the adventurous spirit and won't go back. You can start a business on a shoe string and work hard to succeed."

Point 2:

"The system works in theory and eventually will in practice, when it's implemented just right and enough lives are sacrificed to Marx."

I guess I'm stupid. I've never even thought it worked in theory. I don't see how anything based on patently ridiculous assumptions can ever work.

@kcom: "The system works in theory and eventually will in practice, when it's implemented just right and enough lives are sacrificed to Marx."

I guess I'm stupid. I've never even thought it worked in theory. I don't see how anything based on patently ridiculous assumptions can ever work.

LOL! I completely agree with you :). I must be stupid, too. There is so much about Marxist theory that flies in the face of human nature (we are competitive animals, not an ant farm) and common sense. For the above comment you quoted from the other post to happen, you would have to have one UberMarxist who would then kill everyone else on earth to gain the Marxist Paradise. As long as there are two people alive, they will disagree on some point.

The human race can learn to tolerate any number of differences of fact, but only rarely can tolerate a difference of opinion!

Sadly, for people like Mr. Guessgen, international law has devolved into little more than a hollow ideal to be paraded around on the moral high ground by holier-than-thou media and political elites unwilling and unable to solve the world's real problems with anything more than high-handed condescension and a slavish dedication to the letter of a law that no one enforces and few take seriously.

I have a theory about politically correct, multiculturalist lefties. I have a suspicion that they take Star Trek entirely too seriously, merging it with Marxist ideals. They are trying to recreate the world in the image of the United Federation of Planets, completely failing to understand that Star Trek is science fiction where pc, multi-culti governments work out well because that's the way the screenwriters wrote them. The UN is NOT the UFP, and is in fact totally inept and corrupted. They can't see that-- or refuse to look at it-- because the ineptitude and corruption isn't a part of the dream created by Hollywood screenwriters and Marx. Therefore, it can't be. (Do the Three Monkeys... hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil!)

A world government would be nice, but at this point in time, we are NOT ready for it... and may not be at any time in the near future. We are just too competitive... and at this point in time, competition is the human characteristic that works the best to produce the best. A world organization, to be used ONLY as a forum for discussion, is a possibility, but not if given the kind of powers the UN has (but choses to abuse).

And anyway, who says that pc government on a global scale is what some watching alien society would be looking for in a "civilized" world? I mean aside from the Hollywood screenwriters, of course. I've read a few science fiction novels in which the human race was selected by these vast galactic empires to serve as police and military precisely because we were the meanest, toughest, most intolerant SOB's in the galaxy! :D And, frankly, THOSE stories made a hell of a lot more sense than anything I've ever seen on Star Trek! :)

Don't get me wrong... I actually LIKE Star Trek... but I recognize it as strictly a science fiction universe no better or worse than the Star Wars universe, etc.

Scout,

This wasn't a positive article about America, but Stern's lead editorial in the pre-Christmas edition took on the recent malevolent commentary coming from Iran's president. I was pleasantly surprised by the straightforward rationale of the editorial and I thought it made a brilliant recommendation for Germany to confront Ahmadinejad.

Stern recommended that Angela Merkel invite him to Germany for an official state visit. The visit would include an escorted trip to Dachau. My contribution would be for Poland to latch onto the initiative, invite Ahmadinejad for a follow-on state visit and escort him through Auschwitz.

Like tn, I frequently shake my head about extreme comments here that seem to be little more than mirror images of what's being criticized in the German media. Ray D., however, has written some particularly good posts - reasoned, balanced and all the more effective as a result. I think there is common ground to find out there and progress to be made, much of which contingent upon ratcheting down extremism while exposing media bias.

Cheers,

The problem with all the "good reasoning" and sweetness and light the left expects is that it is ignored by the bad guys.

Does anyone think Iran gives a rats behind about reasoning? They want to finish the job that Austrian started.


Go ahead and reason with the Islamic world. They are going to wait untill they have out bred you. They are well on their way in Germany. In 15 years it won't matter.

Actually, Sock Puppet, I was talking about Germans. Are they the bad guys in your book ?

Cheers,

"Actually, Sock Puppet, I was talking about Germans. Are they the bad guys in your book?"

Are all countries made up exclusively of either bad guys or good guys in your book, Rofe?

Nope, Helian, I'm more of a shades of gray kind guy.

Whoops, "kind of guy".

@Rofe: When I said "anywhere" I was referring to German MSM and of course not this or other reasonably objective blogs. I guess I should have been more specific.
Regarding the Stern article, one lonely voice in the crowd does not constitute balanced coverage of the news. And IMHO, inviting the Iranian president to Dachau would have no effect on the price of fish.

Scout,

Actually, I didn't mean to argue that this editorial constituted balanced coverage - neither at Stern nor in the German media as a whole. It did strike me as a welcome departure, however, and as such something that might be interesting to Medienkritik. I simply wanted to acknowledge the editorial.

As for the price of fish, I think Stern's suggestion has more substance to it than most exclamations of outrage over Ahmadinejad's comments. I also think the editorial itself did a nice job putting German's historical sins into current perspective.

Will any of this stop Iran's nuclear program ? No. But putting Ahmadinejad on notice in no uncertain terms should be encouraged at whatever level.

Cheers,

Congratulations, Ray, on a great posting. The original news of Guessgen's engagement with you in December was exciting, since it represented the first thorough engagement by MSM with Medienkritik. In cases like this, it's important that we see where MSM stands and where Medienkritik stands. Guessgen does this work for you. You're "pro-American, pro-Israel, and pro-capitalist." He espouses a "European core of values."

Your posting rightly identifies the problem with Guessgen's line of attack, in that Guessgen's vision of a European set of values exists nowhere in print, and mostly in his imagination. The Europeans famously tried to agree on a European set of values during the summer, but no one voted for the 315 page EU constitution. (By the way, wasn't this the most unreported story of 2005.)

So, without an EU constitution to fall back on, Guessgen attacks the U.S. Constitution. It would help Guessgen more if he recalled the German constitution, and stopped making appeals to a "set of values," which has only been ratified by the U.N., Stern, and the NYT.

Please continue this discussion with Guessgen. It is fascinating.

@kcom. "By all means, Germany, send your people over on exchanges. In my personal experience the most likely outcome is not that they'll change us but that we'll change them and they won't want to go back. I have plenty of German acquaintances here who came for a trip or a short-term job 10 or 20 or 30 years ago and never went home."

It's not surprising really. Germans have been emigrating to North America since the early 18th Century. My own paternal ancestors arrived in the 1750's and my maternal ancestors in the 1840's.

I have a theory that this massive emigration, along with massive war casualties since the 17th Century, has had a serious effect on the culture of the "fatherland". Perhaps this helps to explain the current state of affairs that modern day Germany finds itself in today.

Re: Death Penalty

Florian Guessgen might want to read a research paper by Cass Sunstein, no conservative he.

Read the pertinent part on the web because of Tookie's brouhaha.

Mr. Sunstein stated that societies have a MORAL obligation to the death penalty to protect their citizens since for every murderer put to death, it saves 18 citizens.

--"With this argument Ray D. actually weakens my critique of the government of George W. Bush.--

No, Mr. Guessen, facts do. And I think Britain's citizens, if they were allowed to vote might also bring back the death penalty.

--

What I would also like to know is how is arming Iran guarding Western principles?


Now if you're interested in gun ownership, may I suggest you read Investor's Business Daily's Saturday 12/30 editorial using statistics from 1996-ish to 2003?

Canada, Australia, Britain - anglosphere countries all instituted gun bans. US now has 35-ish states w/some form of concealed carry.

Care to guess which country's crime rate is down and which are up by quite a bit??????

--The Europeans famously tried to agree on a European set of values during the summer, but no one voted for the 315 page EU constitution. (By the way, wasn't this the most unreported story of 2005.)--

Is 1 of Mr. Guessen's Euro values "democracy?"

If so, what was his stance on not letting the great unwashed vote on whether or not to join the EUSSR?

I have become so tired and nonplussed about the dribble of the leftist "media" injecting their personal opinions and touting them as news.
I don't want to read them any more.

If I wanted to listen to an Assshole, I would just go ahead and fart.
Much more satisfying. :)

Ray's post and many of the comments here are as usual eloquent, literate and well thought through; however, believe it or not, I think that Mr. Guessgen is being treated much more fairly than he deserves here.

I reject in principle the idea that Mr. Guessgen has any legitimate right whatsoever to criticize any policies of the U.S. government. The U.S. is a sovereign democratic state with a democratically elected government. As such, the domestic and foreign policies of the U.S. reflect the will of the people of the U.S. When Mr. Guessgen criticizes these actions in such hysterical and polemic terms, he implicitly rejects democracy. There is, as Ray so eloquently states, already a debate within the U.S. regarding all matters that Mr. Guessgen addresses. As such, Mr. Guessgen's criticism is nothing but hate mongering. Mr. Guessgen should turn his energies to the actions of his own government.


Mr. Guessgen has a perfect right to criticize all he wants to. He doesn't have any right to be taken seriously by a thinking person. His argument appears to be that he and the German chattering classes don't agree with the actions of the US government therefore the US is 'destroying' the West.

I would make the counter argument that Germany has failed to shoulder it's proper share of the global security burden but wants to criticize and preside at 'war crime tribunals' on US soldiers. Hardly the actions of a friend and ally. Therefore Germany is helping to 'destroy' the West if any country is!

Niko, I picked that up from a couple of other sites.

Be my guest, explains what the brusselsprouts are trying to do in a nutshell.

After all, the "right" people (them) are now in place and it surely will work this time!

In a perverse way, Mr. Guessgen is probably right. But his timing is a bit off. The United States has already "destroyed the west" - by speeding past our European friends economically, militarily and in our general support of globalization. The result has been the rise of China, Russia, India and Brazil into the "globally connected" club. And unfortunately for the preening, second teir European elite, "old Europe" is now of little consequece on the world stage. (As John McCain said of France, "...she's kind of like an aging actress who has all the skills to star in the show, but doesn't quite have the face for it".)

So for the millions of newly empowered Russians, Chinese, Indians and Brazilians, I am certainly glad that the US has destroyed "the west". For now we can now move on to connecting the Middle East, Central Asia and ultimately Africa to the world of wealth. Europe can be what it wants, but please Mr. Guessgen, don't expect the perennial "teenager" (the US) to stand by and slam the door on those seeking a better life. The world is changing at breakneck speed, and we Americans want to be onboard the train, rather than standing on the platform as the carriages speed away.

@kcom -
I don't see how anything based on patently ridiculous assumptions can ever work.

I see you're not married.


@LCMPJ -
You're not the only one to draw the Star Trek conclusion (I've been reluctant to say it out loud, myself - people might start expecting me to speak Klingon), although I'd say the impression owes more to Roddenberry's expression of socialist ideals than from socialists actually drawing inspiration from it. IMO, being presented with a fictional picture of the ideals in action may bolster, not necessarily motivate, socialist leanings. Everything else is dead on, though, and the analogies are perfect. Unified world governance in, oh - say 200-300 years. Unless the internet stays as unfettered as I fear there's no chance it will - then halve my estimate.


@Phil N. -
Sounds like an interesting theory. Anything you'd care to flesh out a bit?

Interesting to see Florian Guesgen being criticised for his dedication to the letter of the law, as if the problem was not that his ideals are hollow but that he believes in ideals in the first place. I have only seen his double standards and his emitional conflict in which America serves as a prop, but ideals? Never exclude that there may be some, and if there are they are the last thing to be discarded in the ashheap of his snobbery.

This attitude may be because his ideals are the source of his strength, and that is where an opponent is best attacked, but you do not want to kill him like a computer program, do you? Such a line of attack is all the more astounding as in this posting Jeffrey Gedmin also argues in favor of ideals, presumably because he is aware that a lack thereof maybe displayed as a thought experiment by some of his compatriots. Who of you wants to be advocatus diaboli reloaded? ;-)

As for the offtopic discussion on the Startrek, this trojan program can make you see Nazis in places where there aren't any. Not for kids. But I wonder what American science fiction should have to do with the European thinker who found out how to ground our ideals in reality. Maybe somebody drank too much Moselwein and confused him with the American comedian brothers?

@Doug

OK, I'll expand on my theory but not here as it really doesn't fit. Give me a day and I'll post it on my own infrequently used blog at
http://muttersandmusing.blogspot.com/

@ beimami : Every MSM journalist who interacts with Davids Medienkritik should be treated fairly. We should welcome any dialogue. It helps us to see where both sides stand. Guessgen's lengthy article shows exactly where he stands on important issues like Iraq, Isreal, death penalty and Anglo-American capitalism.

Every word he writes does us a big favor.

I'll re-state what I said in the original thread: America can't possibly be destroying the West because it has already been destroyed, years ago. It was destroyed when Europe left the building and locked the door behind it.

Niko, your "EUSSR" moniker may be more apt then you realize. This week, I'm noticing that, in the reporting of the Russian gas brouhaha, the countries that have sweetheart deals for Russian gas are being described as "client states", and nobody is batting an eye at that. If I'm not mistaken, "client state" is the exact language that the Warsaw Pact used. More evidence that a sort-of revival of the Soviet Union is in the works. Fortunately, it will probably turn out to be a poseur, with little capability to back up its purple prose with action. However, one aspect is interesting: it is entirely possible that Putin will achieve something that Lenin, Stalin, and Kruschev at their most powerful never did -- a meausre of direct control over western Europe.

@kcom - "I don't see how anything based on patently ridiculous assumptions can ever work."

I see you're not married.

I must bow to your wisdom, Doug. I am, it is true, not married. Good call. There are apparently some mysteries that I have yet to put my arms around.

kcom


Just when did the West become the West?

1949?

Franzism,

You write about Florian Guesgen being criticized for his 'ideals' - his devotion to the letter of international law. Being unable to read the original article in German I cannot judge the sincerity of the man personally. Perhaps Herr Guesgen is the exception and his devotion to ideals more than skin deep.

But since the fall of the Berlin Wall I have seen a crack appear in the relationship between Germany and the US. The fact is that we don't need each other any more. Germany doesn't fear the USSR army and doesn't need the security gaurantees of NATO. The US doesn't need German help in facing down the Russian Army.

So the relationship is more voluntary for both sides. The Germans responded by demanding that the US become much more 'German' in outlook and action. The US must become much more collegial in behavior and consult the EU in everything, just as a good European country would do. If we do not that means the US is choosing to do evil, and therefore the US is breaking the 'West'.

No. The 'West' was an artificial creation of the Cold War, and now that the Cold War is finished the interests of the two are diverging. If more Germans troubled themselves to live and work in the US (particularly outside the large coastal cities in the US) this would be better understood in Germany. Insisting that the US apply German standards and methods to the US economy and to American security would be suicidal - for the US.

Increasingly 'idealists' like Herr Guesgen are insisting upon precisely this from the US. Sorry. The US won't commit suicide - even to salve Herr Guesgen's ideals.

@Don - The cold war West is long gone, but Ukraine needs the security of NATO and in a wider sense the EU also does. I think of the West not as a culture, but as a family of cultures that may share rather little besides their universal ideals. It is one of the greatest strengths of the West that its enemies expect it to be a culture, and when they see it is not they get stuck in their own haughtiness. Rightly so, in my eyes Americans who want to be more European than the Europeans without becoming one of us are a nuisance. The best way to identify them is to let them talk about the Old West, then they're always coming up with their own stories rather than with these from the capitalist side before the reunification.

@Niko: "Ok, maybe I watch too many b/w flicks."

That's OK; I like your analogy. When you think about it, the whole thing does have an element of farce, much ado about nothing. The one thing that bothers me about Russia is, and I'll explain it in terms of your analogy: Russia is like an aging gunslinger who was hot stuff in his youth, but is now blind in one eye and has cataracts in the other eye. But he still thinks he's a good shot. So whenever he's around, people look for a piece of furniture to duck behind, just in case.

Franz,

I thought we had agreed before that the EUDF was going to provide the security for the EU. This is what the members of the chocolate summit lead by Germany want.

The mission of NATO had been accomplished.

Given the level of spending on defense either for the EUDF or NATO by such nations as Germany, there can be no real threat.

So as a US taxpayer, I am more than prepared to set you free... Free at last. Free at last. Thank God Free at last.

Besides what could be a better way for the US to support the EU than to encourage a Europe independent of the US. I think that is what most euros want.


@joe - I can't remember having agreed with such a theory. EUDF is not a realistic project that could guarantee a future for Europe, but a paper tiger to bluff the diplomatic community of the EU into the delusion we could actually put the continued existence of NATO at risk without having to bear existential consequences. If it was clear that existentialism is outsourced to NATO, then the EU could look at the transatlantic relationship in a much more realistic manner.

You're right, there still are some NATO troops in Europe which have their mission accomplished. But today most of the times when NATO defends Europe it does so by dealing with threats across the world before they come here. The US strategy is to fight the terrorists abroad to decrease the risk in their own country, but as a result it decreases the risk everywhere else too.

Franz,

Now I am really confused about the EUDF.

Here I thought it was a key concept, developed and pushed by members of the chocolate summit to free Europe, the EU, Germany, france and etc from not being allowed to take their place on the world stage as a force to be reckoned with and to project European positions and values.

Nowhere in this was there a discussion if this was realistic, viable, wise or would in fact accomplish the desires of the EU. It has all the appearances of another Kyoto. Sounds good, makes you feel good, Do it

As for out of sector current NATO missions, there are two, KFOR and Afghanistan. If you want to count the naval operations in the Mediterranean, then there are three.

These are peacekeeping missions not peace making missions. It will be interesting to see if NATO, without the US and UK, can if necessary conduct combat operations in a peace making role in Afghanistan.

Only a minority of nations which make up the EU can actually see the existentialism you refer to. It is therefore a possibility the EUDF will actually become a reality replacing NATO. This would mean an end to the US’s commitment to Europe.

I have no objections to NATO continuing as an organization. I do object to the US continuing to be a member of NATO.

One can only hope Old Martin will one day announce the end of NATO as we know it.


FranzisM,

"The cold war West is long gone, but Ukraine needs the security of NATO and in a wider sense the EU also does."

You lay your hand on the paradox. Ukraine needs and values NATO, as do Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic.

But the publics of the 'old' EU countries (particularly Germany and France) don't. The threat is not to them. This has led to the US being treated with a rising wave of contempt by most of 'safe' Europe. The contempt has been noticed by us 'stupid' Americans - very much so.

The EU may 'need' NATO (and therefore the US) in some deep existential sense. But the majority of the EU does not value the US participation in NATO enough to treat the US with any respect at all. Nor has 'old' EU participated in any significant way in the US defense on the war which began on 9/11 - other than to try to undermine everything the US is doing.

NATO is no longer an alliance - it is an ex-alliance waiting to dissolve.

Re: Guesgen: I've noticed that the 'idealism' of most European commentators begins and ends with the US. The slightest percieved fault in American conduct is met with universal condemnation. They are are either utterly blithe about open attack upon the US supported by Saudi Arabia and Saddam Hussein, or pay mere lip service to the notion this might be bad, before returning to the main argument. Which is that the US cannot lift a finger to defend itself because it is not 'pure'.

@joe - No reason for confusion, the EUDF/Kyoto comparison gets to the bottom of it. It's just like the FMA.

As for NATO, it seems that your understanding seems to be rooted more in the Truman doctrine than in the Reagan philosophy. Is NATO one of several oversea garrisons containing an enemy territory on the grand chessboard, or is it the forum of the free world in opposition to the tyrannies?

I cannot imagine a scenario of an US pullout from NATO that would be unrelated to a parallel pullout from IAEA and the United Nations. It also seems as if the most likely scenario for the end of NATO was not an announcement from a German government spokesperson, but a replay of the Durban Conference that would only leave the choice between appeasement and pullout.

I do not know whether the Islamic confederacy in the United Nations (OIC) will manage it to build an anti-American platform which could pull post-Schröder Germany on its side, but for me the probability of this scenario has already decreased in the recent months and may further decrease if NATO goes successfully through its Reagan reload.

In my opinion there is no reason why e.g. the Marshall Islands should not be a NATO member, but the EU should require Turkey to make a choice between NATO and OIC because a continued double membership in both blocs would be an illogical impossibility. If Old Martin comes out with such an announcement it may be that the end of the NATO you know is the end of NATO.

@Don - That Europe does not feel threatened does not mean we would be safe. But instead of burning down the imagination of safety that serves as the source of the emissions of anti-Americanism I favor teasing and tickling it into focusing on itself rather than on distiction from an outside scapgoat. Let Florian Guessgen preach penance to the choir and Susanne Osthoff play the German Cindy Sheehan until she is featured by the Augsburger Puppenkiste, there are better things to do, such as making Europe as safe as most of us think it already was.

@joe - But it may also be that it is not. What seems to be more probable at this point.

FranzisM,

"That Europe does not feel threatened does not mean we would be safe."

The problem with preserving NATO is that there are two parties to the argreement (counting the EU as a single party). This is too simplistic I know, because within the EU the interests of Poland stand at sharp contrast to those of France, for an example. But for the sake of argument accept my premise for now.

So we have two parties, the EU and the US. NATO as it currently stands is very much in the interest of the EU. I fail to see nearly the same benefit to the US under the current NATO arrangements. Consider the last two wars NATO has been involved in, the Kosovo war and Iraq/Afghanistan. The US did not have a compelling reason nationally for fighting Serbia and helping to solve the problem. The sole US interest in Kosovo was as the head of the NATO alliance. Eventually the NATO arguments won out and drew the US into the Balkans as the Europeans needed. Though certainly there was no unanimity of opinion in Europe for this, so the Clinton administration was heavily criticized in Europe for the way it prosecuted the war, despite intervening against strong public opposition within the US. There was little gratitude within the EU for the US or Clinton for taking on this thankless task.

In 2001 Afghanistan/Iraq began because of the events of 9/11. Again the EU nations dissented - and basically refused to take part. They even obstructed the US national defense wherever they could - at least publically. I understand that the war wasn't in EU interests - much as Kosovo wasn't in US interests to fight. But one ally fought anyway (the US in Kosovo) - the other did not (the EU in Iraq).

This is not how an alliance works. At best the US army in NATO is being used as unpaid mercenaries - and the US gets the same respect that mercenaries get everywhere - none. At least 35% of the US population utterly opposes this, possibly more.

My conclusion is that the next time a security crisis important to the EU countries comes up there is probably only one EU country who can make a persuasive argument for the US to participate. The UK. And that may not be enough, because the UK is a long way from the potential hot spots and may not be interested. If that happens then the US will probably do what the EU did for Iraq - not participate. We probably won't veto in the UN or any of that - we'll just let you pacifists solve your own problems.

The US owes Germany and France precisely nothing after the events post 9/11. Better get working on making that trans-EU force a reality rather than a blind.....

@Don - The Kosovo war was very strange. There were no blogs back then, and while Americans saw Milosevic as an European Mini-Putin, Schröder and Fischer fed Germany with propaganda that he was the new Hitler, so we were historically obliged to help America. I didn't know anything about Al Qaeda and Hisballah and their Balkan jihad back then, but NATO was led by the always controversial Javier Solana and Wesley Clark gave a fuck about cognitive dissonance. Today, the Balkan is a quagmire still further away from democracy than Iraq.

Three years after Kosovo the same UN bureaucrats who said that Racak was a massacre and Milosevic belonged to the Hague were standing ready to go to Jenin and called for the trial of Ariel Sharon (may God help him to get well soon!). The Hitlerification of German foreign policy that became visible post-9/11 has its origin in the Kosovo war, but President Bushs conduct of the war these days is quite far away from President Clintons "fire and forget" doctrine. Said cognitive dissonance reached its peak with the liberation of Iraq, since then the European street is cooling down.

I think that the primary benefit of NATO globalisation for the US would be the security of Israel. Europe can either remain a part of the West or it can fall to Islam, but I cannot imagine a scenario in which Israel would be safe after Europe was given up. President Bushs statement that a free and secure Israel is in the national interest of the US requires to center a whole worldview around it, such as President Trumans commitment to Berlin. And yes, there is a way to finance this without milking the US taxpayer only.

FranzisM,

As I recall the history of the Balkans war was that the EU basically told the US to stay out, the EU and the UN would handle the problem through negogiation, peacekeepers, etc. Clinton was happy to do this because the Balkans weren't really US business.

Unfortunately it didn't work. There were massacres, though not on the scale of the Holocaust or what was happening in Iraq.

"so we were historically obliged to help America"

'We' meaning Germany, I guess. From my POV, the US was 'helping out' Germany, not the other way around. It was Germany's fight far more than the US's fight - but Germany and the EU were incapable of exercising the military power necessary. So it was necessary for the US (and the UK) to do the bulk of the actual fighting over Kosovo. Germany ought to have been the lead country in that war, not the US, but could not because Germany and the EU choose not to build an effective military force.

My point is that the German response to Iraq changes everything. The US has no reasons to fight on Germany's behalf any more. Not after Germany's actions on the Iraq war - and preceding it in Kosovo.

The security of Israel? Israel HAS no security! The US HAS no security - that was the primary lesson of 9/11! Let's face hard facts like little men - Iran is going to get the atomic bomb. All the efforts of the EU and UN diplomats to stop Iran will come to nothing - because they aren't prepared to do anything but talk about it.

Within 5 years Israel's existence will depend on whatever nut leads Iran. Israel won't go down easily, but it will be retaliation, not security. And don't expect that retaliation to limit itself to Iran. I can easily see the Israeli's hitting Damascus, Cairo, and Mecca as well as Qum and Tehran. Maybe even Bahrain and Dubai.

@Don - We recall this piece of history differently because the then European elites lied not only to Europe but also to America. From what I know today, since the Salman Rushdie fatwa claimed Islamic jurisdiction over Europe and terrorists started flowing in, virtually everything that could be done wrong has been done wrong in the Balkans. But who in the Europe of 1989 was able to stand up and reclaim sovereignty against Khomeini, while at the same time honestly come out to the world with our new pacifism? As a result, the Kosovo war was presented in such a deliberately ambiguous manner that allowed each side to believe the initiative had come from the other side, just like the Marshall Plan.

The good thing about the Iraq war rift is that it ended the historical cycle that had begun with the Marshall Plan. Afghanistan could still be explained by Schröder and Fischer in the same way as Kosovo, but with Iraq there suddenly was a war they couldn't agree with because the removal of that tyrant would deal a blow not only to their geopolitics but also to their power over Europe. On the other hand, they could not reject a war or participation therein without coming out with the pacifism that they for so long had concealed from the world to exploit the last remnants of the Marshall Plan diplomacy.

There is something from the cold war that will never be over. The geographical separation of the East and the West of Germany was temporary, but the separation between national politics and geopolitics that the cold war has left in our heads is permanent. To make not only an argument for a just war but also actively fight that just war, a country would have to be able to think these two together at the same time. The end of an era of the dimension of the Marshall Plan requires to give the other side a fresh benefit of the doubt, so regarding the Iraq war the most honest position for the German government would have been to remind the Baathist outgrowth of the Nazi party of its place in history.

I mentioned the security of Israel not because it was the status quo but because it is an important goal to be achieved, and I believe NATO globalisation can achieve that goal. It can help push forward the IAEA to ensure that the establishment of the planned WMD-free zone around Israel does indeed begin with the rogue regimes rather than with Israel itself. And it can attempt to push the Iran case trough the Russian-Chinese blockade so that the UN Security Council can outlaw the Wilayat al-Faqih system that makes Iran a threat.

IMHO, the next step in the case of Iran should be to take their bargaining chip away.

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