German politicians (and, needless to say, the German media) are jubilant about the Baker report's recommendations:
Karsten Voigt, the German government's coordinator on relations with the U.S., said on n-tv television that: "We should be happy that there is a course correction in the United States."
"If we as Europeans and as Germans can help diplomatically, then we should," he said. "We are also ready to help with reconstruction in Iraq, if the security situation permits." (...)
Wolfgang Gerhardt, the foreign policy expert for Germany's opposition Free Democrats, said in the Bild newspaper that the report "shows an awareness of reality ... and insight is the first step to improving things."
Former Defense Secretary Peter Struck, now parliamentary leader for the Social Democrats in parliament, said that "the U.S. succumbed to a great mistake in judgment: they wanted to be liberators but were perceive as occupiers. They will get out of this dilemma only with great difficulty."
To which the WSJ's James Taranto had this to say:
It would be unrealistic to expect the Germans to pull their weight in international relations, used as they are to freeloading off American strength. But why in the world would they be pleased at the prospect of American retreat from Iraq? The same AP dispatch notes reaction to the ISG report from the Arab world:
Mustafa Bakri, an outspoken critic of the U.S. and editor of the Egyptian tabloid Al-Osboa, told a state-run television show that the report indicated "the end of America."
Bakri, who supports Syrian President Bashar Assad and the former regime of Saddam Hussein, urged Arab countries to "capture the moment as America now is in its weakest period."
The Iraq Study Group's report was the top headline in many Arab newspapers on Thursday, including the Egyptian opposition daily Al-Wafd, which declared: "Bush confesses defeat in Iraq." . . .
Others warned that insurgents and countries including Iran were taking advantage of Bush's failures and the spiraling violence, and their influence would increase if the U.S. leaves.
"Al-Qaida must smell victory, but its a negative victory that comes from the defeat of America in Iraq," said Abdel Moneim Said, head of Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic studies in Cairo.
Do the Germans agree with these Arab assessments? And if so, do they think they and their fellow Europeans can somehow escape any consequences if America flees Iraq before the job is done?
Dumb question. The Arabs love Germany ever since AH, for obvious reasons. Following America's defeat, Germany will inherit Iraq's oil from the U.S. and will - again - be able to provide German nuclear technology to Iran.
Let's call it the German dream...