« The Wall Street Journal's Bret Stephens: "Allies" | Main | SPIEGEL ONLINE: Violence Against Homeless a "Trendsport" in the USA »

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451c42969e200d8351e352e69e2

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Matthias Kuentzel: A Rare German Voice of Reason on Trade with Iran:

Comments

Mr Kuentzel has a website featuring a number of excellent english-language texts, by the way:

http://www.matthiaskuentzel.de/contents/


My attempt at a translation of the Tagesspiegel article:


With Business Savvy into Catastrophe

Germany and Iran: First comes trade, then morals. By Matthias Kuentzel

Teheran ignores the security council and enforces its nuclear program. Now
everything depends on Europe: Will one continue to cuddle up to the mullah
regime or take a stand? Only Europe could force Teheran to change course by
non-military means. While the USA don't trade with Iran, China, Japan, and
Russia are expendable for Teheran. Europe isn't: Most technologically
sophisticated imports originate from the European Union.

"Two thirds of the Iranian industry is equipped mostly with machines of German
origin", reports the former president of the German-Iranian chamber of commerce,
Michael Tockuss."The Iranians depend on German replacement parts and suppliers."
A study of the Iranian parliament confirms: Without European replacement parts
and industrial products the Iranian economy would be paralysed within months.

Instead of using this last available leverage to force a change of course by
non-military means, Berlin in particular rejects an efficient regime of
sanctions outside the UN security council. American attempts to convince
Europeans banks and firms to abandon their Iran business are fought. Public
Hermes bonds for business ventures in Iran will still be granted in the future:
This practice won't be abandoned "because of new political directives", the
Federal Ministry of Economics proclaims defiantly. "Backing of Iran business is
still possible."(Nachrichten fuer Aussenhandel, February 22nd 2007). Incessantly
the German government calls for participation in Iranian trade shows: April 2007
- "Iran Oil & Gas Show"; May 2007: "Iran Food & Bev Tec"; October 2007 -
"Internationale Industriemesse"; November 2007: "Iranplast - International Trade
Show for Synthethics and Rubber". With business savvy into catastrophe: Does
Berlin really want that the fundamentalists of Teheran wage Holy War with atomic
weapons in the future?

Remarkable isn't just the nonchalance with which the country of the holocaust
perpetrators stands by the country of the holocaust deniers. Also remarkable is
the behaviour of globalisation opponents and the factions of the left. Shouldn't
the priority of human rights and the most elementary security interests over the
interests of big industry be their topic? Far from it: While the USA is
demonised as risk factor number one, Iran is viewed through rose-tinted glasses
and with stuffed ears. Although even the gentle pressure of the security council
has proved that sanctions benefit the Iranian opposition and make the internal
antagonisms of the regime more acute.

The public is mainly occupied with the question how Washington can be stopped
from stopping Teheran. The actual problem, the Iranian bomb, has moved to the
background. But everybody who reflexively tries to protect Ahmadinedschad's Iran against
America - even when it comes to the last attempt at a peaceful solution, hard sanctions -
paves the way for exactly the scenario he is trying to prevent, a military
confrontation.

If Teheran isn't put under immediate, massive pressure and is confronted with
the alternative to either change its course or suffer devastating economic
damages, then the only choice left will be one between a bad solution - the military
option - or a terrible one, the Iranian bomb.

---
The author is a political scientist and a board member of the international
association "Scholars for Peace in the Middle East".

"Scholars for Peace in the Middle East" has an interesting website, using the colour-scheme of the Israeli flag, at

http://www.spme.net/

This is a pro-Israeli lobbying group. Its petitions only ask for censure of Iran, but fail to mention certain Israeli activities of dubious legality. Their book store sells an amusingly one-sided selection of media. Their list of partners ("about SPME") displays a certain bias. Even their official mission statement has little to do with "Peace in the Middle East", but concentrates on fighting alleged anti-Semitism.

Putting all the blame for the lack of peace in the Middle East on Israel is stupid, dishonest and sometimes even anti-Semitic. But blaming only the Arabs and Persians for it - as SPME does - is intellectually dishonest, too. This does not improve the value of an article written by a board member of said organisation.

Just a quick remark about the article itself: He fails to address that an uni-literal German embargo would be of little use, as Iran could switch suppliers (e.g. China, Russia, other Europeans, Israel). One has to remember that Germany does not export military material (Russia, China, North Korea, Israel, US) or nuclear stuff (Russia, likely North Korea and Pakistan) to Iran, but civilian or dual-use items. These are freely available on the international market and could be easily acquired by Iran using third countries.

The only viable trade embargo is an international trade embargo, i.e. a resolution by the UN Security Council. The US is a member of said entity, Germany is not.

When Matthias Küntzel´s book on the Muslim Brotherhood was toroughly fact-checked by reviewers, they found fewer errors than in Jan-Phillip Reemtsma´s exhibition on the Wehrmacht.

In this article, Küntzel makes an important point: Persia depends on Germany as well. The best example for that is that we have not seen sanctions by Persia yet, even though the Dinnerjacked is usually quite smug when it comes to disagreements, such as when he excretes utter nonsense on German history.

Interesting, even though it turns out troll Gunter was correct on that point, he had no answer to my point that relying on that reverse dependency is not safe for Germany, at least not for a long time.

>> This is a pro-Israeli lobbying group.

Good, a change from the usual anti-Israeli mainstream.

>> Its petitions only ask for censure of Iran, but fail to mention certain Israeli activities of dubious legality.

Such as?

What military material does the US or Israel export to Iran?

It is not so easy to "switch suppliers." Iran constantly complains that it cannot get spare parts for equipment, particularly aircraft, that it bought under the monarchy 30 years ago because of US sanctions (the existence of which shows that German sanctions would hardly be unilateral).

Kuenztel makes a good point. For historical reasons we're told Germany cannot make proportionate military contributions to NATO missions. Economic contributions "won't help," you say. When, if ever, will Germany become engaged in the idea of collective security other than as a free-rider?

Tropby:

It truly takes a man with a "trained-eye" to pick up on that subversive color-scheme used by the Scholars for Peace in the Middle East website. Thank you for that insightful tip-off.

Indeed, next time I see a blue and white color combination, I’ll now be vigilant as to any "hidden agenda" the group using said colors might be espousing. The use of a subliminal "pictorial-message" to support Israel by use of their flag’s colors clearly shows the level to which some of those people will stoop.

I also appreciated your excellent point regarding SPME’s failure "to mention certain Israeli activities of dubious legality." However, my friend, I think you far understate the case here. "dubious legality" – surely Israel has engaged in activities which are outright Frumious in legality and slithy in nature! I for one am unafraid to call these things by their true names – let us not gyre and gimble in the wabe here, but rather call things for what they truly are!

No sir, as long as I can still hold this vorpal sword in hand, I will join you in battling our manxome foe.

But let’s not be shy about Germany’s proud role in helping – well, for example Iraq build it’s famously indestructible bomb-shelter for her previously elected ruler (Saddam Hussein, not the Ami-installed junta of today). There’s no reason to say, as you did:

that Germany does not export military material…but civilian or dual-use items

Rather, Germany should take well-deserved pride in helping Iraq to defend herself against the Ami-Israeli aggression waged against her government.

@Tropby
This is a pro-Israeli lobbying group. Its petitions only ask for censure of Iran, but fail to mention certain Israeli activities of dubious legality. Their book store sells an amusingly one-sided selection of media. Their list of partners ("about SPME") displays a certain bias. Even their official mission statement has little to do with "Peace in the Middle East",

So. What.

This may come as a shock to you, but people with the same interests and goals have a propensity to self-organize. "Bias"? You bet. There's absolutely nothing wrong with bias as long as it is openly declared. Of course a less loaded term would be 'point of view'.

but concentrates on fighting alleged anti-Semitism.

ALLEGED?? I get it. We're not anti-semitic just anti-Zionist.

Its petitions only ask for censure of Iran, but fail to mention certain Israeli activities of dubious legality.

Why and how are the two issues related? Assuming Israel has commited such acts, is this group therefore somehow precluded - morally, legally, politically, you tell me - from asking for censure of Iran?

These are freely available on the international market and could be easily acquired by Iran using third countries.

Fine. Let 'em try.

The only viable trade embargo is an international trade embargo, i.e. a resolution by the UN Security Council. The US is a member of said entity, Germany is not.

You seemed to have missed something. The trade sanctions imposed by the U.S. alone has hurt Iran seriously. And if you think German business would be hurt if the German gov't imposes sanctions, think about how it can be hurt if it doesn't. One example is the sanctions placed on the German gun manufacturer that sold sniper rifles to Iran and were later found in Iraq. No more business with the U.S. for them. And German businesses are worried about it.

The article also points to rumors in some Berlin circles on the US warnings to some German banks threatening them with similar fines as ABN Amero.

@Pamela: Actually, is was an Austrian manufacturer, but point taken. They also love playing moral apostle.
Besides, Tropby's stipulation that the US is in a position to do something through the UNSC is as hollow as it is stupid. May I remind everyone how good of job Europe has done supporting other UNSC resolutions, e.g. against Saddam's Iraq?
YGBSM.

Pamela,

You might enjoy this…We just have the wrong allies.


http://www.thenoseonyourface.com/2007/03/03/france-surrenders-as-pre-caution-after-swiss-troops-wander-into-liechtenstein/

On a purely technical note, Joe (and others like myself who like to post URLs), you may want to check out a kleine website called

www.tinyurl.com

which allows one to take a URL of any length and "re-map" it into a new URL of, well tiny length. It’s handy for those ultra-long URLs that fold onto a second line (thus making it difficult to simply cut and paste it into one’s browser). My understanding is that tinyurl simply maintains a mapping of whatever URL you paste into it with the shortened (or encoded) URL that it spits out in return.

So, for example, I am now going to paste in your reference above to that URL about those Swiss troops sauntering into Liechtenstein and …(drum roll please) we now have:

http://tinyurl.com/24nolu

as a fully-working "pointer" to the same URL.(oh, an no, I have no connection to whomever invented or runs tinyurl)

By the way, I absolutely loved that map of Europe they have up there!

joe, the problem is that the Swiss refused the French capitulation.

If there's one thing the Germans learned about defeating the French, it's that the French continue to lie about it and pretend they still have a sovereign gov't. The next thing you know, Christian Lecroix starts taking credit for designing those Swiss uniforms.

Who needs that?

For those of you who find no humor in haute couture, I give you

Christian Lacroix - Spring 2007 Haute Couture Collection

Although it is always good to know the background of any author when reviewing any writing.....it must also be said, that this article is exactly right.

Pamela, who seems to consider Austria to be part of Germany, accused me of cutting and running, as I did not reply to her in this thread. I merely tried to limit my contributions to this forum, as this is not my blog and I tend to disagree with its authors. But my Old European courtesy forces me to respond at her direct request.

"There's absolutely nothing wrong with bias as long as it is openly declared." But this group hides it agenda by calling itself "Scholars for Peace", not "Scholars for Israel".

"ALLEGED??" is Your response to my "but concentrates on fighting alleged anti-Semitism.". As this group concentrates on US universities, I have to bow to Your superior knowledge. So not only is Austria part of Germany, but US students are anti-Semitic. Interesting.

Your source is unknown to me and my lack of Persian language skills prevents me from getting reliable information about it, but it seems to be run by some Iranians in exile. Once again You display a tendency to consider PR by fringe groups real news. US trade embargoes on EU-nations have a tendency to backfire btw., so bullying does not work.

Embargoes on civilian goods do not work, unless all neighbour states co-operate: I saw Dell notebooks during my last business trip to Iran. So either Your idea of sanctions is unrealistic, or the US preaches water (Isolate Iran!) and drinks wine (Trade!).

Finally just a few examples of Israeli actions of dubious legality:

While the old theory of an Israeli "Master Plan" is largely discredited, new research - often based on autobiographies of Israeli leaders - shows that Plan Dalet was more than a fringe fantasy. The Palestinians were not only asked to leave by Arab states, but also expelled by Israeli militias. The extent of such an illegal action is still not clear, further research is needed.

The Absentee Land Act of 1950. Read it. It was used to acquire the property of refugee Arabs without compensation, including cases were said Arabs had merely hidden outside the village in their own orchards to avoid the fighting and returned after a day or two, long before said act was enacted. Said "absentees" had often returned to their homes before being expelled.

Settling on occupied territories is a big NoNo under international law, as is the removal of natural resources (e.g. water) to the mainland of the occupier. The recent theory that said territories are not occupied, but Israeli or disputed is only supported by some US and Israeli jurists and causes amusement in legal circles abroad. Yes, they could have annexed said territories, but this results in giving citizenship to its inhabitants.

Haaretz reports that WP artillery shells were not only used to obfuscate troop movements (legal, even if some fires are created as collateral damage) during the latest intervention in Lebanon, but with the intent to create fire (illegal).

There are several reports by human rights groups about the use of cluster bombs on civilian targets to limit the mobilty of enemy fighters. (illegal)

A list of illegal actions by the Palestinians could easily be made, but nobody here denies said actions.

About Israeli and US weapon sales to Iran: Germany stopped the sales of weapons and some strategic equipment when the Shah was toppled. Said nations supplied Iran with weapons during its war with Iraq (Iran-Contra Affair), quite possibly saving the Mullah regime.

The full extent of this affair was never investigated, as it rained presidential pardons.

figuring,

When, if ever, will Germany become engaged in the idea of collective security other than as a free-rider?

This situation cries for The GI Song. Enjoy!

The comments to this entry are closed.

Our Mission

The Debate

Blog powered by Typepad

May 2014

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
        1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31