Does America Still Lack the Will Joschka?

(By Ray D.)

Zarqawi eats two 500 pound bombs. Al-Qaeda and the Taliban are bleeding profusely. Iraq just put together its elected government. The US Senate rejects a cut and run proposal 93-6. So tell us Joschka, do you still think America lacks the political will to stay the course in Iraq and the Middle East? Keep listening to the doom and gloom, out of touch, indoctrination media that refuses to acknowledge any positive progress and is busily reporting the daily casualty count. Reality may dawn eventually...

UPDATE: Another crushing loss for the cut-and-run, defeat-and-retreat crowd in a vote held by the US House of Representatives. In the meantime, the Taliban continues to suffer mass casualties. The German media and the Joschka's of the world had better not count on defeat for the US just yet...

Joschka Fischer: Saddam's Secret Helper

(By Ray D.)

Many German opponents of the Iraq war believe they were right in 2003 and that they are right now, albeit for somewhat different reasons and the benefit of hindsight. To them, Iraq is a disaster-debacle-quagmire and anyone who disagrees must be either a warmonger or wearing a thick pair of rose-colored glasses. They can't seem to imagine a viewpoint between total doom and total optimism. That lack of nuance is striking for a group of people who pride themselves on the ability to discern the many shades of gray in the world.

No one represents this view more eloquently than Joschka Fischer, Germany's former Foreign Minister. In an essay published by SPIEGEL ONLINE entitled "Tehran's Secret Helper," Fischer lashes at US involvement in Iraq and claims that the reality on the ground is far worse than expected. In so doing, he assumes that offense is the best defense and that those who opposed the war will no longer be required to justify their own positions. Unfortunately for Joschka, there is the ugly question, a counterfactual if you will, of how Iraq and the wider Middle East would have looked today and in the future had Saddam Hussein and his sons remained in power. The moral implications of that potential outcome are something that the ex-minister and his fellow travelers would rather we not think about. He writes:

"After all, since the administration of George W. Bush decided to remove Saddam Hussein from power by war, just about everything went wrong that possibly could have. What is more, the reality in Iraq and the surrounding region far surpassed all negative expectations and fears, and it continues to do so today." (emphasis ours)

It would be ridiculous to claim that all is well in Iraq. But it is equally ridiculous for Mr. Fischer to claim that the reality in Iraq and the surrounding region has "surpassed all negative expectations and fears." How could one interpret Libya's recent surrender of its weapons programs or Syria's retreat from Lebanon as confirmation of our darkest fears for the Middle East? How could one interpret the elections and the formation of an Iraqi government as such? How could one interpret the systematic training and expansion of Iraqi security forces as such?

And whose expectations and fears, exactly, is Mr. Fischer talking about? Let's go back and examine, for a moment, what members of his very own Socialist-Green government predicted before the war:

Claudia Roth (Greens) predicted that an attack on Iraq would unleash a firestorm in the wider Middle East, implying that the entire region could be thrown into a state of war.

Olaf Scholz, Secretary General of the SPD (Schroeder's Social Democratic Party): The war will "likely result in the death of hundreds of thousands of innocent people."

Heidi Wieczorek-Zeul (SPD), Minister of Development Aid: She expected "hundreds of thousands of innocent people, civilians, children, women" to become war victims, and she expected two to three million refugees. Like Roth, Zeul also said that the Iraq war would "unleash an unimaginable firestorm" in the region.

Jürgen Trittin (The Greens), Minister for the Environment: "The Ministry of the Environment has several studies, among them UN documents. According to these 40.000 to 200.000 victims of military actions can be expected. (...) We are afraid, that up to 200.000 more people might die from the consequences of a war."

Wolfgang Thierse, President of the German Parliament (SPD): "I think of the millions of people in Baghdad, who will be victims of bombs and rockets."

Not only haven't those expectations been surpassed, they were totally off the mark. There has not been a wider war. There was not and has not been an exodus of millions of refugees. Hundreds-of-thousands or millions have not died. Iraq is on a slow and admittedly painful path to self-rule and democracy. Wouldn't it be nice if Mr. Fischer had the moral courage to admit that members of his own party and government were wrong instead of perpetuating the ridiculous lie that all negative expectations have been surpassed? It seems that our ex-Foreign Minister has a highly selective memory. He continues:

"The question is whether the majority of US citizens were ever really prepared to pay the very high military, political, economic, and moral cost for such an imperial enterprise, and to pay for it over a long period of time. We know today that the answer is "No." But such a negative answer was already to be expected in 2002 and 2003, and would have been the starting point if the actual reason for the war had been placed at the center of the domestic debate in the US. That's why other reasons for going to war were invoked - weapons of mass destruction and international terror - reasons that have quite obviously not held up to reality."

It is interesting to note that Mr. Fischer, who now basks in the glow of hindsight, belonged to a government that itself believed that Saddam Hussein possessed WMD and was dangerously close to building an atomic bomb as late as 2001. Additionally, while Saddam Hussein may not have been closely linked to Al-Qaeda, he did support international terror by awarding the families of Palestinian suicide bombers $25,000. He also ran a government that terrorized, murdered, raped and tortured its own people on a mass scale and invaded two neighbors.

Furthermore, how can Mr. Fischer claim that the American people are unwilling to pay the cost in Iraq? Obviously, many in America have grown dissatisfied with the war and its progress. Many now see the war as a mistake. Perhaps even a majority. But most Americans also believe that it would be wrong to cut and run in Iraq before the country is stabilized. The ups and downs in the polls to which Mr. Fischer refers are very different from the overall willingness of the American people to get the job done and pay the necessary price in Iraq in the long-term. Put another way: Mr. Fischer underestimates the will of the American people to succeed in Iraq at his own peril.

Finally, Mr. Fischer speaks of terrorism:

"And it is here that we encounter a fourth question, that concerning the role of terrorism in Iraq and in the region. The battle against terrorism was one of the main arguments for the war in Iraq, but this argument has transformed into its opposite. If the al-Qaida terror network was on the defensive after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and the war in Afghanistan, this situation has been reversed since the war in Iraq. For international jihad terrorism, Iraq has historically taken on the same mobilizing function that the Islamic and national resistance to the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan had in the 1980s. Then, it was Pakistan that became the main beneficiary of the Afghan power vacuum; in today's Iraq, that role falls to Iran."

The comparison of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan to the US occupation of Iraq is a striking indicator of Mr. Fischer's finely tuned moral relativism. While the Soviets brought oppression and Communism to Afghanistan, the United States has brought the hope of self-rule and democracy to Iraq and the wider region. The obvious difference seems lost on the former Foreign Minister. Mr. Fischer's claim that Al-Qaeda terrorists have been strengthened by the Iraq conflict is simply not borne out by the facts. Ambushes, car bombings and hit and run attacks are hardly the weapons of an offensive force. Recent reports hardly support the view that Al-Qaeda is growing in strength in Iraq, despite the fact that attacks are up in recent months. Iraqi security forces continue to grow in strength and capability, threatening the very long-term existence of Al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Additionally, Al-Qaeda has been most active in Afghanistan of late. Does Mr. Fischer also see German involvement there as a recruiting tool for Al-Qaeda? Is it time to pull the Western troops out of Afghanistan to avoid "attracting" more Taliban fighters? Would such a move serve to stabilize the region? Canadians no longer support the mission...couldn't we have foreseen this?

As far as Iran goes, it is true that the Islamic republic is now supporting unrest and insurgent activity in Iraq. But does Mr. Fischer honestly believe that Iran prefers American troops at its doorstep in both Iraq and Afghanistan? Secondly, Iran will only receive long-term benefits from the US presence in Iraq if the US and its allies decide to abandon the country before it has the capacity to defend itself from threats foreign and domestic. This may be what Joschka's friends are hoping for deep down, but no one in American politics with any influence is suggesting such a course of action. Mr. Fischer's opinion of America's conduct of the war seems based entirely on week-to-week opinion polls that show lagging support for the war. This brand of political decision making, based on the ebb and flow of popular sentiment and poll numbers, may be what drove Mr. Fischer politically, but it is not what drives America politically. Not entirely at least.

In closing, Mr. Fischer's all-out paint-it-black offensive seems to be part of a disingenuous political game of "see I told you so." He apparently hopes to exploit waning support of the Iraq war to take back the moral high ground through a campaign of exaggerated negativity and denial of reality. Unfortunately for Mr. Fischer, not everyone has forgotten that his policies would have left Saddam Hussein and his sadistic sons in power for decades to come with little or no hope of democratic change in the region. Not everyone has forgotten that the German government believed that Iraq had WMD and was close to building a nuclear weapon. If anything, Mr. Fischer was Saddam's secret helper, and for that he should be held accountable. The point is not that the current situation in Iraq is all roses. It obviously isn't. The United States and its government have made a number of mistakes and the insurgency continues. The war in Iraq will be a tough slog and people are dying every day. But to say that everything is totally hopeless is just as ridiculous as to say that all is well. It is entirely possible to support the effort to democratize and stabilize Iraq while honestly acknowledging the many problems and mistakes along the way. Of that Mr. Fischer seems completely incapable.

UPDATE: Two 500 pound bombs put an end to al-Zarqawi in Iraq after apparent tips from local Iraqis. Is Al-Qaeda still on the offensive in Iraq now Joschka?

UPDATE #2: The US Senate rejects a cut and run proposal 93-6. Tell me again Joschka how America lacks the political will...say what?

Yesterday's Street Fighter is Today's UN Representative...

John Rosenthal points to an interesting fact: Tom Koenigs, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Representative for Afghanistan is a former left wing street fighter from the entourage of Joschka Fischer, ex-foreign minister of Germany.

BTW, Germany's foreign ministry is still home of Joscha Schmierer, another Fischer friend, who in the seventies was leader of one of West Germany's worst communist groups (KBW = Kommunistischer Bund Westdeutschland). Schmierer at the time even had some nice things to say about Cambodian communist leader Pol Pot.

His anti-American rhetoric has mellowed considerably since his KBW days, of course (his analysis of American-European relations even has some clearly pro-American connotations), but, of course again, in his job at Germany's foreign ministry he opposed the U.S. decision to go to war with Saddam's Iraq.

After all, there are some things that will never change...

Have We Got News for You...

According to a report by Stern magazine, former German foreign minister Joschka Fischer considers a position as Professor at an American university. Princeton and Harvard are in the running.

Fischer has been a focus point of this blog from it's very start.

I guess they will offer him a chair at the "Joschka Fischer School of Politics"...

You're Fired!

Not quite.

But he is transferred to another, so far unknown destination: "The German Diplomat from Hell". No more New York party circuit, no more equation of the human rights policy of the U.S. and of North Korea (he preferred the North Korean version). The German foreign ministry decided to get rid of this guy in order to avoid "irritations in the relationship between the U.S. and Germany."

Hmm... I guess there is another German diplomat who should have been fired long ago in order to avoid irritations between the U.S. and Germany.

Iran: Reasons for Optimism

European nuanced diplomacy is scoring another well deserved triumph.

German foreign minister Joschka Fischer:

The breaches that have been identified with regard to Iran's Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA have shaken our confidence in the aims of its nuclear programme. Great Britain, France and Germany, with the support of the High Representative of the European Union, are conducting intensive negotiations with Iran in order to dispel the international community's serious concerns.

The negotiation process has already borne fruit. (...)

Together, we are hoping to conclude a long-term agreement with Iran, at the center of which will be "objective guarantees" – this is what has been agreed with Iran. (...) If we succeed in reaching an agreement on a lasting commitment by Iran to give up uranium enrichment, this would put EU–Iran relations on a totally new footing. (emphasis added)

Not just on a totally new footing, but on a totally new nuke-go-round...

Source: Cox & Forkum

Update: Well, not all mullahs are dangerous...

Fischer Should Resign

Here is a comment from our friend DL from Heidelberg on German foreign minister Joschka Fischer's testimony before an investigative commitee of the Bundestag today:

Foreign Minister Fischer's testimony today raises some interesting questions. He admitted that not only did he make mistakes but also that he accepts full responsibility for his errors in the Ukrainian visa scandal. Exactly what does that mean? If he were the U.S. Secretary of State, U.S. media would be calling for his resignation. U.S. news organizations would demand to know who stamped the visas that allowed over two million Ukrainians to enter the country under false and illegal circumstances and would insist that person be fired. If Joscha Fischer truely accepts responsibility doesn't that imply he believes there should be consequences for his failure? And what about the German Ambassador to Kiev? Was he relieved of his position or merely reassigned? Why isn't the German media calling for the head of Consular Affairs at the German Embassy in Kiev to testify about his or her role in the matter? It would appear that after his public confession, Mr. Fischer and his minstry are being treated extremely kind by Germany's state sponsored news outlets and there will in fact be no consequences.
While I doubt that the number of two million Ukrainians entering Germany (I guess the number is closer to 1 million, which is bad enough), I fully agree with DL that Fischer should resign because of his responsibility for the scandal.

Continue reading "Fischer Should Resign" »

President Bush, You Failed Us Again!

This will hurt lots of feeble souls in the German media and in German politics: President Bush nominated undersecretary of state John R. Bolton to be the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

JOHN R. BOLTON, of all people!!! The German élites are not amused...

"Mr. Fischer, you get out of here. NOW!"

This guy prefers blunt talk instead of nuanced diplomatic babble, which has become the cornerstone of Germany's highly successful multilateral foreign policy! Members of the German media, known for their courtesy and politeness against Arab dictators and (while they existed) communist leaders, dismissively label Bolton a "neoconservative hardliner" (Financial Times Germany), "right-wing hardliner" (TAZ), and "hawk" (SWR).

Just a few quotes to show the truly evil, neocon nature of this man:

On the International Criminal Court:
America's posture toward the ICC should be "Three Noes": no financial support, directly or indirectly; no cooperation; and no further negotiations with other governments to "improve" the ICC. Such a policy cannot entirely eliminate the risks posed by the ICC, but it can go a long way in that direction.

The United States should raise our objections to the ICC on every appropriate occasion, as part of our larger campaign to assert

Continue reading "President Bush, You Failed Us Again!" »

Germany's Diplomacy is Paying Off

Finally: Germany's patient, multilateral diplomacy approach is paying off!

Democratic elections in Palestine, Afghanistan and Iraq. Masses in Lebanon demanding Syria's withdrawal. Elections (sort of) in Saudi Arabia (men only) and Egypt (hopefully). Marrocans marching for freedom. Kuwaiti women demonstrating for equal voting rights. And so on...

Vielen Dank, German diplomacy. Vielen Dank, foreign minister Joschka Fischer!

It is hard to overemphasize the contribution of German diplomacy to this cry for freedom from the "Arab street".

Of course, had the US followed the plea of Joschka "I am not convinced" Fischer and UN secretary general Kofi Annan March 2003 to abstain from military means in Iraq, democracy and freedom in the region would have materialized already much earlier.

Definitely. ... OK, probably.

Well, perhaps.

Or not at all.

Continue reading "Germany's Diplomacy is Paying Off" »

Headscarfs for the Greens

Our comment sections are a treasure trove of insightful and interesting comments.

Such as this one by Doughnut Boy Andy (web site) about the Greens and their fattening godfather Joschka Fischer (here is his role model):

I found this more of a bad one by the Greens.

Gerhard (Schroeder, German chancellor) is out in Saudi Arabia trying to promote Germany and secure oil (no blood for oil my ass!) and there is a picture of Antje Vollmer from the Greens wearing a headscarf. I just found this interesting on two fronts:
Firstly on the same day the BZ Berlin paper is also talking about the

Continue reading "Headscarfs for the Greens" »

The Joschka Fischer School of Politics (Continued)

You know about my fascination with Joschka Fischer (1, 2, 3). He is probably the most overrated German politican in terms of substance, and there's quite a competition!

His speech at the opening of the Iranian embassy in Berlin provides another opportunity to study his convoluted style. Lots of hot air and empty rhetoric.

John Rosenthal contrasts Fischer's remarks with those of President Bush and secretary of state Condoleezza Rice.

You guess there might be a difference? Well, you're right on the spot...

(BTW, I think Fischer looks absolutely smashing in his white tsunami outfit.)

The Making of News

According to Germany's left-wing weekly Stern, a new poll shows that the Green party wouldn't suffer from the "visa scandal": "Germans are not impressed by the visa affair concerning the Green politicians Volmer and Fischer. If we had national elections this weekend, the Green party would get 10 per cent of the vote, as in last week's poll."

The Stern poll story is already covered by AP Germany.

What Stern and AP fail to mention is the fact that the scandal did not blow up until late Friday, February 11, when Ludger Volmer resigned from his job as foreign policy speaker of the Green party. The poll, however, was conducted on February 10 and 11, so the poll's participants weren't aware of the magnitude of the scandal.

A comparison of Yahoo! News (Germany) for February 10, 11, 12 and 13 shows a clear increase in reporting of the Volmer-Fischer scandal around 10 pm of the 11th - well after the poll had ended.

So the Stern poll does not prove the Green Party's immunity against the Volmer-Fischer scandal. It is, however, a proof for the attempt of the pro-Fischer media crowd to minimize the damage of the scandal for the Green Party.

No surprise here...

Fischer: Empty Suit of the Month

I intended to steal a few quotes from this David Broooks article (Hat tip Heike Schütte) in the New York Times, but the whole piece is so excellent I decided to present it in full.

Brooks presents his views on the Munich trans-Atlantic security conference. Don't miss the parts addressing German foreign minister Joschka Fischer's "soaring, stratospheric mode declaring that we need the "creation of a grand design, a strategic consensus across the Atlantic." We need a "social Magna Carta" to bind the globe." I guess if we had to name the "empty suit of the month", Joschka Fischer would run unchallenged.

Back From Battle

By David Brooks

Published: February 15, 2005

This was going to be a column exclusively about a trans-Atlantic security conference that took place in Munich last weekend. But on the way back, the U.S. delegation stopped for refueling at Shannon Airport in Ireland.

A bunch of us were milling about in the airport bar, holding little Irish coffees, when hundreds of marines started flooding into the terminal. This was their first chance at a beer after eight months of mayhem in the Sunni Triangle. They streamed in looking

Continue reading "Fischer: Empty Suit of the Month" »

The Condi Rice School of Politics

I yesterday presented an eye-opening interview of an Australian tv channel with "Joschka" Fischer, Germany's foreign minister.

Let's contrast his position to Iran with that of U.S. secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, in an interview with Fox News:

Continue reading "The Condi Rice School of Politics" »

The Joschka Fischer School of Politics

If there is a modern day saint able to walk on water it has got to be Joschka Fischer, Germany's foreign minister.

This former terrorist supporter is Germany's media darling and the country's most popular politician.

What's rather astonishing in the face of his high popularity: he's a person void of almost any political substance. If you are in need of a telling example - here is one, a transcript of an interview Fischer gave to Australian tv station ABC on February 7, 2005:

Continue reading "The Joschka Fischer School of Politics" »

Mature Europe - Lecturing the U.S. Government

Wolfgang Ischinger, German ambassador to Washington and close confidant of German foreign minister Joschka Fischer, lets the world know his views on the policies of the U.S. government - of which he is not a fan, to put it mildly.

Guess who - in the opinion of Mr. Ischinger and certainly Mr. Fischer - is responsible for the immature state of the transatlantic relationship?

But then again - there is hope. Ischinger gladly lectures the U.S. on how to conduct multilateral diplomacy, something he apparently doesn't feel the U.S. government knows too much about.

Moving Toward a More Mature Transatlantic Relationship

(...) In my personal view, one of the significant perception problems in the transatlantic arena over the last several years has been the impression that America is constantly pushing forward, demanding action, trying to solve problems without delay, whereas Europeans are seen as being defensive, arguing either in favor of non-action or of delayed action, and neither willing nor capable of joining the United States in transforming the world into a better place.

This perception, the best intellectual expression of which is Robert Kagan’s essay on “Paradise and Power,” are (sic!) false and misleading. As we strive to establish a new and more harmonious balance, perceptions of a driving and driven America, and of a reluctant or unwilling Europe, need to be reexamined and adjusted. (...)

First, the concept of transformation is not a patent owned by America. (...)

Did you notice the nuanced European irony?

Europe has been in the business of transformation, and of working with the countries of the broader Middle East towards a common and peaceful future for quite a while.

The European approach has been, one might argue, a long-term and cooperative approach, based on our understanding that the region’s future cannot be imposed from outside, and based on patience and maturity.

EU subsidies that ended up in the coffers of Mr. and Mrs. Arafat come to mind...

By contrast, the American approach towards the region, developed since 9/11, has been, at least in the beginning, more impatient, more result-oriented, more short-term: more mature Europe, and more impatient America?

Just wonder how patiently "Europe" would have reacted to an attack killing 3000+ citizens originating in "the broader Middle East".

Oh, by the way, Germany, that great advocate of peace in the world, has also been "maturely" increasing its sale of arms to the Middle East, a measure certain to bring stability to the region.

In the European view, Washington should join and support the so-called “EU 3”effort to conclude a verifiable long-term agreement with Iran with the object of terminating Iranian activities in the field of militarily-relevant nuclear technologies.

It is well known by now that the "EU 3" effort to "conclude a verifiable long-term agreement with Iran" is a smashing success story, if there ever was one.

(...) Twenty-five years after the hostage crisis, Europeans believe it is time for the United States to begin moving beyond a policy of sanctions, and nothing else, on Iran. We are waiting, impatiently. (...)

It is not easy to understand how Washington hopes to reconcile US policies with the United Nations. On the one hand, Washington insists on dragging the case of Iran to the Security Council, arguing that the Security Council is the key venue. On the other hand, Washington has not shown much interest in shaping the debate about the recommendations of Kofi Annan’s reform panel, including the issues of Security Council reform and enlargement. Is it really in the interest of the United States to abstain from this debate rather than to lead it? We are waiting, patiently. (...)

How could the U.S. possibly not support Germany's urgent desire to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council, with full veto powers?

Such a dialogue should also try to define transatlantic rules of the road in case of serious disagreement, as on Iraq. For example, should there be a transatlantic rule of not undercutting one another’s policy objectives? Is it ok, for example, for the United States to apply pressure, and to use its economic power to persuade countries not to join the International Criminal Court, thus directly countering European interests?

"European interests" to be defined (exclusively by the French, Germans and Russians of course) as the right to intervene in the conduct of American troops...

Should there be a rule that transatlantic partners will, even in case of disagreement, not lobby against each other’s agenda in the Security Council? Could these be the rules of the road to a more mature transatlantic relationship?

So learn the rules of the road America! You Yankees had better not even try to oppose Mr. Ischinger's "policy objectives." Especially not in places like China where Mr. Ischinger's boss, Gerhard Schroeder, has been pushing to lift the EU's arms embargo for over a year. You bunch of Bush-loving, war-mongering, neocon freaks obviously lack the nuance and sophistication to understand that such "policy objectives" foster a truly mature approach to promoting world peace and have nothing to do with further increasing booming German arms exports or turning a blind eye to human rights abuses to gain favored trading status.

Grow up, you dumb, backwards American hillbillies!

(Hat tip Franz Hoffmann)

Continue reading "Mature Europe - Lecturing the U.S. Government" »

Shocking! Joschka Fischer Jostled and Pushed!!

We are shocked - shocked! - to learn about the rude treatment Germany's world-class Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer received during the Arafat burial ceremonies in Cairo:

The German delegation, headed by Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, was transported by bus from Cairo airport to the military base - to be told by soldiers that they had missed the ceremony. ...

Fischer merely shook his head. Attempting to maintain composure he wished he had been more punctual. "It is how it is," he said. After an hour's stay-over, he boarded a plane and departed.

Needless to say, Fischer's treatment at the hand of Egyptian security forces did not sell well with left-left wing SPIEGEL ONLINE:

Joschka Fischer treated like a bothersome demonstrator

Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer has never been received this way overseas: First he had to fly in circles waiting to land like many other guests. Then he was jostled and pushed.

Jostled! Pushed! Treated like a bothersome demonstrator! Joschka Fischer, of all people! (Gasp!)

What a cruel fate for a former street fighter and friend of some of Germany's deadliest terrorists! (He said "Sorry", though...)

At the very least, the Egyptian security forces should have had the decency to let Fischer exchange some pleasant memories with old buddies of Palestinian terror groups attending the ceremony...

(Hat tip Ruediger)

Update 1: I like this comment by Pepe: At the very least the foreign minister could have stayed around and fired off some AK-47 rounds with the rest of his friends.

Update 2: Lots of comments on the subject at LGF.

(We Need Your Vote! Medienkritik Nominated in 'Best Topic' Category of "Best of the Blogs" Award.)

Fischer to Iran: No More Mr. Nice Guy!

Iran, you had it coming.

You asked for it.

German foreign minister Joschka "I am not convinced" Fischer is going to play this one rough with you: No more Mr. Nice Guy!

Fischer warned Iran of miscalculation

Brussels (AP) Foreign minister Joschka Fischer showed himself concerned about the continuation of Iran's nuclear program. The government in Teheran pursues a technology, with which one can derive highly enriched uranium, "and that fills us with a great cause for concern", said Fischer on Monday at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels. He called on Iran, to fulfill a treaty agreed with Germany, France and Great Britain, to stop the program immediately.

"There is the risk of miscalculation in Teheran," Fischer said. "I hope, that it will be seen and understood." It is a miscalculation by government officials in Teheran, "to bid oneself farewell to the agreement, which we agreed upon, and not correctly evaluate the consequences," Fischer said, without going into detail. Should Iran not fulfill the agreement, "we would have a serious situation."

...and then we'd produce another concerned news release. And another one.

And another one.

That'll teach you a lesson, Iran!

(Translation by James Stacy)

A Humanitarian Visits Washington

German Foreign Minister Fischer is deeply offended by the prisoner abuse in Iraq:

Fischer Heads to Washington, Condemns Iraqi Prisoner Abuse

Ahead of a three-day trip to Washington, German Foreign Minster Joschka Fischer has called for those U.S. soldiers responsible for the "horrifying and repugnant" mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners to be punished.

"Those responsible for this humiliation and abuse must be investigated and punished," Fischer told the weekly news magazine Der Spiegel over the weekend. The comments are Fischer's first over a widening scandal, which apparently involved systematic human rights abuses by U.S. forces at Iraqi prisons.

Fischer, of course, is no stranger to violence himself. He was leader of a left-wing fighter clan in Frankfurt in the early seventies. This picture depicts him with others attacking a policeman.

Joschka Fischer, with dark helmet, fighting against human rights abuses (April 7, 1973)...

fischer_crimes1

...and winning, with the help of some clan members...

Fischer wasn't identified at the time and therefore never punished for this "horrifying and repugnant mistreatment" of a policeman.

Fortunately for Fischer, his responsibility for an attack on another policeman in 1976, who was badly burned by a "molotow cocktail", could never be firmly established - though witnesses testified that in a preparatory meeting the night before the demonstration he called for molotow cocktail attacks against the police. Fischer denies the accusation. (BTW - I'm sure the CIA knows a lot more about Fischer's past than has been publicly disclosed.)

As a member of parliament in the eighties Fischer made only lame excuses for his former terrorist links. As a minister in 2001, when his past was made a topic of public discussion, he was more forthcoming. His apologies never reached Rumsfeld levels, though...

If you look at his biography at the German Foreign Ministry web site you'll find no mention of his life prior to 1982, other than his birth in 1948 (for a comparison: Secretary of State Colin Powell's biography). Fischer's biography reminds me of Kaspar Hauser's, but with a happy ending...

In 2001 the German media discussed Fischer's violent past - matter-of-factly, not nearly as vicious as today's accusations levelled at the GI's in Iraq. You'd be hard pressed to find any mentioning of Fischer's former activities in the Germany's media nowadays. He easily gets away demanding punishment for the "horrifying and repugnant mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners".

After all, he is Germany's foreign minister.

Update: Fischer, in the first picture above, reminds me vaguely of Darth Vader, the "Dark Lord of The Sith" in "Star Wars". He was seduced by the dark side of the Force. Though, Darth Vader went from good to bad, while Fischer started out bad and then... (I leave this to your phantasy). Should have called this posting "Darth Vader visits Washington".

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Abuse Photos Represent “Moral Catastrophe” for USA - German Foreign Minister's Party Running on an Anti-Bush Platform

(By Ray D.)

For SPIEGEL ONLINE, the misdeeds of a few represent a "moral catastrophe" for the many. Despite the very clear line taken by the US government and military stating that such behavior is unacceptable, and despite the fact that everyone involved all the way up to the President has apologized for the misdeeds committed in Abu Ghraib, SPIEGEL ONLINE still insists that the affair is proof of America’s moral deficiency as a nation.

The events at Abu Ghraib have allowed many in the European media to re-assume the accustomed role they so highly cherish of lecturing the United States from the moral high ground. It would appear from reading the German press that the United States had simply condoned the entire matter, which, in reality, could not be farther from the truth.

European Indifference to Saddam’s Mass Graves a True “Moral Catastrophe”

A true "moral catastrophe" which has been occurring in our midst since the first Gulf War is the media’s and the general public’s disinterest in the victims of the Saddam Hussein regime.


Saddam's victims: Hundreds of thousands shared their fate while the European media looked the other way...

It is less of a moral catastrophe to act and make mistakes in the process than it is to stand quietly by and allow Fascist regimes to willfully commit genocide and torture on a mass scale while defying the international community again and again and again on the issue of weapons of mass destruction.

Yes, the German media has done some cursory reporting on Saddam’s crimes. An occasional token article, perhaps even a cover. But compared to the level of ink spilled by and air-time afforded those reporting on America’s problems and mistakes in Iraq, the level of reporting on the horrors of Saddam’s regime has been minimal. And that, in fact, represents the double-standard that this web-site is dedicated to exposing.

Fischer on Three Day Visit to the USA May 10-12: Is the Bush Administration Aware of the Green Party’s Platform?

It is also interesting to note that German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer apparently feels he is in a position to lecture the Bush Administration on the torture issue despite the fact that his party has openly published an article as a part of its platform for European parliamentary elections entitled: “Do Whatever it Takes to Get Bush Voted Out.”


Official platform of German Foreign Minister Fischer’s Green party: “Do whatever it takes to get Bush voted out”

Has anyone made the Bush Administration aware of the fact that Fischer’s Green party is openly advocating doing “whatever it takes to get Bush voted out” in an attempt to win election in the European Parliament? Doesn’t that represent massive interference in internal US affairs? How can the Bush Administration receive Fischer in a cordial manner when the German Foreign Minister’s party is loudly advocating its downfall and exploiting anti-US sentiment for its own political gain?

Isn’t that a "moral catastrophe?"

We have more information here on the anti-Bush propaganda of German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer's party.

UPDATE for our readers: You can contact a number of organizations and institutions to voice your displeasure on this matter, we suggest contacting the White House, the State Department and the German Embassy in Washington, D.C.
These are the members of the Congress Committee on International Relations. Clicking on the pics will lead you to their e-mail address. And these are the members of the SUBCOMMITTEE ON EUROPE of the Congress Committee on International Relations.
And, finally, here are the members of the U.S. Senate's Committee on Foreign Relations.

Please email us with any other suggestions as to whom it would be useful to contact on this.

It's Heartfelt Sympathy...

If there were ever any doubts about the quality of German-American relations, this picture will lay them to rest... (left click on the pic)

Fischer looks smashing!

And it's getting even better...

And these two guys like each other really very much...

Clueless At The UN - And In Germany / Ahnungslos bei der UN - und in Deutschland

(Deutsche Übersetzung am Ende des Beitrags)

Some folks never seem to get a handle on reality:

IAEA chief ElBaradei hopes Iran has told the whole nuclear truth Mar 2, 2004

The IAEA said late last month that Iran had failed to report possibly weapons-related atomic activities despite promising full disclosure. ...

ElBaradei told the BBC he "would not have conceived" proliferation on the scale that emerged in February when Pakistan's Abdul Qadeer Khan admitted supplying nuclear technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea. ...

"It was really beyond anybody's imagination, at least beyond my imagination, that this -- such a sophisticated complex network of black markets in nuclear facilities, in even bomb design -- has been going on underground," he said. ...

"I think it is coming as a total shock to pretty much everybody," he said.

Let's introduce another member of the clueless "everybody" group:

Schröder thanks Fischer for his role in successful negotiating effort in Iran Thu, 10/23/2003

Speaking at a cabinet meeting Chancellor Gerhard Schröder thanked Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer for his part in the successful negotiating effort carried out by three EU foreign ministers in Iran. The results of their trip demonstrate the success of a strategy of cooperation, Schröder said. ...

IAEA director-general Mohamed El Baradei called the agreement with Iran an encouraging sign on the road towards full clarification of all aspects of the Iranian nuclear program. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan welcomed the agreement and urged the Iranian leadership to cooperation fully with the IAEA. ...

In negotiations in Teheran on October 21 that went on for several hours the three EU foreign ministers succeeded in getting Iran to commit in a joint statement to full cooperation with the IAEA as well as to exclusively civilian use of nuclear energy. ...

After the talks the Iranian government declared that nuclear weapons had no place in the Iranian defense strategy and agreed to stop uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities. (emphasis added)

Not everybody was a member of the esteemed "everybody" group, though:

The President's State of the Union Address January 29, 2002

But some governments will be timid in the face of terror. And make no mistake about it: If they do not act, America will. (Applause.)

Our second goal is to prevent regimes that sponsor terror from threatening America or our friends and allies with weapons of mass destruction. Some of these regimes have been pretty quiet since September the 11th. But we know their true nature. North Korea is a regime arming with missiles and weapons of mass destruction, while starving its citizens.

Iran aggressively pursues these weapons and exports terror, while an unelected few repress the Iranian people's hope for freedom.

Iraq continues to flaunt its hostility toward America and to support terror. The Iraqi regime has plotted to develop anthrax, and nerve gas, and nuclear weapons for over a decade. This is a regime that has already used poison gas to murder thousands of its own citizens -- leaving the bodies of mothers huddled over their dead children. This is a regime that agreed to international inspections -- then kicked out the inspectors. This is a regime that has something to hide from the civilized world.

States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world. By seeking weapons of mass destruction, these regimes pose a grave and growing danger. They could provide these arms to terrorists, giving them the means to match their hatred. They could attack our allies or attempt to blackmail the United States. In any of these cases, the price of indifference would be catastrophic. (emphasis added)

Other than the invasion of Iraq there was nothing President Bush was criticized for as viciously by the German media as for his "axis of evil" remarks. It was considered unsophisticated and undiplomatic to publicly label countries for their alleged misbehavior and to threaten military action. Iran, in particular, seemed to be on her way to becoming a respected member of the international community again. That Germany is Iran's leading trade partner didn't hurt either...

No doubt, the wishful thinking and cluelessness of the ElBaradei's and Fischer's of this world greatly impresses the dictatorial leadership of non-democratic regimes. All it takes to achieve lasting peace and a world free of weapons is more time for inspections and a "strategy of cooperation"...

(Translation check by Ray D.)

Continue reading "Clueless At The UN - And In Germany / Ahnungslos bei der UN - und in Deutschland" »

Terror gegen Israel nicht dasselbe wie Terror gegen Saudi Arabien / Terror Against Israel Is Different From Terror Against Saudi Arabia

(English translation at end of post)

Außenminister Fischer hat sein tiefempfundenes Beileid für die Opfer des Terror-Anschlags vom Samstag in der saudi-arabischen Hauptstadt Riad ausgedrückt. Seine Presseerklärung sieht ziemlich genau so aus wie seine herzerwärmenden Standardformulierungen bei Terror-Anschlägen in Israel.

Obwohl, es gibt da einen Unterschied. Wenn er sein Bedauern über die Ermordung von Zivilisten in Israel ausdrückt, kritisiert er niemals den "internationalen Terrorismus". Er spricht dann eher von der "Kette von Gewalt und Gegengewalt", die nun endlich durchbrochen werden müsse.

Der Anschlag in Riad wird von Fischer anders behandelt. Er beklagt den "internationalen Terrorismus", von dem eine "massive Bedrohung" ausgehe und verlangt eine "breite Antiterrorkoalition" der "internationalen Staatengemeinschaft".

Die Notwendigkeit der Bildung einer internationalen Koalition ist nicht ganz so dringend für ein kleines Land ohne Ölreserven...

English translation

German Foreign Minister Fischer expresses his deeply felt regret for the victims of Saturday's terror attack in Saudi Arabia's capital Riyadh. His release looks a lot like the truly heart-warming collection of platitudes he has at his disposable for terror attacks in Israel.

Well, one thing's different. When expressíng his regret about killings of civilians in Israel, he never blames "international terrorism". He would rather dwell on the "cycle of violence and counter-violence" that has to stop.

The Riyadh bombing is handled differently by Fischer. He complains about "international terrorism" and demands a broad international anti-terror coalition. Israel never enjoyed this privilege of a Fischer call for coalition building of countries worldwide to combat terrorism.

The need for international coalition building against terrorism is somewhat less urgent for a country the size of Israel with no reserves of oil...

Was die Web-Site des Außenministeriums uns über die deutsche Israel-Politik sagt / What the German Government's Web Site Tells You About Germany's Israel Policy

(English translation at end of post)

Fischers Aussenministerium verfügt über eine wirklich zu Herzen gehende Standard-Floskel zum Ausdruck des Bedauerns über israelische Terror-Opfer.

Bundesaußenminister Joschka Fischer erklärte am 9. August (2001) zu dem Selbstmordanschlag in der Innenstadt in Jerusalem:

"Die Bundesregierung verurteilt den erneuten entsetzlichen Terroranschlag in Jerusalem auf das Schärfste. Wiederum wurden Kinder und unschuldige Menschen in Israel zum Ziel heimtückischer und sinnloser Gewalt. Den Opfern und ihren Familien gilt unser tiefstes Mitgefühl."

Zum heutigen (27.01.02) Selbstmordanschlag in Jerusalem erklärte Bundesaußenminister Joschka Fischer:

"Die Bundesregierung verurteilt den erneuten Anschlag in Jerusalem auf das Schärfste und drückt den Opfern und ihren Angehörigen ihr Mitgefühl aus."

Bundesminister Fischer verurteilt Anschlag in Jerusalem (18.6.02)

"Die Bundesregierung verurteilt den heutigen Terroranschlag in Jerusalem, bei dem wiederum zahlreiche Menschen getötet oder verletzt wurden, auf das Schärfste. Diese Tat ist durch nichts zu rechtfertigen. Den Opfern, ihren Angehörigen und dem israelischen Volk gilt unser tiefstes Mitgefühl."

Bundesaußenminister Joschka Fischer erklärt zu den heutigen (4.8.02) Anschlägen in Israel:

"Die Bundesregierung verurteilt die heutigen Terroranschläge in Nordisrael und in Jerusalem, bei dem wieder zahlreiche unschuldige Menschen getötet und verletzt wurden, auf das Schärfste."

Bundesaußenminister Joschka Fischer erklärte am 19. September 2002 zu den jüngsten Terroranschlägen in Israel:

"Die jüngsten Terroranschläge in Israel, zuletzt der heutige im Herzen Tel Avivs, haben erneut viele unschuldige Menschen in den Tod gerissen und schwer verletzt. Die Bundesregierung verurteilt diese heimtückischen und sinnlosen Akte der Gewalt auf das Schärfste; den Opfern und ihren Angehörigen gilt unser tiefstes Mitgefühl."

Bundesminister Fischer verurteilt Terroranschlag in Israel (21.10.02)

"Erneut hat ein furchtbarer Terroranschlag in Israel das Leben vieler unschuldiger Menschen gefordert und zahlreiche weitere verletzt. Die Bundesregierung verurteilt diesen ebenso sinnlosen wie grausamen Akt auf das Schärfste."

Bundesaußenminister Joschka Fischer erklärte heute (12.08.03) nach den Anschlägen in Israel:

"Die Bundesregierung verurteilt die verbrecherischen Terroranschläge, denen heute in Israel unschuldige Menschen zum Opfer gefallen sind, auf das Schärfste. Den Angehörigen der Opfer gehört unser Mitgefühl, den Verletzten wünschen wir schnelle und vollständige Genesung."

Nach dem Anschlag auf ein Restaurant in der israelischen Stadt Haifa erklärte Bundesminister Fischer heute (04.10.03):

"Die Bundesregierung verurteilt auf das Schärfste den verbrecherischen Terroranschlag, dem heute in Israel zahlreiche unschuldige Menschen, darunter auch Kinder, zum Opfer gefallen sind.

Den Angehörigen der Toten gilt unser tiefempfundenes Mitgefühl. Den Verletzten wünschen wir eine rasche und vollständige Genesung."

In allen Stellungnahmen Fischers zu den Terroranschlägen kommt ein Argument NIEMALS vor: eine einseitige Zuweisung von Schuld an palästinensische Terroristen. Es dominieren Formulierungen, die auf die GEMEINSAME Verantwortung der israelischen und der palästinensischen Politik anspielen. Diese Passage steht für alle anderen:

9.8.01:

"Die Bundesregierung appelliert nachdrücklich an beide Seiten des Konflikts, sich durch dieses verabscheuenswürdige Verbrechen nicht zu immer weiterer Eskalation der Gewalt verleiten zu lassen. Dieser Anschlag führt allen Beteiligten vor Augen: Die Kette von Gewalt und Gegengewalt muss endlich im Interesse des Friedens, der Menschen in Israel und in den Palästinensischen Gebieten durchbrochen werden. ... Allein Verhandlungen können die Spirale der Gewalt beenden und dauerhafte Sicherheit für alle Beteiligten schaffen." (Kursive Hervorhebungen durch mich)

Die Israel-Politik von Aussenminister Joschka Fischer zeichnet sich durch folgenlose Betroffenheitsrhetorik, einen Mangel an Grundsätzen und belanglose Harmonie-Appelle aus. (Das Standardgericht "Knochenlose Ente" in chinesischen Gaststätten erscheint - außerhalb der Politik - noch als das naheliegendste Äquivalent.) Dennoch steht der Mann kontinuierlich an der Spitze der Popularitätsliste deutscher Politiker - auch eine Folge des Schönschreibens und -sendens Fischers durch deutsche Medien.

Endlich einmal ein Beispiel für positiven Kampagnenjournalismus!

Continue reading "Was die Web-Site des Außenministeriums uns über die deutsche Israel-Politik sagt / What the German Government's Web Site Tells You About Germany's Israel Policy" »

Germany Protests Mahathirs Remarks - For German Eyes Only / Das Auswärtige Amt protestiert gegen Mahathirs Äußerungen, aber nur in Deutsch

Germany's Foreign Minister Fischer was quick to denounce Malaysian Prime Minister's Mahathir Mohamad anti-Jewish rumblings ("Jews run the world"). Mahathir's remarks are "completely unacceptable", Fischer said according to a press release" published on the German Foreign Ministry's web-site on Oct. 16, 2003.

The press release is in German, and even though the Foreign Office's site offers an English language service where some press releases' English translations are presented, there is no English translation of the Mahathir press release. Compare this to the preferential translation treatment received by this less-than-sensational press release: "The Federal Foreign Office provides 250,000 Euros for Sudanese refugees in Chad"... That's right: 250,000 Euro! Not 2,5 Million Euro, or 25 Million Euro! Virtually no one - with the possible exemption of Chad's media - will take notice of this press release, for good reasons.

Fischer's remarks regarding Mahathir were hardly noticed in the German media. An English translation would have helped to spread Germany's protest internationally - but it sure wouldn't have helped Germany's image among Arab nations. Lot's of contracts in limbo...

Translation by Ray D.

Bundesminister Fischer verurteilt Terroranschläge in Israel - und benennt keine Schuldigen

Di Aug 12, 12:26:10 PM
Wieder einmal werden israelische Zivilisten Opfer von Terroranschlägen, aber von den Tätern hat man im deutschen Aussenministerium keine Ahnung. Diesen Eindruck jedenfalls vermittelt die Stellungnahme von Joschka Fischer zu den heutigen Terroranschlägen, die zwei Israelis (und die Attentäter) das Leben kostete: "Die Bundesregierung verurteilt die verbrecherischen Terroranschläge, denen heute in Israel unschuldige Menschen zum Opfer gefallen sind, auf das Schärfste. Den Angehörigen der Opfer gehört unser Mitgefühl, den Verletzten wünschen wir schnelle und vollständige Genesung. In den vergangenen Wochen sind beide Seiten entscheidende und mutige Schritte auf dem Weg des Friedens gegangen – diese dürfen auf keinen Fall scheitern und müssen entschlossen fortgesetzt werden. Alle Verantwortlichen sind aufgerufen, weiterhin mit Nachdruck für die Perspektive einer friedlichen, politischen Lösung des Konflikts einzutreten; Terror und Gewalt dürfen nicht wieder die Oberhand gewinnen".

Deutsche Friedenspolitik pur: hilfloses Beklagen des Attentats, Gutmenschen-Versicherung des Mitgefühls, Appelle an Friedlichkeit - das volle Betroffenheitsprogramm. Nur eines fehlt, wie immer in solchen Fällen: die Benennung der Tätergruppen. Und da muß man eigentlich nicht lang suchen. Die Hisbollah ruft offen zum Terror auf, und die Hamas sowie Arafats Al Aksa-Brigaden.

Übrigens sind deutsche Medien nie um die Benennung von Schuldigen verlegen, wenn es um Kritik an Israel geht. Die Kampagne gegen den Bau eines Sicherheitszauns um die West Bank läuft bei uns auf vollen Touren. Aber: ein Bild sagt mehr als 1000 Worte, um die Notwendigkeit des Zauns zu demonstrieren (Text: "Wie unnachbarlich von denen!").

Nachtrag: Die britische Regierung ist weniger zurückhaltend bei der Benennung der Täter. Terroristen werden dort Terroristen genannt: "The British Government condemns terrorism in all its forms, and the perpetrators of these horrific attacks deserve the full condemnation of the international community. ... The only suitable response to the actions of the extremists is for both sides to press ahead with determination to implement the roadmap and end the bloodshed. To do otherwise would be handing victory to the terrorists."

Aussenminister Fischer besucht die USA,

Fr Jul 18, 09:13:29 AM
...und die deutschen Medien stehen stramm:

SPIEGEL: Fischer ist mit seiner Gut-Wetter-Tour zufrieden

FAZ: Fischer zieht positive Bilanz

Stern: Außenminister mit Visionen

Netzeitung: Fischer hofft auf transatlantische Verständigung

TAZ: Fischer gibt sich als Brückenbauer

usw., usw....

In den US-Medien findet der Besuch so gut wie überhaupt nicht statt. Der "Brückenbauer", der "Außenminister mit Visionen" - für ihn gibt es bei der New York Times nur ein paar Zeilen am Schluß eines Artikels über ein Treffen von Bush mit Annan. Die Washington Post erwähnt Fischers Besuch auf Seite A14, also recht weit hinten, in einer allgemeinen Übersicht über internationale Besuche der letzten Woche und weiß als zentrale Nachricht zu vermelden, daß Powell Fischer als Gastgeschenk eine Kiste leerer Bierflaschen überreichte. AP beschreibt die Substanz seines Besuches: "Describing the situation in Iraq as highly complicated, German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said a trans-Atlantic debate was needed to develop a common strategy to deal with the postwar situation and other security issues." Dafür reist der Mann nach Washington!

Vermutlich hat Fischer bei der Produktion seiner nichtssagenden Stellungnahme die Stirn in die berühmten Denkerfalten gelegt, was bei deutschen Medien regelmäßig als Ausdruck tiefer staatspolitischer Verantwortung interpretiert wird.

Angesichts der deutschen Jubelpresse können die herausragenden Popularitätswerte Fischers bei Bevölkerungsumfragen kaum verwundern...