Our German Allies

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With Republican Guard divisions collapsing, Najaf in a state of jubilation, and coalition troops in sight of Baghdad's skyline, Germany has announced that it backs regime change.

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  1. What the German Forgeign Minister is quoted as saying is that he hopes the Iraqi regime collapes quickly so that the war would end quickly. This hardly constitutes an about face on their original position that the title of the article suggests.

  2. True, but that’s the only sensible opinion for someone to have that was against the war originally. Clearly the best resolution overall once hostilities are commenced is for a rapid U.S. victory. If he had come out and advocated the kind of bloodbath that would be necessary to hold our forces at bay he’d lose the credibility he’s built by pretending to care about Iraqi civilians. And probably also his job.

  3. geophile,

    Who says he is pretending? And how do you know that he is pretending?

  4. It’s a reversal, Peter. Joschka Fischer had options besides saying “We hope the regime will collapse as soon as possible…” Among them: calling for a ceasefire, offering to broker a truce, or hoping for a quick end to the war while supporting the current U.N. effort to condemn U.S. actions. None of these equally humanitarian alternatives would have constituted a reversal of Germany’s original position, whereas adopting the U.S./British position (with a humanitarian figleaf) does.

  5. Its only a reversal to those who desperately desire it to be. All the other options aren’t remotely within the realm of reality, so he was simply being realistic about the issue.

  6. There’s nothing “realistic” about Fischer’s statement because it has no more humanitarian consequences than do the supposedly unrealistic alternatives. What stands out about Fischer’s current position is that it is the least principled of these options. His realism is entirely political.

  7. I have a pretty good feeling he’s not losing sleep over it, G. His Chancellor’s cheap exploitation of anti-americanism in Germany to win re-election is what casts their motivations in doubt, (in general though, not simply in this instance.)

    In a larger sense, most people who invoke the name of “innocent civilians” must surely recognize the fact that the best thing in the long run for those very civilians is the destruction of the Ba’athist regime. It may not be the best thing for America, but surely this is a huge gift to the Iraqi people.

  8. Anyone else think that it’s time we backed regime change in Germany? Schroeder and his band of self-serving leftist ingrates aren’t doing too well at the polls, mostly due to the fact that their uber-welfare-state policies have driven the German economy into the ground. Maybe we should make an effort to get the far more level-headed center-right parties a victory.

  9. Of COURSE the Germans now back regime change. First, they needed the political cover for the anti-American politiking. Second, they need to be able to say”Gee, we didn’t know Saddam was such a bad guy at the time” when the Allies discover chemical weapons plants with “Siemens AG” written all over them. Duh.

  10. C.P.,

    Fischer and/or Germany’s position on this war reflects my own, both pre- and post- “turn around.” I was against going to war with Iraq, but once it started the only realistic way for it to end with the least amount of casualties is with as quick a US/UK victory (or regime collape) as possible. If this stance is unprincipled, then I must be in complete denial of my own weasel-hood.

    The possible alternatives you mentioned the Germans supporting to end hostilities are neither realistic or humanitarian, since everyone would agree that allowing the Ba’ath party to remain in power under any circumstances would be the worst possible outcome at this point.

  11. Eric,

    Ahh, the center-right in Germany is just as prone to social-welfare programs as any other sectory political estate (kind of like Republicans in the US, they may talk a lot about privitization, but when it comes down to the brass tax, they balk). I mean, where do you think those programs came from? Furthermore, it was the center-right party that he ran against who tended to one up on the “Screw America” campaign trail. BTW, how do you explain the rest of the world’s poor economic performance these days (except Canada oddly enough)? We are in the midst of a global economic slump, why Germany should escape such is beyond me (though why Canada has escaped it so far is also beyond me).

    Germans clearly did not want to much to do with this war, no matter who was in office.

  12. C.P. Freund,

    Its quite realistic. Any other option would in fact be pissing into the wind. He’s simply wise enough to realize that there are no other options at this point. These other things you propose would be meaningless, empty, adn quite frankly not worth his time. Germany has lost the first round of the argument, so it is no time re-trench, and fight another day.

  13. From The Washington Post:

    BERLIN, April 2 — The German government believes that the troubles encountered in the first two weeks of the Iraq war vindicate its opposition to the conflict and justify further resistance to unilateral U.S. policies even at the cost of a long friendship with the United States, according to government sources and political analysts.
    …”We are very concerned by the reaction in the Arab and Islamic world, and this reaction confirms our bad predictions” prior to the war, said Ludger Volmer, a close associate of [Foreign Minister Joscha] Fischer and foreign policy spokesman in parliament for the Green Party, the junior partner in Schroeder’s governing coalition.

    “We don’t say, ‘I told you so,’ but we did warn about these risks,” said a German official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

  14. Hey, Peter.

    I sure don’t accuse you of weaselhood, either.

    But: Although you dismiss certain “principled” alternatives as futile, they are in fact being pursued by people who believe their strategies (eg, making it too politically difficult for the U.S. ever to consider this again) save many more lives in the long run. I don’t agree with them either, but it’s a coherent (if mistaken) worldview. It’s not an issue of you being a weasel, it’s a matter of other people having (I’m supposing) different principles.

    A significant difference between you and Germany (if I can put it this way) is that your humanitarian assertions are credible at face value, but I’m less willing to ascribe the same thing to a German government shifting its diplomatic ground two weeks into the war. For all the talk about humanitarianism on this thread, the only real consequence of Germany’s rhetorical reversal bears on Germany’s geopolitics.

  15. Well, there has been no change of position by the French.

    French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin said on Thursday the United States made a moral, political and strategic mistake by starting war in Iraq. “The Americans made a triple mistake: First of all a moral mistake, I think … there was an alternative to war. We could have disarmed Iraq differently,” Raffarin said in an interview on France 3 television. “Also, (they made) a political mistake, because we know very well the difficulties of this region of the world,” he added. “And then, there is a strategic mistake: this idea that today one country can lead the world.”

  16. Please. If France could be that single nation leading the world, they’d froth at the mouth for the relevancy.

  17. I agree with Freund. Fischer’s remarks are a huge turnaround in terms of tone. I also agree with Gary that Fischer is being realistic. Methinks he is trying to soften the hard stance he and Schr?der took early on, so as to ensure a German role in post-war Iraq. Not to mention to vitiate the damage done to Ami-Deutsch relations. The economy here in Germany is bad enough, the Schr?derians don’t need to make things worse than they are.

  18. Perhaps comrade Joschka is having trouble holding the Greens together. Might they be in danger of losing their status as favored coalition partner with the social-dems?

    I don’t think this is a revolutionary statement, as Villepin made similarly conciliatory remarks recently, but there is something suspiciously hat-in-handish about it.

  19. Gary Gunnels,

    You characterize Fischer’s action as retrenching because Germany has lost the round. That sounds suspiciously like a German “reversal” to me. Do you still maintain that “Its only a reversal to those who desperately desire it to be,” or do you see a meaningful distinction between your politically realistic retrenchment, and the “reversal” that was the issue in this exchange?

  20. C’mon. Y’all should know by now that it’s just talk. Joshka Fischer only supports violence when it’s used on enemies of the people, such as the leaders of capitalist nations and local police officers.

  21. C.P. Freund,

    They have accepted America’s fait accompli (what else could they do), and are moving on. That is a different proposition from saying they back regime change.

  22. geophile,

    Everyone is making conciliatory remarks – Powell, Blair, Villipen, etc. – they are just one happy family.

  23. geophile,

    Your willingness to bash France demonstrates your unwillingness to think about the issues at hand.

  24. GG: Yeah, well, if your whole point is that Fischer didn’t really mean it, then we could have saved a lot of trouble; the original blog post implies apparent German insincerity. (But — just to note — if Germany’s original position was political and not principled, then its new position represents a reversal on Germany’s own political terms. That’s the whole point of raising the “pissing in the wind” alternatives which are being pursued [some of them] by real people and nations with real principles). Anyway, thanks.

  25. C.P. Freund,

    No, that isn’t my point at all, and that should be fairly obvious.

  26. Gary, you are so unabashedly retarded that you make dealing with the “issue at hand” (as you define it, apparently a contrivance that exists exclusively within your own juvenile hallucinations) utterly pointless.

  27. EMAIL: draime2000@yahoo.com
    IP: 62.213.67.122
    URL: http://www.enlargement-for-penis.com
    DATE: 01/26/2004 01:42:25
    Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.

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