« Review: Selim Özdogan's Die Tochter des Schmieds | Main | Sarrazin takes legal action against his neo-Nazi fans »

March 24, 2011



"But perhaps her biggest mistake was when she elevated Guido Westerwelle to foreign minister."

Seriously? Don't you know anything about German politics?
Traditionally the foreign minister role goes to the junior partner in a coalition, Merkel didn't elevate Westerwelle, his role in the FDP did that.

And who really lost all credibility is Mr. '68 himself, he and Schröder are the ones who have betrayed this country and their ideals. I hope they suffocate on their oil money.

Btw. what is sickening about all this is the hypocrisy of you people. As if any of those "willing" participants give a crap about Libya. Your president just needed a war of his own to convince the American voters of his awesome leadership qualities. The same with the French and the British, all just smoke and mirrors.


"The same with the French and the British, all just smoke and mirrors."

And Spain, Norway, Denmark, Canada, Qatar, etc.

Germany - along with Russia and China - can hold itself up as a moral paragon.

BTW, I saw the survey results when Germans were asked about Libya: 60% for the no-fly zone; 61% against German involvement:

"Die Deutschen unterstützen einen Einsatz mit militärischer Gewalt gegen den libyschen Diktator Gaddafi – doch für eine Beteiligung der Bundeswehr sind sie nicht."

In other words, let the other guys take care of the problem.

Strahler 70

Alright, Germany should have voted for the intervention - but don't you really see the hypocrisy of the actors? Gaddafi is same as he ever was, there have been lots of massacres before in Libya and nobody cared.

In Bahrein, an important US naval base, the king has card blanche to kill directly under the eyes of the US Army... shiites, of course, who cares about shiites, when it's all about oil?

Again, Germany doesn't go to war, seems we never learn from history.
And again, the USA goes to war, and again, it's a country rich of oil they attack, and again, it's all for freedom and democracy and beware, please, not for oil, that's just coincidence.



You are correct about the hypocrisy concerning Bahrain. But does that mean we shouldn't intervene to prevent a bloodbath in Libya?

Is the perfect the enemy of the good?

John in Michigan, USA


"Is the perfect the enemy of the good?"


Alternatives approaches to the "hypocrisy" charge include quoting Emerson, "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines" In his time even the pundits wrote elegant prose.


I have found that the Middle Eastern Cold War hypothesis is a very helpful framework for understanding why some interventions are more likely than others. IMO Pipes is more of a realist than a neo-con.


Original academic study:


Fischer is also a realist, although he makes some very different assumptions than Pipes!

I certainly disagree with Fischer's politics, and I feel he still has to answer morally (or preferably, legally) for his youthful, uh, indiscretions (which were far more serious than plagiarism!) Still, I am starting to see why he is admired.

Strahler 70

Militarily, Gaddafi will be weakened to some degree, that's true, but even without his airforce and heavy weapons his militias will be strong enough to defeat the rebells. It will just take more time for them to win, in a prolongued and bloody civil war. Each day that passes by with Gaddafi in power puts more pressure on the alliance to use ground forces at last, but that is strictly outruled yet.

So what's the political aim, I'm asking with Clausewitz. Without an invasion Gaddafi could be in power for many more years, like Saddam Hussein has been.

Don't we (better: you) exchange one big massacre against many small ones?

I wish it was night and the Egyptians came...


"As far as Germany gaining a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council - forget it!"

Now that's a good one! As if we get a seat by being nice and fluffy to our "traditional" allies and shoving everything up their backs!

Wait a minute, we already had that case. And the US was the country opposing a German seat. Even the Russians and Chinese would not have minded. It was THEN when the US decided who is their friend and who isn't.

Now that this has been clarified, we may as well act in our own interest - finally.


We can certainly discuss the vote...

But some of the "concerns" seem a bit silly? Germany can only show an "ability to play a global role in foreign policy" if it votes in lockstep with either the USA or France (Iraq)?

Why don´t we save some money then and call the German UN delegation home?
Merkel can just call Obama or Sarkozy - depending on the topic - and tell them that the German vote is theirs to use.
In that way our credibility would be sky high, wouldn´t it? :)


I think the comments here both display the variety of pros and cons against the German abstention and show one thing:

Germany pursuing politics different from France, Britain and the US is far from unpopular among Germans. For the future, our Western "allies" should get used to more from that direction.

John in Michigan, USA

@Strahler 70:

I don't understand the obsessive conspiracy myths about war and oil.

If we just wanted the oil, why not cut a deal with Saddam (he had indicated he would sell us as much as we wanted, even in excess of his OPEC quotas)? Instead, we had a) a decade plus of sanctions which drove up the price of crude in a way that benefited the Saudis, Venezuela, etc. far, far more than US/EU oil cos and b) war, which drove up the price some more c) war, which risks Saddam sabotaging the oil fields (Kuwait all over again) which would make them unavailable for use by anyone, especially if he did a more thorough job than in Kuwait. Imagine if he had managed a BP level disaster times 100 wells, instead of a last minute sabotage that "only" took months to control. Why would we risk that? It makes no sense from a business or real politik point of view.

If we wanted oil, why on earth not cut a deal with Gaddafi to help him suppress the rebellion? As an added benefit, he would continue to help suppress al-Qaeda as well.

The most logical explanation is 1) there is, occasionally, such a thing as morality in foreign policy, but 2) we probably have a plan to cut a deal with whatever replaces Gaddafi, or the new E. Libya, or whatever, so that they too will (eventually) sell us oil.

Please note that although our current policy isn't completely immune to the lure of oil, it requires taking far more risks and costs to get that oil than would a pro-Gaddafi policy. That extra risk and cost is the "value" we are willing to sacrifice, in order to pursue at least some morality in foreign policy.

Other than the obvious differences between the Iraq War and the Libya conflict (e.g. the WMD fiasco), what exactly is wrong with my logic here?

John in Michigan, USA

@Detlef, @Zyme:

You imply that the German decision to abstain is popular. Obviously, some of the reasons would include Germany's pacifist tendencies, and also practical judgements about the likelihood of success. But I wonder, how much of it is anti-EU resentment? Germans already feel like they are paying for the Euro/PIGS bailout, so perhaps they just don't want to make additional sacrifices?

Of course, the actual cost of German participation would be modest, and if the campaign drags on they could always withdraw later...but perhaps its the feeling that counts? Are people connecting this to the German sacrifice for the bailout in their minds?


John I wouldn't say so. The only similar connection I could see among the populace is that people appreciate our leaders acting independent from the US. This has become rather popular in the last decade.

Financial costs of foreign deployments (quite surprisingly, come to think of it) have played little to no role so far. It is the cost of German lives that does not go down well with the electorate.


Like the blog, appreciate the share!

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

My Photo


  • Recent Tweets
Blog powered by Typepad