|Everybody's Got One
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Monday, September 23, 2002
Yes, Schroeder's re-election is a setback, but every war has them. The trick now is to adjust, to adapt to the changes in the chessboard that have just occurred, and see the opportunities hidden within them. I hope there's a fox or two in Bush's hedgehog White House.
Strategically, this could signal the beginning of the end of both NATO and of the UN - NATO because it's been revealed in the last year to be a one-way street which, yes, benefitted us in many ways as well, but not nearly proportionally to the burdens borne. The UN because if Germany's serious about becoming a kinder, gentler counterbalance to the hegemon it will soon realize it can never have a permanent seat on the Security Council and will have to find an international power base somewhere else - either a pumped-up EU, or some 21st century version of the non-aligned nations. (By the way - I'll swap Anglosphere India for Germany as a coming-century ally straight up; no cash, no players to be named later.) A rival super-NGO would weaken an increasingly-discredited UN further; that would be a feature, not a bug.
Tactically, Schroeder has no idea how difficult it's going to be to repair the damage he's done - because he doesn't begin to comprehend how important loyalty is to George Bush. Or honor among Jacksonians.
Here's the money quote: "We have nothing to change from what we said before the election," [Schroeder] said. "Between friends, there can be factual differences but they should not be personalized, particularly between close allies." A large number of Americans have only recently realized that most Europeans are not our friends, and have been allies in name only for some time now. It's past time to redefine the relationship more in line with reality.
If Germany really thinks it's ready to rejoin the political big leagues - Come on down. But - things have changed a bit since you were here last. We have other business to take care of right now, which will require the use of many of the military assets that have been based in north-central Europe for the last half-century. Later on, we'll decide where they need to be positioned in the future. They won't be coming back. Wave goodbye, Gerhard.
Schroeder may have sold out his country's long-term interests for the sake of his own re-election - but it wouldn't have worked if the German electorate wasn't buying. Like their friends the Palestinians, they have a history of backing the wrong side the past century, too.
posted by Kelly | 2:18 PM link