May 25, 2003

SPEAKING OF BAD NEWS FOR GERMANY, here’s a German writer who says that Germany lost the Iraq war via Schroeder’s machinations:

Wars always have winners and losers. Saddam Hussein–dead or on the run–is, of course, the Iraq war’s biggest loser. But Germany has also lost much, including the many US troops who will now reportedly be re-deployed to bases in other countries. Despite the announcement of plans to create a European army along with France, Belgium, and Luxembourg, Germany is less relevant in both European and world politics than it was before the Iraq war. Repairing the damage will not be easy.

Every part of Germany’s international position has been wounded by the Iraq war. The country can no longer play the role of transatlantic mediator between France and America. It can forget about US support in its campaign to gain a permanent seat in the UN Security Council. Instead of forging a “third way” for Europe’s left with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Chancellor Gerhard Schröder needs Blair to plead his case with President George W. Bush, who feels personally betrayed by the Chancellor’s conduct in the run-up to the war.

In postcommunist Eastern Europe, Germany is no longer perceived as an absolutely dependable advocate of the region’s needs. Multilateral institutions that served as pillars of German foreign policy for almost half-a-century have been weakened: the European Union’s hopes for common foreign, security, and defense policies have been gravely jeopardized.

German-American relations suffered a devastating blow when Schröder stoked the country’s overwhelmingly pacifist attitudes. By doing so he drowned out the concerns about low growth and high unemployment that were threatening his re-election prospects. But that political strategy left President Bush believing that Schröder had stabbed him in the back. As with people, so too with states: trust once lost is extremely difficult to regain.

Read the whole thing, as they say. (Via Jeff Jarvis).

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