Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Dare I Mention Germany?

The last time I mentioned Germany I was brutally abused by another Scottish blog - which has a number of authors -  and accused of being racist. I have no intention of linking or naming the blog because I do now think the reason for the post was to increase their traffic.  Shame really because their main authors do write eloquently and create sensible discussion, however the responsibility of any blog lies with the creator(s) and they are responsible for the content.

 Not only was I deeply distressed by the accusation, but it became obvious, during an exchange of blog comments with the author, that she had neither read the whole post or had any knowledge of Germany, far less its politics.  I learned a lesson though - I no longer read blogs which do not provide email contact. Many misunderstandings can be resolved by email without attempts having to be made in public blog comments, but this particular blog was quite content to make accusations without answering my defence queries. Sadly I believe it still doesn't provide an email address so no reader can confidentially complain about specific remarks in a post.  As an independent blogger I'm always willing to discuss my opinions with my readers either in comments or by email, which is confidential unless the writer gives their permission for their words to be publicised.

 I stand by my position of saying Angela Merkel had a right to say what she did and so did David Cameron, who recently orated on the same subject. All of us should be allowed the freedom of speech without those who disagree immediately shouting racist.

However this post is nothing to do with multiculturalism in Germany, or anywhere else for that matter, but an attempt to understand why Germany decided to abstain from the UN Security Council vote authorising force against Libya.

Angela Merkel has long be striving for a permanent seat on the Security Council or, as a second choice, a permanent European Union seat, but following Germany's abstention last Friday, an increasing number of senior politicians in Germany are now saying that neither goal is achievable.

Yesterday Ms Merkel explained to the Bundestag her reasons, knowing Germany is the only Western country among the five UN resolution abstentions, why Germany would not provide crew members for AWACS surveillance flights over Libya.   She forsees a greater German engagement in Afghanistan as a way of freeing up personnel from other countries which could then be used in operations against Gaddafi, yet she insisted Germany would not be participating in military operations against Libya.

Ruprecht Polenz, a member of her own party, claimed this was a catastrophic signal.

It's difficult for Berlin to find a position on Libya.  Since WW11 Germany has been at pains to avoid isolating itself on foreign policy questions, yet this is the first time it is totally isolated among its allies.

But, Merkel's government is not quite devoid of arguments.  It remains very unclear whether Gaddafi can be stopped by air power alone.  Merkel insists the situation has to be thought though to the end, which puts Germany in a reflective position and has support in the UK.  Although many here support the no-fly zone - some for more political reasons than others - nearly half the UK population are asking why when the UK government were selling arms to Libya only a few months ago.

It's Guido Westerwelle, the German Foreign Secretary, whose position is on a shoogly nail, yet publicly none of his party will criticise him.  Some say that Germany's foreign policy standing in the EU has taken a hit.  "Westerwelle is breaking the European Unions apart," said one confidant of EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who insists that the EU is prepared to implement the resolution.

The FDP member of the EU Parliament Alexander Graf Lambsdorff": "Germany's vote has weakened the EU." he adds" "The fact that the Arab League is more capable of action that the EU should give us pause for thought."

It should indeed and I can't see why Germany's desire to place a bum on a Security Council seat is a no-go. It has committed to providing €5 million of humanitarian aid for the Libyan people and is perhaps right in fence sitting regarding the no-fly zone resolution, considering arab countries are beginning to question the wording of the resolution itself.

Has Merkel played an ace or a two of clubs with her position on Libya?  Only time will tell.


WitteringsfromWitney said...

SR, "David Cameron, who recently O-Rated....."? Now I know one can be "A-Rated" and wonder if you have inadvertently stumbled upon Cameron's true rating?

If so, every congratulation and extremely well done! You deserve a Damehood!

Joe Public said...

Illegitimi non carborundum

Sue said...

You do have to take into consideration that Merkel's defeat in Hamburg may have had something to do with it.

Her party, Christian Democratic Union are facing scathing polling results in three provinces that are usually safe seats.

This Link pretty much explains her predicament. She has to tread carefully, that's for sure.

subrosa said...

Auch WfW, you're far too kind as usual.

subrosa said...

Never Joe, never, but such experiences do leave a very bad taste.

subrosa said...

Yes Sue I'm sure it has. She's very weakened by these results and needs to listen to the voting population.

As far as I know there has been no poll about her UN decision as yet, but I suspect it will be a majority against Germany taking part, although a small majority.

I'm happy to find I'm wrong.

Budvar said...

Rosie, I really for the life of me can't understand why people get upset by some lefty tossers accusation of "Racism".

It's akin to being told "You smell" or "You've got fleas" by a 7 yo. Yes it's hurtful when you're in infants school, that's why they say it, but once people grow into adulthood it's meaningless.

If they're persistent with the flea thing, the reply "Yes I know, but they're pedigrees and not mongrels like yours". 9 times out of 10 they'll argue to the point of tears that theirs are not mongrels at all.

The saddo perpetual student living in some squat or crappy basement flat, screaming "Racist" or "Fascist" at any opportunity have the mentality of a spoiled bullying infant and can never be reasoned with, so don't even try.

The only way to deal with them is the "I know you are but what am I?" response. Only you choose how articulately you wish to phrase it.

JRB said...

I must confess to finding myself in sympathy with the position adopted by Germany over the NFZ over Libya.

No doubt Germany may have her own political reasons for adopting the position she has. But she is right to resist joining those members of NATO intent on their hawkish show of aggression.

“Merkel insists the situation has to be thought through to the end.” So should we all. Libya has the potential to be Iraq all over again. The west simply wants to remove Gaddafi.

If the west is serious about democracy, freedom of speech and the removal of violent despots, then why has there been no comment about other current flash points in the middle-east?

On Friday past, President Ali Abdullah Sale ruler of the Yemen for the past thirty years, ordered his troops to open fire on those citizens protesting for more democracy. Dozens were killed and hundreds wounded.

Yet, western criticism of the violence used against the protesters has been conspicuous by its silence. Why? - because Yemen still supplies oil to the west.

The US still supplies arms and training to the President’s army, whilst Britain continues to supply large amounts of financial aid.

Similarly, in Bahrain, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, the Sunni ruler, ‘invited’ troops from the neighboring monarchy of Saudi Arabia to use live ammunition in a bloody and lethal crackdown against the Shi’ite protesters. Many died on the streets.

Again, the west remains silent. Why? - because Bahrain and Saudi supplies most of the west’s oil.

subrosa said...

Budvar, you're right of course, but it's not pleasant being having a post written about you being racist and not being able to discuss the accusation with the invisible blog owners.

I don't know if the author was a 'lefty' but she described herself as 'a writer and graffiti artist' although that description has been removed now.

subrosa said...

I too understand why Germany adopted the stance JRB, although quite a few of the Bundestag don't as far as I understand from yesterday's business.

Maybe Merkel is playing a smart game; time will tell but at least she's had the courage to stand up for what the majority of her party believes in. She's still very much a main player in the EU though:

English Pensioner said...

Samuel Johnson said "Patriotism is the last resort of a scoundrel".
Whilst it is not so neat, I would suggest that "Allegations of Racism are the last resort of opponents without any logical arguments".
I wonder what they think about Marine Le Pen, given that it seems that she is more popular in France that President Sarkozy according to recent polls?

Anon said...

Merkel is correct on Libya.

Did someone try to assassinate her?

David Cameron looks like Donald Ewen Cameron, Tony Blair, Raymond Davis, David Headley...

- Aangirfan

subrosa said...

EP, the Scottish website mentioned doesn't post about international issues but sticks to Scotland, in rather a parochial manner. Hence it attracts those who don't wish or refuse to see the bigger picture.

I think we have to look at our position from an international viewpoint and that obviously upsets some.

We all differ; thankfully.

subrosa said...

From the evidence of the past few days I totally agree with you Aangirfan.

Merkel has protected the people of her country from serious attack but the UK goes ahead, without any plan, and behaves like saviours. They will discover they're no saviours very soon - in fact the Arab League are already denouncing them.

Jo G said...

JRB, very well said. The conduct of the UK is, as always, awash with ulterior motives which have nothing to do with compassion for the "Libyan people" many of whom happen to back Gaddafi whether we like it or not. The only reason we got involved here is because it IS Gaddafi. Its that simple. And the behaviour of the UK media over the matter is plain disgusting. They are salivating at the thought of us actually taking Gaddafi out, assassinating him! THAT would be illegal and we have no mandate to do such a thing and yet even some politicians are discussing it as if it is an option.

Good on Germany for abstaining. I just wish Russia or China had used the veto (just like the US and the UK do to save Israel's illegal activities on the West Bank from being dealt with) and forced the security council to think this through.

The "no fly zone" has turned into an aerial bombardment. Which is exactly what the French and the UK government wanted along with the main puppet master across the Atlantic.

subrosa said...

Hi Jo. Have you noticed how much the US have been back-pedalling today? They want to get out of this because they know it's not in the least popular with the people.

Furor Teutonicus said...

A point which has not been taken into account here, but by us "on the front line" and by the command staff certainly, is that only a month or two back we did away with "National service" and are right bang in the middle of trying to get enough people to sign up for the Bundeswehr to keep it viable.

The last thing they need is to have to answer potential recruits questions regarding "yet another war" they will be expected to take part in on signing the dotted line.

subrosa said...

So the compulsory service is now only social work then Furor when it used to be a choice between that and the military?

Furor Teutonicus said...

No. That has gone as well. Which has worried a few hospitals/community care organisations/etc.

I do not think it is possible. It is hard enough for the British armed forces to get up to strength, where there is not a "phobia" about anything military. Which has, since 1945 plagued Germany.

subrosa said...

That's such a shame Furor because I know most Germans look back on their compulsory year with fondness. I've always said we ought to have something like that here.

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