Germans, military snobs; Ukranians, military allies: The Ukraine has agreed to send troops to Iraq to work with Polish forces there — something Germany refused to do.
sorry, but all I can think of is “with such friends…”
What I find particularly telling is Germany’s reaction to the UN’s plea for troops to intervene in the Congo – the Germans have done their best to avoid any commitment of men and materiale.
Given that the proposed justification for Germany’s opposition to the war in Iraq was a concern for the humanitarian consequences for the Iraqi people, the lack of German interest in doing anything about the Congo situation tells me that either
(1) the Germans value Congolese lives less than they do those of Iraqis, or
(2) Germany is only interested in “humanitarian” concerns to the degree that they provide an opportunity for Anti-American posturing.
I’ve spent much time with my German friends (and family) debating the issue of involvement (or lack thereof) in external military operations and this is what I have concluded thus far:
1) Many Germans feel that they ought take a more pacifist role in international politics (meaning they will debate things verbally/politically, but not militarily). This comes from the desire to never be the cause or near cause of another world war. But, it also comes from the feeling that their money is better put to use elsewhere.
2) In general, it seems that the Germans are convinced that money (in terms of loans and aid or an embargo) have a greater and more humane impact than war does.
3) They also feel that they just can’t afford to go to war. (Take a look at the stagnation in their economy that has existed since the early 90’s.)
4) They pick and choose their wars (monetarily and otherwise) just as America does.
The last observation is aimed at the last comment from Abiola (2). I don’t see American foreign policy as being any more consistent than a number of other countries. While I think Bush, Jr. will remain consistent throughout his presidency, his successor will likely change the goals, etc. I am not saying I agree with all of what Germany is doing (I think the pacifist route is the last thing to work when battling true terrorists), I just don’t like the claim that the US is more consistent in foreign policiy issues than other countries… I think we are more interested in true moral justice and believe in the concept of consequences. That is the biggist difference between the US and other countries (imho) and that is what I always find lacking in the arguments my German friends use against me – they claim to take the moral high road, but seem to come short because they do not want to make truly consequential decisions.
Germany deploys more military personnel worldwide on multi-national missions than any country other than the USA. Struck, the Minister of Defense, is currently proposing plans to massively rededicate German armed forces for such missions.
The German constitution does not allow the use of German armed forces except for (1) the defense of Germany or (2) under the umbrella of a system for mutual, collective security such as the UN or NATO for the purpose of creating lasting peace. Germany could not have legally participated in the war in Iraq so far, even if the government wanted to.
Germany has also already agreed to support the mission in the Congo financially.
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