“Germany hasn’t been a reliable power for several years”

“Neither domestically nor abroad,” Mr. Kohl said.

“I have to ask myself, where does Germany actually stand today and where does it want to go?”

Merkel’s UN abstention was popular in German polls. And as the Libya NATO operation proved indecisive and messy, with rebels in pickup trucks taking towns and then retreating, and with talk of quagmire, some German officials were telling French colleagues, “We told you so.”