One Small Step For Europe

One giant leap for Europe-kind?


An operation in which an Italian towboat rescued more than 100 people in the Mediterranean and returned them to Libya may have been in breach of international law, the United Nations has said.

According to the Spanish charity Proactiva Open Arms, the Asso 28, an oil rig support vessel, rescued 108 people from international waters on Monday and took them to Libya, their country of departure.

Die “Asso 28” hat Migranten in Seenot an Bord genommen – und nicht nach Italien gebracht, sondern zurück nach Libyen. Die Regierung in Rom jubelt, doch die Aktion war vermutlich illegal.

Speaking Of Ingratitude

Don’t the Libyans appreciate everything the Germans have done for them? Gee, I guess they don’t.

Before the Libyan revolution, Germany was the country’s second-largest trading partner. But then Germany abstained in a 2011 UN vote to militarily intervene in its civil war. Now that the war is over, German businesses and think tanks are finding that most Libyans want little to do with them.

“Water doesn’t flow uphill on its own / And wars, too, don’t stop themselves.”

No Positions “R” Us

Diplomats in New York “have lost faith in Germany?” Was there ever really any faith in Germany to lose?

Apparently there was at one time a German foreign policy maxim to never oppose its European partners and the United States, or that’s what I just read, but I can’t remember that time. Germany’s strategy of avoidance with Libya finally took the Kuchen though, I guess. Like the famous Soviet njet from yesteryear, when push comes to shove, even the slowest and blindest diplomat out there has finally figured out what the German answer will always be: No position, as usual.

And Berlin was actually expecting to get permanent membership and veto power in the United Nations Security Council? What for?

Hey, they shouldn’t sweat it, and they won’t. Isolating themselves and having shrinking influence is better than being isolated and having no influence at all.

“Germany has no position yet, as usual.”

Where was WikiLeaks here?

When you need them (not), I mean. German spies working with Gadaffi?

A former senior German official has said that his country’s intelligence services had cooperated with Muammar Gaddafi’s spy network for several years.

“It revolved mainly around information about the fight against terrorism and therefore Germany’s security interests,” said Bernd Schmidbauer, former coordinator of the German secret services.

Oh. Well, then that’s OK, I guess. Carry on or something.

However, he stressed that Germany did not carry out joint operations with the Libyan spies, as the British and American intelligence services appear to have done.


Throw that first stone!

And kick him when he’s down, Germany. Our Guido. I mean, your Guido.

He really screwed up with Libya, didn’t he? But Josef Joffe from Die Zeit makes a few points y’all seem to have forgotten about:

“Those who are kicking away at Guido W. now have forgotten three things. First of all, that he exercised the will of the government in the Security Counsel (with the abstention), also that of the Chancellor. Secondly, he articulated the will of the people as reflected in the polls taken. According to a Stern survey taken on March 16, practically the entire German population – 88 percent! – was against a German military operation; a third did not even want a flying ban. So whoever appreciated the government’s ‘preemptive obedience’ regarding the nuclear phase-out ought not to judge so harshly when it comes to populism in foreign policy.

After two lost world wars the German loves the thought of getting involved in another one about as much as the twice-burned child. That explains, thirdly, why SPD caucus leader Steinmeier saw the Security Councel vote as ‘understandible and reasonable.’ That’s why SPD party leader Gabriel could ‘understand’ Westerwelle (Green Trittin could too, but that isn’t mentioned here). Of course politicians can, must, change their minds, but this damned Internet never forgets anything.”

I guess 88 percent of the Germans who were behind Westerwelle a month ago have suffered 100 percent memory loss now. But believe me folks, Germans are always 88 percent behind/against everything (and the memory loss always plays an important role here). That’s just what they do. And in the US? I don’t think you could get 88 percent of the population to agree on getting free beer for life.

Valide waren auch Westerwelles Argumente. Er hat aber trotzdem gesündigt, indem er so geredet hat, wie Regierung und Opposition dachten und das Volk fühlte. Das verzeihen wir ihm nicht.

Pacifism Pays

It appears that Germany took a more active part in the Libyan uprising than believed.

Tons and tons of high-powered German assault rifles have been rescued by Libyan rebels from Muammar Gaddafi’s arsenals, weapons that “weren’t supposed to be there” (funny how German weapons always turn up where they are not supposed to be).

“The German government does not know how weapons of this type could have possibly ended up in Libya.” So they are not really there, in other words. The German government has the German weapons industry (shhh, not so loud) completely under control, you see. Right? Ja oder nein? Good. No abstentions here.

Geez. Haven’t them there crazy Libyans ever heard of gun control or nothin’?

“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.”

Germany Just Wants To Help

To help itself to a piece of Libya’s reconstruction pie, that is.

And they will get it, too. They always do, although they may have to squirm and grovel around for a bit first. Damn. If this were the US we were talking about here I’d have to say that they are only in it for the oil.
Hey, you win a few, you lose a few (nobody’s keeping count in the end, right?): The biggest loser — beside Gaddafi and his soul mates, Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez — may well be Angela Merkel of Germany. She looks timid and vacillating beside Sarkozy, on Libya as well as on the European debt crisis.

That result could be ephemeral. But Merkel’s determined effort to dissociate Germany from any alliance role in Libya meant that the European Union lost a historic opportunity to create a leadership role for itself on a foreign-policy crisis that was strategic for Europe. France and Britain had to work within NATO, not the E.U., when their forces went into harm’s way.

The Draußenminister Speaks

Explains Libya, I mean. Who says that Germans don’t have chutzpe? But I guess that’s the only alternative you have left once you’ve so loudly and unnecessarily painted/isolated yourself into a corner (it’s not as if they could ever admit that they were wrong or anything).

Guido Westerwelle, who many Germans like to call the Draußenminister (the minister on the outside or the out of it minister, as opposed to Außenminister = foreign minister), has offered his take on Libya. Not that anybody really wanted to hear it or anything. But still.

Ignoring that big ugly elephant in the room, that a human catastrophe, a massacre can be avoided with rapid and determined military action, Guido informs us that Germany’s strict nein to taking part in this action (sanctioned by the UN, despite Germany’s abstention) and it’s electing to go it alone once again and push for gool old-fashioned “sanctions” instead, this is what actually brought about the change currently taking place in Libya. He never even turned red in the face once while explaining this to us, either. Diplomats can just do that stuff, I guess. Even when they’re on the outside. Looking in, I mean.

Der deutsche Außenminister gibt den Libyen-Experten und rät zur Vorsicht bei der Beurteilung der Lage. Dabei trifft Westerwelle wieder einmal nicht den richtigen Ton: Anstatt die Lektion aus dem deutschen Sonderweg zu akzeptieren, tut er so, als sei der Erfolg der Rebellen auch sein Verdienst.

Germany Now Prepared To Send Troops To Libya

Maybe. Just maybe. But first let’s wait and see what happens down there. And think this through thoroughly, as usual. Until it’s all over, I mean.

We don’t want to rush headless into this thing, after all. Spineless, maybe, but not headless.

Thanks, Germany or something. They couldn’t have done it without you but did anyway.

Die Bundesregierung wollte sich partout nicht am militärischen Einsatz gegen Oberst Gaddafi beteiligen. Nun zerfällt seine Diktatur – und für Deutschland zeigt sich das ganze Ausmaß dieser Fehlentscheidung.