Guns R Us

How magnanimous or something. Now that NATO is running out of munitions to use in the Libya conflict (go Europe!), Germany has decided not to obstain from sending weapons to its allies.

The positive response to the politically sensitive demand is another concession to its allies by the German government, which has been heavily criticized in recent weeks because of its Security Council abstention in the March vote, which resulted in a resolution authorizing the use of force to protect Libya’s civilian population. Russia and China also abstained.

“NATO allies must pool funds or face decline: Gates”

German Reliability?

Sure it’s for real, sort of. As the late Richard Holbrooke said of his experience with it: “Expect the unexpected breach of trust.”

Considering Germany’s latest big coup, declining to vote in favor of a UN Security Council resolution to protect Libyan civilians fighting against the Gaddafi dictatorship (remember that these are the folks who want a permanent seat in the Security Council), I wonder what wonderful words of praise President Obama is going to dish out on June 7 when he bestows the Medal of Freedom (the nation’s highest civilian distinction) on Chancellor Merkel? Something tells me he’s going to do a great job, by the way.

We already know what Frau Merkel will say (or already has said): “Freedom does not come about by itself. It has to be struggled for, and then defended anew, every day of our lives.”

Struggle? What struggle? Well it sure is a struggle trying to put German words and action together here. So I suppose, in a way, it is almost better that Germany now comes out and openly says no from the get go. At least then, as in the case of Libya, “It didn’t do what Germany normally does — say ‘yes,’ and then not do much of anything.”

“How come Germans have this reputation of being reliable, when they never quite are, and historically maybe never were.”

“No Risk Please, We’re Germans”

The German skeptics across the political spectrum who continue to describe the actions of the anti-Gadhafi alliance as being “insufficiently conceived” are completely right. The actions were not well conceived. They were born out of necessity, and the first sorties were chaotic because the nations that took action were convinced that they lacked the time to think things through.

They were not out to cleanly and permanently regulate the affairs of Libya through the use of force. They were intent on preventing a bloodbath within a few hours with an untidy, last-minute campaign. Given these circumstances, the idea that Westerwelle could have been the foreign minister of a permanent Security Council member — equipped with veto power — is extremely unsettling.

Germany seems determined to torpedo the international community’s newfound resolve. 

Humanitarian effort here? Nein Danke!

In Libya, maybe. But only if you ask nicely.

Uh oh. Germany is lecturing about responsibility again (immigrants from North Africa are trying to make their way to Europe for some strange reason these days and the EU is showing EU solidarity again).

Germany criticized Italian officials for undermining the Schengen Agreement, which established passport-free zones, and said Italy should handle the immigrants on its own.

“Within this European solidarity, it is necessary for each individual country to first face its responsibility,” Germany’s interior minister, Hans-Peter Friedrich, said in a television interview.

Libya: Frankreich reagierte mit Spott auf Deutschlands Pläne: Die Bereitschaft Berlins zu einem humanitären Hilfseinsatz in Libyen sei wie eine “mündliche Nachprüfung”, sagte Verteidigungsminister Gérard Longuet am Dienstag vor der französischen Nationalversammlung.

Massive German Kiss-Up Offensive Underway

And we’re talking offensive, folks. In a too-little-too-late attempt to make amends for breaking ranks with its allies and refusing to support the United Nations Security Council resolution authorizing military action in Libya, Germany has now begun a surprise kiss-up campaign by actively publishing unflattering photos of Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi.

Degrading reports about botched plastic surgury operations performed on Gaddafi are also making the rounds.

But it doesn’t just stop there. Someone the Germans are referring to as Agent 008 has also been sent to Tripolis to see about establishing a ceasefire.

And as if that weren’t enough already, Germany also says that it is now prepared to let its troops take part in Libya “to help provide humanitarian aid to Libyan civilians” (if the United Nations asks the European Union please, pretty please). You know, that old we’re-the-good-soldiers-who-do-the-good-things trick of theirs?

The policy shift, announced by Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle on Thursday night, reflects disarray in Germany’s strategy but an awareness that its standing among its allies was damaged when Mr. Westerwelle told the country’s ambassador to the United Nations to abstain from the vote.

If German men could only be more like American women…

Political men, I mean. And military women.

Sie hat 4000 Flugstunden absolviert, lenkte die Präsidentenmaschine “Air Force One” und servierte an Thanksgiving Truthahn auf dem Stützpunkt Ramstein: Margaret Woodward kommandiert die US-Kampfjets über Libyen – die erste Frau, die einen Luftkrieg koordiniert.

Blood For Oil II

Oh these hypocrites. No, not the German ones.

I’m talking about those awful allied ones who didn’t abstain from voting in the UN Security Council like, uh, the rest of us.

In a recent talk show, German Development Minister Dirk Niebel found “it is notable that exactly those countries which are blithely dropping bombs in Libya are still drawing oil from Libya.”

I found his comment quite notable too, but maybe that’s just me. I found it notable to have been placed into a time warp without my expressed written consent and to have landed back in the good old Germany of those good old German Gerhard Schröder days (author of the old saying-no-to-an-allied-attack-on-Saddam-to-get-re-elected trick).

I also found and still find it notable that regardless of who comes to power here, the answer is always no. Back then it was the SPD and the Greens who said no, with the CDU/CSU and FDP questioning their judgement (albeit very quietly, and only at first). Now it’s the CDU/CSU and FDP who say no while the SPD and the Greens question their judgement very loudly (albeit not at all at first, actually having agreed with the abstention instead = meaning no).

You’ve got to have priniples here, I guess. And you have to wear them like a shirt. And change them just as regularly.

So you see… Some might also refer to behavior like this as being, well, hypocritical. Only if one wanted to, I mean. I would, for instance, and do. But nobody is ever going to  invite me to a talk show.

Niebel said that the German abstention was correct “because not all non-military possibilities had been exhausted.” He also insisted that the move was not politically motivated, ahead of two important state votes in Germany this Sunday.

More German Solidarity Soldifiying As We Speak

You’ve got to hand it to them. The Germans are consistentat least.

Germany has withdrawn its four vessels from NATO operations in the Mediterranean because NATO has finally announced that it will support the no-fly zone over Libya by monitoring sea traffic in the region, this to include intercepting any vessels suspected of carrying illegal arms or mercenaries to that country.

Normally Feuer und Flamme (full of enthusiasm) for things like arms embargos (if German arms aren’t involved), the Germans don’t like this particular one because, well, they would actually be involved in it. And worse still, this mission permits the use of force if necessary, something the German navy could never ever bring itself to do, ever. Never. So they’ll pass again, thank you.

Mr Rasmussen at NATO: “All allies are committed to meet their responsibilities under the United Nations resolution to stop the intolerable violence against Libyan civilians.”

A Permanent Security Council Seat For Germany?

Let’s vote.

“Germany has lost its credibility in the United Nations and in the Middle East.”

“Germany has turned the idea of a unified European Union foreign policy into a farce.”

“Germany’s hopes for a permanent Security Council seat can be buried. Even the idea of an EU seat is damaged.”

“I don’t know what the German foreign minister was thinking, but (the abstention) doesn’t have much in common with a values-driven foreign policy nor with German and European Union interests.”

“German hopes for a permanent seat on the Security Council have been permanently dashed and one is now fearful of Europe’s future.”

“Why is it so difficult for us in Germany to realize that we have to help the rebels in Libya, primarily because a bloodbath is looming in Benghazi?”

“Everyone has seen pictures of the Warsaw ghetto. Everyone knows what happens when an army takes over a city. That’s why all parties in France, including on the left, were in favor of a military intervention in Libya. In Germany, that didn’t happen.”

“The opposition to our closest partner France is a break with all constants of German foreign policy since 1949.”

“I have nothing but shame for the failure of our government.”

“The reform of the United Nations Security Council remains a major goal for the German government. The German government’s willingness to shoulder more responsibility within the framework of such reform is unchanged.”

Do The Duck!

You know, the German Duck Responsibility Dance?

It goes like this: Over 60 percent of Germans asked think that the military intervention in Libya is a good thing. Over 65 percent of the same Germans asked think it’s even better that Germans are shirking their responsibility there.

It can be lonely living on the moral highground sometimes I guess, but who says you can’t have your Kuchen and eat it too?

Deutschland hatte sich bei der Abstimmung im UN-Sicherheitsrat enthalten und schließt einen Einsatz von Bundeswehrsoldaten aus.