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.”

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.”

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.”