Nein, nein and nein again!

And I’ll hold my breath until my face turns blue if you don’t believe me. Geez. This is almost like the good-old Gerhard Schroeder days – saying no before anybody asks anything of you – and that’s even with you-know-who now in office (what’s-his-name is long gone, remember?).

That Germany won’t ever really deploy real troops in a real war in a real country called Afghanistan is certainly no secret to anyone anywhere, least of all the Taliban, but that Germany’s new Foreign Minister is prepared to puff and pout and not even attend the upcoming Afghanistan conference in London should it “degrade” to a pure troop deployment conference, well, that’s kind of special (not).

As predicted, Germany has dragged its feet this past month in the face of calls from President Obama to help with a push to defeat the Taliban with more combat troops, holding off from any decision regarding troop numbers until after the London talks. Now it seems the Germans have reached a new phase: They are now even prepared to hold off on taking part on any talks before holding off on making a decision which, as all the world can clearly see, has been made long ago; nein. Or no, if you prefer.

“Mit seinem Nein zu einer deutlichen Aufstockung des Bundeswehrkontingentes steht Westerwelle ja beileibe nicht alleine. Diese Position ist auch den USA längst bekannt. Aber durch die versuchte Vorfestlegung eines Konferenzverlaufs, den Deutschland nur partiell beeinflussen kann, isoliert der Minister sich und die ganze Bundesregierung innerhalb des Bündnisses. Das ist einfach dumm.”

What’s out is in and vice versa again

Funny how times change, or how perception does. When it comes to Afghanistan, I mean. Although one can argue over here (and some folks actually do) that when Barack Obama proposes to talk to “moderate” Taliban (?) he “not only openly admits to the catastrophic situation, he also openly admits his helplessness,” others welcome the move, of course, and are having one of those we-told-you-so kind of moments.

We're the moderate ones

“From sarcasm to outrage went the range of reactions when the the former head of the German Social Democrats, Kurt Beck, on the occasion of a visit to Afghanistan, suggested two years ago to negotiate with “moderate Taliban.” Now U.S. President Barack Obama has taken up exactly that proposal – and no one is laughing anymore.”

Well I’m certainly not. I’m shocked, to tell you the truth. As mentioned above, I think sarcasm to outrage are the proper reactions to such an idea.That such a proposal can actually even be considered today, much less considered to be salonfähig (socially acceptable), much less to be considered to be something that anybody could want to laugh about is beyond me. Talk about sad.

“The West simply can’t bumble about anymore in Afghanistan.” Says who?