Germany, America and the war
Germany and the US have found themselves on opposing sides in the Iraq crisis with the tensions between Berlin and Washington resulting in a forthright exchange between readers.
After the war, the people and governments of the Middle East will align themselves in primarily two groups, those that support the US nation building of Iraq and those that support continued warfare against the US and any Iraqi governments formed.
This comes as the US prepares to deliver its "Roadmap to Peace" for the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. The roadmap envisions a sovereign Muslim Palestinian state living in peace side by side with the Jewish state of Israel. These same people and governments will align themselves into two groups, those that support these goals and those that do not.
The argument for supporting suicide bombers has always been that they are a legitimate resistance to the Israeli occupation. With the Israeli endorsement of the "Roadmap to Peace", the Palestinian people are assured of their own state. It is at this point that peaceful diplomacy instead of suicide diplomacy can ensure the creation of the Palestinian state.
The US war on terrorism started with Afghanistan, moved on to Iraq, and will soon move to the entire Middle East. The solution to the Palestinian/Israeli conflict is the key and final phase of this war on terrorism.
The governments that position themselves against the goals of the "Roadmap to Peace" will find themselves in our crosshairs. Suicide bombers and other terrorists will find themselves without any explainable reasons for their continuance. People and/or countries supporting these groups will be dealt with politically, diplomatically, economically, and if all else fails, militarily.
As President Bush stated in a presidential address concerning 9/11, "you’re either with us or you’re against us". The group to which Middle Western countries commit themselves will have long lasting consequences on the entire region.
Having read your article on whether Germany should care or not about the opinion of the American Government and ultimately about the opinion of Americans, I feel compelled to make some comments. The simple answer to the simple question you pose in your article is not "Nein", is "Doch" or rather Yes! Here is why. First of all, politically speaking, the US is a very important and powerful ally to have. Any government in the world, and much more in Europe, is forced to take into account the relationship that country has with the US. Any German government, be it conservative, social democrat or perhaps in the future, liberal, if it has the US backing, it can be very appealing to a German electorate.
This appeal is stronger if it comes in the form of economic incentives, such as investment and possibilities for German companies to sell products in the widely desired US market, thus bringing home the much needed Jobs.
Secondly, internationally speaking, having a foreign policy which is agreeable with that of the US, can be advantageous. The political and economic clout of the US makes a lot of things easy. Even, as you were able to observe in the German presidential elections, being against the official US policy can be helpful.
Third, working along side the US in foreign policy can be beneficial for Germany (and for other countries in Europe) because, again the economic clout of the US, helps to open much needed markets. Let's not forget that the German economy relies heavily on exports.
Lastly, the common values that the two countries share (along with the rest of Europe) are an integral part of the relationship between these two. Not to mention the immigration of Germans to the new world and the recent historical ties, which have linked the two countries irreversibly.
The need for additional German funding for military apparatus is just the beginning of the problems that Germany exacerbated with its pro-Iraqi stance. Perhaps a new alliance with the French, Russians, and Chinese might alleviate this new burden. But, then again, that implies the four countries see eye-to-eye on everything. Hmmm!
Thank you Germany, for taking a stand against this awful war and for telling it like it is. Bolsheviks and tyrants and dictators ARE running our government, chicken-hawks all, playing cowboy with other people's lives while they salivate over the profits of death and destruction.
And with each passing day, they get scarier and scarier. I was upset when the justice minister, Herta Daebler-Gmelin, was forced to resign last year. Hitler had his beginnings, too, and Germany knows better than anyone else what that looked and sounded like.
Your Greens, your people, people all round the world, have every right to describe our American regime in whatever terms they choose. We can hardly complain while we're slaughtering innocents for oil.
Unquestionably, German democracy has matured in the past fifty years. We, "the greatest democracy in the world (?)" cannot claim the same. We are daily destroying what's left of ours in favour of corporate capitalism which is getting way out of hand.
I assure you, many Americans are determined to toss the gang of neo-con thugs who control our government well out of office and into the bushes of never-ever-again land before
they can be born again in 2004.
Meantime, I extend my own apologies to you and the world. I love my country but I am ashamed and repulsed by what we are doing in the almighty name of George Bush and company.
If name calling helps, feel free to vent. We do. So far as I know - and shame to say I can no longer be certain - but so far as I know we are still fairly free to express our opinion in this country.
But stay tuned. The way things are going, that could change any day.
Peace from the middle of America.
I think most people in Europe don't have a full understanding of the effect that 9/11 had on Americans. People who try to say that there is no link between Iraq and Al Qaeda are missing the point. Whether that link exists or not ( I personally think it is nothing but pretence), the fact is the American mentality towards world affairs has been dramatically changed by the events of September 11.
Despite the very visible anti-war protests on American streets, the fact is that most Americans who would have never supported this war (myself included) are now extremely torn on the issue. It seems like the sympathy for America after those attacks was short-lived.
Yes, America's actions after the attacks may have "squandered" the world's sympathy, but if that was all it took to evaporate those feelings, then they could not have been very deep.
Despite those wonderful headlines of solidarity (Le Monde- "Today We Are All Americans"), only an American can fully understand the impact those events had on our nation's psyche.
This change will deepen the rift in mentalities, unless Europe is subjected to a terrorist attack of equal scale, or America somehow gets its sense of security back. I'm not decided on this issue, I just want more understanding across the Atlantic.
Sir, I read Anne Morbite's Letter about the Ugly American. I hope you do not believe that she represents most Americans. She forgets that we are the most generous country on this planet. Even today we feed more impoverished countries than any country in the world. Our enemies in WW II, Germany and Japan were rebuilt without retribution of any kind. Germany's
post-war growth is a result of the US Marshall Plan. We still feed thousands of North Koreans and ask nothing in return.
Much of sub-Saharan Africa is fed by the US. We fought the Cold War to free Europe from the brutal dictates of the, now obsolete, USSR. Can you not remember the wall dividing your country just a few years in the past? What was our gain for providing you freedom? We fed Berliners by airlifts for two years or you would have starved. Not a few of our pilots died to provide this airlift.
We have never fought a war in recent history to take over another country or to control the same. We could easily pull back from the world and protect ourselves from terror. We have the technology to become isolationists.
It would be easy to bring our troops home from all over the world and I wonder how long it would take Europe to burn. There is evil in the world and it needs to be destroyed or it will destroy us.
After this is over and we make the world safer for you we will still be allies. I'm a little ashamed that your trade with Iraq makes you need to appease another Hitler. You are a fine people. Take a stand against evil!
Regardless of what you Germans think, we Americans don't care about your feelings towards us now, nor have we ever cared any other times in the past. You'd be VERY hard pressed right now to find a single American who has a good thing to say about the Germans, French, or the Russians.
So remember, it's a two way street here. Also, I've been reading some very interesting articles in the newspapers about the Germans boycotting American goods. Go ahead, I say. We'll still survive. But on the other hand, we are on the way to boycotting German goods right now. These include: Mercedes, Porches, BMWs, Audi, Volkwagons etc etc etc.
Let's see how your economy handles it.
And so you know, my parents are both from Germany and I've been to Germany many times. But I can assure you...never again!!
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