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1/25/2018 7:38:29 AM
Posted: 8/6/2002 11:41:39 AM EST
John Hooper in Hanover John Hooper in Hanover Tuesday August 6, 2002 The Guardian German chancellor Gerhard Schröder and his Social Democratic party yesterday broke ranks with America's other European allies by declaring at the start of their election campaign that Germany would refuse to provide troops or money for an invasion of Iraq. The SPD's top official indicated that Germany under a centre-left administration was ready to stay out, even if the UN gave its blessing to a war. Germany's rebuff to Washington came as Iraq further tried to split western opinion by inviting the US Congress to send a mission to Baghdad, offering free access to any site alleged to be developing weapons of mass destruction. The White House dismissed the invitation. The SPD's hardline stance is likely to stiffen growing resistance within Labour ranks in the UK to a new conflict in the Middle East and add to the pressure on Tony Blair for a rethink of Britain's effectively unconditional backing for the US president, George Bush. Franz Münterfering, the SPD general secretary, told a press conference that the party leadership had decided over the weekend to go its own way. "Independently, of what the UN decides, there must be a German way, that we must decide for ourselves what is to be done. That decision for us means no involvement in any... conflict or war in Iraq." Addressing the SPD's opening campaign rally in Hanover, Mr Schröder declared: "We are ready [to give] solidarity. But this country under my leadership is not available for adventure." Nor, he added, would a centre-left government under his leadership take the attitude of previous, conservative German administrations, which he summed up as: "We stay out, but we pay up." Mr Schröder said Germany was a self-confident country. "We didn't shy away from offering international solidarity in the fight against international terrorism. We did it because we were, and are, convinced that it is necessary; because we knew that the security of our partners is also our security. But we say this with equal self-confidence: we're not available for adventures, and the time of cheque book diplomacy is over once and for all." In Berlin, Mr Schröder's foreign minister, Joschka Fischer, a leader of the Green party, the junior partner in the coalition, confirmed that his party too was unable to back military action against Baghdad. "Our deep scepticism leads us to rejection," he said. Last month, Mr Schröder and the French president, Jacques Chirac, issued a joint statement insisting on an endorsement from the UN before any attempt to topple Saddam Hussein. Yesterday's declarations took the German leadership several steps further into terrain that none of the other prominent administrations in Europe has so far trodden. The centre-right government of Spain's prime minister Jose Maria Aznar is distinctly hawkish. Mr Aznar has said he considers Mr Bush's "axis of evil" speech, in which he identified Iraq as a prime supporter of terror, as a hugely significant moment in modern political history. In Italy, Silvio Berlusconi, who prides himself on his personal friendship with Mr Bush, is expected to provide important logistical support for any US-led attack on Iraq. But the government may also be ready to supply more active military support. The defence minister Antonio Martino said at the end of last week that the participation of Italian troops would be "dependent on the presentation of incontrovertible proof about Iraq's war programmes". Alfredo Mantica, under-secretary at the foreign ministry, cautioned, however, that Italy would only take action in the framework of a UN resolution and in conjunction with the rest of Europe. Though there is no questioning the sincerity of the misgivings among Mr Schröder's followers, his decision to go into open opposition to Washington appears also to have been influenced by electoral considerations. The SPD is trailing in the polls. Yesterday's campaign launch had been brought forward by almost three weeks in an effort to make up lost ground.
Link Posted: 8/6/2002 12:07:41 PM EST
[Last Edit: 8/6/2002 12:08:05 PM EST by Badseed]
come back, Kohl! Gerhard is turning Green(er).[puke]
Link Posted: 8/6/2002 12:56:02 PM EST
Germany and France have spent the last 250 years fighting each other for control of continental Europe. Needless to say, seeing all the other countries in Europe turn toward the US for leadership is likely to piss them off.
Link Posted: 8/6/2002 1:02:50 PM EST
Let's see how the story changes when we go to Baghdad alone and end up controlling a huge portion of the oil in the region. When was the last time the Germans really contributed anything substantial anyway? They're just Canadians with a harsher accent. Just Kidding.
Link Posted: 8/6/2002 3:46:32 PM EST
Fuck the left wingers. It's not like they were gonna send much anyway. They didn't do much in the gulf war either. The only thing we need to do is put a priority on recruitment. Reform another 5-6 of the divisions we've disbanded over the years. We are entirely dependent on the reserves and guard to do anything now, and have been for far too long. The capability to fight two wars at once was a sensible policy... and we abandoned it to deal with our shrinking manpower and post cold war budget realities (the Brits are even more impotent).
Link Posted: 8/6/2002 7:46:14 PM EST
The big question is, "do we really need anyones approval or help?" Of course not! Keving67
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