German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer gave an interview to Der Spiegel on Friday where he criticizes American disregard for the UN, calls for stronger institutions for peaceful conflict resolution, and inadvertently argues why the United States should feel more relieved than worried about German pacifism.
I cannot and do not wish to imagine that we are at the beginning of a series of wars of disarmament ... We must not be left with only the alternatives of permitting terrible dangers to exist, or being drawn into a war of disarmament ... American power is a decisive factor for world peace and stability, but the world order cannot function when the definitive criterion for the application of force is when it is in the national interest of the most powerful country ... The same rules must apply for large, medium and small nations.Meaning, I guess, that the opinions of Guinea and Liechtenstein should be as important as those of the United States. Fischer doesn't see any present alternative to the UN and the Security Council, and rejects the US role as "world policeman". He declines to say, however, who should be the world policeman or to whom such a policeman would be accountable.
Fischer complained that in the question of Iraq
there was no real trans-Atlantic dialogue.He places the blame not only the United States, but also on the Europeans who didn't involve themselves in the discussion early enough.
The European Union needs to draw the consequences from this, create stronger institutions and appoint a stronger European Foreign MinisterThe prospect of an empowered Chris Patten sounds frightening at first, then again there's not much of an historical precedent for a pacifist superpower.
It all comes together in the final paragraph:
The position that conflicts should be resolved peacefully has nothing to do with cowardice or sentimentality. America, after all, has suffered far fewer catastrophic wars than Europe has. The Americans have never had a Verdun on their continent. The USA has never had anything comparable to Auschwitz or Stalingrad.Interesting that Fischer should mention Verdun, Auschwitz and Stalingrad, all of which were started by, uh, his own country. If the only alternative to the old aggressive Germany is a wholly pacifist Germany, then I'll take the latter, thank you. Fischer isn't likely to get a world where the Saddam Husseins of the place are chided into complying with the Queensberry rules of international law. But at least the Americans and others who are in a position to confront tyranny and defend freedom should feel comfortable to do what needs to be done while putting Franco-German pacifist-aggression in its proper perspective. Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at March 23, 2003 07:51 AM