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Monday, August 15, 2005

Last time round Schroeder only won the election narrowly because his team could capitalise on anti-American and pacifist sentiments in the German electorate. As I recollected recently the only way he could win now would be a US invasion of Iran. So, I remember when I read of Bush's insistence that no options, including military ones, were off the table in dealing with Iran, I briefly and mischievously though, Bush must want the red-greens to stay in power. Unsurprisingly though Schroeder has grasped at the opportunity:

German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder on Saturday vehemently rejected the use of military coercion to contain Iran and its alleged uranium enrichment activities.
"Let's leave military options aside, we have already seen that they don't amount to anything," Schröder said during an electoral meeting in the northern city of Hanover.

And the opposition is decidedly and rightly unimpressed:

"Schröder is acting completely irresponsibly for electoral purposes. He's acting as though the problem were in Washington, rather than Tehran even through he knows that isn't so," Wolfgang Schäuble, senior foreign policy expert of the opposition Christian Democrats (CDU) told the daily Die Welt.
. . .
"The chancellor is creating the fatal impression in Tehran that the world community is not united anymore," Schäuble said. "In doing so, he is accepting the consequence that the danger of an Iranian bomb will grow," he said.

Quite so. Given that this crisis is on the front pages at the moment, this could well give the government a boost. In many ways that would definitely be a bad thing. Unlike Iraq under Saddam, the problems with Iran, can possibly be solved diplomatically. Unfortunately, diplomacy also has to include the ability to threaten and use force. By sending mixed messages to Teheran, the regime there knows that it can play outside powers off against each other. It could thereby try to prevent any crack down on its nuclear weapons programme. It is a high risk game of course, because if it goes wrong there will inevitably be war. Schoeder's stance is thus not that of somebody who is "peace-loving" but in fact who is both dangerously opportunistic and naively pacifistic, a combination with potentially catastrophic consequences. By ruling out categorically any coercive measures against the Iranian regime, Schroeder is also obstructing debate in the international community in favour of what he sees as Germany's interests. Who is the unilateralist now then? It is high time Germany gets a new government, and by that I mean one that is lead by somebody else.
Updated (see comments)

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The story is actually twoi days old, and there is more at Medienkritik . . .
oops, here's the link too:

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