Tuesday, August 16, 2005

SPIEGEL's Daily Take: Schroder Plays Iran Card in German Election

Bash the US all you want Herr Schroder, but on the morning of the day after the election, the German economy is still going to SUCK! As the US economy continues to grow at 3.6% and the German economy continues to grow at .01%, US influence grows and German influence whithers.

We all want to be "peace-loving" people Gerhard, but until you can say the same about the Mullahs in Iran, you're spitting into the wind. Europe is just as far from the Iranian's missiles as Israel is and stands at least as great a chance of being the target. Israel may be filled with Jews who they hate rabidly, but Europe is filled with infidels who they hate only a little less rabidly.

We've already seen that the Iranians were simply using the negotiations with the EU3, including Germany as a way to buy time to build their uranium processing plants. If Europe is going back to the bargaining table after being laughed at by the Iranians it can only mean one thing. EUROPE DOES'NT HAVE THE ABILITY TO DO ANYTHING BUT NEGOTIATE.

Offering a non-agression pact with these madmen was madness in itself. It showed the Iranians just how weak Europe's position is. Europe has allowed their military forces to deterioriate to such an extent that they CAN'T do anything but talk. They can of course refer it to the UN Security Council, but the Iranians would just laugh at that. They've seen that coming and have stockpiled what they need to keep their nuclear program on track. Besides of course, Russia and China would veto any moves against their customer and oil supplier.

Now, the US needs to pull all its military forces from Europe and withdraw from NATO. I for one am tired of protecting EUnuchs. We spend a fortune, we prop up their economies with billions earned from our bases, we protect them and all we get for the trouble is kicked in the teeth every election cycle.

Get us out of all of these foreign entanglements, Mr. President!

SPIEGEL's Daily Take: Schroder Plays Iran Card in German Election

August 15, 2005

German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder has publicly warned the US against military action in Iran. Opposition leaders have accused Schröder of exploiting a sensitive international issue to curry votes with peace-loving Germans. Echoes of 2002?

The chancellor likes to criticize US foreign policy. First it was Iraq -- Now it's Iran.
In an election hitherto dominated by rows over economic policy, German foreign policy has suddenly taken center-stage. Prior to the last German election, Gerhard Schröder went on the offensive against US military intervention in Iraq, and now -- like the leopard who cannot change his spots -- Schröder has pulled the same trick again, warning the US against an invasion of Iran.

At a meeting of Social-Democrat supporters in Hannover on August 13, Schröder proclaimed -- to peals of applause -- "Let's leave the military option aside; we have already seen that it doesn't amount to anything." In an interview with the tabloid Bild am Sonntag, the chancellor then repeated his warnings. "I consider the military option to be extremely dangerous. So I can definitely rule that a government under my leadership would not take part."

This last remark, directly linking his re-election to commitment against military action in Iran, particularly riled opposition parties, who have since resoundingly attacked Schröder for shameless and irresponsible electioneering.

Wolfgang Schäuble, the foreign-policy chief of conservative opposition party CDU, told Die Welt today that, "Schröder is acting completely irresponsibly for electoral purposes. He's acting as thought the problem were in Washington, rather than in Tehran even though he knows that isn't the case." "The chancellor is creating the fatal impression in Tehran that the international community is not resolute," he added.

The liberal foreign-policy expert Werner Hoyer of the Free Democratic Party echoed Schäuble's remarks in a interview with der Tagesspiegel. "The subject is too serious for it to be introduced into the German election campaign, in any form." Hoyer then pointedly referred to the last election campaign: "We have already experienced the situation, when frivolous comments -- that time from Vice President Dick Cheney -- can affect the outcome of a German election," he said.

Hoyzer was referring to a speech which US Vice President Dick Cheney made on August 26, 2002 to a meeting of the "Veterans of Foreign Wars". In it, he affirmed US preparedness for unilateral intervention in Iraq. Schröder immediately called a press conference to brand such a policy a "mistake", which led to a rapid upswing in Schröder's election fortunes. The chancellor's opposition to military intervention in Iraq was largely credited for securing his "miracle" re-election, after his Social Democrat Party looked doomed to defeat.

This time round, the chancellor seized on comments US President George W. Bush made to Israeli TV from his ranch at Crawford, Texas on August 12. When asked about the possible use of force against Iran -- which last week restarted its nuclear enrichment program -- the President answered, "All options are on the table." "The use of force is the last option for any president. You know we have used force in the recent past to secure our country," he warned ominously.

What Schröder Is Saying about Iran

The following quotations have been excerpted from an interview with German Prime Minister Gerhard Schröder which is to be published in Thursday's issue of Super Illu, a general interest magazine targeted at readers in eastern Germany. The fact that Schröder chose an eastern German publication for his comments is a strategic move that comes like a hard punch in the gut for a handful of reasons. First, it plays to eastern German pacifism which could translate into votes for Schröder's Social Democrats. Second, it shows Schröder taking a firm stance on foreign policy at a time when his Christian Democratic opponents have made no firm stance on the issue. And finally, it shows Schröder illustrating firm leadership in the east at a time when his Christian Democratic detractors are stumbling and alienating potential voters in that part of Germany.

SUPER ILLU: Regarding foreign policy. There are concerns that the nuclear dispute with Tehran could escalate, that Iran could become the next Iraq. Should we be concerned?

SCHRÖDER: The situation is serious. I consider a military option to be extremely dangerous. For that reason I can, with certainty, rule out that a German government under my leadership would participate. I continue to believe that we can arrive at our goals in negotiations with persistence and patience.

SUPER ILLU: Will the USA play along?

SPIEGEL: My impression is that people in the USA must also realize that you may be able to win a war alone, but you cannot ensure peace afterwards alone. This is evident in Afghanistan, but even more so in Iraq.
Schröder is no doubt hoping to drive opposition parties into a tight spot by forcing them to declare their political standpoint on military action in Iran. In 2002, he accused conservatives of playing poodle to Washington, and this proved a hit with the electorate. Now, conservatives have responded by accusing the chancellor of endangering an already fragile trans-Atlantic relationship.

It is at yet unclear whether voters will be persuaded by Schröder's anti-American hyperbole, for the chancellor must do more than just overturn a far greater conservative political lead in the polls this time. The public is also far less concerned by the possibility of a military invasion of Iran in the first place.

Social Democrat Party Leader Franz Münterfering went on the radio Monday to defend his colleague and to reject claims of Machiavellian political opportunism. "The chancellor didn't direct the statements at anyone, rather he has generally made it clear that we want to be a peace-loving power," he said.


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