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Erfolgreicher Demokratieexport mit dem Schwert

Einer unserer Leser empfiehlt einen Spiegel Online Artikel, „der mal ganz anders ist als sonst (wahrscheinlich ist er deshalb auch mit "Debatte" gekennzeichnet)“

Unter der Schlagzeile „Terminator? Demokrator!“ schreibt Claus Christian Malzahn:

„Irak, die Palästinensergebiete, Libanon: Das Virus der Demokratie grassiert im Mittleren Osten. Die deutsche Außenpolitik muss auf diese erfreuliche Wende endlich reagieren und der Tatsache ins Auge blicken, dass Freiheit und Demokratie manchmal eben doch mit Feuer und Schwert gebracht worden sind.“

Eurospeak contradictions

Victor Hanson, a senior fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institute, describes “deep-seeded anti-Americanism and embarrassing contradictions” in European statements to the US:

  • “Cease militarizing the globe! See instead the world as an interconnected family of liberal societies that is trying to settle differences by reason — BUT stop trying to prevent us from selling hi-tech arms to big Communist China to threaten tiny democratic Taiwan.”
  • “Stop using force to solve problems! Listen to our diplomats. Promote international courts. The world no longer works according to your silly laws of military power and deterrence — BUT don't dare take any more American troops out of Germany.”
  • “Pay attention to the Muslim world! Hear us who have more experience with the Middle East. Try to incorporate, rather than isolate, the "other" — BUT stop telling us that we have to let Turkey into the EU.”

“Inside the Committee that Runs the World”

David J. Rothkopf argues in Foreign Policy (March/April 2005) that members of the inner circles of the U.S. national security community, i.e. the National Security Council (NSC), is a -- if not the most -- powerful committee in the history of the world.

However, the NSC seems split because of diverging ideological views between traditionalists and transformationalists -- with Condoleezza Rice at the center of the rift. The author describes the power dynamics between different agencies and key officials and points out the axis of power between the Office of the Secretary of Defense and Vice-President Cheney.

In terms of the NSC's future influence he thinks that personalities of the individuals within it play a greater role in determining its true function than does any preconceived aspect of its structure. What kind of approach these individuals choose will depend on whether the divides within the Republican foreign-policy establishment, which empowers the NSC, will ease up or create further imbalance.

Fulbright quote

"In this age of mass communication, why do we need to take the time and money to move people across borders to increase understanding? The first and most obvious answer is that communication - visual and verbal - has passed through the filter of the producer. Seeing and hearing through the eyes and ears of another is learning one point of view. It is the difference between looking through a keyhole and walking through an open door for the whole view."

Harriet Mayor Fulbright,

Opinion By Joerg Geier: George W. Bush’s get-together with young professionals in Mainz

Unfortunately it seems to be the norm rather than an exception that political leaders or decision-makers preach one thing but practice another. On Feb 23 President Bush responded to questions from young professionals at the Electoral Palace in Mainz. In the public part of the meeting he outlined his viewpoint on freedom as an essential human desire: “Free societies are peaceful societies.” Nice thought. And perhaps even honest - if “free” implies “uncritical towards those who lead.” Initially planned as a town-hall meeting open to average citizens, President Bush’s gathering with German “non-officials” ended up being a meeting with carefully selected young professionals whose “airtime” was limited to a minimum. Fearful of too many unpleasant questions -and instead of more or less official censorship - the greater part of the meeting was declared internal and hence closed to the public.

The selection process of the up-and-coming VIPs behind the scenes was even more nebulous. At first, various institutes with a U.S.-focus were asked to provide names of talented individuals capable of leaving a good impression on Germany’s distinguished guest. Also the German Fulbright Commission was asked to present suitable candidates. From initially 20 the list was cut down to eight young delegates. In the end one star remained and joined the meeting. Neither decision-making nor line of argumentation brought forward by the German Foreign Office were conclusive. The noble claim for freedom as a universal value stayed behind as an empty notion.

What is left is a strange aftertaste. The greatest strides forward in terms of spreading the gospel of democracy will be made when decision-makers start to walk the talk. Everything else will be interpreted as hypocrisy.


American needs meet German ambitions

“The future of German-American relations’” writes German Political Science Professor Gunther Hellmann in the International Herald Tribune

“hinges to a large extent on the question of whether a new balance can be struck between Washington's desire for supportive partners and Berlin's desire for co-equal leadership. Four factors caution against too much optimism”.