After five years as Germany's ambassador to the US, Wolfgang Ischinger is concerned about the potential of a clash of civilisations:
An even more complex challenge confronts us: radical Islam and the likelihood of even greater terrorist threats and a potential for escalating political, cultural and religious tension between the West on the one hand and the Muslim world on the other.In his farewell article in the Washington Post Finding Unity On Terrorism (March 2006), Ambassador Ischinger seems to strongly criticize U.S. policy:
The dream of transforming the entire region by getting rid of Saddam Hussein and creating democracy through elections has turned out to be elusive. In Iraq, Iran, Egypt and the Palestinian territories, recent elections have actually tended to strengthen radical political groups. While the very holding of elections in Iraq and the Palestinian territories is a success, these developments have so far not contributed to regional stability -- on the contrary.But then he argues:
In short, there is more than enough fuel available in the region to further stoke the radical fire. What is new is that the battleground of this emerging larger conflict will most likely not be in the continental United States, as was the case on Sept. 11, but rather in the European-Mediterranean space: Europe, or Europe's back yard. What is also new is the element of personal fear beginning to descend upon Europeans -- as it descended upon Americans on Sept. 11. This is the fear inspired not only by terrorist train bombings in London and Madrid but by political assassinations in the Netherlands and, more recently, the dramatic escalation of the cartoon controversy in Denmark.The German embassy provides more information about Dr. Ischinger's five years of service in Washington D.C. Germany's new ambassador to the United States is Dr. Klaus Scharioth. His latest post was State Secretary of the Foreign Office. Ambassador Ischinger has held many high-ranking government positions as well. He worked closely with President Clinton's Balkan envoy Richard Holbrooke on the Dayton Peace Accords.