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Missile Defense: Some German Social Democrats Act Like It's 2002

Judy Dempsey writes in the International Herald Tribune about the German positions on the US missile defense project in Central Europe:
Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, trying to counter the increasingly anti-American attitude of her coalition partners, the Social Democrats, has called on the European Union to find a common position over American plans to deploy part of an anti-missile defense shield in Eastern Europe. (...) In fact, the two parties in Merkel's coalition appear more divided over the missile shield than other EU member states, which have been far less vocal or critical of the U.S. missile shield.  Kurt Beck, leader of the Social Democrats, said this week that the missile defense shield would lead to a new arms race and that it should be discussed within NATO, or even abandoned. (...)
So far, in public at least, U.S. officials have not questioned the tone of any of the criticism from the German left, as was the case after Gerhard Schröder, the former Social Democratic chancellor, narrowly won re-election in 2002 after criticizing the Bush administration's actions toward Iraq.
Prof. Drezner recommends Dempsey's article and draws a sharper conclusion: "The German Social Democrats party like it's 2002"
One of the key points I was trying to make in my Foreign Affairs article was that the Bush foreign policy of 2007 looks somewhat different from the Bush foreign policy of 2002 -- it's more multilateral in both form and substance. This has been a common theme among foreign policy wonks across the ideological divide. However, the word has yet to reach the German Social Democrats. (...) One gets the sense that domestic political calculations are behind the SPD's thinking... much as it was back in 2002.
Personal comments: Not every Social Democrat is against the Missile Defense project. Ulrich Klose, deputy chairman of the Bundestag's committee on foreign relations, told Die Welt (in German, via Kosmoblog) that Europe would be without protection, if Iran develops nukes and there are not any missile defense bases in Poland and the Czech Republic.


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Don S on :

Interesting paradox here. When Poland or the Czech republic act unilaterally in foreign affairs (making a deal with the US to host missle defense stations) it is a huge problem. When france acts unilaterally African 'interventions', vetoing Iraq War resolutions, previously undermining international sanctions on Saddam Hussein's Iraq, etc times beyond counting) it is not a huge problem - or a problem at all! George Orwell might well observe that all countries in the EU (as in the Warsaw Pact before it)are by definition equal - but some countries are More Equal than others! ;)

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