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Fischer: "One day we'll be the ones asking for help, and no one will help us"

Spiegel International has interviewed former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer about "opposition against the Iraq war that threatened to put Berlin in the same camp as Syria, the threat of a Tehran-led arms race in one of the world's most unstable regions and the mixed legacy of former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder."

The quote in the headline is from Fischer's response to a question on Afghanistan:
I believe that the current German government missed an opportunity a year ago when the Canadians and other allies were under great pressure in the south and asked us for help. Despite the many risks, Germany should have stepped up to the plate. One day we'll be the ones asking for help, and no one will help us.
UPDATE: Consul-At-Arms considers Fischer's criticism odd and comments on his blog: "It would seem equally applicable to the regime of which Herr Fischer was part." Indeed.

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Pamela on :

Oh spare me. Just. Fucking. Spare. Me. Canada? Sorry, sweetcakes, last time I checked it was part of the British - shhh, bad word alert - EMPIRE. Maybe you want to talk to Gordon Brown? Oh yeah - the Scot. Scotland wants to succeed. Never mind. And what exactly is it you might need help with? Germany might need help from Canada and it's Schroeder's fault it won't be forthcoming. Got it. I used to induldge in recreational pharmaceuticals back in the day. But no one ever paid me for the 'insights' from the resulting hallucinations.

Consul-At-Arms on :

I've quoted you and linked to you here: [url]http://consul-at-arms.blogspot.com/2007/10/re-fischer-one-day-well-be-ones-asking.html[/url]

Don S on :

Fischer's criticism of the Merkel government is completely correct - as is Consul-At-Arms's criticism of the Schroeder-Fischer government. I occasionally saw hints of disagreement between Schroeder and Fischer on certain policies - perhaps this was one of them

Fuchur on :

It should be mentioned that Fischer in fact does criticize his "regime", and says that he found that Schröder's decision to oppose the Iraq war regardless of the outcome of the UN vote was a mistake. He claims that he would have resigned if Germany would have opposed the war even if the UN would had approved. (Of course: he can say many things now...) But the important fact is: Nobody asked Germany for help in Iraq. The message from the Bush administration was a clear "F**k off. We don't need anybody. We don't care.", trumpeted out loudly by excellent diplomats like Rumsfeldt. Actually, according to Rumsfeldt, the US didn't expect help from Germany in Afghanistan, either. Only after an angry behind-the-scenes protest from Schröder could he be bothered to mention that the US had asked for the German troop increase. IMO, that Germany took over command in the North was an act of good-will from Schröder towards Bush. It wasn't a big deal, and more of symbolic value, but I think it was appreciated. Now, the current situation in Afghanistan is different in that we have explicit and concrete requests for assistance (like: we need more helicopters). There's a huge difference between: "Hey, I'm going into Iraq. Anybody wanna join?" and "Help! Now!"

elisabeth bathory on :

But the important fact is: Nobody asked Germany for help in Iraq. The message from the Bush administration was a clear "F**k off. We don't need anybody. We don't care.", trumpeted out loudly by excellent diplomats like Rumsfeldt.Actually, according to Rumsfeldt, the US didn't expect help from Germany in Afghanistan, either. Only after an angry behind-the-scenes protest from Schröder could he be bothered to mention that the US had asked for the German troop increase. Rumsfeld told NATO to fuck off for Afghanistan not Iraq; no one bothered even asking about Iraq. And Germany's assumption of military control post invasion is really strategically indifferent. Afghanistan will always be a hinterland of atavistic cultural practices. It always has been and even the most delusional optimistists consider the wished-for societal evolution to take generations, not decades. Courting Germany to take a bigger role in Afghanistan is a political gambit; it does not concern primarily issues of substantive efficacy. The State Department's public prostration serves to ostenisbly give NATO a reason to exist by pretending that the organisation can be an effective fighting force abroad; and hence worthy of support by the American taxpayer. Think the Wehrmacht's invasion of the Soviet Union, how many executive decisions or meaningful independent lines of supply did the Romanians, Hungarians or Italians have? None. They were along for the ride. The Reich provided material and logistical support. You have half a combat division in Afghanistan that has to beg and barter for equipment. Who wants to be in a shooting war with a Mickey Mouse army?

Consul-At-Arms on :

@ Fuchur & elisabeth bathory: How is that over 30 countries managed to become Coalition Partners in Iraq and somehow Germany was forbidden by Sec. Rumsfeld from joining the efforts there? Clear evidence of anti-Old Europe bigotism!

Don S on :

Fuchur: Did Rumsfeld tell Schoeder to 'f**k off' first, or did Schoeder tell the US to 'essen Sie Scheiße' first? Which came forst - the chicken or the egg? ;) Neither man used those actual words of course, but the sentiment was very obvious in both men....

Don S on :

"And what exactly is it you might need help with?" Doesn't have to be help with a war, Pamela. It can be anything. Remember when Gerdy went for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council? There was one long-term ex-friend who wasn't in favor. Hmmm, who might that be? A decade ago this country would probably have voted, yes, but not this time. What goes around comes around, a lesson which the US has learnt very thoroughly in recent years. Now is the time for others to learn the same lesson....

Volker on :

"essen Sie Scheiße" really? Whatched too many "Hollywood Germans", haven't we? Try "Fick Dich" the next time ;) "Neither man used those actual words of course, but the sentiment was very obvious in both men...." Now that is true and somehow I miss it, it was funny to watch. P.S.: It was clearly the egg which came first, Dinosaurs did it a long time before the chickens.

fuchur on :

I guess it's a true [strike]chicken[/strike] dinosaur (HA! Try dodging that one, Volker ;-) ) - egg question... I've always felt ambiguous about the Iraq war. However, I've always felt that it was a big mistake of the Bush administration to go in without UN support. I'm absolutely sure that a 'greater' president - or at least one with more foreign policy experience - could have done better here. Don't just go to war with the army you have. Make sure that you have the army you need, first, and then go to war. And if everything fails - why not just wait another year? Magnanimously give Saddam his last-last-last chance, and just wait for him to dig his hole deeper. And when he breaks the rules again, as he sure as hell will - then come back with a vengeance and from the moral high-ground. (Anyway, that's how I, great strategist that I am, would have handled this)

fuchur on :

Of course nobody was forbidden to join! My point is just that he didn't sound particularly interested in what other nations thought about the matter.

Don S on :

Certain other nations seemed determined to debate the thing to death. Only after full and thorough debabate can a proper conclusion be reached, and that seems to invariably take a minimum of 5 years, until after the next US election....

CrankyYankee on :

And if everything fails - why not just wait another year? Magnanimously give Saddam his last-last-last chance, and just wait for him to dig his hole deeper. And when he breaks the rules again, as he sure as hell will - then come back with a vengeance and from the moral high-ground. Perhaps.But how many Security Council Resolutions had Saddam already violated- 18? Also consider that before 9/11, that France and Russia were pushing heavily to stop sanctions altogether. Bush decided: enough is enough. I concur.

Don S on :

Yup, CrankyYankee. That's all true - and easily forgotten. Chirac's strategy then was to play for more time for his buddy Saddam, then resume undermining the sanctions in 2005 at the latest - after the French and German-engineered defeat of Bush in the 2004 election. Neither Chirac or Schroeder ever accepted the 2000 election as a genuine outcome of a US election - US law be damned.

Volker on :

"French and German-engineered defeat of Bush in the 2004 election" What? Did we send spies to infiltrate your country and sabotage the ballots? And if so, we didn't do a very good job, did we?

Don S on :

Nope, Volker. What Chirac and Schroeder did was try to paralyze all actions that the Bush administration could take - at a time when US public opinion was demanding effective actions. I saw few if any attempts by either government to effectively address the crirs. No, there was a lot of 'you can't do that' - and not much else.

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