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Former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder on the Way Forward in Afghanistan

Germany's former Chancellor Schroeder does not express many new ideas in his Spiegel essay (in English), but I found these two statements in the second part fairly interesting:

We need a blunt analysis within the NATO alliance on why efforts to pacify southern Afghanistan have failed. I am convinced that the Bundeswehr's concept, which tends to be militarily conservative and is considerate of the population and civilian facilities, will be more successful in the long run. The disparity between these different strategies in the north and south is a problem, and it also represents a failure on the part of the NATO secretary general.

Gerhard Schroeder is also very critical of President Karzai and wants to motivate the Afghan leadership (whoever that is) by setting a timeframe for troop withdrawals. He mentions that the "Petersberg process," started in November 2001 under the guidance of then Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, led to an Afghanistan agreement in 2006, which I did not know about and therefore want to share it: "On the basis of this agreement, the Afghans gave themselves until 2013 to independently guarantee security, good governance, the rule of law and economic and social development. This temporal horizon is certainly very optimistic."

Friends don't let friends drink and drive

Interesting quote at the end of the above mentioned A Fistful of Euros post:

Friends don't let friends drink and drive; neither do they help friends get into open-ended two-front wars. Europeans are entirely right to behave as if Iraq and Afghanistan had erased US credibility, and to expect it to be earned back rather than freely given.

Has Gerhard Schroeder ever phrased his opposition to the Iraq war into this "Friends don't let friends drink and drive" theme? I guess, he sort of did when in 2002 he called the planned Iraq war an "adventure" and said that being a friend does not always mean saying "yes."

In Berlin, Outrage Over Nord Stream Deal Seems to Have Died

David Francis, an American reporter traveling through Europe to report on EU energy security issues, notes that Germans are not concerned about dependence on Russian energy. He wrote the following guest blog post and asks Atlantic Review's readers why Schroeder got away with the Nord Stream deal:

I've been in Berlin for the last week, interviewing German officials about the Nord Stream natural gas pipeline, more commonly know here as the Baltic Sea pipeline. For those who aren't familiar, the pipeline is controversial for a number of reasons. First, it makes Germany heavily dependent on Russia's state-controlled energy monopoly Gazprom, a firm that in the past has been accused of playing "pipeline politics." But the main controversy surrounding the deal, in Germany at least, centered on former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, who pushed hard for the deal before leaving office, only to be named chief of Nord Stream's shareholder's committee after leaving office. This position pays quite a large paycheck.

Continue reading "In Berlin, Outrage Over Nord Stream Deal Seems to Have Died"

Afghanistan: Merkel Has "No Time" for Burden Sharing Proposals

Chancellor Merkel attacked suggestions that Germany had taken the easy option in Afghanistan: "We're not just digging wells and building houses; we also have a military mission."  Hugh Williamson reports in the Financial Times:

In her most outspoken comments on Afghanistan since Germany came under pressure this month to send more troops, the German chancellor said she had "absolutely no time" for proposals to redeploy Nato troops within Afghanistan.

According to Williamson she made those comments in a meeting with foreign correspondents in Berlin. It's bad diplomacy to tell the foreign press that she has no time to consider proposals for better burden sharing in Afghanistan. Usually, Merkel is more careful. Continue reading "Afghanistan: Merkel Has "No Time" for Burden Sharing Proposals"