October 31, 2002

October 31, 2002 | News Releases on Middle East

Analyst Warns Of Permanent Rift In U.S.-German Relations Over Iraq War

WASHINGTON, OCT. 31, 2002-Unless Germany reconsiders its opposition to a U.S.-led military effort to topple Saddam Hussein-a stance reiterated by Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer in an Oct. 30 meeting with Secretary of State Colin Powell-it risks permanently crippling U.S.-German relations, a Heritage Foundation foreign policy expert said today.

In a clear sign that Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's vitriolic anti-American re-election campaign last month seriously compromised relations between the two nations, Fischer was refused a White House meeting. And considering how the Fischer-Powell meeting went, it was a wise decision, said Nile Gardiner, a visiting fellow in Anglo-American security policy.

"German officials are still offering empty platitudes instead of any real concessions, which shows that they just don't get it," said Gardiner. "If Berlin refuses to stand by its allies in confronting the threat posed by the Iraqi regime, it will be seen as irrelevant in the global fight against terrorism, and-frankly-will open itself to charges of moral cowardice."

Worse, the Heritage analyst said, by continuing to oppose a possible war with Iraq, Germany is letting itself be used by Saddam's regime, which has publicly thanked Berlin for its stance. Saddam's son Uday even lauded the German chancellor's positions as "more honorable than that of the Arab countries."

In Gardiner's view, Germany's embrace of what he calls "appeasement" stems from a desire to distance itself from its Nazi past. "National pacificism, however, does nothing to excise national socialism," he said. "Germany should realize that its proper place in this fight is beside its allies, not Baghdad."

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