- The Washington Times - Monday, January 27, 2003

We have just seen a week of diplomatic chaos on Iraq, which was cynically initiated by France and Germany for their own domestic purposes and gullibly reported as meaningful by many American news outlets. Even now, this manufactured crisis is beginning to collapse of its own weight.
In the case of Germany, it is noteworthy that Chancellor Gerhard Schroder made his extraordinary assertion that Germany would not even support a United Nations-backed war against Iraq during a political rally with his SPD party faithful in Lower Saxony. Desperately campaigning in his home state, he hoped to repeat his September election miracle of last year, and this time save a losing campaign for control of the German upper house (and with it, perhaps, his career) by playing the pacifist, anti-American card one more time. German polls suggest his ploy is not going to work this time. We must hope that the German people do not endorse such a reckless foreign policy.
Only in the last few years has German foreign policy finally come out from under the dark shadow of its Nazi era. After an appropriate half-century of foreign-policy quietude, the world has hoped and expected that Germany would rejoin the civilized world as a responsible leader in foreign affairs. But Herr Schroder's use of categorical rejectionist language in opposing even a United Nations-endorsed attack on Saddam will either have to be contradicted by the chancellor, or Germany will be left as an outcast. Worse, Herr Schroder's decision to demonize America for the benefit of his domestic German politics risks reteaching German politicians a very bad old habit.
Of course, the careful French have left themselves their customary wiggle room, thus preserving the option to be seen to be supporting the war at least in time for the postwar period.


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