Ivo Daadler warns that the US-German rift is real:
The disagreement between Schroeder and Bush involves more than irritation over electoral rhetoric. The differences over Iraq are real. We may deplore rhetoric that at times went over the top (as when Schroeder accused Bush’s Iraq policy of being an “adventure”). We may join others in Europe in their disappointment that the German government arrived at its position without any consultation. And we can worry about the emphasis on a “German way.” But we must not dismiss Germany’s stance simply as politically inspired.
Nothing I can much disagree with there. About the only major policy goal Germany and the United States have had in common these last 50 years, was the strong desire not to see the Soviet 2nd Guards Tank Army encamped on the west bank of the Rhine.
Well, the Warsaw Pact Western Group of Forces is no longer poised to strike out of East Germany. For that matter, East Germany is no longer, period. It is only natural — no matter which side is right on a given issue — that American and German issues should diverge. But then Daadler has to go and blame everything on Bush, anyway:
From global warming to the Middle East, biological weapons to the International Criminal Court, the Bush administration has pursued policies that ignored German (and European) concerns. And it has often done so with little or no consultation. Such unilateralism has now convinced many that, on Iraq, the United States is more interested in getting rid of Hussein than enforcing Iraq’s compliance with U.N. resolutions — a policy few in Europe support. In Germany at least, the costs of Bush’s unilateralism are evident.
“Global warming” is code for “Kyoto Protocal” — a dead treaty under Clinton, not Bush. And a non-starter for any Administration.
“Biological weapons” is code for “keeping an Iraqi madman from getting weapons of mass destruction.” Germany has a restless Arab population, and a history of appeasing (or appealing to) the worst of Mideast strongmen. So, again, disagreement is natural.
As for the ICC, even France is now looking for ways to weasel out of the treaty. Germany, after Nuremburg, may feel the need to moralize on this issue, but we don’t have to listen. Again, Bush has little to do with the rift between our nations.
Bush, for all his faults, isn’t the bogeyman. The US and Germany stayed in a bad marriage for too long, so that the kids might have a decent home. But the children have been gone now for a decade, so there’s little reason left to continue the charade.