Saturday, July 9, 2011

Germany, Confused

Germany opposes at the UN the Libyan mission and refuses to participate in the NATO effort.  This is actually consequential since the AWACS planes that control the airwar include one that is jointly staffed by many NATO members, unlike other purely national assets.  And the Germans had been one of, if not the, biggest contributors to the NATO AWACS program. 

But Germany sells tanks to Saudi Arabia as the Saudis are helping to repress the folks protesting in Bahrain.  This is bad timing, bad optics and perhaps even bad policy. It undermines German claims about valuing human life, democracy and all of that when the profit motive matters more than principles. 

I have been seeing a lot of of pieces out there about the rise of Germany and so forth, but as long as it continues to stumble, Germany is not going be leading anybody anywhere anytime soon.  Too bad because the country has a lot to offer.  But then again, it is now ruing the whole Eurozone thing anyway, so it is not clear that past leadership was all that terrific either. 

Just don't over-estimate the wisdom or the power of German foreign policy for the next few years.

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