Sunday, February 16, 2003

The Observer reports that Donald Rumsfeld's DOD is planning to retaliate for German non-cooperation with the Iraq invasion plan by withdrawing American troops from Germany. A Rumsfeld-esque "source" within the administration, anonymous as usual, asks "Why should we continue to support a country which has treated NATO and the protection we provided for decades with such incredible contempt?" So now it's the Germans who are treating NATO with contempt. Good to know.

Administration "sources" are also quoted making this point:

After this, Germany is finished as a serious power. This is simply not the way to conduct diplomacy at a moment of international crisis.

To which we may offer this counterpoint:

Once all the Germans were warlike and mean,
But that couldn't happen again.
We taught them a lesson in 1918
And they've hardly bothered us since then.

as well as the reported reaction of the American State Department, which is reported to believe that vindictive swipes at a long-time ally over differences on issues of substance aren't exactly top-tier diplomacy either.

At this point, I'm not sure anyone serious believes that Iraq poses an immediate danger to the United States (if only because the administration shills, including Dubya himself, who continue to assert some connection between Saddam and al-Qaeda, with no evidence or bogus evidence, don't strike me as serious). A serious case for war, it seems to me, has to be based on the notion of Iraq as a long-term strategic threat. And a serious case for war the way that this administration is pursuing it has to see Iraq as more of a long-term strategic threat than the dissolution of the NATO alliance.

It's difficult to imagine, in case of some future large-scale conflict between the United States and China, that the Europeans would take the Chinese side. But it's getting a whole lot easier.


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