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The Answer of Western World for ‘Iraq Problem’ Is…

Posted September. 25, 2002 22:32,   


“What’s the position of Europe about the Iraq problem?”

That was the quiz by the New York Times on the 22nd. There were 2 answers. Those were, “No one knows,” and “More than one.”

Europe is divided on the Iraq issue. The UK is on the American side and pushing to attack Iraq regardless of the weapons inspection, and France is conditionally object to attacking Iraq saying it needs to be discussed again whether to attack or not after the weapons inspection. On the other hand, Germany is steadfast that it will not send troops although the UN decides to attack.

To Germany, even the French President Jacque Sirak frowns. The Wall Street Journal reported on the 17th, “the President Sirak was angry that Germany announced to object to attack Iraq in any circumstances without discussing it with him; therefore, he did not answer to the request of the German Prime Minister Gerhardt Schroder to support the French owned German mobile phone company, which is in economical slump.”

Traditionally, it was France’s job to challenge against the American hegemony. The editor of a bi-monthly diplomatic magazine the Foreign Policy, James Giveney expressed, “The policy of the Prime Minister Schroder got on the nerves of America and France.”

The New York Times analyzed about the different positions of three major European countries, “The UK and France deeply recognize that they used to be super powers of the world, and try to get their position in the table of the international politics,” so “they try not to stimulate America.”

On the other hand, Germany, which started from a special situation as the war criminal country of the World War II, has been trying to be a ‘normal country,’ and pursuit the ‘German Way’ now in diplomatic policies. The Wall Street Journal analyzed, “Germany went through the West Germany period, which was a royal ally of America, and started to raise their voice in the international society after the reunification in 1990.”

The irony is that the Germany, which created huge disaster of mankind by attacking Poland in time of the World War II, is taking most peaceful line, and America, which used to be most peaceful country, is taking most belligerent position.

In the viewpoint of the George W. Bush Administration, of course, Germany is a ‘obstructionist’ of the international peace and a ‘isolationist,’ who looks away from the international responsibility.

The Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld totally ignored the German Defense Minster at the Defense Ministers’ Meeting of the NATO on the 24th. The Whitehouse Spokesperson Ary Flysher also said, “According to the President Bush’s judgment, the words said during the German general election were excessive and created anti-Americanism,” and “no one can have an illusion that everything goes back to normal since the election is over.”

Among American conservatives, there are some assertions that since Germany lost its strategic importance as a advance base against former Soviet Union, the 70,000 American troops should be withdrawn from Germany. The Wall Street Journal reported, “The Bush Administration will remove Germany out of its major partners list soon.”

The Prime Minister Schroder broke the custom to select France as the first country to visit as an election winning German Prime Minster, and visited London on the 24th and met with the Prime Minister Tony Blair. It was to improve the relationship with America using the Prime Minister Blair in the middle.

However, before recuperation of relationship with America, the separate line of Germany raised a question whether Europe could make one voice over security problems. The New York Times reported that since the separation continues like this, “Europe is a super place but not super power.”

Eun-Taek Hong euntack@donga.com