US: “Germany and France ‘old Europe’ — a problem.”
I wonder if Bush’s “you’re either with us or against us” is still valid — if so, Germany and France will have, umm, a problem. At least Donald Rumsfeld thinks that way. France and Germany — the ultimate Iraq war nay sayers — challenge the US. This made Rumsfeld comment: “The centre of gravity is shifting to the east [in Europe]”. Where to? Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania or what?
In Germany this comment has aroused lots of attention: Spiegel Online shows an interesting polical map, which identifies war endorsing countries in Europe (such as UK, Poland and Italy, Berlusoni is George’s best buddy but quite isolated in the rest of Europe), opponents (mainly Germany and France, Turkey) and undecided countries (Spain).
Here are the German arguments in a nutshell; Rumsfeld’s comments may prove as a boomerang:
– Rumsfeld tries to divide Europe into “good and bad” guys; and only he knows how to measure this. This could actually force Europeans to find a common strategy, a strong voice, singing the same song.
– Never attack national pride: Especially France’s national pride “Grande Nation” is hurt. This will unite Germany and France and isolate the UK even more. Blair tries to keep the bridge to the US but his bridge to the mainland may burn down.
– More and more politicians believe the US are on a ‘neo colonialism trip’.
– There are worries voiced that the US will try to isolate Germany and France as countries, which slow down a possible Iraq war. The US hopes to put pressure on France and Germany. Foreign minister Joschka Fischer is frantically working on a strategy to slow down the process. Germany will be heading the UNO security council from early February — an interesting coincidence.
DONALD RUMSFELD: You’re thinking of Europe as Germany and France. I don’t. I think that’s old Europe.
If you look at the entire NATO Europe today, the centre of gravity is shifting to the east and there are a lot of new members and if you just take the list of all the members of NATO and all those that have been invited in recently, what is it twenty-six, something like that, you look at vast numbers of other countries in Europe, they’re not with France and Germany on this, they’re with the United States.
JOHN SHOVELAN: In an example of the Franco-German opposition, NATO has not approved a formal request by the US Government for logistical support in the event of war with Iraq.
DONALD RUMSFELD: You’re right. Germany has been a problem and France has been a problem.