Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The New "Old Europe"

These days there's a lot of talk about "New Europe" and "Old Europe" in the right-wing press. "New Europe" is anyplace that cooperates whole-heartedly with Washington (mostly formerly Communist countries already adept at taking orders from a hegemon). "Old Europe" is anyplace that demonstrates any hint of a heart, conscience, mind, or backbone, and thus does not necessarily cooperate.

Like Germany. These days, Germany is very "Old Europe".

In an opinion piece by Jeffery Simpson in this morning's Globe and Mail, it is reported that Germany is being leaned upon to expand the nature of its role in Afghanistan. Currently, its troops are there in non-combat roles, mainly to train Afghan police...

Yesterday, the U.S. ambassador to Germany said: "I would very respectfully ask Germans... to reflect on whether the very narrow and very rigid restrictions put on the German troops make sense for NATO."

Judging from recent long conversations with Germans visiting Canada, the answer will be no. Germany will contribute and serve — as long as no active military operations are required.

Good for Germany and the German people. If it makes sense for NATO? Excuse me, folks, but we established NATO to keep the Soviets from overthrowing democratic regimes in Western Europe. Even if you read the North Atlantic Treaty at its most expansive, it remains at heart the constitution of a defensive organization (if you do, take special interest in the wording of Article 1...). What does invading a country, like Afghanistan, have to do with defense? Either NATO stands for something, or it stands for nothing... and if it no longer stands for a principle of defense, then it's just a fantastic dog and pony show for a program of world domination on behalf of Western plutocrats. The Germans seem to remember that, even if so many of the rest of us have forgotten.

Stick to your guns, Germany... to coin a phrase.

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