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Weasel Spoor
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Registered: Jun 2002
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Exclamation US to punish Germany for opposing action of Iraq

Hey. guess which UK newspaper I read on a Sunday?

Quite frankly this is very scary to me. I don't know how everyone else feels about this (actually I am pretty sure most of you don't give a toss), but this was probably the most shocking thing that jumped out of the paper this week.

Powell is obviously losing/ lost the UN argument with the administrationand the likes of Cheney and Rumsfeld are starting to gain ground once again for their unilateralist policies.

Is Rumsfeld really convinced he can take on all of Europe as well as the Middle East? After all, it wouldn't take much to push the German economy into full blown recession.

Which would hurt everyone in the world (yes, even the United States).




-----

http://www.observer.co.uk/internati...,896573,00.html

America is to punish Germany for leading international opposition to a war against Iraq. The US will withdraw all its troops and bases from there and end military and industrial co-operation between the two countries - moves that could cost the Germans billions of euros.
The plan - discussed by Pentagon officials and military chiefs last week on the orders of Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld - is designed 'to harm' the German economy to make an example of the country for what US hawks see as Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's 'treachery'.

The hawks believe that making an example of Germany will force other countries heavily dependent on US trade to think twice about standing up to America in future.

This follows weeks of increasingly angry exchanges between Rumsfeld and Germany, in which at one point he taunted Germany and France for being an irrelevant part of 'old Europe'.

Now Rumsfeld has decided to go further by unilaterally imposing the Pentagon's sanctions on a country already in the throes of economic problems.

'We are doing this for one reason only: to harm the German economy,' one source told The Observer last week.

'Our troops contribute many millions of dollars. Why should we continue to support a country which has treated Nato and the protection we provided for decades with such incredible contempt?'

Another Pentagon source said: 'The aim is to hit German trade and commerce. It is not just about taking out the troops and equipment; it is also about cancelling commercial contracts and defence-related arrangements.'

The Pentagon plan - and the language expressed by officials close to Rumsfeld - has horrified State Department officials, who believe that bullying other countries to follow the US line will further exacerbate anti-Americanism and alienate those European countries that might support a United Nations resolution authorising a war.

German industry earns billions of euros every year from supporting the US Army Europe which, although reduced from its Cold War heights, still totals 42,000 troops and 785 tanks - almost three times as many as the British Army owns. Many of these soldiers and their fighting equipment, including Apache helicopters, have already been sent to the Gulf.

German industry is heavily involved in supporting the US presence. Among the defence companies which stand to lose out are missile-maker Diehl, aerospace and defence giant EADS Deutschland, armaments maker Rheinmetall and vehicle maker Krauss-Maffei Wegmann.

There is also a US Air Force contingent of about 15,000 service people with bases at Bitburg, Frankfurt-am-Main and neighbouring Ramstein, where the commander doubles as part of the Nato command. This force includes nearly 60 F-16 fighter-bombers and a squadron of A-10 tank-buster aircraft.

Rumsfeld and his staff have made no attempt to hide their fury at Schröder's 'treachery and ineptitude' over Iraq. Last week Schröder leaked to reporters a Franco-German plan for avoiding war by increasing the number of UN weapons inspectors before informing his American counterparts.

'After this, Germany is finished as a serious power,' one of the sources added. 'This is simply not the way to conduct diplomacy at a moment of international crisis.' One diplomatic source said Rumsfeld was 'furious at Germany. He is a bruiser and it looks as though he means to do it'.

Under these plans, the US would move its troops in Europe eastwards to countries such as Poland, the Czech Republic and the Baltic states, all of which have strongly supported America's line against Saddam Hussein. It is likely that the overall size of the deployment would be reduced, as the US military changes its priorities for a long-term and disparate engagement with international terrorism.

Although Rumsfeld had already been considering a redeployment of US troops around the world after a war in Iraq to save money and respond to new threats, the plans now under consideration go far beyond what had been discussed.

It is likely that future years will see a sharp increase in the proportion of special forces troops able to deploy rapidly across the globe.

Germany would suffer considerable financial loss if US forces were withdrawn from the country. The bases provide jobs for local people as everything from administrators to cleaners, and are huge customers for dairy products and bread.

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Old Post 02-17-2003 11:15 AM
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skalie
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Germany is going to be placed in the same position it was in the 30's? That's fucking clever.

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Old Post 02-17-2003 11:51 AM
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Lightbulb
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'...and are huge customers for dairy products and bread.'

There you go, then. Their minds are damaged by the effects of lactose intolerance syndrome and proliferation of yeast in the gut which, together, obfuscate mental clarity and anchor the consciousness in a foggy, sluggish perceptual present with cravings for sugar and immediacy of stimulation. It ain't about oil, it's a nutritional disorder.

Weasel, what do you reckon this public posturing is intended to do? If it were to swing Germany in line with US policy, surely it would have gone on in private, with threats of economic pressure intended to produce subsequently a public face of unity. Is the US attempting to split a possibly more economically powerful Europe now, before it has a chance to unify?

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Old Post 02-17-2003 12:05 PM
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Weasel Spoor
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quote:
Originally posted by Lightbulb

Weasel, what do you reckon this public posturing is intended to do? If it were to swing Germany in line with US policy, surely it would have gone on in private, with threats of economic pressure intended to produce subsequently a public face of unity. Is the US attempting to split a possibly more economically powerful Europe now, before it has a chance to unify?



Christ, even my paranoid lefty thoughts haven't taken me that far. I think the biggest thing this demonstrates is that the 'Hawks' in the US are increasingly making this so much more than a single issue with their 'Us or Them' attitude. It's not just about the war now, it is about trade, the EU and US spiralling war with each other. Not only are we looking at a war that will cost our faltering economies billions, we are starting to look at a new era of proectionism and all the pain that will bring.

Look at Tony Blair's position - increasingly support for a US war on Iraq (w/o a second UN resolution) has ramifications for the UKs poistion in Europe - we're already out of the single currency, now we are pulling away from the powerhouses of Europe politically (and I can't believe someone like Blair can draw comfort from support from corrupt bastards like Berlusconi and Aznar). Never before has the balance between the US and Europe looked like an impossible balancing act for the UK (something that we have convinced ourselves maintains our influence in the world).

It's a deeply worrying development (particularly if a US defence secretary can fuck with US economic policy in such a fashion).

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Old Post 02-17-2003 12:32 PM
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Smug Git
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Trade War between the US and the EU is bad, and will be very bad if it is motivated by the issue of who supports the US over their Iraq stance. Much wrangling will result, no doubt. And as you say, the UK will get fucked (although in practice I guess that we will be drawn tighter into Europe and away from the US, if it comes to it)(which is also something that I don't want).

Incidentally, weasel my lad, you and rooster should come to the limey pissup on saturday afternoon/evening, in the Moon Underwater on Charing Cross Road this Saturday.

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Old Post 02-17-2003 01:19 PM
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funkyrooster
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Sorry. Rugby. England due to spank Wales on Friday evening (kickoff 5:30pm). Might pop in afterwards if me and Weasel are en-route to a party in N London.

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Old Post 02-17-2003 01:26 PM
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Smug Git
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Friday? You mean saturday, I trust?

Stop-outs.

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Old Post 02-17-2003 01:29 PM
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funkyrooster
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Yeah, sorry. Saturday

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MstrG
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quote:
Originally posted by Weasel Spoor
... I think the biggest thing this demonstrates is that the 'Hawks' in the US are increasingly making this so much more than a single issue with their 'Us or Them' attitude. It's not just about the war now, it is about trade, the EU and US spiralling war with each other.

And I'm reminded of the playground tactic of running to the teacher to say "But he hit me FIRST!". Do you really think that France and Germany were motivated to oppose the US because it was "just about the war"?

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Old Post 02-17-2003 03:32 PM
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Weasel Spoor
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No. I think it was their deep seated mistrust of the US. And the fact that the US has reneged on free trade agreements, the Kyoto protocols yadda yadda yeek.

But the war, when 90% of their populations are vehemently opposed to it, has just about put the tin hat on it. What has the US done for France and Germany recently (no, not fucking WWII) to make them actually WANT to support the US in questionable foreign policy forays?

That and Rumsfeld's diplomacy of course.

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Old Post 02-17-2003 03:47 PM
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wonderaz
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Yeah, it would seem that France and Germany are simply trying to protect their investments by their actions.
Why shouldn't the US move their bases to supporting countries?
Look at it on a personal level. Would you do business with a company that acts in a fashion that hurts your company for their own gain or would you shift your business to a company that is supportive of yours?
I think that France and Germany should expect consequences to their actions. If they make the decision to block the US position so that they protect their multibillion investment in Saddam then let them lose multi billions in US trade.
Now.... That removes the money issue. We can now let France and Germany act on the reasons that they claim are their motivations.

hehe I can yell the name "Berlusconi!" and get some great fireworks out of Big Al. He isn't one of her favorite people.

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Old Post 02-17-2003 03:52 PM
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Smug Git
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Berlusconi is pro-US action on Iraq, though, isn't he?

The problem would be not with the bases, but on starting an economic tit for tat war. I don't think that it makes sense to only do business with nations that agree with you on everything, for example (and how big is Germany's economic stake in Iraq, anyway?). Freer trade allows us all to benefit from trade between a larger variety of nations, rather than having to agree with each other on everything.

Having said that, it was obvious that the US was going to use its economic muscle to bring other nations into line. It is odd that Rumsfeld appears to be involved in it and it is very strange that it is done in public (thus making it much harder for the nations in question to come into line, because they would lose face), but not unexpected that it would happen. It's a better way of encouraging compliance than military threats, although the way that Rumsfeld tells it, it looks more like a 'throwing the toys from the pram' episode than the sensible political move that it is.

Rumsfeld is popular in the US, but as a diplomat he is a fucking tool and makes the problems that he was trying to resolve worse (again, the face saving thing, given that the US wants these countries to come into line with its point of view).

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Old Post 02-17-2003 04:03 PM
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wonderaz
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quote:
Originally posted by Weasel Spoor
But the war, when 90% of their populations are vehemently opposed to it, has just about put the tin hat on it. What has the US done for France and Germany recently (no, not fucking WWII) to make them actually WANT to support the US in questionable foreign policy forays?

That and Rumsfeld's diplomacy of course.



90%? Where do you get that figure?

What has the US done recently??? How about let's pull our troops completely out of both countries, stop all trade, boycott their goods, quit sending them money and then let's see what we have been doing for them. Who needs who?
I think the US would get along just fine without any interaction with France and Germany. Can they say that?
Yes, there is a price on what the US gives.

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Old Post 02-17-2003 04:17 PM
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zim
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one source told The Observer last week.
Another Pentagon source said
One of the sources added.
One diplomatic source said

Damn with sources like those, it's unquestionabe truth!

If I wrote a paper like that for a humanities class, I'd be expelled from this institution for a combination of improper citations and stupidity.

But it's in a newspaper, so I suppose they dont have to back up their stories with confirmable sources anymore.

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Old Post 02-17-2003 04:20 PM
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Smug Git
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In the UK, the most recent polls show that 91% of the UK population are against war against Iraq without UN sanction and a seperate resolution. The UK population are more pro-war than those of France and Germany (it is over 50% against an attack even with UN support, here; I would have guessed that it would be pretty much higher in Germany and France).

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Old Post 02-17-2003 04:20 PM
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oxsan
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The drive by the American public to remove all or most of our forces from Germany has been strong ever since the Communists folded. Why should we have troops stationed in Germany at our expense to protect a Europe that won't devote enough of their GDP to defense to make it effective? Russia being no longer a threat to Western Europe we should bring those troops home. The big medical base at Frankfurt and some air support facillities are another story but we have a major airbase in Italy. I am all for bringing most of those troops home or sending them to Bagdhad or wherever they are needed. That is not "tit for tat
diplomacy", it is merely the most efficient distribution of our forces for the ends we wish to accomplish. Support of the German economy so that they can plow an even larger portion of their
wealth into an overgrown welfare state is just not a consideration.

But if it was "tit for tat diplomacy" nwhat would be wrong wiuth that?

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Old Post 02-17-2003 04:22 PM
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Smug Git
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quote:
Originally posted by ZiM

But it's in a newspaper, so I suppose they dont have to back up their stories with confirmable sources anymore.



Many sources only give information on condition of anonymity, understandably. It comes down to how much you trust the newspaper. The Observer, although leftist, is generally realiable and truthful (as are the other broadsheets, even the Times (although the Times are shitbags in other ways)).

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Old Post 02-17-2003 04:24 PM
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funkyrooster
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quote:
Originally posted by ZiM
one source told The Observer last week.
Another Pentagon source said
One of the sources added.
One diplomatic source said

Damn with sources like those, it's unquestionabe truth!

If I wrote a paper like that for a humanities class, I'd be expelled from this institution for a combination of improper citations and stupidity.




Whereas if you were a journalist who detailed the names of his sources, you would be out of a job even quicker, as not one person of importance would ever reveal information to you.

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Old Post 02-17-2003 04:27 PM
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wonderaz
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Smug Git
Berlusconi is pro-US action on Iraq, though, isn't he?
Very much so. You have to remember that Big Al is Italian and lived in Milan so she got to experience his handling of Italy which she has much to say about. That involves much waving and flailing of the arms and many comments that start in english and end in rapid fire Italian. Very amusing to watch.


Rumsfeld is popular in the US, but as a diplomat he is a fucking tool and makes the problems that he was trying to resolve worse (again, the face saving thing, given that the US wants these countries to come into line with its point of view).
One must keep in mind that Rummy is NOT a diplomat. He is the Secretary of Offense, our Pit Bull.
We pay other people to be diplomats and smooth the feathers he ruffles.

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Smug Git
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quote:
Originally posted by oxsan

But if it was "tit for tat diplomacy" nwhat would be wrong wiuth that?



There isn't anything wrong with it if it stays limited, it is expected. It is hardly a matter of the US feeding germany money, the loss of trade will hurt the US too; in particular, a trade war with the whole of the EU won't be good for either side (US or EU).

I don't think that the Germans will be too pissed off about the US millitary leaving, they have a fucking huge army of their own with nothing to do. The trade war thing, the idea that only countries that suck America's dick get to trade with the US, is a recipe for economic isolationism, which might have been satisfactory to the US in the past, but won't be now I don't think.

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Old Post 02-17-2003 04:29 PM
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oxsan
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Don't expect the US to be terribly upset about what public opinion polls in Europe show.

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Old Post 02-17-2003 04:30 PM
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Smug Git
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quote:
Originally posted by wonderaz
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Smug Git

One must keep in mind that Rummy is NOT a diplomat. He is the Secretary of Offense, our Pit Bull.
We pay other people to be diplomats and smooth the feathers he ruffles.



I understand that; why then was he taking the role (although not the manner) of a diplomat? His comments firm up resolve not to help the US. He should stick to his own job and leave others to do theirs, particuarly when his contributions make the problem worse.

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Smug Git
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quote:
Originally posted by oxsan
Don't expect the US to be terribly upset about what public opinion polls in Europe show.


That isn't what I have been talking about. If the US want allies, wants trade, etc, then their government at least have to care about public opinion elsewhere.

The stance of France and Germany is directly linked to public opinion, and if Blair falls and his successor backs out on the US, then that will be down to public opinion too. So if the US doesn't care about European public opinion, then it doesn't care about allies, and if it doesn't care about allies why the fuck have they been trying to build an alliance? Presumably because they do care about having allies?

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oxsan
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Just to satisfy my inner self I will cease drinking French wines and seek out the California wines and I will do without Brie and Camembert and substitute New York cheddar (yuk) and Italian Gorgonzola and I am going to grow my own bell peppers (capsicums to you guys) because they are increasingly coming from Belgium and Holland. I want to plant some bulb flowers but don't want to buy any bulbs from Hoilland so I will catch a time whe my next door neighbor is not coming out for the weekend and steal a few bulbs from her half acre bulb garden.

As a tribute to Tony Blair I will use Stilton instead of the New York cheddar.

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Old Post 02-17-2003 04:39 PM
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wonderaz
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You are talking as if the EU is nothing but France and Germany. I doubt if the other members of EU are going to side up with those two in an economic battle with the US

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