Thursday, February 20
Bush's Macho Posturing on Germany
William Pfaff, International Herald Tribune, February 20, 2003
PARIS -- The second Bush administration is devoted to macho posturing with little consideration for the consequences. This could turn the trans-Atlantic confrontation into something for which Washington may eventually be very sorry.
The administration's effort to intimidate Germany and isolate France in the quarrel over military intervention in Iraq backfired on Friday at the UN Security Council and in the anti-war demonstrations of the weekend. Unless the inspectors find a mine shaft packed with drums of anthrax and nerve agents during the next few days, Washington is unlikely to win a mandate to go to war.
This leaves Prime Minister Tony Blair in an extremely difficult situation. He has already dispatched British forces to the war. Without a second UN resolution endorsing intervention, ordering the troops into action would cause a Labour Party revolt. Whether he survives would depend on the war's outcome.
George W. Bush and his more hawkish advisers believed that they could bully the Security Council's members and get what they wanted. They confided to reporters some days ago that objections by the French were already "fixed" and that Paris would fall in line, while the Germans would do what they were told.
France is accustomed to this treatment, but Germany is not. Germany is a very complex and in some ways mysterious nation (to Anglo-Americans, at least), ..[...]