I hate to say it, but I see the logic of “punishing” Germany for its stance. There are two types of allies one can have. There’s the Saudi, Iraqi, Bin Ladin type – the allies you make out of convenience, even though you have very little in common – including long term goals for each other. And then there’s the other type, the allies you have because you generally agree on goals and means and you’re friends. That’s the kind of allies we’ve been with Germany, France, the UK, Canada, Israel, etc.
When you disagree with your close friends, you’re not supposed to air out the laundry in front of everyone. For all the talk of using the diplomatic solution in Iraq that Germany (and others) have been pushing for, they’ve used none of their own to talk to the United States. If they really had concerns, whether it was of sheer humanitarian nature or of financial interest, they should have had quiet, low-key talks about it with our administration.
Instead, they started off with a loud, public defiance of the United States – the kind of behavior you expect out of an ex-girlfriend in high school, not from an old and sincere friend. German and French leaders have been encouraging not only anti-war, but anti-American sentiments not much different from the recent calls by the Korean leader or by Saddam or by Bin Ladin.
So what is our obligation to these countries? They have done more than simply disagree with out position – they are very “personal” about it. We don’t care when such things come out of Saudi Arabia and such, but when it’s from the “We thought we were friends” nations of Western Europe, it’s unacceptable.
I am not saying that other nations should shut up when daddy is talking (apparently this is the French position) or that they should submit themselves to the United States’ position. Simply that the recent behavior has not been indicative of a respectful relationship, and that the United States should be under no obligation to do its part. It takes two to tango.