geert lovink on Sun, 3 Nov 2002 09:50:10 +0100 (CET)

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[rohrpost] Let Them Come to Berlin (The NY Times - T. Friedman)

> --------------------------------------------------------------------------
> The New York Times - Op Ed Page
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Sunday, November 3, 2002
> Let Them Come to Berlin
> BERLIN < I haven't been to Berlin since since the opening of the Berlin
> Wall, so when I arrived at my hotel near the Brandenburg Gate, my first
> question was: Where's the wall? My German friend explained that the only
> trace left is a cobblestone path that snakes across Berlin, drawing a line
> in the pavement where the wall once ran. It's easy to cross that line
> without even knowing it.
> And therein lies the core of the crisis between America and Germany today
> triggered by Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's use of anti-Bush and
> anti-Iraq-war rhetoric to win re-election, then fueled by a German
> comparing President Bush to Hitler and now capped by Mr. Bush's refusal to
> answer two letters from the German leader.
> Would somebody please bring back the Berlin Wall? Since World War II,
> America and Germany have had many disputes, but always within limits,
> because both sides a saw dangerous foe on the other side of that wall <
> Communist totalitarians < and realized we needed to fight together. There
> still a dangerous foe out there < now it is religious totalitarians < and
> still need to fight together. But without the wall clearly defining our
> and the enemy's, all sorts of lines are being crossed.
> What is most shocking about the German election is not how the Chancellor
> ran against America, it's how popular that theme was here. Two things are
> feeding this. One is the new anti-Americanism, a blend of jealousy and
> resentment of America's overwhelming economic and military power < the
> of Envy," as Josef Joffe, editor of Die Zeit, calls it. The other is the
> anti-Bushism < resentment of the often contemptuous, unilateralist,
> anti-green instincts of the Bush team < which was crystallized by Dick
> Cheney's August speech suggesting that any U.N. inspections of Iraq were
> useless and America may have to act alone. "The Cheney speech had a
> impact on the German election," said Friedburt Pflueger, a top official of
> the pro-U.S. C.D.U. party, which got creamed.
> Bottom line: Many Europeans today fear, or detest, America more than they
> fear Saddam. That's crazy, but it explains why Mr. Schröder easily moved
> from raising legitimate questions about how to handle Iraq to taking
> out of any war against Saddam under any conditions. This put Germany to
> left of Saudi Arabia, which at least says it will support an Iraq war if
> is approved by the U.N. It was the kind of rhetoric that leaves Americans
> thinking Europeans won't use force under any conditions, and therefore are
> danger to themselves and to us.
> It is time for both sides to knock it off. We need each other. As
> thoughtful foreign minister, Joschka Fischer, said to me, "We are facing a
> new totalitarianism < the totalitarianism of Al Qaeda and bin Laden,"
> has emerged from the crisis in Islam. And the goal of these religious
> totalitarians "is to destroy the open society everywhere and the economy
> that it's based on."
> The war against the religious totalitarians can't be fought with just
> or walls. It must be fought with police, intelligence sharing, development
> aid, peace diplomacy, and military operations. To win this war the open
> societies must each play to their strength < America's hard power and
> Europe's soft power.
> When Germany says it's willing to provide the peacekeeping force in Kabul,
> that is a huge help for us. When Germany funds the expansion of the
> Union to lift from poverty ten new democracies of Eastern Europe, that is
> huge help to us. But at the same time, some things are true even if a
> cowboy believes them. I'm still not sure what the right way is to handle
> Iraq, but I am sure that ruling out war there, under any conditions,
> a murderous U.N. outlaw like Saddam is wrong.
> With a nod to J.F.K., my motto today is simple: "Ich bin ein New Yorker."
> are all New Yorkers now. Wherever you live, if you believe in the open
> society, if you cherish a world of freedom, you are now in World War III <
> war against the new totalitarians, who strike at our businesses, discos,
> airports and theaters in an attempt to get us to shut ourselves in and our
> societies down. Either we fight this war together, or we lose it together.
> To those who forgot what it takes to defend the open society, let them
> to Berlin < let them walk the winding path where the Wall once stood and
> recall the collective effort that brought it down.

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