Political Animal



Coming of political age during the ?80s, I loved and respected Germany. I?d read of Konrad Adenauer and his successful efforts to integrate West Germany fully into western Europe, creating a peaceful state that was nevertheless willing to defend itself against Soviet Russia. I watched on the news as Helmut Kohl stared down his own country?s pacifists to help the US in the post-d?tente era. I wept tears of joy and shock when the Wall came down, and I wept again ? tears of pure joy ? when the Two Germanies were finally reunified. At last, I thought, a good people are whole again, and wholly part of this glorious thing we call the Western World.

But now I?m beginning to think that Adenauer and Kohl were aberrations ? leaders who not only remembered firsthand the horror and fear of Hitler?s Germany, but were brought up under America?s tutelage. Lessons, I might add, taught at the cost of hundreds of thousands of American lives. Is what we?re seeing now simply Germany going back to being, well, goddamn German?

Let me translate: I really liked Germany when they did everything we wanted them to, but now that they don’t, “There is something sick and wrong and not-so-buried at the heart of the German culture.” At least we’re clear about what it takes to be considered a proper country.

And on another subject: how many people believe that Stephen really “wept tears of pure joy” when Germany was reunited?

WARTIME LOYALTIES….Chris Bertram has a

WARTIME LOYALTIES….Chris Bertram has a terrific post today about wartime loyalties. The bottom line? During the Falklands War America’s support was tepid at best, while in many ways “Mitterrand and the French were our greatest allies.”

Our petulant demands that everyone support our wars wholeheartedly would be a little more credible if we were willing to do the same for our allies. But we aren’t, are we?

NORTH KOREA UPDATE….Here’s an interesting

NORTH KOREA UPDATE….Here’s an interesting pair of articles. First, the director of the CIA testified today that, yes, North Korea has missiles that could reach the U.S. This was the reaction from the White House:

[Intelligence] officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Tenet’s and Jacoby’s statements were based on the same information that led U.S. intelligence to conclude in 2001 that North Korea was close to being able to flight-test a three-stage Taepo Dong 2.

….White House spokesman Ari Fleischer also sought to downplay the statements on the missiles, saying they were reflecting old intelligence. He said, “This old news is why it’s important to proceed with deployment of missile defense and also why the President is focused on multi-lateral diplomatic talks to deal with North Korea.”

Yes, indeed, let’s downplay this. Then there’s this story that seems to have been ignored by just about everyone except the Los Angeles Times:

The Pentagon is considering a major redeployment of U.S. troops out of South Korea and Germany, two Cold War hot spots, as it tries to realign the American military structure around the world, senior Bush administration officials said Tuesday.

….Pentagon officials took care to present the possible moves as far from certain and unrelated to current tensions in both regions. And no precise time frame has been specified.

Redeployment of U.S. troops is something that’s been on the table for years, and it seems odd that the Bush administration would pick now of all times to start talking about it publicly. Of course, everyone’s immediate thought was that this is some kind of punishment for Germany’s opposition to the Iraq war, so the proposal to reduce our troop presence in South Korea slid by with barely a mention.

Somehow this doesn’t strike me as just a coincidence. Rather, someone decided that the current NATO spat was a great cover for a decision to reduce troop presence in South Korea without looking like we were appeasing the North Koreans. If you do it real smooth, they figured, no one will even notice.

And apparently no one has. But I’ll bet there’s more to this than meets the eye.


TIA IS DEAD….OR AT LEAST SERIOUSLY ILL….Patrick Nielsen Hayden reports the welcome news that Congress is on the verge of killing the “Total Information Awareness” program ? or at least severely restricting it. And a big part of the reason is that they don’t trust the head of the project, Iran-Contra liar-in-chief John Poindexter.

Good for them. About time Congress started showing a little backbone.