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July 16, 2004
Because They've Been So Helpful Before

Germany has apparently been lobbying to have their country receive a permanent set on the UN Security Council since earlier this year, but have struggled to get enough support. First China gave them only a tepid response, and now the US has privately told them to pound sand:

The United States opposes Germany becoming a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, a German newspaper Friday quoted a U.S. diplomat as saying. "Now is not the time that Germany should apply for a permanent seat," the unnamed diplomat was quoted as telling the Financial Times Deutschland.

Germany's stints as a non-permanent member of the Security Council had been "very problematic," indeed there were "more problems than ever," the diplomat said.

Germany's push to remove immunity from prosecution in the International Criminal Court for U.S. peacekeepers was cited as an example. The Pentagon said earlier this month it was pulling small numbers of troops out of two U.N. peacekeeping operations because they now can be prosecuted in the court at The Hague in the Netherlands.

That example is only one of the problems with adding Germany as a permanent member, with its attendant veto power. The much larger problem occurred in the run-up to the Iraq war, when Germany dug its heels in and refused to vote to enforce the UNSC's own resolutions. It didn't go the full weasel and try to strongarm other member nations like France did, but Gerhardt Schroeder categorically stated that it would not support any efforts to remove Saddam Hussein even if the UNSC approved a new resolution calling for armed force in Iraq. In effect, Germany pledged that had it had the veto at that point in time, it would have used it against the US and the UK.

The Anglo-American alliance had been tasked with the military containment of Saddam while France, Germany, and Russia all cheated on the economic containment that was meant to force Saddam to cede power peacefully, or at least have the Iraqis handle things on their own. Instead, the trio of nations lined their pockets and (perhaps) inadvertently propped Saddam up far longer than he otherwise would have survived. After we sank billions into a twelve-year quagmire that wound up harming an entire generation of Iraqis but only strengthened Saddam, Germany -- who hadn't even participated in the military containment -- had the gall to tell us what they felt was necessary in terms of military options.

And they still expect our support? What exactly goes into German beer, anyway?

Speaking of their military, the Germans offer little in terms of security to the Security Council. The US, UK, Russia, and China all maintain significant military structures, and at least can project power outside their own borders if needed. (In the latter two, the question is whether that's desirable.) Germany, on the other hand, has relied on the US to meet their security needs for decades, allowing them to underfund their own forces. Germany, like France, now has little to offer when troops are needed to address global security issues. Why should they then have a permanent seat and veto power at the UNSC? It's bad enough that France has its seat, given its equally miserable military capability.

Instead of discussing who else should have a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, thought should be given as to whose seat can be removed.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at July 16, 2004 5:40 AM

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