Princeton has invited former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer to teach at the university starting this fall. Fischer, known to Americans as a bitter opponent of the Iraq War, will teach courses on crisis diplomacy:
The Bush administration didn’t much like what Joschka Fischer had to say during the Iraq war. So what will Washington say now that the former German foreign minister is trading his parliament seat for a professor’s cap at Princeton? This fall, Fischer will teach the next generation of American elites about international crisis diplomacy at the university.
Fischer will begin his new job as a guest professor at the Ivy League institution, SPIEGEL is exclusively reporting this weekend. He has also been given a contract to work as a scholar at the respected Council on Foreign Relations think tank. Fischer is currently a Green Party member of the German parliament, but he hasn’t said when he will give up his seat. The 58-year-old, a high school drop out, published a book last year about the post- 9/11 world order. And in May, he began writing the ” Rebel Realist,” a syndicated column published in newspapers around the world. News of Fischer’s new post emerged when students at the school found an announcement about the seminar on Princeton’s Web site. Last week, the university removed the information.
So Princeton has decided to hire high-school dropouts as college professors? I suppose that Fischer meets the one unalterable prerequisite for employment in Academia: he hates the Bush administration. Ray D at Medienkritik has a long and informative post about Fischer, who was rendered somewhat irrelevant in the last German election that put the center-right in control of the government:
“After all, since the administration of George W. Bush decided to remove Saddam Hussein from power by war, just about everything went wrong that possibly could have. What is more, the reality in Iraq and the surrounding region far surpassed all negative expectations and fears, and it continues to do so today.”
It would be ridiculous to claim that all is well in Iraq. But it is equally ridiculous for Mr. Fischer to claim that the reality in Iraq and the surrounding region has “surpassed all negative expectations and fears.” How could one interpret Libya’s recent surrender of its weapons programs or Syria’s retreat from Lebanon as confirmation of our darkest fears for the Middle East? How could one interpret the elections and the formation of an Iraqi government as such? How could one interpret the systematic training and expansion of Iraqi security forces as such? …
There has not been a wider war. There was not and has not been an exodus of millions of refugees. Hundreds-of-thousands or millions have not died. Iraq is on a slow and admittedly painful path to self-rule and democracy. Wouldn’t it be nice if Mr. Fischer had the moral courage to admit that members of his own party and government were wrong instead of perpetuating the ridiculous lie that all negative expectations have been surpassed? It seems that our ex-Foreign Minister has a highly selective memory. He continues:
“The question is whether the majority of US citizens were ever really prepared to pay the very high military, political, economic, and moral cost for such an imperial enterprise, and to pay for it over a long period of time. We know today that the answer is “No.” But such a negative answer was already to be expected in 2002 and 2003, and would have been the starting point if the actual reason for the war had been placed at the center of the domestic debate in the US. That’s why other reasons for going to war were invoked – weapons of mass destruction and international terror – reasons that have quite obviously not held up to reality.”
It is interesting to note that Mr. Fischer, who now basks in the glow of hindsight, belonged to a government that itself believed that Saddam Hussein possessed WMD and was dangerously close to building an atomic bomb as late as 2001. Additionally, while Saddam Hussein may not have been closely linked to Al-Qaeda, he did support international terror by awarding the families of Palestinian suicide bombers $25,000. He also ran a government that terrorized, murdered, raped and tortured its own people on a mass scale and invaded two neighbors.
Ray has more on Fischer for those who have forgotten him and his Saddam apologias in the run-up to the war. Be sure to read it all, especially if you go to Princeton or sending your sons or daughters there.