As Germany’s presence in the Middle East continues to grow, have they emerged as the “new America” over the region?
Give Germany credit. As America unwisely abdicates its leadership role in the Middle East, Berlin is quietly and steadily positioning itself to play a decisive role in the future of this important region. Right now, German foreign policy in the Middle East isn’t controversial, dramatic or eye-catching. Especially not compared to recent events in Egypt, Gaza, Syria and Iran.
The New America
Germany’s presence there, politically, commercially and militarily, is already more significant than most people realize.
Germany contributes to the war in Afghanistan largely because doing so gives Berlin a military toehold on Iran’s northern flank. German naval forces patrol the waters off the Horn of Africa and on Lebanon’s coastline as part of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon.
Germany is selling tanks, missiles and other military hardware to multiple Gulf states, and it has recently stepped up its involvement in Syria’s civil war. Berlin recently announced it would send surface-to-air missiles to Turkey (to defend itself against Syria) and will dispatch up to 400 Bundeswehr personnel to operate these missiles, serve as command staff and assume other support roles.
Germany also defied its European peers and did not support the United Nations’ bid to upgrade the Palestinians’ status. After the Gaza war, it quickly approved the sale of rocket-propelled grenades and anti-armor weapons to Israel. In nearly every instance, Germany is assuming a responsibility that America has shirked or is in the process of shirking.
When it comes to leading the Middle East—in particular, supporting and arming Israel and opposing Iran and its radical Islamist allies—Germany is the new America.
On November 18, Germany’s chancellor restated Berlin’s position and pledged moral and political support to Israel. “Every country has the right to defense, self-defense and the protection of its citizens,” Angela Merkel stated. The chancellor said sovereign governments don’t merely have a right to protect their citizens, it is their moral and political duty.
On November 19, two days before U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in the region, Germany Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle traveled to Israel and met with both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Palestinian president. After meeting with Netanyahu, Westerwelle said brokering a ceasefire was a top priority for Berlin. Netanyahu was encouraged and invited Berlin to play a key role in peace talks. “I believe that Germany can have a constructive role in seeking an end to this conflict and a long-term arrangement, such that these terror weapons are not introduced into the Gaza Strip,” he stated.
Compare Berlin’s response to Washington’s. After initially pledging support for Israel, within a day or two the White House began sending signals that Israel needed to pull back its Gaza campaign.
Full article: Germany Is the New America (The Trumpet)