Q: What’s coveted by many in London, yet seemingly out of reach and usually denied at the hands of the Germans? A: A united EU foreign policy (half a point if you were thinking the World Cup).
It wasn’t so long ago that France was bound by the ankle to Germany under the unwanted banner of “old Europe”. Fast-forward a decade or so and Sarkozy is the new poster-boy for liberal-intervention with Cameron closely in-tow; but where’s Merkel? It has been suggested that the premier of Europe’s economic powerhouse was left flat-footed due to domestic pressures. Others speculate that she is constrained by the millstone of a post-WWII strategic culture defined more by pacifism than assertiveness weighing heavily round her neck. Meanwhile the spin-doctors have been hard at work peddling the preoccupation with Fukushima as the defining rationale. To cut a long story short, there’s a lack of consensus. Regardless, the fact on ground (or be it sky) is that there is no black, red and gold to be seen above Libya.
Can we handle Gaddafi without the Germans? The answer is, we might hope, a resounding yes. But can the EU handle German absence in its search for a united foreign policy? Is that even a question that needs asking?
Merkel may blame whipsawing for forcing her hand, yet, on this occasion, the backlash from her decision is now the whipsaw poised above Europe as it splits over the debate on liberal interventionism. At least Britain can find solace in being on the right side while Germany is forced to get to grips with isolationism.
by Dane Vallejo
This blog was originally posted by The Henry Jackson Society, accessed http://henryjacksonsociety.org/thescoop.asp?pageid=106&poid=1149