Skip to comments.No French or German turn on Iraq...
Posted on 09/26/2004 3:05:11 PM PDT by AKSurprise
French and German government officials say they will not significantly increase military assistance in Iraq even if John Kerry, the Democratic presidential challenger, is elected on November 2.
Mr Kerry, who has attacked President George W. Bush for failing to broaden the US-led alliance in Iraq, has pledged to improve relations with European allies and increase international military assistance in Iraq.
"I cannot imagine that there will be any change in our decision not to send troops, whoever becomes president," Gert Weisskirchen, member of parliament and foreign policy expert for Germany's ruling Social Democratic Party, said in an interview.
"That said, Mr Kerry seems genuinely committed to multilateralism and as president he would find it easier than Mr Bush to secure the German government's backing in other matters."
Even though Nato last week overcame members' long-running reservations about a training mission to Iraq and agreed to set up an academy there for 300 soldiers, neither Paris nor Berlin will participate.
Michel Barnier, the French foreign minister, said last week that France, which has tense relations with interim prime minister Iyad Allawi, had no plans to send troops "either now or later".
That view reflects the concerns of many EU and Nato officials, who say the dangers in Iraq and the difficulty of extricating troops already there could make European governments reluctant to send personnel, regardless of the outcome of the US election.
A French government official said: "People don't expect that much would change under a Kerry administration, even if things can only get better. We do not anticipate a sudden honeymoon in the event Kerry replaces Bush.
"A lot depends on who is in power in both Washington and Baghdad. If there's change in both countries then it's possible we would re-examine our position, but I don't expect a massive change either way."
A German government spokesman declined to comment on the outcome of the US presidential election. But the feeling in Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's office is that, if anything, Berlin is growing less rather than more likely to change its mind as security conditions deteriorate in Iraq.
Mr Schröder would also be unlikely to renege on his 2002 electoral commitment not to send troops as a new general election looms in 2006.
There is no sign that the German public, which loathes the US president, would accept risking German lives to salvage what is widely seen as Mr Bush's botched war.
In fact, high-ranking German officials are privately concerned at the prospect of Mr Kerry becoming president, arguing it would not change US demands but make it more difficult to reject them.
Both France and Germany, however, have said they would contribute to the reduction of Iraq's debt and participate in economic and environmental development programmes. Berlin already trains Iraqi security forces outside Iraq and France has said it would do so.
Mr Kerry is expected to make Mr Bush's record of alienating foreign capitals and undermining US credibility in the world one of the chief arguments on Thursday night when he confronts the president in the first presidential debate.
The televised debate, which is expected to be watched by more than the 46.6m people who watched the debate in 2000, will focus on foreign policy and national security.
In a speech hammering Mr Bush for his decision to lead the US into Iraq, Mr Kerry said last week that in Afghanistan "I will lead our allies to share the burden."
He continued: "the Bush administration would have you believe that when it comes to our allies, it won't make a difference who is president. They say the Europeans won't help us, no matter what. But I have news for President Bush: just because you can't do something, doesn't mean it can't be done."
The German government continues to oppose sending troops to Iraq under any circumstance.
Berlin was one of Europe's most vocal opponents of the invasion of Iraq and, with sizeable forces in the Balkan and Afghanistan, it has also argued its troops are overstretched.
Although the government did not oppose Nato's decision to start training inside Iraq, it still thinks the deployment is counter- productive.
"Nato personnel will become targets for attacks," one official said on Sunday..
No suprise from the self-serving, weak, socialists of the EU. But Kerry will still say he will rally thier participation -- ANOTHER LIVING LIE.
The French and Germans are like Spain as well, cowering under the threat of terror. I am totally disgusted with the EU in the war on terror -- with the exception of the few EU nations that are not cowards and opportunists.
I'm a bit surprised they would say this for quotation, but I don't suppose the American press will report it.
Looks like they want old saddam back in power.
Butt out of our internal affairs, please.
Respect Abroad, my @rse
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.