German Politics, Iraq, US Politics

Now we’re talking…

Now look at that.

If ‘old’ Europe’s support were indeed as damn irrelevant to the US administration as many of its senior officials have repeatedly stated – why, then, would someone like Richard Perle, chairman of the Pentagon’s defense advisory board and one of the key figures behind the Bush administration’s Irak policy, find the time to appear on German tv for a six minute interview on the day of the President’s “State Of The Union” address?

And believe it or not – while firmly restating the well known simple WMD based argument for attacking Iraq – he often referred to European “friends“, not weasels, that do not share the US administration’s point of view in many respects. I have to say, for someone who (seriously?) stated after last year’s German election that

“[t]he best thing would be for [German chancellor Gerhard Schröder] to resign…”,

this appears to be a quite remarkable change of communication strategy.

So maybe Bush won’t add France and Germany to the “Axis of Evil” tonight ;-). And maybe, his speechwriters have realised by now that they are not simply writing for their neoconservative constituency. Maybe, they have realised that a lot of Americans do care about the world’s, and thus – also – ‘old’ Europe’s opinion, and that international opposition can damage approval ratings – at least before America goes to war. Maybe they have realised that Harvard’s Joseph Nye may have had a point (even though he was a Clinton official, and thus also some sort of honorary weasel) when he described The Paradox of American Power: Why the World’s Only Superpower Can’t Go It Alone. Maybe they have realised that, tonight, their words will be examined by the entire world.

Maybe this is wishful thinking. But maybe, the world will be spared from another “Axis of Evil” tonight – I certainly hope so.

I recently read a review of “The Right Man”, a book containing some insights into the Bush administration, written by David Frum, a former speechwriter. In this review, Jeffrey A. Tucker writes –

“Remember the famous “Axis of Evil” phrase? It was originally “Axis of Hatred,” and it was written by Frum. Why? Frum writes: “Bush decided that the United States was no longer a status-quo power in the Middle East. He wanted to see plans for overthrowing Saddam, and he wanted a speech that explained to the world why Iraq’s dictator must go. And from that presidential decision, bump, bump, bump down the hierarchy… to me.”

Again, what can this mean? Bush knew he wanted to get rid of Saddam but didn’t know why? He hires people like Frum to drum up some, any, rationale?”

Stories like these do not automatically disqualify the political goal to oust Saddam. But they are clearly not helpful to win a sceptical world’s support. So now, let’s hear what the US President is going to tell us this year. Oh, and while we’re watching, we might as well have a little fun.