Monday, February 23, 2009


Perhaps the AP forgot a zero.
Writes John Rosenthal. But AP isn’t at issue here. Even when it comes to Iran, a nation they’re actually turning into a regional power, Germans seem willing appeasing anyone, anywhere, to peddle their wares. Even to the point of stammering their way around aggression and Holocaust denial.
Last month, Uwe Westphal of the German public radio Hessischer Rundfunk spoke with Helene Rang, the managing director of the Near and Middle East Association of German enterprises. (German audio is available here). The Honorary Chair of Ms. Rang’s organization is none other than former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder.

Ms. Rang was adamant that Germany should not let itself be “bound” by any new sanctions vis-à-vis Iran: “such that we as Germans would, in the end, be in a position of having to wait again, perhaps respecting sanctions, while other countries quickly and efficiently have already begun deals or have prepared deals in a way that we Germans have not yet done.”
Stammering away, our intrepid peddler resorted to the catch-all voo-doo fetish, the only thing that actually functions in most EU states: that somehow the US is bad for sales.
Ms. Rang then beat a hasty retreat from the political front, in order to resume her economic argument, again raising the specter of Germany losing Iranian market share to other countries: notably, America. Even under the Bush administration, she pointed out, American trade with Iran increased dramatically. This appears to be an allusion to a highly publicized Associated Press report from last July, which claimed that US exports to Iran increased more than tenfold between 2001 and 2007, reaching some $146 million in 2007 (or €115 million at current exchange rates). The American goods were exported under special licenses issued for companies wanting to do business with countries under US sanctions. Note that even at the cited volume of American exports for 2007, German exports to Iran would still represent a volume some 35 times greater. Moreover, as the AP article itself makes clear, the American goods consisted of consumer items like cigarettes and bras or agricultural commodities like “bull semen.” Unlike Germany’s high-tech industrial exports, this is hardly the sort of stuff that could have military significance.
This is why a large part of Europe is not prepared to take any kind of meaningful role in strategic affairs – which is to say, the real actions and roles. Not the roles and issues that only exist because their governments demand to be a part of. They then can look like they’re on the forefront of something like “climate change” or what to do with old cell-phone chargers. Issues that are custom made for wild evasions, giant bureaucracies, and interlocking themselves artificially between the whole of humanity and something they must have to conform to some new more such as recycling or transgendered rights. Anything, so long as it doesn’t really matter. For example, the rare occasion that freedom from oppression or freedom of worship are discussed, they are quickly abandoned as too controversial or demanding too much risk to do anything about. Highly marketable ‘cultural sensitivity?’ Well. Now that’s different.

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