Germany Is Concerned About Pakistan

Germany is concerned about the Taliban fighters nearing Pakistan’s Islamabad capital:

BERLIN, April 24 (Reuters) – Germany expressed concern on Friday at the advance of Taliban fighters towards Pakistan’s capital and urged the government in Islamabad to take decisive action to ensure the security situation did not deteriorate.

Taliban militants have pushed closer to the capital in recent days, vowing to impose their strict version of Islam across the nuclear-armed Muslim state.

Earlier this month, Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari signed a regulation imposing Islamic law in the northwestern Swat valley as part of a deal to end Taliban violence.

“We are following developments in Pakistan very closely and believe like our partners, that the advance of the Taliban … is worrying,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Andreas Peschke told reporters.

Peschke said the Taliban was still far from the capital and warned against overdramatising the situation, but added: “Nevertheless, the infiltration of armed fighters is at odds with the truce agreed with the militants. This is a situation that has to fill us with concern.”

It’s difficult for me to put into words my feelings about Germany’s concern. I wonder if Germany’s concern will be sufficient for the Germans actually to do something about the situation? Germany spends less than 2% of its GDP on its military, not really enough for it to project much power beyond its borders. That’s lower than France, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, or Italy.

IMO Germany’s leadership has not done enough to create political support for German involvement in Afghanistan. That has resulted in restrictive rules of engagement on the part of Germany’s contingent in Afghanistan that has produced friction among the NATO membership over Germany’s role.

Germany has routinely been skeptical of U. S. efforts at preventing nuclear proliferation. German consultants, along with other European consultants, aided A. Q. Khan in developing Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program (ibid.). German companies supplied some of the equipment used in the program.

I am deeply touched by Germany’s concern.

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Dave Schuler
About Dave Schuler
Over the years Dave Schuler has worked as a martial arts instructor, a handyman, a musician, a cook, and a translator. He's owned his own company for the last thirty years and has a post-graduate degree in his field. He comes from a family of politicians, teachers, and vaudeville entertainers. All-in-all a pretty good preparation for blogging. He has contributed to OTB since November 2006 but mostly writes at his own blog, The Glittering Eye, which he started in March 2004.

Comments

  1. Bithead says:

    Germany has routinely been skeptical of U. S. efforts at preventing nuclear proliferation. German consultants, along with other European consultants, aided A. Q. Khan in developing Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program (ibid.). German companies supplied some of the equipment used in the program.

    Interestingly, Germany was the hero of the American left a short while ago because they were so insistant on opposing Bush Defense policies as regards AQ, the Taliban and so on. The noises we’re hearing now is a Germany who is starting to recognize that barring a miricle, the cost of that opposition is that they’ve screwed themselves out of an extended life expectancy.

  2. Joe says:

    It does ring a bit hollow.

  3. DC Loser says:

    Well, we all remembered the last time the Germans decided to cure their domestic economic problems by increased defense spending 🙂

  4. Michael says:

    The noises we’re hearing now is a Germany who is starting to recognize that barring a miricle, the cost of that opposition is that they’ve screwed themselves out of an extended life expectancy.

    Sounds more like a Germany that has a vested economic interest in the stability of Pakistan.

  5. markm says:

    Well, we all remembered the last time the Germans decided to cure their domestic economic problems by increased defense spending 🙂

    Mayhaps the Germans realize they can’t cure anything on their own and are wanting to be the first in line for “help”:

    http://tinyurl.com/dlsfmg

    And I think Merkel had a recent emphatic “no” to anything that cost any Thalers.

  6. Tlaloc says:

    Well, we all remembered the last time the Germans decided to cure their domestic economic problems by increased defense spending 🙂

    Uh, well, yeah. Encouraging the Germans to militarize is like taking an alcoholic to a liquor store.

  7. Bithead says:

    Sounds more like a Germany that has a vested economic interest in the stability of Pakistan.

    Reasonable, but I consider that the opposiiton they raised was the most direct path to the instability of Pakistan, particularly given the outcome we’re all seeing now.

  8. Michael says:

    Reasonable, but I consider that the opposiiton they raised was the most direct path to the instability of Pakistan, particularly given the outcome we’re all seeing now.

    There wasn’t much path for them to go down, Pakistan has been on the edge of stability for decades. Germany’s lack of engagement in Afghanistan would have had a negligible effect on Pakistan, especially when compared with their myriad of internal problems. Heck, even the US role is minor in comparison.

  9. Bithead says:

    Germany’s lack of engagement in Afghanistan would have had a negligible effect on Pakistan, especially when compared with their myriad of internal problems. Heck, even the US role is minor in comparison.

    Here we disagree. Getting their people more involved in Afghanistan, particualrly in the efforts along the border regions, would ahve done much to stabilzie the area.

  10. Michael says:

    Here we disagree. Getting their people more involved in Afghanistan, particualrly in the efforts along the border regions, would ahve done much to stabilzie the area.

    It could have helped stabilize the Afghan side, but Pakistan would still be a mess.

  11. Bithead says:

    It could have helped stabilize the Afghan side, but Pakistan would still be a mess.

    In which there would have been a lot less militant islaists. See, I’m thinking that a lot of the mess in Pakistan just now is because of cross border support from Afghan militants along the border.

  12. anjin-san says:

    Funny how there is anger from the right at Germany, but none towards Bush, who assured us the Taliban had been destroyed, way back in 2003…

  13. anjin-san says:

    It will be interesting to see how the right wing spin on this plays out as further installments on Bush’s Iraq obsession come due.

    But hey, we got Uday and Qusay, right? All is well…

  14. ROB says:

    ” I wonder if Germany’s concern will be sufficient for the Germans actually to do something about the situation? ”

    No. They don’t have the lift capability to move the armor support for the troops they won’t deploy, in any case. German Pacifist movements will hold huge protests at railheads and water ports of departure if the Germans did actually leave their kasernes, and only after the the Bundesregierung did actually allow expansion of the current force commitment, a commitment that has never been popular in the first place; a political deployment of forces, not an actual combat deployment.

    Don’t even start on the potential Muslim unrest and protest possibilities.

    Last, outside of some holdover xenophoia from former East Germany, the pacifist movement in Germany is so huge, so pervasive, that it would take a tremendous social change. For all the fears of reviving the aggressive martial German Spirit, it would take nothing less than an actual attack on German soil, at or above that seen on 9/11, for Germans to take to the streets and the recruiting halls.

    The Bundeswehr is little more than a professional cadre that cycles through its conscript force, not a professional standing army ready to do more than defend its own orders.