Diplomacy: Berlin and Paris divided over Syria
31 May 2012
The proposals from François Hollande – who said that he does not rule out military intervention in Syria – and the hostile reaction in Germany, writes the Süddeutsche Zeitung, reveal how when Paris calls for an intervention in Syria, Berlin prefers to turn a blind eye, so opening up just a little more the gulf between the two –
If proof were still needed that Germany and France are split not only on the single currency, François Hollande has provided it. [...] Either the new French president is very naive, or very calculating. He is naive if he believes seriously that he can win over Putin [the Russian president is visiting Paris on June 1]. He is a calculator if he is counting on a transient effect before France’s parliamentary elections [10 and 17 June]. All the same, it would be unfair to accuse the German government of inactivity. In the United Nations Security Council Germany is among those countries that for the past year have been running up against the defensive wall built by China and Russia around the Syrian regime. Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle is pursuing a policy that seeks to drive dictator Bashar al-Assad into exile through diplomatic pressure and sanctions. The United Nations are responsible for protecting the Syrian people. This does not necessarily mean the military option. Where the French – probably too quickly – choose the military route, the Germans have become accustomed to closing their eyes at first. They are capable of talking in detail of all the consequences of a violent intervention, without ever mentioning the consequences of doing nothing.