Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A Small Miracle

Just a quick addition to yesterday's posting below. After last Friday's air strike in Afghanistan, the German parliament squeezed a special session into an already tight schedule today to let the chancellor, the foreign minister, and the defense minister explain the incident. Merkel used her speech to go into the offensive by announcing a joint German-French-British initiative for an international conference to establish new goals and standards for success in Afghanistan, and to establish a concrete plan for the transfer of responsibility to the Afghan government.

She was careful not to be specific about the time frame, but her goal was very clear: to create at least a vague perspective for leaving Afghanistan at some point in the future. She, too, has realised, that she needs this "perspective thing" to release some public pressure and to be less vulnerable to political attack after the elections.

In sum: last Friday's incident has forced the government to take the initiative and to finally talk about the Afghanistan mission in truthful and realistic terms. Merkel and Steinmeier today laid the foundation for keeping the Afghanistan consensus alive after the elections. It's a small miracle that this is possible in the midst of an election campaign. But it's good for Germany, good for Afghanistan, good for the allies.

No comments:

Post a Comment