The Political Page

May 2003

 

 

Again the focus is the war in Iraq

 

1. Thoughts on developments after the war

 

We consider it an answer to prayers from around the world, that many of the nightmares and fears of those against this war did not come true:

Thoughts about future developments

 

1.1 Iraq

 a) High-tech warfare has proven its superiority.  No country in the world can stand against it. 

Syria, Iran and North Korea have become very cautious.

b) The outcome of the ground war was predictable

c) Not so, however, the so-called "asymmetric war", that is, the war of patriotic and fundamentalist

terror groups against the occupation force.

d) The "battle for hearts" seems to be lost: instead of jubilation for the "liberators2, there was unexpected resistance against the occupation forces.  It remains to be seen how the people will

react in the long run.  It will probably be difficult to prescribe democracy,

    - since the whole culture in Islamic and that means patriarchal, male oriented (womens´ rights?)

    - and that means led by tribal chiefs and not elected people's representatives (democracy?)

    - besides, after 35 years of violent rule, Iraq has no civil law organisations, that is, no functioning

     free citizenship which is always the carrier of democracy in a country.

 

It is hoped that the Americans will be sensitive enough in dealing with this Arabic country and not order from above.  At the moment that is necessary as the military power to stop anarchy (plundering and lynching).  The quick victory brings with it - in spite of many advantages - the danger that the super power might feel encouraged to clean up the other "villainous countries" of the "evil axis" in the region (Syria and Iran) - while in the neighborhood. The threats have been expressed.

In any case, the USA wants to be present in the region for a (longer?) while.

 

1.2  The USA

 Since 11th September 2001, the USA has undergone a deep change;  the attack was understood to be a declaration of war; the USA is no longer re-acting defensively to this threat, rather it is acting from offensive to preventive, even to pre-emptive.  For this reason, Americans feel this war is justified and the soldiers see their actions as protecting their country.  However, America has never experienced the fury of a war in their own country.  The American people have never lived through bomb alarms and bombings in their cities.  This has only been seen on tv and even that is filtered to show "clean warfare".

 

That is why it is not necessarily understandable for Americans to avoid war "up to the last".  War as political means is possible, especially if victory is more or less a given.  The "Freedom of Democracy" supply the necessary ideological underpinnings which are essential to soothe the conscience.  Every war in the world needs an ideological justification - this one included.  President Bush has added to this thoroughly American mission of freedom, his own personal faith, in which he sees and accepts Americas mission as his personal commission from God.  This is new but not basically reprehensible, as long as one does not think that faith and profession must be separate elsewhere.  In this light, from Americas point of view, Schröder, Chirac and Putin appear to be "irresolute and know-it-all people" who should not be listened to.  And that "yesterdays shirkers are today eager for the business possibilities of reconstruction" is tasteless (USA poll).

 However, a combination of European war knowledge and American risk-taking could produce an especially effective global Cupertino, something the USA must still experience; but if possible, in another area than war.   Sensitivity and differentiation of perception is the gift that Europe could bring to western dialogue - if America listens....

 

1.3. The UN

The UN is facing an abyss, that is insignificance.  Once before, the USA condemned the "League of Nations" to impotence by not joining.  Is history repeating itself?

To avoid this, the opposition to the war is demanding a peace order through the UN.  However, according to the law of war, after the war the victor is in charge.  It will be the same in this case.

The most George W. Bush agreed to for his "best ally and best friend", Tony Blair on 8th April in Hillborough concerning the UNO was that the UN would play a "central (vital) role" in Iraq after the war - nothing more and undefined.  Bush is willing to cooperate "with international institutions" - but according to USA rules.

It is important to know that between 1933 and 1938, the League of Nations was silent about many wars and injustices and thus relinquished its authority.  That is why neither Poland nor Czechoslovakia called the League for help when Hitler overran them.  The club-law of dictators ignored the world organisation:  the 2nd World War was the result.

The continuation and authority of the UN are important for the future of our world.  Then, the question of preventive measures against North Korea, Syria or Iran will soon be on the agenda.  How will and can the UN react?  Most important is whether the USA will decide for or against the UN.

They quarrelled about the war.  Now they should join again for the reconstruction!

The picture of America will be formed in the future by the action it takes in the next weeks, its willingness to cooperate with Tony Blair, the UNO, Europe and the Arabic nations.  It will become clear: were they concerned with liberation or was it finally about their geopolitical power position?  This image will also largely determine the growth or slow decrease in terrorism of Islamic origin.  Mubaraks fear was: every minute of the war, a new Osama bin Laden was born.

Mostly, though, the picture of America in the Arab world will depend on its dealings with Israel and how far it is able to push through for peace, as in the neighboring Iraq.  Israel faces hard times.

 

1.4 Europe

Europe will have to deal with the shock of the formation of two axis for a long time.  Europe will never be the same again.  The optimism, soon to reach European unity, has at least temporarily, evaporated. In January 2004, 10 new states want to be admitted.  This already critical situation, given the present circumstances of the 15 members, could lead to overburdening which could overstrain the EU as an organisation.

The current events should have profound consequences for the new European constitution. What is not yet sure: either the states keep their own foreign and security policies- then Europe becomes an alliance of states, or because of recent events, they decide the opposite - the need for mutual foreign and security policies- then the vision of a federation of states will be more energetically followed.

 

Germany seems to have become a master in producing rash commitments.  First, the Chancellor says no to a war in Iraq even with a UN mandate; now Peter Struck, Defence Minister, states that Germany will not participate in a reconstruction program led by the USA, only under the direction of the UNO.  Every, including struck, knows that after a war, the victor is responsible, at least at first, for re-establishing the country to order - for how long, no one knows.  German politicians should do everything in their power now after the war to reach across the gulf to the USA and not deepen it through new disappointments, since each disappointment makes the disappointed party dig its heels in deeper.

Schröder´s one-sidedness can be compared easily to Bush´s.

 

 

 

 

2. Prayer

 

2.1 Gratitude

    -Thanks that our prayers for a quick end to the war were so concretely answered and that there was  

     no great blood-bath in Baghdad. 

    -Thanks that the violent leader was dethroned (Lk.1:52) and his regime was broken.

    -Thanks that so far no Islamic wild-fire has broken out.  

    -Thanks that the world economy did not fall apart.

 

2.2 Worship

Whoever prayerfully looks at history, will recognise biblical principles, that is God´s workings today. Praise to the Lord of the world, who in the middle of the fire and storms of war, still reigns.  The more we proclaim this in faith, now after the war, the more His kingdom will and can be revealed, "on Earth as it is in Heaven".

 

2.3 Repentance

Judgement is not the opposite of Mercy, rather its other, dark side called Trial.  At this point it is important that we bow before God and ask for forgiveness.  We agree loudly concerning guilt and distress with a loud and long "Kyrie eleison" over Germany, Iraq, the USA and Israel: "Lord, have mercy on us!"

 

2.4 Intercession

 

Ortwin Schweitzer

(translation Evelyn Souan)