In 2003, the U.S. Congress, upset with the French opposition to the war in Iraq, decided to punish France by renaming "French fries" as "freedom fries." Isn’t it time for our lawmakers to punish Germany, by finding a more appropriate name for "frankfurters"? Perhaps, "democracy hot dogs"?
At the ongoing NATO summit in Bucharest, Germany leads a coalition of about 10 "Old" European countries — with France, Italy, Spain and Norway among them — opposing extending NATO Membership Action Plans (MAP) to Georgia and Ukraine.
Germany’s Chancellor, Angela Merkel, first indicated her strong opposition to further eastward NATO expansion during her recent trip to Moscow where she met with President Vladimir Putin and President-elect Dmitry Medvedev. Given Merkel’s background — she’s from East Germany, speaks Russian and has visited Russia — and her cordial personal relationship with Putin, it seems only a question of time that someone in Washington will accuse her in being weak vis-a-vis "revanchist" Russia at best or being Putin’s puppet at worst.
There is hardly a single military analyst in the U.S. who could explain which challenges to the U.S.’ national security Georgia’s and Ukraine’s NATO membership is expected to solve. Instead, further NATO enlargement has become a pet project of Washington neocons passionate for advancing "freedom and democracy" right to the Russian borders. Adopting their agenda, President Bush has made NATO membership for the two former Soviet republics an important part of his "legacy."
Presidential candidates from both parties have spoken at length on the need to restore broken trans-Atlantic relationships. As part of this restoration process, they promised to abandon the "unilateralism" of the Bush administration and take into account concerns of their European partners.
It will be interesting to see the reaction of Sens. Clinton, McCain and Obama to Merkel’s bold initiative. Will they listen and try to understand her arguments? Or they’ll rather go to the Senate cafeteria and order a plate of democracy hot dogs with freedom fries?