Accusing Germany of a postmodern crime: Pacifism

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A piece in yesterday’s New York Times (“Brazilian Rallying Neighbors Ahead of Meeting With Bush”) reported the following on the first visit abroad by elected Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, better known as Lula.

“Mr. da Silva, of the leftist Workers Party, said he also favored the creation of a common regional currency and parliament. ‘We are seeking true integration, following the example of the European Union,’ he declared at a joint appearance here with the president of Argentina, Eduardo Duhalde. Mr. da Silva is scheduled to meet with President Bush in Washington next week. But by stopping first in Argentina and Chile he is signaling that his government’s top priority will be to bolster the troubled regional trade group known as Mercosur. He urged other member nations to help him “deepen a common foreign policy,” which he said would be “essential for negotiations” with the United States and Europe. Mercosur, with joint production of over $1 trillion and a combined population of 250 million, is the world’s third-largest trade group, but it has been hurt by recent economic crises in the region”

To read more of this article in the New York Times, click here.

I find it interesting (as with the piece I sent out yesterday on NATO as a peace movement) that the urge of the leader of a resurgent Brazilian left is to create a European Union-like model in Latin America right under the American gaze. It’s another sign that the mainstream of imperial “resistance” globally is not fundamentalism or terror but a shift toward a fundamentally democratic global polity amid greater justice and equality — and perhaps most important a lessening of reliance on force and war as the answer to intractable problems.

Jonathan Steele’s canny piece from yesterday’s Guardian on the quiet ways Germany’s leaders are trying to carve out space for a different kind of globalism is testimony certainly to the imposing weight of American power in Europe, but also to the urge at all levels to resist it in some humane fashion. Tom

Germany’s cast iron chancellor
Schröder is determined to keep out of any US war with Iraq
By Jonathan Steele, December 3, 2002, The Guardian

Pity Germany. Usually caricatured as a country with militarist instincts, for the last few months it has been in the dock on a different charge. The Bush administration accuses it of pacifism.

Ever since its chancellor, Gerhard Schröder, announced during his re-election campaign in August that he would not take part in any “adventure” in Iraq, Washington’s propaganda machine has been in high gear. Spinners put out the word that its irresponsibility may have lost Germany any chance of getting a permanent seat on the UN security council. Schröder’s government was cold-shouldered by senior US officials.

The Americans initially hoped Schröder’s outburst was merely a ploy to get votes which a cynical chancellor would renounce under the pressure of American wrath once he was safely back in the saddle. But there has been no retreat.

To read more of this article in The Guardian, click here.