Since the end of World War II a foundation of German foreign policy was to remain wedded to its European allies and avoid taking actin that would isolate it from the main stream of the continent. German leaders have worked to maintain close relations with France and the United States, often resulting in awkward decisions of support such as the Bush invasion of Iraq. However, last week the German government placed itself apart from NATO on the decision to bomb Libya. Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has allowed German economic ties with Gaddafi to stand in the way of taking action that would prevent a massacre of innocent people. Westerwelle is also standing apart from policies that might result in the overthrow of Gaddafi by rebel forces. The decision to abstain from action has led to charges from its allies of failure to stand with the majority.
Some critics charge Chancellor Merkel is playing to domestic voices rather than fulfilling the nation’s responsibilities with NATO allies. Perhaps, Merkel fears local elections would go against her party if she allied with NATO on bombing Gaddafi forces in Libya. The bottom line is that few will trust Germany, and in the future Germans might wish to have strong allies.