Joschka Fischer

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Latest by Joschka Fischer


China as a superpower

YALTA: Given its rapid and successful development, there can be no doubt that the People’s Republic of China will become one of the dominant global powers of the twenty-first century. Indeed, despite the massive problems that the country is confronting, it could even emerge as the global power. But it would be a mistake to …

Joschka Fischer

The risks of withdrawal

BERLIN: Entering a war is easy; getting out of it is the hard part. That axiom is particularly true for the United States today, as it muddles through three wars — two of which were forced upon it (Afghanistan and the “war on terror”), with the third (Iraq) started unnecessarily by a US administration blinded …

Joschka Fischer

Who ‘lost’ Turkey?

BERLIN: Turkey’s “no” last month (a vote cast together with Brazil) to the new sanctions against Iran approved in the United Nations Security Council dramatically reveals the full extent of the country’s estrangement from the West. Are we, as many commentators have argued, witnessing the consequences of the so-called “neo-Ottoman” foreign policy of Turkey’s Justice …

Joschka Fischer

Our Post-Modern Crisis

BERLIN: On the weekend of May 7-9, the European Union gazed into the abyss of historical failure. The fate of the euro was at stake and with it European unification as a whole. Not since before the signing of the Treaty of Rome in 1957 had Europe been in such grave political danger. On the …

Joschka Fischer

Obama and the Middle East

BERLIN: With the successful enactment of his health reform, Barack Obama has achieved his biggest domestic success so far — which, surprisingly, had greater consequences abroad than at home. The US President, whose hands had been tied in recent months by domestic concerns, and whose political power had been progressively eroded, has suddenly returned to …

Joschka Fischer

Angela Bismarck Thatcher

BERLIN: The European Union’s recent summit has brought about a typically European compromise on the Greek financial crisis, one that avoids the term “solution and hides behind the idea of a “mechanism. Whether it works will be seen this month, when Greece will have to refinance its debt once more. German Chancellor Angela Merkel prevailed …

Joschka Fischer

Ms. Europe or Frau Germania?

BERLIN: Just what is the matter with Angela Merkel? Only a short while ago, she was celebrated as “Ms. Europe ; now, she increasingly gives the impression of being Frau Germania. Instead of providing resolute leadership in the global financial and economic crisis, the European Union’s largest economy is withdrawing into its shell. Germany has …

Joschka Fischer

Greek lessons for Europe

“It’s when the tide goes out that you find out who has been swimming naked, the legendary investor Warren Buffet aptly remarked when the global economic crisis hit. And, as we have found out in the meantime, this is as true for countries as it is for companies. Following Ireland, Greece is now the second …

Joschka Fischer

Europe's Ukrainian Linchpin

BERLIN: Revolutions, it is said, almost always devour their children. Obviously, this is also true for the “color revolutions – first in Georgia, and now in Ukraine, where President Viktor Yushchenko, the hero of the “Orange Revolution in 2004, was voted out in the first round of presidential elections a few weeks ago, having received …

Joschka Fischer

Twenty years after the Wall

BERLIN: Those who witnessed that night 20 years ago in Berlin, or elsewhere in Germany, will never forget what happened – the night the Wall came down. History in the making is all too often tragic. Only rarely is it capable of irony. November 9, 1989, was one of those rare moments when irony reigned, …

Joschka Fischer

The Fight for Middle Germany

BERLIN: Germany has made its choice. It voted the grand coalition out of office with a bang, consigning the Social Democrats to the political abyss. Only ruins remain of the once-proud Gerhard Schröder’s SPD. Despite a clear win for the center-right, the Christian Democrats (CDU) did not escape unscathed. But while their losses were moderate, …

Joschka Fischer

Quo Vadis, Iran?

BERLIN: Iran is in the process of wasting the biggest historical opportunity the country has had since the revolution of 1979, and perhaps even in the last hundred years. This opportunity is called Barack Obama. It is Obama’s policy of reaching out to Iran that offers the country this unique opportunity – if, and it’s …

Joschka Fischer

The Middle East in Motion

BERLIN: Great speeches are all too often underestimated as being mere words. In fact, they can have powerful consequences. This is obviously the case with President Barack Obama’s recent address to the Muslim world in Cairo, because – mere coincidence or excellent timing? – things in the Middle East have been in flux ever since. …

Joschka Fischer

Black swan world

BERLIN: In today’s global financial crisis, the image of a black swan has become a symbol for the seemingly impossible that somehow occurs, turning the world upside down. This year will afford us ample opportunity to examine the black swans that are already among us, and to prepare for the arrival of even more. November, …

Joschka Fischer

Transatlantic drift

BERLIN: On the banks of the Rhine and in Prague, NATO and the European Union will pay homage to the new American president in early April. There will be pretty pictures and lofty speeches on the future of the transatlantic relationship – in other words, business as usual. But prior to the Strasbourg and Prague …

Joschka Fischer

Europe in reverse

BERLIN: The legendary American investor Warren Buffet once said, “It’s when the tide goes out that you find out who has been swimming naked. That particular piece of wisdom referred to the situation of companies in an economic crisis. But it can also be applied to countries and economies. In Europe, the situation is cause …

Joschka Fischer

The end of the two-state solution?

BERLIN: Since its establishment in 1948, Israel has fought seven wars against its neighbors, including the recent war in Gaza. If you add the Palestinians’ first and second Intifada in the occupied territories, the total rises to nine. From a military perspective, Israel eventually won all of these wars – or at least didn’t lose …

Joschka Fischer

An Answer to the Russian Challenge

BERLIN: For 19 years, the West (America and Europe) has been putting off answering a critical strategic question: what role should post-Soviet Russia actually play globally and in the European order? Should it be treated as a difficult partner or a strategic adversary? Even when this choice became critically acute during the crisis of Russia’s …

Joschka Fischer

Europe and the New World Order

BERLIN: Nov. 15, 2008, is a date to remember, because on that day history was made. For the first time, the G-20, the world’s 20 leading economies, came together in Washington, D.C., to find an answer to the global financial and economic crisis. While this first meeting resulted in nothing more than declarations of intent, …

Joschka Fischer

Europe in wonderland

BERLIN: Europe and its national governments are basking in their new capacity to act – and not without reason. Who would have dared, even a few weeks ago, to predict that in the end it would be the divided Europeans, not the United States, who determined how to contain the global financial crisis? Serious crises …

Joschka Fischer

Wanted: An Arab Jean Monnet

The Middle East is beyond doubt one of the most dangerous crisis regions worldwide. The next war, terrorist attack, or failed peace initiative may lurk just around the corner. Compared to the politics of this region, a rollercoaster ride is downright calming. And yet the Middle East is also a region that, throughout its innumerable …

Joschka Fischer

Realism about Russia

BERLIN: Russia’s strategy to revise the post-Soviet order in what it calls its “near abroad will be pursued with even more perseverance following its victory over Georgia. Europe should have no illusions about this and should begin to prepare itself. But, as the European Union ponders what to do, cold realism, not hysterical overreaction, is …

Joschka Fischer

Serious negotiations or hot confrontation with Iran?

For two weeks, it looked like the regime in Iran had finally gotten the message that, if it continues to pursue its nuclear program, serious military confrontation is likely to result. Indeed, there were interesting – and previously unheard of – statements and signals from Teheran that suggested an increased willingness to start negotiating about …

Joschka Fischer

Europe's calamity

It has happened. After France and the Netherlands rejected the European Constitutional Treaty, Ireland’s “No vote is the second and probably decisive blow against a united and strong Europe. June 12, 2008, will have to be remembered as the day that made European history. No matter what desperate rescue efforts will be undertaken, they cannot …

Joschka Fischer

High noon in the Middle East

A hitherto latent rivalry between Iran and Israel thus has been transformed into an open struggle for dominance in the Middle East. The result has been the emergence of some surprising, if not bizarre, alliances: Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas, and the American-backed, Shia-dominated Iraq are facing Israel, Saudi Arabia, and most of the other Sunni …

Joschka Fischer

The emerging "New Middle East"

President George W. Bush’s Middle East policy undeniably managed to achieve one thing: it has thoroughly destabilized the region. Otherwise, the results are not at all what the United States had hoped to accomplish. A democratic, pro-Western Middle East is not in the cards. But, while things are not developing as American neo-conservatives had intended, …

Joschka Fischer

The New Nuclear Risk

Humans love to suppress abstract dangers. They react only after they get their fingers burned. In handling nuclear risks, however, we can hardly get away with such childlike behavior. To begin with, the old system of nuclear deterrence, which has survived particularly in the United States and Russia since the Cold War’s end, still involves …

Joschka Fischer

Modernization à la Carte?

Two centuries ago the American and French Revolutions brought forth the natural law concept of inalienable human rights. However, it took nearly two centuries of wars, political and social disasters, and decolonization before this idea became globally accepted, at least in theory. In the beginning, the idea of human rights was limited to domestic politics. …

Joschka Fischer

America and Europe

Deeply frustrated by the Bush administration’s policies, many people and governments in Europe hope for a fundamental change in American foreign policy after the upcoming presidential election. But it would take a medium-sized political miracle for these hopes not to be disappointed, and such a miracle will not happen – whoever is elected. The Bush …

Joschka Fischer

Afghanistan and the Future of Nato

Things aren’t going well in Afghanistan. Sometime at the turn of 2001/2002, the Bush administration concluded that the stabilization and reconstruction of Afghanistan was no longer its top priority and decided to bet instead on military-led regime change in Iraq. Afghanistan can thus rightly be seen as the first victim of the administration’s misguided strategy. …

Joschka Fischer