According to Joschka Fischer:
- Obama's speech in Berlin conveyed a plain message to the Europeans, which can be summarized as follows: "with me as President we will decide and fight together, and if necessary we will die together. A division of labor in which Americans fight and Euopeans are responsible for the rebuilding will no longer work out."
- Free riding must end: "I cannot tell you how much this mentality annoys me. This form of cheap criticism of the US by Europeans, only to later jump on the footboard and let Americans give them a ride in security-political matters. (...) We keep criticizing the US but we do little if anything to develop European power, we are not willing to take on more responsibility and accept more risks in order to do that. We criticize 'from the armchair' while we know that if things get serious the big brother on the other side of the Atlantic will help us. It really sticks in my craw. So I understand American criticism and I am impressed that it doesn't make more of them despise the Europeans."
- Germany's refusal to send troops to the south of Afghanistan propels the Alliance into a coalition of the willing, which marginalizes German influence.
Do you agree with his theses?
What policy recommendations do you derive from Fischer's criticism? Are those feasible options?
Will Europe be able to continue this kind of free-riding? Will the U.S. react to it sooner or later (see the debate on Wess Mitchell's article on atlantic-community.org)?
Could the Georgia conflict be a window of opportunity to develop a European security policy not solely relying on the U.S.?
Joschka Fisher made those statements in an interview with Die Zeit "Ich bin immer noch ein Linker!" published on August 14, 2008.