[OPE-L:8473] Inter-Imperialist Rivarly Intensifies

From: gerald_a_levy (gerald_a_levy@msn.com)
Date: Sun Feb 16 2003 - 10:17:36 EST

The following story from "The Guardian" suggests that the economic
rivalry between the US and Germany will heat up but only discusses
the possible clout that the US has against Germany. Wouldn't German
retaliation also adversely affect the US economy?  And wouldn't
increased economic rivalry by the more advanced capitalist nations
lead to further economic and social crisis globally?

Solidarity, Jerry

To see this story with its related links on the The Observer site, go to

US to punish German 'treachery'
Peter Beaumont, David Roseand Paul Beaver
Saturday February 15 2003
The Guardian

America is to punish Germany for leading international opposition to a war
against Iraq. The US will withdraw all its troops and bases from there and
end military and industrial co-operation   between the two countries - moves
that could cost the Germans billions of euros.

The plan - discussed by Pentagon officials and military chiefs last week
on the orders of Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld - is designed 'to harm'
the German economy to make an example of the country for what US hawks see
as Chancellor Gerhard Schroder's 'treachery'.

The hawks believe that making an example of Germany will force other
countries heavily dependent on US trade to think twice about standing up to
America in future.

This follows weeks of increasingly angry exchanges between Rumsfeld and
Germany, in which at one point he taunted Germany and France for being an
irrelevant part of 'old Europe'.

Now Rumsfeld has decided to go further by unilaterally imposing the
Pentagon's sanctions on a country already in the throes of economic

'We are doing this for one reason only: to harm the German economy,' one
source told  The Observer last week.

'Our troops contribute many millions of dollars. Why should we continue to
support a country which has treated Nato and the protection we provided for
decades with such incredible contempt?'

Another Pentagon source said: 'The aim is to hit German trade and
commerce. It is not just about taking out the troops and equipment; it is
also about cancelling commercial contracts and defence-related

The Pentagon plan - and the language expressed by officials close to
Rumsfeld - has horrified State Department officials, who believe that
bullying other countries to follow the US line will further exacerbate
anti-Americanism and alienate those European countries that might support a
United Nations resolution authorising a war.

German industry earns billions of euros every year from supporting the US
Army Europe which, although reduced from its Cold War heights, still totals
42,000 troops and 785 tanks - almost three times as many as the British Army
owns. Many of these soldiers and their fighting equipment, including Apache
helicopters, have already been sent to   the Gulf.

German industry is heavily involved in supporting the US presence. Among
the defence companies which stand to lose out are missile-maker Diehl,
aerospace and defence giant EADS Deutschland, armaments maker Rheinmetall
and vehicle maker Krauss-Maffei Wegmann.

There is also a US Air Force contingent of about 15,000 service people
with bases at Bitburg, Frankfurt-am-Main and neighbouring Ramstein, where
the commander doubles as part of the Nato command. This force includes
nearly 60 F-16 fighter-bombers and a squadron of A-10 tank-buster aircraft.

Rumsfeld and his staff have made no attempt to hide their fury at
Schroder's 'treachery and ineptitude' over Iraq. Last week
Schroder leaked to reporters a Franco-German plan for avoiding war by
increasing the number of UN   weapons inspectors before informing his
American counterparts.

'After this, Germany is finished as a serious power,' one of the sources
added. 'This is simply not the way to conduct diplomacy at a moment of
international crisis.' One diplomatic source said Rumsfeld was 'furious at
Germany. He is a bruiser and it looks as though he means to do it'.

Under these plans, the US would move its troops in Europe eastwards to
countries such as Poland, the Czech Republic and the Baltic states, all of
which have strongly supported America's line against Saddam Hussein. It is
likely that the overall size of the deployment would be reduced, as the US
military changes its priorities for a long-term and disparate engagement
with international terrorism.

Although Rumsfeld had already been considering a redeployment of US troops
around the world after a war in Iraq to save money and respond to new
threats, the plans now under consideration go far beyond what had been

It is likely that future years will see a sharp increase in the proportion
of special forces troops able to deploy rapidly across the globe.

Germany would suffer considerable financial loss if US forces were
withdrawn from the country. The bases provide jobs for local people as
everything from administrators to cleaners, and are huge customers for dairy
products and bread.

Copyright Guardian Newspapers Limited

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