"If in Doubt -- Go For Peace"! Some Germans Reject Obama "Preventive" War Drive
October 23, 2012 • 9:33AM

As one of the very few voices right now in Germany who represent some reason and responsibility in the public debate, Prof. Dr. Josef Isensee, well-known professor (ret.) of Constitutional Law at the University of Bonn, has a full-page article against the policy of humanitarian interventionism, printed Monday in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. In his well-elaborated arguments on the very strict limits set for military interventions by international law, he draws the clear conclusion: "Humanitarian intervention is a dangerous, abuse-prone instrument to enforce the good cause of human rights-founded justice. If you have to choose, in an emergency, between intervention and observing the prohibition against committing violence, i.e. between justice and peace, and if the weighing-up does not lead to a clear conclusion, the decision, in case of doubt, should be to opt for peace." Humanitarian intervention is the ultima ratio, or last resort, and it must not create greater damage than would have happened otherwise.

Moreover, he clearly opposes military intervention in Syria, for the simple reason that the danger which is supposed to be eliminated by humanitarian intervention, must be "concrete and evident." "But exactly that is not the case in civil war situations such as in Syria right now. Because it is not clear whether or to what extent the government or one of the insurgent groups is responsible for the massacres."

Isensee also blasts the effects of the interventions in Iraq, as well as the "completely failed" intervention in Somalia and the "destined-to-fail" intervention in Afghanistan, because they created a bigger mess than before. He refers to St. Thomas Aquinas, who said that the "resistance to tyranny must not increase the evil." He attacks the so-called "objectivity" with which human rights violations are denounced, as mostly geopolitically motivated by big nations, such as in the case of recent U.S. policy. "Humanitarian intervention presupposes that the one who intervenes has sufficient military means to achieve his aim. Thus only militarily superior countries or coalitions of nations can act. Interventions are an instrument for great powers which themselves are immune to interventions." Historically, he refers to the intervention of the Holy Alliance on the side of Greece against the Ottoman Empire; or the similar "Crusade idea" of Voltaire in the 18th Century, who pressured Catherine the Great to free Hellas from the Ottomans. (Among other things, Isensee is very well known for editing the ten-volume Handbuch des Staatsrechts der Bundesrepublik Deutschland [Handbook of the Constitutional Law of the Federal Republic of Germany], together with Paul Kirchhof.)

Also, in its political coverage yesterday, FAZ runs a rather extensive report about U.S. cyber-warfare policy. Under the headline "Plan X For The Next Preventive War," senior correspondent Matthias Rüb reports from Washington on this now-established policy, referring to Panetta's speech on Oct. 11 in New York. "Washington claims the right to a first strike in cyberspace — this is what Defense Secretary Panetta elaborated in a recent speech." Rüb concludes that this speech was "the clearest outline of a defense doctrine for cyberspace so far. This is based on the right to a preventive strike." Hopefully, some people at least are now waking up now to the ugly consequences of the Obama Presidency.

This is even more necessary, since official German policy continues to walk along the seemingly "inevitable" line of international interventionism, in which Germany is supposed to participate. Monday, in remarks at a German army conference in Strausberg, Chancellor Merkel announced her willingness to participate in an EU "training and support mission" for Mali. And Defense Minister Thomas de Maizière, according to prepublished remarks, said that Germany will be asked more than previously to "take responsibility — including militarily," as "a strong member of the international community." Nobody is pushing for military deployments, but "if the deployment is politically necessary, is wanted or has been decided, the Bundeswehr has to be ready — and quick — without long preparations," he said ominously.