No matter where I look, there are pictures of smoke coming at me from my computer screen. Whether it's from Fukushima's damaged nuclear power plant or from Libya, where Western allies continue to bomb Gadaffi targets.
In a very short period of time, I have gone from nodding my head at German leadership in reaction to these two major incidents to shaking it in confusion.
As a result of the Japanese nuclear plant being damaged, Angela Merkel and her partners shut down seven of Germany's oldest nuclear power plants last week pending safety inspections. The move came across as shady, because Merkel's party, only a couple of months ago, signed off on extending operation of those very plants. Many, including the opposition, say it was only a political move to gain votes before three big elections. (She was given a proper grilling in the parliament last week).
Either way, it shows that Germans really, really hate nuclear energy and that securing votes (regardless of party) means stepping away from nuclear power and becoming serious about renewable energy technology. This made me nod my head in approval. The serious attention to the environment and faith in renewables, is definitely one of the aspects I like best about Germany.
But then my head stopped nodding and began shaking, (not vigorously but there was a definite subtle side to side movement going on). Just barely a couple months on the United Nations Security Council and Germany doesn't support a coalition effort to stop Gadaffi from butchering his people? I understand the commitment to pacifism, no country grasps the consequences of initiating conflict like Germany does. But this is about stopping a tyrant from systematically killing his citizens as they fight for democratic change. Or so I thought. With each day, I must admit, I grow more doubtful. (22.3)
Germany's pacifism, in light of its history, can be admired. This, too, is something I like about Germany. But in this particular case, in which a dictator is murdering his opponents, I am truly baffled, precisely because of Germany's history.