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Biden: Berlin 'dropped the ball' in Afghanistan

The Local · 2 Dec 2010, 16:31

Published: 02 Dec 2010 16:31 GMT+01:00

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According to the secret cable from the US embassy in Santiago, Chile, Biden said: “Germany completely dropped the ball on police training but NATO countries should continue to provide assistance that is within their capacity to deliver.”

Spanish daily El Pais and German daily Die Welt first reported on the document dated April 3, 2009, in which it was reported that Biden made the disparaging remarks about Germany’s efforts to then Prime Minister Gordon Brown while the two were in Chile.

For the last eight years, Germany has been the main country in charge of police training in the unstable country.

The remarks were made during a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Progressive Governance Leaders Summit on March 28 of that year.

Biden mentions Germany only that once in the report, but does refer to “European countries” who he worried had “underestimated the threat from the region and viewed the problem as an economic development issue rather than a security issue, despite the fact that Afghan opium is primarily exported to Europe and Europe has been the victim of several terrorist attacks originating from the region.”

Besides the UK and “a few others,” not many European countries had actively helped Washington combat the threats emanating from Afghanistan and Pakistan, he added.

The latest bit of information comes as media sources continue to comb through the thousands of diplomatic documents after Sunday’s release by internet website Wikileaks. German-US relations have already been strained after other cables revealed descriptions of Chancellor Angela Merkel as uncreative and risk averse and Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle as inept and vain.

Berlin embassy documents also reported that Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg told US ambassador to Germany, Philip Murphy, in February 2010 that Westerwelle was preventing a US request for a Bundeswehr troop increase in Afghanistan.

Guttenberg was also reportedly critical of his boss, saying that Merkel struggled to put her economic policies in place.

Story continues below…

The leaks also showed that US authorities were updated on German coalition negotiations in October 2009 by an informant within the junior coalition party, Westerwelle’s pro-business Free Democrats.

While some experts have said the cables contain nothing that hasn’t already been said by the German press, others have questioned whether the trust lost between the two countries can ever be restored.

The Local/ka

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Your comments about this article

16:48 December 2, 2010 by DinhoPilot
It's all a lie. They never wanted to go to war first...
18:10 December 2, 2010 by AusHessen
Germany should pull its troops out of Afghanistan immediately. The US government is full of poop.
18:16 December 2, 2010 by Landmine
Germany might as well pull out. Like I posted earlier in another story, German soldiers do nothing other than drink, smoke and eat in Afghanistan. Now, it is public record they did nothing.
18:24 December 2, 2010 by AusHessen
The entire Afghanistan agenda is a big lie, just like attacking Iraq. Russia resigned after ten years occupying Afghanistan with a big loss. The Americans thought combined wit allies they could get their hands on lithium and the poppy seeds. Today the American government has taken over the opium fields and distributes heroin around the globe. You see the US is the biggest drug dealer and terrorist on planet earth.
18:58 December 2, 2010 by Beachrider
If you posit that Germany should not be in Afghanistan at all, then this is a whole different discussion.

Germany never sent any military or military-training staff to Iraq. German soldier activity is-not-relevant in Iraq. No more FUD on that.

Afghanistan was more relevant for Germany because of Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda was a controlling force in Afghanistan. We are still after Al Qaeda there.

As to Americans taking over and running Opium fields, I know that the military isn't doing that.

Now to the lies:

- "the American government has taken over the opium fields". You just pulled that out of your diaper. What could you possibly offer as proof?

- "they could get their hands on lithium". Lithium was not known to be in Afghanistan until 2010, so it had nothing to do with the 2001 decision.

With the lies behind us, please understand that the USA VP's comments were unfiltered observations. At least they didn't come from HIS diaper.
20:49 December 2, 2010 by Nemo2010
Biden is so full of himself he's got crap coming out his pores! To even try to train a "police" force or an "army" in such circumstances is ludicrous! German must remain in Afghanistan as a buffer against China and to remain in a quick strike position against Iran and protect the national interests with respect to Middle East oil. Germany is in there for the long haul.
21:27 December 2, 2010 by Beachrider
It looks like an over-the-top couple of comments have been removed. Those comments were the ones that contained the lies that I referenced in my earlier comment.
23:22 December 2, 2010 by Lachner
How ironic that the U.S. is criticizing Germany for "dropping the ball" in Afghanistan. Well, how about the U.S. dropping the ball with their lack of financial regulation which led to a worldwide economic meltdown? What about "dropping the ball" with the war on Iraq with the excuse of searching for "weapons of mass destruction" where they found none and then pulled out of the country at night like fugitives? How about "dropping the ball" by being unable to prevent Al Qaeda terrorists from hijacking airplanes and crashing them onto the World Trade Center and killing thousands of innocent victims? What about "dropping the ball" by spending billions of dollars in Obama's recession rescue plan which has resulted in the U.S. being bankrupt? How about the US Army Corps of Engineers "dropping the ball" with the design and construction of the levee system in New Orleans which resulted in almost 2,000 dead people? How about the Federal Emergency Management Agency "dropping the ball" with the required and vital relief support needed for thousands of citizens of New Orleans?

Yeah, the U.S. is not in a position to be talking about "dropping the ball" right now. I love the U.S. and respect all of its citizens, but sometimes they are so damn arrogant that it's sometimes hard to be nice.
00:05 December 3, 2010 by Gerrit Zylstra
Biden has never been the brightest light bulb in the room
03:34 December 3, 2010 by Ann-Teresa
Thank you, Lachner. I couldn't have said it better myself (and I am an American who wishes to be somewhere else right now).
07:40 December 3, 2010 by Fatz Lewinski
Who cares, I mean who really cares what the US-VP says.

¦quot;European countries¦quot; who he worried had ¦quot;underestimated the threat from the region". Complete rubbish. I respect the bravery and dedication of any person that goes to war no matter the reason but the "Bush" wars followed by the fianncial mismanagement have tarnished the US and I don't think any educated person will care in the slightest about these statements.

We are all living in a successful, peaceful country with relatively low crime and a great education system. If our leaders are considered uncreative and indecisive, amen to that!
07:50 December 3, 2010 by auniquecorn
@Lachner and Ann

I do believe the article states that Biden made these comments, Not the US. But of course simple minded people living in a box wont see it that way.
07:59 December 3, 2010 by Marchelaw
I don't usually respond to comments, but (you knew that was coming) here it is. So, Joe Biden believes Germany dropped the ball in training police in Afghanistan. It could be true - I don't know. But, I believe Mr. Biden probably also would say that the US has dropped the ball in New Orleans, during Iraq, during the run-up to the economic crisis and of course, 9/11. But, this article is focused on Afghanistan and the difficulties allies face when there are different points of view.
09:08 December 3, 2010 by catjones
Biden's assessment of the German effort is just that. When you contrast his criticism with previous, non-related U.S. failures your arguments fail. Time to grow up.
09:57 December 3, 2010 by tallady
It always amazes me how the US is the fall guy ,until you need help ,or there is a disaster some where ,they are first in and last out give the lions share of the money ,,germany by the way ,has not paid the money they agreed to Haiti or indonesia ,or pakistan,,and the financial crisis was all about GREED ,German,and English banks could not gobble up those sub prime mortgages fast enough.I say let the first country with out sin throw the first rock..
10:34 December 3, 2010 by raandy
a little follow up ,on the latest disaster ,fires in Israel,,US was there Thursday ,a cut and paste

The first of 23 international aircraft carrying firefighters, supplies and fire retardant chemicals landed at the Ramat David Israel Air Force base in the North early Friday morning.

The Greek plane, the first of five which are expected from the country, brought much needed fire retardant supplies and additional firefighting forces who will join Israeli fire crews battling the uncontrolled Carmel forest fire. According to Army Radio, in addition to the four Greek aircraft, four aircraft are expected to arrive from France, three from Britain, two from Spain, two from Russia, two from Turkey, two from Cypress, two from Bulgaria, one from Croatia and one from Azerbaijan.

13:39 December 3, 2010 by LancashireLad

"It always amazes me how the US is the fall guy ,until you need help ,or there is a disaster some where"

You mean like in New Orleans .. on your own soil? I still remember the TV braodcast from the Mayor in tears saying "just shut the f**k up and send money" (may not be exact but I believe the strength of the language is accurate). If you can't sort your own problems out, don't be so arrogant as to think you can solve the world's problems (certainly not those that you directly helped create). I don't rememebr anything like that when the Elbe bust its banks and took out more than just a city. I also don't remember the Americans needing to help out there.

The world financial crisis was triggered by the collapse of American banks, not european.


Where is Germany? They probably paid for the stuff the Greeks and Spanish are flying in. Just because they aren't mentioned, doesn't necessarily mean that they are not contibuting some other way .... and don't get me started on selective reporting.
05:49 December 4, 2010 by anangryman.com
Biden is a career politician, nothing more, watch the HBO special on Wako and you'll see how real terrorism is preformed and how Biden confronted with undisputable evidence turns a blind eye and doesn't see any atrocities being committed.
18:47 December 7, 2010 by Beachrider
A lot of very loosely associated subjects...

The September 2008 12-Trillion-dollar run-on-the-banks WAS linked to activity that started in the USA, no doubt. It led quickly to ICEBanks in UK/Iceland, too. There have been several issues with Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Spain and possibly Italy as we all know. The economies are quite interlinked.

The 'rescue' had to do with minimizing loss for the investors/employees from 'Chapter 7' (liquidation) bankruptcies, where the cascading groups would have lost everything. George Bush's TARP was the USA/CDN redress to that. Sadly, many direct investors/employees did lose everything, but the cascading failures fared better. In fact the TARP is paying back substantially faster and substantially better than initial estimates.
21:21 December 8, 2010 by XFYRCHIEF
@Lachner - Obviously you know little about the situation in New Orleans - this was a failure of STATE, not federal government. I am sure you are not familiar with the Stafford Act. It was passed in response to southern states wanting the federal government to stay out of state business. This Act makes it unlawful for the federal government to intervene in state business until ALL state resources and plans are used. The US federal government actually violated this Act by sending aid before the state of Louisiana took action. Please show me the reports on Germany's response to an incident even approaching Katrina. And how much aid did Germany send to help the victims?

As far as "...and then pulled out of the country at night like fugitives", what are you talking about? As far as I know the US still has troops in Iraq.

@Ann-Teresa - Let us know where you want to go, I'm sure there will be many who will donate towards a ONE-WAY ticket to anywhere you choose.
02:38 December 12, 2010 by Ich
Wha's the fuss? Didn't U.s. General david petreous say that he "wasn't sure" if Afgahn Forces could handle Afgahn Security? Didn't Hamid Karzai say that U.S. troops couldn't guarantee Afgahn Security? Didn't Sweden just get bombed? Just give this mess up, and wait for the next major war!
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