Massenbach-Letter: NEWS 06/09/13


Udo von Massenbach

****Washington Post: President Obama’s giant Syria gamble **

Guten Morgen.

Guido Westerwelle …nach der Bundestagswahl …. „Die Alternative wird ganz einfach sein: Entweder Union und FDP sitzen zusammen in der Regierung, oder Union und FDP sitzen zusammen in der Opposition“. n-tv 01.09.2013 **

DEBKA: Iran, Russia advise Assad to transfer chemical stockpile to Tehran – to avert US attack (Sunday, Sep 1,2013) **
Trend News (AZ): Swiss delegation discusses regional developments with Iranian officials (Sunday, Sep 1, 2013)**

Massenbach* Britain Drifts Towards Isolation

Author: Richard N. Haass, President, Council on Foreign Relations
August 30, 2013
Financial Times

The British Parliament’s rejection of a motion endorsing UK participation in expected military action against Syria is nothing less than stunning – an event with a political significance that transcends the immediate debate over whether and how to respond to what appears to have been wide-scale use of chemical weapons by Syrian government forces against civilians in their own country.

What explains the British vote? Viewed from afar, it seems to be the result of a lingering skepticism and, in some cases, cynicism, for all that government officials have to say, a disposition linked to the experience with claims of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction that, in the end, did not exist. This reaction must be added to the long list of costs of that ill-advised war of choice. It is truly unfortunate, though, as those demanding intelligence to be ironclad before supporting a particular action will end up in most instances, given that intelligence is as much art as science, supporting inaction. This is a course with no less consequence than tending to support action – and one that on occasions, such as this, entails great cost.

In part, the vote also reflects an always-present anti-Americanism. And the vote reflects what former US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates described as „the demilitarization of Europe–where large swaths of the general public and political class are averse to military force and the risks that go with it.“

The implications of the vote for what unfolds in Syria, however, are likely to be modest. Any coalition of the willing cobbled together by the US will unavoidably be narrower without the UK. But the British decision will not deter the Obama administration from acting to underscore both the norm that chemical weapons cannot be used with impunity and that its threats must be taken seriously. Nor will the vote have much impact on the military equation, as the US was always going to provide the lion’s share of the capability that will be brought to bear on Syrian targets.

The British vote will almost certainly generate greater pressures within the US for Congress to vote. Such a vote, however, is not essential, as under US „war powers“ legislation and decades of practice, the president enjoys great latitude when it comes to employing military force, especially for limited missions of the sort being contemplated here.

But the British decision will have far-reaching consequences. These go beyond a loss of influence in the world (and in Washington, in particular). The label „special relationship“ will come in for some derision. Indeed, the UK is in danger of separating itself from both the EU and the US, an undesirable status for a medium size country that wants to play a world role but has few independent options.

The decision to opt out can be viewed still another way: as the latest signpost that the era of American foreign policy, in which the Atlantic Alliance constituted the foundation of much of what the US did in the world, is now over. To some extent this is welcome: Europe is no longer a contested theatre of international relations; this description belongs most to the Asia-Pacific and in a different way to the greater Middle East.

But to a larger extent the change reflects the reality that Britain and the rest of Europe are neither able nor willing to play a substantial role in these other regions that will define the 21st century. Instead, European politics are likely to become more parochial, focused mostly on matters of governance and economic policy on the continent.

This will all become clear over coming years and decades. In the meantime, the Obama administration will continue trying to thread a needle in Syria: undertaking a military action large enough to make the Syrians and others think twice before employing a chemical or any other weapon of mass destruction — but doing so in a manner that avoids getting involved in what has been and will remain a costly, complex, and difficult-to-influence civil war. This approach remains the least bad option available; it is unfortunate for reasons both immediate and longer-term that the British government and its armed forces will not be able to support it.

August 30, 2013

NYT: A Much Less Special Relationship


LONDON — Britain’s decision not to stand with the United States, its closest ally, in possible military action to punish the Syrian regime for a deadly chemical weapons attack marks a watershed moment that leaves the “special relationship” in search of meaning and Britain in search of its role in the world.

The trans-Atlantic alliance has been a central pillar of the security of the postwar world. The core of it was the British-American bond, developed after a depleted Britain passed the baton of global leadership to Washington in 1945. Differences soon emerged, not least over Suez in 1956, but this was a relationship built on the notion that its importance overrode inevitable frictions, especially in matters of war and peace.

When Britain opts for the sidelines with Germany, leaving an American president to look to France and Turkey for support in holding Bashar al-Assad accountable for breaking the world’s taboo on chemical weapons, there is little or nothing special left. Rather than standing shoulder-to-shoulder with its ally, Britain has turned its back.

It has been a very long time since a British prime minister lost a war-and-peace vote in Parliament, as David Cameron did on Syria in a stinging personal defeat. He paid the price for the “dodgy dossier,” “Bush’s poodle” and all the other damning epithets that came to accompany Tony Blair’s support a decade ago of the war America fought in Iraq on false pretenses. Something broke then in the U.S.-British bond. It is now clear that Barack Obama, for all the hopes vested in him, has failed to rebuild it.

“The real reason the vote was lost was not so much doubt about strategy as the toxic nature of association with the United States, the idea of being dragged along again like a poodle in a U.S.-led military operation,” said Jonathan Eyal of the Royal United Services Institute. “For Britain’s self-defined status in the world the vote was catastrophic. It has fatally hit the special relationship.”

As Cameron acknowledged, the vote by 285 votes to 272, with 30 defections from his own Tory party, contained an irrefutable message: “It is clear to me that the British Parliament, reflecting the views of the British people, does not want to see British military action.”

That is right: The British, like other Europeans, are weary of war, and more mistrusting than before of the United States of Guantánamo, Abu Ghraib, post-9/11 bellicosity, mass surveillance and the banking crisis. A U.S. hangover permeated the House of Commons. So did the memory of the more than 600 British dead in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The emblematic figure of this fiasco was Ed Miliband, the opposition Labour Party leader. If his older brother David, a firm friend of America who was defeated by Ed for the party leadership, had been leading Labour at this moment, the outcome might well have been different. But Ed Miliband, 43, with no particular sentiment toward the United States, and little feeling for the 20th-century accomplishments of NATO and the trans-Atlantic alliance, is representative of his generation. (Equally, Obama has no particular sentiments toward Britain.)

After the vote, Miliband articulated his vision of a new cherry-picking relationship with Washington: “There’s a lesson for Britain, though, which is that we must lead in the right way for Britain from our national interest and indeed our global interest. Now sometimes that will mean agreeing with what America is doing and the way it’s going about things and sometimes it will mean doing things in a different way.”

That leaves Britain picking cherries nowhere in particular. The United States has always represented the alternative to the European Union for an island nation unsure about European integration. Now, at the very moment when Britain is moving toward a referendum on E.U. membership and hostility to Brussels is at an all-time high, London has snubbed Washington in its hour of need.

It was a very European vote, in its anti-war sentiment, and it stands as a monument to British confusion about its identity. As George Osborne, the chancellor of the Exchequer, said, it was a moment of “national soul searching about our role in the world.”

I do not expect any quick answers to that search. Britain is an angry state, and Europe or the United States can at different moments become the object of that ill-defined anger against the “establishment” or “the powerful.” The world is also in transition; wherever it ends up, the trans-Atlantic relationship is going to count less because power will lie elsewhere.

Britain and the United States will continue to matter a great deal to each other. But for anyone who believes as I do in the ultimate beneficence of Pax Americana, in the values of the trans-Atlantic world and in the critical importance of American credibility on the red lines it draws for global security and against the horrors of gassing, the British vote represents a bleak turning point

Policy = res publica

Bärbel Freudenberg-PilsterFreudenberg-Pilster* Swiss delegation discusses regional developments with Iranian officials

Director General of Swiss Foreign Ministry for the Middle East Affairs Wolfgang Amadeus Brulhart reviewed regional developments with Iranian officials on Sunday, Sept 1, 2013, it was announced on Monday, IRNA reported.

According to the press bureau of the Foreign Ministry, Brulhart, leading a delegation, arrived in Tehran Sunday morning.

The Swiss envoy conferred with Irans Deputy Foreign Minister in charge of Europe and American Affairs Majid Takht Ravanchi and Foreign Ministry Director General for West Europe Abolqasem Delfi on issues of mutual interests.

In the meetings, the two sides voiced readiness to broaden bilateral relations and promised to make use of existing opportunities to boost political, economic, cultural and parliamentary relations between the two nations.

They also discussed regional developments and underlined the need to restore peace and security to the region through diplomacy.


Politics: From Vision to Action
Barandat* Northern Sea Route: Humming with Activity

August 27, 2013 China and Japan are positioning themselves to take advantage of the opening of the Northern Sea Route (NSR). globe.jpgPresently, the Chinese shipping company COSCO’s container ship is transiting through the NSR carrying exports from a Chinese port to Europe. Earlier this year, a 66,000 tonne vessel carried iron ore to China. Given this trend, in the coming years China may emerge as a major user of Northern sea route. Japan is also alive to the benefits from the NSR. Last year the Russian gas company GAZPROM delivered a consignment of liquefied natural gas to Japan using the NSR during November 9-18 … The rapid melting of the Arctic Sea ice due to global warming has led to the opening of the NSR. The passage is open for ships during the summer season up to four months. This year transit may be possible even for up to six months. Some ships may be able to sail without the escorting icebreakers. From Rotterdam in Netherlands to Dalian in China, the time of passage will be about 35 days through the NSR as compared to 48 days through the Suez Canal … The Arctic holds about 20 percent of global hydrocarbon resources. Several companies have plans to invest in the oil resources … According to the information on the website of NSRA ( 25 August 2013), 454 vessels have been given permission by the Russian authorities to transit through the route … Russian flags (83 percent) and the rest (17 percent ) belonging to various countries including France, UK, China, Poland, Germany, Liberia, Marshall Islands, Liberia, etc. … Russia has major plans to rejuvenate its north through the development of NSR. Arkhangelsk, a major Russian port on the White Sea adjacent to the NSR, will be connected to Perm in the mineral rich Urals through Belkomur railway line. Many cities of the north will be connected through the NSR … Whether the potential of NSR is over-hyped is a matter of debate … What is even more important is that the geopolitical importance of the NSR will be immense. As early trends show, minerals can now be transported from Europe to Asia Pacific and goods from China are now being exported to Europe. Super tankers have already made successful passage through the route. Russia is already using the route to bring development and prosperity to the North by linking the NSR with the rest of Russia through railway lines. The Russian rail and road network will link the northern sea route to Central Asia. Russia will emerge as a major beneficiary of the opening of the NSR … The route is still hazardous and expensive … The investment in the mineral exploration and shipping is fraught with high risk. Russia will have to invest a lot in infrastructure to provide connectivity with the hinterland. Shortening of the distance and time from Europe to Asia through the Northern Sea Route will lead to the saving of fuel and on the emissions of carbon dioxide …


Suter* Im Gespräch: Julian Nida-Rümelin
„Wir sollten den Akademisierungswahn stoppen“

01.09.2013 · Julian Nida-Rümelin, Philosoph mit SPD-Parteibuch,
spricht über fehlenden Respekt vor Azubis, schwache Studenten und die gescheiterte Studienreform.

Herr Nida-Rümelin, manche sehen die Universität in einer tiefen Krise, weil sie überfüllt und unterfinanziert sei. Die anderen sagen, die Hochschulen boomen, weil sie so viel Geld und Studenten haben wie nie zuvor. Was stimmt denn nun?

Es gibt beides, positive und negative Aspekte, das war immer so. Krisenphänomene haben die europäische Universität seit ihren Anfängen im zwölften Jahrhundert begleitet. Wir stehen vor einer Weichenstellung: Es geht um eine Frage, die das ganze Bildungssystem berührt: Soll die Universität eine Vielzahl von Berufen aufnehmen und sie akademisieren? Und soll dann das Gros der Studierenden nach drei Jahren von der Universität abgehen, wie es die Bologna-Reform mit ihren Bachelorstudiengängen vorsieht? Oder wollen wir die besondere Stärke des deutschen Bildungssystems als Ganzes erhalten?

Was wäre diese Qualität in Ihren Augen?

Dass eine hochwertige Berufsausbildung weiter im dualen System erfolgt. Das kann aber nur funktionieren, wenn die Mehrzahl eines Jahrgangs weiter in die berufliche Lehre geht, nicht eine kleine Minderheit.

Das bedeutet, Sie wollen die Öffnung der Hochschulen wieder rückgängig machen?

Nein, das will ich natürlich nicht. Wir haben ja jetzt auch noch mehr Auszubildende als Studenten.

Aber die Abiturquote schnellt unaufhaltsam in die Höhe.

Sie liegt jetzt bei knapp 50 Prozent eines Jahrgangs und hat sich damit in den letzten 12 oder 13 Jahren nahezu verdoppelt. Wir haben aber immer noch viele Abiturienten, die kein Studium aufnehmen und lieber eine Lehre machen. Zugleich legen rund 17 Prozent der Jugendlichen überhaupt keine Berufsausbildung ab. Von daher haben wir bislang noch ein leichtes Übergewicht für Ausbildungsberufe. Die Zahlen ändern sich aber Jahr für Jahr, bald laufen die Studenten den Azubis den Rang ab. Das finde ich falsch. Wir sollten den Akademisierungswahn stoppen.

Sie sind Sozialdemokrat, also Mitglied einer Partei, die historisch und auch ganz aktuell für Bildungsexpansion steht.

Ich bin zunächst Philosoph, der versuchen muss, das Wesen der Entwicklungen zu verstehen und einzuordnen. Bildungsexpansion heißt mehr Bildung für mehr Menschen – das befürworte ich -, aber nicht Universitätsstudium für alle. Was ich der Bildungspolitik aller Parteien – auch der SPD – vorwerfe, ist, dass sie einen Weg eingeschlagen hat, der dazu führen könnte, die einzigartige Qualität des deutschen Bildungssystems zu beschädigen oder zu zerstören – nämlich die Herausbildung einer exzellenten Facharbeiterschaft, die alle Schichten der Gesellschaft aufnimmt. Wir erleben ja gerade, dass ganz Europa in seiner Finanz- und Arbeitskrise neidisch auf Deutschland schaut – und auf sein Ausbildungsmodell.

Die Bundesregierung nutzt das und will im großen Stil Jugendliche aus den Krisenländern mit hoher Jugendarbeitslosigkeit nach Deutschland zur Ausbildung holen.

Ich finde es hochgefährlich für den sozialen Zusammenhalt in der Gesellschaft, wenn wir die besten Jugendlichen aus den Krisenländern abwerben – und die prekär gebildeten deutschen Jugendlichen aus dem Blick verlieren. Es ist beinahe zynisch von der Bundesregierung zu erklären, das helfe der Jugendarbeitslosigkeit in diesen Ländern und schließe unsere Angebotslücke. In Wahrheit ist es ein unfreundlicher Akt gegenüber Staaten wie Spanien oder Italien.

Was wäre denn dann Ihr Lösungsansatz für das Phänomen, das Sie beschreiben? Der große Zug zum Abitur ist ja nicht in erster Linie staatlich gewollt. Es gibt einen Druck auf das Abitur, der von den Eltern kommt und der auch von der OECD genährt wird, der Organisation für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung.

Dann reden wir mal über Qualitätsstandards.

Ach, Sie meinen, die jungen Leute sind zu dumm zum Studieren?

Sie sollten gewisse Voraussetzungen für ein Studium mitbringen. Ein Ingenieur sollte Mathematik können. Das bedeutet, dass einige, die nach einem Semester erkennen, es reicht nicht in Mathe, die Ingenieursfächer oder etwa Physik wieder verlassen sollten. Ich glaube übrigens nicht, dass der Weg der richtige ist, den die OECD auch für Deutschland aus durchsichtigen Motiven beschrieben hat.

Und die wären?

Einen globalen Markt vergleichbarer Abschlüsse zu schaffen. Das mag im Interesse mancher großen Unternehmen sein, ist aber nicht gut für die Vielfalt der Bildungstraditionen und -kulturen. Ich bin da sehr skeptisch.

Die OECD hat in der Pisastudie einen zutiefst humboldtianischen und emanzipatorischen Begriff zugrunde gelegt: Lesefähigkeit. Das ist die Fähigkeit, sich artikulieren zu können, die Basiskompetenz, um an Gesellschaft und Arbeit teilhaben zu können – nicht gerade ein antihumanistisches Programm.

Kein Widerspruch. Lesekompetenz ist auf jeden Fall wichtig und auch mathematisches Verständnis. Dagegen habe ich überhaupt nichts. Wogegen ich aber etwas habe, ist, das zum entscheidenden Maß für den Erfolg von Bildung zu erklären. Das versuche ich in meiner „Philosophie einer humanen Bildung“ zu zeigen. Wieso zum Beispiel gehört zum Pisatest keine Lesekompetenz in der ersten Fremdsprache von Fünfzehnjährigen? Über eine zweite Sprache zu verfügen ist wichtig, um sich verständigen zu können. Es ist allgemein Ausdruck von Respekt gegenüber anderen Kulturen – ein europäischer Gedanke, der durch die Globalisierung weltweit wichtig geworden ist. Wer Fünfzehnjährigen nicht zumutet, eine Fremdsprache zu lernen, hat schon deswegen versagt. Die Antwort liegt übrigens auf der Hand: Weil sonst die Vereinigten Staaten, die die Hälfte der OECD-Mittel aufbringen, nicht nur mittelprächtig, sondern katastrophal abgeschnitten hätten.

Weil die Amerikaner…

…in der Regel keine anderen Sprachen können und in der Schule Fremdsprachen nicht lernen müssen.

Welche Sprache hätten Sie genommen in einem weltweiten Vergleich, wie Pisa einer ist?

Jeweils eine zweite Sprache, die in den Schulen des Landes gelernt wird. Es kann mir niemand erzählen, dass das wissenschaftlich nicht möglich gewesen wäre, auch diese Kompetenz bei Pisa vergleichbar zu messen. Wenn Sie genau hinschauen, erkennen Sie, dass das ganze Pisa-Programm auf berufliche Verwertbarkeit und nicht auf Persönlichkeitsbildung ausgerichtet ist: Warum bezieht sich Lesekompetenz in den Testfragen fast ausschließlich auf Gebrauchstexte und nicht etwa auf literarische Texte? Warum spielt der Bildungshintergrund keine Rolle, ich meine damit zum Beispiel Grundkenntnisse der Weltgeschichte? Was wir seit Pisa verstärkt an den Schulen beobachten können, ist die Tendenz, Fachwissen in fast allen Bereichen zurückzudrängen. Obwohl diese fachliche Ausbildung eine so große Rolle gespielt hat beim Aufstieg Deutschlands zu einer der großen Wirtschafts-, Innovations- und Technologienationen.

Darf ich noch mal zur Uni zurückkommen? Die Grundidee der Bologna-Reform für Deutschland, ein studierfähiges Studium an den Hochschulen zu bekommen, diese Idee war doch nicht falsch?

Darum ging es aber gar nicht. Ziel war die Vergleichbarkeit und Homogenisierung der Studienstrukturen in Europa, die in Frankreich, Großbritannien oder Deutschland und Italien sehr unterschiedlich waren. Dabei sind die europäischen Wissenschaftsminister auf ein Modell verfallen, das es weltweit so noch nie gegeben hat. Es lief darauf hinaus, dass man nach drei Jahren an der Hochschule berufsfertig ist – und geht. Nicht mal in den Vereinigten Staaten ist ein Student so schnell fertig. Dort wird vier Jahre eher allgemeinbildend studiert, und erst danach beginnt die Spezialisierung, wenn man ins Masterstudium eintritt. Glücklicherweise haben sich viele gegen dieses artifizielle Bologna-Modell gewehrt.

Sie meinen sich selbst als scharfen Kritiker der Reform.

Und viele andere. Die Studenten haben die Drei-Jahres-Regel nicht mitgemacht. Die Reform sah vor – ich habe die Flipcharts noch vor meinen Augen -, dass 80 Prozent der Studenten nach drei Jahren aus der Uni Richtung Arbeitsmarkt ausscheiden und 20 Prozent im Master weiter studieren. Da wurden amerikanische Werte als Vorbild genommen. Die Studierenden aber planen ihr Studium gerade andersherum: 80 Prozent wollen weiter studieren. Eine schöne Ironie ist auch, dass man inzwischen wieder bei der gleichen Studienlänge angekommen ist – bei etwa fünf bis sechs Jahren. Die war beim Magister ähnlich.

Sie idealisieren den Zustand vor der Bachelor-Reform. Es gab teilweise gigantische Abbrecherzahlen.

Die Abbrecherquote ist in den neuen Studiengängen im Schnitt sogar höher als in den alten Diplom- und Staatsexamen. Ich idealisiere das alte Studium aber überhaupt nicht, sondern fand es absolut untragbar, dass wir 80 oder mehr Prozent Studienabbrecher in bestimmten Fächern hatten. Das durfte nicht so bleiben. Aber dafür gab es Ursachen, die mit der Bachelor-Reform nichts zu tun haben.

Was meinen Sie?

1977 haben die Kultusminister einstimmig beschlossen, die Überfüllung der Hochschulen hinzunehmen. Sie wollten den Studentenberg untertunneln. Die Professoren haben ihrerseits darauf reagiert und den Betreuungsaufwand minimiert. Sie haben die Studenten nicht an die Hand genommen, bei Seminaren mit hundert Teilnehmern ist das auch nicht möglich – und so merkten viele erst im zehnten Semester: „Mensch, das kann ich ja gar nicht.“ Die Orientierungslosigkeit vieler Studenten lag also nicht an den Studienstrukturen, sondern an einer skandalösen Unterfinanzierung.

Eine Politik, die auch Sozialdemokraten in den Ländern praktiziert haben.

Auch hier gilt der parteiübergreifend falsche Konsens. Die Länder haben mit dem berühmten Untertunnelungsbeschluss 1977 de facto die für die Bundesrepublik so wichtige Bildungsexpansion der sechziger und siebziger Jahre sabotiert.

Machen Sie nicht das Gleiche, wenn Sie jetzt die Bildungsexpansion der 2010er Jahre zurückpfeifen?

Nein, das tue ich nicht. Es findet gegenwärtig keine Bildungsexpansion statt, die soziale Selektivität in Deutschland ist skandalös hoch, höher als in den siebziger Jahren. Ich bin sehr für eine durchdachte Bildungsexpansion. Wir werden bald 60 Prozent Studienberechtigte pro Jahrgang haben, in manchen Städten liegen wir schon bei 70 Prozent. Meine These ist, dass sich daraus eine neue Qualität ergibt – eine negative. Wir gefährden den Kern des deutschen Wirtschaftsmodells, die auf exzellenten Qualifikationen begründeten mittelständischen Unternehmen, die auf dem Weltmarkt mitspielen können. Glaubt irgendjemand ernsthaft, dass, wenn alle studieren, alle in Zukunft Führungsfunktionen in Staat und Wirtschaft einnehmen werden? Das ist naives Wunschdenken.

Die Konkurrenz verschiebt sich, und die Gefahr besteht, dass es am Ende darauf ankommt, welchen Namen die Schule und die Hochschule hatte, an der man studierte. Und warum sollen auch alle studieren? Ich kann nicht verstehen, wieso die Bundesregierung in ihrem zweijährigen Bildungsbericht jene Abiturienten geradezu schmäht, die kein Studium beginnen. „Wer es nicht bis zur Hochschulreife schafft, der ist gescheitert“ – das ist eine ganz gefährliche Botschaft.

Spielen Sie nicht die alte Leier, dass der Schuster bei seinem Leisten bleiben solle – und das Arbeiterkind sich, bitte schön, mit der Hauptschule zufriedengeben soll?

Es darf nicht durch die soziale Herkunft vorherbestimmt sein, wer Erfolg hat und wer nicht. Talent darf nicht von Geldbeutel und Herkunft abhängig sein. Aber es gibt unterschiedliche Talente und Interessen. Nicht jeder muss Lust darauf haben, komplizierte Texte zu lesen oder aus dem Lateinischen zu übersetzen. Und das ist doch auch nicht schlimm. Wieso soll man es abwerten, wenn jemand praktische oder künstlerische Talente an sich entdeckt und entwickelt? Unsere Schulen vernachlässigen das aber. Sie sind einseitig auf das Kognitive und die meist nur kurzfristige Wissensakkumulation orientiert, das Ästhetische, das Technische, das Soziale kommt zu kurz.

Ich frage mich, wie Sie diese Botschaft formulieren wollen. Helmut Kohl gab der dualen Ausbildung den absoluten Vorrang…

…er sagte, lernt was G’scheites…

…und der deutsche Erfinder der Pisastudien Andreas Schleicher sagt: „Ihr solltet auf jeden Fall studieren!“ Was ist Ihre Botschaft?

Gleicher Respekt vor allen Talenten. Jede Begabung ist gleichwertig, eine Elektrotechnikerin verdient die gleiche Anerkennung wie ein Professor oder ein Manager oder eine Erzieherin.

Und alle sollen auch das Gleiche verdienen?

Das kann und will niemand dekretieren, das regelt – überwiegend – der Markt. Aber wir müssen uns schon die Frage stellen: Macht eine Erzieherin einen wichtigen Job? Ja! Übt sie eine qualifizierte Tätigkeit aus? Ja! Brauchen wir diesen Beruf?

Alle tun jedenfalls so.

Wie kommen wir dann dazu, sie so miserabel zu bezahlen, dass eine Erzieherin sich eine Stadt wie München praktisch nicht leisten kann und wir entsprechend einen großen Arbeitskräftemangel in diesem Bereich in den Großstädten haben?

Das Gespräch mit Julian Nida-Rümelin führte Christian Füller.

Zur Person

Julian Nida-Rümelin, 58, ist Philosophie-Professor in München. In den Jahren 2001 und 2002 war er Kulturstaatsminister unter Kanzler Gerhard Schröder, seit 2010 leitet er die Grundwertekommission der SPD. Er ist im Bundesvorstand der Partei und gehört dem Team des bayerischen SPD-Spitzenkandidaten Christian Ude als Berater für Kultur und Wissenschaft an. Der Sohn eines Malers und Bildhauers ist verheiratet und hat drei Kinder.


Middle East

Shamed into war?

Krauthammer (Washington Post):

Having leaked to the world, and thus to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a detailed briefing of the coming U.S. air attack on Syria — (1) the source (offshore warships and perhaps a bomber or two), (2) the weapon (cruise missiles), (3) the duration (two or three days), (4) the purpose (punishment, not “regime change”) — perhaps we should be publishing the exact time the bombs will fall, lest we disrupt dinner in Damascus.

So much for the element of surprise. Into his third year of dithering, two years after declaring Assad had to go, one year after drawing — then erasing — his own red line on chemical weapons, Barack Obama has been stirred to action.

Or more accurately, shamed into action. Which is the worst possible reason. A president doesn’t commit soldiers to a war for which he has zero enthusiasm. Nor does one go to war for demonstration purposes.

Want to send a message? Call Western Union. A Tomahawk missile is for killing. A serious instrument of war demands a serious purpose.

The purpose can be either punitive or strategic: either a spasm of conscience that will inflame our opponents yet leave not a trace, or a considered application of abundant American power to alter the strategic equation that is now heavily favoring our worst enemies in the heart of the Middle East.

There are risks to any attack. Blowback terror from Syria and its terrorist allies. Threatened retaliation by Iran or Hezbollah on Israel — that could lead to a guns-of-August regional conflagration. Moreover, a mere punitive pinprick after which Assad emerges from the smoke intact and emboldened would demonstrate nothing but U.S. weakness and ineffectiveness.

In 1998, after al-Qaeda blew up two U.S. embassies in Africa, Bill Clinton lobbed a few cruise missiles into empty tents in Afghanistan. That showed ’em.

It did. It showed terminal unseriousness. Al-Qaeda got the message. Two years later, the USS Cole. A year after that, 9/11.

Yet even Clinton gathered the wherewithal to launch a sustained air campaign against Serbia. That wasn’t a mere message. That was a military strategy designed to stop the Serbs from ravaging Kosovo. It succeeded.

If Obama is planning a message-sending three-day attack, preceded by leaks telling the Syrians to move their important military assets to safety, better that he do nothing. Why run the considerable risk if nothing important is changed?

The only defensible action would be an attack with a strategic purpose, a sustained campaign aimed at changing the balance of forces by removing the Syrian regime’s decisive military advantage — air power.

Of Assad’s 20 air bases, notes retired Gen. Jack Keane, six are primary. Attack them: the runways, the fighters, the helicopters, the fuel depots, the nearby command structures. Render them inoperable.

We don’t need to take down Syria’s air defense system, as we did in Libya. To disable air power, we can use standoff systems — cruise missiles fired from ships offshore and from aircraft loaded with long-range, smart munitions that need not overfly Syrian territory.

Depriving Assad of his total control of the air and making resupply from Iran and Russia far more difficult would alter the course of the war. That is a serious purpose.

Would the American people support it? They are justifiably war-weary and want no part of this conflict. And why should they? In three years, Obama has done nothing to prepare the country for such a serious engagement. Not one speech. No explanation of what’s at stake.

On the contrary. Last year Obama told us repeatedly that the tide of war is receding. This year, he grandly declared that the entire war on terror “must end.” If he wants Tomahawks to fly, he’d better have a good reason, tell it to the American people and get the support of their representatives in Congress, the way George W. Bush did for both the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.

It’s rather shameful that while the British prime minister recalled Parliament to debate possible airstrikes — late Thursday, Parliament actually voted down British participation — Obama has made not a gesture in that direction.

If you are going to do this, Mr. President, do it constitutionally. And seriously. This is not about you and your conscience. It’s about applying American power to do precisely what you now deny this is about — helping Assad go, as you told the world he must.

Otherwise, just send Assad a text message. You might incur a roaming charge, but it’s still cheaper than a three-day, highly telegraphed, perfectly useless demonstration strike.


Eight Reasons Why US, Iran Must Manage Syria Crisis

The use of chemical weapons in Syria has become one of the top news topics in the international community. The United States has declared that it considers the use of chemical weapons a red line and has suggested that it will earnestly intervene if the Syrian government uses such weapons. However, will this intervention be only a military one, or does Washington have other suitable options?

The recent decisive position of John Kerry has increased the possibility of US involvement in this matter and the current political atmosphere of Washington indicates that the White House is seriously considering the military option. However, the most important element which the decision makers in the White House should consider is what the possible results of a military intervention could be.

  1. A UN delegation might confirm the use of chemical weapons, but it might not be able to determine whether the rebels or the Syrian government were behind the chemical attack. Even if the delegation names the Syrian government as the responsible party, this conclusion may be questioned by some members of the international community and thus will not be unanimous.
  2. Assuming that the international community does come to an agreement regarding the use of chemical weapons in Syria, the manner in which the problem should be tackled is a decision which should be made by the United Nations, not Washington. A one-sided decision by Washington would bring the legitimacy of the UN Security Council, as the only legitimate body responsible for peace and security in the world, under question.
  3. Today, there is no doubt that the United States supported Saddam Hussein in using chemical weapons against Iran. The recent report by Foreign Policy and the documents from the US Congress show that United States strongly supported Saddam Hussein in his use of chemical weapons against the military personnel and the civilians of Iran during the eight-year war started in 1980. Therefore, Washington has neither a suitable position nor the credibility to act as the international police regarding the usage of chemical weapons. The United States itself is still in the position of an accused party, given that 100,000 Iranians were killed or injured during the chemical attacks against Iran.
  4. Tehran and Moscow consider a military attack on Syria their red line, and it is unlikely that they will sit idly by in the case of a US operation against Syria. Therefore, any kind of military attack on Syria will have vast consequences in the region and beyond. If Russia and Iran were convinced the government of President Bashar al-Assad has used chemical weapons, they would alter their position, because Tehran is strongly against the production, stockpile and the use of all types of weapons of mass destruction.
  5. It is unlikely for the United States to have the desire or the ability to engage in a new all-out war in the Middle East. In the case of a military operation, it is much more likely that the attack would be targeted and carried out in a short time frame. Such an attack will not result in the fall of Assad’s government and instead could strengthen the nationalist sentiments of the Syrian people in support of Assad and in opposition to foreign aggression.
  6. The Islamists in the Middle East will not turn a blind eye on the United States violating the integrity of a Muslim country. The United States has previously attacked the Muslim nations of Afghanistan and Iraq and has withdrawn, leaving trillions of dollars in damage and thousands of dead and injured military personnel, in addition to having increased anti-US and anti-Israeli feelings in the Middle East.
  7. The Middle East is experiencing its most unstable period in history. Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Egypt and Yemen are in dangerous states of emergency. Turkey, the lynchpin for the Western powers in the Middle East, is losing its position and has a tense relationship with most of its neighbors. Additionally, Ankara is experiencing tensions with the current Egyptian government, the United States and Israel over Egypt. Consequently, the United States and the West are without a friendly base in the Middle East.
  8. The victory of the moderates in the recent elections in Iran is the only encouraging sign of stability and democracy in the region. Jeffrey Feltman, the American UN undersecretary-general for political affairs, has traveled to Iran and met with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif to discuss the issue of Syria. Tehran made it clear to Feltman that it is ready to engage in serious cooperation in order to peacefully resolve the crisis in Syria. At the same time, the sultan of Oman has traveled to Iran with a positive message from the White House, so the timing seems right for a constructive collaboration between Tehran and Washington.

The cooperation of the two countries in 2001 regarding Afghanistan, resulting in the fall of the Taliban and al-Qaeda, is a blueprint for a new collaboration. This collaboration should not be limited to Syria. The Middle East requires management for the time, and therefore, crisis management (of this and other crises) would be a useful path for this collaboration.

The collaboration should take place in the framework of the UN Security Council. Iran and the United States can have a constructive and purposeful collaboration within the boundaries of a new plan orchestrated by the UN Security Council in order to save the Middle East from falling into the abyss of civil and sectarian war. Needless to say, Moscow, Beijing, the European Union and the powerful countries in the Middle East must have constructive and efficient roles and presence in this collaboration. This path will facilitate resolving the nuclear crisis of Iran and will open a new door in ending the 33 years of hostilities between Iran and the United States.

Ambassador Seyed Hossein Mousavian is a research scholar at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School and a former spokesman for Iran’s nuclear negotiators. His latest book, The Iranian Nuclear Crisis: A Memoir, was published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.


Strategic Studies Institute United States Army War College *
Carlisle, Pennsylvania

Dealing With Iran

The Iranian Nuclear Crisis: An Assessment
by Gawdat Bahgat

The Iranian Nuclear Debate: More Myths Than Facts
by Christopher J. Bolan

Iran, Russia advise Assad to transfer chemical stockpile to Tehran – to avert US attack

DEBKAfile Exclusive Report September 2, 2013, 9:59 AM (IDT)

The Iranian parliamentary delegation visiting Damascus Sunday, Sept. 1, advised Bashar Assad to move his chemical stockpile out of Syria and deposit it in Tehran under Iranian and Russian military supervision, to save himself from an American military strike, debkafile’s exclusive military and Iranian sources reveal.

Chairman of the Majlis Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ala-Eddin Borujerdi, who headed the delegation, explained that Presidents Hassan Rouhani and Vladimir Putin had discussed the stockpile’s removal ad hoc, as the basis of a Iranian-Russian plan for presenting to US President Barack Obama at the G-20 summit meeting in St. Petersburg later this week.
After the Americans accept the plan and the crisis blows over, the stockpile could be quietly returned to Syria, the Iranian lawmaker explained.

Another option was for Iranian and Russian teams to destroy the stockpile in return for US-Arab League guarantees that the Syrian rebels would not use this process for strategic war gains. The chemical agents would be destroyed in stages in accordance with rebel compliance with such guarantees.
debkafile’s military sources explain Tehran’s quest for a deal on two grounds: One – Iran supplied Syria with most of the formulae and substances for the manufacture of the poison agents and fears exposure if they fall into American hands.

Another is anxiety lest an American military strike on Syria’s chemical stores – if it is allowed to go through – would serve as a precedent or prequel for a similar attack on Iran’s nuclear assets.

Tehran is therefore willing to put on an amenable face and meet the United States half way on the disposal of Syria’s chemical arsenal. The offer would be presented as good for President Obama and let him give the American people the glad tidings that he had managed to defuse the Syrian chemical crisis by procuring a joint Iranian-Russian guarantee to eliminate Syria’s chemical arsenal. He could then call off an attack Syria with honor, or postpone it indefinitely to avoid disrupting the process of Syria’s chemical disarmament.

Both the Russians and the Iranians saw an opening for their plan in a phrase President Obama used in his surprise announcement Saturday night, Aug. 31 that he would ask Congress to authorize a military attack on Syria before going ahead. It was this: “…the Chairman [of the Joint US
Chiefs of Staff] has indicated to me that our capacity to execute this mission is not time-sensitive; it will be effective tomorrow, or next week, or a month from now.”

The Russian-Iranian plan would turn those words back on the US president by offering him guarantees that if he was not satisfied that Syria’s chemical stocks were gone – either by transfer to Iran or destroyed – he had left himself with time to play with for reverting to his military option.

The Iranian lawmakers told Assad that Tehran is not fully in the picture of the secret Russian-US dialogue on Syria, but Tehran had reason to believe that the Russians had put out feelers to the Americans on the proposition and were not initially turned down.

Russian and Iranian intelligence experts on US politics expect Obama’s limited offensive plan for Syria to run into major obstacles in Congress. They hope the opposition will find added support for its counter-arguments in the Iranian-Russian proposition. And even if it is eventually turned down, the deliberations on its pros and cons would buy time for the Syrian ruler’s war effort.

The Iranian parliamentary delegation also included Javad Karimi Qodusi and Fath-o-Allah Hosseini, two other prominent members of the Majlis foreign affairs panel.
INTERVIEW mit Friedensethiker Prof. Dr. Heinz-Gerhard Justenhoven, Direktor des Instituts für Theologie und Frieden sowie Vorstand Katholische Friedensstiftung, über einen möglichen Syrien-Krieg:

„Militärschläge lösen das eigentliche Problem nicht“

Von Sabine Kleyboldt (KNA), 28. August 2013

Hamburg (KNA) Ein Militärschlag gegen Syrien scheint immer wahrscheinlicher. Über Alternativen, Konsequenzen und die Sicht der Friedensethik spricht der Direktor des katholischen Instituts für Theologie und Frieden, Heinz-Gerhard Justenhoven, im Interview der Katholischen Nachrichten-Agentur (KNA) am Mittwoch in Hamburg.

KNA: Herr Professor Justenhoven, gibt es Ihrer Meinung nach eine Situation, die einen Militärschlag gegen Syrien rechtfertigen würde?

Justenhoven: Bevor wir über ein solches Szenario reden, möchte ich an alle Beteiligten appellieren, zunächst sämtliche politischen Optionen auszuschöpfen und vor allem über die Konsequenzen nachzudenken. So wären etwa gezielte Sanktionen möglich. Der Vorsitzende der Münchner Sicherheitskonferenz, Wolfgang Ischinger, hat angemahnt, gemeinsam mit Russland nach einer politischen Lösung zu suchen; dem kann ich mich nur anschließen.

KNA: Der mögliche Giftgas-Einsatz durch das Assad-Regime scheint jetzt den Ausschlag für einen Militärschlag zu geben. Warum lösen gerade Chemiewaffen eine solche Welle der Empörung aus?

Justenhoven: Chemische Waffen sind nach internationalem Recht geächtet, weil sie besonders perfide sind. Der Einsatz – von wem auch immer – gegen die eigene Bevölkerung ist ein gravierendes Verbrechen, das zu verurteilen ist. In der derzeitigen Situation erscheint es mir aber wichtig, dass nach Möglichkeit zuerst die Fakten geklärt werden: Wer hat die chemischen Waffen eingesetzt? Die UN-Inspekteure sollen die Fakten aufklären, soweit dies möglich ist.

KNA: Jetzt ist viel die Rede von einem Luftschlag als Denkzettel für den Giftgas-Einsatz…

Justenhoven: Ich halte gezielte militärische Schläge gegen Einrichtungen der Armee und der Regierung als Denkzettel für ungeeignet, weil sie das eigentliche politische Problem nicht lösen. Sollte feststehen, dass das Regime Giftgas eingesetzt hat, wird es sich von kriegerischen Angriffen, die ja offenkundig seine Existenz nicht gefährden, nicht beeindrucken lassen. Auch begrenzte militärische Schläge werden zudem eine erhebliche Schädigung der Zivilbevölkerung nach sich ziehen.

KNA: Assad terrorisiert seit Monaten sein Volk, es gab zahllose Tote und Flüchtlinge, darunter viele Kinder. Kann es angesichts solcher Grausamkeiten einen „gerechten Krieg“ geben?

Justenhoven: Es gibt aus Sicht der Friedensethik im äußersten Falle und unter bestimmten Umständen Gegebenheiten, die Maßnahmen zur Verhinderung noch größeren Unrechts rechtfertigen. Den Begriff „gerechter Krieg“ vermeidet man aber heute in der Debatte. Außerdem sehen wir es nicht als Aufgabe der Ethik an, Gewalt zu legitimieren, sondern Prinzipien zu formulieren, um den Einsatz von Gewalt zu prüfen und möglichst abzuwenden.

KNA: Gibt es also im Fall Syrien eine Rechtfertigung einer „militärischen Reaktion“?

Justenhoven: Die Forderung nach einer „militärischen Reaktion“ muss im Blick behalten, was damit angezielt werden soll: Es gibt keine chirurgischen Schläge gegen die syrische Armee und Regierung, die nicht auch die Zivilbevölkerung treffen werden. Die Errichtung einer Schutzzone ist nur möglich nach Luftangriffen gegen syrische Militärflughäfen und Flugabwehreinrichtungen und muss durch umfangreiche Bodentruppen gesichert werden. Damit würden die intervenierenden Truppen weitgehend in einen Krieg hinein gezogen – mit erheblichen Auswirkungen für die Syrer wie die intervenierenden Staaten.

KNA: Welche Auswirkungen hätte ein Syrienkrieg für die Region?

Justenhoven: Der Blick nach Libyen und den Irak zeigen, dass stabile politische Verhältnisse nicht von alleine entstehen. Der (Neu-)Aufbau eines Staates aber dauert eine Generation, mindestens mit offenem Ausgang, wie das Beispiel Afghanistan zeigt. Wer also jetzt über eine militärische Intervention in Syrien nachdenkt, muss auch eine Strategie vorlegen, die zumindest die Hoffnung begründet, dass es den Syrern nach der Intervention nicht schlechter geht als vorher.


President Obama’s giant Syria gamble

President Obama’s stunning reversal on Syria — deciding to send a use of force resolution to Congress to approve or disapprove just hours after he seemed set on bypassing the legislative branch — amounts to a massive gamble by the commander in chief.

As we have noted in this space, there is little certainty of the outcome of the vote, which will come, at the earliest, the week of Sept. 9 when both houses of Congress return to Washington after the August recess. And, if Congress doesn’t pass the resolution, Obama will be in an even smaller box — policy-wise — than he found himself at the end of last week following the British Parliament’s rejection of a similar use of force resolution.

Lets’s start by walking through just how big a challenge Obama has built for himself.

First, consider that roughly 40 percent of House Democrats voted against the use of force resolution against Iraq in 2002. (Unlike 2002, Democrats have one of their own in the White House, but the 2010 election has made the caucus more liberal today — and more opposed to military action — than it was in 2002.)

Second, remember that Obama is in the middle of his second term. He is playing for his legacy; all — or at least the vast majority — of the Democratic members he will ask to vote in favor of striking Syria are playing for the 2014 election. Those are two very different calculations — especially when you consider that many of the Democrats Obama will need are running in districts where the only real threat is from their ideological left. Voting for a controversial military action is perfect fodder for a liberal challenger looking for an issue to take down a Democratic incumbent.

Third, Obama’s relationship with Congress — including those within his party — has never been all that great. He spent little time there during his own career and Democratic House strategists have long believed that Obama is semi-openly disdainful of the people’s House. And, having a long-time Senate aide — Denis McDonough — as his chief of staff won’t help Obama much in the House either. (The perfect chief of staff for this moment in the House is currently serving as the mayor of Chicago.)

Fourth, the shadow of Iraq looms. You can tell how much by listening to Secretary of State John Kerry make the case for action in Syria on Friday. “Our intelligence community has carefully reviewed and re-reviewed information regarding this attack,” Kerry said. “And I will tell you it has done so more than mindful of the Iraq experience. We will not repeat that moment.” The question is whether Kerry’s testimony in front of House and Senate committees this week can convince lawmakers of that fact. And, because of how Iraq (and the lack of WMDs) played out, the hurdle is that much higher.

Fifth, the “why now/what now” question remains a tough one to answer for many members. Yes, use of chemical weapons is a clear line that has been crossed. But, more than 120,000 Syrians have died since Obama first called on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step aside, and most foreign policy experts believe any strikes launched by the United States will be extremely narrow in both their scope and length.

Despite all of those factors arguing against passage, Obama pushed forward for a vote, believing – according to behind-the-scenes reporting done by The Post’s Scott Wilson — that if he end-ran Congress on this issue he might lose any chance to work with them on things like the looming government shutdown and the debt ceiling.

That makes sense if the resolution passes. But, if it fails and Obama goes forward with a military action anyway — as Administration officials have made quite clear they believe he can and might do — relations with Republicans in Congress (and, in truth, many Democrats) will be even more strained.

Republicans in Congress have long argued that the president is far more interested in using them as a political foil than in actually accomplishing things in a bipartisan matter. If he were to ignore a vote against the Syria resolution, the lack of trust that already exists between the GOP majority and the White House will disappear entirely — almost certain to not return in time for the government shutdown/debt ceiling fights.

Add it all up and it’s plain to see just how big a gamble Obama is taking — and just how large the political stakes are for him if he loses.


After meeting with Obama, Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Congress needs to authorize the use of military force against the Syrian government, or risk undermining the president’s credibility and the credibility of the U.S.

Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel are scheduled to testify Tuesday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) was aware of gifts and financial support provided by Jonnie R. Williams Sr. during the same months McDonnell and his wife took steps to help Williams’s company.

Mary Cheney says her sister, Senate candidate Liz Cheney, is “dead wrong” to oppose gay marriage.

Republican Carl DeMaio will reportedly abandon his House bid to run for mayor of San Diego, though he said in an interview no decision has been made. He lost a competitive 2012 race against Bob Filner, who recently resigned amid mounting allegations of sexual harassment. DeMaio’s decision tasks Republicans with finding a new candidate to run against Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.), a top GOP target. The special election to replace Filner will be Nov. 19.

A spokesman for former president George W. Bush apologized for mistakenly sending out a statement on the death of Nelson Mandela based on a Washington Post report that Mandela had been discharged from a hospital.

Brazil is not happy with revelations of U.S. surveillance of its president.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg became the first member of the Supreme Court to officiate a same-sex marriage ceremony.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) will stump for New Jersey Republican Senate candidate Steve Lonegan (R) on Sept. 13. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), with whom Paul has feuded, has also been invited, but will not attend, due to a scheduling conflict.

On Twitter, Obama and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton congratulated Diana Nyad on her record-setting swim from Cuba to Florida.

When it came to expensive gifts from foreign leaders last year, Clinton topped Obama.


“On Syria strike, Obama administration ramps up pressure on Congress, shows flexibility” — Karen Tumulty and Anne Gearan, Washington Post

“Syria: What to expect on Capitol Hill this week” — Ed O’Keefe, Washington Post

“Top-secret U.S. intelligence files show new levels of distrust of Pakistan” — Greg Miller, Craig Whitlock and Barton Gellman, Washington Post

“9 questions about Syria you were too embarrassed to ask” — Max Fisher, Washington Post

“5 questions for Chuck Hagel and John Kerry” — Philip Ewing, Politico

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