10/16/2014 09:43 pm ET Updated Dec 16, 2014

Militarily, Germany Should Stay Out of the War on ISIS


While I'm writing this text, the fate of the Kurdish city of Kobani is unclear. But the situation of Kobani, stuck between the Turkish army and the murderous mercenaries of the Islamic State, throws a spotlight on the political and moral constitution of the West, which would itself like to be thought of as a "community of shared values."

Turkey is playing its own game. An intervention with its troops only comes into question, as Ankara is communicating to Washington, if it is allowed to wage war against Assad. In the meantime it is blocking the supply routes for the Kurds, yet still letting potential ISIS mercenaries pass freely. The supply routes of ISIS also still seem to be intact.

The fate of the Kurds is in no way indifferent to Turkey; it seems to welcome that the PKK, and the allied PYD, are at least considerably weakened due to fighting with ISIS. Yet the remainder of NATO states -- namely the U.S. and Europe -- are seemingly tolerating these grave human rights abuses.

I state a grave failure of the West -- measured by its own values. In any case, NATO is no longer a "community of shared values," but rather an intervention alliance. But there is yet still another failure. The U.N. Security Council, according to the U.N. Charter, is especially and exclusively responsible for reacting to the endangerment of peace in a reasonable way.

The Security Council is composed of five privileged veto powers, against whom no resolution can be achieved. This implies a special responsibility of these powers. That the Security Council has not really taken action is an expression of great irresponsibility.

Of course we know of the political reasons due to which consensus is hindered. Amongst these reasons are the stance towards the Assad regime and also the tensions between the U.S. and Russia. But is it really too much to ask of the U.S., China, Russia, France and Great Britain to agree on what can and must be done against ISIS? And if they act, also militarily, they have to act collectively, so that their different interests equalize each other.

Obama's strange coalition of the willing isn't much good. It operates against international law and remains ineffective. As the White House has said, the war against ISIS will take a few years. That would mean that we would have to endure two more years of massacre, which would be helped along indirectly by Turkey, the remainder of NATO states rather watching.

Militarily speaking, Germany should stay out of it completely. This country isn't privileged, it is not a world power and it also has a different history.

This blog post originally appeared on The Huffington Post Germany and was translated from German.

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