NATO: Ideally, Washington would like to extend NATO all the way to Central Asia. The Europeans fear that the military alliance, once aimed against Moscow, would thereby degenerate into a debating club. Germany's foreign minister Joschka Fischer is anxious that Europe could shrivel to become a marginal player once and for all, if it does not succeed in growing together politically and acquiring its own military capabilities. But the independent security and defence policy of the Europeans, which the German foreign minister is hoping for, is making little progress. The ambitious project of a EU army threatens to fold before it has even begun - not least because of resistance and stalling from Washington.
"Operation Pants Down"
Secret services: The Federal Constitutional Court is plunging the government and parliament into a devastating dilemma: if they want to outlaw the right-wing party NPD, they will have to reveal the identity of all their undercover contacts. The intelligence authorities are in a state of utter panic. The first spies have already been asking their spymasters whether the politicians are really going to blow their cover. "If that happens," a member of the intelligence services warns, "we might as well shut up shop and go home."
"A Tinge of Genoa"
German capital: The police and politicians are alarmed by the protest marches announced for the visit by President Bush. Foreign minister Joschka Fischer is worried about German/American relations. Because this is not simply one of about 2300 demonstrations a year in Berlin - but a marathon demonstration: from 21 to 23 May, peace activists, anti-globalisation campaigners, PDS followers and the dreaded "autonomous protesters" intend to deprive US President George W. Bush of any pleasure in his visit to the German capital.
German armed forces: The German government is anxious that the deployment of German special forces in Afghanistan could violate international law, because anyone who is caught alive by the 92 specialists of the KSK, which is hunting Taliban and Al Qaida fighters as part of the anti-terrorism operation "Enduring Freedom", will disappear into one of the US prison camps. The US government's internationally controversial method of dealing with its prisoners is worrying legal experts: a "detention right without time limit and without an examination by a judge" is, they claim, "incompatible with minimum international human rights standards".
"A Man of Action with a Vision"
Globalisation: In May 2000, Horst Köhler became the first German to be elected head of the IMF. What drove him to seek the position at a time when stones and tomatoes are thrown at every IMF conference? Professional ambition, he says. But Köhler too has had trouble adapting. He found himself confronted with an institution full of secrets, and a staff of 3000. The man of action faced a culture of analysts. While he wanted to go straight into action, others weighed up matters forever. Köhler kept suspiciously quiet for almost a whole year. He travelled to Asia, Africa, and South America, spoke with the G7 members who hold a majority of votes on the IMF board, and kept out of the media. Now he is giving more frequent interviews, and he was accompanied by journalists for the first time on his trip to Africa. IMF Reports, hitherto only for internal use, are now available on the IMF Website. Even self-criticism is no longer taboo nowadays.
"We Will Not Fail"
SPIEGEL interview with Pentagon planner Richard Perle about the prospects for bringing down Saddam Hussein, and stemming the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians:
"Inspections cannot solve the problem, let alone liberate the Iraqi people. Saddam Hussein still has poison gas anthrax pathogens and other biological weapons. Furthermore, we are certain that he is feverishly trying to acquire nuclear weapons with all his might. Baghdad's military is much weaker than before the Gulf War of 1991. The opposition cannot get rid of the regime on its own, but together with us nothing can go wrong. We cannot bring about a solution in the Middle East by force, as long as one side does not recognise the other side's right to live. We aren't going to send in tens of thousands of GIs to bring about a cease-fire under conditions like that."
"Left Looking Stupid"
SPIEGEL cover story: Germany has to face comparison with others. The catastrophic educational system in Germany is becoming a topic in the election campaign. The restructuring of the vast system as a whole, from kindergarten through to university, is long overdue.
(Start of a multi-week series about education in Germany; 900 words, 3 tables ©DER SPIEGEL; 14 photographs. Photo availability information to be communicated next Monday)
"The Hunt for Marine Cockroaches"
Wildlife conservation: Just in time for the international whaling conference, the Japanese government has transfigured the consumption of whale meat into an act of patriotism. The campaign is meant to stir up public opinion against the ban on whaling. But the younger Japanese, who have grown up mainly on hamburgers and Cornflakes, are showing less and less of an appetite for whale meat. Most whale meat ends up in restaurants or supermarkets. But being extremely expensive, demand is declining: in Shimonoseki, for instance, ten paper-thin slices of whale blubber cost 2300 yens (20 euros). In 2000 alone, the markets were left with some 220 tonnes of the luxury product.
"Shot through the Shoulder on the Similaun"
Archaeology: Splintered bones and an arrow in the back - the file on Ötzi the Iceman has turned into a murder investigation. The Iceman bled to death after a fight. This brutal picture is also in line with recent Stone Age finds. Researchers have discovered 5000-year-old mass graves containing mutilated skeletons. When the ancient Tyrolean died from his injuries on the roof of Europe, a social revolution was under way in the plains below. The end of the Neolithic Period (3400 to 2200 BC) was accompanied by feverish dynamic change. Egypt was on the verge of inventing hieroglyphs, the first cities were being built on the Euphrates, and the division of labour was beginning. Now it is clear that these radical changes had also gripped the north.
"Thumb on Heart"
Debates: Gerhard Schröder invited the author Martin Walser to the SPD's party headquarters in Berlin for a discussion - and found himself facing fierce protests. Paul Spiegel, head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said that he was "upset" and "hurt" by this exclusive invitation. Apparently he still has vivid memories of the argument between Martin Walser and Ignaz Bubis over Walser's speech in the Church of St. Paul's on being awarded the peace prize of the German Publishers Association - a protracted, bitter argument that was watched with rapt attention by the media.
Bicycle racing: First Jan Ullrich was involved in a hit-and-run incident with a blood-alcohol level of 141 millilitres, then he cancelled his participation in the Tour de France. The head of his team is distancing himself visibly, irritated by the model athlete's lack of professionalism. Has the comprehensive care and attention devoted to Ullrich in fact spoiled him? Instead of curing the wonder boy's passiveness, it seems to have been promoted. Lance Armstrong, three-time winner of the Tour, hates losing when it matters; Ullrich doesn't like having to win. Armstrong enjoys winning; Ullrich enjoys cycling - usually, that is.
© DER SPIEGEL 20/2002
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