Madam President, dear colleagues:
Foreign Minister Maas, last week the world was probably as close to the threshold of a hot war as it has been for decades. If you needed proof that the US is ruled by an insane gambler, Trump proved it with his famous tweet: "Get ready Russia ...", a de facto declaration of war by one nuclear power to another proclaimed to the world by Twitter. It sometimes feels like a bad science fiction movie. But if this bad movie starring Donald Trump has a bad ending we will not be able to just get up and leave the theater, because there will probably be no theaters left in Germany and Europe.
We must stop this continual violation of international law. That, damn it all, is our job, and it is your job as the government of the Federal Republic of Germany.
Of course we supported and gave the Chancellor credit when she publicly stated that Germany would not participate in the military strikes. But how do we know that our reconnaissance Tornados in Jordan have not provided data for the attacks? We are in the middle of it all, also with our AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) aircraft in Turkey. Therefore, if you do not want Germany to continue participating in this escalating war, then pull the German military out of this powder keg. Bring our soldiers back home! That should be the order of the day.
Of course poison-gas attacks are a war crime, and war crimes must be punished. There is the Hague Tribunal. But first it has to be determined if there was such an attack. And when even the US Secretary of Defense says we do not know if chemical weapons were used, or if so by whom, when the [OPCW] inspectors charged with investigating precisely those questions are just about to arrive in the country, and that country is then bombed with a hundred cruise missiles, that is not appropriate and necessary action, but an act of war and aggression contrary to international law, and nothing but that.
And then the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Mr Röttgen, informs us - I quote him verbatim - that "the application of the rule of law ... principles ... to international relations ... is really nonsense." I do not know if Herr Röttgen speaks for the government, but if so we must ask if our government believes that might makes right, that the country with the strongest weapons and nuclear arsenal has the right to drop bombs all over the world in pursuit of its own economic interests. Is that really your opinion?
Mr. Maas, what you just said sounded different, but it is in complete contradiction to what has happened in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and now Syria. What has all this achieved? How much suffering, how many deaths, how many crimes have been caused by this irresponsible policy?
Even if what you just said, Mr Maas, sounded much more moderate than what you have said in recent weeks, I really have to say that you as the new German Foreign Minister have taken on the saddest role in this whole tragedy.
We in The Left party could never have imagined that we would want to have Mr. Gabriel [of the Social Democrats, SPD] back as Foreign Minister.
Although German foreign policy under Gabriel was a far cry from Willy Brandt's policy of detente, Mr. Maas now seems determined to rid his party [the SPD] of the last remnants of Brandt's Ostpolitik.
What did Mr. Maas have to say when Trump made his "Get ready Russia" tweet? He said: "Russia is acting ... increasingly hostile." Perhaps you got something mixed up, Mr Maas. The day before the attack, you said Germany might participate in this madness, and then you had to be corrected by the Chancellor.
Well, I have to say that if this is to be the SPD foreign policy in the future, then I really wonder why you still call your party headquarters the "Willy Brandt House."
I think, Mr Maas, you really should do something about that. Your party congress will take place soon. Why not propose to rename your headquarters the "Donald Trump Tower"? At least that would fit in with your policy.
What true social-democratic foreign policy looks like - and I wish it would get some support here again - could be seen in the British House of Commons, where Labor party leader Jeremy Corbyn not only told the head of his government that she is accountable to Parliament and not to an out-of-control US President, but also, and most importantly, stated the fundamental truth that bombs do not save human lives or create peace.
Mr Maas, yes, you said here that weapons should not replace negotiation. But if you don't want weapons to do the talking, then stop delivering weapons to this region!