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Struck Criticizes U.S. for Damaging NATO

In what was probably Lord Robertson’s last visit to Berlin before he leaves his post in January, the NATO chief was upstaged by German Defense Minister Peter Struck at a conference of defense experts and military officials on Monday. Struck mounted a sharp attack on the United States over its Iraq policy, saying "coalitions of the willing," such as that created by Washington for the invasion of Iraq, were "damaging" for NATO. "That is important in order also to restrain the attempts by our U.S. partner to resort to coalitions of the willing that ultimately are damaging to NATO," he said. With the war over, it was time for Europe and the United States to renew their partnership, Struck said, but added that questions remained over whether the invasion had been legitimate under international law. In a statement full of rare criticism at a time of healing divisions, Struck also said that it was "politically clever" to act multilaterally in tune with partners. "That would also be the best option for the superpower USA."