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Among allies, Germany is the odd man out in UN vote on Libya

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Credit: Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images/Newscom

(Read caption) German Chancellor Angela Merkel addresses a press conference on March 19 in Berlin. Ms. Merkel defended her country's decision to abstain in a UN Security Council vote authorizing a no-fly zone over Libya, saying Germany did not want to participate in a war in North Africa.

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No one was surprised that Russia and China abstained from the United Nations Security Council vote for a no-fly zone in Libya. But Germany?

Actually, Berlin had been signaling for days that it would not go along, but still. Germany is one of America's closest allies. In this vote, Europe's biggest democracy stood alongside authoritarians and developing nations, not with its freedom-loving partners, Britain, France, and the US.

It had plenty of international cover to vote "yes." The Arab League supported the UN resolution, which is meant to avert a bloodbath in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi. The European Union also endorsed the resolution.

The German exception was all the more remarkable because of this: Berlin lobbied hard for its two-year seat on the Security Council, which began Jan. 1. It gave the impression that it would be ueber responsible, that this stint was a dry run in a bid for a permanent seat.

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