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Can Intervention be humanitarian?

Joschka Fischer, André Glucksmann, and Cohn-Bendit (from left to right) at a 1978 discussion in Frankfurt
Joschka Fischer and Dany Cohn-Bendit had been close friends since the
early 1970s. This photo shows Fischer, André Glucksmann,
and Cohn-Bendit (from left to right) at a 1978 discussion
in Frankfurt. Photo: bpk/Abisag Tüllmann

At the time, Joschka Fischer was environment minister in the federal state of Hesse. As Paul Hockenos writes, he had to respond to Daniel Cohn-Bendit's challenge:

Swayed by the interventionists but not yet convinced, Joschka Fischer struck a middle course. He argued that armed intervention in Bosnia, though not to be ruled out, would at the time, in 1993, only throw fuel on the fire and cause fighting to escalate. He also maintained there could be no German military presence in territories that the Wehrmacht had occupied during World War II, such as the Balkans.

Old friends Fischer and Cohn-Bendit went head-to-head on the issue at a televised panel discussion in Frankfurt, which was supposed to address the legacy of the student movement, twenty-five years later. But the topic switched quickly to Bosnia. Tempers flaring, Fischer lit into Cohn-Bendit: "And would you, Dany, be prepared to send your son to fight in Bosnia, and maybe even to die there?" The Frenchman retorted: "That'll be his decision, but I ask you, Joschka, if that high-rise across the street was in flames and your son was a fireman, would you stop him risking his life to go in and try to save people?"

[p. 236]

Joschka Fischer and the Making of the Berlin Republic. 2007. [Oxford University Press]

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