It was the intervention in Iraq, which triggered a crack between the two states as Schroeder asserted that “it would be a mistake to intervene militarily in Iraq” (Schroeder, 2002 at http://eng.bundesregierung.e/top/dokumente/Artikel/ix_431789, accessed 14 May 2009) and impacted military relations by negating any possibility of providing German soldiers for the Iraqi intervention.
Moreover, Fuss refers to the well-publicized frustration of previous Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfield in reference to the difference between Old Europe and New Europe (Fuss, 2004 at www.eric.ed.gov accessed 14 May 2009). Fuss argues that “by “Old Europe”, he meant mainly the traditional European leaders, France and Germany, which adopted a stance critical of US policy in Iraq” (Fuss, 2004 at www.eric.ed.gov, accessed 14 May 2009). Indeed, it is posited that the disagreement over Iraq resulted in a break of a significant period of mutual cooperation (Fuss, 2004 at www.eric.ed.gov, accessed 14 May 2009).
In seeking to understand the cause and effect on US-German relations by the tension over Iraq, Larres refers to two polarised propositions (Larres, 2003, 23). Namely, the crisis was caused by electoral point-scoring goals in a tight election campaign. Conversely, Larres refers to the argument by some commentators that Germany’s opposition to the Iraq intervention signaled “the end of an era in close post-war relations between Washington and Berlin” (Gardner &. Dalle, 2003 quoted in Larres, 2003, 23).
However, Larres posits that these polarised views are too dogmatic in ignoring the “fundamental problems at the core of the US-German relationship that goes far beyond the conflicting personalities of the two leaders” (Larres, 2002, 23). Alternatively, Larres posits that the political climate post-September 11 and Germany’s opposition to the US proposed military .action in Iraq merely catalyzed the underlying tension between the two countries.