November 17, 2002
THE STAB IN THE FRONT:
US refuses Schroeder a meeting with Bush
(Kate Connolly, 18/11/2002, Daily Telegraph)
Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder was dealt a humiliating blow yesterday when the White House was reported to have turned down his request to meet President George W Bush at this week's Nato summit in Prague.
The decision appears to undermine German claims that Berlin had repaired relations with Washington after Peter Struck, the German defence minister, met Donald Rumsfeld, his American counterpart, last weekend. [...]
The snub came as Mr Schroeder faced a barrage of criticism at home for failing to steady an ailing economy. Opinion polls show support for his Social Democrats (SPD), leaders of the coalition government, to have slumped more drastically after an election than any other government in post-war history.
The SPD polled 26 per cent of the poll, a 10 per cent drop on last month. The CDU-CSU conservative alliance was up 10 per cent to 55 per cent.
Public consternation is increasing over plans to raise taxes and social welfare contributions despite pre-election promises not to do so.
Boy, even if the Democrats have started to figure this President out, the Euros still have no clue. Before Mr. Schroeder and his party started referring to George W. Bush as a Nazi, they might have paused to recall the cold dish that Mr. Bush served Jacques Chretien, Ottawa says Bush 'Texans' tried to bully G8 host 'In your face with a boxing glove'
(Robert Fife, July 14, 2002, National Post)
The Prime Minister wanted African development to be the centrepiece of the summit, but Mr. Bush's advisors tilted the agenda to the President's Israeli-Palestinian peace plan and a U.S. scheme to safeguard Russia's nuclear weapon stockpiles, officials say.
"They wanted control of the sessions. They wanted to change the agenda. They just wanted to orchestrate everything," said an official, speaking on background.
The Canadians were frustrated at the "very nasty" attitude of the Americans because all the countries had agreed in advance about the Africa agenda and the organization of the two-day meeting in Kananaskis. [...]
It has been reported Mr. Bush refers to Mr. Chretien as "dino" -- as in dinosaur -- and that he has not forgiven him for derogatory remarks he made about his father, George Bush Sr., the former president, when Brian Mulroney was in power.
Canada is one of the few major U.S. allies whose leader has never been invited to stay at either Blair House, the U.S. government's official residence reserved for world leaders visiting Washington, or at the President's ranch in Texas.
One doubts that Mr. Schroeder--who by refusing to help in the war at all has squandered any leverage he might have had--will fare any better than Mr. Chretien in cozying up to Mr. Bush, whose character he seems to have badly misjudged. Having gone for the throat, Mr. Schroeder has landed at the President's feet.
Posted by Orrin Judd at November 17, 2002 9:14 PM
W. now has some serious coattails in Germany.
Will wonders ever cease?
I have to say that I'm a little troubled by this.
On the one hand, it is important to show that there are limits in behavior (referring to the President of the US as the equivalent of a Nazi should
have consequences). And that those consequences are serious.
On the other hand, at the end of the day, we are still going to need the Continent. Not for war, mind you, but on trade issues (they are a major trading partner), and probably on other diplomatic affairs. Personally, I'd prefer Berlusconi and Italy (England doesn't count as European, as so many recent bloggers have noted), but Italy's pull isn't nearly as great as either France or Germany.
So, which one do we deal w/, and to what extent? Chirac's France, Schroeder's Germany, or is there some third European party out there to be our primary contact w/ the Euros?
Schroeder's government seems unlikely to last more than a few months at this rate. Since he's an enemy why prop him up?
It's not clear whether the German government will survive or not. If he does, then we're saddled w/ an opponent (not quite an enemy) who's more p***ed than ever. (If you intend to kill the king, KILL the king.)
If he doesn't survive, we don't look quite as petty. (Of course, only Americans ever look petty in European eyes; but still, why create more problems than we have to.)
'Course, the German CDU candidates were hardly much better this last go-round, also saying that they would not participate in any war. I'd be more ticked off at them, if they held to that after a winning election. (Maybe I just expect less from SDU chancellors?)
German governments rarely fall, because of the so-called constructive motion of distrust (parliament has to propose a new chancellor at the same time it removes the incumbent from office). To my knowledge, this has only happened once, when the small liberal (european sense of the word, i.e. Rockefeller Republican) party betrayed socialist chancellor Schmidt and voted Helmut Kohl in office. That took place in 1982.
No matter how hard Bush punishes Schroeder for his outrageous and gratuitous anti-Americanism, Germany will have to continue trading with America. If Americans were to stop buying German cars, the backbone of what is left of their economy would be broken. And never forget that Schroeder comes from Lower Saxony, the Bundesland that is also biggest shareholder of Volkswagen AG. If that company goes down, he will have to spend the rest of his life in exile.
And the coming German governments will be either as anti-immigrant as Pium Fortuyn and Le Pen, so we'll not care to work with them, or as scared of their immigrants as the Germans and the French are now, so they'll be little use to us. Europe is done. Let's move on.
Putting Fortuyn and Le Pen in the same box is not very accurate. Fortuyn was not anti-immigrant, in fact many immigrants from Suriname were his staunchest supporters in Rotterdam. Fortuyn was against immigrants who want to turn the Netherlands into the next Mullah Omar-style emirate. And although he was a quite extreme libertarian and led an utterly decadent life, he was at least willing to defend western values, which is quite rare for a European politician.
I can understand your bitterness over the kind of childish criticism Europe keeps uttering against the US and I acknowledge that this continent has many problems which it might not survive, but I think the US would face great dangers when Europe would be taken over by a caliphate, able to use French and British nuclear arsenals. So don't shoot on people who (unlike the nutcase Le Pen) are at least trying to save Europe from its socialist kleptocracy. Let's not forget that less than thirty years ago, American conservatism had been burried by the Left (or so they thought), a future Noble Peace Prize winner was president and America looked like it was in full retreat, economically and politically.
From what I've read it appears that Fortuyn personally only hated the Muslims, because of their views on his sexuality. But the forces he drew upon were racist and anti-immigrant.
In the 1976 election, which Carter won, Reagan nearly knocked off Ford in the primaries and after his speech at the convention he owned the GOP. Where is the conservative politician in Europe who is similarly anti-Statist and pro-life, the two reforms without which Europe will die?
I was, I believe, the only sentient person in the West who did not welcome the reunification of the Germanys. I predicted we would come to regret it in my lifetime.
I have always regretted it and I'm still alive. Now everybody else is catching up, if not yet catching on.