April 30, 2007


Germany Rediscovers the US as a Partner (Der Spiegel, 4/30/07)

For Merkel...the closeness with the US is much more than mere symbolism. She sees America as "a force that has brought freedom to the peoples of the world." She now plans to make the most of that freedom by further strengthening the two countries' economic ties. In the storm of globalization, the United States and Europe plan to expand their cooperation to benefit both countries.

It is virtually unprecedented in German history for a chancellor to be so unreservedly aligned with the US. Adenauer, the first chancellor of West Germany, saw America as a guarantor of freedom, but also perceived it as an occupation force. Helmut Schmidt and Willy Brandt, both Social Democratic (SPD) chancellors, were pro-American but innately skeptical.

Merkel, on the contrary, wants to expand Germany's close ties with the United States and is on the verge of making a pact with America the cornerstone of her foreign policy. Indeed, the resoluteness with which she has pursued this goal stands in conspicuous contrast with her government's lack of political progress back home in Germany.

A new beginning in trans-Atlantic relations? Out of consideration for her SPD coalition partners, Merkel has elected not to shine the spotlight too brightly on recent improvements in US-German relations -- indeed, her political modesty is one condition for the policy's success. Should she toot her own horn, she would likely alienate the SPD, her party's partner in Berlin's governing coalition.

Still, the contrast between Merkel and SPD-man Schröder, who courted Russian President Vladimir Putin and cultivated anti-American sentiment, couldn't be greater. Today's SPD, led by Kurt Beck, a skeptic on the subject of the United States, and represented in the cabinet by Foreign Minister and Schröder friend Frank-Walter Steinmeier, prefers a clearly distanced approach. Even in his inaugural speech, Steinmeier stressed his intent to be "when necessary (America's) constructively critical partner."

Merkel thinks differently. She is dedicated to the trans-Atlantic relationship and bases it on a fundamental political calculation. She is convinced that there can be no progress anywhere in opposition to the United States -- not in Europe and not in the Middle East. Even Europe's relationship with Asia requires coordination with Merkel's friends in the White House.

...is that they demanded that George W. Bush alter our national security policy to bring it into line with the pro-Saddamists -- Jacques Chretien, Jean-Claude Chirac, Kofi Annan, and Gerhard Schroeder -- all of whom were subsequently repudiated even in their own bailiwicks, never mind by the rest of the world and by history.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 30, 2007 10:55 AM

Schröder, who courted Russian President Vladimir Putin and cultivated anti-American... to better prepare himself, after retirement, to head Putin's confiscated big oil Gazprom.

Chretien's son is son-in-law to the biggest share holder of French big oil Total, which monoploized Saddam's oil and gas business.

Everybody knows Chirac the crook was in Saddam's butt pocket, and spent most of his presidency trying to avoid prosecution.

Posted by: ic at April 30, 2007 12:30 PM

Would that be Jean-Claude Chirac, the famous Olympic skier?

Posted by: Barry Meislin at May 1, 2007 1:46 AM

IIRC Chretien's daughter is married to Chirac's son. Just like the Hapsburgs, but without the pagentry.

Posted by: erp [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 1, 2007 7:54 AM