July 29, 2005

THAT DISH COLD ENOUGH, GERHARD:

Bush in talks with German opposition (Honor Mahony, 29.07.2005, EU Observer)

Wolfgang Schauble, the foreign policy expert in Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Party (CDU), expected to win the general elections next month, held an unscheduled 45-minute meeting with the US leader. [...]

Repeating sentiment expressed by Mrs Merkel during a recent meeting with French government officials, Mr Schauble underlined the importance of the relationship between Berlin and Washington.

"German foreign policy has to find its way back to a traditional balance between good relations with the US and France", he said.

This was also a pointed reference to current chancellor Gerhard Schroder, who managed to infuriate the US when during an election campaign he referred to American plans to invade Iraq as an "adventure".

Mr Schroder then formed a very public triangle of opposition to the war with the leaders of France and Russia, further souring relations with Washington, which are still not back on a completely even keel.

According to Mr Schauble, the current German government went "flatly against its own interests".


It's good to be the King.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 29, 2005 9:21 AM
Comments

All these visits by Merkel and other German Christian Democrats to Bush, to Sarkozy in France etcetera may cost them an election they couldn't lose. Schroeder is very unpopular in Germany, except for his nearly lunatic anti-American foreign policy. He'll hammer Merkel on her being not lunatically anti-American. On top of that, Schroeder is a brilliant campaigner who doesn't shy away from dirty tricks. He may well eat Merkel - who isn't very eloquent - alive during the campaign, which would give him the last laugh at the expense of Bush on January 20, 2009.

Posted by: Peter at July 29, 2005 9:41 AM

How good a poker player is Schroeder?

Posted by: erp at July 29, 2005 10:01 AM

What with Jurgen Schrempp resigning at Daimler, I'd guess most Germans realise it's time for a change.

Besides it's not like there are any burning foreign policy issues that are likely to have a major electoral impact.

Posted by: Ali Choudhury at July 29, 2005 10:12 AM

oh yes, bush will be the loser if germany re-elects schroder. gimme a break, germany is nothing to the u.s. except a place to go on vacation (and even that is less and less a thing to do).

Posted by: cjm at July 29, 2005 11:06 AM

Germany as a place to go on vacation? Let's see.

DACHAU: WHEN YOU VISIT US YOU'LL HAVE A HOT TIME
GERMANY: LOTS OF LAUGHS AND FRIENDLY FACES
GERMANY: HAVING TROUBLE AT WORK OR SCHOOL. WE HAVE CAMPS TO HELP YOU CONCENTRATE

The Franco-German partnership hasn't inured much to Germany's benefit in the eyes of most Germans. Alienating America may be popular politics but it hasn't exactly helped the sales of German-manufactured goods. Daimler is completely in the tank now, and I don't mean a Tiger or Leopard. Germany hasn't had economic growth since unification and that must get wearing after a while, even for notoriously thick-necked Germans.

Schroeder may be a brilliant campaigner and he may have a kind of surprise strategy involving the Party of Democratic Socialism, otherwise known as the Old Commies. But with American troops leaving Iraq and an upsurge of terrorism across the continent what is he going to campaign on? He can't promise to murder the Jews, there simply aren't enough left even for a good bonfire. He can't promise to attack Poland. They'd kick his butt. He could promise to attack France, but then you have to occupy it. They can't handle the absorption of the old DDR, there's no way they can absorb even Alsace.

Schroeder certainly can't run based on his brilliant stewardship of the economy.

He has to run on Merkel's weaknesses, but she seems to have kept herself in the middle of the German electorate, not getting too far out in front on issues. She isn't a Bavarian, which helps her, as she holds Bavaria and doesn't lose parts of Germany where Bavarians are unpopular.

That's why I expect some kind of deal between the PDS and Schroeder. He needs their votes in the East or else he'll just get crushed as Merkel will have to run ahead of Stoiber in the non-Bavarian West, if only by accident.

Posted by: bart at July 29, 2005 4:41 PM
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