Monday, September 23, 2002

previous entry | main | next entry | TrackBack (0)


GERMANY IS STILL OUR ALLY: Schroeder's Red-Green coalition eked out a victory in the German election. Schroeder won because he was able to redirect attention from the economy to his anti-war (and anti-US) position, so it would be natural to assume that tensions are only going to worsen. However, I think there's three reasons for optimism:

1) The Hitley analogy... not such an electoral boost. Herta Däubler-Gmelin, the minister who compared Bush's tactics to Hitler's, lost her constituency seat. That, and the fact that the election narrowed in the last few days, showed the limit of the American-bashing argument. This also backs up the point I made last week about why Bob Kagan is wrong about an American-European divide.

2) The Greens are more moderate than the Social Democrats (gasp!): The NYT story makes clear that Joschka Fischer, the Green Party chairman and Germany's Foreign Minister was more conciliatory to the United States in his campaign statements. And, the results show that the only reason Schroder's coalition won was because the Greens picked up votes. Fischer will be able to moderate Schroeder.

3) The election is over. The need for scapegoats has passed.

Prediction: Within three months, there will be articles in the Times and the Post on the surprising rebound in the German-American relationship.

P.S.: Andrew Sullivan also has some thoughts on the topic. Stephen Den Beste disagrees.

Den Beste seems to think the Bush Administration won't forget the slight. It's possible -- Bush's position on the Middle East was shaped in part because Arafat lied to his face. For this episode, however, it's telling that Bush never said anything publicly about it. There's little upside for the administration to cold-shoulder a leader that's going to be in power for the next few years.

P.P.S: This article suggests that Schroeder is already trying to mend fences. The compliment of Tony Blair is also revealing.

posted by Dan on 09.23.02 at 12:07 PM