Thursday, March 22, 2007
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The German Social Democrats party like it's 2002
One of the key points I was trying to make in my Foreign Affairs article was that the Bush foreign policy of 2007 looks somewhat different from the Bush foreign policy of 2002 -- it's more multilateral in both form and substance. This has been a common theme among foreign policy wonks across the ideological divide.
However, the word has yet to reach the German Social Democrats, as Judy Dempsey makes clear in this International Herald-Tribune story:
[T]he two parties in [Angela] Merkel's coalition appear more divided over the missile shield than other EU member states, which have been far less vocal or critical of the U.S. missile shield.If you read the whole thing, one gets the sense that domestic political calculations are behind the SPD's thinking... much as it was back in 2002.
posted by Dan on 03.22.07 at 01:01 PM
I've lived in Germany for nearly eight years now, and I've learned that the one constant in German politics is the sensual pull of a stout round of America bashing to make a German politician feel good.
Andrea Merkel has been an exception in that her criticisms have been far fewer and then fact-based as well as diplomatically delivered. Her coalition partners and the Greens and sometimes even the FDP get much mileage out of the most groundless issues whipped into a political froth.
Climate change was the flavor of the day a few weeks back and the missile defense issue, as the post points out, has heated up the airwaves more recently.
Cheers,posted by: Rofe on 03.22.07 at 01:01 PM [permalink]
The SPD is indeed playing the anti-American card here, and probably successfully, even if, as Dan argues, the tenor of US foreign policy isn't what it was four years ago. But this is precisely why Bush's earlier posture was so damaging in the long term -- reputations are a lot harder to live down than the behavior that earned one the reputation in the first place. We will be paying the price of those few short years of bullying unilateralism for many years to come as political parties in countries around the world respond to the enduring popular hostility it engendered.posted by: jonas on 03.22.07 at 01:01 PM [permalink]
I third the previous comments. I haven't lived in Germany, but I have spent a good deal of time among (traveling) germans. Most of them would see little difference between 2002/2007 America. Most, imh experience, are clinton fans, but view Bush as the warlord they've always suspected lurking behind the clinton smile. Those I've known tend to frame their arguments in terms of resource extraction/IMF/WTO injustices, but they are numerous if nothing else. If no one gives continental youth a cut of the profits, they'll cause a fuss.posted by: foolishmortal on 03.22.07 at 01:01 PM [permalink]
huh? from the Rozen article:
What remains the same is that a secretary of state in the Bush administration is extremely constrained. Rice belongs to an administration averse to real diplomacy with its adversaries, and therefore lacks a secretary of state’s most elemental tool: the authority to negotiate directly.
Can anybody tell me, why Germany and other european nations shouldn't remain skeptical?posted by: novakant on 03.22.07 at 01:01 PM [permalink]
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