Mittwoch, November 29, 2006

A Simple Sentence...

Normally I enjoy reading Martin Wolf in the FT. This is his most recent column, unfortunately behind the usual subscription barrier.

But there is one sentence that underscores how wrong he is here.

"Gerhard Schröder could not have won an election in 2002 on an anti-American platform if the German people's confidence in the US had not been undermined."

Sorry, this is absurd.

Gerhard Schröder won the election based on his anti-American platform, a platform that was able to take advantage of literally decades of anti-American propaganda that Schröder most cycnically used, playing a receptive population. Not because of something that Bush did - here the usual demonization of Bush sets in, yawn - but the result of taking an existing resentment and deliberately, cynically destroying what had been a decades-long partnership in security affairs by offering it as a sacrifice to the gods of democracy, by appealing to the resentment of the German voter, especially in the East, to the US as an economic, political and military power.

I live in Germany and have done so pretty much solidly since 1980. That's 26 years, and back then already German anti-Americanism was rampant on universities, driven largely by East German financed "student" groups, who were being paid to mount black propaganda according to their SED and KGB masters. It was also wide-spread in the SPD, Schröder's party, and of course amongst the Greens.

Schröder's blatant and deliberate populism served one purpose only: to get him elected. For that reason he was more than willing to declare Germany to be a radically pacifistic state, one that would fail to shoulder its responsibilities in the world arena, sacrificing principle for short-term political gain.

The damage that Schröder has caused to the US-German relationship will take more than a decade to repair. It wasn't Bush's doing. The blame here lies squarly on Schröder.

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