Schroeder's Upset Victory

The World and I, December 2002 | Go to article overview

Schroeder's Upset Victory


Germany speaks

UNITED STATES--Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's narrow re-election in Germany, after a bitter campaign focusing on his opposition to a war with Iraq, has sent a thunderbolt across the Atlantic and into the White House. In a clear sign of American displeasure, President Bush offered only an icy acknowledgment of Mr. Schroeder's victory. The chancellor has responded with the right gesture--immediate removal of a minister quoted as making an odious comparison between Mr. Bush's tactics and those of Hitler. There is more Mr. Schroeder should do. For their part, Mr. Bush and his aides need to recognize the uneasiness of the Germans and many others over the prospect of war. ...

Mr. Bush needs to recognize that if he wants to rally the world against Saddam Hussein, he will have to engage in a more strenuous effort of public diplomacy. A good example occurred 20 years ago, when President Ronald Reagan went to Europe to argue for the placement of medium-range missiles aimed at Russia. In the face of vast protests, Mr. Reagan laid out his vision and won the day. Mr. Bush has yet to meet that test.

--New York Times

September 24, 2002

Snubbing herr schroeder

UNITED STATES--Gerhard Schroeder shouldn't plan on packing his lederhosen for a visit to President Bush's Crawford ranch anytime soon. It did not go down well in Washington, or Peoria, that the German chancellor salvaged his re-election by pandering to anti-Americanism. Among other things, Herr Schroeder dismissed Mr. Bush's intentions in Iraq as an "adventure" and his Justice Minister compared the U.S. president to Adolf Hitler. ...

There are consequences--even for allies--for treating the U.S. with contempt, as the German chancellor did for his own political purposes. No one in Berlin should be surprised that some Americans are even having second thoughts about the wisdom of stationing 71,000 U.S. troops in Germany. ... It's important for Germans to understand that, on this side of the Atlantic, the new U.S.-German rift is perceived as more than a "flutter." It's going to take time and hard work for Germany to restore its credibility with President Bush--and with the American people.

--Wall Street Journal

September 25, 2002

Washington needs berlin

GERMANY--There is no doubt that Chancellor Schroeder should travel to Washington as soon as possible to terminate the transatlantic disgruntlement. But the U.S. government would also be well-advised to lower its voice. It is right that the government in Berlin is dependent in many questions on support of the powerful United States. But in this shrill debate we forget that Washington also needs Berlin as a partner.

As the largest state in the European Union, Germany offers an important part of the international legitimacy for a military operation against Iraq. If President Bush is unable to convince such a strong partner as Germany--and many other EU governments hide behind Germany's back--he will have difficulty unifying the world against Baghdad. Thus far, the U.S. government has not been able to prove clearly at home and on the international stage why a war that affects many parts of the world is really necessary.

--Duesseldorf Handelsblatt

September 27, 2002

Up to schroeder to improve relations

GERMANY--There are many reasons to criticize the position of the Bush administration. But it would now be up to the chancellor to try to improve relations with the U.S. president. Schroeder will be wrong if he hopes that the problems will be settled themselves. For Bush, who likes to personalize problems, Schroeder continues to remain an unsafe ally who instrumentalized a difference of opinion with Washington during the election campaign. After such an affront, it is impossible to return to ordinary business. Schroeder must quickly send signals of detente to Washington, since a U. …

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