Merkel Govt to Nurture German-U.S. ties


Nascar_James
#1
Good article from Reuters. I agree with Dr. Merkel's approach. As close friends and allies we (US and Germany) should agree to put any past disagreements behind us.

Dr. Merkel appears to be a good leader. Really good government platform. The Germans are lucky in having such a leader. I would surely vote for her party (Christian Democratic Union) if I was living in Germany.

http://today.reuters.com/news/newsAr...EIGNPOLICY.xml

Quote:

Reuters:

Sat Nov 12, 2005 11:15 AM ET
By James Mackenzie

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany's new government does not promise any dramatic shifts in foreign policy, but its coalition agreement shows it sees the need for special care in relations with the United States after the turmoil caused by the Iraq war.

The bipartisan coalition deal presented by conservative chancellor-designate Angela Merkel on Saturday emphasized the government's desire to keep Germany anchored in strong relations with its European and U.S. partners.

But as well as the traditional pledges to the importance of a strong transatlantic partnership, the accord said the government would "seek an improved public understanding of the USA in Germany and of Europe and Germany in the USA".

For most of the past two years, Germany and the United States have sought to smooth over the hostility sparked by outgoing Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's vocal opposition to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

But the scars left by the conflict remain and many Germans and other Europeans are skeptical about the U.S. role in international affairs and hostile to President George W. Bush.

According to a recent survey by the German Marshall Fund of the United States, 72 percent of Europeans disapprove of Bush's foreign policies and more than half said strong U.S. leadership in world affairs was undesirable.

During the election campaign, Merkel attacked Schroeder for downgrading relations with Washington and for being too close to French President Jacques Chirac and Russia's Vladimir Putin, while he suggested she would have led Germany into the Iraq war.

But the inconclusive September 18 election, which forced Merkel's conservatives and Schroeder's Social Democrats (SPD) into a "grand coalition" government, has prompted the two sides to reconcile differences highlighted by the campaign.

PERSONAL TONE CRUCIAL

With widespread agreement on formal policy issues, much will depend on the personal tone and priorities of Merkel and her new foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who worked closely with Schroeder as head of his Chancellery.

Steinmeier, 49, is a less charismatic figure than his high-profile predecessor, Joschka Fischer, but is an experienced and well-respected official who has said the new government will seek continuity in foreign policy.

The coalition accord indicates the new government wants close ties with France, Russia and the United States, will continue to take part in international peacekeeping and still wants a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, all policies endorsed by Schroeder.

It says cooperation with Washington is important for stability in areas such as the Middle East and the Balkans and for good relations between the Islamic world and the west.

"We want to shape transatlantic relations with an eye to the future, without forgetting our common history," the accord says.

In the European Union, the new government backs Schroeder's push to limit German contributions to the EU budget and to overhaul EU spending, although it says a landmark October 2002 agreement fixing agricultural subsidy levels should stand.

The differences between conservatives and the SPD over Turkey's drive to join the EU have been set aside as the issue will not have to be settled during the next four years.

But the future expansion of the 25-member bloc was one of the most emotionally charged foreign policy issues in the election campaign and will be an area where the new government will have to continue to tread particularly carefully.

 
Nascar_James
#2
Looks like Germany's future Chancellor (I think she'll be elected/confirmed on November 22nd) appears very similar to another very popular former woman politician ... Margaret Thatcher.
 
Reverend Blair
#3
I guess fascism is back in style in Germany.
 
Blackleaf
#4
It's good to see Germany becoming more Atlanticist.

Now it joins Britain, Spain, Portugal, Italy and all the Eastern EU countries in being allies of the US.

France, eternally anti-American, is more isolated, and Britain and Germany are the new engines of the EU.
 
Nascar_James
#5
Quote: Originally Posted by Blackleaf

It's good to see Germany becoming more Atlanticist.

Now it joins Britain, Spain, Portugal, Italy and all the Eastern EU countries in being allies of the US.

France, eternally anti-American, is more isolated, and Britain and Germany are the new engines of the EU.

You're correct except for Spain. Under the old conservative government (before the terrorist train attack), Spain was a very close ally. Now with the new Socialist government, I'm not so sure. They are obviously not enemies, but not so close either.
 
PoisonPete2
#6
It is indeed sad to see Germany slip back into the Fascist mindset. Now the poor and powerless with face the consequences of this unfortunate turn to the right. The industrialists will be propped up while the underclasses will be marginalized and zenophobia sweeps the land.

Blackleaf should get a better sence of history. "France, eternally anti-American". I didn't know propaganda could be so effective. It took France, a close ally of the U.S. to say war was wrong, but America was already mesmorized by greed and blood-lust.
 
no1important
#7
It is also a thing to remember she does not have a majority government either.
 
PoisonPete2
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by no1important

It is also a thing to remember she does not have a majority government either.

Answer - Hitler was elected with a plurality (around 32%) of popular vote. He then requested a very old and fearful President to declare him the Chancellor by right. He then passed laws consolidating power, and began his campaigns against: the Jews, the Romany, illegal workers, refugees from the White Wars in Russia, Communists, Trade Unions, those with mental illness, competitors to I.G. Farbin and Krupp, the free press, and Truth. He then decided that Germany needed "room to breathe" and started land claims against the Armistice (WWl) and annexation.

The first thing that Merkel will do is to start dismantling the social safety net, guest workers and such.

"The only thing new is the history we didn't know" Truman.
 
Nascar_James
#9
Quote: Originally Posted by PoisonPete2

Blackleaf should get a better sence of history. "France, eternally anti-American". I didn't know propaganda could be so effective. It took France, a close ally of the U.S. to say war was wrong, but America was already mesmorized by greed and blood-lust.

France? The French have historically been known as backstabbers and cowards. The expression "Blame France" didn't simply orginate overnight. I mean President Chiraq sided with Saddam while Saddam was still in power, during the war.

France is our ally, yes ... but not a close one at the moment. The world is also a better place when the US and Europe work together. However, only time or a change of government in France will truly fix relations we have with the country.
 
PoisonPete2
#10
[quote="Nascar_James"][quote="PoisonPete2"]
France? The French have historically been known as backstabbers and cowards. The expression "Blame France" didn't simply orginate overnight. I mean President Chiraq sided with Saddam while Saddam was still in power, during the war.

Answer - doesn't sound like backstabbing to me. Sounds like France standing by a nation they once controlled. Backstabbing is what America did in Iraq. Told Hussein that Kuwait's slant drilling into Iraqi oil pool was a 'regional matter' and that America would not interfere. Then doing the Gulf War? Talk about your backstabbing slime.
 
Reverend Blair
#11
The German people, along with the French people, the Spanish people, the Portugese people, and most of the other people on the planet, stand solidly against the actions of the United States and the Bush administration. Hell, the American people have shifted their view since they started to get a glimmer of the truth. Unfortunately the pro-Bush press continues to act as more of a propaganda arm of the government than the fourth estate.

Merkel is going to find herself in for a rough ride here. She is moving closer to the Bush regime just as they are failing. She is joining forces with Tony Blair, who is increasingly under fire for lying to his people and the world.
 
Nascar_James
#12
Quote: Originally Posted by Reverend Blair

The German people, along with the French people, the Spanish people, the Portugese people, and most of the other people on the planet, stand solidly against the actions of the United States and the Bush administration. Hell, the American people have shifted their view since they started to get a glimmer of the truth. Unfortunately the pro-Bush press continues to act as more of a propaganda arm of the government than the fourth estate.

Merkel is going to find herself in for a rough ride here. She is moving closer to the Bush regime just as they are failing. She is joining forces with Tony Blair, who is increasingly under fire for lying to his people and the world.

We also have very strong European allies in Italy and Poland, Rev. I guess it is true. Conservative minded or right of center governments will stick together. Look at what happened with Spain. Spain supported us when Jose Maria Aznar was the Prime Minister. Now that the far left government of Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero is ruling the country, they imedialtely distanced themselves from us. I mean Zapatero even said publically that he would prefer to deal with Kerry before we had the US elections over a year ago.

By the way Zapatero's Socialist government won by a 42% - 38% margin vs the Popular Right Party. So there are still a great many folks there who supported the war.
 
Reverend Blair
#13
Quote:

We also have very strong European allies in Italy and Poland, Rev.

The people of Italy hate Bush and the war too. They've seen your illegal acts and your assassination attempts on their reporters.

Quote:

Look at what happened with Spain.

Yeah, look what happened. They voted the government that got them involved in your illegal war out of office.

They have continued fighting terrorism, rather more effectively than the government that supported Bush too.

Quote:

So there are still a great many folks there who supported the war.

No, actually. A large majority of Spanish people said that they did not support the war. Some voted for Aznar anyway because of other policies.

Contrary to your twisted belief system, the world does not revolve around the United States.
 
Nascar_James
#14
Quote: Originally Posted by Reverend Blair

Quote:

We also have very strong European allies in Italy and Poland, Rev.

The people of Italy hate Bush and the war too. They've seen your illegal acts and your assassination attempts on their reporters.

Last I checked, Rev, Rudy Berlusconi's government is right of center. He was elected fair and square. They supported us during the war. How can you say that they hate our President? On the contrary, we have excellent relations with the Italians.
 
Reverend Blair
#15
Polls show that the majority of Italians think Bush is scum, that his war is illegal, and that Italy shouldn't have signed up. Don't equate the election of a certain government in a foreign country with the general population's support of your criminal administration and your illegal acts, James...your position doesn't hold up to even the mildest scrutiny.
 
Nascar_James
#16
Quote: Originally Posted by PoisonPete2

It is indeed sad to see Germany slip back into the Fascist mindset.

That's not a nice thing to say. Electing a right of center government does not equate to fascism. The same argument could be said for the extreme left.
 
Nascar_James
#17
Democracy at it's finest. My congratulations to Merkel. She will make an outstanding Chancellor.

Looks like we will once again have a strong ally in Germany. One of her first priorities will be to repair ties with Washington which was caused by Schroeder's vocal opposition to the Iraq war.

Merkel is Germany's First Female Chancellor

Quote:

Reuters:

Tue Nov 22, 2005 8:49 PM ET
By Noah Barkin and Markus Krah

BERLIN (Reuters) - Angela Merkel became Germany's first female chancellor on Tuesday, ending months of political uncertainty and ushering in a fragile new coalition of left and right that must prove it can revive Europe's biggest economy.

Merkel, the 51-year-old pastor's daughter who started her political career after the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, was confirmed in Germany's top post by a parliamentary vote in which 397 of the Bundestag's 614 members backed her -- easily enough for the majority she needed in the lower house.

She became Germany's eighth postwar chancellor, its youngest and the first to have grown up in the ex-communist east.

"Dear Dr Merkel, you are now the first ever elected female head of government in Germany. That is a strong signal for many women, and certainly for some men too," joked parliamentary speaker Norbert Lammert, who swore Merkel into office.

Her predecessor Gerhard Schroeder, who initially refused to cede his post when her conservatives narrowly beat his Social Democrats in a September 18 election, was the first to congratulate Merkel after the result was read out to a hushed chamber.

Schroeder later handed over the Chancellery keys to Merkel in an emotional ceremony in which he wished her luck and she thanked him for modernizing Germany.

Merkel has vowed to cut unemployment and repair ties with Washington, strained by Schroeder's vocal opposition to the U.S.-led Iraq war. But she enters office weaker than she had hoped with a majority of Germans convinced her unwieldy alliance will not last a full four-year term.

Most Germans also believe the first "grand coalition" since the 1960s will fail to boost the economy, cut jobless queues or reduce Germany's indebtedness, according to a poll released by Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper on Tuesday.

Merkel said finding more jobs for Germans would be key.

Merkel's confirmation as chancellor comes two months after a tight election she had been expected to win easily, and a half year after Schroeder shocked the nation by calling for early polls. The result left Merkel with little choice but to form a coalition with the SPD, arch-rivals of her party for decades.

During tough month-long coalition negotiations, Merkel, whose reformist zeal has been likened to that of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, was forced to abandon her most ambitious plans for shaking up the German social welfare system.

ECONOMY IS PRIORITY

She will have to hope that the central plank of her coalition program -- a bipartisan deal to bring the budget deficit back within EU limits by 2007 through higher sales taxes -- will not hinder growth by cramping consumer spending.

Once Europe's motor, Germany now has one of the weakest growth rates in the 25-nation European Union. Reviving the economy and slashing unemployment, which hit postwar highs under Schroeder, are the new government's main priorities.

The challenge for the new government was underscored on Tuesday in European Commission note showing it will ask EU finance ministers in February to escalate budget disciplinary procedures against Germany to the last stage before sanctions.

With 397 votes, Merkel won more support in parliament than any previous chancellor, but 51 of the 448 deputies from her coalition chose not to support her.

"Perhaps it would have been nicer to have a '4' before the figure, but that's an aesthetic issue, not a question of stability in the coming years," said her new foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

Merkel represents a generational change and a break in style from the flamboyant Schroeder, who favored Italian suits and fat cigars and seemed most at ease when in the media spotlight.

Her low-key approach -- on display on Tuesday as she sat in the lower house of parliament with a restrained smile and sober black suit -- has been mocked in the German media.

But some commentators say it is tailor-made for a coalition that will require steady, delicate management and argue the government could succeed.

Merkel's cabinet, which met on Tuesday evening, is dominated by pragmatists and the ruling parties enjoy majorities in both houses of parliament. Stability could also be helped by a strong sense within the rival camps that failure could prompt voters to abandon them in any early elections.

Merkel will not sit back and savor her victory for long. On Wednesday, she travels to Paris to meet French President Jacques Chirac, then on to Brussels to see EU and NATO officials.

 
Nascar_James
#18
Quote: Originally Posted by Blackleaf

It's good to see Germany becoming more Atlanticist.

Now it joins Britain, Spain, Portugal, Italy and all the Eastern EU countries in being allies of the US.

France, eternally anti-American, is more isolated, and Britain and Germany are the new engines of the EU.

I predict the US - German relations will strengthen a great deal under the new administration. Will surely be on par with Italy.
 
no1important
#19
She won't last 2 years.
 

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