February 03, 2003

Vinocur in the IHT An

Vinocur in the IHT

An absolute must-read in the IHT by John Vinocur. The main theme revolves around how Schroeder's disastrous showing in the German provincial elections helps deals a fatal blow to the pretense of a joint Franco-German position on nay-saying Washington's aims in Iraq.

"The real message from the rebellious eight last week--not the excruciating reality of Europe's being divided and the EU's having no common foreign and security policy--was the group's success in exposing as a near-empty shell a German-French effort to turn European governments against the United States on a war-and-peace issue."

Vinocur also makes the point, made here earlier, that while the French still have room to maneuver and adopt the U.S. position, it will be more difficult for the Germans: "Short of resignation, Schroeder has nowhere comfortable left to maneuver."

Schroeder is shamless enough, however, that he could yet surprise and shift positions again despite his anti-war proclamations (watch out for the whiplash). He is a Clintonian figure in the sense that he will do whatever it takes to ensure his political survival. With even Joshka Fischer warning against "primitive anti-Americanism" the German electorate (including the so-called pacifist groupings) might begin to see that the Chancellor took them too far down the road of America-bashing. The rhetoric was catchy and helped him stay in office--but the ramifications are coming to roost now in a most unpleasant manner. If (when?) the French flip-flop--Germany will find itself totally isolated on Iraq policy--unless Schroeder again reverses course.

Time to bring the Christian Democrats back to power on the national level, and soon. And it appears that an increasingly wide swath of the German electorate is eager to do so.

Posted by Gregory at February 3, 2003 06:44 PM
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