Election 2005: Schroeder Comes Out of the Gate Bashing Bush
We could have written the script. Gerhard Schroeder and friends have failed Germany domestically for seven long years. In 2002, the Chancellor's Social Democrats exploited fears of war in Iraq and flooding in eastern Germany to come from behind and defeat the conservative CDU/CSU. Now, after a second straight term marked by worsening unemployment and continued economic stagnation, Schroeder is once again going to the well.
Schroeder Going with What Works in a Desperate Situation:
Bush-Bashing, Anti-American Sentiment and Pacifist Fear
The Chancellor clearly hopes to further exploit the growing pacifism and anti-Americanism that he and his party, with the help of many in the media, have helped to nurture in Germany. He knows that this issue remains one of the few with which he can resonate and score big political points with the public. And he's going to play it for all its worth.
In his first major election campaign speech today, Schroeder reminded Germans of his staunch "no" to Iraq and attacked President Bush on Iran, stating:
"Take the military options from the table, we have already experienced that they are good for nothing."
Military options good for nothing? That hardly sounds consistent with Mr. Schroeder's policy on the Balkans and Afghanistan, where German troops have long been stationed and the Chancellor's government supported military action. Let's not forget that this is the same Gerhard Schroeder who put his government through a vote of confidence to secure support for sending German troops to Afghanistan over the objections of rebelling members of his own coalition. This is also the same Gerhard Schroeder who shipped German troops off to Kosovo without a UN mandate. But who are we to criticize? Mr. Schroeder is a true professional when it comes to doing whatever it takes to win the vote, and German media are unlikely to call him on the inconsistency since most of them are in bed with his government ideologically as it is.
Schroeder went on to say that it was the objective of his government to:
"position our land as a central power, that is interested in a peaceful solution to the conflicts of this world."
Really? What a profound statement. Is the Chancellor trying to imply that the United States is not interested in "peaceful solutions" to the world's conflicts? Does Schroeder assume Americans are all blood-thirsty warmongers who really just wanted to kill some people? And if the Chancellor is so terribly interested in peace around the world, why has he been such an advocate for lifting the EU's arms embargo on China's dictators in the recent past? Is that policy also consistent with positioning Germany as a power for peace in the world? The Taiwanese must be absolutely thrilled to death with Mr. Schroeder's enormous peace efforts. But what should Germans care if China gets pumped full of weapons from Europe? After all, the Taiwanese are on the other side of the world. Nur weiter so Gerd!
The Chancellor's words must also be music to the ears of the dictators in Iran and around the world. Schroeder is playing the same sort of dupe that the Allies played to Hitler in the 1930s. Because Germany has no serious military option without outside help, many Germans feel that diplomacy is the only option. And let there be no doubt: Schroeder's attacks on the United States received heavy applause, in Germany and in Iran's ruling circles. On top of it all, his right-hand man Muenteferring has started-up again with his harsh anti-capitalist polemic. Let's hope he doesn't stoop to comparing American businesspeople to locusts this time.
So strap yourselves in and get ready for another wave of anti-Americanism in Germany folks. Get ready to hear about how America is to blame for all the world's problems, because after all, the Schroeder government can't be responsible for all of what is going wrong in Germany today. What better way to take Germans' minds off of their own government's failings than to bash the world's only superpower and its President, George W. Bush, a man smeared, criminalized and defamed like few before him.
Make no mistake: Schroeder's attacks represent his last, desperate attempts to cling to power. They are the aggressive rants of a failed politician attempting once again to manipulate Germans' fears and hatreds instead of inspiring their hopes and dreams. This is disgusting, it is repulsive, it is demeaning...but it is also no big surprise. And the worst part of all is that it will probably work...
(Article by Ray D.)
Programming note: In the interest of conserving space, the section of this article on Joschka Fischer has been made into a separate posting and will appear within the next 2 days. Stay tuned...