Former German Chancellor Schroeder and Foreign Minister Fischer almost completely disappeared from the political radar just a couple of days after Angela Merkel and the Grand coalition of conservatives and social democrats took over the government.
The red-green coalition, which started in 1998 with the promise to change matters for good in Germany, all but failed in every respect.
Schroeder’s failure to lift Germany’s sluggish economic growth to at least average European levels weighs as much as the worsening unemployment figures. Not that a government can do much good for economic growth and job creation in a free market environment– but wasn’t it Schroeder-Fischer’s stated philosophy of close cooperation between government, unions and employer associations that was supposed to create job growth and economic fortunes for the German masses?
Well, it didn’t happen. The much touted fiscal stability, always promised for the very next year by Schroeder’s Finance Minister Eichel, never materialized. It wasn’t until after Schroeder’s retirement that the finance experts of the new government discovered an additional budget deficit to the tune of tens of billions of Euros.
Much ado was made in 1998 about a new era in environmental policies. After all, this – over two decades – was the cornerstone of the green party’s political platform. I guess one could easily agree even with proponents of Environmental Minister Trittin that the major impact of the red-green environmental policy lies in the gradual decline of nuclear energy in Germany and the massive subsidizing of energy from wind mills and solar technology. Why this would benefit the German economy and the German consumer, however, is open to discussion. While other European (and non-European) countries increasingly rely on cheap nuclear energy, Germany under Schroeder has decided to turn to expensive “alternative” energy sources – and to Russian gas. Also, as a result of the green party’s mullah-like opposition to genetic research, Germany now is probably the last place one would consider to start a bio-tech business.
Ray and I created this blog as a reaction to the unfortunate increase of anti-Americanism in the German media. This was paralleled and to a certain extent caused by the anti-American philosophies of Schroeder. During his entire career, Schroeder had turned a cold shoulder to American politics and to American politicians. Pre-1990, as Minister President of the state of Lower Saxony, Schroeder focused on warm relations with communist East Germany. No bad words to be heard from him on the many human rights abuses of the East German “government”. On the contrary, he actively tried to hinder investigations of refugee killings by East German border troops. As Chancellor, Schroeder pushed for a Franco-Allemand alliance to dominate the European Union – in a rather ridiculous attempt to counter American influence on world policy matters.
It is quite telling that Schroeder now wants “to learn English” as one of his post-Chancellor activities. Maybe as a lawyer looking for clients he may develop an interest in the American point of view.