Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

A taunting Schroeder sticks by Iraq position after narrow re-election
Associated Press ^

Posted on 09/23/2002 7:32:44 AM PDT by RCW2001

A taunting Schroeder sticks by Iraq position after narrow re-election

BERLIN Emboldened by even his razor-thin victory in Germany's closest postwar election, Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder on Monday stuck by his emphatic opposition to a war on Iraq after a campaign that angered Washington for unleashing anti-American tones.

Schroeder's Social Democrats secured another four years for his coalition with the small Greens party in Sunday's vote, but the chancellor must confront a tougher opposition as he attempts to revive Europe's largest economy and rebuild ties with the United States.

Schroeder's victory handed Europe's dwindling left another boost a week after Social Democrats triumphed in Sweden.

Despite indications from Washington that the relationship with Berlin had been poisoned by campaign rhetoric stemming from Schroeder's anti-war stand, the chancellor insisted a friendship nurtured under Cold War tensions remained strong. Allies, he said, can withstand differences not only on Iraq but also on other areas, like strategies to combat global warming.

"I think this difference of opinion will remain," Schroeder said. "We will have it out in a fair and open way without in any way endangering the basis of German-American relations. That is my firm intention." Yet the chancellor appeared caution, resisting a reporter's attempt to ask a question on the explosive topic in English, saying his English wasn't good enough.

"Unfortunately I can't answer in English and I can't understand your question. Please try it in German," Schroeder said in well-spoken English, trying to keep the mood light. The chancellor clearly understood the question when posed about whether he would retain his anti-war stand and he answered in German.

"There is no need to depart from what we said before the election and we will change nothing," he said.

Yet Bush administration remained cold.

"I have no comment on the German elections outcome, but I would have to say that the way it was conducted was notably unhelpful. And as the White House indicated, has had the effect of poisoning the relationship," Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said while attending a NATO meeting in Warsaw, Poland.

Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer will remain Schroeder's most important Cabinet member, entrusted with the role of repairing US-German relations and empowered by the Greens' strong showing that ensured the chancellor's second four-year term.

Also expected to retain their posts were Interior Minister Otto Schily, the official charged with domestic security, and Finance Minister Hans Eichel, the architect of plans to balance the federal budget by 2006.

Schroeder refused to go into details on his Cabinet until he enters coalition talks with the Greens who are in a position to demand additional posts. A top Schroeder aide, Franz Muentefering, said Monday he would not rule out given the Greens an additional Cabinet post, for a total of four.

In the most dramatic switch, the justice minister ensured her own doom with reported remarks comparing Bush to Hitler. Schroeder said the minister, Herta Daeubler-Gmelin, had submitted a letter Monday giving up the post in a new Cabinet, after receiving clear signals on Sunday the government would not have her.

The chancellor may also be looking for a new labor minister, after the government's failure to make a dent in unemployment.

Schroeder's victory was so slim and came so late that the chancellor never gave a definitive winner's speech and conservative challenger Edmund Stoiber never formally conceded.

Official results gave the Social Democrats and Greens a combined 47.1 percent of the vote for the lower house, or Bundestag. Opposition parties led by resurgent conservatives under Edmund Stoiber totaled 45.9 percent.

That gave the Social Democrats and Greens 306 seats in the new 603-seat parliament, compared to 295 for conservatives and the pro-business Free Democrats. Reformed communists won the other two seats.

Schroeder's outspoken opposition to a military conflict with Iraq was credited with giving him a late push in a tight campaign. But it sparked a rare open spat with the United States and accusations he whipped up emotions against a vital ally for electoral gain.

"What I criticize above all is that (Schroeder) opened the floodgates for anti-American tones," Stoiber said on German television, calling the crisis with the United States "the most devastating of the last 50 years."

Schroeder has insisted he would not commit troops for a war on Iraq even if the United Nations backs military action, but many analysts expect him to adopt a softer tone after the election.

Prospects for a conservative coalition were hurt by a scandal in the Free Democratic Party over deputy leader Juergen Moellemann's renewed attacks on a prominent German Jewish leader.

Moellemann bowed to party pressure Monday and resigned his post, accepting "my part of the responsibility" for the Free Democrats' showing. But he said he would not give up the parliament seat he won Sunday.

The party raised its support to 7.4 percent from 6.2 percent less than expected.
Some 79 percent of Germany's 61 million voters turned out Sunday casting two votes, one for a local candidate and one for a party. The party vote determined the percentage of seats each party won in the Bundestag, or parliament, chosen from a list of candidates submitted.

Beyond his forthright stand on Iraq, Schroeder broad-brushed much of his agenda for a second term except to uphold values like a fair society and the welfare state.
Stung by Germany's jobless problem, he has pledged to reform the highly regulated labor market. He has also promised to expand all-day schools and child care to make life easier for working mothers.

TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; Government
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-2021-27 next last

1 posted on 09/23/2002 7:32:44 AM PDT by RCW2001
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: RCW2001

History will prove him a fool.

2 posted on 09/23/2002 7:40:04 AM PDT by martin_fierro
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: RCW2001
We don't need German approval or German aid for the war with Iraq, so Schroeder winning won't affect the U.S. much at all.

It will affect Germany, greatly. Schroeder's burned some major bridges here, especially given his condescending "apology" to Bush after his Justice Minister's vile remark.

You know how sometimes someone angers you enough that you just don't bother with him anymore except where politeness requires some interaction? That's going to be the U.S. position with Schroeder's German government. It won't be worth the waste of time to yank our troops or anything, we just won't give a rip about what the Germans think on any level, on any issue.

3 posted on 09/23/2002 7:40:48 AM PDT by Numbers Guy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Numbers Guy
I'd like to see them try to stop US overflights in regard to Iraqi action.
4 posted on 09/23/2002 7:45:08 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: RCW2001
and rebuild ties with the United States

Uh, yeah, whatever. We'll get back to you on that. Don't call us, we'll call you.

Enjoy your irrelevance, Gerry.

5 posted on 09/23/2002 7:49:32 AM PDT by Stultis
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: RCW2001
Latest addition to W's Axis of Evil list: Deutschland.
6 posted on 09/23/2002 7:51:01 AM PDT by governsleastgovernsbest
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: governsleastgovernsbest
Where in the West did the 9-11 terrorist come from GERMANY
7 posted on 09/23/2002 7:59:49 AM PDT by scooby321
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: martin_fierro
Time to pull our forces out of Germany? Even Stoiber said he would not permit Germany to be used as a base for operations against Iraq. Perhaps we should start a steady redeployment of our ground forces out of Germany. If we want to keep a presence in Europe, I'm sure Poland or Hungary would love to have them.
8 posted on 09/23/2002 8:03:33 AM PDT by Stingray51
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

Comment #9 Removed by Moderator

Comment #10 Removed by Moderator

To: RCW2001
How about a nice little economic boycott of German products!! According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Dept. of Commerce, in 2000 the U.S. imports from Germany were $58.7 billion while exports to Germany were $29.2 billion. Gosh let's hit old Scrotum... er Schroeder in the pocket. May be a good way for us to "vote" in their election. Vote with your $

11 posted on 09/23/2002 8:26:10 AM PDT by FoundersRWatching
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: FoundersRWatching
How about we just re-station all our Nato troops out of Germany and into, say, England? Taking 60-100,000 Americans (and some families) out of the unfriendly and unsympathetic Germany would mean withdrawing all that economic activity that goes to the local economy. And aren't there some war-debts still on the books? We'll happily accept the cash.
12 posted on 09/23/2002 8:32:12 AM PDT by ReleaseTheHounds
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: Stingray51
It's way past time to bring our forces home from Germany. I believe we have 26 bases in Germany and something on the order of 75,000 GIs and their dependents. We maintain hospitals, schools, PXs, etc., all at huge expense. The Army, which has had no real mission in Europe since the end of the Cold War, should close up shop in Germany and return to the US. We already have an air base at Taszar, Hungary. The Hungarians are thrilled we're there and I'm less inclined to want to shut down expensive to duplicate Air Force bases than Army installations anyway.
13 posted on 09/23/2002 8:36:36 AM PDT by caltrop
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: martin_fierro; RCW2001
<< History will prove him a fool. >>

And will prove him a thieving, lying, looting, Neo-Axis mass-murdering gangster bastard, to boot!
14 posted on 09/23/2002 8:36:58 AM PDT by Brian Allen
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: William Creel
<< RCW2001

Why don't we just recall our ambassador and refuse to speak with Germany as long as a liberal is in power? >>

Good idea.

Let's start that comendable practice with [The Peking-based medieval Maoist mob of 250 psychopathological, invading, conquering, colonizing, enslaving, lying, looting, thieving, mass-murdering ganster bastards that calls itself] "china," though.
15 posted on 09/23/2002 8:43:00 AM PDT by Brian Allen
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: Brian Allen
After we reconstitute Iraq with a new government, we need to arrange it so that Germany is completely shut out of any deals.
16 posted on 09/23/2002 8:56:22 AM PDT by Defiant
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: RCW2001
This is good. The more Americans see this perfidy from Germany, the less they will care whether Bush gets support from these so-called "allies" in his quest to take out Saddam. :) Unilateralism is in, baby.
17 posted on 09/23/2002 9:13:36 AM PDT by veronica
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: RCW2001
Pull our troops out of Germany. It's not like we need them there anymore in case the Russkies invade.
18 posted on 09/23/2002 9:19:27 AM PDT by white trash redneck
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: martin_fierro
So you think Saddam poses the same threat as Hitler? What a laughable comparison.
19 posted on 09/23/2002 9:32:38 AM PDT by Austin Willard Wright
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: RCW2001
Schroeder seems a bit befuddled by the intensity of the U.S. reaction, and I'll tell you why - under the previous administration, whose ideological and demographic makeup more closely matches Schroeder's than the current one, unsubtle anti-American rhetoric was blown off as something that all sophisticates indulged in, something that was pretty much a given among the chic and leftist. Beating up on common external foes was a straight ticket to that voting block - what was the lady's felicitous phrase, "even Hitler did it..." (I've forgotten her name - didn't she used to be a minister in his government?) Offending mainstream Americans was a sport with no risk whatever because it was understood that it was all among friends who followed a "bigger" vision than mere nationalism.

It isn't like that now, and that seems to be confusing a lot of people, Schroeder not the least - I'd say it confused bin Laden and it seems to be confusing Saddam as well. It may be just me, but I get the strong impression that part of this confusion led the confused to conclude that we'd whine about 3000 murdered people for a few days and then back to business as usual. After a year they still don't get it, and they find it annoying that we seem to be taking this more seriously than they are. Bush isn't Clinton, and Afghanistan isn't Vietnam - neither is Iraq - and the precepts of the middle third of the previous century are as outmoded and archaic as buggy whips.

20 posted on 09/23/2002 9:37:21 AM PDT by Billthedrill
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-2021-27 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson