German Politics, Germany, US Politics, USA

Bush in Bild

For those of you, gentle readers, who do not engange in in-depth analysis of Germany’s tabloid newspapers, here’s a transcript of the US President George W. Bush’s interview with Kai Diekmann of BILD here’s the edited German version published by BILD. They met in the Oval office and discussed, among other issues, the rug-choosing dilemma every leader of the free world is facing. At least this one knows how to delegate.

Oh, and there’s a chance the US forces on German soil will have to do more than singing Karaoke in local Irish Pubs soon: Via SFGate, I noticed, that the President is not entirely sure about the state of democracy in Germany…

Zeroing in on the United States’ ties to Germany and recalling that German troops did not help attack Iraq, Bush admits: “I’ve come to realize that the nature of the German people are such that war is very abhorrent, that Germany is a country now that is — no matter where they sit on the political spectrum, Germans are — just don’t like war…. The point now is how do we work together to achieve important goals. And one such goal is a democracy in Germany [sic].” (The White House published its transcript with Bush’s glaring error and called attention to it.)

A part of the American blogosphere, on the other hand, was most excited to finally learn hrough the interview that President Bush’s best moment of all was

“when [he] caught a seven and a half pound perch in [his] lake.”

A little fishy, indeed.

I’m starting to wonder if we’re gonna miss him, after January 2009…

German Politics, Iraq, US Politics

A New World Symphony

When I woke up today, SWR3 radio was broadcasting a piece about the non-event that Angela Merkel’s visit is for the US media despite the “royal treatment” – she has been given by the US government, according to the NYTimes – thanks to Amiland for pointing to the article.

There’s much truth in what is said about her visit in the article, in my opinion rather accurately summarised by the following quote from Senator Chuck Hagel, a Nebraska Republican –

“Obviously, she’s the leader of the opposition party, but I do think the real objective here is to put back together and repair the damage that’s been done between these two countries, … Don’t allow America to define Germany by what the chancellor said, or don’t allow Germany to define America by using anti-American sentiments for political purposes.”

But what the article does not even allude to is how the price for her “royal treatment” is perceived over here. SWR3 was unusually harsh in its wording. The price for meeting with all those “you’re either for or against us”-officials is to renounce to a public opinion of one’s own – “a kowtow”.

Well, let’s just say that this is one possible interpretation. And should the NY Times article be read by some more journalists over here than usual, she might well get the some more press coverage after her return, for Angie apparently said that Rumsfeld was right to describe Germany and France as ‘old Europe” –

“… the Defense Department official who described her meeting with Mr. Rumsfeld said she had told him that, whatever his motivation, he had hit an accurate chord in his comments about Germany and France as “old Europe.” The official added that she had also commented that there “was a lot of truth in what he had said and that the discussion had served some good.”

– while she felt –

“… she has a little bit of new Europe in her…”

Lovely. I can already see the vultures. Last Friday, a friend described Merkel’s current political behavior with the following remark – “… she’s just not up to the job.”

Looks like she wants to prove him right.

German Politics, Iraq, oddly enough, US Politics

Axis And Alliance… We’re Soooooooo Willing.

Politicians are such a crazy bunch sometimes. If you read Ari Fleischer’s [White House spokesman] statements regarding Germany at the White House Press Briefing [search for Germany] last Friday you could indeed think that Germany is now part of the “Alliance of the Willing”. I guess he just wants to confuse the German media ;-) – remember, two weeks ago we were on par with Lybia and Cuba, remember the Axis of Weasel?

MR. FLEISCHER: No, I don’t think that’s the case at all. In fact, take a look — Germany is an example. Germany, we already anticipate, will vote no on any resolution at the Security Council. Yet in the end, Germany played a constructive role in NATO to make certain that our ally, Turkey, could be defended. If you recall, Germany supported the position of the military divisions within NATO, the Defense Planning Committee, to protect Turkey, which indeed is receiving the AWAX and the chemical weapon defenses and other supplies that NATO is now on the ground providing to Turkey. That’s an example of a nation that intends to vote no at the Security Council is still a member of the Alliance and is still helpful in certain regards.

I really wonder what made them change the tune… could it be that Blair’s problems within his parliamentary party are the key? I suppose it’s been a long time since British backbenchers had such a power over war and peace. Maybe W started to count the members of the “Alliance of the Willing” and realised that there aren’t too many that a larger part of the American public would be able to locate on a map should Blair indeed be forced to weasel out, in case the French veto a second resolution.

So the enrollment criteria for the Alliance seem to have become a little more inclusive… Hmm, I wonder what the Schroodle thinks about this development.

Iraq, oddly enough

Stupidity, Inc., press release

So “Miss Deutschland” (who apparently is not “Miss Germany”, but don’t ask me about these subtle differences…) has begun her new job as weapon inspector in Iraq, Spiegel online tells us. And they have pictures, too. The following quote is, in my opinion, the most telling part of the article –

“Dutzende Schulmädchen lagern auf dem Parkplatz und malen Bilder gegen den Krieg. Auch Alexsandra nimmt Platz und lässt sich einen Bleistift reichen. ‘Don’t make war’ schreibt sie auf ein Blatt Papier. Die Schulmädchen schauen verlegen, weil sie kein Englisch verstehen. Die meisten von ihnen haben irakische Panzer gemalt, die feindliche Flugzeuge vom Himmel holen.”

Translation (my own) –

“Dozens of girls are sitting on a parking lot and are painting pictures against the war. Aleksandra [Miss Deutschland] sits down, too, and is given a pen. ‘Don’t make war’, she writes on a sheet of paper. The little girls look puzzled, for they don’t understand English. Most of them had painted Iraqi tanks shooting enemy planes from the sky.”

She also received a bouquet from Saddam’s son Uday. Not bad. Not bad at all. Well, at least my mum thinks she’s brave…


Stupidity, Inc.

It seems some people feel the eternal need to prove clichés right.

Maybe, the management of Alexandra Vodjanikova, a former Ukrainian Yves St. Laurent model and current “Miss Deutschland”, should have spent more time in the “Derek Zoolander Centre For Kids Who Can’t Read Good And Wanna Learn How To Do Other Stuff Good, Too”, given that this poster (for dentists…) is not the worst idea they ever had. Her management’s worst idea clearly was to send her on a peace mission to Iraq – as Spiegel online [scroll down to her name] reported last week – to meet Saddam and convince him of the inherent danger of WMDs.

So far, Saddam has not yet decided whether to participate in such a blatant PR scam or not (dpa). I suppose, even dictators of his ilk do have some standards…

While thinking about the final fronteer of stupidity, why not check out “USA über Alles” for a chuckle.

German Politics, US Politics


Have you ever watched Ally McBeal? When Ally could not convince the jury of the case she was presenting she asked Richard Fish for a quick Fishism or told John Cage to squeak and distract the judge or undermine the trustworthiness of a main witness. Apparently, we have arrived at point of the discussion where commenting on global political developments is being turned into an American Court Room – with the Washington Post’s readership as jury.

These day’s Ally is Michael Kelly, who has published a regrettable attempt to discredit German foreign minister Joschka Fischer because of his political biography. Even though most of the things he writes are actually true, Mr Kelly is clearly guilty of forgetting to mention most of what Mr Fischer has said or done after 1968. Sometimes omitting important facts is pretty close to lying.

Joschka Fischer was a member of a violent extra-parliamentary opposition group during the ’68 period. He has always said so. He has always explained – when asked – that he very much regrets his violent past. Moreover, just like Daniel Cohn-Bendit, and many others – he has become a respected and balanced politician. The streets of ’68 may have been an unuasual school, but they were indeed the breeding ground for some very talented political autodidacts. Times change. People can change. Joschka Fischer certainly has.

He has come a long way from being a violent pacifist to a statesman delivering his party’s parliamentary votes in Novermber 2001, when Schroeder put his government at risk by coupling a vote of confidence with the question of deploying troops for operation “Enduring Freedom” – I mention this just in case anyone would like to start another “gratefulness” discussion.

The fact that he has embarrassed Donald Rumsfeld by telling a world audience in English last Saturday that he is not convinced by the simplistic WMD based case for invading Iraq which the American government is consistently feeding its population should be taken seriously by those making this case. Cornering him is not wise. He’s the one who votes for Germany in the security council. And should he lift his arm – he’s the one who could single handedly split the ruling German coalition, his party and create a seismic shift in German politics reminiscent of the 1982 vote on the Pershing rearmament, when the FDP suddenly changed sides. This time, it’s not going to be the party. But it could be Joschka Fischer – indeed Germany’s Mr. Tough Guy – should he deem it necessary. I don’t think he will. And you know why – not because of German or party politics. But because he’s not convinced.

Before go on to read Mr Kelly’s commentary, I would like you to check the following excerpt taken from an interview conducted by CNN with George W Bush during the 1999 primaries. If you think that it is all there is to be said about President Bush (whatever your personal opinion of him is) then you might as well believe that Mr Kelly said all there is to be said about Joschka Fischer.

COOPER: […] Is there any lapse in judgment in your personal life that would make you think twice about running for president?

BUSH: No. I mean I have said many times that there’s nothing in my background that would disqualify me for being governor of Texas much less president.

COOPER: What about alcohol?

BUSH: Probably no more so than others that you know. But I quit drinking. I quit drinking for a couple of reasons. One I was drinking too much at times. But remember during this period of life I was a Sunday school teacher. I was a little league coach. I was a husband. I was a dad, but alcohol began to compete with my energies.

COOPER: Have you ever used drugs? Marijuana, cocaine?

BUSH: I’m not going talk about what I did as a child. What I’m going to talk about and I’m going to say this consistently: It is irrelevant what I did 20 to 30 years ago. What’s relevant is that I have learned from any mistakes that I made. I do not want to send signals to anybody that what Governor Bush did 30 years ago is cool to try.

German Politics, Iraq

Dear Gerhard,

Why can’t you just cut the crap and just tell us what we already know. Now I know you might not have spoken to many ordinary (that is non party-affiliated) people lately to avoid a heavy beating by angry tax payers. So believe me if I’m telling you that, really, everybody in this country knows that,

  • no, German troops will not actively participate in conquering Bagdad. And let’s face it, Donny & Conny & Tommy (Rumsfeld, Rice, Franks…) are most likely rather grateful that the US armed forces will not have to babysit ze Tschermans while trying ot invade Iraq, but
  • yes, Germany (ahm, you) will do pretty much everything else the US ask for to facilitate their (and token British) strike on Saddam’s regime. Yes, we know that includes all the “eventualities” you still refuse to discuss, especially some sort of involvement of the ABC clearing tanks only deployed in Kuwait for operation Enduring Freedom and those German soldiers in NATO AWACS planes – only “protecting” NATO territory, of course.

Ple-heease. We know you’ve been “framing the truth” all along. And yes, even those who voted for you two months ago knew it. But they liked your irredentist behavior. Bashing the rich and powerful is a natural socialist instinct (which, by the way, all too often led to schizophrenia once socialists had become rich and powerful…) and we like some good political entertainment.

But now we know how the story ends and there’s not too much repeat viewing value to it. So can you please save yourself and all others a lot of time by just telling us what we all know?

P.S.: And while you’re about to make some useful decisions, please fire Olaf Scholz (your party’s general secretary who does not believe Germany needs a makeover). I guess you hired him to make yourself look better in comparison. That’s fair enough. And I guess he did not even understand why he got that job… but seriously, that guy is lowering the level of this comparison to levels rarely seen in postwar politics.

US Politics

Still in love! Bush caught nibbling Schroeder’s earlobe!

bu_schroePrague. 21/11/02. In what must be regarded as a striking revelation given recent public rows, the two world leaders weren’t ashamed to demonstrate their feelings toward each other publicly during yesterday’s NATO summit in Praque. The only remaining question is what George W whispered in Gerhard’s ear. I suppose it was something like “And they all believed we were actually fighting. We should do that more often! See ya later…”

German Politics, Iraq


German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder stated today that in his opinion a war against Iraq is not useful for the time being. The middle east conflict should be solved before considering any further action against Iraq.

I have not yet made up my mind concerning a western military intervention in Iraq but to wait until the middle east conflict will be resolved would certainly be a bit longer than useful. Sometimes I wonder whether politicians secretly hate Emil Berliner for inventing the microphone…