Chancellor Merkel uses her opposition to Obama's financial policies to campaign for reelections, writes Malte Lehming from the German Tagesspiegel.
According to Lehming, Angela Merkel is following Gerhard Schroeder's anti-Iraq war strategy, but implements it in a more sophisticated way:
Is the financial crisis for Angela Merkel what the Iraq war was for Gerhard Schröder -- namely, a reason to seriously strain Germany's relationship with the U.S.? One need not answer with an unconditional "yes" to be very concerned. (...)
There's no question, Mrs. Merkel has good substantive arguments on her side. Mr. Schröder had some as well when he opposed George W. Bush before and during the Iraq war. Nevertheless, Americans and the German opposition -- namely, Mrs. Merkel's Christian Democratic Union -- accused Mr. Schröder of dishonesty. After all, his antiwar views were also motivated by electoral strategy and were not entirely free of general anti-Americanism.
But come to think of it, isn't Mrs. Merkel, too, campaigning this year? Her defiant self-assuredness in dealing with Washington may be as popular in Germany as Mr. Schröder's antiwar stance was. The difference between the two chancellors is that Mrs. Merkel's way of formulating her position is not aggressive, but subversive. When she defends her financial policies, she likes to remark with a wink that we shouldn't forget where the crisis began. Everyone knows which country she means.
I find the author's argument fascinating, but exaggerated or just wrong, since I have not noticed that "wink." Exaggeration is always a good method, if you would like to get attention and a land an op-ed in a foreign paper. The Wall Street Journal published his op-ed.
Moreover, a recent survey indicates that Germans look to Obama rather than Merkel in this financial crisis:
80 percent believe that the US president has an important role in finding a solution to the economic and financial crisis, compared to 58 percent looking to Angela Merkel and 55 percent to the EU. According to a survey contracted by German news program “Tagesthemen” and WELT, nearly half (48 percent) of the Germans who responded expected nothing to come of the G20 summit in London.
It seems that people are convinced that the U.S.A. is on the right track with Obama. 82 percent are already looking forward to the U.S. president’s next visit to Germany. This high degree of trust could also reflect the widespread approval of Obama’s stimulus program thus far. According to the survey, Germans are actually predominantly supportive as far as credit-based stimulus packages go. 66 percent believe such packages are important in boosting economies worldwide, while an even higher proportion (79 percent) are in favour of programs that also serve environmental and climate protection. The calls of Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy for tightened regulation of the financial market are also favoured by the majority of Germans. 90 percent of those surveyed want to see the control of the international finance markets become a reality.
What do you think of the Wall Street Journal op-ed and Chancellor Merkel's policies and statements?