Here’s some interesting commentary from Germany (hat tip Instapundit) on Chancellor Schroeder’s free fall in the opinion polls. The headline (that it is lying Gerhard’s anti-Americanism that is backfiring) doesn’t give the right impression. It’s better to look at the text of the piece, where the writer points to the economy. He’s right. The problem for Schroeder lies rooted firmly in his country’s moribund economy, something that has, of course, been made far worse than it needs to be by the EU’s idiotically pro-cyclical ‘growth and stability’ pact. To fix it, the chancellor needs to embark on profound structural reform of Germany’s overreaching welfare state – and that is making him even more unpopular.
Turning to foreign policy, this detail is of interest, however:
“Until now, Schroeder could always count on anti-American policies to give him a lift in the polls when he was in trouble at home. Just this week, the SPD [the writer is using ‘SPD,’ the name of Schroeder’s party, as a synonym for the country’s coalition government] attempted to play the very same card by refusing to forgive Iraq its $4.6 billion debt to Germany. Then the SPD went further by only sending a deputy minister to the Madrid Donor Conference and refusing to pledge more to Iraq’s reconstruction than the miserly 193 million Euro already pledged by the EU.”
Nice behavior that from a country that did so well from the Marshall Plan. I’d expect the issue of Iraqi debt forgiveness to return into focus before long.