Saturday, June 04, 2005

German CDU and FDP want improved relations with the US

I read with some interest a Washington Time story about the German Christian Democrats and Free Democrats wanting to improve relations with the US. They feel the current German leadership has allied closely with Russia and France at the expense of their trans-Atlantic friendship and that this is a situation that needs resolving.

::::::::The conservative Christian Democrats and their Free Democratic partners will restore Germany's alliance with the United States and downgrade Berlin's ties with Russia if they win elections in September, leaders from both parties say.

In a series of interviews, they also said that they would review their alliance with France, which they intend to keep strong, but warn Paris not to challenge Berlin to choose between the United States and France, as was the case with the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Wolfgang Schaeuble, deputy chairman of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) parliamentary group who is in charge of foreign policy, accused Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, a Social Democrat, of undermining trans-Atlantic ties.

"We have great interest in close relations with Russia, but they have to be balanced and should in no way be directed against the Atlantic partnership," said Mr. Schaeuble, who was interior minister under CDU Chancellor Helmut Kohl and helped negotiate Germany's 1990 reunification.

Germany's neighbor Poland should not be left out of German-Russian developments, and Berlin should be more critical of "the state of democracy in Russia," Mr. Schaeuble said.

"All this was not respected by Schroeder, and the closeness with Russia went far too far," he said. "We would change this nonsense and re-establish the balance in German-Russian relations."

Guido Westerwelle, chairman of the Free Democratic Party (FDP), the CDU's junior partner, said Mr. Schroeder has criticized Washington more often than Moscow.

"It is not acceptable that the German government is often very critical of Washington -- sometimes rightfully so -- but stays silent on Russian violations of legal matters," he said. "For example, Mr. Schroeder had nothing to criticize about the verdict in the trial of Mikhail Khodorkovsky."

I welcome anyone wanting to improve relations, and especially the Germans. I like them. They share many of the same values we do and they've contributed to the world on a variety of levels thoughout history. The blight on their national honor that was Nazism is their particular burden to bear but it's not the only thing that's ever come out of Germany. It would be good to be close friends again. Of course, we'll have to see what happens in their upcoming elections. The German people would benefit from a change in the leadership that has seen their economy decline as it has and their leaders espouse the idea of putting the German people under the command of the EU elites. I wish them luck this summer.