US-Germany: differences remain, say media

24th February 2005, Comments 0 comments

24 February 2005, HAMBURG - US President George W. Bush's one-day visit to Germany was largely praised across the German political establishment, but leading press commentaries said differences remained. Among politicians hailing the visit as a success, Wolfgang Schaeuble, foreign affairs expert for the opposition Christian Democrats (CDU), said there was now a considerable improvement in German-US relations. "It is definitely progress that the governments are again working together in a friendly atmospher

24 February 2005

HAMBURG - US President George W. Bush's one-day visit to Germany was largely praised across the German political establishment, but leading press commentaries said differences remained.

Among politicians hailing the visit as a success, Wolfgang Schaeuble, foreign affairs expert for the opposition Christian Democrats (CDU), said there was now a considerable improvement in German-US relations.

"It is definitely progress that the governments are again working together in a friendly atmosphere," he said.

Former defence minister Volker Ruehe said Bush's visit and the talks with Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder would help stabilise relations between the United States and Europe.

"I believe that America realises that the problems of the 21st century cannot be solved by America alone," he said.

Former US ambassador in Berlin, John Kornblum, told the n-tv television news channel, there were signs of a new realism in relations between Washington and Berlin.

Bush's visit was "a good show, at times a little bit too much", he said. "But I am pleased that Bush can now pronounce Gerhard properly."

However Hans-Christian Stroebele, a leading member of the Greens, a member of Schroeder's coalition government, said he felt "physically uncomfortable when I saw how this U.S. president was embraced".

An editorial in the broadsheet Die Welt said: "Isn't what we have seen in the last few days in meetings between Europe and America a bit like the couple who have separated, that knows for certain it is all over, but gives things one more try for the sake of the children? We can still be friends!"

The Munich-based Sueddeutsche Zeitung commented: "Best friends actually receive a different reception. As George W. Bush arrived in Mainz on Wednesday the city resembled a high-security tract.

"There could not have been a greater contrast than the one between this deserted and strongly monitored city centre and the streets of Berlin in which an enraptured crowd paid homage to John F. Kennedy in 1963.

"...But despite the frosty circumstances the encounter between Bush and Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder was one of demonstrative warmth."

The Frankfuerter Allgemeine newspaper said German-U.S. relations would never return to how they were before the differences over Iraq. It called for a new, more pragmatic relationship which put aside ideological differences.

"Strategic separation and political-cultural estrangement cannot be overcome by a visit..." it said.

"The Iron Curtain and the Wall are gone, the Soviet Union no longer exists, Germany is reunified. America's focus is directed at other regions of the world. The old security relationship of protection and loyalty no longer exists.

"Moreover a generational change has taken place on both sides of the Atlantic: here the class of the 1968 generation rules ... there on the other hand governs a president who comes from a political, social and religious environment which for many people here is strange, even frightening."

The daily Stuttgarter Zeitung said Bush and Schroeder had demonstratively shown their willingness to talks.

"But the rapprochement also reached its limits in Mainz: The US president avoided linking himself to the famous formula of his father who in 1989 offered Germany a "partnership in leadership," the paper said.

"The junior's message is: My government will not share America's leadership claims with anyone." 

DPA

Subject: German news 

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