(By Ray D.)
"We are, within the framework of our possibilities, prepared to become involved in the stabilization of the situation in Iraq, for example through the mentioned training of police and soldiers outside of Iraq or through the civil rebuilding in Iraq. But not just President Bush, but also presidential candidate Kerry knows that the position of the German government not to send any troops to Iraq is not dependent upon who will be elected in the American elections." (emphasis ours)
It is becoming more and more clear with each passing day that Germany and France will not send troops to Iraq even if John Kerry should win the election. So the big question remains: If elected, which allies will a President Kerry convince to join the US in Iraq after calling the war a "mistake" fought at the wrong place and the wrong time? Mr. Kerry's promises to build a broader coalition and attract more international allies to Iraq seem awfully hollow. Perhaps Burkina Faso can still be convinced...
Voigt: Bush has Himself to Blame for Germans' Negative Perceptions
Mr. Voigt's reaction to the following question was also interesting:
"Question: Most Germans want Kerry to be the next US President. Despite that, wouldn't it be simpler for the position of the German government if Bush were re-elected?
Answer: I believe that here there is a difference between the populace and the experts in the government, who not only know that we have to work together with the American president, no matter what his name is. The experts also know that there are moderate differences between the candidates, but no principal differences in the foreign and security policy. That is something that is not perceived by the German people in the same manner, because there naturally the rhetoric of Bush that is aimed at a particular political clientele and political milieu is not exactly something that in the same way garners great favor. I believe that the differences in the policy, that do indeed exist, are not as dramatic as they are, in part, perceived by the general population." (emphasis ours)
So according to Voigt, the main reason that most Germans can't see how similar Bush and Kerry really are is because of "Bush's rhetoric." In other words, it is Bush's own fault that people in Germany dislike him in overwhelming numbers. "Selberschuld" Mr. President.
But is that really what is behind Germans' disdain for Bush? Is Mr. Voigt giving us the complete picture?
Hmmmm...I wonder if Mr. Voigt thinks any of this objective German media coverage has influenced Germans' perceptions of Bush:
Could this sort of media coverage possibly have influenced Germans Mr. Voigt?
One thing is clear: It is certainly much easier from a political point of view for Mr. Voigt to place all the blame on Bush and his "rhetoric." Bush has become a favorite scapegoat for nearly everything of late. Now he is even being blamed for job losses in Germany. After all, why should the German media blame the Socialist-Green government's failing economic policy when they can point the finger at the evil American cowboy? It certainly sells more magazines and numbs the pain.
But can we really blame poor Mr. Voigt? It really wouldn't make much sense for a member of the Socialist Schroeder administration to criticize such strong natural allies in the German media. Why bite the hand that feeds you?