As soon as Chancellor Gerhard Schröder stated his strong opposition to America's possible decision to wage war on Iraq, his political stock began to rise dramatically within the German electorate. He swiftly overtook his opponent in the opinion polls and won the day over the more-conservative Edmund Stoiber in the September national elections. But his preelection rhetoric alarmed Americans. Germany's justice minister, Herta Daeubler-Gmelin, went much further, apparently drawing comparisons between President George Bush and Adolf Hitler.
Although she has since said that her comments were misinterpreted and the chancellor apologized to President Bush, U.S.-German relations were damaged. American national security adviser Condoleeza Rice said the "atmosphere had been poisoned."
Germany's Wolfgang Schäublen (a member of the Bundestag and the Christian Democratic Union Party's shadow foreign defense minister) went even further. He wrote in a Wall Street Journal feature: "German-American relations are at their lowest level since the founding of the state in 1949. A common European position on Iraq is also not in sight because Berlin is blocking it, and so Germany finds itself isolated within the European Union. In the meantime, the Chancellor has put Germany in the unenviable position of being Saddam Hussein's favorite western state."
Mr. Schäublen then asked his own country tough questions: "What is wrong with Germany? Are Germans ungrateful? Have they such a short memory that they have forgotten who defended peace and freedom in Berlin in the Cold War and who made it possible for the country to be reunified in peace in freedom in 1990?"
Now that the national elections are over, Germany's chancellor has begun to try to repair the damage to his country's relationship with America. First he accepted his justice minister's decision to resign because of her remarks. Mr. Schröder then said: "Between friends there can be factual differences, but they should not be personalized, particularly between allies."
West German (1949-1990) and then German relations with the United States have been remarkably stable for more than 50 years. However, one of the effects of the end of the Cold War has been more-difficult diplomatic relations with Western Europe.
As the saying goes, you ain't seen nothing yet. Bible prophecy predicts that a future disruption of monumental proportions will astonish everyone on earth. To learn where these trends are heading, request our free booklet The Book of Revelation Unveiled. (Sources: The Sunday Telegraph, The Financial Times [London], USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, San Antonio Express-News, The Times-Union [Jacksonville], The Los Angeles Times.)