Superpowers Have Feelings Too21 Sep 2002
A few weeks ago it was reported that George W. Bush "doesn't give a shit what Europeans think". From American reaction to the German election campaign and the remarks of Justice Minister Däubler-Gmelin comparing Bush and Hitler, that report was obviously false. The United States does care what the world thinks about it, and even a superpower has feelings that can be hurt.
Däubler-Gmelin has demonstrated at least 3 degrees of stupidity during this episode (first making the remarks in the first place, in a discussion with labor representitives where she forgot the press was present, second approving the quotes for publication in person at the offices of the "Schwäbische Tagblatt", and third trying to deny at a press conference yesterday that she had meant what she said). However, it was her boss, Gerhard Schröder, who created the atmosphere that made such unthinkable remarks possible. He made Iraq a campaign issue, he accused the US of pushing for a military adventure, and made political attacks on the US fashionable this election season. The minister was wrong, dead wrong, and deserves the political banishment that awaits her, but the chancellor shares much of the blame.