Just passing through

No need for holding substantial talks here in Germany. There doesn’t appear to be anything of much substance to talk about. President Obama will be leaving Germany out of the loop (once again?) as he performs his polite and perfunctory visit here on his way to and from the real world this week.

Freunde für immer schon wieder.

What do Washington and Berlin not have in common? Let me count the ways: Personalities at the top that don’t seem to jive with one another, for one thing. Merkel is considered to be a bit difficult in the White House, this probably beginning with her refusal to let Senator Obama turn the Brandenburg Gate into his own private presidential election campaign venue last year.

Then (before his inauguration), Germany made it clear that there will be no additional German military support going to Afghanistan, leaving it up the US to dispatch an additional 21,000 soldiers there – nor will Germany even begin to think about heading south to do some fighting with the troops there they already have.

Then there is Germany’s lack of good will when it comes to the closing of that dreadful awful horrible Guantanamo place (a major German demand for years now), its refusal to accept Guantanamo prisoners in Germany, that is.

Then there’s what many see as Merkel’s big failure in the early stages of the financial crisis, unwilling to take coordinated measures against what was preferred to be seen here as a strictly American matter, only later to turn back around and support a European economic stimulus package doch (after all).

Then, of course, there is Merkel’s current coalition government election year show in which the partners now increasingly spend their time wasting everybody else’s time by going at each other’s throats in an increasingly theatrical manner (does that make her a German lame duck or something?).

Anyways, President Obama appears to have more pressing matters than to have to spend all too much time in Germany at the moment. But I’m sure he’ll be able to dish up a few friendly and flattering words for the Chancellor & Co. today. As long as it doesn’t take too long, I mean.

„Die Kanzlerin gilt in Washington als sperrig, außerdem scheinen die USA Deutschland im Moment nicht zu brauchen – das kann sich aber schon bald ändern.“

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