This is Germany


Germany’s President Horst Koehler has thrown in the towel for getting heat about having said this:

“In my view, however, I think our society is on the right path to fully understanding that a country of our size, export-oriented as it is, and therefore dependent upon foreign trade… In a country like ours we must also know that in doubt, in an emergency, military intervention will also be necessary to protect our interests. To keep free trade routes open, for instance, to prevent regional instability, for example, these are things that would otherwise have a definite negative effect upon our trade, our jobs and our income. Everything should be open for discussion here, and I believe that we are making good progress to that end.”

My, how scandalous. How could the pacifist citizens of the world’s third largest weapons exporting nation possibly take such shocking and unsavoury presidential provocations like this sitting down? They couldn’t take it sitting down, of course, so Horst had to step down.

This is just too ridiculous for me. Somebody please tell me what I missed here.


Wir sind Papst again!

No, this is even better than having a German Pope.

Lena delivered and brought home the Eurovision 2010 crown – or whatever the hell it is Eurovision winners get when they, uh, win.

Knock yourselves out or something already!

PS: I don’t want to spoil your cornflakes or anything, Germany – she’s a cutie pie, really – but there’s something slightly wrong with her english/Englisch. I’m just sayin’, OK?

Divided we stand

But at least divided we stand together, in “broad agreement.”

It goes like this: Tim Geithner is all for imposing more conservative rules on financial institutions too, Germany, as long as they’re not too conservative. Germany’s Wolfgang Schäuble, on the other hand, wants kind-of-sort-of the same thing, he says, as long as it’s more conservative than not too conservative and, above all else, international. And as long as it’s German unilateral at the same time too, of course.

Other than that though, they couldn’t agree on much of anything.

“We have a lot in common. We are going to have slightly different approaches. I don’t think we’ll know what separates us until we get to the next stage.”

Germany vs. Europe?

Well welcome to the club, Germany. Like what took you so long?

Now, at the worst possible moment, Germany is turning to nationalist illusions. Europe’s past economic successes are now viewed as German successes.

Europe’s current deep problems are everyone else’s except Germany’s. That is neither realistic nor sustainable. But German politicians and commentators are callously and self-destructively feeding these ideas.

Germans still leaving the country

721 000 folks moved to Germany last year, 734 000 left. That’s 13 000 in the red, which is kind of a lot, I guess (especially when you consider the birth rate here these days), but at least it’s less red than the 43 000 in the red the year before, which is good, I guess.

So what does all this mean? Hell if I know. Give the people what they want or something and then they’ll stay. Or maybe they won’t. Hard to say for sure.

Besonders beliebt sind die Schweiz und USA.

Too little too late

What’s five years late these days? Too much for even the German Defense Ministry, it seems.

They’re mad as hell and aren’t going to wait it anymore for an order of 80 EADS/Eurocopter/Tiger helicopters to be delivered – five years behind schedule and counting.

Well, that’s not the whole truth. Eleven have actually arrived already (probably driven in on trucks), but these Tigers weren’t the ones they ordered. Hey, Rome (and the EU) wasn’t built in a day either.

Eurocopter, the world’s largest maker of helicopters by units, is a subsidiary of European Aeronautic, Defence & Space Co., which also makes Airbus SAS commercial and military planes.

Merkel botched it with the euro – at least as well as we would have

SPIEGEL: But most German politicians are committed to Europe.

Fischer: Only as long as it remains very abstract. But we have to give people enough credit to deal with unpleasant truths. No one explains why the euro is important for Germany and what its failure would mean. And no one explains why Germany has always paid — because it happens to be the big winner in Europe.

SPIEGEL: A community of solidarity means that Germany must pay for the failures of others.

Fischer: What nonsense! The European Union was a transfer union from the very beginning. The common market and the agrarian market were and still are primarily transfer guarantees for Germany and France!

SPIEGEL: How should Merkel have reacted?

Fischer: The chancellor should have put forward her own proposal to rescue the euro, in coordination with France. We have a responsibility as Europe’s strongest economic power. The EU cannot solve its problems in the long run if Germany hides itself. We are paying a high price for our resistance. We are viewed with suspicion in the entire Mediterranean region, and are seen as villains in Greece.

Too fragile

And besides, possession is nine-tenths of the law. Or of the lack of law, as the case may be.

Berlin’s own 3,300-year-old bust of Queen Nefertiti – a tourist attraction some claim to have been whisked away from Egypt with fraudulent documents way back when – won’t be “loaned” to Egypt anytime soon. At least not if Germany has anything to say about it.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle – a famed Egyptologist too, I think – says that Egyptian requests for the bust are unrealistic because, well, it’s simply too fragile to move. At least in the direction of Egypt it is.

Egypt is campaigning to retrieve thousands of antiquities spirited out during Egypt’s colonial period and afterward.