April 9, 2006


Uh, what's that you were saying? About how Bush's policies were driving away our traditional allies, and making us hated around the world? From Jim Geraghty, in the Washington Times:

....To call Mrs. Merkel a breath of fresh air is an understatement. Addressing German legislators on March 29, she shocked Berlin's staid foreign-policy establishment with a stirring address outlining a tough-minded determination to stand up for German principles abroad.

She cited the case of Abdul Rahman, the Afghan convert to Christianity who faced the death penalty. (Rahman is now safely in Italy.) Mrs. Merkel was among those applying the most diplomatic pressure on the Afghan regime, along with officials in the United States and Italy. Mrs. Merkel declared it "appalling" and was among the first to telephone Afghan president Hamid Karzai and twist some arms diplomatically.

Regarding Iran's nuclear program, Mrs. Merkel has taken a much tougher line than her predecessor. She compared Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Adolf Hitler. After he threatened to wipe Israel off the map, Mrs. Merkel declared, "Iran has blatantly crossed the red line. I say it as a German chancellor. A president who questions Israel's right to exist, a president who denies the Holocaust, cannot expect to receive any tolerance from Germany."

She also denounced Belarussian President Aleksandr Lukashenko and the recent unfree, unfair elections in that country, and demonstrated much more idealism and fire in the belly on issues not related to the war on terror. She strongly defended a controversial plan to send German troops to Congo, where they are scheduled to monitor that country's parliamentary elections in June.

Perhaps most strikingly, Mrs. Merkel ripped into a widespread and disingenuous perspective among German political elites, who loudly call for thorny international crises to be referred to the United Nations, knowing that in all likelihood the United Nations will do nothing....

... And now, with Mrs. Merkel restoring good relations with Washington, the anti-American chief executives in Europe are fewer....(Thanks to

And her approval ratings are at a historic high.

And let's see. She was supposed to be paralyzed because she was not elected with a real majority. But she's leading. Who else does that remind me of? Stephen Harper? You're right, but there's someone else. Bush, in 2001. He was supposedly going to be ineffective, because he didn't have an electoral mandate. How wrong we were. He started leading from his first day in office, and began accomplishing things almost immediately.

The first month of the Bush Administration was, politically speaking, the high point of my life. From near-despair to bliss in a week or two! To see similar things happening in other countries is deeply satisfactory. (Is there any long-term hope for Germany? I remain mostly skeptical. But maybe I've moved from 100% skeptical to 98%.)

And of course there's a reason why Bush or Harper or Merkel can make bricks without straw. They are drawing upon traditional values and strengths that do not grow old or tired. The leftist programs of welfare and appeasement squander the social and moral capital built up in more virtuous times, and then slowly fizzle into torpor and nihilism.

I'm not likely to be less skeptical about Germany any time soon, because I suspect that the deep source of strength that underlies Western Civilization is faith in God, and I have heard of no signs of a resurgence of that in Germany.

Posted by John Weidner at April 9, 2006 8:16 AM
Weblog by John Weidner