Bret Stephens, a brilliant columnist

Bret Stephens, a brilliant columnist who writes for the Jerusalem Post, assesses the position of Germany and Gerhard Schroeder following the election. He notes that Schroeder was endorsed by the Al-Iqtisadi newspaper in Baghdad and by neo-Nazi Franz Schoenhuber–not “exactly the endorsements…Schroeder was looking for.” More fundamentally, Schroeder and his government are in the deep freeze as far as America and its more reliable allies, like Italy, are concerned. Worst of all, news of Schroeder’s victory caused Frankfurt’s stock market index to fall 4.9% as shareholders–“dismayed by the prospect of another Schroeder government”–sold in droves. Stephens quotes Karl-Heinz Nassmacher of Oldenberg University saying, “What we need is a German Margaret Thatcher, but where are we going to find her?” On the whole, German prospects are not bright: “After a decade of stagnation, the country is no longer the economic powerhouse of former days. And with its stance over Iraq, the seriousness of its foreign policy may now be called into question as well.”

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