Jim Geraghty has some very good news about the new German chancellor, Angela Merkel. Unlike her predecessor, the cyncial America-basher Gerhard Schroeder, Merkel is generally supportive of U.S. policies. Moreover, she is an independent voice for firmness in world affairs. She took a lead role in calling for the release of Abdul Rahman, the Afghan convert to Christianity who faced the death penalty. And she has denounced Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, comparing him to Adolf Hitler. Geraghty also reports that Merket has “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 with all of this, Merkel’s approval ratings are among the highest ever for a German chancellor
Geraghty notes that these developments are only part (though perhaps the best part) of a favorable trend for America in Europe:
We hear a lot about how the Bush administration has wrecked relations with our European allies, a complaint that was always overwrought and is now increasingly inaccurate. Tony Blair remains prime minister of Britain; whether he retires in the coming months or further in the future, his successor, Gordon Brown, will find many aspects of the Bush-Blair partnership locked in. Silvio Berlusconi has a good chance of re-election in Italy on April 9, and even his center-left opponent admits his foreign policy on Iraq will be indistinguishable from the current policy, a gradual withdrawal based on the Iraqi government’s requests. And many Europeans, after witnessing the violent reaction in the Islamic world over some Danish cartoons, are realizing that the U.S. aim to stomp out Islamist terrorist groups around the globe isn’t just the PR cover for some sinister conspiracy tied to oil interests.