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German media roundup: Kudos for Merkel's 'freedom' speech

The Local · 4 Nov 2009, 16:45

Published: 04 Nov 2009 14:34 GMT+01:00
Updated: 04 Nov 2009 16:45 GMT+01:00

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Merkel, freshly re-elected to a second term in September, used the opportunity to highlight the successes of German-American friendship and extol the virtues of defending freedom ahead of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. But she also drew attention to politically sensitive issues, such as environmental policy and the war in Afghanistan.

News magazine Der Spiegel commended Merkel in an editorial titled, “Bravo, Chancellor!”

“With this speech, the German chancellor has proved that her generation should not be underestimated,” it said. “Symbols of the renewed German-American friendship are no longer the soldiers standing at Checkpoint Charlie, but online bloggers, iPhone users, the transatlantic mourners of Michael Jackson, politicians like Barack Obama, and now Angela Merkel.”

The importance of symbolism was also highlighted by the centre-left Süddeutsche Zeitung. “Merkel’s speech in Washington urged Western values and solidarity with our allies. The metaphor of today’s walls (between rich and poor, lavish lifestyles and scorched earth) accurately describes the challenges of tomorrow,” wrote the paper.

Right-wing daily Die Welt noted that “Americans can be very sentimental” and praised Merkel for explicitly thanking Democratic President John F. Kennedy, Republican President Ronald Reagan and the American pilots who participated in the Berlin Airlift. “It is good for Germany to have a Chancellor speak before Congress and celebrate a success,” the paper concluded.

But contemporary problems, such as global warming and the war in Afghanistan, may strain German-American relations in the future, wrote centrist daily Der Tagesspiegel.

Chancellor Merkel “used this auspicious moment to remind Congress of the positive aspects of the German-American alliance. This is important since governments in Washington and Berlin are in disagreement over a number of critical issues. In the White House, Barack Obama and Angela Merkel discussed climate change, war in Afghanistan and the world economy – issues that do not call to mind harmonious memories, but rather tangible conflicts of interest,” wrote the paper.

In an editorial titled, “An Ode to Freedom,” the conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung said that “Frau Merkel did more than simply outline the foreign policy programme of a second-term chancellor.” According to the paper, Merkel has made it clear that the NATO mission in Afghanistan is a cornerstone of German security policy.

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“One who offers such an ode to freedom before the Congress in Washington, cannot offer anything less to those in the Bundestag and the German public,” the paper said.

Meanwhile left-wing paper Die Tageszeitung called the speech a “chance for niceties,” and a “new beginning,” during which Merkel highlighted only the positive aspects of the German-American relationship. This is important “because right now there are serious differences of opinion between the governments in Washington and Berlin.”

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

18:05 November 4, 2009 by Major B
Bravo Chancellor Merkel. You do Germany proud and are a role model for women everywhere. And you are appreciated for being candid, frank and speaking your mind and disagreeing in a positive enlightened way -- don't stop!!
20:00 November 4, 2009 by Psypher
?Symbols of the renewed German-American friendship are no longer the soldiers standing at Checkpoint Charlie, but online bloggers, iPhone users, the transatlantic mourners of Michael Jackson, politicians like Barack Obama, and now Angela Merkel.?

Who knew?! Pop-stars OD'ing can actually facilitate strategic alliances and foster trans-Atlantic esprit du corps!!
21:17 November 4, 2009 by Celeon
That was truly a good speech.

Much better than many she did before, i was really surprised.

First i thought her entire speech would be about the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall as she took so much time for that.

But then she went on to Afghanistan, Iran, Global warming , just as most expected.

Also important that while she spoke of Germany first, she later only spoke of "we Europeans".

Thats indeed important because thats one of the main reasons why the CIA factbook about the countries of the world now treats the EU as seperate entity beside its single member states.

It mentions that while the EU is of, course ,officialy not a country or nation it has all the important features of such one.

A parliament , a flag , a hymn, a own currency (some of the members) , a single market, sort of a basic constitution (Lisbon) , at least many aspects of a mutual inner and foreign policy and soon with that that treaty even a single official representative in form of a president and even EU embassies in foreign countries.

With that comes a increasing and justified demand to be recognized as one country-like entity.
22:00 November 4, 2009 by Psypher
You'd be amazed how different the info in the so-called "fact" book and that of an "eye's only" NIE can actually be...
11:07 November 6, 2009 by Wim van Couveren
While it was nice to see Angela Merkel in front of both the US congress and senate, it was disappointing that she said nothing new or stimulating to these important decision makers in Washington.

She was not willing to challenge the foreign policy of the US, which has not fundamentally changed since George W Stupid, nor did she also acknowledge the historical fact that the US was as complicit in the rise and continuation of the cold war as was the then Soviet Union.

I was not expecting her to do this head-on, but she could have done more to ask questions in a Socratic and diplomatic way at least to ask these people to examine their own past and not to paint the past 50 yrs of US foreign policy as nicely as she did.
03:31 November 7, 2009 by kamioner
While everyone is celebrating the reunification of a country that was completely wiped out and in rubble when I was born, everyone conveniently seems to forget the reason for splitting Germany was to assure that it would never again rise to the evil Germany wrought on the world, including the total demise of European Jewry, and the event that percipitated the evil, Kristallnacht, which shares the same anniversary as the tearing down of the symbol of punishment imposed upon Germany for generating a second World War. Instead of accepting responsibility and truly atoning for crimes against humanity today's pathetic Nazi party members parades its ignorant, blood thirsty, zenophobic criminals who spew hatred with the blessings of a "united" Germany, one that is united in hate. And just for the record, enough Jews survived to be witnesses to the crimes perpetrated by the German people who plundered their riches without any regard for justice and law. Now Israel is doing the dirty work for the rest of the world and instead of praising this great accomplishment, the world eyes this miracle with jealousy, blame and hatred. Most Germans are living in a 1000 year Reich and the symbolic Wall will always be remembered for the reason it was created.
12:25 November 7, 2009 by Psypher
I knew it was just a matter of time before someone said something ignorant like that.

Look, I wasn't alive during WWII (hell, my parents weren't even alive at that time). So, that being the case, I'm not accepting responsibility for sh!t and I don't have a damn thing to atone for!

I think we can all agree that genocide is a bad thing, and yes the European Jewry was robbed of land and property. But then post-war Germany was looted and plundered by the Allies and their thuggish Russian cohorts, so I think we can call it even (as far as theft is concerned). More important than the material goods stolen from Germany was the scientific knowledge/expertise (eg. where would NASA be without Von Braun?).

As for Israel, I'm not one to cast aspersions on a country for pursuing its national interests (as a state surrounded by hostiles, they do what they need to do to). But don't kid yourself, they're not doing anyone's ?dirty work? except their own!
10:58 November 9, 2009 by frankiep
Germans today are no more responsible for the Holocaust then I and other Americans today are responsible for slavery. I'm so sick of ignorant idiots who talk about Germany as if it is still the 1930s.
16:56 November 9, 2009 by Wise Up!
Where's Obama?
17:04 November 9, 2009 by Psypher
@frankiep: you're absolutely right. However, I think its (academically) important to mention that pretty much every civilization in human history that attained global-power status did so by achieving economic/military superiority via slavery (in one form or another). Myans, Egyptians, Incas, Aztecs, Carthaginians, Romans, G. Britain (aka East India Trading Company), US of A, etc.....see what I mean? ;-)
17:23 November 9, 2009 by Psypher
Where's Obama?
Probably dealing with his latest media faux pas...his (lack of) response to the recent festivities at Ft. Hood!
22:36 November 11, 2009 by pinnacle
global law??? or one world government??? global warming is the first step to one world law.
01:39 November 13, 2009 by Psypher
global law??? or one world government??? global warming is the first step to one world law.

Sorry, but just what the hell are you talking about??!! It's late and my brain is (admittedly) somewhat disengaged, but I can't figure out what that drivel has to do with the topic of this thread! (environmental phenomena can MAKE political policy??? am I missing something here?)

Global warming = NWO ........please explain!!
15:30 November 16, 2009 by Newmanator
@ Wim van Couveren

Where would a statement of the fact of the US role in the Cold War fit into the context of Merkel's speech?
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