Welcome to Bush’s world, Chancellor Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, one of George Bush’s celebrated new best buddies on the world scene, is now finding out what Tony Blair took years to learn: Partnership with Bush is a one-way street.

As leaders of wealthy nations converged Wednesday at a Baltic resort for their annual summit meeting, the White House held firm against long-term targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, effectively blocking a major priority of the meeting’s host, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany.

Merkel is one of the closest allies of President George W. Bush in Europe, and the two emerged from a working lunch Wednesday attempting to present a united front. But the German chancellor did not look pleased as she conceded that more work must be done before the Group of 8 nations can reach agreement on how they will address climate change.

Merkel had the pleasure of being humiliated and condescended to by the American president, and rather publicly at that.

On climate change, the White House has said it would hold firm against concrete long-term targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, a major priority for Mrs. Merkel. After lunch with Mr. Bush on Wednesday, Mrs. Merkel seemed to concede — without explicitly saying so — that her climate change plan was off the table.

“There are a few areas here and there we will continue to work on,” she said, standing side by side with the president outside an elegant white castle on the grounds of the Kempinski Grand Hotel. When Mr. Bush turned to her and said he has “a strong desire to work with you” on the issue, the chancellor pursed her lips.

Merkel – much like Blair – is hobbled in her desire to effect meaningful climate change policy by expectations of seriousness, collegiality, and reasonable accommodation. That makes for a sucker’s bet when dealing with the Decider.

Merkel, who had a career in physics before entering politics, has worked hard to bring the global warming issue to the fore. For her, much is at stake, as she defends her plan over Bush’s, without entering into a bigger public dispute.

“She does not want to make this a public spat,” said Julianne Smith, director of the Europe program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “But she was elected in part because she’s a scientist, she has a very strong position on this, and Germans are huge fans of any effort to cope with climate change. So for her own public, she has to show that she’s being a bit forceful with the United States and she’s putting her foot down.”

Lots of luck with that, Madame Chancellor.

(Cross-posted.)

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12 Comments

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12 responses to “Welcome to Bush’s world, Chancellor Merkel

  1. A serious agreement with the U.S. is not going to happen as long as Bush is in office. Merkel would probably be better off pursuing this with the EU in the near term. Apparently Merkel announced some kind of agreement this morning. It is unclear what that involves.

  2. Chancellor Merkel, and the whole world, just needs to smile and nod politely whenever Bush speaks – and work towards having new agreements ready for signing on 20 January, 2009.

    May Gaia have mercy on us all.

  3. Melissa McEwan

    Chancellor Merkel, and the whole world, just needs to smile and nod politely whenever Bush speaks

    No, she needs to kick him in the nutz and give him the Love Actually moment he so richly deserves.

  4. No, she needs to kick him in the nutz and give him the Love Actually moment he so richly deserves.

    Well, yeah – and maybe give him a “tour” of the dungeon of the “elegant white castle on the grounds” while she’s at it! 😦

    I was just trying (I don’t know why) to be polite. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to put more wood on the fire under that boiling cauldron of tar.

  5. Melissa McEwan

    I was just trying (I don’t know why) to be polite.

    LOL. I lost my will to be polite when I read that story about Cheney this morning. It’s Grumpfest from here on out the rest of the day, I guess. 😉

  6. It’s Grumpfest from here on out the rest of the day, I guess.

    Why do you think I’m keeping that cauldron aboil?!?

  7. Really! I can’t think of any reason that these jokers let Boy Wonder put a spanner in the works! They should just come to an agreement without him, and embarass the US in front of the world.

  8. Constant Comment

    Personally, they should ignore the asshole and devise a plan to go around him and work with American cities instead. Haven’t a number of cities already indicated agreement with Kyoto?

  9. John: Thanks for that link. I agree that an end run and a view toward Bush’s retirement is the best (only?) option for Merkel.

  10. Doctor Jay

    Shakes, I loved that movie, and that’s my favorite speech from it. My other favorite line was “Let’s go get the shit kicked out of us for love!”

  11. Arkades

    Once upon a time, it would have astonished me if an American president’s administration had been blatantly obstructionist on a matter of international interest, then turned around and blandly lied about how much they were looking forward to working with other leaders on the issue. Sadly, from Bush this kind of bullshit no longer surprises me in the slightest.

  12. Nik E Poo

    Merkel, who had a career in physics before entering politics,

    What I wouldn’t give for a prezdent with a brain.

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