Financial Times Deutschland, Germany
Merkel 'Conquered' By Bush's 'Texas Charm Offensive'


Translated by Bob Skinner

July 14, 2006

Germany - Financial Times Deutschland - Original Article (German)    

President George W. Bush carves a roasted wild pig beside German
Chancellor Angela Merkel, at a barbecue in the German village of
Trinwillershagen. (above)

DEUTSCHE WELLE NEWS VIDEO: President Bush in Germany
with German Chancellor Angel Merkel, July 14, 00:04:19RealVideo

RealVideo[LATEST NEWS PHOTOS: Bush in Germany].

President Bush appears to mimic a child's grimace,
while visiting Germany on Thursday. (below).


U.S. President George W. Bush conquered the German Chancellor with a straightforward Texas charm offensive. A kiss on the cheek here, a gushing bit of praise there.

Bush's visit to Meckleburg-Vorpommern left no doubt that he sees Angela Merkel as his most important ally in Europe. The Chancellor succumbed to the temptation and let herself be taken in.

In Stralsund it wasn't two partners who stood before the press, but cook and server. Bush prepared, Merkel served. Whether the topic was Iran, the Middle East or Russia, there was total unity. That even went as far as Merkel adopting from Bush unusual terms like "Tyranny."

There are at this moment no fundamental differences between the U.S. and Germany. That Merkel didn't reiterate her criticism of Guantanamo in Stralsund shouldn't be held against her; Bush already knows what she thinks of that. And for a Chancellor hosting the President of the United States for the first time, it's not easy to strike the right note. After all, a guest should always feel that he's among friends.

Merkel has already earned laurels for her foreign policy. The German-American relationship, so wrecked during the Schroeder administration, is back on the tracks, though that has more to with the changed international environment than Merkel's policies.  Anyway, she did cut a fine figure during her visit to Washington.

The question of whether the new transatlantic partnership will survive real political differences is still open.  Watch and see if the Chancellor will then dare to talk straight.