Obama & The 2 Germanys — 1 Comment

  1. Although I am typically happy when Americans occasionally direct their attention to the small and far away country that I happen to live in, I am still a bit puzzled what the intention behind your post may be. Do you think that Berlin’s indecision raises any specific epistemic issues concerning Obama or the new US administration, or maybe – more generally – about public controversies in democratic societies? Anyway, I think that the Spiegel article somewhat exaggerates the depth and seriousness of the disagreement between Merkel and Steinmeier – neither is Steinmeier as enthusiastic about Obama (for he is just not the type of guy who easily gets enthusiastic about something), nor is Merkel all in all as reserved towards Obama’s agenda as the article suggests (he will, for example, be much more open to tighter regulations in the financial sector than Bush – one of Merkel’s long-standing demands on the US and Great Britain). Rather, the best explanation for this whole debate are simply the upcoming elections for the German Bundestag in the fall. Quite understandably, the main proponents of the two leading German parties try to overemphasize their differences in order to appear as clearer alternatives in the electorate’s eyes than they actually are. And this may indeed raise some interesting questions for the epistemology of democracy…

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