Gerhard Schröder, Take Two
Will Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's second term be more successful?
October 2, 2002
In September 2002, Germany's Chancellor Gerhard Schröder was re-elected in the country’s tightest post-war elections. While observers had expected he would have to face worries about the economy, it turned out that the focus was on foreign affairs. Our Read My Lips examines Gerhard Schröder's views — and the challenges ahead.
What was your message to the German people in your re-election?
“We have hard times in front of us — and we’re going to make it together.”
How do you explain the slow reform process during your first term?
"It is not my style to implement reform by decree.”
Do you believe in emulating Ronald Reagan's economic approach?
“I think we Europeans have little reason to emulate Reaganomics. Remember its side effects: the inflated levels of defense spending and state debt, the poor environmental record, the increase in the number of people living in poverty.”
Why did you agree to have German troops stationed in Afghanistan?
“We cannot let others protect us — and not offer to help.”
How optimistic are you about the war against terrorism?
“We did not want this conflict. But we will take on this battle against terrorism — and we will win it.”
What justifies the German contribution to the war against terrorism?
“Avoiding every direct risk cannot — and must not be — the guideline of German foreign and security policy.”
Does that mean Germany has been reconciled with its history?
“The days when Germany could stand timidly on the sidelines — declining to participate in foreign military missions — are irrevocably over.”
How would you like to see U.S.-EU cooperation over Iraq?
“Consultation cannot mean that I get a phone call two hours in advance only to be told: ‘We’re going in’.”
Did U.S. pressure make you order troops to Afghanistan?
“On the existential questions that decide German politics, the decisions are made in Berlin.”
On the current dispute with the United States, will you be able to mend U.S.-German relations?
“I think this difference of opinion will remain. We will have it out in a fair and open way — without in any way endangering the basis of German-American relations.”
Have U.S.-German relations been permanently damaged?
“The basis of the relationship between Germany and the United States is so secure that the fears that were played up during the election campaign are unfounded.”