Wednesday, September 21, 2005

End of the Line for Joschka Fischer

One of the few cheering events in the aftermath of Germany's stalemated election is the resignation of Joschka Fischer.

Fischer, a street-fighting, policeman-beating pacifist, somehow became Germany's Foreign Minister. Admittedly this was in the worst-ever post-war government, a byword for incompetence and arrogance. Fischer fitted well into this government of sleazy hacks. He was by a long measure the worst German Foreign Secretary since Joachim von Ribbentrop - if far less effective, and more eager to sacrifice his "beliefs" to the greater good of political survival.

Fischer was a member of the Green party, whose principles, however - like all principles he espoused - he unceremoniously ditched when they clashed with his quest for power. The best example of this was Fischer's support of the government's shameful attempts to lift the EU's arms embargo on China. Even though this crazy policy was against the Green party's deepest principles, as it flew in the face of human rights, and even though Fischer later claimed not to agree with the policy himself, he propounded it as Foreign Minister. It was a key plank in the German administration's continued attempts to embarrass the USA and act, alongside France, as a "counterweight" to America.

Seldom has a politician so compromised himself to so little effect.

The only drawback to Fischer's timely departure is that, like other deadbeats (eg Peter Mandelson) he will be offered something to do by the EU or by the UN - two organisations where his low instincts should serve him well. The danger is that Fischer could then cause continent-wide chaos and damage with his outdated and arrogant assumptions.

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