Fresh from asking G. W. Bush to put an end to Guantanamo, Anglea Merkel is now in Moscow. High on the list will be both Iran, and democracy in Russia. Quite timely really that someone who grew up in East Germany and can read the riot act to him in her most charming Russian should be catapulted into the front line like this.
Certain things seem to stand out:
Merkel………..agreed with U.S. President George W. Bush on Friday that it was time to refer Iran to the UN Security Council over its refusal to abandon uranium enrichment technology that could enable it to get atomic weapons.
Germany is the world’s top exporter of goods to Iran and would have much to lose if Tehran faced sanctions. It exported 4 billion euros of goods to Iran last year.
The chancellor, who grew up in Germany’s formerly communist East and speaks fluent Russian, is under pressure from the opposition to confront Putin on reports that the development of democracy and human rights in Russia is slowing down.
“It seems that Putin will agree not to vote no, but will abstain. A yes vote would be better,”
As Alex noted, Merkel has already “been impressively successful in building authority in foreign affairs”. Could this be anything to do with the fact that authority-building on internal matters is likely to be much more uphill work, or could it be that we are going to see a German Foreign Affairs Chancellor, restricting herself internally to arbitrating between the otherwise warring factions of her government? That could be one way to make it work I suppose.