A grown-up German chancellor.

Germany has finally elected an adult as prime ministe. Angela Merkel is a physicist who was born in the old East Germany, and therefore has few illusions about the miraculous powers of the state. However, she is in a weak position at the head of a divided coalition, including the Social Democrats, who steered the German economy straight into quicksand. It will take years to clean up their mess.

What is new and hopeful about Chancellor Merkel is that she is not looking for scapegoats — unlike her predecessor, Gerhardt Schroeder, who rediscovered the political magic of raging against an imagined enemy. Watching a German Chancellor throwing tantrums at America has been all too reminiscent of You—Know—Who. But it worked in two elections.

In contrast, Angela Merkel sounds like a grownup. Her statement reads:

"... it is essential to have a close relationship of trust between the [United States] and a self—confident Europe that sees itself not as a counterweight, but as a partner. ... That doesn't exclude the possibility of differences of opinion which have to be dealt with through dialogue and in a spirit of friendship. ...  we want to promote a better understanding of the [United States] in the German public and a better understanding of Europe and Germany in the United States."

Hear, hear.

Let's all now hope for a Europe of adults, as Jacques Chirac, the other big tantrum—thrower, fades from power over the coming year. The rioting slumdwellers in France are not yet complete Islamists, as much as they shouted "Allahu Akhbar!" while torching thousands of Renaults, Peugeots and Citroens. But they provide fertile soil for Islamist propaganda, and a much worse explosion could easily come soon. The French government can't hide in the Elysee Palace any more, as Chirac has been doing the past few weeks. They will somehow have to learn to be very firm in the face of violence, and also to give the seething slumdwellers a way to earn their way out.

Like Schroeder, the French have been living in fantasy land.  But torched cars and schools are real, and they are hard to blame on Uncle Sam (although typically some have tried).

It is high time for Europe to grow up and face reality. With Angela Merkel there is a ray of hope. We wish her good luck.

Germany has finally elected an adult as prime ministe. Angela Merkel is a physicist who was born in the old East Germany, and therefore has few illusions about the miraculous powers of the state. However, she is in a weak position at the head of a divided coalition, including the Social Democrats, who steered the German economy straight into quicksand. It will take years to clean up their mess.

What is new and hopeful about Chancellor Merkel is that she is not looking for scapegoats — unlike her predecessor, Gerhardt Schroeder, who rediscovered the political magic of raging against an imagined enemy. Watching a German Chancellor throwing tantrums at America has been all too reminiscent of You—Know—Who. But it worked in two elections.

In contrast, Angela Merkel sounds like a grownup. Her statement reads:

"... it is essential to have a close relationship of trust between the [United States] and a self—confident Europe that sees itself not as a counterweight, but as a partner. ... That doesn't exclude the possibility of differences of opinion which have to be dealt with through dialogue and in a spirit of friendship. ...  we want to promote a better understanding of the [United States] in the German public and a better understanding of Europe and Germany in the United States."

Hear, hear.

Let's all now hope for a Europe of adults, as Jacques Chirac, the other big tantrum—thrower, fades from power over the coming year. The rioting slumdwellers in France are not yet complete Islamists, as much as they shouted "Allahu Akhbar!" while torching thousands of Renaults, Peugeots and Citroens. But they provide fertile soil for Islamist propaganda, and a much worse explosion could easily come soon. The French government can't hide in the Elysee Palace any more, as Chirac has been doing the past few weeks. They will somehow have to learn to be very firm in the face of violence, and also to give the seething slumdwellers a way to earn their way out.

Like Schroeder, the French have been living in fantasy land.  But torched cars and schools are real, and they are hard to blame on Uncle Sam (although typically some have tried).

It is high time for Europe to grow up and face reality. With Angela Merkel there is a ray of hope. We wish her good luck.