Newly elected Chancellor Angela Merkel is planning to visit Israel next month "on a trip meant in part to signal solidarity following recent anti—Israel remarks by the president of Iran, the German government said Sunday."
It is a good sign. Europeans seemed genuinely shocked a few weeks ago by Ahmadinejad's open threats to "wipe Israel off the map." But the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei, backed up those threats this week. Abolishing Israel is official Iran government policy.
Nobody should be surprised by Ahmadinejad's nuclear intentions. They merely follow in the steps of his hero Ayatollah Khomeini, Jimmy Carter's greatest legacy to the security of the world. But after four years of European appeasement of Iran, sell—outs to Saddam, and raging against the US, it is encouraging to see Europeans actually acknowledging danger.
Will Europe actually do anything to resist Iranian aggression, which is almost surely coming? It seems unlikely, but Angela Merkel's visit to Israel is a powerful symbol, and reminds us that much of democratic Germany's postwar history has consisted of efforts to make amends for the past. Merkel is already a far more likeable figure than her predecessor, Gerhardt Schroeder ——— who was just hired by the Russian oil and gas giant Gazprom, following a deal that Schroeder signed just before leaving office. Schroeder was the perfect Clintonesque manipulator; Merkel may be a lot better.