The Rise and Fall of Schroeder and Chirac

Let's see: two "leaders of the EU" who were and are savagely anti—Bush and who have opposed American efforts to expand free trade and bring Democracy to the Middle East are now among the most discredited politicians in the world. Does this tell you anything about the sort of people who tend to oppose the liberation of the Iraqi people from rule by the brutal corrupter Saddam Hussein?
 
One, Gerhard Schroeder, ex—leader of Germany, oversaw a decline in the German economy and a severe lack of job growth. Upon his losing the latest election, he went on the payroll of a Russian gas company headed by an ex—KGB thug, to head up a project that he championed while in office to import gas into Europe via an underground and underwater pipeline.

This project was widely objected to by the new entrants to the EU (those eastern countries that Schroeder and Chirac scolded for supporting America re: Iraq) since it leaves them exposed to Russian pressure. Rational leaders in Europe also objected to this gas deal because it makes them even more dependent on the will of the Russians.

Today's Washington Post joins the chorus in condemning Schroeder's duplicity and greed and notes that he had curried favor with the Russians while in office by ignoring their depredations in Chechnya and the destruction of Democracy in Russia. His anti—Iraq liberation stance no doubt won him some points in Putin's leadership clique. The Washington Post rightly calls this a sell—out by Schroeder. A tiny bit of Schroeder Schadenfreude is understandable.
 
Chirac, the leader of anti—American forces in Europe, has also suffered a massive decline in support. Key associates have been fingered as being on the payroll of Saddam Hussein, and Chriac himself has been rumored to have been involved in past bribery scandals while he was mayor of Paris (and, entirely possibly, while leader of France).

He has had a dilatory and pathetic response to the riots that seized France a few weeks ago, disgraced himself in free trade talks by his support of unfair practices which benefit French farmers, and has done absolutely nothing to stimulate the sclerotic French economy.

Now, the Wall Street Journal reports, the French are as disgusted by him as many in America have been over the past few years. to quote, "An astonishing 99% of Frenchmen don't want Jacques Chirac to run for a third term". Not only may the next election cast him from office, it may lead to the election of Nicolas Sarkozy — an arch political enemy who is now the most popular politician in France.

This possibility holds more than political risks for Chirac. If Chirac loses his office, he also loses the judicial immunity from prosecution* that is one of the perks of his position. He may then be exposed for what he is: a vain, weak, and very corrupt man. I look forward to the time when I can send an e—mail to his office—three words "Au revior, Jacques".
 
* last year, his allies tried to get immunity to apply to ex—office holders — obviously a ploy to shield him from the law. Fortunately, the measure failed. No wonder his recent bout of ill—health has not led him to resign. He would then be subject to prosecution.

Ed Lasky  12 13 05

Let's see: two "leaders of the EU" who were and are savagely anti—Bush and who have opposed American efforts to expand free trade and bring Democracy to the Middle East are now among the most discredited politicians in the world. Does this tell you anything about the sort of people who tend to oppose the liberation of the Iraqi people from rule by the brutal corrupter Saddam Hussein?
 
One, Gerhard Schroeder, ex—leader of Germany, oversaw a decline in the German economy and a severe lack of job growth. Upon his losing the latest election, he went on the payroll of a Russian gas company headed by an ex—KGB thug, to head up a project that he championed while in office to import gas into Europe via an underground and underwater pipeline.

This project was widely objected to by the new entrants to the EU (those eastern countries that Schroeder and Chirac scolded for supporting America re: Iraq) since it leaves them exposed to Russian pressure. Rational leaders in Europe also objected to this gas deal because it makes them even more dependent on the will of the Russians.

Today's Washington Post joins the chorus in condemning Schroeder's duplicity and greed and notes that he had curried favor with the Russians while in office by ignoring their depredations in Chechnya and the destruction of Democracy in Russia. His anti—Iraq liberation stance no doubt won him some points in Putin's leadership clique. The Washington Post rightly calls this a sell—out by Schroeder. A tiny bit of Schroeder Schadenfreude is understandable.
 
Chirac, the leader of anti—American forces in Europe, has also suffered a massive decline in support. Key associates have been fingered as being on the payroll of Saddam Hussein, and Chriac himself has been rumored to have been involved in past bribery scandals while he was mayor of Paris (and, entirely possibly, while leader of France).

He has had a dilatory and pathetic response to the riots that seized France a few weeks ago, disgraced himself in free trade talks by his support of unfair practices which benefit French farmers, and has done absolutely nothing to stimulate the sclerotic French economy.

Now, the Wall Street Journal reports, the French are as disgusted by him as many in America have been over the past few years. to quote, "An astonishing 99% of Frenchmen don't want Jacques Chirac to run for a third term". Not only may the next election cast him from office, it may lead to the election of Nicolas Sarkozy — an arch political enemy who is now the most popular politician in France.

This possibility holds more than political risks for Chirac. If Chirac loses his office, he also loses the judicial immunity from prosecution* that is one of the perks of his position. He may then be exposed for what he is: a vain, weak, and very corrupt man. I look forward to the time when I can send an e—mail to his office—three words "Au revior, Jacques".
 
* last year, his allies tried to get immunity to apply to ex—office holders — obviously a ploy to shield him from the law. Fortunately, the measure failed. No wonder his recent bout of ill—health has not led him to resign. He would then be subject to prosecution.

Ed Lasky  12 13 05