In the past week, Germany has found and fired an American mole in their intelligence agency, investigated another suspect in their defense ministry, and asked the CIA station chief to leave the country. Media reports offer an interesting view of a post Cold War world grappling with the unexpected* - spy vs spy among friends and allies, while traditional intelligence targets Russia and China play the part of bemused bystanders. [more inside]
"[Peer Steinbrück, the chancellor-candidate] is a good man, with quite a bold programme for ‘social justice’. Tax increases for the better-off, a proper minimum wage, dual citizenship for immigrants, less elbowing individualism and more solidarity in a society where das Wir entscheidet – ‘it’s the we that counts.’ The German public, surprisingly, mostly agree that increasing taxes is a sound idea. What they resent is that the idea comes from the SPD. In the same way, the Augsburg programme is widely thought to make sense, but the voters don’t fancy Peer Steinbrück. They are pissed off with Angela Merkel’s governing coalition, but reluctant to let go of Mutti’s hand. In short, the public are in one of those sullen, unreasonable moods which make politicians despair." The LRB reports from Germany. [via]
Angela Merkel to fire organiser of Munich security conference over Iranian envoy's criticism of the U.S. policies in the Middle East, Der Spiegel reports. (Translated English version) Read the full speech of Ali Larijani, Iran's top nuclear negotioator at the conference.
admits denies making mistake! Starts off new relationship with conservative German chancellor by personally insulting her. "We are not quite sure what was in her head." - a senior Bush administration official, referring to Merkel. This after Condoleeza Rice gave Merkel private assurances and made a public statement in which she said "when and if mistakes are made, we work very hard and as quickly as possible to rectify them. Any policy will sometimes have mistakes . . . we will do everything that we can to rectify those mistakes." Obviously, Condi was mistaken. The Bush administration does not make mistakes.