Sunday, July 09, 2006

Bush visits Germany - Not Welcome, Mr. President

When Bush visits Germany this week, he’ll be facing a lukewarm reception. Despite his vocal admiration of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Bush does not engender much love from the German people. The visit will take place in what used to be East Germany, Merkel’s old stomping grounds and the visit is already causing controversy.

Last week 12,000 police, along with numerous U.S. Secret Service agents descended on the chosen towns to be visited and the citizens are not happy. It is expected that the visit will cost 12 million euros and bickering has broken out between the German federal government and the financially strapped German state as to who should pay for it.

During Bush’s visit to Stralsund’s city centre, businesses and residents will face a complete lockdown. Businesses will be forced to close, all vehicles will have to be removed from the streets, and incredibly, residents will be forced to stay inside their homes from 9:30 a.m. until an hour after Bush leaves.

A number of protests are also planned. The area where Bush is visiting includes the Left Party which is a coalition member of the State government. The Left Party which is very anti-war and highly critical of Bush intends to participate in the demonstrations that will “greet” Bush under the banner motto of “Not Welcome, Mr. President”. The state’s environmental minister and the social minister, both members of the Left Party, will join the protests.

I’m sure all this will simply pass over Bush’s head. He’ll be chowing down on the “perfect boar” (I know there’s a pun in there somewhere!), and getting to know Merkel a bit better – someone I’m sure he has much in common with – after all, she’s got a doctorate in physics, has worked in quantum chemistry, and is fluent in several languages.

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