Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Der Spiegel: Will Berlin's Lovefest with Obama be Shortlived?

Germans are betting a lot on 15 minutes worth of chat. From Ralf Beste and Konstantin von Hammerstein in Der Spiegel.
Obama, on the other hand, is as fascinating to German politicians as a mirage. He seems promising from afar, and yet no one knows what he actually stands for. In fact, hardly anyone knows him at all. Although he is a member of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he has avoided contact with his foreign counterparts in the past.

Steinmeier is one of a handful of German politicians who have spoken with the candidate, but only for a 15-minute telephone conversation. Nevertheless, his brief chat with the Democratic candidate qualifies Steinmeier as an Obama expert. Since then, his staff has raved about what they call the American's "altitude." They say that although his questions about world affairs were abstract, at least he seemed well informed. Besides, they add, Obama is apparently willing to call major tenets of US foreign policy into question.

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