Joschka Stays or Joschka Goes?

Posted by John Rosenthal

Judy Dempsey writes in the International Herald Tribune about Joschka Fischer’s “surprise announcement” that he would not be available to lead the Green parliamentary group in the Bundestag.  “The news that he was stepping down from national politics was… all the more dramatic,” Ms. Dempsey comments breathlessly.

Did one need another reason to stop taking the NYTimes and its affiliate publications like the IHT seriously as sources of international and, more specifically, European news? 

Stepping down from national politics?  Joschka Fischer did not say that.  Why should Joschka Fischer be content to be merely the leader of a minor – indeed the smallest – party in the Bundestag, when he could be… well, for example, Foreign Minister?  The following from Germany’s ARD public television on the same story:

He [Fischer] wants to have the freedom again that he traded in for power 20 years ago…. However, this is not so if the Greens will be able to appoint Ministers.  In the “improbable” case of the Greens participating in the government, he could imagine taking on a ministry, Fischer confirmed….

Fischer confirmed.  How could the Times miss it?  Where is the “surprise”?  Nobody who has followed his career over the last two decades could be the least bit surprised by Joschka Fischer being coy….

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