German politicians slam Bush legacy

Leading German politicians have strongly criticised President George W Bush’s terms in office ahead of the US leader’s farewell visit to Berlin next week.

German politicians slam Bush legacy
Photo: DPA

A survey of leading German politicians on US President Bush’s legacy by newspaper Stuttgarter Nachrichten, to be published on Monday, has found that the majority believe Bush has made the world more unsafe.

“The Bush era was not a good one – neither for America nor for those who see themselves as friends of America,” Guido Westerwelle, head of the opposition Liberal Democrats, FDP, was quoted as saying in the survey. Bush opted for one-sided military solutions after the Sept. 11 attacks and caused an erosion of civil liberties, Westerwelle said. The Iraq war weakened the United Nations and Guantanamo Bay is “a disgrace to all the values that America stands for,” he added.

Bush, together with his wife Laura, is to arrive in Berlin for Tuesday for talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The two are to discuss the upcoming G-8 summit in Japan, the situation in Afghanistan, Iran’s nuclear program and Africa.

Hans-Ulrich Klose, deputy chairman of Germany’s foreign affairs committee and a Social Democrat said Bush had in no way made the world a better place. “To the contrary: his acts have made a significant contribution to damaging America’s image worldwide,” he said.

Eckart von Klaeden, foreign policy expert from Merkel’s Christian Democratic Party said the Iraq war, Guantanamo and the events at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq had bolstered Islamists. Jürgen Trittin of the Greens Party said the credibility of democracy in the world had dramatically suffered as a result of Bush’s policies.

In a column for news agency ddp, Karsten Voigt, the German government’s coordinator for US-German relations wrote that both possible successors to Bush, Barack Obama and John McCain, promised a greater readiness to consult allies to solve international problems and to take multilateral institutions more seriously.