Towards A Good Samaritan World

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Angela Merkel underperforms in Germany's elections, though the CDU is still narrowly the biggest party. It's not clear to me why a grand coalition should be as bad as everyone says, given that Schroeder also had a half-hearted commitment to reforms. The Free Democrats performed better than expected at 10%. But Germany's lackluster politics contrasts with Koizumi's brilliant pro-reform election victory last week in Japan.

Japan may be on the verge of another brilliant, historic transformation, like the Meiji Restoration and the post-World War II recovery. Their cultural collectivism seems to take the nation in big multi-generational cycles, but they're obviously capable of dazzling achievement. Hopefully Germany can parallel Japan's transformation, but the odds are mediocre at best.

That said, it'll be good to be rid of Schroeder. His tepid reforms deserve modest praise, but a guy who doesn't know the right side of the Chirac-Bush/Blair feud is a guy the world is better off without.

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