Horst has left the building

I am perplexed. Horst Köhler, der German Bundespräsident, resigned.
It is the highest rank we have here, its the Head of State, he IS the state. He is not leading the cabinet and doing politics like the American President – it’s only the same name but a different role – that’s the Chancellor‘s job.
He is the first who resigns. It was his second term, re-elected only last year. The President’s term is five vears, the general elections for parliament are helt all four years. The acting President is Böhrnsen, the mayor of Bremen. He is the tenth President since the founding of the western German State 1949. I have active memory since Walter Scheel, he and his successor Carstens were not that “political” Presidents, as those to follow, notably v.Weizsäcker and Herzog. For Rau it was a kind of reward for an outstanding political life, he was seriously ill towards the end of his term. Then Köhler was elected 2004 against Gesine Schwan, who I prefered because I think its time to have a woman in the highest office and because she’s an intellectual not connected to industry and banking as Köhler was – not insinuating that his work would have been overshadowed by something of this kind: In fact all keepers of the office were remarkably serious about it and aware of the dignity of the duty.
The larger the surprise.

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16 thoughts on “Horst has left the building

  1. No wonder they have a horse in Stuttgart – its “Stuten Garten”, garden of horses. In Heidelberg they have a lion with a crown over a mountain – the city is at the foot of the Heiligenberg. The lion must come from the Land Baden. As I remember the name was given in medieval times as “heideberch”, mountain with a Heide, a Heath, and maybe Heidelbeeren were there – blueberries. Würzburg is the mountain where the spices grow, (Ge)Würze, some early version was “wircziberch”.

  2. Leni Q
    Köhler gave an interview last week where he spoke aboutthe GErman soldiers – he had visited Afghanistan shortly before – and a remark he made about securing free trade routes (what is the official mandat for the navy around the Horn of Somalia, fighting pirates) was connected with Afghanistan: here German troops are fighting too, the German cut-throats called SKS, within an UN-mandat (I think). Anyway some people wanted him to make clear what he was referring to: It is a very touchy issue, because a) a lot of people did not like the idea of German soldiers fighting generally, b) German soldiers fighting in other places outside the EU, and c) German soldiers fighting for some imperialistic issue like “our interests”, which has a certain ring to it. Do not forget that the very first sending out of German troops within Europe caused a fierce debate in the parliament, and I confess I had a strange feeling about it too.
    Anyway, the critic was harsh. And it wasat least in part, personaly. Köhler before showed that he has atouchy skin, he is no pro-politico, comes from the administration of business, IWF. These are no feely-types too, but its different when there are dead men.
    In a nutshell, he could not take that shit and the idea that people would question his personal clear motives, his Aufrichtigkeit, was too much. Just one step too far.
    He could not keep apart the office and his personality – that’s what critics now say. See this comment:

    http://www.sueddeutsche.de/politik/bundespraesident-tritt-zurueck-die-flucht-des-null-bock-horst-1.952519

    I did not follow the last discussion about this, but what I heared was not too strong but in the normal range of critic.
    I wish he would have not signed some laws, some changes that were “necessary” to sent soldiers out. He always did this late.
    The other thing is when fighting is inevitable one has to do it to the end. I think he mixed “personal” and “office” too much, no-one can be the Staat.
    The reasults will be interesting. Last week Koch of the CDU resigned, a conservative hardliner who could not reach any “better” position any more, atleast under Merkel. Now the conservative President is out. The so-called-liberals are very silent – they are low down in the polls and started a nice infight, what I see with pleasure.
    The Bundesversammlung has to come together in the next 30 days, a new President needs to be elected. I would love to see Gesine Schwan taking over. Or, if conservative, then real stuff, Schäuble, the actual secretary of finance. He could be a force, could be good for the state.

    XL
    Ha, I knew it, a bear: “bärlin = small bear”.

  3. Mago, Politics is a subject I know very little about and am more of a cynic than player. They say one person can make a difference but in todays world that is hard to believe. There are too many lies and too many excuses.

  4. Leni Q
    In some respect the older name was more honest, when the Ministery of Defense was still the War Ministery.

    Scarlet
    And it became not less when men return in coffins.

    Joyce
    There you are right: too many lies and too many excuses. And while things become ever more complicated its easy to point with the finger in a direction: Its always “the other”. Like kids in the sand box.

  5. Gut Tag Herr Mago & Frau Qinan!

    After World War II, our War Department was re-named the more friendly Department Of Defense.

    WWII was our last legally declared war. Lots of blood-letting and deaths since (Korea, Viet Nam, Gulf War, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.). But NO war!

  6. Leni
    I only remember Munoz Grandez (sorry I have no idea bout the accents) and the Legión Azul. One history teacher was translator there.

    XL
    So, these were officialy “police operations”? Wonder whether the GIs were sworn in … did you get a badge when you entered service? Seriously, why is the status of “war” avoided?

  7. Korea was a multi-national task force; in VietNam there were the advisors who became more and more but it was basically war between South and North VietNam; the Gulf War(s), Iraq and AFghanistan should have seen a declaration of war at one point ot another I think – this is an interesting juridical question …

  8. Maybe it is to his long term advantage to resign just now. Who knows!

    Afghanistan is not just an outsider problem. It is like acid and will corrode all that is good and decent. if it is not contained. You may have read about that Indian peace mission killing, the gangsters went around in a guesthouse killing teachers and doctors.

    In my country, in addition to all the other ongoing and never solvable problems, we have one more, the maoists- naxalites. One view is that they are the poor tribals fighting for their rights. But if they blow up passenger trains, then to me they are murderers and terrorists no matter what the cause. Some writer called them “Gandhians with guns” which is NONSENSE.

    Anyway. Life goes on.

  9. Hello Boxer, I have prepared nothing, will look later who is hosting what; thank you for the message, but I think not this week.

    Austere
    “Gandhians with guns” – ? More than outlandish. Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, in geographical order and in re power and influence. India is the only reliable force in the region, she has a special responsibility. As long as Karzai is still there – what can change fast – steps must be taken. And I think its Delhi that must take initiative. The way can only be India, Pakistan, Afghanistan – in my humble opinion and being no specialist of the region’s history.

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