- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Praising Germany

The new U.S. ambassador to Germany arrived in Berlin yesterday, announcing his desire to build on the “strong and effective partnership” that was damaged by German opposition to the war in Iraq.

Ambassador William R. Timken Jr. focused on German cooperation with the U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan, where Germany has more than 2,200 troops.

He arrived about four weeks before the Sept. 18 election that could see the defeat of Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, who created tensions with the United States through his strident criticism of President Bush, a political tactic that won him a narrow victory in 2002. Now, facing another tight race, Mr. Schroeder is demanding that Mr. Bush rule out military force to stop Iran from building a nuclear weapon.

Mr. Timken, a political fundraiser for Mr. Bush, might find himself dealing with a friendlier government if conservative Angela Merkel and her Christian Democrats win. Opinion polls show her party running as many as 14 points ahead of Mr. Schroeder’s Social Democrats.

A the Berlin airport, Mr. Timken noted the 50th anniversary in May of the restoration of U.S.-German relations after World War II.

“Over these past 50 years, the United States and Germany have forged a strong and effective partnership that has contributed greatly to the peace and security of Europe,” he said.

“Our two countries’ shared values and efforts to advance freedom and democracy and prosperity have served as beacons of hope for many around the world.”

He added, “The U.S.-German relationship is a dynamic one and offers a bright future for our peoples; so I look forward to working with the German government to strengthen bilateral cooperation on the broad range of issues that we face.”

Mr. Timken also said he is honored to be named ambassador to Germany, the homeland of his grandfather.

The ambassador created controversy in Germany even before he arrived. Mr. Timken is the former chairman of a firm that is collecting millions of dollars a year from U.S. tariffs against German firms that manufacture roller bearings. German industrialists called his appointment inappropriate.

Colorblind Kazakh

The string of “color revolutions” that ousted leaders in former Soviet states such as Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan is “not a matter of concern to us,” the foreign minister of Kazakhstan insisted during a visit to The Washington Times this week.

With presidential elections set for Dec. 4 in the huge Central Asian nation, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev “is very determined to make it a transparent, free and fair process,” with international observers welcome to monitor the vote, Foreign Minister Kasymzhomart Tokayev added.

Mr. Nazarbayev is the only leader that Kazakhstan has known since achieving independence in 1991, and opposition groups and U.S. and European human rights groups have sharply criticized past presidential and parliamentary votes.

Opposition parties are trying to rally behind former Nazarbayev ally Zhamarkan Tuyakbai, but most give him little chance of unseating the president.

Mr. Tokayev said Georgia’s “Rose Revolution” in 2003 and Ukraine’s “Orange Revolution” last year reflected popular frustration of the failure of those governments to engage seriously in political and economic reforms, our correspondent David R. Sands reports.

Mr. Tokayev acknowledged there was widespread suspicion across Central Asia that the United States and U.S.-funded private advocacy groups were backing the recent revolutions — in part to promote democratic reforms and in part to undermine long-term leaders close to Moscow.

“There is much speculation, but I don’t believe it is so,” he said, adding that the ousted rulers themselves bore much of the blame for “being unable to address social problems in their own countries.”

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail jmorrison@washingtontimes.com.

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