Tonight I helped host the Chairman of the Free Democratic Party of Germany’s Parliamentary Group, Wolfgang Gerhardt, at a forum organized by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation.
If a coalition of the Christian Democrats and Free Democrats displaces the governing coalition of Social Democrats and Greens in Germany’s next election, Gerhardt may very well emerge as Germany’s next foreign minister.
He gave a lucid, sensible talk — quite brave in fact for speaking so candidly about some of the problems that lie ahead with China, Israel-Palestine, and Iran policy.
Someone in the audience knowing my rather serious interest in John Bolton’s future asked what Gerhardt thought of Bolton’s nomintation to serve as U.S. Ambassador to the U.N.
Knowing that he could probably not answer such a diplomatic question directly, I suggested a re-phrased question which went something like:
I know that America is in need of a new Ambassador to Germany. (pause) Might Germany welcome John Bolton to that post?
The answer from Wolfgang Gerhardt:
In the case that Mr. Bolton might become Ambassador to Germany, it might make best sense to deal directly with the U.S. government here in Washington rather than through an emissary.
I thought it was a clever response — and then it reminded me of Condi Rice essentially doing the same thing when she appointed her own U.N. advisor — distinct, separate, and independent from John Bolton.
— Steve Clemons