Sunday, December 5, 2010

Traitor, Moles, and Wikileaks

Berlin is blanketed by snow; but it is also blanketed by infighting in the wake of Wikileaks: It turns out that the U.S. embassy had a mole within the FDP, the right-of-center Free Democratic Party that is part of the German government lead by Angela Merkel. That mole, Helmut Metzner was in charge of foreign policy. He has informed the U.S. Embassy about what was going on during the negotiations about the formation of the new government, down to the last detail.

That would have been frowned upon to begin with;  even worse, the Wikipedia files reveal that Guide Westerwelle, the German foreign minister, who is also the head of the FDP, is seen as  "vain", "incompetent", and "aggressive" by the Americans (an opinion shared by most Germans, by the way). He is also scolded for not sending more German troops to Afghanistan. Meanwhile, the American embassador, Philip Murphy, has apologized, not so much for what he said but for the fact that it was leaked.

It is very likely that Metzner will get fired. However, it is more interesting whether Westerwelle will survive, politically, and whether the German government will, in its current formation. Merkel was happier with the Social Democrats, so that is an interesting development.

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