Dienstag, 24. März 2009

Baron zu Guttenberg: Politics and Genealogy

Germany has a new minister for economic affairs: Karl-Theodor Freiherr von und zu Guttenberg, a politician aged 37. A conservative hardliner, is an expert in foreign affairs.
Troughout the political landscape and the media this appointment evoked heavy controversies. While the former minister Michael Glos, an apprenticed miller, was seen good enough to do the job, Baron Guttenberg, a Doctor of Law, is seen to be not experienced and skilled enough to do the job in times of financial crisis. These first reactions sound not only like oppositional rhetoric, e.g. by the liberal FDP, but also like well-known leftist reservations about aristocrats acting in a democracy.
On the other hand, the yellow press magacine "Der Stern" welcomed Guttenberg with a story about his family, emphazising relations to Claus Count Stauffenberg, who is portrayed in the movie "Valkyrie" by Tom Cruise. Zu Guttenberg`s aunt married the youngest son of Stauffenberg, the conservative politician Franz-Ludwig Count Stauffenberg, who is attacking the Treaty of Lisbon, because he thinks the European Union will open doors for uncontrolled power. "Der Stern" didn´t mention that zu Guttenberg´s stepfather Adolf von Ribbentrop is a son of Nazi minister for foreign affairs, Joachim von Ribbentrop, explicitly. A greatuncle of the new minister, Karl Ludwig Baron Guttenberg, was sentenced to death by the Nazis, because he was conspiring within the monarchist "Solf" circle.

Zu Guttenberg`s knowledge about foreign affairs and his good western contacts could be helpful, because Germany as an exporting nation depends on the policy of other nations, and faces poverty, if protectionism arises throughout the world.

Guttenberg meets some lesser criteria to do the job: he is representing the Franconian region of Northern Bavaria in the conservative party CSU, only recently appointed secretary general of this party in the wake of of a generation change, but lacking economic expertise. One can complain that chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) isn´t building a government of experts and leaders of reputation as Barack Obama does, facing the most severe economical crisis since many years.

German version.

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