According to Heilbronner Stimme's comments, the U.S.-German
relations are back on track again. It was high time the Germans were assertive
and learned to speak the tough American language. Clinton's acceptance
of Germany's candidate for the IMF top job was not only a compliment for
Horst Koehler. It was recognition of Germany's international ambitions
as well as European self-confidence.
The Nordwest-Zeitung, however, says that German Chancellor Gerhard
Schroeder had to pay a heavy price in order to break the inexorable U.S.
opposition to his IMF candidate. He had to assure the Americans that the
new man, his second choice, would not interfere with the established management
of the Fund. In other words, Horst Koehler will have his hands tied by
the existing top staff in Washington. Politically, they'll keep him short,
the paper concludes, referring to the fact that Washington, under pressure
from the Congress, wants to reduce the Fund's activities to make it a
fire-fighter to contain economic crises, while Europe favors the IMF offering
long-term funding and guidance to countries in financial trouble.