Angela Merkel: Germany's Best Hope
And it couldn't have happened too soon for Germany, either. Having been there many times over the years, I found it to be one of the most pristine and beautiful countries in the world - yet beneath the veneer of cleanliness and old-world charm lay huge problems. As a welfare state with bloated taxation and massive unemployment, Germans have rightly turned their frustration on Gerhard Schroeder - an ineffective leader who has been unable to affect economic or social reforms.
Merkel, often called the "Iron Lady" and compared to Margaret Thatcher, hopes to overhaul the welfare juggernaut and make some tough changes. She is also expected to rebuild Germany's friendship with the U.S. and Great Britain. For President Bush, her victory will be an extremely important milestone, as she embraces the necessity for a global war on terror. Unlike her contemporaries in most of Europe, she supported the invasion of both Afghanistan and Iraq.
Let us wish this extraordinary woman good luck today - for Germany and for the rest of us.