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Hmmm... those are important points you've raised there. I confess, my colleagues are left-leaning, so I suppose you are right that the main point might be their aversion towards his politics. I have been following him - I speak some German myself - and I do not have, and have not found, any grounds to have anything against him. In any case, it is still early to tell whether he is a von Bismarck or not. You are also right about the arrogance that comes from English language speakers, an arrogance that makes them expect that others would speak to them in English. Hmmm... I am trying to think about what would happen if this kind of thing were to happen in France. I am not sure that Sarkozy would not have retorted with some force. As for the regime, their policy and all, it is all too early to tell. Mal sehen.
I discussed this with some of my German colleagues, and for them, the point was not that Dr Westerwelle told the journalist to ask his question in English, but that he seemed to have taken things too seriously. They say that a foreign minister who would have to deal with other countries should be able handle the case of the journalist with better skills. He for instance could have made a joke out of it, they said. The other point is that they feel Dr Westerwelle is actually unable to speak passable English. Like you pointed out, Germans take pride in their English-speaking abilities, and they wonder whether he would be able to represent them, in that regard, in international fora.