Chancellor Helmut Kohl is making his first visit to the United States as head of a unified Germany. As he meets with President Bush and Secretary of State Baker, he intends to convince them that Germans still support the alliance even though constitutionally they were unable to send troops to the Persian Gulf. Germany's financial contribution - in excess of $5.5 billion - actually exceeded U.S. hopes.
Kohl also has increasing economic and political difficulties at home and is very interested in U.S. investment in the eastern half of Germany. The East is undergoing major trauma since reunification - what some call an identity crisis caused by quick transformation from socialism to capitalism.Suicides are reported on the increase in the East, along with dramatic jumps in crime, violence against foreigners, vandalism and hooliganism at soccer games in what observers see as a collective cry for help in the midst of joblessness and uncertainty.
The Kohl government spent $600,000 on a cartoon film designed to explain market economics to East Germany. Unfortunately, the ad agency that made the film depicted the East German as a cute, if slightly dimwitted, dog that barks happily when thrown the one-mark coin. The film was locked away never to be seen by the public. It is symbolic of the problems between East and West that are not likely to be resolved overnight.
There is also a burgeoning movement of East Germans to the West, creating both social and economic problems of the first order. The population of Berlin is expected to double in the next five years. It is easy to see why Kohl is interested in soliciting help from the United States and others.