Goodbye To All That

ROBERTO PFEIL / AP

OLD GUARD: Joschka Fischer, left, and Gerhard Schröder

Like an indecisive interior decorator, Germany has been mulling gaudy color schemes for its new coalition. Yet even if this week sees a final choice — pairing Christian Democrat black with Social Democratic red — the government will appear oddly colorless. Missing from any Cabinet will be the country's brightest politician, Joschka Fischer, 57, Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor since 1998. The street-fighting iconoclast who settled happily into a role at the peak of the German establishment, and whose international fame and personal popularity always seemed out of kilter with the modest size of his Green party, has retired from frontline...

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