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To Klaus and the other Europeans on this thread,


There is a folk tradition in the United States, one that is not often commented upon. It is not the "cowboy" one, but one that predates it and shaped it. It is described fully here (a factual correction, Jackson was the seventh president, not the sixth):

http://denbeste.nu/external/Mead01.html

To explain the other schools Mead mentions...


Wilsonians, after President Woodrow Wilson (champion of the League of Nations and U.S. President from 1913-1921), advocate international institutions and laws over national interests. They are the least "patriotic" and most "Europhilic" of the diplomatic schools, the ones who promise co-operation with European goals only to have the Jacksonian realities of American politics undercut them. Most of the academic and media elites have this mindset, and the State Department is rife with "W's." In the Bush administration, Colin Powell, appropriately enough, is the most Wilsonian Cabinet member.

The Hamiltonians (from Alexander Hamilton, U.S. Treasury Secretary under George Washington) believe that "what's good for business is good for America." They approve of "international law" that stimulates business, as in the WTO and GATT.
Followers of Hamilton believe in "corporate welfare" and government intervention for internal improvements (from the Erie Canal to the U.S. Superhighway system). Dick Cheney is an excellent example of a Hamiltonian.

Jeffersonians (after Thomas Jefferson) advocate isolationism and the virtues of rural smallholders. They prefer to provide an example for the world rather than directly intervene, as do the Wilsonians, and they are the mortal enemies of the Hamiltonians. Jeffersonians believe in strictly limited government. The isolationist strain of American politics is strongest here, which is why the Jeffersonians have been in political eclipse since 1945. Jimmy Carter had some aspects of Jeffersonianism in his political character during his administration, although he has become a full-blown Wilsonian pacifist since his defeat at the hands of Ronald Reagan. The most prominent and purest Jeffersonian at the national level is Rep. Ron Paul (Republican/Libertarian) of Texas.

Its interesting that many Europeans and Americans would talk about anti-americanism and why america deserves it. I think another aspect of this which perhaps is just as important is the other side of the coin - what america thinks of the world, and in this particular case, what does america think of europe. I think europe is making a self fulfilling prophecy and making enemies in america where there were none. I remember just a few years ago my friend's father had this peculiar hatred of the french. At the time, it seemed like a strange eccentricity. but after all that has been happening the past years, I feel as if I am the same as him. I would never have possesed these opinions about europeans just a few years ago. Before I had this vague notion of europe of cafes and fountains. but now my vision of europe seems very clear. A big anti-european feeling is welling up, and i'm not the only one who feels it. The question is what will happen to europe when america views it just like it views china now - a ruthless geopolitical rival that must be contained and neutralized, instead of its former image which was a group of benign friendly allies.

"I think europe is making a self fulfilling prophecy and making enemies in america where there were none."

There's always been a little bit of a playful antagonism toward the French in the US, but it was never anything serious and most Americans would have been completely open and friendly to any French person they met. But I agree entirely that France has made enemies where there were, for the most part, none. While there's been a great deal of anger for the French, I've neither heard nor experienced any anger toward Germans or any other Europeans. What has incensed me the most is reading the European press.

I am 40 year old white male who has spent 22 years of his life in the US, the rest in Germany with a couple of short stints in France and England. And I am glad I did. Judging by all the comments on this site, I have to wonder: what the hell is everyone's problem?

Most of the comments, however lengthy, bloated and arrogant, are all doing the same thing. Its like a bunch of first-graders discussing whose father is wealthier, cooler etc.

Germany (or Europe actually) and the USA are two distinct cultures. And as the world goes its hardly possible to agree on everything.

So what's the problem? Is it anti-americanism to disagree on certailn standpoints? Is it anti-germanism to do it the other way around? Or is it just two sovereign peoples making their own choices? Is it "sucking up" when you agree? Or is it a cogniscent choice.

Seeing as how most of the US readers of this site followed the instapundit link, most of the comments here are understandably pro Bush and pro war. But if being those two things is the only sign of true "Americanism", then I must be anti! And if a stiff walk, the belief in the 30-hour work week and neuroses are "German" what am I?

Its true, Germans are more informed and from a wider variety of sources (that doesn't mean they have a more educated opinion) than most Americans. It is a fact that I believe I can judge.

Germans have a lousy temper and tend to be grumpy, and have an attitude that goes along the lines of: Give it to me I deserve it, because....
And that makes me furious.

Americans tend to be friendly and open. (Except in NY HAHA) They also are naive and ignorantly patriotic, unquestioning at times of the steps they take (some here have called that a can-do attitude). And they need to be liked! Which is the main point-the more one wants to be liked, accepted as a do-gooder or morally superior, the more criticsm becomes bothering.

So my plea to both sides of the fence here: Stop whining! Get on with it, agree to diagree and take a look at yourself.

David, this has been very therapeutic for me. I enjoy reading the andectdotes of expat experience both from the Americans in Germany and the Germans or other foreigners in America. We should be careful to avoid extrapolating what we experience to all citizens of the country we visit. An example, Germans abroad:

My first experience of Germans abroad was loud, too, in Venice, Italy of all places in the Seventies. Four abroad and ten deep, a group of Germans marched down the narrow passages of the old city singing German songs. But you have to keep in mind that the German workers are relatively well-paid and the average German gets six weeks of vacation. Precisely in inexpensive countries like Eastern Europe or parts of Spain, etc., you have working class tourists from Germany coming through whose counterparts in America may well never have left the country (or even the county). In Southwest Florida, by contrast, there are tons of Germans who not only vacation there, but who buy houses and invest in businesses. In the malls, you can barely tell them from middle-class Americans until they begin speaking (very quietly I might add).

There are Ugly Germans just as there are Ugly Americans, but I don't think either stereotype is the norm.

Germany has calmed down these past weeks. Sometimes one even senses a slightly sheepish realization that, once again, the Germans overdid their reaction to America. (... at least until the next edition of Der Spiegel comes out ;-). Last night on ZDF the main commentator at 22:00 politely referred to the U.S. as "der Grosse Bruder" (the big brother) -- with affection in his voice and implicitly acknowledging Germany's complex psychological relationship with us -- when discussing Germany's attempts to create elite universities the likes of Harvard. When issues like these are involved, one really senses the desire of many Germans to be more like America. I admire their willingness to look to America for ideas. I know it is often difficult for a German to express affection / admiration towards America, but coverage like that reveals a sense of connection to America that competes effectively with the ideological forces that sometimes keep us apart. Some of the travel reports over America are also inspiring.

Those comments on Americans being people who left somewhere are right on point. As Edgar Reiz, the film director, pointed out in discussing the concept of "Heimat" (homeland), that's what we Americans have in common with the Jews and is what often separates us from our stay-put European cousins. One dare not underestimate the effects of this difference on psyche.

Finally, if someone asks me what I miss most about America, aside from Lucky Charms cereal, it would have to be all the chance, "superficial" encounters and conversations with total strangers from all walks of life. This happens in the country and it happens in Manhattan. I used to be impatient during those kinds of conversations -- I was always in a hurry back then. Now I slow down and listen and enjoy. As for striding instead of walking, one neighbor here described me as "stolz wie ein Spanier" (proud as a spaniard) because of my gait.

Ah, there's so much more to post on, but I'd just as soon sit back and read.

Very interesting thread and very interesting blog. Thanks David.

As an Eastern-European(Romanian with one parent of German nationality) living in Germany, I had the chance to live for a few years in the US. Very funny feeling ! After four years in the US I was feeling American without making any effort, accepted by society as a fellow American. After more than four years in Germany, I feel what I’ve always been and what I will always be: a foreigner (Auslaender). (By the way, I’ve always spoken German perfectly and I have a German name)

Like so many people said already, I think that anti-americanism is a Western European issue with national specifics in each country. I am convinced it is NOT so much a problem of what Bush or General Custer did, but mainly a psychological burden of which most Europeans are not aware yet. There are many very good previous analyses of this phenomenon in this thread and many good books on this, so I won’t even write my own two cents ;-)

I would just like to write down some of my observations. As a kid in a dictatorial communist and socialist country you grow up real fast. Life is tough and you have no other choice. (Funny story: my father was regularly and secretly listening the news on Radio Free-Europe(thanks US for that!). I was eight or nine when I overheard about the hostage crisis at the embassy in Teheran. I knew at that age that this knowledge was dangerous and was careful not to talk about it. Anyway, I shared my political views :-) with a family acquaintance who happened to be an officer with the Romanian secret police (Securitate):-((. You can imagine he was quite shocked that I knew about it and told me to keep my mouth shut. I did and everything was fine. When I grew up I did a better job at choosing partners for political discussions)

I remember in the 80’s watching on TV the ‘peace’ demonstrations in Germany. They were given prime-time coverage in a country where there was NEVER anything good to say about ‘rotten’ capitalism. But those news were GOOOOD news. ‘Oppressed’ citizens of a capitalist country demonstrating against American military bases and, implicitly for better relationships with the ‘friendly, peace-loving’ USSR.

Unfortunately for them, Reagan and Thatcher didn’t fall for that (my lifelong gratitude to them !!!). They sure missed some amazing cultural exchanges, nightly literary readings from European classics and Soviet Marxists classics, and the exchange of some fine bouquets of flowers as a sign of appreciation and understanding.

Well, you win some and you lose some. Eastern-Europe won its freedom and Western-Europeans lost the opportunity to stay late in bed with the Soviet culture. They should be grateful, they would have gotten lost in the deep-dark Soviet soul.

But hey, who cares about the Soviets. That’s history, and the crisis today is something totally different. Yeah, right… Do you know what history and fashion have in common? Right, they repeat themselves every few decades. Only under different names. That’s one thing we can always count on. And still, it takes us by surprise everytime.

Europe, you old sleeping beauty, the next awakening kiss might not come from the rough, handsome Cowboy, but from an unexpected and unwanted fellow.

I’m done, but not before I say something else and thus loose my credibility forever: God bless America ! You have here at least one good friend.

I find this very interesting. There are many things that I would like to comment on. Hopefully, I will in time. My first comments are on the future of US military bases in Germany. At one time, I would never believe they would be closed. I do now. The US Department of Defense is under going a complete review of how they fight and also whom they might fight in the future. With the exception of Ramstien, no base in Germany no longer makes any sense. Having forces located in what is more or less a land locked nation, far from places where US Forces might be deployed makes no sense. The position of the German government during the run up to Iraq only highlighted what a real problem this could be. This problem was reinforced by the actions of the Austrians, which was a real problem but was worked around. So to future US planning, German bases no longer offer a strategic advantage.

Secondly, and maybe even more important is the upcoming round of base closures, Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC). I am sure this has gotten little press in Europe. This is a complete review of military installations within the United States with an eye to closing as many as possible. The goal of this exercise is to save money. The money saved would be better used in supporting other missions. This is a very painful process as I am sure you can realize as in many areas the military base is a huge source of economic activity. The Congress, which will vote on this, is already demanding that overseas bases be included. When the choice of closing a base in Germany is compared with closing one in Virginia or Georgia or Washington State, you can well imagine which one Congress will vote to close.

The elimination of US bases in Germany becomes a combination of many factors. These are political considerations both in the US and in Germany. The identification of new strategic threats, development of doctrine and equipment to defeat those threats and the basing to support implantation of this doctrine. The US military is well on the way to doing just this. Today, the Marines use this structure for deployment. The US Army used it in central Germany during the 60’s, 70’s 80’s with their REFORGER exercises of where stateside units deployed to Germany and picked up propositioned equipment and moved forwarded to protect the inter German boarder.

So my not so bold prediction is that in 10 years there will few if any major bases in Germany.

I can confirm that higher up in the eschelons of U.S. Republican types (not party activists, just well-informed businesmenn, etc.) there is a great deal of anger towards Schröder's diplomacy. I've had one or two "leadership" types ask me flat out what the hell was Germany doing. They were quite mad. But, as one friend put it, Germany seems to have gotten off more lightly than France.

I'm no Republican but I share the anger. It will not be forgotten anytime soon. Make no mistake, the diplomatic fighting over Iraq II was a watershed break with the past. France and Germany IMHO unnecessarily threw out the post-WWII order in Europe without having a viable alternative in place. Only time will tell whether that was a disastrous mistake. Joe's post above points to one of the numerous consequences that likely will follow.

I also commend David for hosting this gabfest! Kudos to you!

Funny story (pulling the conversation back toward the media's role in anti-everything): a few months back I posted on a Samizdata thread about boycotting French goods because of their galling stance on the Iraq War. Then, around Christmas, I received an email from a Businessweek journalist asking me for an interview (was I still boycotting? Why? What didn't I buy?). It was funny to read my words online in a "real" news format, after the fast and loose debates of blogs.

So contributors, know that this is being read by curious journalists and expect some kind of follow-up in the press.

As for the question of how deep anti-European sentiment runs in the US today, I'd have to say (my own boycott notwithstanding) not very. Most "ordinary" folks are angry with Bush for being (they believe) unnecessarily harsh with our friends.

That said, however, I repeat an earlier thesis--IF we elect John Kerry (the likely Democratic candidate) and IF he then butts heads with Chirac or Schroeder (or their successors) we WILL have a resurgence of anti-Europeanism unlike anything we've had for generations. This is, as we Americans like to say, a no-brainer.

Now let me ask the European readers of this thread, do you think it likely that a Kerry election would induce Europeans (and especially their leaders) to play nice once more with the US? Keep in mind that public opinion here remains and is likely to remain for the foreseeable future, quite warlike and poised to attack ANYONE who tries to repeat 9/11.

Hi!

At first, let me give you a poll to correct some statements here, since I see the situation in my country presented in a misleading / misleaded way on certain issues.

Institute: Forsa
character of poll: representative (i.e. valid for the whole country)
date of poll: 22./23. January 2004
published: "stern" magazine

question/statement:

X % of the Germans trust fully Y (institution)
( Example: 81 % of the Germans trust fully their police )

81....police
72....surgeons
71....your boss
65....universities
60....courts
59....radio
57....federal president
49....army
39....evangelical church
39....city hall admin
39....press
36....european union
35....government of the land (state - like: hesse or bavaria)
35....banks
33....TV
31....insurances
27....Federal Parliament
27....Pope
27....employment insurances (German: Krankenkassen, semi-state runned ones, NOT the private ones meant here)
25....Catholic church
24....workers unions
23....economy
22....employer lobbying associations (counterpart of workers unions)
18....government (schroeder and his team)
12....political parties


This means: We Germans have fired Schroeder in our thoughts. Also the workers unions and their counterparts and the political parties.

It also means: We Germans do not blame others for our mess here, but know very well who did what with what results.

And it means: the relevance of medias should not be over-estimated, people here give less on the credibility of media reports than some US-writer here suppose ref. to some statements.

----------------


Pam :-)

>Please. Don't anyone ever give me a link to anything that contains the word "dialectic". It makes my teeth itch.<

Hah, LOL! That's HARMLESS! ;-)

What about this one - also usable for serious thinking ;-) :

>In Europe, the people are governed.
In America, the people govern.<

Which is the result of the difference between John Locke's valid approach and Jean-Jacques Rousseau's foolish - and now it comes - "volonté générale", which results in the leftist approach of today.

Have fun! ;-)


----------------------
George Murphy:

>Maybe it is a good thing that the German Government is upset because they were not allowed to bid on post-war contracts in Iraq. Greed has always been a consistent German virtue.<

Wrong. There ARE contracts. ;-p


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Linden,

thank you for your reply. While I agree with most of your message (some 345 before this one), my perception to this one is different:

>The European press is quite possibly the main source of the problem.<

I wouldn't think so. Instead, I think the press is MIRRORING the problem with the socialistic political-bureaucratic-complexe in large parts of Europe as its main source

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N. Claric,

>One point which makes it even more intriguing is that while Schröder and Chirac claim to be best friends, and in German schools teachers are ancouraging teenagers and students to learn French, ... the German press somehow misses all the huge headlines from France. Last summer more than 10.000 elder people died, there's riots in Paris and Strasbourg, moderate Muslims are car-bombed, etc. Yet you can hardly read anything about it in SPIEGEL, FAZ, SZ, ZEIT. Strange.<

That only seems strange. By living here you would understand. We Germans are simply not very much interested about what happens in France. Pretty different mentality, state structures, understandings, approaches....the franco-allemand "liaison" is a matter of brain, not necessarily to the same degree also of heart.

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Steve,

>If the German system is so superior to the American system (i.e. his denigration of 'cowboy capitalism') why is the German system dependent on the American system? Is there a contradiction here or is it just me?<

Terms like this 'cowboy capitalism' are here used as a kind of 'political battle phrase' for to devalue the US-system and, by doing so, let appear Schröders policy in a better light. Whcichn doesn't work anymore, as seen at the poll above.

Dependancy? Hmh - my statistics here tell me about direct investment:

US in Germany: 10 billion Euro (or USD, I forgot, sorry)
Germany in US: 8 billion Euro (or USD).

Doesn't seem to be a one-way-road. But your statement is understandable, because normally Frankfurt stock market mirrors the tendency of Wallstreet and so it may appear like you said. But also this might change a bit in some years in "future"-trades with the opening of the first German future-trade place in Chicago on coming Sunday.

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Robin,

>Taken as a whole, German culture and the German people are capable of great intellectual daring, but are very very risk averse in practical matters. AND FREE ENTERPRISE IS INHERENTLY RISKY.<

Please be aware that this risk averse-approach is in a process of slow change since a few years. What makes it difficult is that you feel literally surrounded by bureaucratic limits, if you start enterprise business. Another matter is that you need to borrow money from your bank for starting a business - and in difference to the US it is a huge amount to finance all the regulations. Which makes it more risky than in the US (debts, etc.).

---------------

Pam,

>Add to that the Belgian Defense Minister deciding the U.S. military is inefficient because it has too much money. <

This was reported here different: not because it HAS, but because it NEEDS. That was his quotation here. He explained that by saying: if there is to transport something from point A to point B, Americans tend to start 3-4 helicopters to make sure the transport suceeds.


-------------


John,

>Germans seem to deal with evil and defeat through denial. No member of anyone's family was really involved and the Germans were victims of the Nazi's too as if they had come from outerspace or something. <

Perhaps, this generalizing way tells more about you than about us.....

---------------


Sandy P.,

thank you for your reply.

>Klaus, first of all, you've been neighbors with France for centuries, why should arrogance bother you (she writes w/tongue-in-cheek)?<

Well, with the French it is pretty easy, you know (my tongue also in cheek): if one Frenchman becomes too arrogant by praising his "Grande Nation" my simple comment is: "Aaah! Superb! Monsieur Petain! Vichy! N'est pas?" Then I smile at his grim red face: "Let me think: did it last 31 or 32 days at those times?"

That normally does it. If not, I take an admiring look to the next Islamic mosque and praise the French sense for French culture, tradition and habits..... - That's it. ;-)

Well, I was also a bit kidding. There ARE people of that arrogance there and what I wrote above I really once DID, but in fairness it is from my point of view a pretty normal relationship - without any arrogance.

But confronted with arrogance by ethnic relatives is a somehow different matter.... Hence the remark about the mirror. ;-)


>I really don't agree w/this because I don't understand why you have an identity problem. <

PERSONALLY, I don't have any. But the country on its whole. You can watch it by carefully listening to political debates in parliament or watching the debate whether a little German flag should be seen by the TV-talsk among leading politicians before elections (it really was debated!). Or simply make a test yourself and ask one of us whether he / she would consider himself being a "patriot". You will soon figure out that certain words are not used and certain issues not discussed - in public and / or with a foreigner or "alien". Which has something to do with our history, of course. And also not "just" Hitler, but we have two WW in our backpack.

Next point: Germany was always a deeply divided country ref. politics - with a strong capitalistic/national wing and an also strong left/marxistic wing. That was so at Bismarcks time and also in the "old" West Germany with an axis in the political "middle" being kept stable. But now you can watch that the whole axis shifted slowly to the left and that since the 90ties. A slow smooth process. And around THIS axes left and conservative is grouping - with the result of a lack of conservatism.

Read the poll above, be aware that the conservative CDU is just a joke, remember that certain issues are object of leftist PC and then I hopefully could give you an idea about how I see the situation here.


>I've read more than once in business sections over the years that Germany won't change it's practices and adopt some US business practices because "we're European," not American. (Comments made not only by Europeans pols but European businessmen.) That's not our fault. Your economic situation is not our fault or responsibility.<

Okay, but please don't mix up things here and differ between:

1. certain standards, laws and views, where we simply think that we are better off by keeping them - and that has NOTHING to do with Anti-Americanism or ideology, but is just result of practical thinking and also experience (just to give you an idea: the car corporation "Porsche" is not present on some official stock markets. Why? Because these stock markets request quarter-annual reports for to give shareholders valid information. Porsche has refused to follow this logic by saying: the force to publish reports every three months puts short-breathed pressure to investments and makes it more difficult to think and invest in more long-termed orientated business. Result: Porsche has become a real "bully"-corporation now, makes vry good profit and the shareholders seem to be very satisfied with that looking at the price per stock the last years, which increased, increased and increased. Another issue has something to do with our system of booking - what is a debt, what is profit? Definition here is different, since we accept profit only as profit, when it is realized - i.e. profit in books are no profits. Simply think of Enron, where debts appeared as profits and you know what I mean ;-)

2. the funny trial to buid up a European identity. The old "Anti"-approach.

-------------------

tn,

>Individualism, be it of the monarchist, fascist or communist kind, as we all know, has inevitably lead to disaster in Europe.<

No. It was actually not individualism, but collectivism. I know what you refer to, but this is the typical left and false construction of "individualism", which has nothing to do with reality. And which is used to justify the collective system in favour of bureaucracy and socialistic "bimmbelbahn"-policy.

>flags are anti-individualistic.<

here we have it again - the misleaded picture of individualism. ;-)
-----------------

jk,

>they have built themselves and are now trapped in 'Seinfeld' societies.<

Do you mean "Scheinwelt" (fictitious or sham world)? If so, I would agree, it is also my approach. But please be aware that not ALL trapped in there.


-----------------

Pam,

>Which is another reason we find people who expect the state to do everything for them quite bewildering. To us it looks like surrender of autonomy.<

Aha. And what about medicare? And what about the US-democrats' request ref. schools, health care etc.?

"to us" seems to be a bit one-sided. "to Republicans" would hit it, wouldn't it? ;-)

------------------


Sandy P.,

>And Klaus, as to Turkey, we would have minded our own business if it were a 9/10 world. <

That wasn't the point - please read the messages among Pam and me ;-)


> I really don't think Europe understands that.<

They do - but see it in a different light, based on media reports. Sometimes it simply comes out that it was an information gap - like the Turkey"-case".


>Submitting is not the lesson of WWII.<

You are certainly right here. But fighting like in WWII is also not the lesson to learn - terrorism is a different matter and requests also a wide range of methods to defeat (infiltrating for example - maybe an intention of this blog? ;-)


>And the more I read, I do think we made a mistake by not imposing some of our Constitution on Europe after WWII. <

Wrong. The more I read I do think a lot of Americans here are clueless to this situation ;-)

Actually, the US-governmental-system was nearly 1:1 copied in the US-occupied zones, the British system in the British occupoied zones. You can see this still today by visiting a cityhall: in mid- and southern Germany the mayor is also boss of the staff, in Northern Germany not.

>One of Europe's greatest fears is that we are imperialistic. What would they do if we really started acting that way?<

Be aware that - in the view of left politicians - you already appear to be imperialistic. ;-)

---------------------------

Steve,

>The perplexing question, to me, remains: what causes anti-Westernism in western elites (who are in power in Germany and perhaps France, share power in Britain, and are out of power in the US)?

I think it is really the "capitalism-socialism"-contrast and not "anti-westernism", where you would have to define what "westernism" really means. Please keep in mind that socialism was also originated in the "west" (Rosseau in France in the soft version - not intended, but in result, Marx in Germany later the hard version).


----------------------------


Sandy P.,


>Have you ever considered that that IS what we do? And because we're so vocal about it, you pick up on it? Geez, Klaus, we have animal psychiatrists, for Pete's sake.<

Wrong adress ;-) I didn't write anything about a lack of self-analysis, that was tn or someone different.


>Klaus, what happens if W's re-elected?<

If you mean George W. - well, I would smile by thinking of the responds of Schroeder and the red-greens in general. ;-) And you shouldn't put me into the wrong "political drawer" - maybe, I am more US-friendly than you might think at first sight. But since we agree that the European "left" has a problem of "cognitive dissonance", and not you, I am sure you won't do this mistake. ;-)


>You have no reference, we're completely different than anything you've ever come up against.<

You're nothing special. You are human beings like we and hopefully live with a humble approach towards god and the ten commandments (or an equivalent). Also like we (mostly). ;-)

---------------------------

Kelli,

>what I am reading here from Europeans appears to be that anti-Americanism has little to do with anyONE (i.e. Bush) or any EVENT (the current war, the rejection of Kyoto--you name it) but is a long-term systemic process. If this is true, then Americans are misreading Europeans, for most of my friends and family are convinced that if we replace Bush with a Democrat this year, all will be well. My own sense (and it is echoed by many posters) is that this is not the case.<

in my view there is a bit of truth on both: as I see it there is

- a lot of Anti-Bush-feelings, which are genuine and NOT anti-american, but based on the person,
- a latent irrational anti-"yankee"-feeling,
- and a very rational newly upcoming Anti-capitalistic view directed against the US in favour to keep left ideology alive in Europe.

This would mean that a new president would take away a lot, maybe most feelings which appear to be "anti-american" to you americans. But not all.

Because what is still left, is the political left. Sorry for repeating, but to me this is the one very problem. Yeah, our problem. ;-)

------------------------

Sandy P.,


>And there's the rub, you and others don't buy it.....That's a piece of last week's news. Were you paying attention?<

I do. Many others, too. Don't get a wrong picture here.

----------------------


Pam,

>Why do I not see, in any of your media, a repudiation of, or even a challange to, this repugnant, hateful "Bush=Hitler" conflation?

Why?<


Because you start a bit late in looking for. ;-) It was done when it happened. Due to their reports and the masses of published letters-to-the-editor Daeubler-Gmelin resigned.

Seems that you still have a lot of research to do for your congress meeting. ;-)

--------------------------

tombo,

>which is that we are now living in the Asian Century. <

Yup! And this also a reason, why I think that these EU-US "troubles" are not very helpful for all of us.


-----------------------

Roger,

>Klaus said, "the first is the thing with the "socialistic society": a simple look in statistics will tell you that our average density of population is much more higher than in the US. Already this simple fact implies a lot of consequences: if you live together in such a narrow envirnment you HAVE to make compromises and limit your freedom."

Americans have an interesting way of trying to get around that. Many of them get along by limiting their freedom to be intolerant. They say, "I don't like what that person is doing. I wouldn't do it myself. But as long as he's not hurting anyone, IT'S NONE OF MY BUSINESS."<

True, I wrote that. But please be aware that I corrected myself later for bringing the wrong bits and pieces together. And your statement is also common known and valid here - well, mostly. ;-)

-----------------------

Kelli,

>Now let me ask the European readers of this thread, do you think it likely that a Kerry election would induce Europeans (and especially their leaders) to play nice once more with the US? Keep in mind that public opinion here remains and is likely to remain for the foreseeable future, quite warlike and poised to attack ANYONE who tries to repeat 9/11.<

I think it would. Why?

The media mainly report that the US-people might wish a different president in office (also mentioning that Bush is leading in polls), but not a different US. So I think we are aware of this.

There is really a lot of resentiment against the PERSON Bush. And to Americans who don't understand: while his father hopped on the plane to get a coalition together against Iraq, George W. resided in the White House like an Emperor. These are things which are close looked at here.

What happens in case if disagreement with, let's say, Mr. Kerry in office? I don't know, of course, but it is likely that it would handled different. Please don't forget that - despite the disagreement on Iraq - the British-German relations kept stable and are excellent as they normally use to be.

But do you know what really amuses me alrady now? To see a Dem President talk of freedom, the equality of chances and not outcomes - and to watch the stunned leftists here ;-) In other words: such a combination would makes it harder for them to keep up their socialistic agenda.


-----------------------

To all:

things have calmed down here ref. Anti-Americanism. Ref. to the government, I suppose a matter of: 'you can fool one person all the time, all persons a certain time, but never all persons all the time.' My eyes popped out, when I heard "Tagesthemen" (TV-news, most seen) reported the Blair/Hutton complex completely correct. If this process of German self-analysis continues - I think it will - you will see that there will be only a few media left to continue their false agenda.


Best wishes
Klaus


Kelli,

what exactly does play nice mean?

As I recall the USA, France and Germany are allies, and members of NATO.
Being told that "you're either with us or against us" is not what I would consider standard talk to your allied friends. So who needs (or needed) to play nice? Attacking another nation is something I believe to be a global issue, the stand-alone attitude of the US is partly to blame for the cooling–off in US-European relations.
The fact that France and Germany (and Russia and China and..) weren't willing to sit and be good dogs and listen to their master is understandable, I think.

Why weren't there any mass demonstrations on the scale of those in London and Paris before Gulf War I ? Because Bush the Elder was smart enough not to plow his allies over and tell them to beat it. The coalition of the willing is a joke, and includes countries whose human rights records are as questionable as Iraq's.

If Kerry is elected and needs to invade some nation, I believe he won't go about it with the same arrogance the Bush White House has.

There is one more question I have in regards to your post, though. Are you implying that attacking anyone who tries to pull off another 9/11 is the reason for attcking Iraq? The link between Saddam and al queda has been dimissed rather clearly, also by Bush et al.

I believe the Bush administration to be in real trouble right now, in light of Kay's statements etc.

Those who opposed the war (whether wholly or under Bush's reasoning: imminent threat etc.) are seeing their stance justified now.

Bush's requests for assistance from the UN and Europe (OLD AND NEW) are baffling to many here

To WhatDoIKnow:

You made my day with your kind words and imaginative description.

Thanks!

Great thread all.

From a great fan of rough cowboys.

>>18....government (schroeder and his team)
>>12....political parties


>This means: We Germans have fired Schroeder in our thoughts. Also the >workers unions and their counterparts and the political parties.

mainly this means we have fired all poiticians in our country.

And by the way I can rember a poll in the beginnings of the 90s where only 12% of the youth belived in our politicians.

And ms. merkel, who now 'leads' the opposition commented that she was so shocked about it.

And I thougth "wow, so many sill believe".

Klaus,

That was one heck of an homage to Deutsche Gruendlichkeit!

Good comments.

*

"Being told that "you're either with us or against us" is not what I would consider standard talk to your allied friends."

It would help if your quote was correct. It isn't. Read the speech.

At the risk of being labelled simplistic, here is how I, an American, saw French and German opposition to Iraq II. The US intervened twice in the last 100 years to help Europe get its house in order, and for the last 50 years we protected the West from the Soviets. Then, on 9/11/01 the USA was attacked; this was the first major attack on the continental US by a foreign enemy in almost 200 years. When we asked for support, where were our friends the French and Germans? If they didn't support our response, why was it necessary for them to oppose us openly? Why not just sit back quietly and do nothing? Where was the understanding of what had happened?

I may forgive, but I don't plan to forget. The next time the French and Germans want help, I for one will not be quick to give it.

Klaus and ot,

Thanks for the thoughtful replies.

This is especially for ot. No, I don't believe that Saddam planned 9/11, though I don't dismiss the prospect that he contributed to the stew (training, cover, money--who knows?). Given the gaping holes that existed in the entire world's intelligence regarding Saddam's Iraq, I don't think ANYONE can prove he did NOT play a role.

I want all our European friends to understand one thing--if Bush loses this fall it will NOT be because of Iraq or the war on terror. It will be because he has a stunningly irresponsible domestic agenda, because even we Americans cannot tell what he may do next, and because he has no control over the crazier elements of his own party, who are running amok in Congress and spending like drunken sailors.

What would this mean for his successor? The Republicans will almost certainly STILL control Congress. A President Kerry would get very little through it (and he knows this) of a controversial nature. That means not much change in social policy, no end to free trade, no radical redirecting of government. No European-style redistribution of wealth or end to the death penalty.

In matters of foreign policy Kerry would probably be somewhere between Clinton and W--an improvement in tone, still more warlike and aggressive than Europeans will be comfortable with. Can you deal with that? I'm not so sure. And when the next crisis arises, if Europeans don't make a more visible effort to align themselves with us, regardless of who is in power, you will see a widespread disillusionment with Europe as a whole.

Finally, I think it would be useful to remind critics of the Bush doctrine that had more European Governments made symbolic gestures of support and unity rather than publicly spitting in Bush's and Blair's eyes, war may not have been necessary at all. Whatever short term animosity Bush engendered with his (admittedly) ham-fisted diplomatic "style" SHOULD have been overlooked by mature governments capable of recognizing their own long-term strategic interests. That it was not gives pause to Americans who want to believe that we can count on Europe when it really matters. I think, short of being directly attacked yourselves, you will not do for us what we have repeated done for you. Shame.

OT,

The uncovering of the world-wide nuclear cartel and the arrest of the father of the Islamic A-Bomb, A.Q. Khan, tell a different story. Wretchard at the Belmont Club comments:

"The liberal sneering at the American failure to find WMD stockpiles in Iraq is like making fun of a man who, having been tested for diabetes, receives a negative result but is told that what he really has is cancer. The US rightly feared that rogue states were developing weapons of mass destruction but did not have the breadth of imagination to conceive of the extraordinary web of cooperation between Pakistan, North Korea, European arms dealers and the Arabian states, who contributing according to their abilities, solved the problem of the atomic bomb. We went looking for an Iraqi bomb and found an international one."

http://belmontclub.blogspot.com/2004_01_01_belmontclub_archive.html#107520123962442542

"Despite the brave talk about the effectiveness of nonproliferation treaties, sanctions and quiet diplomacy, the saga of the development of the Pakistani nuclear bomb and its associated delivery systems demonstrates their ultimate futility. In 1965 Pakistan began its first tentative steps toward acquiring nuclear technology. It refused to sign the nonproliferation treaty. By 1980, intelligence reports indicated that it was beginning to acquire weapons designs and uranium enrichment technology from China. Despite US export controls, Pakistan acquired key materials and parts from world industry. By the mid-1980s, it had a uranium enrichment program, which the US attempted to halt by restricting aid. By the late 1980s, Pakistan had a stock of weapons-grade material and was testing weapon components. At the beginning of the 1990s, it began to acquire further nuclear-related material from Europe. Shortly afterward, Pakistan began to suggest that it already possessed nuclear warheads and was actively shopping for missiles and other delivery systems. The Clinton administration, apparently despairing of stopping the Pakistani program, attempted to negotiate a "cap" on the number of weapons available to Pakistan and India. It eased aid restrictions in an effort to influence Pakistani behavior with a carrot instead of a stick. To no avail. By 1996, Pakistan doubled its uranium enrichment capacity and began to manufacture weapons grade plutonium. In 1997, Pakistan demonstrated a new intermediate range ballistic missile and fired five nuclear test devices, each twice the power of the Hiroshima bomb.

Somewhere over these thirty years, Pakistan -- or at least individual Pakistanis -- began negotiating "cooperative" agreements with Iran and possibly a number of Islamic Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia. The Washington Post reports that the Father of the Pakistani A-bomb, Abdul Qadeer Khan and at least two of his top aides, both brigadier generals, "may have helped Iran develop its nuclear program". Pakistan now claims they were acting without authorization, a regrettable development which just now it seems, has come to light. One thing they also may have done is offer to sell nuclear secrets or the weapons themselves to countries like Saudi Arabia. The Guardian reports that Saudi Arabia is considering purchasing nuclear weapons -- from whom do you suppose? -- in response to "the absence of any international pressure on Israel, which has an estimated 200 nuclear devices".

It is hard to escape the conclusion that neither pre-emptive warfare, nonproliferation treaties, sanctions, aid programs nor diplomacy can do more than slow down the spread of weapons of mass destruction. By 2025, a period equal to the time elapsed between the first Pakistani nuclear research effort and their tests, WMD technology should be available to every country that can afford a national airline. Long before then, the model of bipolar nuclear deterrence will have collapsed in tatters. The industrial nations, which in the years following World War 2, declined to acquire their own nukes, will no longer be able to rely on an American nuclear umbrella when confronted, not by a single unitary aggressor, but by a host of smaller, resentful regional rivals."

http://belmontclub.blogspot.com/2004_01_01_belmontclub_archive.html#107451654003655985


In reply to ben

>he has no control over the crazier elements of his own party, who are running amok in Congress and spending like drunken sailors.<

I resent that, I only spend myown money!

"Diplomatic sources familiar with the results of a recent visit to Libya by nuclear experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said the Gadafy bomb programme differed in crucial respects from nuclear projects in Iran, Iraq or North Korea. "What was found in Libya marks a new stage in proliferation," said one knowledgeable source. "Libya was buying what was available. And what is available, the centrifuges, are close to turnkey facilities. That's a new challenge. Libya was buying something that's ready to wear."

Another well-placed source said: "We all now realise there is this extraordinarily developed and sophisticated market out there enabling anyone to get this centrifuge equipment." ... The German ship was seized by Italians after a tip-off from the CIA. Knowledgeable sources said the centrifuges on board were "made-to-order" in Malaysia for Libya, based on designs directly or indirectly from Pakistan."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/libya/story/0,14139,1125310,00.html

I don't like it when my fellow Americans throw in Europeans' faces the fact that we had a great deal to do with defeating Nazism and protecting Western Europe from the Soviets. It's insulting and it makes it sound as though it was a charitable effort on our part. The fact is we did those things because it was in our own interest to do so. In my opinion, every nation on earth does what is in its own best interest, and that is as it should be. So we Americans can quit patting ourselves on the back for saving Europe.

Consequently, in a political sense I understand why "old" Europe didn't support us in Iraq. The French and German governments want to be perceived as important on the world scene and didn't like the idea that a war in Iraq might occur without their permission. But morally I still can't understand it. Saddam had no legitimacy -- he was no different than a gang lord that claims part of a city as his territory. His claims of sovereignty are easily distinguishable from the claims of legitimately elected governments. On top of that, over 90% of Iraqis wanted him gone and had no real hope of achieving that on their own. There was some unbelievable brutality going on there that, presumably, the moralists on the left would like to see stopped. And considering that the US was willing to pay most or all of the costs and take on virtually all of the major military risk, I can't understand why old Europe, morally, would oppose the military overthrow of a despot like Saddam even if there was never any question of WMDs or terrorism in the first place. What's the harm? Who cares if an aggressive war is initiated against a dictator, if the end result is a chance at freedom for the people of that country?

My view of Europe has been changed permanently. I no longer think of Europeans as friendly allies of long standing. I think of them as (understandably) self-interested competitors on the world stage. I don't expect they will do anything to help us that isn't in their own interest....they never have, and neither have we. And I'm tired of anti-Americanism. I'm in favor of isolationism. If it's good for the Swiss and Swedes, why isn't it good for us? No one is anti-Swiss like they are anti-American. I'm tired of Americans disproportionately paying the military costs of protecting other countries from despots. Think what we could have been doing here in our own country with that money. All we get for our trouble is insults from so-called allies. It's not written in stone that Americans have to be the guardians of democracy around the world.

kelli

there are french and german troops in afghanistan. the french activly took part in the afghanistan war.

The iraq thing is something else than the war against the taliban. in the iraq war there was no need to align with the US. As most of the european population did not buy the arguments for the war. It is in the western tradition of enlightment that there needs to be well made case for a war. In the Afghanistan case there were arguments which justified the war (OBL was there as there were the head quarters of AQ). In Iraq war we see that the justifications provided were had not much substance. The case was not well made.

but this has not much to do with anti-americanism. I think that there is now some widespread interest in europe that "we want also be big players". This alone implies that there will be some rivalry also on the political level (on the economic level the divergence of interests is already evident: there was more than one trade war between the EU and the US). where the EU and the US have common interests they will act together where they have different interests they will be on other sides. why should this be bad. This is how it should be according to the basic tenets of rational behavior.

ot: I don't know where to start. For someone who claims to have broad knowledge of Euro and U.S. media, your citations of "either with us or against us" and "imminent threat" should be embarrassing.

Guten Morgan, Klaus.

Nice try about comparing medicare, etc., to Euro social benefits but it doesn't even compare to the cradle-to-grave system in Europe. I do heartily agree that there are way too many Democrats who think the entire purpose of government is to redistribute wealth.

Regarding the quote from the Belgium Minister of Defense on the U.S. military. I got the translation from Live From Brussels (http://brusselsblog.blogspot.com/2004_01_25_brusselsblog_archive.html#107545566074010089) and it reads in part:

>"The Americans throw so much money at their army that it simply can no longer act efficiently

Today's issue of the Telegraph (London) carries a fascinating article about German foreign policy. The headline should read "Oh, Man, Did We Ever Screw Up", but the Brits are too polite for that. Here are some choice excerpts:

>Chancellor was a 'prisoner' of French president in 'catastrophic' opposition to war to topple Saddam, writes Anton La Guardia

>In an interview with The Telegraph, Mr Fischer said the Iraq crisis had exposed the divisions within Europe and brought home to him the need to accept diverse traditions and history.

Here's the link: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2004/02/03/wgerm03.xml&sSheet=/portal/2004/02/03/ixportal.html

Now, Klaus, I was aware at the time of Ms. Daeubler-Gmelin's unfortunate remarks and their more fortunate consequences. The point I apparently did not make (ha!) is that the culture there seems to provide an environment in which she thought her idea was within the norm, so did not hesitate to state it publicly. Oh, yeah, and she's stupid too.

MarkJ and abc,

I'll address you together since, from different places and perspectives, you make a similar, eminently sensible point. Why should anyone act from anything other than self-interest? Amen to that!

Quick, cancel those billions of US taxpayer dollars to halt the spread of AIDS. And let's not bother with non-proliferation anymore--our European friends have that well in hand. We'll take that money and built an impenetrable shield around North America. Time to hunker down!

Seriously, one would think that, having gone into Afghanistan (and having lost some scores of soldiers there themselves) Europeans might actually want to follow through on at least that part of the W on T with which they agree. Alas, both the money which they promised the Afghan Government and the additional forces they assured Karzai were coming have proved elusive. Why is that? Oh, yes, because Europe doesn't actually HAVE any military might to speak of, and it's people don't like Bush. I've heard lots of people on both sides of the Atlantic bemoan how slowly US money has poured into Afghanistan, but few bring up the reneging of the European half of NATO. Funny that. Of course Europe will pay in the end (we're all interconnected now) with a flood of cheap heroin headed its way and a permissive drug culture permeating its bored, unemployed youth.

As for the US having acted in a self-interested manner in WWII, I see the point but it does rest on shaky ground. Fact is, Germany and Japan had little interest in picking a fight with the US; American citizens (much like their European counterparts today) were dead set against joining the fight. A different leader than FDR, absent the attack on Pearl Harbor, might easily (even necessarily) have sat out the war, and the Third Reich would have had to be destroyed by the French Resistance (?) on the one side and the Russian winter on the other.

But, all sarcasm aside, I DO agree with both of you that nations act in their self-interest--should and MUST do so. To do so, however, they must be able to recognize what that is. It makes little sense to publicly oppose, even lie to the superpower with whom you have a longstanding, binding alliance in favor of a malicious, psychotic regime with whom you have lucrative financial ties. Yet that is precisely what France and Germany did, with the full approval of their electorates.

I don't get it. Go your own way if you wish. But understand the consequences.

You will see how naive I can be. I'm hopeless...

I understand that there are people against the war in Iraq, against the way the US conducts foreign policy, basically against many(or most?) decisions coming from the US. I dont't agree with those people, but I understand them and I don't try to hammer my opinions into their heads.

There is one thing though I will NEVER understand. How comes the 'elites', the left wing, the apolitical peace demonstrators who only want peace(no matter the cost) do NOT understand that the Iraqi people are FREE ??

They say: 'OK, they're free, but what about WMD, and Bush, and...'. We should discuss WMD, and we should discuss Bush, and ... but, for God's sake peace-loving brothers and sisters, the Iraqis are free ! I didn't liberate them, Germany didn't, the EU didn't. The US alone did it.

If I were a 'liberal' with at least some self-respect left, I would say: 'Gee, that sucker Bush did at least ONE right thing, and that's not a minor thing. He liberated a people, whether he wanted it or not. I don't agree with him, I dislike him, but for that accomplishment I respect him.'

I've never heard or read anything like that. I don't think I will. Someone said that only the people who REALLY understand the substance of freedom are the people who don't have it and crave it. All the rest are just speculating. Sad...

I told you I'm hopeless.

Klaus, I never said we were special, I wrote different. Not the same thing. W never said w/us or against us. With US or w/the Terrorists. And why would you bring God into it??

One cannot compare GWI with now. We were in effect nuked. It could be argued that the force to bring down those buildings required a low-level nuke. It again comes back to 9/11. (And we didn't nuke anyone in return, think about that.) We have been very restrained.

For 60 years, my grandparents, parents and I and my husband and other Americans got out of bed, went to work and part of their and our hard-earned tax dollars went to protect you.

And what have we gotten for this? "You need to look at root causes." In some quarters, we deserved it. Sure, we'll help, you can use your military, but we'll decide who, where, when and how. It's there on the internet.

We were attacked. And we were damn lucky there weren't too many people in the buildings and the buildings pancaked instead of falling like a tree. I guess it's just our naivete that we expected our "allies" to provide support. And just maybe our "stand alone" response is a reaction to what could be argued as Europe's partially stand-alone response to 9/11.
Some Americans were probably very surprised that we actually HAD to ask, that it was not offered. And I am aware of the stellar support of Germany's armed forces and police at our bases. Plus, let's face it, Europe doesn't have the military. And it's not like China's going to help. And while the NorKs have a million-man army, they would probably eat their way thru Iraq.

And maybe that's the core difference. Chiraq embodies it,IMHO.

Hussein was arguably the largest money-launderer in the world, there's a book about money laundering and he's in it.

There are still questions of whether or not Iraq had a hand in WTC #1 - see Laurie Mylroie.

And there's a wonderful little conspiracy that Iraq might have had a hand in Oklahoma City, see Jayna Davis.

---
Europe doesn't want to help, fine, we can accept that. That's honorable. What was not honorable was the back-stabbing by our "allies." France giving our military plans to the enemy in Bosnia/Kosovo springs to mind, much less at the UN. One thing I think Europe fails to appreciate is that the Millenial Generation is paying attention - they are our soldiers now. Do you think they're going to want to spend their future earnings in Europe, much less fight for you if it comes to that? They did and are paying attention.

The Cold War is over, we should have accelerated our base closings in Germany.

And Klaus, you don't know which parts of our Constitution I would have liked to impose, do you?

---

And I have no doubt the Europeans would love to have Kerry as pres. He's already said he'd hand over how we handle our future responses to the UN and our "allies" and that the terrorism threat isn't as big as W thinks. We're back to the 90s. To some it's Europe decides, but America foots the bill. Unfortunately, some believe that way of thinking will get more Americans killed on home turf.

To those Germans reading this, there are some, and I am one, who has a problem with turning over my safety, security and sovereignty of my country over to Europe, and it's the same w/the ICC. Quite frankly, what little I know of your track record, it's not so good. Hmmm, maybe that's another reason, Europe did to us and our track record wasn't so bad. After all, (smiling) 6 weeks vacation can be awfully tempting.

Sandy,

Bravo! However, one slight quibble. Technically speaking, Kerry has offered to hand over the reigns of power to the UN. And you know as well as I that the Republican Congress would start impeachment proceedings should he even attempt to carry such a plan out. He is blowing smoke up Europe's butt, which all things considered, is no great crime IMHO (someone tell me--this does mean in my humble opinion, doesn't it?)

I believe anti-Americanism is and always has been on the Socialist Agenda for the prime purpose of discrediting liberal democracy. By discrediting America, they discredit it's prime upholder.

UN! ICC! Kyoto! WTO/Globalism! Imperialistic! Arrogant! Stupid! Repressive! They write about these things in their government controlled media and then point at them and say, see, look what happens when you implement a liberal democracy.

I found it very sad indeed when I saw how Mr. Schoeder got re-elected - all he had to do was denigrate the President of the USA/the American people and against all odds, he won! Says something of what the German people think of us, eh?

An ex-European,

Anne

Became a full-blooded American post-9-11 much to the horror of my family!

>There is one thing though I will NEVER understand. How comes the 'elites', the left wing, the apolitical peace demonstrators who only want peace(no matter the cost) do NOT understand that the Iraqi people are FREE ??

naive,

It doesn't serve their purpose!

We are the enemy!

IMHO (someone tell me--this does mean in my humble opinion, doesn't it?)

Kelli,

Yes, it does.

What can I say. For me "With the US or with the terrorists" translates into "with us or against us," or are the terrorists with the US?

I could trawl the web and find all the quotes with the reference to imminent, grave and gathering whatever. I don't consider the posts here by anyone to be by journalists but private persons, nit picking their comments seems a little unreasonable, and I won't nitpick the ones I diagree with.

I never professed to being an expert in the US/German media, I stated I could judge the people of both countries rather well, IMHO, because of being raised as both (my late Dad was American by the way)...

And furthermore, disagreeing with the way the current administration does its business in no way constitutes anti-americanism. I believe governments should be held responsible for their statements, the current Kay problem shows this. Rumsfeld installed the OSP to sift through the intel provided about Iraq, (read the Atlantlic Monthly Article by D. Pollack, btw a man who suggested invading Iraq for years and an intel official and consultant in the Clinton and current admministration), these infos were then used to justify the war.

I never whole-heartedley said no to war. I am glad Saddam is gone, if the people of Iraq can actually turn the opportunity for democracy into something good I'm all for it. I just believe that changing or selecting intelliegnce reports to suit ones needs is highly questionable. And could not be the basis for a war with hundreds of US casualties and the uncounted civilian deaths. Waiting and getting the real intel along with the cooperation of the UN and Europe Russia etc would have been the right way to go about it.

I recall Hans Blix being portrayed as someone who couldn't get the job done, ie find the weapons, now it turns out there wasn't that much to be found. Kay didn't find much, and I can't stop thinking if Bush had waited a while longer (2,3 or 6 more months) back in March 2003 things might have gone differently.

A final thought: Could the Germans' etc. choice not to support the war in Iraq be because they knew some of the intel was murky and biased? No facts to give, just wondering out loud.

Wow. I just found this article and I believe that I agree with it 100%. This is the problem. It frightens me because I believe it is spreading in America.

"Or, as the usually gentle Dawson put it in an especially fierce passage, “a secular society that has no end beyond its own satisfaction is a monstrosity—a cancerous growth which will ultimately destroy itself.” "

As they say, read the whole thing.

"They write about these things in their government controlled media and then point at them and say, see, look what happens when you implement a liberal democracy."

anne,
you don't have the slightest idea of german media, do you?

Kelli and Sandy,

Bush yesterday met with Kofi Annan to discuss the role of the UN in Iraq.

So who's gonna get impeached now?

n. klaric,

since she referred at least partly to german politics (schröder), i might have taken her comments on media wrong.

but where do you find that government controlled media in germany? there are indeed a couple of state-run tv and radio stations, whose supervisory board members are appointed proportionately by the political parties - what has most of the time been responsible for a quite balanced view. besides this, germany has a bunch of private networks that reach even more people than the "öffentlich-rechtlichen". the main newspapers are private and free from governmental influence, too.

but i'd love to learn where you got your opinions on german media from.

N. Klaric,

keep things in perspective please. The ramifications of lying to the populace, in comparison to misquoting the SOTU seem to be worlds apart. No one died because of my misquote.

I think I have made my stand-point on the war fairly clear, so I won't bother to do it again.

But what about Rumsfeld and the OSP? No thoughts about that?

The last statement I made was an open guess, clearly I stated: no facts, just wondering out loud.

ot: The reason I objected to your post is because words matter. Your 'translation' of what was said is inaccurate and to leave it unchallenged would be to give it a legitimacy it does not warrant. This is not nit picking. It is confronting you with a problem in your thinking.

Who lied to the populace? If the intelligence was mistaken, and the U.S. administration based it's actions on a mistake, where then is the lie?

infamous: First Things always has some of the most rigorous writing I've ever encountered. For those of you who are not familiar with it, it is a Catholic publication concerned with public life. I am not a Christian, let alone a Catholic, but I always find something there that gets me thinking.

Here is a paradox to think about. The same forces who run a media that often slips into the kind of blatant anti-americanism (bad) that this forum exposes are also -- I submit -- the forces that have devoted so much energy to keeping the history of the holocaust alive (good). As one poster here noted, many Germans, contrary to "official" Germans, often tend towards self-pity, rationalizing, and relativizing when it comes to discussing the holocaust (numerous personal encounters confirm this for me).

My only thought is that probably the left has been the main force behind Germany's confrontation with its own past. I guess we have to give the left credit for that, even if it fails miserably on the anti-americanism front. Anyone else have some thoughts on this apparent paradox?

Last night I caught a Sat1 show on repeat offenders in Germany. Example: a rapist convicted for third time still only gets a few years' sentence here. The moderator asked a German law professor whether Germany should adopt the American "3 strikes" approach. He said no. She asked him why not. His answer: "Well, we Germans don't go around invading other countries, do we." I changed the channel.

Sorry OT, there is a sickness here that cannot be accounted for simply as principled objection to war. It is an obsessive hatred of America in certain groups, and it is undermining the intellectual climate in this country.

ot,

Thank you for the clarifying post. Allow me to answer the question about Bush's impending impeachment for meeting with Kofi Annan. It is obviously a good thing that the President of the US and the head of the UN have a sound working relationship. Even Jesse Helms himself could not object too strenuously. Should Bush cede control of Iraq to the UN, however, (and I'm not suggesting this is likely) he would be at grave risk from hawks within his own party, who might even be inclined to mount a last-minute challenge to this year's election.

This is what I'm talking about--the constraints on the President's freedom of movement are enormous, and appear to be ill-understood on the other side of the Atlantic, let alone around the world. This is unfortunate, but as I don't understand fully the domestic constraints on other leaders (though I try, amateur wonk that I am) this is probably to be expected. Constraints on a Republican president by a Republican Congress are one thing; constraints on a Democrat by the Rep. Congress, another thing altogether. If Bush ceded too much control over foreign policy to either the UN or anybody else (about as likely as Justin Timberlake becoming ambassador to France) he would be in a heap of trouble with his "base"; if Kerry did the same, he would be impeached by Bush's base.

The simple reality is that our country is evenly divided between the two parties, but also riven by countless splits based on geography, religion, economics, ethnicity--Europeans really have a hard time getting their heads around it.

I'm not complaining, either. In Europe, you expend tremendous energy holding together the disparate countries of the EU; we expend equal energy holding together the disparate elements of a truly wierd, ever-evolving nation--then we're also supposed to maintain order everywhere else, without pissing anyone off. You see the difference? Probably not, but I won't hold it against you. I give you lots of credit for just trying.

So OT, you can misquote and it should be given a pass? No pass as the misquotes change the meaning. "For me "With the US or with the terrorists" translates into "with us or against us." I suggest that you do not get into the translating business. If that is what GW had meant, that is what he would have said. To me they mean two completely different things.

"I could trawl the web and find all the quotes with the reference to imminent, grave and gathering whatever."
Again, a misquote changed the meaning. Read the SOTU. Here is the part that you like to skip:
" Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come too late. Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an option. (Applause.)"

Looks to me that he quite clearly states that we CANNOT wait until the threat is "Imminent."

So you see that he said the opposite of what you imply. Link to SOTU:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/01/20030128-19.html


Kelli,
this from the New York Times

"After the meeting, Mr. Annan said the United Nations team heading soon to Iraq to assess the possibility of direct elections would expand its agenda.

"We are going to go there to help the Iraqis, to help them establish a government that is Iraqi, a government that will work with them to assure their future, in terms of political and economic destiny," he said. He said he thought that the United Nations had "a chance to help break the impasse which exists at the moment, and move forward."

The administration's plans for Iraq have been stymied by Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani's rejection of the proposed caucuses and by divisions within the Iraqi Governing Council.

"We are trying to put this issue in Kofi Annan's lap and let him run with it," one official said. "There's still very much the intention to stick with the date of June 30. But there's a lot of pressure on Kofi Annan to come up with the right solution."

Mr. Annan, for his part, has not wanted to become involved without wielding substantial authority.

The administration seems willing to allow that. Officials said Mr. Annan would have wide latitude to present Washington with a plan for Iraq's future governance — including a schedule for elections later this year — and that if he can demonstrate that it has broad backing in Iraq, the administration would have little choice but to go along. Some administration officials are now even saying it is possible for the United Nations to take the lead role in guiding the Iraqi political process after the return of self-rule.

But other officials warned that Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld were still likely to oppose giving the United Nations virtual supervisory control over the political future of Iraq, out of fear that such a step might result in constraints on American forces.

Mr. Bush and Mr. Annan met with Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and other top officials to discuss a range of possibilities for the future of Iraq."

Karl B.,

Excellent post! You brought back to me the fascinating "historians' war" of the 1980s, in which left and right-oriented scholars tore into each other about German responsibility for the two world wars and the holocaust. You are absolutely right in suggesting that the left did a tremendous service to the country by forcing everyone to face the truth about what their parents and grandparents had done.

So what has gone wrong? As a trained historian myself, I can tell you that the same instinct to see justice served about these 40 year old crimes, has grown and transformed itself over the past 15-20 years in the academic hothouse. America's war-time and Cold War leaders have been scrutinized with the same activist zeal as was once applied to unrepentent Nazis. Truman has been torn apart for dropping the a-bomb on Japan; FDR for interning Japanese and Japanese-Americans; Eisenhower for not stopping McCarthyism, etc.

All crimes are now equal in the eyes of professional historians (and their students): what's the difference between Nazi death camps and Japanese internment camps? Not much, according to most American students. THis is the base on which "Bush=Hitler" rests.

In Germany, I suspect that all this historical relativism has laid the groundwork for a new foundational myth for the country. Yes, Germany did many bad things, but look at the US--they did many bad things as well. Yes we killed millions of Jews, but look at Israel, the Jews today are no better than our grandparents. Everything evens out in the end.

Over time, students and intellectuals imbibe this myth. Some become journalists. Some become politicians and activists. Now, we are reaping the harvest. It all started out promising, but...

Karl B: YOU CHANGED THE CHANNEL??!! LOL!

I would have hauled out my 12-gauge and blown the TV into next week.

But that's just me.

ot,

The NYTimes should not be read as gospel.

My read on the situation: Bush no longer has a good option on Iraq and the election is fast approaching. If he treats Iraq like a hot potato, to be tossed into the lap of the UN, he is taking a tremendous gamble with his base (represented by Cheney and Rumsfeld). But, hey, we already knew he was a gambler, right? If he does not foist the matter onto the UN in time, he may lose the election because he has alienated moderate independents.

Hawkish Dems like myself, are probably closer to Bush's base on this issue than to the moderate indies, with whom we usually side. His ongoing fumbling on Iraq is losing us--the only reason we were going to vote for Bush was foreign policy. If we no longer agree on THAT, we might as well take a chance with Kerry or Edwards.

I have no crystal ball, ot. This is just my tiny perspective on the world.

Kelli,
Your absolutely right that the NY Times is not the gospel, but the quote I gave is for a large part based on quotes by Annan and the others.
I agree with you that Bush's best bet for reelection is playing the war/postwar card. His domestic policies record is dismal at best, (the CBO report should be read by all). It is going to be a tough fight. If he goofs he's gone.
---------------------------------
The Atlantic:
Kenneth Pollack (its K. not D., as I typed earlier.

"The intelligence community's overestimation of Iraq's WMD capability is only part of the story of why we went to war last year. The other part involves how the Bush Administration handled the intelligence. Throughout the spring and fall of 2002 and well into 2003 I received numerous complaints from friends and colleagues in the intelligence community, and from people in the policy community, about precisely that. According to them, many Administration officials reacted strongly, negatively, and aggressively when presented with information or analysis that contradicted what they already believed about Iraq. Many of these officials believed that Saddam Hussein was the source of virtually all the problems in the Middle East and was an imminent danger to the United States because of his perceived possession of weapons of mass destruction and support of terrorism. Many also believed that CIA analysts tended to be left-leaning cultural relativists who consistently downplayed threats to the United States. They believed that the Agency, not the Administration, was biased, and that they were acting simply to correct that bias.

As Seymour Hersh, among others, has reported, Bush Administration officials also took some actions that arguably crossed the line between rigorous oversight of the intelligence community and an attempt to manipulate intelligence. They set up their own shop in the Pentagon, called the Office of Special Plans, in order to sift through the information on Iraq themselves. To a great extent OSP personnel "cherry-picked" the intelligence they passed on, selecting reports that supported the Administration's pre-existing position and ignoring all the rest.
Most problematic of all, the OSP often chose to believe reports that trained intelligence officers considered unreliable or downright false. In particular it gave great credence to reports from the Iraqi National Congress, whose leader was the Administration-backed Ahmed Chalabi. It is true that the intelligence community believed some of the material that came from the INC—but not most of it. (In retrospect, of course, it seems that even the intelligence professionals gave INC reporting more credence than it deserved.) One of the reasons the OSP generally believed Chalabi and the INC was that they were telling it what it wanted to hear—giving the OSP, in a kind of vicious circle, further incentive to trust these sources over differing, and ultimately more reliable, ones. Thus intelligence analysts spent huge amounts of time fighting bad information and trying to persuade Administration officials not to make policy decisions based on it. From my own experience I know that it is hard enough to figure out what the reliable evidence indicates—and vast battles are fought over that. To have to also fight over what is clearly bad information is a Sisyphean task.
The Bush officials who created the OSP gave its reports directly to those in the highest levels of government, often passing raw, unverified intelligence straight to the Cabinet level as gospel. Senior Administration officials made public statements based on these reports—reports that the larger intelligence community knew to be erroneous (for instance, that there was hard and fast evidence linking Iraq to al-Qaeda). Another problem arising from the machinations of the OSP is that whenever the principals of the National Security Council met with the President and his staff, two completely different versions of reality were on the table."


Read the whole Thing:

http://www.theatlantic.com/issues/2004/01/pollack.htm


I would like to point out there are now two “Joe’s” posting. I am the one who spoke of the military bases in Germany. This is only a point of clarification. I would also note that the day following my comments there is now a news story reporting troop reductions.

It seems as if we are digressing from the subject. I would like to try to get us back on track with a comment about the forming of public opinion.

In most nations public opinion is formed by the media, the educational institutions and by public officials. These groups have access to wide audiences. How each of these react and what their respective agendas are determines there particular viewpoint on any given issue.

The citizens of a nation then form an opinion based not only on what is currently being provided to them but what has been provided in the past. This can be a slow process for some people and yet for others their opinions can be formed very quickly. Each of the key opinion makers (the politicians, the media and the education instructions) then reinforces this opinion or does not.

In the run up to the Iraq war, I think each of these fed off each other until the German public was really presented with only one side of the issue or if not one side surely not a well discussed set of options and opinions. When there is little or no opposition to what is perceived as public opinion then dangerous results can and do occur.

I would like to address what I consider to be the actions of the political leaders in forming German public opinion as it relates to the Iraq war. These come from reading the international and to some degree the American press.

The SPD was in trouble in the run up to the national elections in September. They had handled the situation of the massive floods well but were still in a fight for their political lives. Schroder at one rally made a comment about saying no to any involvement by Germany in any future Iraq war. I truly believe that when he did it he was off script i.e. not a planned part of his speech. The reaction he got was greater than he had anticipated. He realized that he had touched a nerve with his party faithful. He continued to use this same line right up till the election. Once elected he was some what boxed in by his own commitment to the voters.

His comments surely fed and reinforced those who already had anti-American feelings. For many there was a genuine feeling of opposing the war. As America was actually considering that war might be the only logical outcome, it was only natural for those who were already anti-American and those who opposed the war to join as one.

Schroder pre election stance very much caught America and the Bush administration off guard. Bush had made it clear to Schroder in early July that there was a possibility of a war with Saddam. He told Schroder that he realized this could be a very difficult issue for him during the election and America would make no comments about it as it pertained to Germany. That in fact, should there be war, America would request the use of its German bases, authority to use German airspace and requested Germany to support any agreed upon action that NATO might take.

The fact of the matter is that the German military can no longer fight side by side with the American military. The differences in technology are just too great. There was never a request for direct German military troops to fight the war. In the end, the German government did provide all the support that the US asked for.

What was not provided and what even as we go forward is creating a problem are the actions of the Germany government at the UN. Their position surely undermined the US.

So the SPD and Schroder very much added to and in some ways created much of the current anti-Americanism that took place and still lingers in Germany. This was reinforced by the media through their reporting and interview of both government officials, government actions and the reporting of demonstrations.

There are of course two questions, which will never be answered. What would have happened had Schroder taken this position. “ We support the United States and agree that the possession of WMD by Saddam and Iraq poses a dangerous threat. Germany, however, will not directly support any military action that the US might take against Saddam. German troops will not be deployed in the overthrow of Saddam.” The first question is would Schroder have been reelected? The second is what would the condition of relationships between Europe and the US and within Europe today.


ot: I respect Pollard. But his contention that intel was 'stovepiped' by the Pentagon is something I will hold off on evaluating until I start seeing results of the Congressional investigation. If you're interested, here's a link to the actual CIA docs on Iraq WMD as of October 1, 2002.

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/jksonc/docs/nie-iraq-wmd.html

You will note that there is an 'alternative view' presented in the docs, coming straight from the State Department.

N. Klaric: I gather that Kohl failed in his attempt to establish privately-held media. What happened? But I'm confused. There IS privately held media, so what was he trying to establish?

Thanks Kelli for your thoughts. Yes, I have read up on the Historikerstreit. That has been re-fought several times on a much smaller scale since I moved here, the last rounds over Martin Walser a couple of years ago, and most recently over Herr Hohmann(sp?).

Yeah, Vietnam plus slavery plus Indians = holocausst. That kind of logic is found over here on both sides of the political spectrum.

Another paradox that N. Klaric's debate brings up: The public TV here in Germany is often less anti-american that the private. I don't know how many times I've had to cringe at RTL's US coverage. Go figure. But I'll never get over the chill that runs down my spine when I turn on the news and find the same broadcast on five different channels. And don't even get me started on the compulsory TV fees I have to pay every year.

Interesting thread everybody. My first time at this blog, and I'm definitely impressed.

Before I start, I'd like to give a little bit of background about myself. I'm an American, born in NYC, who grew up mostly abroad, largely in Japan. I've worked outside of the US in Spain, Switzerland, Brazil, and Canada. I've also travelled to many countries in the world and am comfortable in four languages, and minimally capable in two more. My mother is from Morocco, and so I grew up with a French-centric notion of the world. I was quite anti-American, straight through college, up until I had the experience of working in Europe and getting to see more of what people thought there.

A defining moment for me was sitting at a dinner table in Switzerland in mid-2000 and finding that I was the only one in favor of the first Gulf War. At the dinner table were two Germans, an Austrian, perhaps three Spaniards, a Frenchman, two Dutchmen, two Brits - in short, a fair cross-section of major Western European countries. All of them were well educated, and, being management consultants, graduates of the top universities in their countries. And not one of them was in favor of the first Gulf War! I couldn't understand this - an aggressive dictator decides to pursue an irridentist course and in a cross-section of well-educated Europeans, I couldn't find one person who believed that standing up to a dictator was a good thing. I understood then that many in Europe hadn't learned a damned thing from the Second World War; perhaps they forget to teach these things at elite universities in Europe. Their defense of Saddam was largely centered around this being none of the US's business - which we certainly could have said was the argument made in the US to convince the US not to attack earlier in either World War.

Previously, some of you have commented that if certain positions are espoused by Europeans and by Democrats - who are about 50% of the American population - then it can't be the case that those positions are anti-American. Speaking from my own experience as a former extreme lefty, I have to say that while most moderate Democrats are not anti-American, most extreme leftists are anti-American, and unashamedly so. Most serious Democrats (meaning not the leftists - which includes Kerry) do not believe that the US should submit to the UN's rules. So when certain positions are espoused by Europeans and extreme leftists, that doesn't change the fact that they might well be anti-American.

I don't know a whole lot about Germany, having only been there twice, and both times for very short periods. But because I have family in both France and the Netherlands, I've travelled to both of them extensively and am quite confident that there is a phenomenon of European anti-Americanism. To pick one example that has been widely reported: the Kyoto Treaty. Everybody realized that the agreements in it were completely unattainable without devastating the economies of the signatories. Not a single European country, in the period from the genesis of the Kyoto Treaty until the time that Bush refused to consider it (five years?), had ratified the Kyoto Treaty. But as soon as the US had refused to sign it, which meant, thanks to the formula used to calculate emissions, that only Japan or Russia would have to refuse as well - both of whom were extremely hesitant about the treaty - the Europeans began to ratify the treaty. In other words, rather then acting as mature countries - which we are constantly told the Europeans in fact are - the Europeans decided that if they could stick it to the US, at no cost to them, they would love it.

Now, to reply to a couple of responses here:

On the previous thread, someone who left no name wrote:

The palestinian conflict is more about nationalism than about religion.

Please don't make such ignorant statements. Read the Hamas Charter and the PLO Charter, for starters. Notice the green uniforms of Hamas, the Islamic Resistance Movement, and recall that green is associated with Islam. Read the sermons on PA-sponsored television made by the muftis and imams calling for the deaths of the Jews and naming them as the sons of pigs and monkeys. Look at the depopulation of Bethlehem's Christians, by Arafat's Al-Aqsa "Martyr's" Brigades, a branch of Arafat's Fatah [Conquest] movement. I could go on and on.

MarkJ from USA wrote:

And considering that the US was willing to pay most or all of the costs and take on virtually all of the major military risk, I can't understand why old Europe, morally, would oppose the military overthrow of a despot like Saddam even if there was never any question of WMDs or terrorism in the first place. What's the harm? Who cares if an aggressive war is initiated against a dictator, if the end result is a chance at freedom for the people of that country?

The problem is that the countries involved, in Europe, didn't oppose the US for moral reasons at all. I did some calculations over a year ago on the "oil for food" program, using the amount of money that was in French banks at the end of the program. Based on that amount, and assuming that the amount was invested only poorly - at a rate of about 5% - and based on an assumption of no corruption, the average UN employee of the "oil for food" program was earning about $150K/year. Based on the split of Iraqi and non-Iraqi employees, and assuming that the average non-Iraqi earned a paltry three times more then the average Iraqi, the average non-Iraqi in the "oil for food" program was earning $300K while the average Iraqi was earning $100K. In short, there's no conceivable way that the UN was not involved in some sort of corruption. (I grant, in advance, that this is speculative and not hard evidence.)

And the story doesn't end there. It turns out that almost all of the money that Saddam kept in the "oil for food" program was kept in French banks, which means that, in effect, French banks had a great incentive - in the form of a high amount of capital - to oppose the ending of that program, which would obviously be co-terminous with the fall of Saddam's regime. French perfidy doesn't end there - US troops discovered Roland 2's - made by a partnership of French and German firms - in two military compounds at Baghdad International Airport. These missiles were dated 2002, i.e. France was completely violating the sanctions that the UN had imposed. (And recall that France vituperatively opposed any action in Iraq that was not approved by the UN, it seems, as long as that action was not conducted by the French.)

Even more evidence: Something that ot forgot to quote from Kenneth Pollack's article in the last Atlantic Monthly (perhaps the best magazine in the US):

The oil-for-food program itself gave Saddam clout to apply toward the lifting of the sanctions. Under Resolution 986 Iraq could choose to whom it would sell its oil and from whom it would buy its food and medicine. Baghdad could therefore reward cooperative states with contracts. Not surprisingly, France and Russia regularly topped the list of Iraq's oil-for-food partners. In addition, Iraq could set the prices—and since Saddam did not really care whether he was importing enough food and medicine for his people's needs, he could sell oil on the cheap and buy food and medicine at inflated prices as additional payoff to friendly governments. He made it clear that he wanted his trading partners to ignore Iraqi smuggling and try to get the sanctions lifted.

Given that states act in their own best interests, it's hardly surprising that France opposed the war in Iraq - a lot of French mercantilist euros were at stake. What is surprising is that we didn't expect them to do so - the French have made a habit of opposing the US by, for example, warning folks that where we were going to bomb in former Yugoslavia.

What, however, was relatively surprising was that Germany decided to follow France's lead. Unlike France, Germany didn't have a ton of oil-for-food money in its banks and wasn't one of the two biggest partners for Iraq. While Germany certainly violated the UN's sanctions regime against Iraq, this seems like a relatively minor reason - Iraq wasn't buying subterranean nuclear-proof bunkers from the Germans any more. So why did Germany follow France's course? I'd guess one of two reasons - 1) Schroeder believes in the notion of a greater EU and didn't feel too strongly about Iraq; he allowed Chirac to choose this one in order to try and choose another one 2) Schroeder's campaign, based on anti-Americanism (Bush=Hitler lady not fired until after the vote), needed some meat to feed the beast that they had created. My tendency is to believe the latter - politicians are much more likely to act in their own self-interest.

ot wrote:

His domestic policies record is dismal at best, (the CBO report should be read by all). It is going to be a tough fight.

Bush inherited a major recession and managed to turn around our country to some of the highest economic growth in twenty years - and he did this in under three years. That's not too shabby. I have serious issues with his fiscal management, but it seems that he believes in a sort of tax cuts and Keynesianism (also discussed in the Atlantic), which, while dangerous in terms of long-term debts, is likely to result in short recessions and powerful recoveries. If the US manages to stay in recovery and Bush continues to spend like crazy, then I'll definitely agree with you that his domestic policies are not positive. In terms of the long-term consequences, other then a slight increase in our indebtedness to Japan and China - both of whom hold much of our debt - there really isn't too much danger of higher interest rates. Japan and China holding too much of our debt is a long-term security risk, however, especially in the case of China, which might eventually use that for leverage.

Finally, what's interesting about your post from Kenneth Pollack is that it's so flatly contradicted by David Kay's testimony. Like Pollack, Kay isn't part of the administration anymore, so it can't be as simple as CYA. In fact, if you read the entirety of Pollack's article, you'll note that the most glaring ommission in it is the one that points at himself - Pollack is very careful to avoid discussing the fact that our intelligence agencies refused to have boots on the ground trying to investigate what was actually going on in Iraq. This curious ommission - by someone who is willing to excoriate others for their behavior regarding intelligence manipulation - is not so astounding if you assume that Pollack is trying to ensure that he maintains good relations with the agencies, where he previously worked - but, unfortunately, it does cast doubt that he may not be willing to criticize the appropriate parts of the puzzle. While he mentions, in passing, that we didn't have folks there, it's hardly the focus of the article - and it could well have been. Why, exactly, given that we know that John Walker Lindh, was able to meet with the highest levels of an organization that is comparable to a police state, could someone in the CIA or DIA pull a similar feat in Iraq?

A little mid-day amusement for us: one more thing to blame America for...

'When I was young RED SQUIRRELS were common across the length and breadth of Britain. Sadly, thanks to the invasion of its grey cousin introduced from America, RED SQUIRRELS have been driven out from much of their territory.

the link is:http://www.redsquirrel.org.uk/

That's it. I'm changing my posting name to Grey Squirrel

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