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In the eye of every vicious cycle there is a real problem that is avoided to be addressed - this is why these cycles build up themselves in the first place.

Mr. Markovits makes an important point in bringing up the issue of a suitable conversation subject for a London Dinner Party.

If America-bashing is ruled out as an option, of course.

He already mentioned that simply replacing one prop with another would not work.

So... the conversation menu please!

Paris Hilton and the Stonehenge ceremonies?

That´s boring, don´t we have something thrilling?

The latest terrorist attack or attempt thereof in the Islamic war against the world?

That´s too scary, don´t we have something creepy but at a distance?

The fact that we are standing on a little shelf island of the Northatlantic peninsulas of the Eurasian-African landmass, the geographical centre of which is harbouring the headquarters of an evil cult that is advancing to roll up the territories arranged around it?

The horror! So much perspective and so little hope!

The fact that Islam and its satellites are in control of the bigger share of the planetary resources, and the longer this will continue the more it will entrench its exploitation of that situation, until it has corrupted the entire economy and grown into a position to impose itself on all of us?

SOS! This is supposed to be a casual conversation not a controversy!

The fact that shifting all the fear of these threats on the only available remedy against them provides a standardised form of denial in which anyone capable of ignorance can easily participate with little effort, even though doing so will only make everything worse?

Aarrgh! This is a dinner party not an emergency!

The fact that abolition can only come through growing a consensus that the old order has failed and a new one is to be built, which requires the insight that any political agenda, ideology or principle is worthless as long as it cannot produce proposals that work or contributions to implement them?

Oh my. If we´re all stupid in the face of this, what have I done with blaming others?

/dinner party participant trying to silently sink into the ground

On the one hand Mr. Markovits perpetuates the liberal animus toward Pres. Bush and on the other he decries the liberal animus of the President's country. Isn't there a desire for power inherent in both mindsets?

Jörg over at atlanticreview.org had a couple of posts on Markovits a while ago.

http://atlanticreview.org/archives/376-Anti-Americanism-and-Anti-Semitism.html
http://atlanticreview.org/archives/627-The-Flaws-of-Some-Anti-Anti-Americanism.html

I still am pretty unimpressed with Markovits' theses.

Much more to the point is IMO the essay by Katzenstein & Keohane, which again Jörg discussed here (I have not read the whole book):

http://atlanticreview.org/archives/468-Anti-Americanisms-in-World-Politics.html

Their most important point is that there is no "grand explanation" for anti-Americanism. Forget about all those beautiful pop shrink explanations that skillfully talk about "inferiority complex", "projection" etc.: reality is much more complicated than that. Which is not really surprising: We're dealing with all kinds ressentiments from people from different countries, cultures, social backgrounds etc - why should there be some grand explanation for them all?

Markovits doesn't take this into account, e.g. when he remembers his teachers' disdain for his American accent back in Vienna, and puts this into the same shelf as, say, a modern globalization critic's disdain for American capitalism. Clearly, those two are totally different phenomena: The one disregards America for being a classless society and not having "nobility" like Oxford English - the other one accuses America for just the opposite: for being divided between rich and poor.

@ fuchur,

I don't at all agree that Markovits offers a "one-size-fits-all" thesis. If you read this article (and his book - which I have yet to read but am sure expounds more on this) - you will find that he breaks the problem of anti-Americanism down and offers multiple explanations and descriptions of various types of resentments and stereotypes. To be more specific, he specifically discusses moral, social and cultural resentments. I also don't think he is really attempting to explain every molecule of anti-Americanism in Germany or Europe - just its most important, dominant traits. On that score he does an excellent job and offers valuable insight into the overall issue.

fuchur - "Their most important point is that there is no "grand explanation" for anti-Americanism."

Yes there is:

America-bashing is anti-Americanism at its most radical and totalizing. Its goal is not to advise, but to condemn; not to fix, but to destroy. It repudiates every thought of reform in any normal sense; it sees no difference between American liberals and American conservatives; it views every American action, both present and past, as an act of deliberate oppression and systemic exploitation. It is not that America went wrong here or there; it is that it is wrong root and branch. The conviction at the heart of those who engage in it is really quite simple: that America is an unmitigated evil, an irredeemable enormity.

This is the specter that is haunting the world today. Indeed, one may even go so far as to argue that this America is the fundamental organizing principle of the left as it exists today: To be against America is to be on the right side of history; to be for it is to be on the wrong side.

But let’s pause to ask a question whose answer the America-bashers appear to assume they know: What is the right side of history at this point in history?

Lee Harris then goes on to explain how anti-Americanism is the by-product of fantasy ideologies rivalling the ambition to create a new order of the ages that is at the heart of what David Gelernter called Americanism:

During Wilson’s administration, Americanism accomplished a fundamental transition. It had always included the idea of divine mission. But what was the mission? Until the closing of the frontier in the last decade of the 19th century, the mission was to populate the continent. With the frontier closed, the mission became “Americanism for the whole world.” Of this transition, the historian William Leuchtenberg writes:

The United States believed that American moral idealism could be extended outward, that American Christian democratic ideals could and should be universally applied. . . . The culmination of a long political tradition of emphasis on sacrifice and decisive moral combat, the [world] war was embraced as that final struggle where the righteous would do battle for the Lord.

In his speech asking for a declaration of war, Wilson told Congress that “The world must be made safe for democracy”—a much-ridiculed phrase, and one that captures perfectly America’s sense of obligation to spread its own way of life and its own good fortune. In another speech, this one explaining American war aims and intended for German consumption, Wilson concluded with these words about America: “God helping her, she can do no other.” The historian Mark Sullivan comments:

Probably not one in a hundred of his American hearers recognized that paraphrase of Martin Luther’s declaration, immortal to every German Lutheran, “Ich kann nicht anders” (I can do no other).

Markovits, on the other hand, appears to be a specialist for the various manifestations of resentment and their inherent contradicitons, but seems not interested in understanding the driving force of the situations that produce them.

We need to reward such actions. Make it less nice to be our enemy than to be our friend.

Make it less nice to be our enemy than to be our friend.

The Devil Dogs are good at that!

Did Medienkritik post a link to this video several months -- maybe even a year or two -- ago, or did I just have a neurological episode that simulated deja vu? I guess either's possible.

@RayD

It's been a while since I read the article you link to (I also haven't read the book yet). After rereading it again, my impression hasn't changed much. Markovits identifies many different manifestations of anti-Americanism, but he fails to (or maybe: doesn't attempt to) explain the (different) reasons for them. So, maybe I should just say that Markovits doesn't make it very clear that a grand explanation doesn't exist.

Thing is: In 2000, 78% of Germans had a favorable view of the US. That's quite high: for comparison, Canada had 71%, and right now in 2007, only 80% of Amercians(!) themselves say they have a favorable view of the US!
To me, this seems to contradict Markovits' claim that there is a substantial sediment of hatred toward, disdain for, and resentment of America that has a long tradition in Europe. Wouldn't it be much more to the point to say that there is a substantial sediment of sympathy for the US in Europe? That's what I believe, and that's also my experience.

@fuchur

"Their most important point is that there is no "grand explanation" for anti-Americanism. Forget about all those beautiful pop shrink explanations that skillfully talk about "inferiority complex", "projection" etc.: reality is much more complicated than that. Which is not really surprising: We're dealing with all kinds ressentiments from people from different countries, cultures, social backgrounds etc - why should there be some grand explanation for them all?"

It would seem to me that the notion that there is no "grand explanation," for the worldwide phenomenon of anti-Americanism is ludicrous on the face of it. How is it rational to believe that "all kinds of ressentiments" should have arisen among "people from different countries, cultures, social backgrounds, etc.," all of them, if you believe their own rationalizations, suddenly and virtually simultaneously on a historical timescale independently and for a plethora of different reasons deciding that the United States is the great Satan? Are we really to believe that there is no common thread to this worldwide manifestation of hate, that each hater's "reasons" for hating must be scrutinized using the best and most approved rules of logic to determine whether, in each case, that particular individual's irrational hatred is "justified" or not? How is it logical to go over all these different "reasons," scrutinizing each in turn to determine whether it is a "rational" explanation for a phenomenon that is fundamentally irrational? Wouldn't a judicious application of Occam's razor be more logical?

Let's leave off the grandiloquent "grand," and simply inquire whether there is a simple explanation to the phenomenon of anti-Americanism. In fact, there is, it is staring us right in the face, and the only reason so many of us cannot see it is that we are standing too close to it. It's hard for us to accept the fact that we are normally irrational creatures whose actions and thoughts are dependent on emotional responses to the world around us, but we are. We have proved it over and over again throughout history. One way in which that irrationality has been clearly manifested for at least as long as our recorded history is in our predisposition to view our fellow humans in the context of in-groups and out-groups. The members of the out-group are the enemy, dirty, vile, evil, infidel, and loathsome. The expressions of out-group association are many and constantly recurring throughout history, but, somehow, we never seem to make the connection. It is no different in the case of anti-Americanism.

The psychological cues that lead us to identify the Jews, the blacks, or the members of some other group as the evil enemy are probably many and complex. However, we have just unwittingly conducted a psychological experiment on the outgroup association phenomenon on a worldwide scale. History has provided us with a perfect laboratory. Following the fall of Communism, the United States suddenly appeared on the world stage, in the perceptions of most of the world's citizens, as the one remaining superpower, the hegemon, a dominating, worldwide power unprecedented in human history. For the citizens of other countries, this great, dominating power was already "the other," a group distinct from one's own. The result of this combination of events is now history. That common, uniform, predictable result has been the identification of that great, controlling power as the out-group, as the hateful enemy. The anti-Americanism that this blog has documented is an expression of that irrational hate in one country. It is not unique to that one country, but has manifested itself throughout the world.

It is uncomfortable to accept the reality of our own irrationality. It is much easier to believe that the Jews are really monsters bent on world domination, or that the blacks are loathsome and stupid, or that the byzantine Blues of the circus are a manifestation of the vilest evil (if one happens to be a Green.) It has been much easier for us to believe that all of the stupid, irrational wars we have fought, the countless massacres of "the other" that have occurred and recurred through history, the burning, hanging, and torture of "infidels" has, in each instance, had some "rational" explanation that must be individually scrutinized to determine whether it was really logical. Let us, for a moment, focus our attention on the nose in front of our face. There is, in fact, one explanation for anti-Americanism. It is our irrational predisposition to perceive the world in terms of in-groups and out-groups. The "reasons" given for anti-American hate in each separate country, ethnic group, party, or culture are legion. However, they are linked by a common thread, and are a manifestation of a single, overriding phenomenon. Unless we finally understand that, all the cures anti-Americanism, racism, anti-Semitism, or any other kind of bigotry will never amount to more than palliatives. We will never cure the disease until we finally understand its true cause.

@Helian
Here's what Katzenstein&Keohane have to say on this:

"Consider first the “Mr. Big” hypothesis. Since the end of the Cold War, the United States has been by far the most powerful state in the world, without any serious rivals. (...)
Yet this explanation runs up against some inconvenient facts. If it were correct, anti-Americanism would have increased sharply during the 1990s; but we have seen that outside the Middle East, the United States was almost universally popular as late as 2002. "

I agree with them. The US became the sole remaining superpower in 1990. Do you really think it took people over 10 years to realize this?

There was no superpower in the 1990s, only a superdhimmi. During that period the U.S.A. were obedient janissaries of the Saudi throne, having removed Saddam from Kuwait but not finished him. When they deviated from that role everything changed.

So, you're saying that people don't really mind the US being a superpower - as long as they don't invade other countries "unilaterally"?

To better understand this anti-American process and result, I suggest looking back at the Cold War. The consequences of the Cold War did not disappear, anymore than the consequences of the Treaty of Versailles did after WWI. You can see some of the consequences through the youtube vids I posted up on my blog here.

Link

Some of the things the Soviet defector said were things I had already known, others were a refreshing change of scenery and new viewpoints. It is not really about Saudi Arabia and their influence in the American State Department. I mean, come on, does Europe truly care about human rights in Saudi Arabia? I suppose that depends upon how much SA pays them to care.

Part of anti-Americanism is propaganda and the other part seems equal measures political ambition and psychological problems.

So my attempts to learn about propaganda, psychological warfare, psychology, and political ambitions eventually uncovered the meat and bones of the situation far better than a single focused view on say the media or Europe-Ameri relations.

Those 4 fields, PPPP, will give you the tools, if you so decide to use them, to understand and manipulate anti-Americanism; amongst other things. It is not really about complexity vs simplicity, or single source vs multiple sources. The reason is simple, the 4 Ps are not limited by this dichotomy between 2 things. It is not a 2 by 2 matrix.

To divide these things up into translated real time examples, I'll just give an example for say an Anti-UK campaign.

First, figure out what your political ambitions are. Is it reparations? Is it separatist sentiment, say pro-Irish or pro-Scottish? Is it Islamic Jihad and Sharia Law Enclaves in England? Figuring out what the political ambition is, the political goal so to speak, is important due to the fact that everything else flows from that. What you seek to accomplish will limit the tools that are available to accomplish such a goal.

Second, propaganda. Ambition is useless without the ability to convince other people that you are right and your enemies wrong. To this end, you must acquire the support of the media or any other institute that shapes or dissimilates public opinion. We have all heard, or should have heard, of the methods that people have used to manipulate a mob. The Greeks had a special name for them. Demagogues. In the case of anti-UK goals, you can exploit the UK police and police powers being used, to paint the UK in a bad light by highlighting mistakes and coverups. Never let people forget or give up the bitterness that such actions may produce; and if you can't find injustices to exploit for your propaganda, just make it up as you go along.

Third, psychological warfare. It is closely related to propaganda, but psychological warfare is designed mostly to demoralize your enemies and to destroy the ability of your enemies to resist, emotionally, mentally, and even physically. The Soviets called it Demoralization and you can see why they did it. To demoralize an enemy is to render that enemy incapable of defending against your attacks. For Britain, you can use psychological warfare to demoralize the politicians and people by highlighting every bad in Britain, every failure and every event that crushes hope for a better future. Focus strongly on the lack of security in Britain, while at the same time ensuring that the British government can grab and outlaw as many weapons as possible in the UK. Simple claims that things are bad isn't enough, so you are required in psychological warfare to actually make consistent the claims that the UK is bad with the fact that the UK is bad and getting worse. This is assuming the UK is part of your enemies and therefore targeted in psychological warfare. The international media targets the American people, Republicans, and now the US military in their intent to demoralize us. Which is the correct action for our enemies to take, I would expect nothing less from the enemies of humanity. The American military targets Al Qaeda and insurgents, seeking to demoralize them, although such operations are limited to simple military campaigns and examples of Fallujah.

The Fourth aspect, psychology, is usually associated strongly with psychoanalysis, meaning shrinks and therapists. But in the context that I use it, you should not think of therapists, which seek to help people in their relationships and lives, you should think of interrogators and manipulators. People who seek to get inside of your mind and manipulate your thoughts, goals, beliefs, and emotions for their ends. The fundamental premise of interrogation or malignant narcissists, are that anyone can be manipulated or broken with enough time or levers. Thus a logical extrapolation of this field is to find British politicians, discover their motivations and levers, and then leaning on them in order to make them destroy their own country. A smoothly manipulated target may even believe that they are in control of things. Find something your target is strong in, such as the Navy for Britain or the military and honor values of the Americans. Then undermine it. Destroy it. Force them into dishonorable actions, force them to destroy their own navy, force them to weaken themselves because you control them psychologically using manipulation (guilt trips), deception (we are good, you are evil), or simply coercion (blackmail, threats, etc).

All four of these fields are not usually connected to each other. I saw the connections because I am intensely curious and I can see connections because that's how I learn. But simple logic and common sense can do the same. Obviously you need to figure out how someone thinks if you are to successfully use propaganda against them (propaganda defined by me as the Art of Persuasion on a mass scale.)

Take a good long look at the explanations of similar operations the Soviets pulled on America, at that link I provided. Every individual will find different things of value there, depending upon their prior experience or beliefs. However, the 4 Ps are still a pretty solid foundation of knowledge in my belief, for understanding such operations in the real world. It gives you the manual so to speak, to understand the underlying principles and functions beneath the surface.

"Their most important point is that there is no "grand explanation" for anti-Americanism."

The fundamental reason for why people believe that, is that they are fundamentally ignorant concerning how to manipulate people. This combined with the belief that they and they alone are immune to propaganda, deception, and manipulation are the narcissistic and solipsistic causes for the belief that there can be no systemic manipulation of anti-Americans for anti-American political, economic, or moral purposes. It means essentially that they do not believe that they can be deceived, manipulated, broken, or coerced. They speak truth to power; so long as there isn't a Cartoon Jihad or dictators giving out exclusive interviews anyway.

These two aspects are not inseparable. Meaning, some people in the media obviously know how to manipulate events and stories, but they still believe that they and they alone are immune to their own tricks and their own propaganda. They are not, however, and thus you get hubris and you know the logical result of hubris. One way or another, either ignorance or arrogance always gets the anti-Americans in the end. Course the reason is simple, cynical folks are the easiest to manipulate and buy out; the easiest to corrupt because their souls and minds are already weak relatively.

I actually felt refreshed after listening to the Soviet propaganda secrets. I thought to myself "at least someone is competent in this field".

The US military understands all four and far more than that. They are however, not interested in manipulating people for their own political goals; they are no Praetorian Guard. The same cannot be said for European politicians, Leftist fanatics, American politicians, or terrorists.

Thus the Soviet propaganda apparatus has not been replaced and has gone wild due to the fact that America just doesn't like to replace it with something of theirs. Thus people in this world are allowed to hate America because Americans truly believe in free speech, it is not just a propaganda line designed to fool people. Democracies and republics have always been vulnerable to public opinion; and they will continue to be vulnerable.

Sociologically speaking (wrote a post on that as well recently), people attack America because they are testing the hierarchy. They want to see how tough the guy at the top is; you have see this in your own life when people jockey for position, awards, benefits, and promotions. The Eternal Conflict in the rat race, the ladder. Guy at the top is always challenged by newer and more arrogant younglings. The top dawg is always challenged to deathmatches by those that believe that they are more worthy of the top spot than the old guy at the top. This is a human sociological instinct hardwired in us. It just so happens that if 50% of the world turned against America in open and secret war, they still couldn't defeat her. Perhaps not even 95% of the world outside of America, could defeat America whether through underhanded tactics or open warfare. So they stew and they plot, they plot the downfall of the Leader because they believe they are more worthy to rule. Those that have studied medieval politics and feudal traditions know exactly what I am refering to.

@ fuchur,

Well - in the 1990s - if the US was, in fact "Mr. Big," it certainly did not play the part. First, the US made massive cuts to its defense and intelligence budgets. It also retreated from Somalia (and action which greatly emboldened AlQaeda), failed to intervene in Rwanda, and made a late and tentative intervention in Bosnia and Kosovo - only after the Europeans proved unable to handle things. In other words - the USA acted as a timid superpower - not an assertive one. It is the assertive superpower willing to exert its power that so many fear - partly out of a feeling of helplessness and partly out of jealousy. That is why, after 9/11, the approval of the US began to drop off precipitously as boots hit the ground in Afghanistan. With Iraq - a campaign with even less international support - those fears deepened. Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo undoubtedly worsened the problem. But - in all fairness - we must observe that many of the criticisms of these things are completely out of proportion with reality and devoid of constructive criticism. Instead - much of the negativity is highly irrational and detached from cool analysis of the issues as they truly are - with consideration of the full context.

I would contend that it is the American willingness (or unwillingness) to confidently assert power (especially when that power is not approved of on a wide basis internationally) that is the greatest single factor in all of this (regardless of whether the act is right or wrong or somewhere in between). That action then triggers all of the latent resentments and stereotypes boiling beneath the surface. We saw this in Vietnam as well in the 1980s with Reagan. Those stereotypes and resentments have been there for a long time - and they have exploded and gushed over since 2001, with the complicity of the German media and political scene and people like Michael Moore - who were only too willing to take advantage of the hostile mood and feed people one-sided tripe. Again, it is actually quite remarkable how little of the hostility actually has to do with substanative, balanced and constructive criticisms of actual policies. Which brings me to the second half of this equation...

Then there are the attitudes of the media and political elites - which also play a major role and which this site documents. In my opinion, the chronic bias of many influential media outlets has greatly harmed the image of the US. The exploitation of those sentiments by politicians and media types - particularly those on the left - has worsened things dramatically. This has subsided somewhat since Merkel took office - but the hatred and hostility has an inertia of its own. Finally, American diplomats have proven largely incompetent in effectively engaging the German media and people in a bilateral dialog on a mass media scale. That means going on talk and radio shows and discussing and explaining the issues in a constructive manner. This has been a major failing about which Americans should be deeply upset. Unfortunately - a part of the problem may be that some American diplomats actually sympathize with the America-loathers - both overtly and perhaps subconsciously.

Just a few thoughts...certainly this is far more complex than this simple summary - and I am probably leaving numerous factors out here.

listening to UofM profs is my masochistic guilty pleasure. they are like blind people trying to read a bus schedule while the bus is sitting right next to them.
in the olden days (the 80's) these people would be analogous to new wavers that were too lame to be punk rock but still wanted to sneak in the back door of the party. UofM is a diploma mill selling paper merit to nostalgic dinasours that need a place to send their scions for day care.
its only the grad students that actually learn anything and this clown is why.
his head would explode and he'd lose all his friends (fellow travellers) on the faculty if he ever grew the balls to call a spade a spade. I feel sorry for pretenders like this. his concern about antiamericanism isnt about defending the truth, its about deflecting the blow against his clique that gets thrown in with the W supporters or anyone that believes we shouldnt live at the mercy of tyrants or bureaucracies. but this is all about the dark secret that the euros wont admit that is that we the american tax payer provided their defense and republican party while they all got to be rich snobs and play nannystate.
ever heard of bosnia? rwanda? the current chinese war in darfur?
no, youre too busy cackling about W's listening to Jesus and saying nucular. prick cowards that deserve to be so obviously desperate. when the s comes down they always look west for help. maybe it wont be coming this time and they can get dirtybombed for their stupidity.
newsflash: most americans came from europe for a reason, we hope you hate us it makes it all seem that much more worthwhile. now go kowtow to a headchopper, whore infidels...

fuchur - Of course that is not what I was saying, and the quote you used is not from me.

What I am was saying is this:

The superpower is an optical illusion.

There is no national power which is supreme over the international system.

Since the Six Day War they have all been gradually caving in to Islam.

Islam is not a superpower either - it asserts planetary supremacy, but it is not a power. It´s more like a sick joke on oil.

On 9/11, the Muslims demonstrated that they were able to project their intentions anywhere in the world, including the heart of Western capitalism.

Still, Western politicians, Americans and Europeans alike, are appeasing the Al-Saud as if our problems were bigger than theirs.

Of the international system that developed in the aftermath of the world wars, little more than a facade is left, and propaganda to normalise this situation.

The world is in a precarious state that desperately needs a superpower to proclaim a new order, but apparently a majority in the West fears that more than the Islamic collapse.

It is not unexpected that the “World” hates the USA when the USA so much hates itself. As your site so well documents, the German MSM is without a doubt Anti-American, but it is just a reflection of their main source, the US MSM. Answer the question, why does the US MSM hate America and you will find the answer to why the world wide hate. In other words, to say that Europeans hate the USA due to their own independent thought is wrong. They have been encouraged (forcefully one may say) to this attitude by the US MSM and Elite Liberal establishment. This can be boiled down to a “lust of power” at any cost, even at the cost of selling out their country. An analysis of anti-American propaganda on both sides of the pond will show that it is more anti-conservative capitalism than it is anti-American.
Do you remember when Ronald Reagan got shot? After his hospital stay and he came back in to the swing of things, he became a real hero. The Democrats had no chance against his living legend status. He pushed his agenda into legislation like no one else could have done (thank God). He was invincible. His economic policy picked the entire world up and out of a slump. His foreign policy changed the world forever. The Reagan era paved the way for the Gingrich revolution of 1994 that really scared the Dems to death. Clintons mirroring of Reagan brought him to office with the help of Ross Perot (who had a personal grievance against Bush and Reagan.)The Dems decided that at any cost, no conservative (Republican) could ever be popular again.
The point here is that Bush 43 was on the way to becoming another hero or at least a very popular likable president. The Dems saw that as early as the days when President Bush was governor of Texas. They did not see him as intelligent or even capable of finishing a sentence, but they saw that he was a threat to them, because the “stupid” voters in flyover country would vote for this Sheriff from Texas that was so American and conservative he even owned a baseball team. What a hick he was. The elites (Dems) thought “Since there are unfortunately so many hicks out there, this Bush guy could be a danger. He did beat out the Dems favorite silver haired governor Ann Richards“. With the lead from the US MSM and elites the MSM around the world went in to high gear to smear President Bush, which of course means they smear the US in the process. I would not say that this is a conspiracy. It does not have to be. These MSM/Academic/Left /Politicians (elite types) think the same. They are linked together through their ideology. They do not need to conspire to get the results they have. It is like the fans for the same sport team. They do not have to conspire to have about the same general opinions about the team.

@Ray – you say
Finally, American diplomats have proven largely incompetent in effectively engaging the German media and people in a bilateral dialog on a mass media scale. That means going on talk and radio shows ….usw

I have read this from you in the past and you most feel strongly about this. Consider however that in the US the pro-American side is almost always represented on talk shows, radio shows etc..it doesn’t help. The people want to believe what they believe and it is really hard to persuade them to think otherwise. The problem is that radio and talk shows are not capable of swaying someone to change their believe systems. The Europeans want to believe what they are told and no amount of facts can change that. Hope I am wrong….

@furchur
"I agree with them. The US became the sole remaining superpower in 1990. Do you really think it took people over 10 years to realize this?"

If my hypothesis is correct, it would be irrational to expect that, because the power relationships in the world changed in favor of the U.S. in 1990, the entire world would suddenly become anti-American. That hypothesis is that the common thread and most important reason for anti-Americanism in the world today is a human predisposition, one the species has in common with many others, namely, to categorize other individuals into in-groups and out-groups. This predisposition is "irrational," in that it does not derive from logical though processes, but is a behavioral trait that is hard-wired in our brains. However, it is not truly irrational, because it has served an evolutionary purpose. Through much of our history as a species, it has helped us to survive.

Important evolutionary change doesn't take place on a time scale of decades. The behavioral trait I refer to evolved at a time when we lived as small groups of hunter gatherers. In those days it helped us to survive, presumably by promoting our spread over and optimal exploitation of the territory available to us. When it evolved, it did not "know" about the United States, or, for that matter, that the rapid evolution of our brains would eventually cause small groups of hunter gatherers to go "out of fashion," and replace them with countries populated by tens or hundreds of millions of people. Obviously, these profound societal changes took place on a time scale far too rapid for evolution to keep up. As a result, we have carried much of the behavioral baggage appropriate to small groups of hunter gatherers into a time in our history as a species when the conditions of existence for most of us are radically different.

It is, perhaps, an understatement to point out that the in-group/out-group trait has not been as effective in promoting our survival as we began to associate ourselves into ever more sophisticated social entities as it was during our time as hunter gatherers. In the time of the Greek city states, for example, it led to constant idiotic and destructive wars that eventually led to the destruction of those states. In the 20th century it resulted in two world wars that resulted in the slaughter of tens of millions of people, the Jewish Holocaust, and the slaughter of more tens of millions, often of the most intelligent and productive members of the societies involved, as a result of their out-group categorization as "bourgeoisie." This same behavioral trait, evolved because it once promoted our survival, may yet be the reason for our ultimate annihilation.

Furchur tells us that my hypothesis can’t be true because anti-Americanism didn’t spring into existence fully formed, like Athena from the brow of Zeus, when world power relationships suddenly changed in 1991. This is not a reasonable objection. When the behavioral traits I referred to above evolved, they did not “know” about the United States. Furthermore, these traits are not instincts, like a spider’s behavior when it spins its web. They are predispositions, meaning that their particular expression in a given set of circumstances is modified by social experience, education, and other environmental factors, as one might expect in creatures as intelligent as human beings. In the specific instance of the worldwide perception of the United States as an out-group, there was no sudden, instinctive outburst of hate in 1991. Rather, as one might expect for any such phenomenon manifesting itself on a worldwide scale, it took many years to develop. This is entirely what anyone with a passing familiarity with human history would expect. It took centuries before anti-Semitism manifested itself on the worldwide scale that resulted in the Holocaust, and decades before the “class consciousness” of the “proletariat” resulted in the Stalinist slaughter of the “bourgeoisie.” So, too, with anti-Americanism. Average individuals, concerned with the mundane details of their daily lives and not necessarily obsessed with international politics, did not suddenly begin to hate the United States on the day that the Soviet Union collapsed. That event merely resulted in the preconditions necessary for the eventual development of anti-Americanism. The upshot of that event was that one country remained in the world that could potentially be perceived as the one remaining superpower, the hegemon, or, in terms that hunter/gatherers might have understood the universal evil, powerful neighbor in the adjoining territory. For that potential to become a reality, a process of “education” was necessary.

Most individuals are not independent, logical thinkers. The ideological baggage they carry about with them, whether it be political, religious, or whatever, is typically a mélange of more or less ill-digested concepts and notions that they have learned from what one might call opinion leaders, whether it be their parents, influential religious or political leaders, or other charismatic individuals in the in-group they associate themselves with. In the case of the ideological baggage of anti-Americanism, a similar process was necessary before its massive manifestation on a worldwide scale became possible. Those who controlled the content of the mass media, typically “ahead of the curve” in matters of ideology, but otherwise no more logical or immune to behavioral predispositions to irrational hatred of out-groups as anyone else, were, as usual, major players in this process of “education.” They found much of the necessary “educational material” ready to hand, as it had already been carefully accumulated by a wide range of “in-groups” that happened to have an ax to grind against the United States; European chauvinists, Communists, you name it. As they began to ply their usual trade, they noticed that the “seed” they were throwing out was falling on fertile ground, as one might expect. After all, the preconditions for the development of anti-American hate on a worldwide scale were already in place. It was child’s play to portray the United States as the evil, malevolent enemy. It’s perception as the evil out-group under the prevailing world conditions was easy, and its portrayal as such served a deep human need. As this process of out-group association occurred in more and more individuals they became willing to reward those who would reinforce that association. This fact did not escape the astute controllers of the mass media. Just as ancient shamans noticed that they could profit by inventing supernatural beings to feed the human need for a powerful, protecting leader, the people in the mass media noticed that feeding the popular need to hate an evil enemy was just as lucrative. The portrayal of the United States as that evil enemy was self-reinforcing. In the end it led to the situation we find ourselves in today. The potential has been transformed into a reality, and the United States is now universally hated as the international out-group par excellence.

It goes without saying that historical events have an influence on the manifestation of human behaviors such as out-group association. In particular, the policies of the Bush Administration have certainly had such an influence. However, the notion that irrational hatred arising from a human behavioral trait that has been hard-wired in our brains for thousands of years is somehow “logical” or “justified” because of what that Administration has or has not done is palpably absurd. Bush serves as a convenient fig leaf for those who want to convince themselves that their hatred is really reasonable and their own perception of the United States as the evil enemy is logical. In fact, they are neither reasonable nor logical. Portrayals of the United States in the European mass media were at least as vicious and over the top during the closing years of the Clinton Administration as they are now, and anti-American hate will not disappear with Bush. A new fig leaf will be found, and the perception of the United States as the universal out-group will not end until the social relationships that called it into existence cease to exist.

Finally, American diplomats have proven largely incompetent in effectively engaging the German media and people in a bilateral dialog on a mass media scale.

This is due primarily to the fact that most American diplomats, if not all, are anti-American themselves. Those that aren't, are too timid to really assert pro-American policies by dismantling anti-American operations; so even their complaints are seen as weaknesses of American sloth and iniquity.

Unfortunately - a part of the problem may be that some American diplomats actually sympathize with the America-loathers - both overtly and perhaps subconsciously.

A lot of Americans are divided between DOD military loyalists and DoS loyalists (Department of State).

Usually if you are loyal to one, you aren't loyal to the other; meaning you have bad things to say of the other. The military is chiefly DOD oriented in that they have seen what the State has done with such occasions as Vietnam and post-iraq reconstruction. State actually lobbied to get rid of a strong leader in Vietnam that worked good things for his people and us, because State believed that their personal replacement would be better.

The State Dep is also the chief arm that the Saudi Arabians have bought. State is full of cynics and various other appratachiks that are easy to manipulate. Whether you buy them out right with favors as the Saudis do or you just prey on their internal sense of superiority, they are a branch of American politics that is essentially pretty much beholden to foreign interests.

Answer the question, why does the US MSM hate America and you will find the answer to why the world wide hate. In other words, to say that Europeans hate the USA due to their own independent thought is wrong. They have been encouraged (forcefully one may say) to this attitude by the US MSM and Elite Liberal establishment.

Since the US media and the aristos in NorthAm aren't really American, you can indeed say that the Europeans hate the USA due to the independent thought of Americans. Obviously they emulate the US media because the US media isn't independent...

The Genealogy of Anti-Americanism shows roots for European views on America going back far enough that the American media was not chiefly anti-American.

Long article

Anti-Americanism didn't start in this century, the last, or even the one before the last.

Saudi Arabian influences

Consider however that in the US the pro-American side is almost always represented on talk shows, radio shows etc..it doesn’t help.

of course it helps. It doesn't convince everyone, but there are plenty of former Democrats that have had their views changed due to information from talk radio or other conservative sources. You won't turn the true believers, but then that is not the point.

If you want to see an example of such a conversion, go here.

Link

Chiefly, though, radio is not enough, you need some kind of stimulus to jump start the engine of creative and original thought. 9/11 caused many on the Left to defect to conservatives and Republicans, or if not that at least disassociating themselves from Leftist and Democrat policies and politicians.

Very interesting thoughts, Helian.

I believe it is disingenuous to claim that anti-Americanism wasn't an issue in Old Europe in the 90's. It sure wasn't to the level it is today, but it existed.

I remember very well "documentaries" dealing with America's social problems on Arte, when Arte was only at the beginning. All I can say about those "documentaries" is that they were indeed better than M. Moore's, but that's about it.

Back then anti-Americanism was mostly limited to intellectual, "elite" circles. Ordinary folks seem to be rather ambivalent. What's interesting is how those ordinary people reacted when the "elites" started whipping them into an anti-American frenzy. Usually, when the "elites" ratched up the rhetoric, the masses followed promptly and without much questioning. I don't think that would have been possible if it weren't for a predisposition for anti-American sentiment in those people, a "seed" that just waited for the right conditions to "blossom".

@WDIK: "... the "elites" ratched up the rhetoric, the masses followed promptly and without much questioning."

Agree, but I would take it one notch further. The German masses are essentially sheep waiting and wanting to be told what their opinion is supposed to be. The feudal masters inform their lackeys in the media, the media use all their propaganda skills to bring the desired message to the masses, and the masses soak it up and start repeating the mantra. It happens here all the time. Really, all the time.

In other words, maybe it's not a predisposition for anti-Americanism per se, it's more a predisposition for bleating.

@WDIK

You seem to imply that Europeans have a certain predisposition for being anti-American. I'd argue that it's just the other way around: Europeans have a strong predisposition for being pro-American.

I mean, look again at the US favorability ratings from 1999/2000. I don't see any reason why we should assume that they are "distorted": the end of the Cold War was already 10 years away, there were no major wars going on, the economy was "normal"... I see no external reason that should have influenced people to be either more or less anti-American.

@Scout
Puh-leeze. That's just the oldest and dumbest stereotype about Germans.

The most obvious reason why this doesn't hold water is that US favorability ratings didn't only drop in Germany, but all over the world.

But maybe you think that all over the world there are sinister "feudal masters" that really run the show? Maybe the Freemasons? Or the Illuminati? Yeah right. Just make sure that you always wear your tinfoil hat...

I guess it's also a secret why the "feudal masters" chose to tell the Germans that they had to become anti-American exactly in the wake of the Iraq war? I mean, why didn't they come up with this idea earlier, if it means so much to them? In what way do the feudal masters profit from this, anyway? Or do they do it just for the heck of it?

Or, can you elaborate why the feudal masters told the Germans to tear down the wall in 1989? Or how this feudal master concept fits in with elections?
I'll stop now, this is really too idiotic...

@fuchur: Elections? In Germany? Oh, you mean those things where over half of the MPs are selected by the parties (not the voters) and the others -- the so-called direct mandates -- are _also_ selected by party bosses? (There are no primaries in Germany, and independents have no chance.) No, it's not Freemasons or Illuminati, but party bosses (also not selected by voters, but by internal party delegates). Anti-Americanism is most certainly in their interest, and it does mean a lot to them, because America is the polar opposite of socialist Europe. The idea that individuals should be empowered to take care of themselves, that government works for the people (not the other way around), or that the scope of goverment should be limited to only those things specifically allowed by the people ... well, those concepts don't fit well into the collectivist feudal society in which those at the top make the rules and everyone else obeys. Amerika-Bashing has a purpose -- it sort of takes the pressure off and detracts from the need to examine their own, very significant problems in an honest manner.
So you don't think Germany is a feudal system? Well, it has all the trappings. The serfs pay their taxes, and the feudal masters "provide" the basics, and in Germany's case, much more than the basics, but at an unbelievable cost, both monetary cost and in individual liberty. The serf in Germany has absolutely no influence over what's happening at the elite level, elections or not, and with the transfer of functions to the EU, he has even less than no influence.
No, these feudal masters are not all over the world, but are strongly represented in socialist Europe. I suppose a case could be made for many other places in the world as well, but I prefer to use more accurate terms with those, such as cleptocracy, dictatorship, theocracy, Old Boy Network or whatever, as the case may be. But feudal fits Old Europe rather well.
And fucher, I hate to break the news to you, but anti-Americanism is older than Gulf War II. Much, much older. And they did come up with the idea much earlier. It perhaps just wasn't so blatently obvious.
Now, with the wall in '89 you've got an interesting point. My explanation is that the elites in the East lost their grip on society (for several reasons), and for one brief moment in history, the people had their say. Unfortunately, they ended up just trading one set of elites for another, and subjugated themselves again, because... well, because they are accustomed to being subjugated.

You seem to imply that Europeans have a certain predisposition for being anti-American.

That's indeed my conclusion, based on the fact that the German/West European masses followed *promptly* the "elites" in the anti-American crusade. I somehow find it extremely difficult to believe that the "elites" would be able to mobilize the masses to a similar extent in protest against another superpower like, say, China.

I do not believe that anti-Americanism has increased much, but rather that it has come out more in the open. There’s no need to hide it now because there is proof that it is justified, proof given by American authors, academics, journalists, military experts and actors who are given the red-carpet treatment wherever they go. And let’s not forget all those tourists and expats. The opinion of these self-hating Americans gives validity to what people believe is the truth. After all, they are American and if they say so, it must be so.

I’ve met some self-hating Americans, denigrating their country, their traditions and even faking a foreign accent, embarrassed to be associated with anything and everything American. I guess they think they will be liked by non Americans if they put down their country. Well, it has the complete opposite effect on me. They lose my respect.

I think that anti-Americanism exists mainly because Americans care about world opinion. When criticized, fairly or unfairly, they react and try to set the record straight. But nobody wants to listen to arguments or facts. That’s irrelevant. Critics get what they want, which is to show that Americans are weak, and that in turn makes them feel better.

@WDIK

Fine, but why not apply this very same argumentation to the year 2000? Back then the German/West European masses were very pro-American. So, obviously (because we apparently have established that Western Europeans are just mindless sheep) the "elites" had ordered them to go on a "pro-American" crusade, and they had followed willingly. Therefore I conclude that there was a substantial pro-American predisposition that "the elites" could work with.
I somehow find it extremely difficult to believe that the "elites" would be able to mobilize the masses to a similar extent in support of another superpower like, say, Russia or China.

fuchur

If you only look at one year (2000), everything look really good indeed. Howerver, let's offer some needed perspective to the touted 78%.

I have great doubts not about the accuracy of the 78%, but about the relevance. Why? Because in another Pew poll, in 2002, that number fell to 61%. That's a huge 17% fall. So, what was America doing wrong in 2002 that upset Germans so much? Well, it was fighting the "good" war in Afghanistan (as opposed to the bad war, which started only later, in 2003). Simply because America chose to respond to an unparalleled terrorist attack, German friends suddenly started disliking America.

It is my conclusion, and I believe it is obvious, that America was liked only when it was behaving like a paper tiger, during the Clinton years.

Once America started asserting herself, America all of the sudden started to be disliked by more and more Germans, although it had the backing of the UNSC. By the way, this clearly shows that in spite of the talk about "disliking America due to her unilateral actions in Iraq", not the lack of international approval is the reason for that dislike.

Another thing; if you check the poll here, you will see that other Western nations had much less problems with America in 2002, compared to the poll that you like to quote from 2000. Germans were the ones who became the most unhappy with America fighting a just war (remember, we are talking about Afghanistan, not Iraq).

In spite of America doing everything by the (international) book in 2002, the German "friends" disliked her more and more. Are you telling me that the huge change between 2000 and 2002 (apparently unique in the Western world) has nothing to do with a certain predisposition to anti-Americanism? You can of course claim that, but I really don't buy it.

@WDIk
I still feel that you're trying to dodge the real question: How did the 78% in 2000 come about? Why was it 78% in Germany, and e.g. in Russia 37%, or in Pakistan 23%? The answer is obvious IMO: Because Germany (generally) is quite pro-American, while Russia or Pakistan are rather anti-American.
It is of course possible that 2000 was just an odd exception, and that the US favorability ratings from Germany usually are much lower (sadly, I don't have any statistical data on the 90s). But I doubt this very much, because I see no reason whatsoever why US popularity should suddenly have soared just like this in 2000, of all years.

The drop in 2002 is easily explained without resorting to anti-Americanism: Germans don't like war. Germans don't believe in "good" or "just" wars. Considering Germany's unique history (and I'm not so much talking about WWI&II, but about the Cold War), it's not particularly sensational that the German reaction to the Afghanistan war was different than the reaction from other European countries.

I do not see what this has to do with anti-Americanism. The defining criterion of anti-Americanism is that it's an irrational hostility. That's not the case here. At the root of it, we have a very clearly defined reason: a resentment against a US foreign policy decision.

fuchur

I still feel that you're trying to dodge the real question: How did the 78% in 2000 come about?

Don't rely on your feelings too much; they are misleading you, at least in this case.

I'll make it very simple: based on the data from one single year I can not conclude that Germans generally are rather pro-American disposed. That's all I have to say to that. I don't ignore the data, but I simply can not extrapolate anything significant either.
It's like saying after the exceptionally 2006-2007 cold winter in California that global warming doesn't exist, and in fact global cooling is the problem.

Germans don't like war.

No sane person does.

The defining criterion of anti-Americanism is that it's an irrational hostility.

I agree.

That's not the case here. At the root of it, we have a very clearly defined reason: a resentment against a US foreign policy decision.

And is this "resentment" not irrational? That's exactly the point. The German stance, "kein Krieg, nirgends", is *highly* irrational. I know you will try to rationalize it with Germany's aversion towards war because of the past, but the fact remains that Germans being strongly against war is as irrational as Germans being for war decades ago. It's exactly the other side of the coin.

It is another extreme position, only this time going in the other direction. It definitely isn't the "golden middle path" (to quote or paraphrase Buddha), far from it.

Germans don't believe in "good" or "just" wars.

I kept this quote for the end, because it encompasses the German irrationality very accurately. It is Germans, of all people, who should know that war can definitely be good. The German anti-Americanism has its origins in the same state of mind which believes that "kein Krieg, nirgends", is the way the world can operate. There is nothing more delusional than not believing in good wars, especially since modern Germany was built on the ruins of a good war.

All I can say in the end is that if you don't see the irrationality in "kein Krieg, nirgends", or in "Germans don't believe in 'good' or 'just' wars", then you most definitely will not see the anti-American irrationality in many Germans.

I somehow find it extremely difficult to believe that the "elites" would be able to mobilize the masses to a similar extent in support of another superpower like, say, Russia or China.

Posted by: fuchur | July 05, 2007 at 07:20 PM

The problem with trying to be too cute is that when you step on landmines, it gets ugly. The Pro-Soviet demonstrations in Reagan's times are an example of such a landmine you should avoid when making claims like "similar extent in support of another" power.

Polls are special weapons setup ahead of time in order to manipulate public opinion, it doesn't really reflect public opinion so much as makes it.

Conceding poll results and using inductive logic to arrive at conclusions on opinion is far inferior than starting fresh using deductive logic only.

Basing arguments on polls is pretty risky, you never know where those munitions came from or whether they are all that stable.

Reasons are not justifications, btw, nor vice a versa. The justification people use to excuse their prejudices by saying these people are doing so and so, isn't the real reason for their beliefs and actions.

The exceptional poll result in 2000 reflects the fact that Bill Clinton was awarded the Charlemagne Prize and the media hype around that event.

Schröder/Fischer liked Clinton/Gore because they thought of them as useful idiots - from the laudatio:

In Bosnia and in Kosovo, as well as in Northern Ireland and in the Middle East, you brought your authority to bear, also by traveling personally to these places and by seeking direct contact with people.

In other words, in the proxy war between terrorist Islam and Russia in the Balkans Clinton intervened on the side of Islam. And Clinton enabled Arafat to launch the so-called second intifada in a way tailored to meet the needs of European antisemitsm.

WhatDoIKnow -

The German stance, "kein Krieg, nirgends", is *highly* irrational.

I agree and I disagree.

The ambition to establish universal peace is rational.

The idea that it could come from ignorance is irrational.

If the German anti-war mentality was principled it would have to start with the reality that the world is in a state of war and go on to analyse that situation with the purpose to find a path towards lasting peace. This does first of all require to take into account that such as Nazism Islam pursues hostility for the sake of itself and must be defeated to allow a lasting post-war order to take hold. The other way round, that is Islam defeating those who fight against it, would not allow for that since such as Nazism Islam would not know when to stop. These evil ideologies do not want to win and go home, or as Ahmedinajihad eloquently put it, they´re trains without brakes. Peace can only come if the ideology that achieves supremacy over the others is one that retains awareness of its own limitations. Among the parties in the current war, Americanism is the most promising one to fullfill that criterion.

There´s nothing irrational about the assumption that the fragmentation of the planet into a number of rivalling states each of which maintain armies to fight any war that may happen to be in their interests is a temporary phenomenon. The fragmentation into small groups of hunters/gatherers has been temporary, the fragmentation into little aristocratic counties was temporary, why should the fragmentation into nation states be any different from that? In the course of civilisation, order has been established on successively higher levels, why shouldn´t there be a world order which does not require any war anywhere? The idea that humans could not live together without the bond of resentment against some out-group implies that either the universe is full of slaughterhauses or our species is a grotesque cosmical aberration. This appears irrational to me. But as it had been on earlier stages, the difficulty is how to get there from here.

One example - Iraq. The Baathists went to war and unilaterally annexed another nation state, Kuwait. America restored the status quo ante to prevent a repeat of the Ethiopian experience with the League of Nations. The war was put on hold with a ceasefire which was broken again and again by the Baathists. No peace. Still, when the Americans went back to that war to finally achieve the complete surrender of Iraq, the argument from Germany was they were beginning an entirely new war, and breaking the peace. The irrational point is not the rejection of war, but the illusion that there had been peace where there wasn´t. Now that the Baathists are toppled Iraq still is a battlefield, the power vacuum of regime change allowed the Islamic jihad against the international system to come to the fore. It turns out the idea that the international system was stable, that is capable to exchange a national government that violates the rules, has been an illusion as well. This might not be the case had the Iraq war been finished in 1991.

The intrinsical danger of the ambition for universal peace is that clinging to an illusion of peace may make it more difficult to actually achieve it and lead to blaming those who merely accept a war for starting it.

@WDIK

based on the data from one single year I can not conclude that Germans generally are rather pro-American disposed"

I addressed that one already: If you argue this way, you'll have to explain to me why the US favorability rating from 2000 should have been "exceptional". I, for one, see no reason whatsoever for this.
Apart from that, I notice that you have no problems to draw conclusions based upon the single year 2002...

The defining criterion of anti-Americanism is that it's an irrational hostility.

The more I think about this definition, the less I like it. For example, an Islamist's dislike of the US can hardly be called "irrational". To the contrary, it's very logical and "rational" that he should hate the US, because it stands against almost everything he believes in.

I agree with you that the German anti-war stance is indeed highly emotional and much less rational. Actually, I kinda saw that one coming, so I guess I should have been more clear...

I'll try again: The important question is: What's the reason behind the substantial drop in US popularity in 2000? More precisely: Are we dealing with a German resentment against America itself, or is it a resentment against the war in Afghanistan. I take it you agree that it's the latter.

So, that's it. We've seen a phenomenon (drop in US favorability ratings), and given a plausible explanation (Afghanistan war) for it. End of story.

Now, what I don't understand, is: How does anti-Americanism come into all this? There simply is no need for it. The jigsaw is already complete, and you still try to fit in another piece. Apply Occam's razor and cut it away!

@FrancisM

"The exceptional poll result in 2000 reflects the fact that Bill Clinton was awarded the Charlemagne Prize and the media hype around that event."

Oh, come on! You can't be serious.

Apart from that, I notice that you have no problems to draw conclusions based upon the single year 2002...

You are wrong. My conclusions about German anti-Americanism are not based on the 2002 poll. I wouldn't even have brought up that poll, if you hadn't. I don't consider polls to be relevant. (Generally I don't believe in poll battles or link battles.)

My conclusions are based on what I, and many other people I know, have noticed in our daily lifes, year after year after year in Germany, interacting with Germans from different strata of society.


I'll try again: The important question is: What's the reason behind the substantial drop in US popularity in 2000? More precisely: Are we dealing with a German resentment against America itself, or is it a resentment against the war in Afghanistan. I take it you agree that it's the latter.

So, that's it. We've seen a phenomenon (drop in US favorability ratings), and given a plausible explanation (Afghanistan war) for it. End of story.

I agree fully with the paragraph above, and I don't think it's end of story. You think like a German accountant. Years, numbers, events, ergo results. You apply kind of zero sum thinking to human behavior. Again, everyhthing that you have been saying is based on a poll from one single year. Nothing else.

I, OTOH, can not simply ignore the countless, countless times when I watched on German TV disinformative documentaries about various real or imagined problems in America, when I read disingenious articles on America, when I heard Germans making mindnumbing statements about America etc etc etc. (All of this before Bush.)

You might be considering me highly subjective in my assessment, but the same was said about the claim that the "media is biased". Today, the "subjective" opinion of some turned out to be an objective fact, confirmed by the media itself (the recent BBC report is just one example).

fuchur, if I came from Mars and you showed me that 2000 poll, I would be seriously inclined to believe you. However, reality is far more complex than what happened in one single year. As I said, like an accountant, you focus on one single year and leave out human behavior during many, many years. I understand you found a gold mine with the 2000 poll results, but for me the issue goes far beyong one single year.

It's entirely normal that Germans don't agree with certain decisions of American foreign policy. What does that have to do though with the disdain for American "culture" that I saw on disply in the German media so many times (before Bush). What does simple disagreement with policies have to do with ridiculing the American social structure, or even the American way of winding down on weekends (i.e. materialistic constant mall cruising)?

We are obviously talking apples and oranges. You talk about numbers in one year, and I talk about human behavior in real life over many years. The numbers from that one year will not be able to erase the reality of those many years.

FranzisM

I fully agree, "kein Krieg, nirgends" is in itself a noble aspiration. What is wrong is that "kein Krieg, nirgends" was one of the main conclusions that Germans drew after WWII. This is highly irrational. The very first conclusion should have been "kein Adolf, nirgends".

WhatDoIKnow - I think the motto is to be seen in the context of the pre-WWII slogan "Wer Hitler wählt, wählt Krieg" (A vote for Hitler is a vote for war). Will this country be able to combine both the pre-WWII and the post-WWII slogan into a single conclusion? I certainly hope so, but it remains to be seen.

"My conclusions are based on what I, and many other people I know, have noticed in our daily lifes, year after year after year in Germany, interacting with Germans from different strata of society."

Well, duh. So are mine...

Well, duh. So are mine...

The phrase you chose from my entire posting says a lot about your willingness to discuss topics uncomfortable to you. Or, you simply never noticed the vilification of America in the German media before Bush, as well as the countless misconceptions that ordinary Germans *adamantly* hold.

As I said, similarly the "media is biased" complaint was a highly subjective opinion, until it wasn't anymore.

But what is there to discuss? My personal experience is different from yours. What am I supposed to do? Try to prove that your personal experience is "wrong"?

But what is there to discuss?

I agree, nothing indeed. We finally got somwhere.
Now I understand that you haven't seen anti-Americanism in the 90's in the media, no jaw-dropping generalizations amongst ordinary Germans. And if you saw any, it was only isolated cases, hardly worth mentioning. I wish I had lived in *your* Germany in the 90's. Mine was a little different.

Slightly OT, but I have to make a confession for past "sins", not addressed to anyone in particular.

In the early 90's I was a very interested supporter of the European Union. After the Maastricht Treaty was signed, I sent for all sorts of EU related literature, which the EU was happy to send for free. I was a sincere admirer, and I considered the EU to be the best way to move forward.

Obviously, I was a news junkie. I was watching everything that I could on German TV regarding politics, economy, analysis, I was reading everything I could. I wasn't an expert, but I sure was an extremely well informed amateur.

My feelings towards America when I first got to Germany from Romania are simple to explain: non-existent, just another country. I had abolutely no antipathy towards America, and maybe a tiny little sympathy. Coming from a Communist country I viewed the Western world as one big happy family. In time, the German media and public opinion started molding my opinions about America stronger and stronger.

Eventually, the moment of truth. I went to America for the first time to some family friends. I will always remember how one of the hosts was driving me around Ney York City, Manhattan with me constantly asking questions, how is this in America, how is that, and then always concluding with amazement in my voice "how can this be? In Germany it is like this... or like that", meaning that in Germany things are much better.

This sounds like a little foolish thing for me to do, but when I think back only I and the host know how annoying I actually was. Even today, when I remember it, I shake my head in disbelief at my ignorance. I haven't seen my former host again, but someday I will for sure, and I will have to appologize for my aggressive ignorance.

How did this happen? Was I just a naive kid? No, I wasn't a kid anymore. What happened is that everything I knew about America came from the German media and German people (no blogs back then). I was entirely a product of German society. I am not claiming that every single German was like me, but I find it impossible to believe that I was in minority. Basically, I was literally a blank slate regarding American affairs, and in Germany in the early 90's that blank slate got filled with gross misconceptions.

I am sure that people like fuchur consider such experiences irrelevant due to their subjective nature. True. Let's not forget one thing though: that state of mind of mine was product of German reality.


P.S. How did I end up in America? Shortly after I got back from that trip I started noticing that the reality I observed in America was different than what many Germans considered to be American reality. That was the beginning.

I am constantly amazed that people think anti-Americanism is so recent - the post-WWII alliance was an anomily (sp), it's over and we're just back to status quo - the difference is, I can talk to you in Germany in real time.

Fucher - Philippe Roger's "America's Oldest Enemy" should be a good start.

Started in the mid-1600s, it's what you do, it's in the genes.

Daughter of a family friend went to Paris, met a boy, he came to visit -

What he was taught over the years and the picture of AmeriKKKKa under BushHitler went out the window -

By the end he was in a bar, drunk, stood up and yelled "I LOVE AMERICA!"

Got another one.

You need an American road trip, fucher. We are 3000 miles across and every area is different, different foods, lingo, topography, weather.

Go rafting in Utah, see the Grand Canyon, visit Oklahoma, Montana, Wisconsin, Georgia, all completely different.

There was a lot of Anti-Americanism in Germany back when Reagan was president. And no, it wasn't just that people disliked him. Like today, there were problems that needed solution, there were threats that needed to be faced. Reagan did that, and God bless him for it. But many of my German countrymen preferred and prefer Appeasement. They convince themselves that not our enemies are the problem, but we are. Why? Because it's the easier way. Protesting against evil can become dangerous, protesting against our own governments is quite safe - but one can still pretend to do something "good". Of course you are also right that they became principled "pacifists", not able ot willing to admit that sometimes good needs to fight against evil.

Clinton was lucky because he became president in a time of relative calm and quietness. Additionally, he chose to ignore many clearly visible and growing threats. In a way, he gave the old Europeans what they wanted: Appeasement and closed eyes. It's no wonder his approval ratings in Germany were higher. And: Democrats in America don't have a hostile mainstream media against. The media didn't spent all their time trying to throw dirt in the direction of their president, in the hope that something will always stick. They only do that with Republicans or conservatives in general. And our own German media? Often doesn't research themselves, they repeat what the American press reports. In fact, that's true around the world. The American MSM is acting incredibly irresponsible.

And of course our media also likes left-wing politicians more and report about them more favourably. That's why the war against Serbia didn't get the amount of hysterical "criticism" that we see today, despite the fact that it was against the often cited "international law", despite the fact that the conditions in Kosovo could still be described as "quagmire" and despite the fact that the "occupants" are still there, although the war was over years before Afghanistan and Iraq.

But Anti-Americanism is definitely not contained in Europe. One ironic and sad example is South Korea, a country that owes its freedom and its security solely to the USA. Still, Anti-Americanism has grown over the years - although it's not at old European levels. And: According to polls, the image of the US seems to have improved in South Korea over the last years. Maybe people need clearly visible saber rattling of their enemies in order to recognize the threat - and to recognize the value of friends.

The discussion with fuchur reminds me of discussions we had on DMK years ago on the subject of "anti-American bias in the German media? What bias?". Back then the bias was repeatedly explained away as being unique and unrepresentative occurances. The ones denouncing the bias then were simply deluded right-wingers.

Meanwhile, all over the Western world, it became more clear that there is and has been anti-American bias in the media, including the German media. There are still defenders of the media out there, but it is harder and harder for *honest* people to deny this bias.

Under those circumstances, the new game (for some) is now "anti-Americanism amongst Germans? What anti-Americanism?". To be more precise, long standing anti-Americanism. No, there is no long standing anti-Americanism in Germany. Nope, just as there was no anti-American bias in the media. Once this new game ends, we'll just go over to the next one. And so on, anything and everything, just please, please not the reality...

Dear Everyone: I am getting a little unnerved by the constant negative tone against Germans in this forum and the comments section. The language is a bit harsh and accusing. I come here as a compassionate person who really wants to bridge the divide and unify Germans, Americans, Canadians, South Koreans. I think people have left their manners at home when they come here and say a whole lot of indecencies. Does anyone else here see how this imprudent and will only lead to a bad outcome, or am I the only one that still believes in people being civil with each other? We are not going to solve this issue by becoming bitter, but remaining resolute in mind, bearing a smile on our lips and a tenderness of heart. It is my belief that we should be polite to each other and refrain from stupidities and pettiness. I am a Canadian and make my home in South Korea. I can confirm what MIR said and indicate that there was an anti-American sentiment being whipped up by President Noh in the past few years, just like Chancellor Shroeder did in Germany. Now that we have seen that his "Sunshine Policy" of getting cozy with the North, thus giving the North Korean government the opportunity to build and test nuclear weapons, the public has become much more pro-American. It really always has been, as the vast majority have relatives or friends in the USA. Remember the Rodney King verdict and the "race" riots in Los Angeles, in 1992? The Korean community there brought peace and calm to the situation. I truly believe that if Germans were exposed to a different media, from other countries, and had the opportunity to see things with a different worldview, then things would change. I have not lost hope, as where there is life there is hope. Let us try to image what the other person might be going through or angle they are coming from. For a person to see that their media has told them a pack of lies over the years, the shock is heartbreaking. I also went through that kind of change coming from Canada, and found that what I had been told about Asia wasn't really the true picture. This caused me to experience a time a great reflection about what I believed about things and people. I can only imagine the same for Germans when they find out that the reality, and image they see on TV, do not line up with each other. It's a hard topic to deal with, so let's go easy on each other. We are on a journey of discovery, and there will be many bumps along the way. 'Nuff said, over and out !!!

This has happened to me, and you´re right it ain´t nice.

But - I can´t complain about being stereotyped as a beer-guzzling wurst-schulz on this blog.

I have thought about this very problem for a while, especially after the new prime minister of Britain called to avoid language that Muslims might perceive as humiliating, and my conclusion is this:

I am an agnostic infidel. I do not hold an opinion whether the current terrorism is the essence of Islam or a perversion thereof. It may well be that it is a function of time. We must leave it to the Muslims to discuss this, and I am not one of them. Clearly it is a necessary prerequisite for Muslims to develop a meaningful self-image that we infidels do not try to put ourselves in their shoes, because in that case they never might have that discussion.

If you deal with Germany the same way, that´s fine with me.

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