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It's a pathology. I've said that at least 600 times. It's not confined to Germany (see France) but it's been going on since before there was a United States (see A Genealogy of Anti-Americanism), so yes, I would say it's part of a broader problem that has been manifesting for SEVERAL HUNDRED YEARS.

Is there anything that can be done to get more Germans to be constructive in discussions of the United States or is this so deeply ingrained in society that it will never really change?

Pathologies serve a purpose that is immune to the rational. You could refute every whack-job sterotype but the need the pathology serves would still exist. Remember the piece Brett Stephens wrote in the WSJ - The German Diplomat From Hell

Nor was that all. Civil rights in the U.S., he said, were on a par with those of North Korea and rather behind what they had been in Europe in the Middle Ages. When I offered that, as a journalist, I had encountered no restrictions on press freedom, he cut me off. "That's because The Wall Street Journal takes its orders from the government."

By then we had sat down at the formal dining table, with our backs to Ground Zero a half-mile away and our eyes on the boats on the river below us. My wife and I made abortive attempts at ordinary conversation. We were met with non sequiturs: "The only people who appreciate American foreign policy are poodles." After further bizarre pronouncements, including a lecture on the illegality of the Holocaust under Nazi law, my wife said that she felt unwell. We gathered our things and left."

People of this ilk have not made the acquaintance of reason, let alone intellectual honesty. For them, America is a symbol that provides an existential threat to their view of the way the world SHOULD be - and to their place in it.

I've always wondered something about the Germans - the ease with which they seem to trust the Russians. The Russians love the Germans like the Chinese love the Japanese - Leningrad, Nanking, etc. Yet it never seems to occur to the Germans that some people in parts of the world will never forgive them, not really.

So, if the capacity for self-delusion vis a vis anti-Americanism and your buddies the Russkies can be considered part of a national character - then, yeah, there's a problem.

Pamela, That discourse from the Diplomat from Hell and the Markus Gunther/Guenther article on US monuments/museums rather set the table for anti-Americanism from Germany. I imagine that not all Germans take the Sellout Schroeder position towards the Amis and the Russkies, but enough of them do.

I am reminded of the Churchill quote about Germans: "either at your throat or at your feet." I would hope that attribute had been eradicated from German culture, but perhaps not. To the degree that it has not been eradicated from German culture, that might explain how some Germans have such different attitudes towards the Amis and the Russkies. Given the way Russian/Soviet soldiers raped and pillaged their way through Germany at the end of WW2, it would not be surprising that the fear that engendered in Germans would incline them to make nice with the Russians. By contrast, the more humane way in which Ami troops treated Germans after WW2 would indicate to some Germans that the Amis are not to be feared. An enemy who is not feared, is not respected.

I had extensive contact with Germans in the 1970s and 1980s as fellow tourists and as co-workers in Latin America. I got no sense of America as the enemy from them. Of course, the Berlin Wall was up then. I am wondering if with reunification, there was some reverting back to old cultural norms.

The linked German covers caricature US politicians, but it does not dehumanize them.

Quite harmless compared to the dehumanization of French and German UN ambassadors by the New York Post, depicting them as vermin

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axis_of_weasels

Depicting ones opponents as rats etc. was a traditional Nazi propaganda trick, see e.g Der Stürmer.


@ Tropby,

I don't want to defend the New York Post - but there is no comparison when it comes to the quantity and passion of media that bash the United States in Germany versus the inverse. To put them on the same level in a weak attempt to imply that because one side does it - it is really no worse if the other does it - is to completely deny the enormous magnitude of the problem in Germany.

Tropby the lawyer says, "Depicting ones opponents as rats etc. was a traditional Nazi propaganda trick, see e.g Der Stürmer."

I guess expecting a "lawyer" to take the time to discover or know that a weasel is not rat is to much to expect. I guess he was just so excited to think he could counter this weeks anti-Americanism with an article from six years ago.

Ray is spot on. Comparing the daily barrage from Europe to the odd article in the USA is disingenuous at best, obtuse at worst. Do as another poster suggested Tropby, you found one article from several years ago. Find some current examples! Or perhaps we can have a little competition and see who can come up with more hateful nonsense about the others country?
Lets each post weekly. . . whaddaya say sport?

I don't know if the German anti-Americanism is different or more virulent than that in other Western EU countries. I remember watching some _non-political_ talk shows on the French TV5, which somehow managed to turn into rabid anti-Americanism.

Germany is the only country where I personally encountered first hand a high level of anti-Americanism. I haven't talked to Frenchmen, or Italians, or... whatever. Only Germans. That's when I was faced with an extreme dislike of America, whose irrationality bewildered me initially.

I will not speculate on why so many Germans exhibit this retarded thinking. I don't know why; all I know is that whatever it is, it's deeper than the policies of a particular American Administration. I used to be very sanguine about this, I used to combat ideas like this. Not anymore. When talking to someone I still attempt to correct their distorted views, but if I see that it doesn't work I never try again with that person.

In my experience in Germany there are people who hold the common wrong views about America, but who are receptive to being offered a different view. Those people are usually easy to spot, you can see that they give thought to your point of view. I don't expect to change their own point of view, but they _understand_ that their ideas are maybe wrong or incomplete.

Then there are people hermetically closed to any new ideas. Those are even easier to spot. Those I ignore. Those are the irrationals. This is the majority. Those I watch with the interest of a researcher investigating a frozen mummy. "What were their thoughts, how was their life, how did they behave, why did they behave like that?". I don't hate them, I don't despise them, I don't dislike them. I just know we share the world we live in, but we live in different worlds in our minds.

@Tropby
Quite harmless compared to the dehumanization of French and German UN ambassadors by the New York Post, depicting them as vermin

What a breathtaking example of critical thinking skills!

Not.

The difference is that the NY Post 'weasel' cover was prompted by what those countries DID - stab us in the back and give succour to our enemies. Americans are excoriated for what we are thought to BE.

What if you started reading a friend's private diary, and in it he took great pains to say how pathetic you were? That's pretty much the feeling you get reading the anti-American issue of Der Spiegel. The America hatefest starts with an angry Uncle Sam, and asks such pertinent questions as "Can Condoleezza Rice Emancipate Herself from Bush?" and "When Will America Collapse?" The German vision of America is a racist, broken country, and they're not afraid to pronounce us dead. Click for the full eulogy.

The German problems with America aren't limited to our recent economic collapse. We have a host of faults to atone for, and while electing Obama would be a good start, we suck in so many other ways:

America is a superpower around the globe, but a Third World country at home, with an infrastructure that defies description. There are collapsing bridges, power failures along the entire East Coast, and homes in places like Florida, North Carolina and Texas are regularly destroyed every year by hurricanes that flatten houses as if they were beach bungalows in Haiti.

Yep, that's us. Belarous acrosss the pond. Cannabalism should show up any minute now. Oh. Wait. What happened to our 'materialism'?

They also have a dim view of American race issues, as in this essay by the chief of Der Spiegel's foreign desk, Gerhard Spörl:

Yes, the most obscene aspect of all remains the unacknowledged racism in this country of pragmatic enlightenment — the ongoing prejudices of whites against blacks."

Condi Rice.
Colin Powell
Barak Obama
Deval Patrick
Doug Wilder
Michael Jordan
Kobe Bryant
Lynn Swann
Aretha Franklin
Thomas Sowell
Michael Steele
Joe Bevins
Jimmy Dougherty
Destiny, last name redacted
etc. etc. etc.

Those last three would be my brother-in-law, my cousin's husband, and the two year old African American baby my sister has been a foster mother to for 18 mos and is trying to adopt.

As one commenter noted:

You can only become a citizen of that blood-soaked country if you have German blood in your veins and they are chastising us over racism? Oy vey.

Commenter Bjonston speaks for me:

Fuck Germany! All's I gots to say is:

1. WW I
2. WW II
2.(a) The Holocaust
3. They all love David Hasselhoff.


Ray D,

Thanks for excerpting that comment from German Joys.

What Do I Know,

I will not speculate on why so many Germans exhibit this retarded thinking. I don't know why; all I know is that whatever it is, it's deeper than the policies of a particular American Administration.

Spot on. That's exactly why I said the anti-Americanism is a pathology. And that's why, like you, I was shocked when I first encountered it. For a lot of them, they had never even visited the US. It was just an insulting caricature of what Americans are like. And then, when it happened again and again, one realized that it was a culture-wide pattern that reflected deep, irrational emotions among Germans.

*

Oh, yeah, I just remembered something re: Tropby's 'dehumanization' remark. Ray/David, wasn't there a thread featuring a magazine cover - possibly a union magazine - that portrayed Americans as locusts?

Hmm, I'm not sure if this is the magazine I recall, but there's one on the sidebar protraying Americans as blood sucking insects

/Target practice. It's what's for dinner.

Franz Muentefering, chairman of the German Socialist party, compared certain foreign investors to damaging insects. The weekly Stern listed seven "locust firms"; several were recognizably Jewish by their names. When historian Michael Wolffsohn pointed out the similarity to Nazi language, he was severely attacked by several prominent Socialists.

The Nazis referred to the Jews as devil, bacilli, vermin, worms, rats with human faces, filth, insects that lived in the darkness, and worse.

/Nice grouping Pamela

/Why thankyew. Off to reload

Posted by: Tropby | November 03, 2008 at 02:59 AM

"http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axis_of_weasels

Depicting ones opponents as rats etc. was a traditional Nazi propaganda trick, see e.g Der Stürmer."

I know it is nuance that your mind probably can’t get around, but culturally in the US ‘weasel’ is not used as an insult to imply vermin in need of extermination. It’s an animal that can twist into almost any position and seems spineless as a result (even though, it probably has a spine in there somewhere). So, a weasel is someone without firm principles who twists to blow with the wind. Not vermin in need of destruction…

@Thomass

Oh, Thomass, Tropby seems to be AWOL. It probably sucks to be her/him. My adivce - bookmark the thread to throw it back if it ever shows up again.

Tropby, you are a coward.

Yeah... I doubt he will check back... I should add that weasels are meat eaters so to many farmers (unless they have unprotected chickens) they're beneficial animals. They'll eat mice and other pests that eat crops and bark off fruit trees... If I had them on my property I’d encourage them to stay...

But in a broader sense did Rome really care what the Britons or Cappadicians thought about Rome? Except to vaguely remember that the Britons dyed themselves blue and the Cappadocians generally picked the wrong side to support during the Roman civil wars.

Many Americans have disabused themselves as being loved throughout the world be are puzzled when hated based on idiotic stereotypes.

"But in a broader sense did Rome really care what the Britons or Cappadicians thought about Rome? Except to vaguely remember that the Britons dyed themselves blue and the Cappadocians generally picked the wrong side to support during the Roman civil wars". SO I do.

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