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Comments


De Metoothen's comment supra:

True, Rummy et al do bander about the possibility of closing military bases in Germany in order to open others (more eastern) in central Europe and in eastern Europe itself. It will never happen. Or at least the bases will not close to such an extent where a large and significant American military presence is removed from Germany. That is European politics at its heart. American military installations will continue to exist in Germany because of the added revenue that they bring to the pertinent Laender (B-W recently sent a delegation to Washington to plead their case) and because frankly Americans for the majority are very comfortable in Germany--it is not Romania or Bulgaria-- and more important because the American presence is a nightlight to the Netherlands, Belgium, Poland and France. It establishes a subconscious limen for intra-EU political speculation of the non-factual "are you really my friend" type. What is Germany up to? What are its historical objectives? Could this be an attempt to attain any of them? The American presence ensures that any nationalistic knee-jerk reaction by Poland, Denmark or the Czech Republic is unfounded and without actual substance. The Amis are there. Political pressure remains just that political pressure. It ensures that wars of terrorital acquisition are of the same relevance as race-derived eugenics. The Ami-presence is the most successful peace-keeping mission in history. Koenigsberg, Breslau, Litzmannstadt, Danzig, Stettin, the Elsa region and all those other former territories remain, in the hands of their current holders, uncontested and the Russians, Poles, French and Czechs know that while a seizable number of American troops live in Germany, it will not be otherwise.

Mark, your's is a thoughtful reply.

Yes, the US presence in Europe has done more to build the EU vis a vis keeping the member states from returning to war, than any other identifiable source.

But do not underestimate the influence of those in the US who, rightly or wrongly, would prefer to see a united Europe fail.

Much, if not most, of the momentum to disengage from Old Europe, comes in response to the tactical ploy of Chirac to hinder US/Anglo coalition building. The point being Chirac's strategy to offer a Franco(German)-led EU power as an opposing force of the US/Angloshpere is what will be upset once the Yanquis leave for Romania, Poland, Estonia, etc.

While it might be in the EU's interest to have stability vis a vis American GI's in Germany, it is no longer in the US interest.

MeTooThen:

If I may, I would like to refine your characterization of anti-EU influence in the U.S. I truly don't think anyone in the U.S. wants the EU to fail, for what would be the result? Nothing good, I think. However, there are MANY who would like to see French dominance of the EU fail. It is strongly felt that France would use the EU to oppose anything the U.S. tried to do.

Love the discussion.

Just a note on the International Criminal Court. It is a treaty of incredible arrogance. It claims to bind the citizens of countries who did not ratify it (last I looked, totalling 59% of the world's population.)

Also, last time I looked, the US was a stand-out only in that it was the only predominantly round-eye/Christian democracy that hadn't ratified.

But the problem is even more basic. Here is a bunch of officials, sitting in Europe, claiming jurisdiction over Americans when to which Americans have not consented and said officials are in no way accountable to Americans (or, in practice, anyone else).

Now, folks, for the door prize, what does that situation remind you of? What is it a direct affront to? (Hint, a certain C18th document, fairly important in the history and origins of the US, and the context thereof.)

People talk of American arrogance and the things they do annoy (some) Europeans. Let's discuss European arrogance and the things they do to annoy Americans.

The ICC treaty is a direct affront and attack on the very origins and concept of the US. Which is, presumably, why the US Congress overwhelmingly passed a law authorising the President to use military force to rescue any Americans brought before said Court.

When you provoke, by attacking their fundamental origins and concepts, your most powerful ally, and the powerful gllobal state, into threatening military action, you might want to step back and reconsider.

But no, the American refusal to betray its origins and fundamental principles is regarded as stupid American arrogance.

The whole Euro 'global governance' agenda essentially overturns the fundamental principles of the American Revolution. And people wonder why the US is not keen.

My question is, how purblindly arrogant to you have to be to get yourself in that situation in the first place? And not notice? Or, even worse, do and think it doesn't matter?

BTW I am an Australian and have never been the US. But I can read.

Pamela,

Thank you for your thoughtful reply.

On the contrary, there are many in the US who would dearly like to see the EU fail.

The collapse of the EU may end the costly subsidies of failing European enterprises such as steel and farming, that are harmful to their rivals in the US.

In fact, a failed EU would prevent for a generation or more any serious challenge to US economic superiority.

The failure of a united Europe will ease the tension in Great Britain to join the Euro. It may also make attractive closer ties to the US of New Europe states, and bring pressure to bear on the Russians to look to the US and not Europe for strategic partnering.

Add to this the daily revelations of how EU member states have been complicit in providing material assistance to US-hostile regimes, whether through the provision of capital, technology, or diplomatic cover, and the desire grows greater still.

The world has changed. No longer is the US ready, willing, or able to continue their support of a rival, and potentially hostile united Europe, for the sake of European peace and prosperity, at the price of the US economy and security.

"Nothing good?" for whom?

Klaus,

"If this approach is valid, then the present Anti-Americanism is not a genuine phenomen, but a generated tool itself for supporting the left movement on their way into the dark world of Orwell's shifted values and manipulation (just think about the presented image if Israel)."

I wanted to say that I think you've hit the nail on the head. Since 911 I've been reading more and more European newspapers and I have to say that what is red in America is green in Europe. It's a completely different, alternate information universe. The European press is quite possibly the main source of the problem. American conservatives like to complain about what they see as a "liberal biased press" (with the exception of Fox News) and I agree with them. But if they had to contend with the press in Europe, they would all have heart attacks.

Read this on the extent of French corruption and connivance in the press:

"One of the key factors in public perception of corruption - for good and bad - has been the press. The French press is in theory freer than the British or American, since it is not bound by sub judice, but in practice it is less free since it owes greater allegiance to elected leaders. The French press receives grants, direct and indirect, from government. Until the mid-1980s there was tacit complicity between journalists and elected politicians - and, at a higher level, between media owners and government. Tentatively, a few journalists broke the silence. In 1983, Pierre Péan wrote about the unhealthy relationship between Paris and west Africa; and in 1985, the blowing up of the Greenpeace ship, Rainbow Warrior, by French agents could not be ignored. But as long as they kept a respectful distance from President Mitterrand and his family, particularly his illegitimate one, the young journalists were tolerated. Then shared interests began to bring magistrates and journalists together and their idealism gave the anti-corruption cause its impetus. Tales of corruption sold copy; fame brought the magistrates strength. For a while both sides prospered.

Then the climate began to change. Some magistrates allowed their passions and political prejudices to get the better of them. And some journalists, frustrated by delays in the legal system, and not hobbled by sub judice, began anticipating a star magistrate's next move. They grabbed headlines by announcing a search before it happened, thus giving the suspects time to destroy evidence. Investigations became media events. Magistrates became less co-operative, so certain journalists began blackmailing them, threatening to publish their mistakes or to release privileged information to defence lawyers. Joly was a victim of such tactics. During her investigation of Roland Dumas, he gave a long interview to Le Figaro the day before a heavy interrogation, establishing in advance his version of events.

At the same time individual press titles - Le Figaro, L'Express, TF1, Paris Match - were bought by big industrial groups: Lagardère, Dassault (armaments) and Bouygues (construction). "Businessmen, some of whom had already been fingered for corruption, moved their money into the media, knowing that no editor will publish defamatory material about one of the group's major shareholders," Gaudino told me. Articles began defending the poor victimised businessmen, attacking the unpatriotic magistrates (although some publications did continue digging, despite the change of ownership).

But even at their most powerful, journalists were only printing what the magistrates had told them. Rocking the boat with independent investigations is not part of the salaried journalist's job, and those working freelance lay themselves open to being sued - Denis Robert's recent book Révélation$ about the Luxembourg-based clearing house, Clearstream, has 20 libel cases against it, Gaudino's second book, The Mafia of Business Tribunals, has 43. "

There was a book recently published in France by a journalist who promptly lost his job as a result. I cannot remember his name at the moment. His book unequivocably stated the French press had completely towed the line with the French government and completely failed to report on Iraq accurately or fairly.

Then, this "Europe's Arab Gambit":

""After the [1962] French withdrawal from Algeria, [French President Charles] De Gaulle, who up to that point favored Israel, completely changed France’s policy toward the Arab and Muslim world. There was a convergence between France’s embrace of the Arabs and its attempt to weaken the Atlantic alliance with America. The Arabs were to give France strategic independence from the US. France’s attempt, first through the European Economic Community and now through the European Union to create a unified European foreign policy, in competition with the US and led by France, sees European alliance with the Arab world as one of the primary sources of this strategic independence."

While, in Yeor’s view, "De Gaulle’s strategy was in the abstract," the European embrace of the Islamic and Arab at the expense of Israel and the US became a concrete policy in the wake of the 1973 Yom Kippur War and the subsequent OPEC oil embargo of the West."

Read the whole thing. There's more. much more. I think the French felt they could grab the bull by the horns and not be gored.


And this....

"Anyone puzzled by the vast difference between European and American attitudes toward Israel ought to spend some time comparing two newspapers: The New York Times and the Paris-based International Herald Tribune.
That may seem like an odd statement, since the IHT is owned by the Times and most of its articles are Times reprints – or at least, so the reader would assume, as they are credited to the Times and appear under Times reporters' bylines.

But it turns out that IHT editors often "improve" the Times copy a bit. The adjustments are minor in terms of the amount of text changed, yet sufficient to give the reader a completely different understanding of events."

I cannot articulate how often I read something in the Euro press that is an absolute slander or lie. It is so frighteningly common. It's the fantasy ideology of the Europeans.

Regarding the allegation that many in America want the E.U. to fail:

It is my understanding that the consensus among America's policy-makers is that, from the standpoint of American interests, the EU has achieved a state that satisfies our security concerns after WWII. America never envisioned a super-state with the huge surrender of sovereignty that it entails. Democracy, free trade, and military security were our primary concerns.

Anyone who lives in Europe can confirm that there are great misgivings here about what Europe has become and where it is headed. The uncritical expansion, the huge bureaucracy, the huge subsidies, all give mainstream Europeans pause to think. I think most Americans can only scratch their heads at the monster in Brussels. To say that we want the EU to fail is inaccurate. We simply don't see how creating a monstrous bureaucracy that will soak your economies and paralyze you politically for generations can do anything to promote our basic interests: democracy, free trade, military security. Of course, I can understand how the ideologues on the left might see our stance as a declaration of war, but certainly America is on the sidelines of the game called EU. It is a battle for the people of Europe to fight.

There is so much uncritical thinking over here about things like Kyoto, ICC, and the EU. People just blabber the same platitudes and use every difference with the US as another excuse for America-bashing. Well, taking Kyoto as an example, the follow-up has been quite sobering here on the continent. Everyone finally realized that Kyoto, if fully and speedily implemented, would have caused an economic disaster. That's all America was saying, and we were crucified in the press here for saying it. What hypocrisy!

Linden -

I concur that the press in Europe is heavily anti-USA. I lived in Europe for several years and the newspaper and television news coverage towards the USA had an overwhelmingly negative tone. If there was ANY negative angle to be found in a story, they'd find it and give it prominence. Many European readers/viewers I spoke with were simply unconscious of this bias, assuming their media elites knew what they were talking about.

Interestingly, however, many ordinary Europeans whom I knew often had a fondness towards Americans or some element of American life (cowboys, native Americans, jazz, movies - usually something). Germans especially seem fascinated by native Americans.

Something else I notice: the extensive influence of the US media in Europe, but in a subtle way. Ideas adopted from the US media become fashionable for discussion among "serious" elements in the European press. When the US news media focus on some Big Social Story, which they manage to do every couple of weeks, and really wring their hands about it, the European press follow suit a few days later.

For example, if the New York Times or the LA Times run stories on such diverse topics as obscene music lyrics, or embarrassing political spouses, or police car chases, etc - the Europeans do the same thing. These topics are sometimes presented as current issues in America, but more often as issues for Europeans that need to be examined.

This is also true of other US media. For instance, I find that themes in the US publication Business Week are often quickly replicated in the European press, e.g., are outsourced salespeople cost-effective? etc.

Does anyone notice this trend in Germany or other European countries?

I haven't seen this trend operate in reverse - a Big Social Story that is important in Germany or Italy rarely becomes a big story in the other country - or in the USA. Why is that?

Kyoto has been mentioned above several times...
this is something that REALLY ticks me off.
Bush gets the blame for killing Kyoto.
Well the US had never ratified the treaty to begin with.
The US Senate has to ratify ALL treaties. Has been part of the Constitution since 1789 (or was this added later? Constitutional scholars, help me out?) In any case this provision has been there for at least 200 years.
And if I remember right, Kyoto was vetoed almost unanimously by the Senate in 1997!!!
I rarely read this in the European press.
Bush gets ALL the blame.
Bush didn't kill Kyoto, he just announced íts death, and it had been dead in the US for four years anyway. And somehow this is all BUSH's fault?
Don't get me wrong, I am a lifelong Democrat and I have problems with Bush, but facts are facts.
Kyoto was dead in the US long before Bush announced its death.
and at the time that Bush said Kyoto was not a goal for the US anymore, NO MAJOR EUROPEAN country had ratified/enacted it. I believe Romania was the only one.
The moral hypocrisy of the EU elites is astounding.
I find the media here in Germany incredibly
biased.

I wanted to comment as well about the comment by Klaric above.. I agree fully.. another example of this...
the Greens love to wag their finger at the US.
The French are highly reliant on nuclear power.
the Greens are against nuclear power, but yet
you never hear them wagging their finger against France- well at least not to the same degree they wag their finger at the US re: Kyoto.
More moral hypocrisy.

I agree to your posting, Steve. Our German media does not report why the USA does not agree to Kyoto. Putin (Russia) also did not sign it. That was only a single news.

Pamela is magnificent. She STRIDES.

tm, thanks for the Bruckner link. Bruckner is one of the few voices of reason over here as far as calling his fellow Europeans to task for their petty anti-americanism is concerned. If you read French, there is a good article by him in Le Monde of 28.01.04 (www.lemonde.fr) entitled L'ivresse du seul contre tous ravaging Chirac's France for its diplomacy during the Irak conflict. Maybe it will be translated.

In spite of all the condescending "live free or die" rhetoric coming from the right in the USA, there is a great deal of hypocrisy on both sides of the Atlantic. We've got plenty of bureaucracy, deficit spending and social problems back home, too. Both sides need to stop lecturing so much and start listening. As Voltaire said, one should take care of one's own garden. I understood Bruckner to be saying basically the same thing. Given his great intellectual honesty and his important contribution to the anti-americanism debate, his criticisms of the USA in the article you cited are no big deal.

Bruckner's article is translated here:

http://watch.windsofchange.net/themes_79.htm

The translator, noted as Douglas, has a terrific blog,
http://www.lastofthefamous.blogspot.com/

This is one of the most amazing threads I've ever read -- on any blog. Congratulations to all who have commented. I have absolutely nothing to add. I just wanted to thank you all for your erudition and intellectual honesty.

This discusion has been fantastic. I am glade that there are many Americans that are aware of the growing hatered towards the USA eminating from France and Germany. It is my therory that this hatered is being caused by political elites for the failure of both the EU, and in the case of Germany, the Red/Green coallition to live up to their expectations.

However, I take some of this US bashing personally. I was married to a German woman for 20 years. She passed away 3 years ago. If she could see what kind of path that Schroeder/Fischer has led Germany down, she would be rolling in her grave!

I knew something was up during the German elections. You would think that an administration that has led their country into 4 years of economic stagnation and 11% unemployment would be put out on the streets based on the merrits. I received a telephone call from my sister-in-law affirming that she and her husband were voteing for Schroeder. Her explanation was that she did not want to see her son sent to Iraq to fight Bush's war. (The fact of the matter is that her son is 4F because of his heroine addiction.)

While the UN was debating the final resolution to go to war, I received an e-mail from another nephew who happens to be a German cop. I always assumed that this kid was conservative because as a cop, he had conservative notions towards law and order. He asked me what was going on in the US about the war...especially considering Bush's attitude. I wrote back what do you mean about Bush's attitude, what about Schroeder's attitude. I then received a reply that sounded like SPD "talkimg points." There will be hundreds of thousand Iraqis dead, tens of thousands of Americans dead, ect.

I feel sort of sad. I find myself drifing apart from my late wife's family over these serious issues. The whole notion of argueing over basic political values with my German family reminded me of sad stories that were told during Ken Burns' Civil War TV series: Families that ended up taking sides against each other over State's Rights and Slavery.

I hope that common sense prevails on the other side of the Atlantic. Maybe it is a good thing that the German Government is upset because they were not allowed to bid on post-war contracts in Iraq. Greed has always been a consistent German virtue.

good point, that last statement, George.. maybe the Green party refers to Greenbacks - ha!

several points I would like to make... I would like feedback..
1. Schroeder has referred to the American system as
'cowboy capitalism' (that is a direct quote)..
but on the other side of the coin, he has at times blamed the slow German economy on the slow American economy (but with the American economy picking up, he doesn't have that excuse anymore.. heh..)
If the German system is so superior to the American system (i.e. his denigration of 'cowboy capitalism') why is the German system dependent on the American system? Is there a contradiction here or is it just me?

2. I hear Germans say all the time that George W. Bush (or the Amis in general ) think so 'schwarz-weiss'. Everything is categorized into good and evil.. but then again I hear (often from the same people) that 'war is immoral'.
let's see.. so their is moral and immoral behavior.. isn't that just another way of saying - albeit it much more subtly - 'good' and 'evil'. Isn't this viewpoint 'war is immoral' ALSO an example of 'schwarz-weiss denken'?

I'll say this thread, David's blog in general, and all the passionate, intelligent posting have been an inspiration to me.

It got me thoroughly pissed off. I'm collecting examples of media bias in Europe in preparation for meetings I'm trying to arrange with members of Congress. I've already got one lined up in mid-February and am working on others.

If there is anything you want them to see, or anything you want to say, email me.

Thanks for a great blog, David.

Pamela, I never thought I'd say this but I'm of the opinion that Murdoch needs to create German as well as French papers/tv stations that tell the truth. I never believed I would ever associate 'truth' with 'Murdoch'. Part of what I believe has kept the UK from tipping as far as France and Germany is our cultural similarity as well as a slightly more powerful conservative press. There's nobody but a few individuals in Europe making our argument.

Also, Pamela, I had James Caesar for professor at the University of Virginia. He was an excellent professor. The class I took with him was on Tocqueville's Democracy in America, which is another book I'd recommend for anyone wanting a well-done analysis of the US.

Hey, I found this thread on Windsofchange. Very stimulating. If anyone's still checking back, I'd like to get in on the action.

First, to Rexxous who asks why US media doesn't pick up on European headlines anywhere like the reverse--it's probably because American audiences lack the necessary frame of reference in which to understand such issues. Case in point: the French brouhaha over headscarves seems silly to most Americans, who know nothing about France's longstanding battle between church and state, the dilemmas of the banlieues, etc. So much background is needed, that the "story" gets only a few paragraphs.

But since the subject of this talk is Germany, let me raise the story I personally have been fascinated with, but which has gotten v. little play here--the German cannibal. Americans read the outlines of the story (details must be sought in foreign outlets--the Guardian had many gory ones yesterday) and are turned off, but think "oh, that's a sick dude." They don't go far enough to understand that the "victim" tried to eat his own penis at his self-chosen last supper, that the murderer managed to get 5 more people to sign on as so much frozen meat, but that when they balked at the last minute he didn't press the issue. This, to me, bespeaks something much more sinister, more evil and (as with all things German) disciplined than anything American psychos could dream up. And the guy will walk free in perhaps four years. I will keep this in mind when I hear Europeans deriding American justice as brutal and inhumane.

As for German business' woes, I find it interesting that one of my two siblings already works for a German company, the other is likely to sign on for one shortly. My sister, a shoe rep, has watched helplessly as her company flounders its chance to "make it" here by not responding to local tastes, failing to correct problems in the supply chain, and failing to keep costs down (this last can't be helped given the decline of the US dollar, but who wants to pay $200 for ugly shoes?). Meanwhile, in Germany the company is buffetted by labor laws, high taxes--it'll be lucky to survive the next 2 years.

My brother is in manufacturing which, by contrast is actually profitting from the problems besetting European business. The US offers an irresistably flexible, profitable and safe landing place for European companies who increasingly treat their factories at home as museum pieces, since that is what the EU has made them.

Interestingly, my brother and sister detect little if any "anti-Americanism" among the businesspeople with whom they work and associate. Maybe things aren't so bad outside the "opinion-making class".

For example you say "but it needs less power, less influence, hence more free enterprise". Fine with me. But any suggestion of how to achieve that? I mean it is very obvious that the "political class" doesn't want to give up any power. So how will you achieve that in real life?

I can speak to this.

Background: My mother-in-law comes from a German family; her own mother was among the Germans who were expelled from Czechoslovakia and her father's family are from north-eastern Germany. Although born in the US, she spoke German as a young child at home while learning English. My brother-in-law is German by birth, my nieces are fully bi-lingual and spend regular long periods with relatives in Germany. My husband reads the language and speaks it some.

My mother's father's ancestors were German-speaking Swiss who emigrated here in 1732. I grew up in the part of Pennsylvania which was heavily settled by Germans and, although I was raised in my Russian father's Orthodox church, our town was mostly German and Austrian by background, both Catholic and Protestant.

And I have spent much of my professional career in the high-technology world of startup companies.

So what does this all have to do with creating more free enterprise in Germany? Here is what I have observed:

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

To be sure, these are both stereotypes that become false if taken too far. But they are by and large true, I think. Even after several generations in the US, most of my friends and family with German backgrounds are very risk averse with regard to their financial affairs, the foods they eat, the clothes they wear etc.

I am not criticizing this. I enjoy a long-term marriage to a man who is stable, fiscally prudent, hard working and reliable. I love his family, too. But I also note a certain tendency to demand *uniformity* of behavior. And above all, I note great discomfort with risktaking and a tendency to critize those who take risks and fail in any way.

For many many years I've heard German academics and policy makers insist that Germany would overtake the US as a technology leader. American companies produce shoddy goods, we are told, and do not have the discipline needed to do things right. All that is needed is for Germany/the EU to appropriately subsidize high tech programs. The government can create its own Silicon Valley and then the world will naturally value the resulting German products over those of the US.

But overall the results of these programs have been disappointing because they fail to recognize the need to allow people to try new ideas and approaches and sometimes to fail. Many of the most successful entrepreneurs in the US have had previous failures, sometimes spectascular ones. American culture and the American financial markets and venture capital networks allow a certain amount of this because the payoff for success is so high.

This is the thread that ties the German economic situation to the strong reaction against US actions in Iraq. The US is engaged is a very high profile, high-risk/high=payoff effort in Iraq: to dismantle a key supporter of Palestinian terror and to establish in its place a multi-ethnic, multi-religious modern democracy which is integrated in a positive way into the global economy and political structures. A willingness to take such risks, especially in the face of disapproval, is just about the worst thing one can do, according to many native and culturally German people of my acquaintance.

Germany will not play the leadership role to which she aspire until and unless she is also willing to take considered risks. I understand the caution about this: huge risks (not seen as such were taken in the recent past and had catastrophic results. Nonetheless, just as a rider who is thrown from a horse must get back on, if he is ever to ride successfully again, so too Germany must find a way to balance desire for security against a willingness to try new risky things. The US will not allow Germany and her European neighbors to do the opposite: to tie us down in the vain belief that all risk can be legislated out of existence by agreement.

Sorry about the mis-spellings - I clicked 'post' instead of 'preview'.

Kelli, I think that your siblings perceive little anti-Americanism because it is generally absent (in my experience) from the German business class, and with good reason: they deal with us all the time, and it's how they make their living. Why would they hate us? Businessmen of most countries are like this, I suspect: after all, there's no sense in being prideful or sentimental or jingoistic when there's a bottom line to meet.

I doubt, however, that such an attitude carries over to the general population, which does not come into such close, intimate contact with Americans and American PEOPLE on a daily basis. To most of those folks, we're just an abstraction, filtered through history books, a critical media, and our own shot-in-the-foot MTV/Hollywood pre-packaged image which sells abroad.

I'm surprised how little in this thread discuses the universality of the specific strain of Anti-Americanism common to Europe but also common in some classes in the US (see Howard Dean).

Europe and America's elite media share a common democratic socialist perspective (BBC and NPR are good stand ins). But until recently no one challenged this point of view very publicly in America except for some politicians. In Europe, this group still predominates but in the US, the NPR/NY Times leftism no longer has a monopoly. This is resented on both sides of the Atlantic but it is especially associated with the US. Esp overt patriotism, free market economics (European liberalism), populism, devotion to old-fashioned styles and values, confidence and pride in Western achievements, lack of "imperialist guilt". Add to this the specific German and French resentments over WWII and you get the "unique" neuroses everyone discusses.

I was in Paris and a French friend who got back from the States was talking about Fox and blogs and the distasteful groups they seemed to represent. I pointed out that he well knew that such points of view, also existed in France. But he said, "Old boy, we just don't LET such people have a say in our national politics or media."

The US -- or the pro-US faction -- won't go away, no matter how hard the EU or Howard Dean tries. And the US will continue to confound predictions of American failure. Hence we will continue to piss people off.

I agree with the comments above that it is far better to have a pacifist Germany (and Japan for that matter). Given the history of the 20th century, I (as an American) was a bit concerned about German reunification. In my experience, I have found Germans to be very nationalistic, rigid, proud, and, yes, a bit neurotic. Having their noses bloodied by the Yanks twice (and then rebuilt) is certainly a hit to their pride, and it is understandable that there is some resentment there.

This thread reminded me of a ditty Dennis Miller did in the run-up to the Iraq war. He said of Germany's non-participation: "Makes you wonder if the Germans are really morally opposed to this war, or if it just isn't on a grand enough scale for them."

For the record, I am "half-German". My grandparents immigrated from Germany in the early 30's.

Hi

Yes I am an anti-american. and yes I am anti-german. and yes I am anti-french. and an anti-italian.
why because I am from a small country. The other countries have more power and do things differently. I like to eat hamburger. to watch american football. but it is not serious. I hate german order and puctuality. I hate the french arrogance, as if only they had philosophers. I hate italians because they think that only they can cook.

The point with anti-americanism is threefold.
1. bashing of foreign culture in general (its a common thing)
2. different political interests (why should the EU have the same interests as US when there is a trade war going on all the time....)
3. you hate the big guys

There are two different anti-americanism which need to be differentiated:

1. anti-americanism from the right (against freedom, liberty, and american culture)
2. anti-americanism from the left (thinking that american foreign policy talks about freedom but brings slavery)
which are different aspects united in a opposition to unleashed capitalism (but note that there is also a sound economic case for the mixed economy approach in europe ... look at the intoductory text books).

This reminds me of discussions in the "extreme left" (things reader of this page will rarely see) in their discussion whether 9/11 could be seen as act in a war against oppression. Beside some on the extreme right and some idiots on the left even in the extreme left (ideologically close to Meinhoff) there was agreement that this could not seen in this way because the fundamentalists fight against everything the extreme left wants. One summarized it in this way "the american deram for everyone not only for a few as it is reality in US and EU".

Beside this I think that national stereotyping is an act of gross reductionism. I met germans which were not orderly. I met italians who could not cook, and french who liked american philosophers. But there are cultural differnces. In the US I feld uneasy when everyone was so friendly. I even got the feeling of agressivity against this senseless smiles. Only in NY I felt at home the people were as unfrendly as in my hometown .... ;-)

I was struck by this comment:

For anyone who has not visited Germany in a few years, you might be interested to know that Germans in the city where I live now often stand patiently in line at the bakeries and grocery stores.

What is it about Germans and waiting in line? I swear I've never encountered more rudeness than I have from German kids in line at a ski lift, or in line at a fast food restaurant. German children seem to think it is their God-given right to jump to the head of any line, no matter where, and the grown-ups seem totally disinclined to do anything about it. We had to resort to blocking these kids with our ski poles, and they still struggled to get around us.

Such behavior would be totally unacceptable, here in the U.S., and if it were my kid you could be sure that he or she would get a sharp smack on the backside for it.

Amazing.

sorry of course "the american dream" not "the american deram" ....

to jn

why do you equate america to republicanism and conservative libertanianism? anti-americanism by democrats. so 50% percent of americans are anti-american. why then bother about 70% of antiamericanism in Europe? this looks like mccarty and the discussions about "linientreue" on the extreme left. makes no sense to me.

miraculix: Ok, we promise to never smile at you again.

You post a reasonable summary of the anti-American cant but it would be valuable for the Americans here if you could give us some insight as to why it seems so impervious to fact. The U.S. is NOT an imperial power and has no desire to be, and trust me, if we wanted to oppress anyone, Paris would look like Scranton, Pennsylvania by now. The nonsense we hear about "narrative" (from those lefty sources you think we don't read) is pure sophistry that becames heinous when used in the service of slaughter. We are well aware that many in Europe want us to fail in Afghanistan and Iraq, and damn the consequences as long as the Amis get their noses rubbed in it. Read gmurphy's post above - his sister-in-law voted for Schroeder so her son would not have to go fight "Bush's" war, completely impervious to the FACT that her son is a junkie and no military would take him. Add to that the Belgian Defense Minister deciding the U.S. military is inefficient because it has too much money. The Belian military was unionized in 1996. Denial of realities is frightening.

I have only been in Germany a few months but it deals with a similiar situation that the American South dealt with in the 20th Centurty. That is how do deal with the stain of evil and the humiliation of defeat. The American South had the evil of slavery and the humiliation of loosing the Civil War. Germany has the holocost and World War II. The South dealt with things by defiance and romanticizing a past that never existed. The war was a war of Northern agression and everyone in the antebellum South lived in a plantation and all slaves were house slaves loved by their masters Gone With the Wind kind of image. Germans seem to deal with evil and defeat through denial. No member of anyone's family was really involved and the Germans were victims of the Nazi's too as if they had come from outerspace or something. Before I came here I thought Germany, unlike Japan, had come to terms with the war. Now, I don't think they have and it affects their veiw of the whole world for the worse in that they see themselves as victims and everyone else as the source of their problems.

miraculix: Ok, we promise not to smile at you any more (THAT's a complaint I am more than weary of).

You gave a nice summary of the political rationale for anti_Americanism, but it would be helpful for us Americans to get some insight on why this particular disease is so impervious to fact. The U.S. is not imperialistic. If we were, Paris would be indistinguishable from Scranton, Pennsylvania by now. And it's not just the intellectual elite. Read gmurphy's post above. His sister-in-law voted for Schroeder so her son would not have to fight "Bush's" war - completely impervious to the FACT that her son is a junkie and would be rejected by any military. The "narrative" so important to the lefty sources that you think we ignore values facts and reality not at all and the refusal to use crtical faculties to judge a situation seems to have infected all of Europe.

Oh, and then there is the idiot Belgian Minister of Defense who thinks the U.S. military is ineffecient because it has too much money.

The Belgian military was unionized in 1996.

Frankly, we feel like we're talking to people under the influence of hallucenogens.

sorry for the double posts. the site has evidently slowed considerable due to traffic and I thought I lost the first one.

Klaus, first of all, you've been neighbors with France for centuries, why should arrogance bother you (she writes w/tongue-in-cheek)? And maybe it's not that Americans are arrogant, maybe we're right more times than not. And that grates.

Also, you stated, "- a country with an identity-problem, which we still don't manage in our 13 long years after unification, while the US only needed tiny 2 centuries."

I really don't agree w/this because I don't understand why you have an identity problem. East Germans/West Germans, but you were and are Germans with a much longer history than ours. Our country lived (Civil War) and still lives (red/blue states) with different ideas of how things should be done and what's acceptable, but we handle it at the ballot box. Again, as you point out, you've been around a lot longer than we have.

Reunification might go better if more people had jobs (and anti-Americanism might lessen because more people are busy and happy w/their lives), but until you and your fellow citizens change your mindset and vote to free your potential with monetary safeguards for your elderly, you're stuck w/what you've got. I've read more than once in business sections over the years that Germany won't change it's practices and adopt some US business practices because "we're European," not American. (Comments made not only by Europeans pols but European businessmen.) That's not our fault. Your economic situation is not our fault or responsibility.

Klaus, don't you think we want to also live in a September 10 world? Do you honestly think we want to watch our or your citizens make the final choice of how to die? We watched our people choose whether to die by burning to death or jump from a 100-story building. But this is the hand we're dealt, and we're not going to roll over into dhimmitude. And if you're countrymen thought we would, they haven't paid attention to our history, which, we've been told over the years, Europeans know better than we do.

The Euopean psyche could never allow the ascendency of the individual to the extent found in America. Fundamental rights are devolved to the individual, to act as his own agent. The government is designed OF the people, BY the people and FOR the people. I really didn't appreciate how critically removed the European mind is from this very simple premise.

Because the premise here is "Gemeinschaft" -- unity, not "individualism". Individualism, be it of the monarchist, fascist or communist kind, as we all know, has inevitably lead to disaster in Europe.

Maybe it's because unlike you we are sitting on a small continent with each country being surrounded by dozens of other countries, cultures, ethnic groups.. There is not enough space, Pamela, to live out one's individualism or even gather the idea that individualism should be a major goal. It's more about: how the heck do we all get along, rather than what can we do to make this little guy there happy?

Now, I am by no means a pacifist, or a socialist and I don't dislike the US. I have only good memories when thinking back to the time I was living there -- many things were much easier than here in Germany -- but one thing I just can't get over is your (the American's) total lack of self-analysis or self-criticism. You always believe in what you say, do you? And as the constitution proclaims the ascendency of the individual as a major goal it MUST be good, no? The question whether individualism per se is good or not never arises. The question whether it is true that the "people govern the country", or whether it's not and odd mix of lobbies, industries, the military, the media (who all do nothing but strive for their share of individualism) as it's the case in every other complex society (and why should you be an exception?)

I guess this unilateral self-consciousness renders the US so strong. I have to admit, it is to a certain extend enviable. You were talking about the tourists. Striding. That's the whole country. Never doubt things. Never analyze. DO!. Don't talk. Don't wait. It's all for something good. We trust in ourselves. We never fail. Well, you haven't, at least not very often. We (the Germans) have quite a lot. Talking about psyches...

Now add to that: Never show weaknesses. And not only the country -- on a personal level as well. How many conversations have I had that followed the same formulaic pattern? I've never once felt taken seriously by any American I talked to. It's not that I blame them for it. It's just curious. Never was I able to penetrate a certain surface of formulaic expressions. Even their interest in what I talked about seemed formulaic, or staged. There is a nice anectode by Wolfgang Joop which I read recently somewhere. At the time he lived in New York he had a friend who was sick of AIDS. He tried to call him and got his mother on the phone. He asked her how he was and the mother said "Oh, he is doing great!". The next day the friend had died.

Whether true or not, this story DOES reflect my own experiences (as a German): Never admit into the darker sides of life. Don't talk about these things. Things are "great". Always. If you want, you can directly trace this attitude back to "the pursuit of happiness" claim and the search for lived out individualism. If you are not happy, you betray the fundamental pilars this country is based on. So you better be happy and individual. And if you are not, then don't show it.

To be quite honest: I am not sure whether I would prefer such an environment in the long run.

One note, there have been several mentions of discussions sparked with people in book stores. A book store is probably not the best place in the world to look for anything pro-american, pro-capitalism, or pro-democracy. Just keep that in mind.

There are a lot of reasons why there are anti-American sentiments in Germany.
In part it is because Germans have a hard time being happy about anything. If we think they are anti-American, we should read what Germans think of their own country. It very often sounds very anti-German.
In part it is a love-hate relationship. Most German boys grew up with the books of Karl May portraying a romantic Wild West. We Germans love Coca Cola, and US Movies and Movie Stars and Comics. And we are nostalgic about Afri Cola, UFA films, and Fix and Foxi Comics (for those that do not understand this reference, Afri Cola is the German Coca Cola copy, and Fix and Foxi are the German Mickey Maus and UFA was the most prominent Film Studio.)
The most important factor however, in the anti-American Sentiment are the anti-American elites, and Press. We got to remember Germans get their news from people like Mike Moore (who is the top expert on the US according to the German press). The news that Germans get about Amerca is highly filtered and highly subjective. The US is the strongest symbol of Capitalism, and many of the top German literary and artists have strong socialist bends. The same goes for our politicians. Our Foreign Minister grew up as a street fighter during the anti-Vietnam War movement, and our Justice Minister defended a notorious terrorist gang when he was in private practice. The elites on the right wing have similar anti-American sentiments as well. There is the old Guard that can not forget that the US is the reason that the 1000 year Empire lasted only 10 years. There is the new Guard that hates the US for the same reason the left hates the US, it stands for everything they dislike. The successful existence of the US is a slap in their face, intellectually and morally, because it contradicts their own believe system.
It is therefore little wonder that the average German has some anti-American sentiments. I always considered myself fairly pro-American, but growing up in Germany I had many of the same prejudices that other Germans have. I have lived in the US for more than 15 years now, and I am still unlearning many of these prejudices.

I think Western Europeans' hate of Americans is due to the fact that they have built themselves and are now trapped in 'Seinfeld' societies. Life there is comfortable, but is about nothing except continuing as before. Corrupt elites contemptuous of public opinion dominate the political scene, and every 'big project' they announce comes to nothing, so most people feel alienated but don't know exactly why.

It suits the European elites very well to direct popular anger overseas, which today means towards the US, and the US sets itself up as the ideal target by being so visibly inventive, energetic and successful. The US is seen as the implacable enemy of EU elites because here in the US the interests of the people come so visibly first (sorry US-based cynics, I do not agree that US democracy is a sham; when it comes to sham democracies I've lived under the real thing).

None of this is likely to change, because EU enlargement is still being twisted into a pretzel to ensure, that despite the EU's existence, in each country that country's own national elite remains entrenched.

The reason for so much anti-Americanism everywhere is simple: Like the Roman Empire did to Europe, we have irrevocably sunk ourselves into every other culture so deeply that they will never be rid of our influence. Even if every last American disappeared off the face of the earth, these other cultures are irredeemably "contaminated" by us. For all intents and purposes, America is the world.

Hi tn,

You pose provocative questions. In the the post you excerpted, I intended only to note my astonishment at how wide a divide such seemingly small differences in just one premise can cause. And also, I guess, because the realization was so new to me (I'm a bit slow on the uptake, sometimes). Not to debate the merits of individualism vs. 'collectivism', for lack of a better term, I fail to see how physical space, or lack thereof, constrains or promotes either one. Klaus and I had a go at this earlier in the thread. I don't know where in the States you were or who you met, but I hear self-criticism all the time, at just about every level. It's not always in the context of 'Americanism', more often in the context of 'this sucks, how do we fix it', i.e., the job, the school, the neighborhood. If you think there's no self-criticism at the political level you eveidently did not read a newspaper, or a magazine - good lord, how could you have missed it!?

I can well believe your anecdotal evidence of the 'always happy' Amis, but I would put it to a different cause. We are, as a people, optimistic. It is not that we don't acknowledge a darker side, it's that we think the light illuminates the dark. Our personal travails do tend to be kept private, partly out of a wish to not be burdens, and partly from an over-rated virtue of self-reliance. We think we SHOULD be able to do just about anything we need to on our own. Which is another reason we find people who expect the state to do everything for them quite bewildering. To us it looks like surrender of autonomy.

And Klaus, as to Turkey, we would have minded our own business if it were a 9/10 world. And we certainly would have loved to have minded our own business w/Kosovo/Bosnia, but it wasn't to be.

A lot of what we're doing is in context of 9/11. I really don't think Europe understands that. I and other Americans have thought about what it's going to take for Europe to get into the 9/11 world. How many dead before enough is enough? What is worth fighting for? Submitting is not the lesson of WWII.

If Western Civilization is not worth fighting for, don't run to us for protection before it's too late. We will not stop for the sake of Europe's temporary mental comfort (Thanks, K. for that phrase, love it.)

And the more I read, I do think we made a mistake by not imposing some of our Constitution on Europe after WWII. And I think we're making the same mistake in Iraq and Afghanistan. One of Europe's greatest fears is that we are imperialistic. What would they do if we really started acting that way?

pamela ;-)

I do not think that I gave a political rationale for anti-americanism. because look. in europe everybody "hates" the germans. talk to french, italians etc. but there is not much fuss about anti-germanism in europe. What i gave were pseudo-psychological or cultural explanations for anti-americanism, which is essentially irrational. and for me as "economist" beyond possiblilty of further analysis. ...

the political aspects are different.

The first war (Afganistan) everyone went with the US without asking much questions. Even if people (like me) did not condivide the decision. you might call me softie. if you do that i call you cowboy. (this explains something).

The second war (Iraq) was different. The germans did not want war. The french thought it is a bad idea. Remember that war in Europe might have a different connotation than in the US. This is true for most european countries (may be the french and the english are an exception).

If I say I do not like this war and I do not like Bush's policies (I have an american wife, so I can say I know something about it), I do not like the military, does this make me anti-american? if yes. then i am proud to be it. but i still listen to Bruce springsteen, watch the superbowl and eat at mc'donalds, and am friendly to us citizens. What would be the interest of the EU to invade Iraq? If you can provide me some clear and materialistic reasons for this war from an european perspective you might convince me that the war is good. but no clash of civilization stuff. i do not buy this stuff.

Two rather personal observations:

1. I do not understand the american flag and anthem fetish. I do not like flags, anthems etc. even if i understand that the american concept of nationality does not have this blut&boden konzept of the european flag fetisch. flags are anti-individualistic.

2. I do not like conservatives and libertarian political political ideas therefore I do not like the american foreign policy. Bush represents this for me as Berlusconi does (I stopped supporting the AC Milan for political reasons some 10 years ago).

...


Interesting topic-
However, I think it is actually a broader issue than simple 'anti-Americanism in Germany'. I suspect that the same attitudes are pretty prevalent in France, in Britain, and throughout the western world (including the US!). So the real question is not "Why is Germany so anti-American?" Rather, it is "Why are intellectuals in the Western World so anti-American (and, in fact, anti-Western)?" Let's face it: the same attitudes we are discussing as existing in Berlin or Hamburg are pretty widespread in London, Paris, Berkeley and Cambridge, Mass. In America, those with these attitudes aren't in power (as they apparently are in much of Europe)-but they are here.
And I don't understand it. Given any particular political and social issue under debate today (Republican vs. Democrat, pro- or anti- Iraq war, Kyoto or no, missile defense, welfare state or no, any issue whatsoever), there is probably a split within 60-40 in opinion throughout American society (of course there are exceptions-and ridiculous counterfactuals like slavery and naziism don't count). In insular subgroups, you would expect a different split: perhaps within the military, there would be stronger support for some issues (defense spending, for instance) due to personal or professional interests, social workers would probably favor government aide more than society at large, etc.
But there seems to be no logical reason for the subculture of 'intellectuals' (academics, journalists, lawyers, etc) to either be as one-dimensional as it is, nor to have the specific views that it does. I have commonly seen polls that suggest journalists and university professors tend to be at least 90% Democratic (which is a reasonable shorthand for 90% anti-Iraq war, 90% anti-Bush, 90% pro Kyoto, etc etc etc)-probably the most one-sided subgroup in American society (and I mean that literally: I've spent 15 years in the US military in various forms, and you are far far more likely to see Democratic viewpoints in the military than you are to see Republican viewpoints in academia, far more likely to see a prochoice soldier than a prolife journalist, and so on).
Their argument generally seems to be that they are smarter than the rest of us (i.e. that Democratic or liberal views are objectively more right), but that doesn't wash. I have no reason to think that a sociology professor knows more about Iraq than a plumber does-she knows more about sociology, and he knows more about plumbing. Iraq, the welfare state, international affairs in general, gay rights, whatever issue you want to talk about; knowledge isn't necessarily greater amongst the elite, nor does knowledge necessarily matter (how does education make one more 'right' on ethical questions like abortion, the tradeoff of freedom vs. equality, etc?) The views that shape political and social attitudes seem to be instinctive-not rational.
So why? Why are intellectuals instinctively anti-West: anti-west when they are in fact among the greatest beneficiaries of western culture (who makes more? Professors and journalists, or plumbers and Walmart employees? And which group has a more positive view of their own culture? Which group has a higher percentage of veterans?). It really isn't merely anti-American nor by only Germans. British intellectuals have been loathesome for 70 years (during the 1930's, Oxford intellectuals were at least as bad as our intellectuals of today). There's really no objective reason for it; there must be some cultural or psychological explanation for it.
So the question of anti-Americanism in Germany is not terribly interesting or important; I suspect its just that Germany has just enough more (maybe 10-20% more) liberals or extreme leftists in their population, which puts their anti-Americans (anti-Westerners) into positions of political power. The perplexing question, to me, remains: what causes anti-Westernism in western elites (who are in power in Germany and perhaps France, share power in Britain, and are out of power in the US)?
Steve

The reality is that a large section of the European elite view America as a greater threat to their interests than terrorism. From their point of view, this makes sense. Trans-nationalism is the ultimate goal, and America is the antithesis of this collectivist, pacifist, socialist philosophy in every way. The only surprise is that this is surprising.
There are no permanent allies, only permanent interests.

--The Euopean psyche could never allow the ascendency of the individual to the extent found in America. Fundamental rights are devolved to the individual, to act as his own agent. The government is designed OF the people, BY the people and FOR the people. I really didn't appreciate how critically removed the European mind is from this very simple premise.

In Europe, the people are governed.
In America, the people govern.--

Pamela, from my own uneducated view, mutated monarchy. Whether the unelected brusselsprouts, Communism, fascism, all a form of mutated monarchy. Maybe a new word, Polyarchy? Whether ruled by an unelected one or unelected group, they're used to being ruled. It's the only way they know. We had slaves, we never had peasants/serfs and that mentality/social structure/classism. They're used to being taken care of.

tn,

I'm sorry Americans seem to you unreflexive and incapable of self-criticism. I'm sorry you never had anything more than a "formulaic" conversation with any of us. Perhaps your brooding intensity was too much for the people you met (I don't see it myself but, first impressions and all). You certainly have a point--beneath the smiles and the "have a nice days" we are not, collectively, as friendly as we first appear. I thought that might count in our favor, excessive smiling being frowned upon by so many Europeans (ha ha), but I was mistaken.

I think the overriding characteristic of Americans (when compared with our European friends) is that we really just want to be left alone. You can call it individualism, or you can call it a thirst for freedom. Europeans get pissed off with us because we do not share their optimism about paradise being created on earth (with just a bit more tweaking by bureacrats in Brussels or Berlin). Most of us are pretty happy with things MORE OR LESS as they are.

But I'm grateful forums (sorry, fora) like this exist. It's a useful exercise in cross-cultural communications, even if it is too late to convince poor tn that there is any depth to our character.

Please accept my apologies if this has been discussed and I have not seen it yet.

I am an American who lived in West Berlin from 1988-1990. I loved Berlin and would still love to live there again. I fed East German refugees the Marienfelde refugee camp in October and November 89. I ran through the Brandeburg Gate New years Day 1990. The fall of the Wall is the single most important thing I have ever seen. I am decidedly pro-American and decidely pro-German. I love them both. This does not make me schizophrenic.

Europe and America had the same date in mind for 40 years: 1945. Both Europe and America had the same goals if for different reasons. Now they have different dates. For Europe it is 1989 and the coming together of Europe as one. For America it is September 11, 2001. While every European leader wakes up and thinks about how he can give up his national sovereignty, the American leader thinks about how he can exercise sovereign power.
The framework that the trans-Atlantic cooperation used is no longer built on the same foundation. The mechanics of cross-Atlantic cooperation are fundamentally different.

This will be worked out for decades to come. I don't think there is any way to predict what way it will go.

Matt

Pamela,
Re: Your post from January 23, 2004 06:59 on being able to pick out Americans based on "striding," about a thousand comments back.

I spent last spring in Guatemala studying at a language school. Because it was the off season for Americans, the majority of the students were Europeans, with Germans as the largest group. My teacher at the time later told me that the she and the other teachers had been discussing the students on the first day and trying to guess where they were from. One suggested that I was German, from physical appearance, and my teacher responded "No." The other teacher then asked how she knew. "Oh, because he walks like an American." I asked her to explain, and either because of my limited Spanish or her inability to articulate her reasoning clearly(or a combination of the two), I never did determine exactly what she meant. But from what I gathered, it did have something to do with "striding." Which is, as you point out, likely a physical manifestation of having confidence in directing your own life. I would hope that this doesn't come across as arrogance to non-Americans, and it's ridiculous to say 'all' Americans are confident and 'all' Germans or whoever else aren't, but it's certainly worth noting that my Guatemalan spanish teacher could pick out the one American standing in a crowd of Germans.



btw. the other side my wife complains always about the grumpiness of germans. i complain about the smiling faces "it is great". when i was the first time with her in the us there she explained me that I did not catch the cultural code in the small talk, as i did not say "I have a great job"....

the other thing what i notices, maybe less in privat life than applied to politics is the impression which tn post conveys. the people i talked with about policy they had "visions" I do contribute to the change for a better society. In europe I have much more the feeling that is not that simple because everything is so complex.

The same in this tread, one suggested that to cure the "sick man" of europe you simply need to reduce the labour market regulations and foster entrepreneurial spirit and we would have a "wirtschaftswunder". It might be in some smart economic models based on specific assumptions which are not fulfilled in the real world (I am a European it is complex). The same argument could be made for the iraq war. If you like it or not in Iraq the americans and english did overturn a tyrann but now they are a occupying force. And in my understanding of politics people are much more sensitive to "crimes" of an occupying force than to crimes of own dictator. Nationalism stood always against the dream of beeing greeted with flowers. I did not believe this in the first place. In this sense the neocons are paradigmatically american.

to sandy:

the world is more complex. For example the japanese business law was replaced by a code which resembled the american. the kereitsus were no longer allowed. But the reality was different so they changed the law after then years and the kereitsus reformed immediately. Only now these company structures dissolve in a real way without any law.

This states: it is the enforcement and the interpretation which makes the law. If you would have pressured your constitution on europe, nothing would have changed as the causality runs in a different way. if you force the constitution on iraq. nothing changes. it is a sheet of paper without mythology (as it has in the us) pressured onto the people by a occupying force. .

As a US resident, I would like to offer a thought about an inherent difference between the United States and most other cultures. The US is populated almost exclusively by people, and descendants of people, who chose to leave their homes and everything familiar, cross dangerous oceans or deserts and start their lives over again in an alien culture in hopes of building a better life for themselves and, especially, for their children.

This is not typical human behavior. Most people prefer to avoid risk, stay where they are and live as they always have. People living in the US are different. They are the product of a process of self-selection that has been under way for four centuries -- a process that has remained remarkably consistent in nature and continues unabated today. (It will not surprise me if science eventually discovers a subtle biological or neurological basis for this variation in human nature.)

Considering their origins, it is not surprising that residents of the US are comfortable with, and happy to instigate, rapid change. It is not surprising that people living here are comfortable with transience in residence, professions, relationships and culture. It is not surprising that residents of the US are more interested in equality of opportunity than in equality of outcomes. It is not surprising that the West Coast of the US exhibits this more than the East Coast -- the people with the greatest appetite for the new kept moving West until they ran out of continent. As one wag put it, if you picked up the US and shook it, everything loose would end up in California (where I grew up).

Likewise, it is not surprising that the people who stayed behind in the Old World, on whatever continent, are less comfortable with the idea of change, less enamored of the new and more resistant to social, political and economic reform. One can speculate that the material and social success of the US idea creates a cognitive dissonance in the Old World: If the US way is not as good as ours, why is it everywhere, why is it growing, why is it increasingly rich and powerful and successful when ours is not? And the standard human response to cognitive dissonance is fear, loathing and anger -- exactly the attitudes we see toward the US, compounded by natural human dislike and envy of the top dog.

I have not spent enough time in Germany to say this with confidence, but I speculate that there is little, if anything, inherently German in anti-US attitudes (I don't say "anti-American" out of respect to the rest of the Western Hemisphere). It is the latest manifestation of the eternal attitude of the old toward the new: a mixture of complacency, condescension, confusion, ignorance, resentment and fear.

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