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What I don't get is: with all the money the ZDF receives from the GEZ (plus income from advertising etc.) they should be able to put up a poll that can identify voters and make sure the can only vote one time, right? If they would, than those polls would make at least some sense. As long as they don't, who should give a f*** about those polls anyway?

If they feel "led around by the nose" it sounds like conditionless surrender by the ZDF. 1:0 for David's Medienkritik!

It looks like this online poll, just as ridiculous as ALL online polls, wasn't regarded as being just another useless poll by the ZDF. When the wrong "click guerilla" decides the outcome of the poll, it needs to be taken off. I really never cared about this poll, but I can't stop wondering what would have happened if 80-90% had supported Kerry ? I guess it would have been - "the people have spoken".

Another thing - two days ago I happened to watch ZDF news for about 30 seconds, and it happened to be about Sistani's march towards Najaf. They showed blood on the streets, injured Iraqis and dead bodies. The idea of the short comment was - "peaceful demonstrators shot by the Iraqi police". That was ALL ! Absolutely no other comments, no other explanation. That's what the Iraqi police do. They kill peaceful demonstrators. Another enemy has been identified: the Iraqi police.

Anyone who dares to side with the Americans is by default evil. No matter if they fight for law and order and the future of their country. Those things simply don't matter. The ZDF, in their hate for Bush and contempt for the US, have become the voluntary voice of the Baath Party and of islamist terrorists.

How long until Saddam becomes the next Che Guevara ? How long until the next "Saddam" t-shirts show up ?

Finally, something on which I can agree with you all. Online polls are idiotic, and make the world a dumber place. Anyone who puts one up should not be upset when it is hijacked.

"Anyone who dares to side with the Americans is by default evil."

Can we please, once and for all, try to make the distinction between Americans and the Bush administration and its policies. Criticism of one does not entail criticism of the other. ZDF may be anti-Bush, I don't know, I don't watch it. But that's a long way from saying they are anti-American. Then there's that other mighty leap from criticism of Bush policies to support for Saddam.
Come on people, the media you criticize may be unfair, but can we not try to raise the discourse here a little. We can do better.

Schnitzengruben: can we not try to raise the discourse here a little

If that implies ignoring reality and facts, the answer is NO.

Hi Schnitzengruben,

what amazes me as an American living in Germany is that I constantly get to listen to a tirade of insults about my country, we are un-educated, we don't know where Ober Unter Tüpfingen is, we obviously don't know how to cook, we are violent, we are racists, we are war mongers, we don't nuance enough, we see everything black and white, we let God play a role in our everyday life and politics, we are not qualified to elect the most powerful leader in the world and the lists goes on and on. Then I am told not to take this personally - The subject (or object) of this attack is not me I am obviously an exception and all Americans are not meant, we only mean the BUSH ADMINISTRATION. It is obvious that the American people have been duped (reingelegt) and my German critics feels sorry for me and will give me another chance.

In the states we have had plenty of problems with prejudice. Often times people would counter being charged with a prejudice by responding that's not true one of my friends is black, jewish or from mars. This retort didn't cut it then and certainly doesn't cut it now.

Germany and the Germans need to address their prejudices towards America and Americans. The average German has no education in American civics, how our local, county, state and federal governments work. How our education system works, how our health systems works, how our election system works, how our tax system works, what a Jeffersonian democracy is, and the list goes on and on. I am told by my critics they know Amerika - many have never set foot in America and still more only speak tourist or basic business English.

So you want to raise the discourse - well why not start by educating yourselves about the subject you are speaking of rather than relying on old worn out but oh so comfortable "Vorurteile".

WhatDoIKnow, as soon as you start supplying facts and not just spleen, maybe we can. I welcome the chance to discuss the issues on any level above Kerry=Saddam. For my part, I promise not to call George Bush an unintelligent, cowardly, avaricious, lying sack of sh*t.

Hi Trish,
I like the way you put this. Indeed, Germans, like people everywhere, have prejudices against which they must be more vigilant. I too have heard the jokes about American culture and politics and the rest, and I am often very frustrated. But those pale in comparison to the vast amount of curiosity and admiration for the US most Germans share. Such feelings about the US are evidenced by the fact that Germany has been perhaps America's most stalwart ally in the post WWII era. Yes people demonstrated against Pershing and so on, but the general sense of common values have survived these strains. And indeed, about the degree to which Germans are educated about the US, they perhaps have work to do, but this pales in comparison with the near total vacuum of popular knowledge about Germany in America. As for language, when the US makes study of German obligatory in its schools, perhaps we may be more in a position to criticize their English skills. I would guess that, per capita, more Germans speak fluent English than Americans who speak even the most basic German.

I am an American who has lived here six years..
I second ALL that you say.
I am SAVING what you wrote, because you wrote it so succinctly..
Actually I would also add.. I usually counter with the following questions:..

1. HOw many Americans do you have as Duzfreunde? Have any ever been to your home?
2. Have you ever been to America?
3. Do you read the American press on a regular basis?

Thanks again, trish.

Look at this:


One is a liberal wiener. The other's a right-wing nut job. See John Kerry and George Bush square off and trade insults in this can't-miss campaign parody of "This Land is Your Land."

"Germany has been perhaps America's most stalwart ally in the post WWII era."

"Has Been," "was," yep, that about covers it. So long as you use "ally" in the past tense, that sentence is correct.

@ Schnitzengruben

Of course anti-Bush doesn't automatically mean anti-American. But while I would say this is true for 98 % of anti-Bush Americans, it is certainly not true for 98 % of Germans. Anti-Bushism is here mostly a fig leaf for good, old traditional anti-Americanism in an awful lot of cases. I don't know how long you are here in Germany and how many years you have spent here when Bush was not president. But I am absolutely convinced this has not a lot to do with Bush. Most Germans demonizing Bush don't even have a clue about him, they only one know (and want to know) one thing: he is EVIL. They will not accept when Mr. Bush calls mass murderers like Saddam or Kim Jong Il members of an "axis of evil" - that's not nuanced enough, it's manichean. But Mr. Bush himself, well, that's another matter: He's stupid - but an ingenious demon at the same time. He's a fundamentalist wacko (whereas those djihadists who "behead" civilian foreigners in Iraq are "militants", "insurgents", "rebels" or "resistance fighters" who are doing those things only because of the evil West, because of "root causes" and a "cycle of violence"). A lot of people think so, and they don't even want to discuss with people who have other views. They don't even want to hear about Michael Moore's lies. They don't even want to hear that there was a Cold War going on when the US did support Iraq (while French, Russian and German firms continued to sell weapons to Saddam when the Cold War was over). They don't want to hear about their own double standards and contradictions (Kosovo war without UN approval - ok, Iraq war without UN approval - "unilateralism"; Iraq war - mass protests, slaughtering of Iraqis under Saddam - no word at all (the same goes for the Sudan now).)

And all those stereotypes you get to hear on a daily basis are as old as the hills. Some of them can be traced back to the 19th century, some to Nazi Germany, some to the GDR, some to the 1968 movement, some to "peace movement" of the 1980s, some to the debate about the UN-approved war against Iraq in 1991 which is now presented as a case study in good diplomacy and multilateralism but was at that time criticised with - which slogans? "Blood for oil", "US arrogance", "unilateralism", "warmongers", "Bush is a liar" etc. In my opinion, and I think I can claim to be a careful observer of German public opinion - this "anti-Bush isn't anti-American" notion is mostly a fake when it comes from a German person. I have now heard such an awful lot of ugly things about the US from "average" Germans that didn't have anything to do with Mr. Bush that I really can't support your theory. And I think you're living in an illusion if you really believe this America bashing would leave if only Kerry were elected. It won't.

PS: As example and hopefully as food for thought, let me quote from my blog some examples showing you some historical cases of anti-American arguments in Germany that sound suspiciously familiar, stated at times when FDR and Reagan were presidents.

1) "...it's only this administration":
"Mit den USA als Gegner habe sich der durchschnittliche Volksgenosse weltanschaulich oder politisch noch kaum auseinandergesetzt. Nordamerika liege ihm nicht nur räumlich, sondern auch geistig fern. Der herrschenden Judenclique und Roosevelt werde zwar vielfach Haß entgegengebracht, doch empfinde man gegen den einzelnen Amerikaner wie gegen das USA-Volk höchstens eine "ohnmächtige Wut", weil sie aus "lauter Habgier und Übermut" in den Krieg eingetreten seien, ohne daß wir ihnen etwas anhaben könnten.

Auch hierbei konzentrierten sich die Vorwürfe mehr auf die amerikanische Plutokratie und den "Dollarimperialismus". Gegenüber dem einzelnen Amerikaner überwiege das Gefühl der Verachtung, das aus dem Bewußtsein einer seelischen und kulturellen Überlegenheit komme."

from: "Meldungen aus dem Reich" des Sicherheitsdienstes der SS, 7. 2. 1944

2) "world community", "warmongerism", "international law", "national sovereignty", "arrogance"

"In bisher nicht gekanntem Ausmaß richtet sich die Empörung der friedliebenden und demokratischen Weltöffentlichkeit gegen die in den letzten Jahren [...] enorm verschärfte Konfrontationspolitik der regierenden Kräfte in Washington. Diese Empörung ist vor allem deshalb so stark, weil die Völker mit der [...] Wende vom kalten Krieg zur politischen Entspannung große Hoffnungen verbunden haben und weil die von den USA ausgehenden Gefahren für den Weltfrieden und die Sicherheit einzelner Völker heute größer sind als je zuvor. [...]

Das geltende Völkerrecht hat dank dem Einfluß der sozialistischen Staaten das Interventionsverbot zu einem seiner unabdingbaren Grundprinzipien erklärt. Die sozialistischen Staaten lehnen jede Einmischung in die inneren Angelegenheiten anderer Länder ab und gestalten ihre internationalen Beziehungen auf der Grundlage der strikten Beachtung der Prinzipien der Nichteinmischung und der Achtung der Souveränität. [...]

Ganz anders sieht es dagegen bei jenem Staat aus, der sich mit einer Arroganz ohnegleichen anmaßt, weltweit Hüter von Freiheit und Demokratie zu sein. Gemeint sind die USA, welche besonders seit ihrem Übergang zum Imperialismus eine immer breitere Spur von Interventionismus jeglicher Art hinterlassen. Gewahltanwendung, die auf die Weltherrschaft des nordamerikanischen Monopolkapitals abzielt, war und ist das Credo ihrer militantesten Exponenten."

Now, that's "Weltgendarm USA", 1983, published by the "Militärverlag der DDR".

3) "elitist war-monger conspiracy", "cluelessness about international affairs", "arrogance", "cultural imperialism", "american degeneration", "need for emancipation"

"Und diese Leute, geführt von einer gewissenlosen Clique Größenwahnsinniger in Washington und New York, die von Europa keinen Schimmer haben und sich nicht einmal über die wahren Zustände in ihrem eigenen Lande bekümmern, die reden und schreiben nun davon, daß das \'amerikanische Jahrhundert\' anbräche und die Welt mit den Segnungen der amerikanischen Kultur, als da sind: amerikanischer Jazz, Hollywoodfilme, amerikanische Maschinen und Patentprodukte, amerikanische Redensarten (Slang) beglückt werden müßte.

Es ist hohe Zeit, daß wir in Europa uns endlich darüber klarwerden, daß jene romantische Vorstellung von Amerika, die uns so lieb gewordene, nur noch ein Hirngespinst ist, hinter dem sich eine teils bedauernswerte, teils scheußliche und abschreckende Wahrheit verbirgt. Und jeder, der Amerika kennt und die Gefahr sieht, die für alle Völker alter Kultur hereinbräche, wenn das \'amerikanische Jahrhundert\' Wirklichkeit werden würde, sollte sich bemühen, Amerika so zu schildern, wie es wirklich ist, hinter seine Kulissen leuchten und nicht immer nur von den imposanten und eindrucksvollen Vorderfronten berichten, sondern auch von den schäbigen Hinterfronten."

That's "Land ohne Herz" by A. E. Johann, 1943.

Thomas, my argument is not that anti-Americanism doesn't exist in Germany, but that we must resist the temptation to ascribe every disagreement we have with Germany or individual Germans to anti-Americanism. My suggestion is that instead of meeting stupid stereotypes with stupid stereotypes, we should try to have constructive conversations with those who espouse them, so as to show them the error of their ways. So far so good. But I'm afraid you're going to have to do A LOT better with your historical examples. Your sample, seems a little, well, selective. Let's see, one from the DDR and two from the NS Zeit. Its like me saying Britain is anti-American and using examples from the British press in the revolutionary war. I could find plenty of examples of Cold War Polish pronouncements on the evil nature of America, but does that necessarily make them now anti-American even as their troops risk themselves for foolish American adventures in Iraq. There are better examples out there, a whole discourse in the late 19th and 20th cents centered around the dangers of Fordism and modern "American" materialism, and these were used by both left and right. 68 could also be mined for some good examples. But these more contemporary examples are nowhere near as illuminating as the fact that Germany has always remained a friend of the US, despite occasional foolish comments by leaders and citizens alike. Are not German boots, even as we speak, and despite all the hateful rhetoric coming from the neocon right, on the groung in Afghanistan?

@John Bono
Has been is a past tense form that very often suggests persistence of a past event into the present. Better arguments please....

a couple of comments..
1. English is the dominant world language.. HOw
many Germans would learn English if GERMAN was the/a dominant world language? Americans don't learn languages as much as Europeans because they don't HAVE to. If I go to my parents' cottage in Northern Michigan from Detroit, everything is the same - culture, language, newspapers, etc.
Travel the same distance in Europe and you will likely be in another country - maybe even having passed through another country entirely to get there!

If German was the/a dominant world language, there would be a lot fewer Germans learning English. The Americans don't have a monopoly on intellectual laziness, that is a HUMAN trait.

2. As far as Germans knowing more about us than we about them.. true.. but America is THE dominant world power right now.. for better or worse. EVERYONE knows (or thinks they know) about us. But can (or should) the average American be expected to know about every other single country in return?
Intellectual laziness comes into play here again as well, I must admit, plus the fact that America was basically founded by people RUNNING AWAY from where they came from.
Why would we expect such people, if they were trying to escape something, to stay informed about where they were running away from?

Thanks Thomas, btw.. outstanding post.


as a german with a lot of american friends I feel very ashamed about the fact that ZDF apparently removes any kind of pro-Bush opinion polls. Unfortunately, no one cares (or seems to care). I wonder what would have happened if the same poll with a majority for Kerry had been removed. Thus had caused outcries, I suppose.

Thomas' citations make it all clear that in Germany not so much has changed, as similar lines of reasoning may be found widespreadedly.

And in my opinion at least for the most part Germany is still across the board anti-american, anti-semitic, anti-zionist and anti-israeli.

Shame on you, ZDF. That's definitely not honest reporting.

"The Americans don't have a monopoly on intellectual laziness, that is a HUMAN trait."
Indeed, its one that I sometimes demonstrate myself. English is, of course, the dominant language in the world, but I think its impossible to argue that Germans have not made a concerted national effort to learn that language in the post-war era.
At the same time, you are also quite correct to note the singular position of US power in the world today. The difference between you and me, however, is that I see this as a set of responsibilties which demand more of us, oblige us to learn more about the world in which we exercise our power. You, on the other hand, see this power as an excuse for Americans to remain ignorant of the world and languages beyond its borders. We do so, as I think you must know, at our peril. We are now reaping the harvest of that ignorance.

@ Schnitzengruben

My point is this: You CAN'T talk to these people. I've tried countless times. They don't want to hear anything that could prove them wrong on some points. And there are more of those people than you seem to believe.

And I chose to quote examples from GDR and Nazi times because they used the same figures of speech. That's no coincidence. I don't claim that anti-Americans today are Nazis. But we are on a dangerous road and people need to realize that. The same is true about anti-Israelism (I wouldn't yet call it anti-Setimism). It is there. It is getting stronger. It is dangerous. And looking the other way, trying to "understand it" or denying it doesn't help. I believe Germany is at an important crossroads fifteen years after reunification. I don't believe in the merits of "emancipation", the "deutsche Weg" or a "Friedensmacht". We've had all that before. (Did you know that "Friedensmacht" was indeed also the GDR term for the Soviet Union?)

I think you make too many assumptions..
First of all you ignored my point about
Germans - there would not have been 'a concerted national effort' (your words - a bit exaggerated, don't you think?) to learn the English language if German was a world language.. Could you please admit that?
Second.. Power does come with responsibility..agreed.. I don't see how you can infer that I don't believe that from my words.
I too have my concerns about the use and abuse of American power in the world. I am not making excuses, I am just putting things in perspective.
I am just saying 'the Germans put on their pants one leg at a time' (Hier wird auch nur mit Wasser gekocht.)
Are you one of those who believe that 'on 9/11 we had it coming?' Is that what you mean by 'reaping the harvest of that ignorance?' By the way, did you not read my sentence 'America is the dominant world power right now - for better OR WORSE?'
Of course I have my concerns about the use and abuse of Ami power.. but would you rather have Russia be the dominant world power? China?
Japan and Germany we have already experienced as world powers.. no thanks.. how about a little perspective here?
I would love for you to elaborate on 'reaping the harvest of that ignorance'.

Mr.? Ms.? Schnittzengruben:

What purpose would it serve (other than to ameliorate your feelings) to force a language on 300 million Americans? What have Germans done to deserve that respect be forced on people thousands of kilometers away?

Your statement demonstrates the very essense of the European problem, the very thing that has made it the most violent continent in history - the very one that has drawn the world into poverty and misery with internal wars and very bad ideas. It is also the fundamental problem of Socialism and cultural nationalism as well - a basic lack of respect for people to think on their own, to succeed or fail of their own accord. In short: freedom.

The US does not have an official language. If people's feelings change, so would the language - the life of the culture evolve without manipulation.

The fact is that before they had Bush to fixate on, they had the US to fixate on. They will have it again.

It isn't the US's problem, it is a domestic one, because it has nothing to do with things having directly to do between the US and Germany. There really is no way to change their mind by our actions, nor is there any reason that a population should be responsible for the 'political' feelings of German when they are only symbolically involved with the issue.

The suggestion that we should all be forced to learn German, makes me ask why you weren't educated in, say, the history of Scranton Pennsylvania, or if your name is actually Shickelsgruber.


concerted national effort.. I still find that amusing..
they had just been conquered by the English and the Americans.. of COURSE they would make an attempt to learn the language.. don't make it sound like they did it out of intellectual curiosity... I think if I were in America and the Russians conquered us, I might learn Russian too...

I'm sorry if I misinterpreted your argument. But is the choice really the confined to the following:
a) Imperial America guided by a populace who know next to nothing about the world outside the US
b) Soviet Union
c) Red China
d) Imperial Japan
e) Nazi Germany

I personally agree the US has a special role in the world at this historical moment. But since we know power corrupts, then we have to hold ourselves to a much higher standard, a higher standard than that on display in so much of this adventure in Iraq. The world needs our leadership and wants our leadership, but they want that leadership informed by a healthy dose of mutual respect. If many people overseas insist on holding firm to stupid stereotypes, it is our responsibility to understand this as the price we pay for our position. In the long run, a little patience and constructive engagement in the face of such foolishness will pay higher dividends that griping about the ZDF ever will.
America needs to lead, but it needs to lead as first among equals, and not as hegemon.

Joe N.,
I'm not aware I made the argument that all Americans should learn German. Though I think we would all be a little better off if more Americans would learn foreign languages and keep up more on what's going on overseas. In this we could learn a lot from the British Empire where knowledge about dominions was considered essential to imperial rule. And not in the sense of Edward Said.

Coming to you direct from Neu Koeln-Berlin, Fuldastrasse and Sonnenallee.

Lastly, I know you all disgree with me on a lot here, but I do appreciate your comments. This stuff is important and worth debating.

David, You should really consider to start a german talkradio - it would be so much fun! Please take a look here:


Doesn´t this type of selective behaivior on the part of the ZDF break some kind of "Rundfunkgesetz" or " Berichterstattungsgesetz " etc ?

After all , you have a written (email) statement by an employee of ZDF that they took it down because of voting outcome. They would not have done if it had been 95 % Kerry.

" Für die Abschaffung der öffentlich-rechtlichen TV Stations " ! " Nieder mit der GEZ " ! " Linke raus aus den Fernsehanstalten" ! " Schluss mit der Bevormundung "

Hi Thomas,
The anti-american stereotypes you are citing are indeed as old as the hills. But for a substantial part these are not stereotypes of a particulary German brand. Thank you very much nevertheless for the citations from the DDR and the NS Zeit. For me it was very revealing to find the very same words and the very same message in these citations as we can now hear around us when America is the subject, not only in Germany, alas, but in Holland and Belgium too and -with some minor variations- also in France and Britain. Even in America itself America bashing is a popular sport at the university-campuses. I hope to have some fun in confronting some anti-american (or anti-Bush)people with these citations, disclosing the source after they have read the text.
But though anti-americanism originated in the 19th century as something akin to aristocratic contempt, focusing on the alleged superficiality and materialistic attitude of the Americans, it is now a preponderantly left-wing phenomenon,perhaps as a consequence of the "democratization" of the universities, and the historical development culminating in America being the sole remaining super-power. I guess the various forms of anti-americanism in various countries, including America itself, have much in common, but I am curious to know in what respect German anti-americanism should be distinghuised from -for instance- Dutch anti-americanism.
As to the possibility to have constructive conversations with those who espouse stupid stereotypes I am not so optimistic as mr. Schnitzengruben, but of course the effort is always laudable. People cherish their own prejudices, they choose to read those newspapers and see those television programs who will confirm them (in Germany presumably Der Spiegel and the ZDF) and they will show hostility to someone who will try to make them see as ill-founded prejudices what they take themselves for highly intelligent well founded viewpoints. Stupid opinions, including stupid stereotypes, are often not the result of inadvertance or poor information, but a product of choice of lifestyle and the desire to belong to a particular social group, just as the choice of a certain type of car is a matter of lifestyle. Given your standing and your social surrounding choosing a certain type of car is inevitable while choosing other types is impossible. So it is with opinions: opinions are right if they give you the ticket to be included in the species of really decent people. Remark the proudness in young students while they are declaring how left-wing they are. And the more intelligent they are, the more difficult a constructive conversation will be, for they will have spent a lot of their intelligence to read selectively all kinds of rubbish, offered to them by their cherished left-wing university professors, to be able to stick to their stupid opinions and not be overthrown by the first obvious counterarguments.



es war so gut, ich habe das doch zweimal gelesen..


You suggested that learning german should be required.
1/5 of the 300 million people in the US speak english as a second language. We are an evolving, multilingual culture that innovates and produces ideas. We are not your 'image', nor are we obliged to worry about the imaginings of any individual.
You really should be thinking about the overstated self-importance of Europe. WHy is it, that all African and Middle Eastern trade is choked by it? That IS after all the thing keeping those population poor and at the whims of dispensers of 'aid'.

Seriously - look at a globe. Look at that densly populated spit of land at the end of asia - that thing called europe. Where does it get off imposing itself on the poor of the world with it's economic opportunism while howling to itself about others' evils, and it's own angelic nature?

We hear repeated, repeated, repeated howls of 'hegemony', but the logic falls apart when they try to prove it. There is always a shower of anger and feather spitting about such-and-such in central america without realizing that the provocation by outsiders came and ended with the soviets, and when all else fails, to reconstruct history to fuel their anger. And when all else fails they bring up the war in Vietnam, forgetting that it was a proxy war with China who was supplying and training them.

It's ideas that matter, more than language. Where are their valid ideas? We know what they hate - can anyone tell us what they LIKE? What they actually want? Would they invest themselves what they would like the US to do? Or are they looking for another freebie? Another 'umbrella'?

If the German 'volk' could rule america, what would they have us do? Wallow around for their entertainment?

WHy distinguish any part of the EU from any other one anymore? Are they not a nation state? The European public never sees 'regions' or a range of ideas when they're angry, only when on 'holiday'!

We don't have power, we have nothing but responsibilities.
If we had 'power' as the left understands it, the critics of the US would be silenced or dead, and as we hear over and over by way of criticism, they are not.

What's especially funny is when one hears cries of crushing dissent. The young left, with no experience in life seems to think that disagreeing with them is crushing free speech.

Kees Rudolf,
Some good stuff here, but where did you go to University? Your idea of the academy reads like something from Manchurian Candidate. Our children are being brainwashed! No, to me your argument seems more like a case of the self-reinforcing delusion where all potential contrary proofs are flipped to support the underlying fantasy. Thus, the more intelligent and passionate a student leftist is, the more this demonstrates the degree to which their young minds have been corrupted by the evil forces of double plus ungood Uni, and the more their ideas can be dismissed out of hand. Threat resolved.... It comes as little surprise that you find it hard to have constructive conversations with these people when you start from the premise that everything that comes out of their mouths is the result of pure indoctrination. I would humbly suggest that true dialogue might require a small change in approach.

Joe N,
The original name of Hitler's father was Schicklgruber, not Shickelsgruber. Although I appreciated reading your point of view, I have to strain my perhaps limited sense of humour to appreciate your suggestion -if that was what you intended to suggest- that mr. or mrs. Schnitzengruben, who like you is communicating his or her own interesting viewpoints, has anything in common with Hitler. By the way, I would rather strongly recommend learning the German language, not only to the Americans, but also to other people, be they thousands of kilometers away or not. What have Germans done to deserve that respect? I am sorry, but well educated Americans probably know the names of for instance Goethe, Bach, Kant and numerous others. Besides, German literature is magnificent and best enjoyed in untranslated form. But in a way I got your point: seeing the unbelievable hypocrisy of Chirac and De Villepin and the almost universal anti-american bias of the french media in the Iraq-crisis, I must confess I felt reluctant to do renewed efforts to master the French language for holiday-purposes. But France is not only the country of Chirac and De Villepin, anymore than Germany ever was only the country of Nazism, if I a am pardoned to say this without implying Chirac an De Villepin have anything to do with Nazism.

@ Schnitzengruben

I'm still visiting lectures. I listen to professors talking about "hündische Ergebenheit" when referring to Mr. Blair. I see students reading Andreas von Bülow's conspiracy book about how the US / Israel have committed 9/11 themselves. I hear my fellow students believing every bit of "Bowling for Columbine", "Stupid White Men" or "Fahrenheit 9/11". I see students of communication studies who rant about how "gleichgeschaltet" media are, while having not once read an American newspaper or watch a US news program and thinking German newspapers and magazines, Spiegel above all, would write only the indisputable truth. I have to read books by Germany's most respected foreign policy scholar Ernst Otto Czempiel who still says there were no proof that al Qaida was responsible for 9/11 and who says the ugliest and weirdest things about America and is still held in high respect.

Now, to be fair: There are others. There are some really good professors and there are quite a lot of students who really want to learn and not just update their prejudices. But there are more than enough of this other type. And keeping in mind that this is thought to be the "intellectual elite", this makes me shiver when In think about the "ordinary German".

And then I turn my TV, see Rammstein's new video "Amerika" on heavy rotation and at the top of the viewer's choice charts in our music channels and I feel even worse, because this is was a lot of "ordinary Germans" do believe.
Please do me a favor, just watch that video, think about the fact that this single alone will be sold hundreds of thousands of times and tell me this is only about Bush and there is no mainstream anti-Americanism in Germany.


The recieved wisdom of angry mobs is often invoked as a means of establishing one's superiority, its a method of AVOIDING a broad range of ideas, and of not knowing much about the past.

On the foreign policy side, some of the EU states see themselves as a model of international affairs between other states. Not only do geography, economy, and physics not permit this, but they're missing one simple matter. It wouldn't work for the rest of us. We do not all abutt one another, the rest of us are not so culturally and politically homogenious. I realize that they're trying to demonstrate to themselves the validity of the concept by promoting it, but again - it's all about their --feeeeelings-- and not anyone elses problem but theirs'. That too seems to fit the profile of learned helplessness, and a fear of new ideas and change.

If more Europeans had children, and didn't leave their major life decisions to the schools, universities and the state, they would look at the world with a much greater depth of understanding. As it is their filter is that of little more than 'good guy/bad guy' 'israel, US, religiously observant bad/any opponent good' and of class warfare.
They need to get beyond their adolsecence, beyond their fear, and let their populations think more broadly about themselves. There is more to life than picking ones' next vacation destination. In short they need to start taking people seriously. It's why the most talented and truly inventive and individualistic seem to move here.


Other than for personal reasons why would an American want to learn German?

If anything it would seem from a professional base they would learn Spanish or Mandarin.

Pat, the first post wrote:
>What I don't get is: with all the money the ZDF receives from the GEZ (plus income from advertising etc.) they should be able to put up a poll that can identify voters and make sure the can only vote one time, right?

No. A site recognizes cookies, but you can reset yours so that your vote looks 'new'.

Jon N: The Schikelsgruber/Schicklgruber remark was a slur on your part for which you owe an apology.

For those here who are of the 'it's just anti-Bush', you don't know much of your own European history, let alone that of the U.S. Here is the article I always post when this comes up;

A Genealogy of anti-Americanism

James Ceaser is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Virginia. This article is a precis of his book, Reconstructing America. He was impelled to write it after attending a conference in Europe where he heard views of the U.S. out of the mouths of European academics so outrageous that he thought he had stepped through the looking glass.

Well, this is nothing I haven't said here before, it's just been awhile since I've said it.

--Can we please, once and for all, try to make the distinction between Americans and the Bush administration and its policies--

Grow up Schnitz, I've been reading business sections for 20 years.

Oh, we can't put in US-style reforms, we're not American.

Go down the tubes then.

It's not W, it's just out in the open. It's 2nd nature to you, you just don't realize it.

--The average German has no education in American civics, how our local, county, state and federal governments work. How our education system works, how our health systems works, how our election system works, how our tax system works, what a Jeffersonian democracy is, and the list goes on and on. I am told by my critics they know Amerika - many have never set foot in America and still more only speak tourist or basic business English. --

I recently sent an email to al-Guardian w/a link to the Constitution and the pertinent clause because they don't understand how we work, either. Or they do, but they have an agenda.

I pointed out to them since The Constitution is in English, they could read it.

--I promise not to call George Bush an unintelligent, cowardly, avaricious, lying sack of sh*t.--

Now why do you think he's cowardly?

And W's avaricious? Kerry married 2 multi-millionaire women - both worth 9 figures.

unintelligent? Why, because you're like Howell Raines and you just "know" it?

And lying - Cabana Boy actively created a false picture of the US armed forces which exists in the world today. We've been paying for that for 30 years.

WMD? How'd your country do on the intel?

You're right, Pamela. I'm surprised you get it.
Schnitzengruben, I'm sorry - I went to far. I shouldn't have said that.

I don't wish to say generally that our children are being brainwashed at the Universities. The process is subtle and involves more than some leftist university professors alone. My point is that the minds of intelligent young people can indeed be corrupted, not only by "the evil forces of the Uni" (as you put it), but by generalized media-bias as well, or by the behaviour of leading politicians, but that up to a certain degree it is also a matter of choice to follow a fashion, for instance to participate in Bush-bashing, or to show your sympathy for the Palestinian Cause. I am talking about the Dutch sitiuation, with which I am a bit familiar. Of course there are quite a few good professors and non partizan scholars at Dutch universities, and I guess in Germany too (though they are relatively rare in disciplines like Contemporary History, Middle East Studies and the like). But there are also professors who unashamedly and openly show themselves supportive of Hamas or the Taliban, or openly blame 9/11 on America. Likewise we had, decades ago, those professors, for instance in such a discipline as Cultural Anthropology, who could go at lengths in praising the merits of Mao Tse Toeng and the so called Cultural Revolution in China. In the sixties, I have seen how the attitudes and the teachings of certain professors directly contributed to the popularity of Ho Chi Minh in student-circles. Examples could be multiplied.
I fully agree with you that a true dialogue is a desirable thing and that to have a true dialogue with young passionate leftist students, one must not start from the premise that everything that comes from their mouth is the result of pure indoctrination. I do my best to have true dialogues if the opportunity presents itself. But I sometimes cannot just help to start with this premise as a hypothesis, and I am glad of course when in the course of the conversation this hypothesis is falsified. In addition, I have often my suspicions about the true nature of the passions in passionate leftist students. And indeed, that too is not a good starting point for having a true dialogue with them. How often do you have true dialogues?

--Its like me saying Britain is anti-American and using examples from the British press in the revolutionary war.--

No need to go back that far, just listen/watch the Beeb.


What do you know about our treaty ratification process?

I know that it's a rich, wonderful language. In an earlier life I was fluent in German, but 20 years of non-use have done that in.

Though americans students may benefit from the german language, we have 400 million neighbors who speak spanish, as well as dozens of languages spoken by immigrant communities of significant size within the U.S. Those are higher priorities, and more immediately useful to us, much like Turkish, French, Italian, or Russian to a German.

American with an interest in literature, especially those of *ahem* a certain age (old hippies) will also know Hesse, and be familiar with a handful of German films. The only German film to have any traction with my generation would have been 'Das Boot' which even ran un-dupped in my small home town of 60 000 people.

If you sense anger coming from me, it has largely to do with a learned distaste for europe which does a great deal to promote itself and its' wares, but doesn't seem to live up to its' reputation as charitable or wise, but rather wrapped up in self created illusions that they are somehow LESS opportunistic than others.

I have tried not to be a mere troll with, admittedly, relative degrees of success. Passions are running high now with the election and so forth. But if you disagree with me, why not just lay out your points and we can argue about it? I found some people on this site with really thoughtful opinions (e.g. Trish, amiexpat, and Thomas), and think I've able, to some extent, to share some of my own. What point does it serve to try and shut that down with the troll label? Disagree? Fine! Think I'm stupid? Also fine, but I'm not sure it reflects well on your points of view when you merely dismiss those of others. If your case is as strong as you claim, a little challenge now and again shouldn't be too much a threat. Or should it?

kees rudolf,
Thanks for the thoughtful reply to a post of mine that was far too polemical.

I'm sorry if I misinterpreted your argument. But is the choice really the confined to the following:
a) Imperial America guided by a populace who know next to nothing about the world outside the US
b) Soviet Union
c) Red China
d) Imperial Japan
e) Nazi Germany

I personally agree the US has a special role in the world at this historical moment. But since we know power corrupts, then we have to hold ourselves to a much higher standard, a higher standard than that on display in so much of this adventure in Iraq. The world needs our leadership and wants our leadership, but they want that leadership informed by a healthy dose of mutual respect. If many people overseas insist on holding firm to stupid stereotypes, it is our responsibility to understand this as the price we pay for our position. In the long run, a little patience and constructive engagement in the face of such foolishness will pay higher dividends that griping about the ZDF ever will.
America needs to lead, but it needs to lead as first among equals, and not as hegemon.--

Whoo, boy-

1. USA
2. Islamofanatics
3. China
4. Possibly India - IMHO
5. Armed borders - Nial Ferguson, WSJ article this summer.

Those ARE the options.

The world already holds us to a higher standard, can't get much higher.

They don't want our leadership, they want our money and for us to take care of the hard problems.

THey haven't earned the respect they want. For 60 years, my grandparents, parents and my family has subsidized Europe w/military and med tech and low-cost drugs. Its' over.

The first step in earning respect is to realize that they're going to have to start paying if they want to play. They do not offer bold visions. Or if they do, they want US to pay for them.

For example - W set out a $15 BILLION goal for AIDS in Africa - frogistan stepped up to meet the challenge and TRIPLED its' amount to......

They failed w/Iran, the EU's going after American companies AGAIN cos they can't compete, see LGF.

I will not demean Germany's armed forces. They have done magnificently the past 3 years within the parameters they are allowed.

The Euros have been sniping so long, we don't care anymore. And while you might not think so, Schnitz, a lot of Americans paid attention to what went on in the UN and they're still paying attention. Certain parts of Europe do not realize what they've done. War's over 60 years, we're finally moving out, the ties that bind are loose. Look at the US demographics, we're looking West and South. And the German language is not predominant there.

Treating them as equals does not mean giving them veto over us. ICC violates my 4th, 5th and 6th Amendment rights and if one is paying attention, we know what Kyoto was supposed to do.

Another reason they're so pissy, they lost and they know it. Almost had US, those euros, tying us up w/NGOs, Kyoto, ICC, wrapping us up with European/international law, socialistic ideas, so we could all "get along." Then on a beautiful Tuesday morning in a September not long ago ....

If some of our "allies" choose not to see what's in front of their faces, fine. But some of our "allies" have been and continue to aid and abet. Wanting to be treated as equals is the least of their problems. We gave them the opportunity, they chose not to. It's time to start living in the 21st century, not the 20th. We have work to do. It is easier w/them, they've chosen to make it more difficult. There are no free passes this time. New generations, new war.


"I'm not interested in any kind of cooperative mental masturbation, thank you."
Niko has just demonstrated why many Europeans have qualms about the discourse which emanates from the American neocon Right. Couldn't have done it better myself.

Hi everyone.

Wow, this conversation really took off...congratulations to you all. I hope to post a "best of" comments piece soon. BTW, we have a new article up...go check it out!

Ray D.

Until you stepped in, some of us seemed to be having a pretty good debate - pointed at times - but a debate. What's your problem with that? Also, you say I didn't respond with any facts, but was there a question? If so, I'll try to respond as best as I'm able, but why this uselessness over who counts as a legitimate poster?
Someone with another point of view is not necessarily trying to disrupt the blog. It seems to me, this discussion between you and I has done more to accomplish that than anything I've said before.

Schnitzengruben, what makes you think Niko is American, let alone neo-con? You just betrayed your mental map. Define neo-con. My guess is that you don't even understand the genesis of the conservative line of thought in the current U.S. political landscape.

Europe is not equal to the United States because it abdicated responsibilities such as self-defense and an honest dialogue with reality. You step up to the plate, follow, or get out of the way. You have made a Faustian bargain by making a virtue of your willing surrender of national sovreignity, with the concordant demonization of nationalism. You have abdicated and you have surrendered.

You are not equal.

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