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Oh come now. You make it sound like Schroeder is undecisive and slow to react. I recall when some unarmed anti Saddam protestoers occupied the embassy. Schroeder was very quick and decisive on that day. Oh that's right, they were armed. Sorry, they had an axe from the fire saftey equipement. I wonder what happened to those guys. Were their civil rights violated? Did they get a fair trial? Or maybe even a faire trail? MSM never followed up on that. Does anyone know what happend to those guys?

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/europe/july-dec02/germany_8-20.html

There you go. I remember correctly, August 20, 2002. Wow look at that; from the text, "Well, it got resolved quite quickly. It took five minutes." A whole five minute hostage stand off. Probably a record for the history books. You know the Helsinki Syndrone tends to kick in after 3 minutes and 32 seconds. Yeah, so 5 minutes... whoa. Just think of all the negotiating that transpired.

So what happened to those guys? I mean, it's not like Schroeder deported them back to Iraq right? Right?

DL's hit the nail on the head. I've been trying to wake up the guys at work about many of DL's examples. For the last couple of years, I've been regularly visiting the international book stores in the Frankfurt train station--I ride the train to work everyday. The anti-americanism and anti-Bushism extends, not only to the magazines and newspapers, but also to the selection of hardback and paperback political books available.

Good luck trying to find any Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, or any other book that hints at showing GWB in a good light. I've checked several bookstores in Hanau and Frankfurt--nothing. But, the cute little temples they build out of the entire collection of Michael Moore propaganda are plentiful. Then there are both Hillary's and Billy Boy's fantasy biographies--if the environmentalists really wanted to save some trees, they should have stopped Billy's 900+ pages (over a thousand in German) of trash from being printed. Even John F'n. Kerry had a couple of books available. Think you might be able to buy Unfit For Command from the Swift Boat Vets? Forget it! And, of course you had your steady flow of anti-Bush and anti-american magazine covers.

They always seem to get Dubya in just the right pose for their visual propaganda. A recent cover from Der Spiegel is one of many examples. It reads: "USA gegen Iran. Der nächste Krieg?" (USA versus Iran. The next war?) Dubya is pictured with a 'you bet' type of smirk on his face, while giving a thumbs up.

When I told my work partner about my findings, he told me that I see everything too "verbissen" (grim). When the people I talk to run out of argument, they tell me I'm overly patriotic and unobjective. Yeh, I'm not being objective. Wake-up and smell the burning coffee.

The poisoning of relations will not last much longer than Chancellor Schroeder. He will leave no legacy, good or bad.

In defense of your German colleauges James we must understand that an all encompassing environment of propaganda is not so easily ignored

The reason they don't find your observations unusual is because for them there is only one story

Our cultured international european friends have no idea how one dimensional their view of the world is today

They are horses with blinders on

It are Catholics who revere St Florian (and they do so not just in Germany, I guess), and the "...burn my neighbor´s" verse is of course a joke, not a "prayer" :-) .

"fifty years of wrong choices"
Yep. Fifty years ago everything was just fine in Germany. And now look at us...

IMO, nobody here uses the US as a scapegoat for German problems. There are plenty of scapegoats: immigrants, the politicians, the big companies etc. But not America.
Of course GM is responsible for Opel. Of course the weak dollar is bad for Europe. But pointing this out is not "blaming" anyone: it´s just reality.

It is a shameless lie to say that the German media tried to make the bombing of Dresden look like the Holocaust. The Neonazis did this, nobody else.

"Everything was America’s fault"

It seems like in your eyes everything is Germany's fault. Funny that you don't mention German troops protecting American bases during the Iraq campaign or the Schroeder administration letting US forces use German airspace and German ground to launch their operation. Other countries (Austria, Switzerland, Turkey, etc.) were not so "willing". Speaking of neighbors...

The elderly tend to complain. Let the Germans be in their dotage.

jay,

With a little bit of luck this will not be a problem for either the US or Germany in the future.

Whats this - German troops were protecting US bases - in GERMANY! Bases that were there to do what again - oh right - protect WEST Germany for 40+ years

How clumsy of us - we really should be so thankful for that protection

Oh - and I agree with Joe - the sooner we won't need such help in Germany the better - faster re-deployment please

It's easy to make distant peoples hate each other, just as it's easy to bomb faceless people from high in the sky. Emotions trump reason at every turn. It's understandable that unhappy people can be manipulated by a demogogue. (Germans are particularly susceptible to this.) What's not understandable to Americans is the unanimity of German hate. That will not be forgotten for a long time.

"In defense of your German colleauges James we must understand that an all encompassing environment of propaganda is not so easily ignored"

I understand. It's just extremely frustrating trying to open peoples eyes to something that I see crystal clear. It's not just the anti-americanism (I am thick-skinned), but also the socialist system. The German media portrays an American economy in crisis, when their own is much worse--and most believe it! It doesn't matter how many "harte Fakten" I'm armed with. Then I'm told that I'M "verbohrt (stubborn)." I could scream! I mean, forgive me for being selfish here, but I live here too.

Maybe I need a megaphone. ;-)

"Other countries (Austria, Switzerland, Turkey, etc.) were not so "willing". "

Damn, I can't think of any reasons why Americans might have somewhat higher expectations from Germany. ?????

I don't mean the Germans (I also have German ancestry) should just bend over and kiss America's ass or anything; however, in my humble opinion, much of the politics here is a slap in the American face--highlighted by Schroeder's narrow re-election due to his move to oppose any military options in Iraq. Even now, with many positive developments in Iraq, German troops inside Iraq are non-existent (exept for maybe a handfull of special forces). It's as if too many people have too much pride to admit that they may have been wrong; and, sending troops to Iraq would be confirming it.

We would rather play politics instead of giving the Iraqis the best possible chance. Just to oppose Bush?

Germany allowed overflights because the US and Germany have a decades-old agreement for such cases. Only by pulling out of the treaty could Germany have stopped any overflights.

I notice the same things on German TV and at book stands, etc; only one point of view is allowed to be considered . This stifling orthodoxy is removing the average German's ability to think for himself. What I also find bothersome is how comfortable they have become in demonizing the United States. They spew hate and then deny it is anything but "criticism." They only way I've found to combat this is to read the same stories aloud to German friends replacing the words America/Americans with Germany/Germans. Then people start to understand...

Of course there are die-hard dogmatists who wear their hatred of America like a warm blanket so it does not work on everyone. If for some reason the SPD gets re-elected and this trend continues, they'll probably discuss making Americans in Germany wear a white star on their shirts.

"They only way I've found to combat this is to read the same stories aloud to German friends replacing the words America/Americans with Germany/Germans. Then people start to understand... "

Hector, that is a brilliant idea.

"they'll probably discuss making Americans in Germany wear a white star on their shirts."

Hell, that would be pretty boring compared to the 50 stars and 13 stripes I wear visibly.

"IMO, nobody here uses the US as a scapegoat for German problems. There are plenty of scapegoats: immigrants, the politicians, the big companies etc. But not America."

You've got to be joking. Tell that to a large part of the 500 people in the company that I work in. In the conversations I've had, America is inclusive in your group of scapegoats... oil prices, environmental problems, fattening fastfood, etc...

Earth calling fuchur... come in fuchur.

BTW, if it weren't for a 'big' American company saving the company I work for, 500 more people would be without jobs in the Frankfurt area alone!

My supervisor was complaining the other day that he had to work 2 hours of overtime because of all the charter flights carrying soldiers in and out of Iraq. He was pretty red in the face when I informed him that it was those damned charter flights that kept the company budget out of the red in the last quarter.

How long will this blindness prevail? I ask because I really care.

"The poisoning of relations will not last much longer than Chancellor Schroeder. He will leave no legacy, good or bad."

Ooohh, I so hope you're right Fred. But, I'm finding it difficult to be that optimistic--and I consider myself to be an optimist.

I hope I'm wrong.

@Charles

That embassy thing was one hell of an action from those Iraqis. To be fair I dont know how much of a siege it was or whether it was more of a sit down/ in protest. That takes lots of guts to be pro-USA here and go to the Iraqi embassy and claim back what you consider to be yours to show your disapproval of Saddam and Germany´s position, especially when your residency entitlement is up in the air and the future of Iraq is looking so insecure. I got the impression that it was a relatively peaceful affair but as soon as word got out that there were Iraqis storming the embassy then the news was already written and the facts not checked.

"The occupiers of the embassy said their action was also a protest against Chancellor Schroeder. They call the occupation a symbolic liberation of a small piece of Iraqi territory."

I will ask about and see if i can find out what happened to them if you are interested. Cant promise but I will put it on my "to do" list!


@Fred Boness

"The poisoning of relations will not last much longer than Chancellor Schroeder"

... that will be up until the next election it seems. However I dont think that will be the end of the US-German problems although it should be the end of Red-Green. Any reform will still be seen as the Americanisation of the labour market, Michael Moore will still be a top-seller, Americans will still be portrayed strangely on TV, Germany is still dependent on ME oil, Europe is still the number 1 priority and that prejudice we call "anti-Americanism" will not just disappear, in fact with a CDU/CSU/FDP coalition the media might consider it their duty to show some "opposition".

@ Joe, Pogue and Jay

"With a little bit of luck this will not be a problem for either the US or Germany in the future."

Yes I am sure that the US army really isnt going to hurry to get troops back to Germany. Its much better strategically and cost wise surely just to set up bases in Iraq. I am sure the Iraqi government will be happy of the money even if Germany doesnt want it anymore.

@Fred Boness

"The poisoning of relations will not last much longer than Chancellor Schroeder"

I wonder whether what we're seeing isn't in large part perfectly natural. To be honest I don't think Germany and Germans liked the US too well even during the 'good old days'. They simply needed us to help defend them from the USSR military juggernaught.

There may have been genuine gratitude on the part of Konrad Adenauer and Ludwig Erhard for the US freeing Germany from Hitler but that passed by the time of Willy Brandt, I think. But they still needed us.

With the collapse of the Berlin Wall the frontier (and the percieved threat) has passed far to the east. The Germans don't need the US any more and are therefore free to give their underlying dislike fully expression. Which they have done.

I think the exaggurated hatred of the US and Bush may be becoming passe at long last. At least in London. In the Borders bookstore on Charing Cross I've frequenbtly seen what I call 'the wall of bile' in a prominent place. This shelf was based upon the works of Michael Moore and other ranting screeds and took up a full two shelves worth floor to ceiling. To be honest there were more thoughful and insightful works interspersed with the screed but it was at least 85% bile.

Iast week I noticed that the Wall was a mere shadow of it's former glory. There was a shelf of Moore's books but that was pretty much it apart from a book saying that the EU would rule the 21'st century.

I suspect those books aren't commercially viable any more. Even the Guardian crowd has to be tired of it. Once you own 20 books exposing Bush as a mutant chimp do you really need another one?

@James W

Well, excuse me :-). I live in Germany, too, and that´s just my experience. I guess you will at least agree that nobody uses the US as the scapegoat for German problems?
Maybe you get more references to America because you are an American? I could imagine that when an American makes the claim that everything is done wrong in Germany, some kind of "natural" patriotism kicks in: people feel the need to defend themselves (or their country), and want to show it to this "arrogant" guy that America is not perfect either...
I must admit that from here, you do seem a bit "verbissen" ;-). I mean, take your supervisor: Of course he knows that customers are a good thing. But do you expect him to do the happy dance because he has to work overtime?

You have a point concerning the bookstores. But remember: this is not propaganda, it is market economy. Also, it is important to notice that most of the books concerning the US are written by Americans. So it is very debateable whether this constitutes anti-Americanism or mere anti-Bushism. One could say that Americans are a lot more anti-American than Germans :-).
Since you mentioned them: the Clintons´ and Kerry´s biographies aren´t selling because of anti-Americanism.

Note from David: fuchur, in 60+ comments in this blog you made your point that there is no anti-Americanism in Germany, that at least the perception of it is way overblown, that German-American relationships are normal, that this blog is biased, etc., etc., etc.
I think one might say you made your point, extensively. Could you move on now, please? Perhaps to another topic, or - even better - to another blog?
Many thanks!

jay,

Just one more small point on Germans providing protection for US bases.

This duty proved to be too taxing for the German military. They have since withdrawn this protection.

There is a line item in the current US budget supplemental for a 100 million dollars to hire security guards for base protection in Germany.

Consider this part of the jobs program developed by the spd. Those are very clever people.

Jobs are much more important to this German government than being an ally any day of the week.

Time for the US to move on.

"Good luck trying to find any Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, or any other book that hints at showing GWB in a good light."

Well, if it takes Ann Coulter to shed some good light on GWB, you're in big trouble ... and also GWB

fuchur

do you expect him to do the happy dance because he has to work overtime?

This is extremely illustrative. Most of the people in my field, here in the U.S., complain when they can't get overtime. This is usually due to a company policy that strictly limits a person to 40 hrs. per week.

Dont Germans have bills to pay too?

most of the books concerning the US are written by Americans...One could say that Americans are a lot more anti-American than Germans

Us right-wingers here are not allowed to even offer a whiff of such a concept. BTW, (in a low whisper) I agree. Shhh!

"Well, if it takes Ann Coulter to shed some good light on GWB, you're in big trouble ... and also GWB"

Just an example out of many is all. The point is that the Germans aren't even offered an alternative view in their printed media, although, there are alternatives being developed in the internet... Medienkritik for example. I think David and his friends recognize the problem. I wish them a ton of success.

@fuchur

Maybe America is not THE scapegoat, but it receives MORE than its share of the scapegoat pie.

"Maybe you get more references to America because you are an American?"

Well, naturally an American would receive the brunt of anti-americanism. And sure, much of the problem is also anti-bushism; however, I think you fail to make the connection to anti-americanism. Americans voted Bush into office-- not once, but twice. The majority of Americans seem to support GWB's values, they supported the war in Iraq, and most don't believe that he "lied" us into the war. You should see the smirks I get when I reveal my support for Bush. If looks could kill... As you probably already know, "Americans are too stupid to vote." That's why we have a "cowboy" in office. Well, I say "Yyee Hhaaa!"

"I could imagine that when an American makes the claim that everything is done wrong in Germany, some kind of "natural" patriotism kicks in: people feel the need to defend themselves..."

Not everything is done wrong, just mostly everything. ;-D Don't get me wrong. All that glitters is not gold in America. I make that point clear with my friends.

Seriously, I try my best to make my observations known without an aggressive tone. If I didn't care, I wouldn't do it. They are usually not one-way conversations. I'm not "verbissen", I'm "frustriert" with the inability to open my friends' eyes to what is happening in their media.

"You have a point concerning the bookstores. But remember: this is not propaganda, it is market economy. Also, it is important to notice that most of the books concerning the US are written by Americans."

You're completely missing the point. I'll try to be clearer. You are absolutely correct that the books are written mostly by Americans Although, the Kitty Kelly, British?, book was also available in Germany, and also a 9-11 conspiracy theory book out of France--I believe just one of three bestsellers by non-American authors. Wasn't one of the conspiracy theories written by a German author? I think all of the Michael Moore books were on the best-sellers list in Germany, some for well over a year! There sure seems to be a hunger for those conspiracy theories. Where does it come from?

Ooops. Back to the point. The point is that books from both sides of the spectrum are available in America, I'll admit that the left gets more publicity. Conservative books tend to get hidden by the restroom doors in some bookstores.

In Germany, you don't get the option. How do you know that the pro-Bush books are not marketable? If they're not marketable, WHY not? Could it be because of the TV news bias, or because of all those "flattering" pictures of Dubya on the magazine covers? What relationship do the bookstores have with the media--are they part of the propaganda?

If the books are not marketable due to the media bias, then the lack of the option to purchase those books becomes part of the propaganda by default.

"Us right-wingers here are not allowed to even offer a whiff of such a concept. BTW, (in a low whisper) I agree. Shhh!"

Ooohh you're so right Captain! There are enough anti-americans in America. They want you to have freedom of speech, unless you disagree with them.

@fuchur
you say it isnt propaganda, but a market economy..
so books bashing America are popular is what you are saying? Otherwise they wouldn
t sell? if books bashing the US are popular, isnt that a form of antiamericanism? telling the people what they WANT to hear?
geez

This is a question, not a statement.

Are German views of the US created or merely confirmed by the NYT and WP distorting the US news for domestic political purposes? If a Democrat was in the White House, P. Krugman would be writing about how wonderfully the economy was doing. Same facts, but the wrong party in power, and the economy is tanking.

Is Social Security going broke? Well I do not believe so, not so long as the government's credit is good. Is Social Security being funded in a way that is counter-productive and will have to be changed in the next ten to twelve years? Of course. Who said so first? Why Clinton did when he said to "save" social security first, and the NYT and WP agreed with him THEN. But now there is no problem at all with social security; the problem is the deficit brought on by the Bush tax cuts. The deficit was never a problem to the NYT or WP during the aministrations of FDR, Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, or Carter.

Of course if Bush had not cut taxes and country was mired in unemployment, the NYT and WP would be reminding everyone about the Kennedy tax cuts (NO NOT THE REAGAN ONES: THEY WERE BAD TAX CUTS.)

If what the German press reads in the US press is a bunch of hooey, maybe it is not surprising that German press writes hooey.

"I don't hate Federal Republic of Germany or Germans. I hate the Federal Republic of Germany's Chancellor Gerhard Schröeder and Federal Republic of Germany Foreign Minister Joska Fischer." This is true because I don't hate or even dislike Germany. If That was true I would not be at this web log trying to understand teh "german street." What ever that is.

That should be fair to say if Germans and Europeans can say: "I don't hate the United States of America, I hate President George W. Bush and United States of America Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld. I don't hate the United States of America."

It's just so perplexing. Germany is hardly in the news or on the radar here in The United States of America. So when I see major German language publications voicing what can only be termed propaganda, I am confused and concerned. That is not hate it only disquiet in my German genes down in my core.

Is it wrong to be concerned with the my countries relationship with Germany and Europe? Is it wrong to be concerned when I see history appearing to repeat it's self? Don't mistake concern for hate dear German friends and cousins.

Where is the "social justice" for GWB in Germany?

The German media have spoken - ... - Dresden was the same as the holocaust.

This is complete and utter bullshit. The Neo Nazis said that, and maybe some papers publish, but not the German media.

This is wrong, too:

A shrinking population, collapsing welfare state, strangling tax burden, and Weimar Republic levels of unemployment were undeniable symptoms of fifty years of wrong choices. But rather than admit what every observer outside of Germany understands, the government and a willing media peddled an alternate version of reality. Everything was America’s fault.

It is very well known around here that our problems are caused domestically.

It is very well known around here that our problems are caused domestically.

Perhaps you'd be so kind as to inform the Finance Ministry.

Fixing blockquote tag left open.

Ralf: "It is very well known around here that our problems are caused domestically."

This is very reassuring, I think. I also think that '50 years of wrong choices' is going a little too far. The first 25 years of that period were on balance either very successful or reasonably so. Most of the problems which beset Germany now seem to date from the collapse of the Berlin Wall and Germany's refusal to adjust to a new world of cheap eastern European labor.

I see some signs of adjustment but it's far too slow. Germany needs a transforming political movement like those led by reagan and Thatcher - and it may get it.

The political problems with the US also derive from that time. With the collapse of the USSR as a credible military threat (at least to Germany and France) there is now little reason for Germany to be a US ally any more. Increasingly that alliance is becoming frayed as Germany insists on concessions which make the job of the US much harder. Germany has not used the breathing space to reform it's armed forces to be effective in the current world. Therefore the burdens of the new treaties fall almost completely on the US.

This is not an alliance any more in the proper sense of the term. Since 1990 Germany has gone from sharing the burden of European defense to imposing further burdens UPON the US - with no apparent intent to help shoulder one gramme of those increased burdens.

What is in it for the US?


"so books bashing America are popular is what you are saying?"

@amiexpat
They're not only popular, but very often instant bestsellers! There were three 9-11 conspiracy books on the bestseller list at the same time. Two or three M. Moore books have been on the list simultaneously. There is truly a hunger for this trash! Europeans love to make Moore rich. Let's not even start with his films. The man is a "star".

I'll ask again: Where does the hunger for this garbage come from?

It has to have roots somewhere. Media?

Doug,

that's a bit different, the ministry is only talking about a concrete problem that won't persist for long, namely the strong Euro rather than strcutural problems like unemployment etc.

Anonymous:

"What is in it for the US?"

I have to admit that Germany isn't doing nearly enough, but that hasn't to remain like that, depending on who wins the next welcttions. So Germany is potentially useful, that's what in it for the US. ;)

@ Ralf Goergens
...our problems are caused domestically.

School me. Would any cross section of Germans sitting around a dinner table come to the collective conclusion that they are going to eat very serious doo-doo, very soon, unless something very serious is done, very soon?

And Where or when would any plan of action involve anything other than anti-Americanism, Jew-bating, tacid support of Islamofascism, a union pay raise, early retirement, longer vacations, higher taxes, eastern European forced prostitution, obeisance to France, etc... or "social justice"(see all the above)?

One can only hope for the birth of a German Thatcher-child and that the spatzle-volk will grow teeth and spines.

Del Hoeft,

Where or when would any plan of action involve anything other than anti-Americanism, Jew-bating, tacid support of Islamofascism, a union pay raise, early retirement, longer vacations, higher taxes, eastern European forced prostitution, obeisance to France, etc... or "social justice"(see all the above)?

The discussion is about economic reform, and anti-Ameicanism aside or not, there is no Jew-baiting.

Asshole.

And Del: Get a spine yourself.

Thanks for this great article, DL!
"Schadenfreude at its worst, Germans were happy their house was spared while America’s burned."
Sadly, this attitude seems to be widely spread in Germany.

@ James W.: "When I told my work partner about my findings, he told me that I see everything too "verbissen" (grim)."
I am being called the same very often, but I try to take it as a good sign: the others are simply running out of arguments.

@ Ralph Goergens
"The discussion is about economic reform"

So...Please, let's discuss. You can speak to my intellect or to my "Asshole". Whatever you feel up to.

You see Ralph, my point is that Germans have no viable reality-based plan or alternative nor the wherewithal. By all means illustrate my point further.

Del, 'Asshole' is the appropriate response to accusations of Jew-baiting.

Secondly, reforms discussed are making the labor market more flexible, lower taxes, fewer regulations and less bureaucracy, etc, etc. These plans are very realistic, it just takes time to overcome the resistance of various interest groups.

@ Ralf

I think Del's point was that German political discourse is filled with anti-Israeli and anti-American viewpoints etc. I have no idea personally to what degree that is a fair assessment, but a rather significant number of apparently informed voices on this site support that point.

I see no reason whatsoever to believe that his comment about Jew-baiting was directed at you personally. His lead-in was "would any cross section of Germans sitting around a dinner table come to the collective conclusion" that they have serious economic problems or would they instead engage in scapegoating? I for one would learn more if you were to explain why you think that is a poor assessment if in fact you do. "Asshole" does nothing to enlighten me and believe me: I need enlightenment.

@Karin Quade

I am often called a "patriot", as if it's supposed to mean something negative.

There seems to be this false definition of the word "patriot" in Germany: a person who is OVERLY supportive of his land to the point of making that person unobjective or blind to reality.

As you've already pointed out, such stamps are usually given when the others run out of arguments. Fuchur made a comment about Germans seeing me as the "arrogant" American. It is sometimes difficult to find a balance in the conversation without coming across as a "know-it-all"--which I never claim. I honestly think that some just simply don't want to admit that I MAY be right.

In a way, I see that as somewhat arrogant coming from them. "Who's this scheiss Ami trying to tell me that I'm being manipulated by the media."

@Ralf -

that's a bit different, the ministry is only talking about a concrete problem that won't persist for long, namely the strong Euro rather than strcutural problems like unemployment etc.

The strong euro/weak dollar dynamic wasn't what I intended to highlight, but the impulse to find America at fault for a domestic problem. He blames Bush domestic policy for hurting European economies. Quick words to scold the cowboy for enacting stimulus tax cuts in his own country, coming from a country that broke an economic pact (which it itself penned) in order to put forth stimulus tax cuts.

I've also seen the strong euro/weak dollar blamed on the trade defecit - naturally, the problem was framed as "America buys too much and exports too little", not "the eurozone exports too much and buys too little". In both cases, the question is not "What did Germany/Europe do to contribute to this?" or "What can Germany/Europe do to correct it?", but "How is it America's fault, and what should America do to fix it?". Everything is a spectator sport, and America is the only player Germans seem to consider worth watching.

This past summer, U.S. census data was released showing a .4% rise in poverty (to 12.5%). This was widely reported, front-page news in every major American publication, and talk show fodder for over a week. The topic saw a resurgence during the election season when Kerry used it to cudgel Bush. I knew that Data Report 2004 in Germany had recently been released, and was curious about the German poverty rate, so I started searching English-language German publications.

Of all that I could find, only FAZ had anything on Germany's poverty rate - the article was a single paragraph, but it did say that the poverty rate had risen from 9.4% to 11.1% (by the 50% of median standard, not the 60% of median used by the EU - that's 13.5%). At Spiegel's English site, which is only cover stories of their German content, every single article containing the word "poverty" was about America. Go there now, search at the top, and there still isn't an article about Germany containing that word.

Economic problems? "Caused by America!" Poverty? "Only in America!" Obesity? "It's Americans who are fat!" (heh, not anymore) Some kind of problem anywhere in the world? "Look what America's caused now!" This obsession is psychotic; America's responsible for everything from ice cream headache to continental drift. "The sun! It's going down again! What have those bloody Murkins done to it THIS time?!"

Good observations, Doug!

@Doug: To add to your info, keep in mind what's causing the dollar/euro disparity. It isn't really anything to do with imports or exports, which are only reacting to the exchange rate rather than driving it as Europhiles seem to think. What is holding up the euro is the EU's tight-money policy, which I presume it is pursuing to prevent an explosion of inflation. It's yet another artificiality tacked on top of the huge steaming pile that is the current European economy, in order to -- wait for it -- maintain an image of stability.

(BTW, we've seen this movie before in the U.S., in the 1970s, and we already know how it will come out: stagflation.)

@Sock Puppet: You raise a good point, actually. And that can be turned around: if we express hatred of Schroeder and Fischer, giving that they were freely elected, then are we expressing hatred of all Germans?

My contention is no. And having said that, I'm going to stir the pot: I don't hate Schroeder as such, but I certainly have no respect for him. However, I don't hate the German people, and I claim that my statment cannot be taken that way. So what's the difference? How can I get away with making this seemingly inconsistent statement?

Simple: I've seen Schroeder's type before. Currently there is no one in American politics (at least not at the national level) of that type, but we've seen them in the not-so-distant past. Schroeder, to put it bluntly, is a shameless populist-opportunist. He has no problem with tapping into basic passions, no matter how blunt or crude, and manipulating them to serve his own ends. Does he really believe the things he says? Quite possibly not; he may well be fully aware that he's blowing smoke when he blames his own problems on America. But, if he is, he doesn't care. It serves his purposes, and that's all he cares about.

Hmm, where have we seen this combination before? Cynical politician who intentionally inflames the base passions of a dissatisfied people. Quick to assign blame to scapegoat groups, while avoiding accountability at home. But, also equally quick to change his own core beliefs whenever the political wind shifts.

Everyone, meet Gerhard Schroeder: Germany's answer to George Wallace.

Doug,

even so nobody claims that America is to blame for out problems, the anti-American obsession of the German press notwithstanding.

And as far the obesity study is concerned: In America most obese people are women, while in Europe the obese are mostly men, so it doesn't mena that Europeans are fatter even if "in a group of nations from Greece to Germany, the proportion of overweight or obese men is higher than in the U.S."

Besides, I don't mind at all if many men are overweight because it cuts down on the male competition while the chicks remain for the most part slim. And of course in America the situation is reversed.

Nyah, nyah!!! :)

even so nobody claims that America is to blame for out problems, the anti-American obsession of the German press notwithstanding.

And what informs the opinion of the average German if not German media? What formulates the outlook of German media if not the opinions of its audience?

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