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I thought you didn't like Germany. (Reading between the lines on this site over the past few weeks would lead one to think so, in any case.)

So, is it important whether Germany considers the US a 'friend' or not ? And is it important to Germany, the US or both ?

If the relationship is important, and I would say yes, is Germany to blame that attitudes have changed, i.e. has persistent propaganda played the only role or has anything occurred outside of the German media that may have diluted Germans' attitudes towards the US ?

Cheers,

Note from David: "I thought you didn't like Germany. (Reading between the lines on this site over the past few weeks would lead one to think so, in any case.)"
Hmm... maybe you should just stick to what we write, rather than "reading between the lines".
"...has anything occurred outside of the German media that may have diluted Germans' attitudes towards the US ?"
Yes, definitely: Armstrong beating Ullrich the umpteenth time. What else comes to mind?

@Rofe
no we love Germany, it is Schroeder/Fischer we can't stand.. sound familiar?

Wow that is strange. Not because it wasnt what I would have thought considering the media landscape here but because of this Telgraph article I saw on LGF yesterday:

Europe unites in hatred of French
By Henry Samuel in Paris

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/05/17/wfran17.xml&sSheet=/news/2005/05/17/ixnewstop.html

"For the Germans, the French are "pretentious, offhand and frivolous". The Dutch describe them as "agitated, talkative and shallow." The Spanish see them as "cold, distant, vain and impolite" and the Portuguese as "preaching". In Italy they comes across as "snobs, arrogant, flesh-loving, righteous and self-obsessed" and the Greeks find them "not very with it, egocentric bons vivants".

Interestingly, the Swedes consider them "disobedient, immoral, disorganised, neo-colonialist and dirty".

But the knockout punch to French pride came in the way the poll was conducted. People were not asked what they hated in the French, just what they thought of them.

"Interviewees were simply asked an open question - what five adjectives sum up the French," said Olivier Clodong, one of the study's two authors and a professor of social and political communication at the Ecole Superieur de Commerce, in Paris. "The answers were overwhelmingly negative." "

Strange then that this anti-French sentiment isnt reflected on Chirac (I mean this is the same Chirac who everyone only voted for to keep Le Penn out)

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

@Rofe

I dont really hate Germany... its a love hate relationship I guess. I live here and I love the place. My best mates are German but I just think that its direction politically is wrong and dangerously so. About time Germany grew up and stopped hanging about with the wrong crowd :-)

How dare the Germans feel a kinship with a nation that the Bush administration does not approve of.

The German population really needs to get their priorites straight.

What a shame! The Germans dare having an opinion!

David,

Re between the lines, it doesn't take any mental gymnastics to detect a pervasive US good / Germany bad sentiment here. How about a couple of recent headlines, "Blood Sucking the Taxpayer Fair Game in Germany" and "Germans Aren't Racists" (wink, wink, nudge, nudge). And the whole post "Anti-Idiotarian Truths" set a new low - "Can we retroactively give Germany back to Stalin?"

You may want to protest that last quote by saying it's not yours. I'll grant that's absolutely true. You merely characterized it as "hilarious". Not much need for between the lines there.

Re the blood sucking, sure, I realize the context. I was as riled up as anyone with IG Metall's and Münterfering's stupid histrionics. But your topic (investment tax breaks) was barely connected even tangentially to that topic (PE investment). Maybe the blood sucking imagery was too juicy to pass up, but between the lines isn't much of an effort here, either.

Anyway, I'm worried about this summer. If Armstrong is past his prime that's one thing, but if Ulrich wins . . . ABU (anybody but Ulrich !)

Cheers,

Right - just like when the Germans had the opinion that a former corporal was a great leader

Perfectly within their rights to have that opinion

You don't object that I say that this opinion was a reflection of how completely out of touch with reality and morality the German public was at the time do you?

So by the same measure is it ok if I think that the German publics greater goodwill toward Putin when compared to Bush is, how shall I say it, completely insane by any rationale definition.

But by all means they are welcome to their opinions - it just allows me to cement my view that irrational prejudice and a desire to find a scapegoat are national characteristics

@ Ray D

"These results can make the German media and chancellor Gerhard Schroeder proud. Due to their relentless Bush bashing and anti-American rhetoric..."

So, Ray, it is due to the German Media that people are against Bush now. You assume the Germans are incapable of independent thinking, and that they are unable to logically look at a situation.

Also, it works both ways. The Media cannot sell a view if its viewers totally diagree with it. In the US, since MSM is heavily criticised by the Right for being anti-American, unpatriotic, and too Leftist. If the media is compltely responsible for German public opinion, then analogously we would see very few Right Wingers in the US. However, this is not the case, and the people are still able to say "I totally disagree".

We are not computers that are simply programmed by the Media.

Note from Ray D.: David wrote this article. BTW, we already have another jabba as a commenter on this site and your name seems to be an insulting take-off on that, which is against our comment policy. I'd appreciate it if you found a new name. You can mention that you are formerly jaba the tit in your first comment with your new name.

@ Ray D

"Yes, definitely: Armstrong beating Ullrich the umpteenth time. What else comes to mind?"

How very insightful

@Pogue Mahone

"Right - just like when the Germans had the opinion that a former corporal was a great leader"

1. Dreaming of the past again, are we?
2. I've seen Bush compared to Hitler FAR more often than I've seen
Chirac compared to Hitler. (That stupid, you say. Except when
referring to France, right?)


@Jason

Don't forget that Chirac is going to jail once his term in office is finished! I wonder if Schröder will visit him and send him care packages!

I think the German media and politicians play a huge role in influencing those percentages. Of course, Germans generally have a more socialist/group mindset, but that alone doesn't explain the numbers. The things is that Germans have absolutely no way to inform themselves in their own language, other than the rather gleichgeschaltete MSM. There are blogs on German, but my guess is that they are read mostly by younger generations. Unfortunately, blog reading in Germany is by far not as wide spread as it is in the US. Maybe it is because Germans are more resistant to new things... I don't know, I don't want to play an armchair shrink.

Oftentimes, when discussing politics with some Germans, if they are open-minded enough(and it's a big IF), things go this way: in the beginning they come up with every single weird argument that the media has published. Then, if you start explaining, not trying to convince them, but explaining what the media hasn't told them, what the follow-ups on some issues are, etc etc, they start questioning what they've been told. They simply can't believe that the media hasn't done its job and are surprised at the bias of the media. They don't turn into Bush friends(after being indoctrinated by the media that's too hard, even for them), but they have opened their eyes. They just don't take everything they hear or read for the ultimate truth.

This experience is quite rare, but it happened and it's surprising, for them because they never thought of the media as being so biased, and for me, when I realize the degree to which they have been... brainwashed(I just couldn't find a more appropiate term). Having said that, I don't believe there is much hope in the near future. Things will not change for the better, the German media will not do its duty and the German people will continue to be manipulated, so that illogical percentages like those ones will not improve. The hope is that those percentages will not lead to illogical decisions.

P.S. Highest trust in an (yet) unconvicted felon, eh... Not bad, Germany...

These results can make the German media and chancellor Gerhard Schroeder proud. Due to their relentless Bush bashing and anti-American rhetoric Germany probably has become the most anti-American European country, in my opinion even beating France.

I agree. I've seen a couple of polls putting Germany at #1 in anti americanism in the world. Although I couldn't find the one I was looking for here's an economist blurb:

In a poll conducted in 21 countries by the BBC World Service last month, only a small majority (54%) of those interviewed in France said they viewed American influence unfavourably—not much more than in Australia (52%), and rather less than in Mexico (57%), Canada (60%) and Germany (64%).

Link: http://www.economist.com/displaystory.cfm?story_id=3666040 (subscription)

@ blank

Germans having an opinion is fine, what I find frightening is the homogeneity. Ask a german if they know anyone who is pro Iraq war, for example, or support the war on terror. That a group of people are against both those things is good, but a lack of dialougue and exposure to dissenting opinions is a very, very bad thing.

@Rofe: If you are trying to talk me into not caring what Germany thinks, well, it's just not that simple for me. I've explained the reasons why here before. (Although there are times when I am tempted...) Look, it's a bit like having a difficult time with someone you are in love with. The day may come when you have to admit it's over, but before you break it off, you want to make sure you have done everything you could reasonably do to make the relationship work. The U.S. and Germany have enjoyed a comfortable and productive relationship for most of the post-war period up until recently. Lots of Americans, although they may be angry and say hateful words at times, aren't ready to break it off yet and still want the relationship to work.

Another aspect of it, again using an analogy to personal relationships: If you had a close, long-time friend who suddenly began behaving strangely and lashing out at you for no apparent reason, wouldn't you be concerned? Even if this friend attacked you, you'd probably be more puzzled than angry, and worried about what was going on to cause this change. We Americans look at Germany right now and we see people doing a lot of things that aren't very, well, German. Call it cultural stereotyping if you want, but we generally expect that Germans as a people will behave in certain ways. Right now we see Germany doing a lot of things that are atypical and un-Germanlike, such as ceding European leadership to France. Now, from a historical perspective, you've got to admit this is anomalous. Germany has a lot invested in the European Union; it was Germany's economic and political strength in the '70s and '80s that created the EU to begin with, and the strength of the euro comes largely from the backbone that it inherited from the deutschmark (apologies for the spelling). And yet, now Germany seems content to watch France run their creation into the ground. What's up with that?

If I had to engage in pop-psychoanalyzing of Germany today, I'd say that a whole lot of Germans are suffering from clinical depression. A lot of the America bashing to me has the flavor of a person in pain and disorientation, lashing out at the nearest target whoever it happens to be. Depressed people also often fall prey to sweet-talking con men, which is a pretty good description of Jaques Chirac. I'm going to start trying the approach of getting past the surface problems, and find out what's really going on with Germans. It's not because I hate Germany; very much the opposite. In my lifetime I've had a lot of respect for a number of Germans, and I'm very worried about the Germans of today. Call it patronizing if you want, but that's the way I feel.

@jaba:

Also, it works both ways. The Media cannot sell a view if its viewers totally diagree with it. In the US, since MSM is heavily criticised by the Right for being anti-American, unpatriotic, and too Leftist. If the media is compltely responsible for German public opinion, then analogously we would see very few Right Wingers in the US.

Your logic is well thought out, but there is a confounding factor. The United States has a long history of independent media, going back to the 18th-century leafleteers and soapbox speakers. Conservatism gained influence in the U.S. first by publishing its own magazines (a la Bill Buckley), then through talk radio in the '80s as spearheaded by Rush Limbaugh, and more recently by the Internet. If Americans had to rely solely on the American MSM for their news, they would have opinions similar to what we see in a lot of Germans today. I know because I've been there myself: I was a teenager in the mid-70s, a time when leftism was pretty much unchallenged in the media that a teenager was most likely to be exposed to (those being newspapers and network TV). A lot of what I though was true then, I've since learned that I was very wrong about. But I had to get into independent media before I could learn to sort the evidence and make my own judgements.

See, one thing the MSM tries to do in the United States is convince ordinary citizens that they are not qualified to form opinions about anything that government does, and that therefore their word (the MSM's) must be taken as gospel and not questioned. However, that sort of thing goes against the rebellious anti-authority streak that is inherent in American culture, and that's why Americans maintain a tradition of independent media of all stripes. The questions then, as far as trying to apply an analogy to Germany, are:

1. Does German culture have this rebellious streak that causes citizens to question the government as a matter of general principle? From what I know of it, I don't think it does.

2. Does Germany have a tradition of independent media? Well, I can think of a few (Martin Luther comes to mind), but I don't know how widespread that is or ever was. So I don't know the answer to this question.

@amiexpat
That was holarious. LOL.

@ jaba:

Yes, I do think pretty much anyone can think independently. The question is whether they choose to do so or not. Unfortunately, it is much easier not to think independently and just to accept the popular view.

I also think people can be massively influenced by the media they view. How did Germany become a Nazi nation in the 1930s? Do you honestly think all of the propaganda, both written and broadcast, had no effect? Do you honestly think Stuermer had no effect? Do you honestly think all of the other Nazi papers had no effect on attitudes? Of course they did! And of course the German media today, much of which is hostile to the US and Bush, has a major impact on the attitudes in today's Germany. So let's not be naive or completely deny the media's obvious and large impact. The media clearly does matter and clearly has contributed significantly to the changes David discusses above in his posting.

---Ray D.

Anyone know what Reagan's approval rating was in Germany back in the mid-1980s during the Pershing II missile uproar? Soon followed by the attack on Libya?

I suspect the hatred was on a similar level, but perhaps not quite as powerful since the Soviet Bloc was still poised to swoop into West Germany and saner heads in Bonn knew full well they needed US troops there.

For those who are too young to remember, the elder moonbats hated Reagan as much as they hate Bush. I was in high school then college during Reagan's years, and the moonbats were off their rockers. Reagan the Nazi, Ronald Wilson Reagan = 666, Reagan the fascist... the moonbats were totally psycho! Now that I look back at it it was fun to watch them melt down. They were like crazy Draculas and Reagan was garlic and holy water mixed together to them.

> 70 % of Germans don't have a good opinion of the American president.

William von Ockham would most probably say that this has something to do with the actions of the American president, but maybe it is really a conspiracy of the German "state-controlled" (Rrright;-)) MSM. The sun might as well revolve around the earth, we don't know.

@Ray D.
> Unfortunately, it is much easier not to think independently and just to accept the popular view.

True. However, the result of independent thinking can become popular, this is not necessarily a contradiction. I dispute your assumption that thinking independently must result in support for the current US policy.

Lou - I am of the same experience regarding Reagan. I was speaking to some friends who are somewhere to the left of Howard Dean and pretty much consider Bush evil incarnate when I reminded them of how they felt about Reagan in the 1980's

Boy they just hated him

Of course now they deny it - "he was fine compared to Bush"

We can expect a similar amnesia to take hold in 20 years time assuming we can defeat islamic facism via the Bush Doctrine

I am interested in that question posed above as well - how do Germans explain how they don't know a single person who supported removing Saddam from power in 2003?

It speaks to a degree of group think that is scary

oops, sorry for the empty post above.

"I dispute your assumption that thinking independently must result in support for the current US policy."

My thoughts EXACTLY, Martina.

Germans know about good leaders. Read any history book.

Its not as if there is no debate about the policies of George Bush and the war on terror and various things in the USA - in fact there is a lot of debate and differing opinions

The reality of Germany is that there is no debate - everyone is of the same opinion

This clearly indicates a lack of independent thinking - just as the complete lack of OPPOSITION to the Bush Admins policies would indicate a lack of independent thinking in the US

So no - independent thinking does not = support for the Bush admin

Independent thinking would be reflected in some diversity of opinion

Something we have in the US and doesn't exist about this issue in Germany

Get it yet

And why do 70% of Germans have a bad opinion of President Bush

What has he done to them?

In the 60's through the 80's the media was unchallenged. The assertions were made that the country was liberal(US). In the early 90's talk radio brought it home to the American public that there were people who were not liberal(US). Since then the blogosphere has continued the awakening. There are conservatives(US style) in Germany, but they think that they are isolated. Blogs like Davids will have to take the place of talk radio for Germany and the rest of Europe. The people are there.

I think the defensive reaction to the suggestion that the German media is playing a significant part in the perception of the Bush admin is quite telling

Its just baffling that so many Germans have come to hate, and I do mean HATE, a man who is a President of another country that is an Ally of yours for decades. Bush has done nothing to harm Germany - and in my opinion a great deal to help the entire Western world by effecting the first changes in the ME status quo in decades.

Why is Putin admired more than Bush?

Come up with an answer to that one that doesn't implicate the "blame America" leftist media

@Ray D.
> Unfortunately, it is much easier not to think independently and just to accept the popular view.

@Martina
True. However, the result of independent thinking can become popular, this is not necessarily a contradiction. I dispute your assumption that thinking independently must result in support for the current US policy.


You're drawing a logically unwarranted conclusion. What he's saying is that if you don't think for yourself, you become a knee-jerk reflector of popular views. Which is a pretty good description of most Germans. (The same is probably true everywhere, but history suggests Germans are unusually culturally susceptible. Or maybe not; I'm speculating.)

There's no implication that independent thinking implies support for any particular side in the political debates. But it's nice to arrive at your views honestly after actually becoming informed and reasoning things out, don't you think?

Bush has acted flawlessly, to be sure. For example, Shroeder asked him point blank in 2002 if he was considering invading Iraq and he said point blank, "no". Two weeks later he was campaigning for the war, not exactly how you treat an ally. That was a mistake, but it was a minor, PR mistake. Germany, despite it's recent pacifism, had the perfect chance to disown it's former impotence in world affair by participating in the greatest humanitarian undertaking of our generation, the Iraq war, but instead the politicians and the mass media stoked the fires of pacifism and antiamericanism for personal gain and Germany bit big time.

Schroeder is more cozy with Putin than Bush for business reasons, he thinks it helps the economy to be in bed with Putin as opposed to Bush. It doesn't make a damn bit of sense to me when the could have the worlds biggest economy AND democracy on their side but that's as much as I can make heads or tails of it. This is even more bizzare a course of action now that Bush has offered an olive branch.

@ Mike
> You're drawing a logically unwarranted conclusion.

No, I'm not drawing a conclusion, I am disputing an assumption.

Kofi Annan being second place on the list is ridiculous considering the recent scandals in the U.N.. I still haven't seen any major reports on 'Oil for Food' here in Germany--except for a couple of 1 or 2 page articles hidden deep in a magazine. I mean, it's only the biggest financial scandal in history! Yet, Fox News has covered this scoop for well over a year! If that doesn't make Germans want to ask questions about their media, you've got a big problem. I think German language blogging can play a big role in solving the problem. It's about time the European MSM is put in check.

Ooohh! To put the cherry on the cake, Kofi gives Germans the fewest negative feelings. Come on! Red flags should be popping up everywhere.

The lack of reporting on the UN scandals, is pure propaganda.

Why, oh why, would anyone want Germany or Germans as a friend.!

I've said it before and I say it again now--and I mean every word of it--every American soldier who died in the Normandy invasions of Europe in 1944 wasted his life.

Germans today are no different, no different, than they were under the Nazis. I fully expect to see books in print within a few years proclaiming the Master Race crap all over again, and Germans will believe it and say "Of course," just as they did before.

Germans as friends? Good God why?

And do you think we Americans really CARE if Germany hates us...NOT!!!

Why, oh why, would anyone want Germany or Germans as a friend.!

I've said it before and I say it again now--and I mean every word of it--every American soldier who died in the Normandy invasions of Europe in 1944 wasted his life.
------------
Huh, did they invade Normandy to become friends of the Germans ?

70% of Germans don't have a good opinion of President Bush

According to the Wall Street Journal poll released today, the majority of Americans feel the same way. Oh, and a clear majority feel that the invasion of Iraq was a mistake.

Basically Pogue:

Independent thought in Germany must result in some support for Bush in Germany. This is the only way you want to measure the influence of independent thought.

Sorry, but independent thinking can result in not approving of Bush.

Notiz von David: James, bitte ignoriere den Troll. Seine comments werden stets gelöscht.

"70% of Germans don't have a good opinion of President Bush"

According to the Wall Street Journal poll released today, the majority of Americans feel the same way. Oh, and a clear majority feel that the invasion of Iraq was a mistake.

Awesome point, and a good follow up to the discussion in a thread a few days before. I don't quite get the loop "bad opinion of President Bush" to "Germany probably has become the most anti-American European country". Regardless if either of the points is true, I just don't see the connection.

@michael.

There isn't a connection. Germany would still be anti AMerican regardless of who is president.

Why is Putin admired more than Bush?

Why not ? Putin speaks fluent German, Bush can't even speak proper English . ( I know that might not be true, but that's how he is viewed)

Now I will be called a troll, but the point is Germans can relate to Putin culturally, while Bush is ( in the eyes of the Germans ) just not a civilized statesman.

@FT

KGB Putin speaks German, so what? Georgetown Clinton also spoke German: he spoke it with Kohl at one of the World Cup soccer games!

Putin:

--I am a Democrat.
--The collapse of the Soviet Union was a one of the worst catastrophes in history.

?!?

So, your point is that it is more important (for a German) to speak German than believe in Democracy? Because Germans are dazzled with an autocratic nostalgic-soviet KGB educated Russian's German skills? Christ! If that's all I have to do to make German woman swoon over me, dann rede ich weiter nur auf Deutsch!

Btw, GW Bush speaks fluent Spanish.

So the french are now the best friends of us and no longer the americans.

For the european integration this is more than good news.
We need the french to build Europe and that is the biggest chalange for german foreign policy in the future. The former German foreign policy tries to handle the differences between the needs of the european integration and the close friendship to the US. This could not go on forever and now it is easier to establish a common defence and foreign policy.


The relation to the Us are good at economic issues.

Only thing is, Peter, one has to keep in mind that the World is bigger than Europe.

James

Georgetown Clinton also spoke German: he spoke it with Kohl at one of the World Cup soccer games!
----------------------------

And Bill was popular in Germany, the most popular US president since Kennedy.
Kennedy is still popular at least among those who remember him and the reason he became so popular were just four words , he once spoke " Ich bin ein Berliner ".

Now I'm not suggesting George Bush should speak German, but Germans and other Europeans just can't relate to his rural texan style. He made the cultural differences between Americans and Europeans more obivious than any President before. Even more than Reagan, who never got all the respect he deserved but was at least accepted.
George Bush is an easy target for the liberal media , because he is just not appealing to Europans.
The number of people who like him as a person is even lower than the number of people who agreed with the Iraq war.
A President Bob Dole or a President Richard Lugar doing the same foreign policy Geore Bush does would also face a lot of opposition from the left in Europe, but the personal hate against them would be lower and it would be much easier for European conservatives to support them.
I realized this when I once had a conversation with friends, all of them members or voters of the CDU and I called Bush " a courageous and honest man" and they shaked their heads , raised their eyebrowes and looked at me like I had mad cow disease.

or is George Bush just being used as a scapegoat to 'unite' Europe? nothing like having a common enemy to unite people, eh?
yes, Bush has a brash style...
but how come European politicians get away with murder?
what about Chirac telling East EUrope to fuck off and shut up? this from the land of fraternity, equality and liberty... hmmm...
nothing fraternal about telling your fellow EU members to shut up..
nothing equal about it either..
but yes, Bush certainly is not diplomatic, is he?

There is a groupthink in Europe regarding President Bush and US conservatives that is clearly indicative of a lack of independent thinking

Just try to grasp it one more time

50% of Americans voted for Bush 50% for his opponent over 2 elections

Proof of a variety of views and independent thinking

95% of Germans/French would never vote for Bush

Proof of groupthink


Unless of course you feel that 50% of Americans are retards living in trailers

Oh wait - thats exactly what europeans think of Bush voters

"Just try to grasp it one more time"

there is nothing to grasp Pogue. People don't like Bush. Would you say the democrats lack independent thinking. No. The Germans don't approve of Bush or his policies. Independent thinkers can also arrive at this conclusion, as I have. I am glad the group of rational people have arrived at this conclusion.

"Btw, GW Bush speaks fluent Spanish"

That is irrelevant, the people in Latin America speak Latin anyways.

@amiexpat:

There isn't a connection. Germany would still be anti AMerican regardless of who is president.

Well, besides the fact that all this "country X is anti-country Y" is complete BS anyway, even if you are right: That still makes no connection.

Also, if GWB would never have been elected president, I'm pretty sure we would never have this discussion about anyone hating America.

@Michael
to your comment....
Also, if GWB would never have been elected president, I'm pretty sure we would never have this discussion about anyone hating America.

LOL - ROTFL....
Anti Americanism goes WAAAAYYYYY back..
even before George Bush..
George Bush just gives you a chance to be more open..

@Michael
>>Also, if GWB would never have been elected president, I'm pretty sure we would never have this discussion about anyone hating America.

David/Ray - Do you give 'Idiot comment of the thread' awards? This one wins hands down.

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