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"Siemens is one of the largest producers of medical equipment in the world. It employs approximately 31,000 people worldwide and operating in more than 120 countries, it reported sales of €7.4 billion ($9 billion), orders of €7.8 billion ($9.4 billion), and group profit of €1.1 billion ($1.3 billion) for FY 2003."

And that was just Siemens Medical division. The whole company is much larger.

Well being 11th out of the 15 EU Nations in 2001 in standard of living is OK. Only Greece, Spain, Italy, and Portugal rank lower than Germany.

I am not sure a lot has changed to improve Germany's ranking against these 15 since 2001.

This information comes from a report published by the EU.

So the question becomes at what level of decline in standard of living must be reached to create a call for change?

"High Education? Have you looked at the Pisa study? German education has been slippin and continues to do so."

Uhhh in the very first PISA study in 1998 I took part in - and i can tell you why we are so bad at this:
There s no reward for trying to solve those tests. As a 15 year old pupil you dont care about what consequences these tests might develop, you simply consider the tests as two days free off school.

Unless you get rewarded by good marks in your OWN career, you will hardly find any german kid who is willing to put any effort into that.
In the most successful countries like south corea or finland, pupils where even trained for this test - in germany we were chosen to take part and there was absolutely no information given or training provided.

So as a german, you really cant take these tests seriously.

"Space research? Eads is not Germany and they couldn't do anything without the American high-tech contribution."

Ouch - this to hear from an american, the country that benefits most from german knowledge :)
Btw, have you ever compared the funding of NASA with that of european agencies? While NASA receives so much more funding they still dont achieve much more than european agencies which receive such a tiny financial support. Isnt that a shame?

"Highest living standard in Europe, think again. While it is still relatively good, it is shrinking."

I m not going to say we have a higher standart of living than people have in switzerland or norway - we have a higher standart than people in france/italy/spain or UK enjoy though, which are the only countries with more than 30 million inhabitants in europe.
Countries with lesser inhabitants usually dont have such a hard time in reforming their systems, the fewer people a country has the more flexible it is.

So comparing germany to countries like finland or austria doesnt really work.

Sorry I can't provide a link to this as the Economist is subscriber only. I'll quote as much as I can w/o violating copyright to give you the idea (this is from the June 25-July 1 issue)
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A poker game this week over the future of Hamburger Aluminium-Werk (HAW) has highlighted the weekness of Germany's half-baked energy liberalisation. The three owners of HAW, an energy-hungry smelter, have decided to close it by the end of this year if it cannot get cheaper electricity. Last week, HEW, a local power firm owned by Vattenfall of Sweden, offered a lower price which, it said, was the best it could do. "We'll be the first aluminum plant to close in Europe," lamented Hans=Christof Wrigge, the boss of HAW.
The problem, all agree, is rocketing energy prices, more marked in Germany than in the rest of Europe and beyond. Higher oil prices have been abetted by under-capacity, tough green laws on renewable energy, the phase-out of nuclear power and a transmission grid unable to cope with the biggest collection of wind farms in the world. All this is combined with imperfect price competition: the market is dominated by four major producers, two of which also control a large part of the grid. Setting up a European Energy Exchange (EEX) in Leipzig was a nice idea, but producers have an information advantage and liquidity is scarce.
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Yowza! You guys are getting rid of your nuclear energy? I'd give my eye teeth to start building them again here in the U.S. And I speak as a 'survivor' of Three Mile Island. In any case, it looks like your electricity bills are going up big time.

Note to Zyme: Click the 'Remember personal info?" box to the right of the 'Name' tag. That way you won't have to remember each time you post.

"Note to Zyme: Click the 'Remember personal info?" box to the right of the 'Name' tag. That way you won't have to remember each time you post."

Thx for the hint - i ve already discovered that ;)

I guess my browser doesnt accept those cookies right now, i ll check that out as soon as i m willing to do so.

back to topic:
"You guys are getting rid of your nuclear energy? I'd give my eye teeth to start building them again here in the U.S."

That indeed was a grand bshit caused by the green party - the only reason why i am looking forward to those snap elections is that we will finally get rid of these crazy fools in charge.
The conservatives (will probably win those elections in autumn) have already announced that they will use nuclear power plants for a much longer period of time than the green party intended.

In the end we might have fuel cells and/or cold fusion power plants at hand when we finally turn off the last nuclear power plants - so we might get out of this mess pretty good.

Gavin's strawmen......

Who, exactly, says the US wants to dictate other state's taxes? Why, it's Gavin!

Who, exactly, surmises that military spending would be wasteful and enormous? Why, it's Gavin!

You are disputing with Gavin's dementia, not against facts. Gavin cannot point to anyone here who stated the points HE is arguing. It's a faux discussion.

As to Canada's vaunted health system (another point on which Gavin expounds with great noises and zero facts) try this article from the Globe and Mail....

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/ArticleNews/TPStory/LAC/20050708/HEALTH08/TPHealth/

"The Toronto-based firm polled 1,263 Canadians between June 20 and 25, just days after a landmark Supreme Court of Canada decision struck down a Quebec ban on private health insurance.

The poll is accurate within three percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

In its ruling, the high court said that the public system has failed to deliver medical care in a timely and reliable way.

Sixty-three per cent of those polled said they would be willing to "pay out of pocket" to gain faster access to medical services for themselves or their family members.

It also showed that 55 per cent of Canadians agree with the Supreme Court decision that they should have the right to buy private health insurance if the public system cannot provide medical services in a timely fashion.

Seventy-three per cent of those surveyed believed that the ruling was a step toward creating a two-tiered health-care system in the country."

In regard to military spending, or the lack of it in Germany, when the Latvian states vied to enter NATO, was it the protection of German divisions they sought? Countries are lined up to join, but, are they seeking French protectors? When Kosovo/Bosnia/etc fell apart, the European 'military' powers exhibited their 'capabilities', to their chagrin.

People like Gavin have stripped the European powers of the ability to act as anything but an adjunct to the US military. But, suppose the US does not want to carry Europe's water any longer? Well, ask GAVIN for the answer. He'll probably send out an army of strawmen, just as he's done here. There won't be any substance, just Gavin's strawmen.

Zyme,
When I look at trend lines, I look at things like the following:
Since 1999, US investment in Germany has dropped to about 10% of that level. Even though there are still over 2000 American companies operating in Germany, they are slowly relocating.
You may be surprised to learn that German Investment in the US has now doubled that of US Investment in Germany.
Bottom line, there is a shift toward German investment in manufacturing into the US rather than the other way around.
Just another on, German components of assembled parts are increasingly manufactured overseas. In places like the US, Indonesia, Japan, China,etc. This is done to keep prices somewhat under control. If they couldn't they may be forced to make even further hard decisions.
All of this is coming about slowly, but surly, it doesn't happen overnight.
But again those are very important trend lines the average Joe can't see.
Germany's biggest problem though remains the shrinking population. In 20 years 60% of the population will be over 60 years of age. Who will pay all the Government benefits?
Higher taxes? sure. The question remains what will be the breaking point?
The US doesn't have that problem. Here we grew in 30 years from 200 million to 300 million. In another 30 years the population is estimated to be 500 million. Any country needs growth in population as well as in production. Neither is present in Germany as well as Europe.
The one with the biggest decline, by the way, is Russia.

@ Thomas:

"Who, exactly, says the US wants to dictate other state's taxes? Why, it's Gavin!"

I suggest you get a new optometrist.

"As a strong (but fading) economic power, Germany is not only expected to pull its own weight, it must also subsidize weaker EU economies. In the future, GERMANY (and in a larger sense Europe) WILL ALSO NEED TO SPEND FAR MORE ON MILITARY CAPABILITES in order to be taken seriously and treated as a true equal by the United States."

@ Niko

Couldn't find any sources to back up your claims huh? Its okay, Germany doesn't need Martians, they have the World market. Those Nobel Prizes might help exporting to Mars though.

@ Niko:

"Ah, yes, the mythical 'World market."

What's mythical is stating Korea is the largest producer of Machine tools. What exactly is mythical about WTA records? Do you simply not get it? Is it this hard for you? This was in 2004, where labor costs and goods prices were exactly at current levels. What makes you think the market should change so dramatically. Again, if the World thinks German goods deserve No. 1 placement, it doesn't matter if you wail that they are underperforming or overpriced. Anyways, I thought underperformence was the Tagline for American workmanship.

As for your 60% figures, you should know that in manufacturing and high tech sectors, mass production does not require 100% of the workforce to be in the industry to reap the rewards. If you would check, you would see this figure is similar to 10 years ago, and the industry seems to be doing well now.

Now if the tone between the american and the german people will one day sound like the tone that is growing here -
well then i m really excited how this will be settled out.


What you americans must not forget is that your policy of spreading democracy does not make you very popular in the world - its doing buisness with every kind of government which ensures popularity. The more popular a country is, the more people prefer its products.
We dont have any problems in dealing with countries like china or russia - they are in need of technology while we are in need of raw materials -> looks like a useful kind of cooperation to me.

So what i m really curious about is the following: while laughing about the european funding for military and the irrelevance that corresponds with it like you say..

what would your laughter sound like when europeans would one day lift their weapons embargo on china? Last i heard, they would have good use for our achievements on that sector.
Whenever european politicians say earning cash that way would be great idea, american politicians seem to become so nervous - now why is that?

One might even think is was a great idea of those europeans to spend money on development rather than on a huge arsenal of weaponry then. This way, our profit is even higher!

Gn8 everyone :)

@ zyme

Be careful what you wish for, you may get it.

Should Germany/Europe lift the embargo, this would have dire consequences for Europe. Like our Senate has already warned, it would lead immediately to a high tech embargo against any country that would violate the Embargo. Europe would take such an economic hit, it would be hard to recover. One thing you don't want the US to do is to take their gloves off.
By the way, the US has a much greater trade with China than you do.
Be very careful of your trade with China because it is a ONE way street. Just look at Maglev, The chinese let you build the first one. There will never be a second one though. They are reverse engineering and building it themselves if they even decide to do it.
Just as a sidenote, two MIT professors received the patent for MAGLEV in 1965.

What the hell are you talking about? Go on the WTA webpage and do the footwork yourself. Germany was rated the worlds leading exporter of goods by monetary value. Now as for your question about why this quarantees a good future, well, nothing, and I mean nothing, can guarantee a good future. However, it obviously proves that German goods are highly valued in the World market, even if you whine about that fact. It means that the prices and quality are deemed reasonable enough that the World purchases enough German goods to get it in this position. It means they ARE a leader in many fields, regardless of your false (proven so) claims that they are irrelevat in these fields. Now, if this is the case, in 2004, what factors do you think will drastically change the situation so as to throw Germany into a turmoil? Certainly not prices and quality, since this is last year we are talking about. What else does the Market care about?

Does it care about debts? If so, does this mean the US market will now do worse than it has ever done before, since Bush has brought the American National Debt to the highest level ever in the history of the US? As for German unemployment levels (sigh), again, this was the report from LAST YEAR. Unemployment was just as high then, and it didn't seem to affect exports. If German education was so lousy, I doubt they would be able to produce so many home-bred world class industries. Remember, Germany does not rely on foreigners to do the brainwork like the US does, so the workforce and University students are mainly German.

As for having an edge, it only has an edge over China, Japan and the US. Goods of unkown quality are a US specialty, and probably a reason why the US, with a population more than triple that of Germany, doesn't export as many goods as Germany. Again, the market speaks for itself....your tantrums about quality are obviously irrelevant and petty.

Perhaps you could sell those Nobel Prizes and at least get something out of them.

"two MIT professors received the patent for MAGLEV in 1965"

And we can see what good it did the US.

@ Gavin
Judging by your silly replies you probably think MAGLEV is a russian word adopted into the German language for fast train?
You must really still believe that German master race concept? Unless your Government comes to their senses, you will have a rude awakening soon. (5-10 years max.)

Sure thing Niko. And you might want to read over your comment listing all the supposed leaders in respective fields, you know when you're in need of a good laugh.

After, you might want to see that you offer nothing substnatial in any of your comments. Don't worry though, that just helps you fit right in here at Davids Medienkritik. Enjoy your Freedom Fries, Liberty Vanilla Ice Cream, and Brave Toast.

"You must really still believe that German master race concept?"

My point was that the US buys off many of its scientists and workforce from around the world, while Germany cannot do that, so the knowledge of the workforce must come from German education. But I didn't expect someone like you or Niko to get that anyways, seeing as how you don't understand what an export market is.

Gavin,
Another brilliant comment. May I remind you that I served as European Director for my company for 16 years? I lived in Germany, Am fluent in the language and my focus was Economics and Finance.
I think I do know a little about world markets.

@Tyranno:
"The rest, the aggressive, the entrepeneurs, the self motivated . . . well, that is why so many Germans are being self-sufficient in Florida and Arizona. People can and will thrive anywhere the environment permits."

I've been living in Florida most of my adult life. So this is precisely the perspective that my message came from.

Germany, America; it's the same problem. Demagogic flaw; I’ll tax someone else and vote myself some more benefits.

It’s so easy to promise "I won't cut your benefits!" but look at the tax you pay now. Now look up, it’s a world market, what is the economy like in low tax countries? And these benefits, some are good; some are bad (causing poverty, crime and war). We live in a world economy and tariffs, import quotas and protectionism are failing policies, restricting growth.

@ Nico
You give no stats to suuport your claims. How would you support your claim that the leader in machining tech is Korea?

(I guess that fact that its not would kinda make it hard to prove it)

Here is a link,

http://www.manufacturingtalk.com/news/mlw/mlw100.html

proving Germany is the largest machine tool producer, and the second largest consumer. South Korea, Im afraid, isn't the second largest exporter either. My, aren't we losing credibility fast?

@Gavin

Using outdated stats doesn’t necessarily help your credibility. The link you provided is a couple of years old, and therefore—worthless.

“In 2004 Germany saw a gain of 8% in production, following a 10% drop the year before. It remains the second-largest machine tool producer. In terms of consumption, the country increased 5% in 2004 after having dropped 17% in consumption in 2003. Germans spend $65 per capita on machine tools, the third most aggressive investment, behind Taiwan and Switzerland.”

Could it be Gavin that you wanted to hide the poor showing in 2003, or was it just an honest mistake? Germany did make a better showing in 2004; however, they have still not fully recovered from 2003.

“A 24% increase in production (in yen, higher in dollars) again keeps Japan in the number-one slot in terms of world output for 2004, 14% ahead of second-place Germany, which had been at the top in 2002. Japan is second to Germany in total exports, and it exports about half the value of its production, a smaller percentage than other large producers.”

Hmmm, Japan seems to be able to use much of it’s own production, while Germany depends more on exports to remain competitive in this field. Why is Germany not able to use more of it’s own production (14% less than Japan)? Does this say anything about the state of affairs in Germany? To be honest, I don’t know the answer. I’m not an expert on these matters. I’m hoping someone here can shed some light.

South Korean machine-tool production increased 10% after a whopping 24% surge in 2003. And orders for future production, reported by the 48 corporate members of KoMMA’s statistical program, showed a year-end gain of 15% in 2004, with the domestic portion of that bookings increase ahead 9% and foreign orders 29% higher than in 2003.

South Korea may not be #1 yet; but, they are definitely a fast mover! Niko may, in fact, be looking into a crystal ball. Niko, is it okay if I refer to you as Nostradamus Niko? ;-) You’re ahead of the curve.

http://www.gardnerweb.com/consump/country.html#_Korea

Gavin says: "...so the knowledge of the workforce must come from German education." I assume you're talking about that fabulous German education that scored in the bottom third in the last two PISA studies? Even lower than the US? I assume you're talking about that fabulous German univerisity education that foreign students are ignoring in droves because they prefer English-language degrees so they can have a head start in actually applying their skills to REAL markets and earning money? Or degree names that actually mean something with internationally understandable terms (BA, MS, etc)?
Sorry Gavin, I'm not buying it. It's still possible to get a good education in Germany, but you really have to try, and the chances have been decreasing with each passing year. The GEW people will make sure any school child is properly indoctrinated with the standard left-wing drivvel and love for mediocrity. The university system will make further progress in squashing any independent thinking and innovation that could potentially challenge the credentials of authority of tenured professors. The Germans love to believe the myth that their education system is so much better than the American. The US systems has its troubles and challenges as well, but it is nowhere near as bad as the Germans paint it. And the system that most Germans think they have hasn't existed for 40 years. And guess what: The highly-educated Germans that leave the country are in many cases leaving and staying and not contirbuting a cent to keeping the bloated German social system afloat. That's not what I call a successful export product.

Gavin,

Your point about Germany being the world's largest exporter is irrelevent. Around 2/3 of those exports are to EU countries or accession states, so they take place in a well integrated free trade area with wealthy countries that are very close by. That's the main reason why many EU countries have high exports. Those exports would be comparable in quality to say, California's exports to the rest of the US and less so with US NAFTA exports to Canada and Mexico, since NAFTA is not as integrated as the common market. Still the proximity of the US to Mexico and Canada means trade volumes are very high. Despite having high EU exports, many EU countries don't have high non-EU exports. Thus the free trade area and proximity makes many countries exports look a lot higher. Now Germany does have a large amount of non-EU exports, however they are much further down the chart of top exporters if you exclude EU exports. At an exchange rate of $1.30/euro, Germany exported a little under $350 billion to non-EU countries. The US exported a little under $520 billion to non-NAFTA countries.

What on Earth does it matter that exports were higher to the EU? Does that mean they dont count? Only in your books buddy.

@ATM: Don't confuse Gavin with the facts.
Besides, as has been pointed out earlier, exports are only one piece of the picture. And is that only goods? Or good and services? And what about domestic demand? And the reporting and effects of multi-nationals?
The point is that it can be very difficult to find reliable statistics that everyone can agree on that really reflect the true nature of economic strength. International trade is only one metric and even this one has a lot of variables.

What on Earth does it matter that exports were higher to the EU? Does that mean they dont count? Only in your books buddy.

They are of a different character than exports to non-EU countries. They reflect elimination of barriers to intra-EU trade and resulting regional specialization in an integrated trading block, which creates more intra-EU trade while simultaneously reducing production in industries which a country is no longer competitive in. The appropriate comparison for total German exports would be the exports of a large US state to all other US states plus other countries, though you would need to normalize for population since no US state is as large as Germany. You will see that the figure is substantially higher than exports out of the country for that state.

does anyone have the number of germans emigrating to the us per year?
thanks

@holders: As a matter of fact, I do. They can be found at
http://uscis.gov/graphics/shared/statistics/yearbook/YrBk04Im.htm

Summary: From Germany, it's about 10K per year that come to the US and become permanent residents. In 2000-2001 is was as much as 21K per year. From all of Europe it's about 125K per year on average.

Well to be honest with all of you I am not sure what the point is of this discussion.

I think it is great that Germany is the number 1 exporter in the world. I am not sure how important that is or even what it does for them. It surely has not had much of an impact on their overall economy. I guess it just slows the decline a bit.

As for Sienmes, a great company. It medical sales are down on year over year bases but still a world powerhouse in most of its market segments.

Topics like education, standard of living, etc are just that topics. If the Germans, and they appear to be, happy with where they are, then that is super. They can stay in place with the status quo and make no changes to the existing situation. It will have no material affect on them other than their ranking will continue to decline. This is OK with me as it is OK with the Germans and they are the ones who really matter.

Demographics are something else. These are much harder to correct. Those too are fine. There will be fewer and fewer Germans each year going forward. This will place great stress on their economic model as there will be more and more people who are to receive benifits and fewer and fewer people to pay for these. Simple and easy answer is to raise taxes. So taxes will go up and the government will take even more control over individual lives and this is fine too. It has been most acceptable to Germans to this point and seems to be part of their culture. Again if this is what the citizens of Germany want, then they should have it. Maybe the more the better.

It will be interesting to see the German solution to this set of problems. I am sure whatever it is, it will acceptable the vast majority of Germans. For the rest of us, it should be an opportunity to observe and learn.

So as many Germans have pointed out in the thread, Germany is a great nation, doing just fine and has both the time and the answers to correct it current situation which will lead to a bright future making them a world leader.

@Gavin: "What on Earth does it matter that exports were higher to the EU? Does that mean they dont count? Only in your books buddy."

If EU is what it claims to be, then "exports" within the EU are no different than "exports" within the US. What about the exports from, say, North Carolina to California? If we throw in all of the interstate numbers, we'll leave the EU in the dust.

mamapajamas,

Question - Does it really matter?

As far as I am concerned if they want to include trade between Berlin and Hamburg that is fine too.

I think the answer to AM's problem is a simple one; change German society. Borrow a few leaves from Reagan and Thatcher's book and invent a few of your own.

Tax cuts absolutely. Tax simplification also. Cut the rates drastically but also cut out the loopholes which allow the wealthy to avoid paying any tax. Even the folks in the middle may like it because it will be made obvious that the rich have to pay something. Cut their taxes too.

Germany is a society of renters I have heard. Change that. Give tax breaks on mortgage interest and property taxes. Sell public housing to the occupants.

Have a look at the parts of the tax code which prevent outside investment, and change those bits. Radically. Make Germany as attractive to investment as Poland is.

It's very simple for 'AM'. Engineer an economic boom.

There's a provocative piece in today's Washington Times. "EU Extortionists". It does not bode well for trade to/from/within the EU. It's about the tax savings directive. This is the only thing I've ever read about this directive. Anyone with more info, please feel free to educate me.
------------------------
Imagine you own a successful business, and you have a much larger and less efficient competitor. Your inefficient competitor has demanded you make payments to him or he will pressure your suppliers to stop doing business with you. I have just described classic criminal extortion, as now conducted by some governments in the European Union.
In the above example, substitute: France, Germany and Italy for the "inefficient competitor;" smaller, low tax jurisdictions for the "successful business;" global financial institutions for "suppliers;" and coerced taxes and information for "payments." Now you begin to understand what is going on.
-----------------------------
http://www.washingtontimes.com/commentary/20050709-104257-3403r.htm

For those of you who might want to have some facts about the health care system in Canada, I might suggest the link below.

It is a very good system if you do not need it. It is much like the German social welfare state. It worked well when no one needed it.

Times change and needs change.

Oh well, let us all hope Germany continues on its own course and finds the path it seeks. Maybe from one of the nations its citizens admire.

I suggest france. They have done well in the last 100 years.

http://www.torontosun.com/News/Columnists/Crosbie_John/2005/07/10/1124675.html

joe: "Question - Does it really matter?

"As far as I am concerned if they want to include trade between Berlin and Hamburg that is fine too."

Yes. They CAN include trade between Berlin and Hamburg if they want to, but they are NOT doing it, just as they are NOT including trade between North Carolina and California... which would be more closely related to trade between EU members.

In fact, when is the EU going to drop down to one vote in the UN? On the other hand, why doesn't the US have 50 votes?

Maybe because the EU is not a country and never claimed to be, but a community of countries with different foreign policies, different interests.
The same goes for exports - what the EU creates are, among others, minimal standarts, consumer rights, rules of competetion. It does not regulate wages, welfare, working conditions, social security, healthcare, taxes etc. That's why e.g. France's or Germany's economies are so different from the British economy. If the EU regulated everything, it wouldn't matter whether a company went to POland, Germany or Belgium and the economic situation wouldn't be so different in those countries. But it does and it is, and so it does matter, and it makes sense that the inner-EU exports are included into these statistics.
Again: the EU is NOT one nation (and it probably never will be), but 25, the US IS one nation (under God).

Whether or not the EU regulates or taxes everything is irrelevent. The US is not a centralized entity with everything decided at that national level. A great deal of regulation in the US is not at the federal level but at the state, with some states having a greater regulatory burden than others for consumer and employment issues. Different states have different tax burdens and often have competely different tax structures, as some states have no income taxes, some have business&occupation taxes, and some have various amounts of sales tax.

The only thing that matters is whether legal trade barriers exist and whether the same barriers apply to non-EU countries. One of the EU's primary purposes is to eliminate those barriers between European countries without necessarily lowering those to non-EU countries to make a single market so that they compete better with the US. The result is that intra-EU exports are rising quickly as EU nation-states with a comparative advantage in a particular field press their advantage. Of course that also means that EU nations are losing domestic capacity in certain industries as competition from other EU countries outsell inefficient domestic producers.

Thus intra-EU exports should not be given the same importance as external exports.

Ray D. posted:

"@ Tyranno: You need a healthy dose of Erik Svane's Americans Anonymous."
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Excellent Ray, Thanks. I forwarded it to my friends who still reside in the house of mirrors.

The rhetorical ace I always pulled out when when all attempts to reach out failed was:
"I have a lot of trouble being lectured to about 'peace' by folks who are enjoying their first 60 years of peace in about 600 years, thanks to having it imposed on them by a foreign power!"
As Eric might say, cette force etranger etre ~ NOUS!

Thanks for the link. Great site.

Tyranno

Gavin posts:

@ Tom Penn:

Is the grunt ticked off? Your excellent response couldn't make me happier, because it just proves what I said, which is that when ANY nation chooses not to invest in military, it or someone who believes this to be good (me) has no principles, no beliefs, no morals, no nothing. If principles like yours produce great thinkers like you, then again, more power to Europe and Canada. It just confirms we made the right choice, and that American principles, morals, beliefs, are something to stay away from."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

It is important to re-read Gavin's post first.

Gavin's more complex and sophisticated take on the world is obtuse, based on the same sophistry as the more moral and ethical progressives in San Francisco declaring themselves a "nuclear free zone!"
And what a wonderfully liberal and safe position to take ... nestled safely under the protection of that military and it's nuclear umbrella.
Now, you all can sit around your sychophantic circle of PACE flag flying friends and pretend that umbrella doesn't exist, but whether it's over a pils in Karlsruhe or a latte in Frisco, wishing doesn't make it or it's effect disappear.

If only the North Koreans with their exceptionally sane, elected President (or at least that is what the Euros call him), or the Iranian mullahs and their exceptionally ideological puppet president (or at least that is what the Euros call him), or the Chinese would stop their massive nuclear, chem, bio, rad, conventional military buildups, and would be more respectful of, South Korea, the infidel world, and Taiwan. If only . . .
The effects of leaving these guys alone are arguably unknowable, except by a learned understanding of history and extensive observation of prior behaviors or their ilk. And, fortunately for these more nuanced liberal progressives amongst us and their wishful arguments, the price of allowing a test case (say, North Korea?) to go forward, you know, just to see what might happen, is deemed too high a risk to allow.

It is such a privilege to be born, grow up and live in the west; and the level of prosperity and comfort here is such a historical anomaly. But when this is all you have ever known human nature tends to stretch that fabric over all of your understanding until you believe it has always been this way. This is what is lost on these useful idiots; that our wonderful existence is truly an anomaly of history and worth defending.

I have seen the good works that Gavin's "Non-American," more moral, ethical, and non military Europeans have performed these last several years.
Whether it was watching the genocide in Rwanda from the sidelines, watching France's occasional slaughterings in their black African colonies from the sidelines, watching the current genocide in Darfur from the sidelines, or watching other's move their humanitarian supplies into Indonesia after the terrible tsunami (thank God the good and moral Europeans didn't own any of those dirty bad military transport planes delivering food and water. . . that would have been so embarrassing.)
I have listened to Gavin's "Non-American," more moral, ethical, and non military Europeans these last several years. Astonished at how many who can no longer distinguish good from evil, who decried Pinochet while ignoring Castro, who decried De klerk while ignoring Mugabe, who decried every Jewish/Israeli leader while funding "President" Arafat, who decry Bush but never raised their voices or took to the streets over the criminal hussein regime (350,000 sets of remains unearthed so far.)
From the vantage point of this being the 10th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre I can hardly image the level of denial it must require to hold an opinion like the one Gavin seems so adolescently proud of.

I repeat, I have A LOT OF TROUBLE being lectured too about how much more moral and righteous the Europeans are . . . or have been . . . at least for the last 60 years. Knowing that this most excellent and pleasant existence was not of European genesis.

Gavin (europe?) reminds me of just another spoiled teenager who has the world 'all figured out,' stamps his feet and holds his breath when asked to help out around the house, but never hesitates to turn to the "adults" when he is hungry or needs some gas money. He doesn't realise or appreciate his good fortune and never wonders why there are no dissidents in North Korea, no alternative political candidates in Iran, no POWS to be mistreated by the Iraqi sunni ba'athist "dissidents," or why more people were executed by China's death penalty last year than the previous 25 years in the bad ol' U.S.A.

My biggest realization after 6 years in Europe is that de-nial runs wider and deeper through Europe than the Danube, the Rhine, or the Loire. And that Europe is sooOOoo guilty of perhaps the biggest case of psychological transference in the history of mankind.
God it feels good to be home!

Tyranno

I don't know who brought that up, but why do germans believe that US took advantage of their astronomy knowledge?
Isn't that an urban legend?

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