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Have you read http://www.lautgeben.de/2005/09/02/english-translation-who-cares-about-the-flut-opfers/ ? Perhaups you will reconsider your opinion about Mr. Trittin - or do you want to be a victim of a launched campaign?

Note from David: Funny to assume that we are part of a SPON campaign... Our first piece about Trittin was published on the morning of Tuesday Aug 30, without knowledge of SPON's "campaign". Regarding the intentions of Mr. Trittin, I have no doubt that he means what he wrote, as an official of his ministry said after SPON attacked him.

Totally off-topic:

Football (soccer) World Cup qualifier: USA 2 - Mexico 0

USA Men's soccer team qualifies for the 2006 World Cup in Germany!

There is a difference between American idiots who blame the hurricane on the administration in the press and German idiots who do the same. Here in America we will hear both sides. Will both sides be heard in Germany?

>>"Perhaups you will reconsider your opinion about Mr. Trittin - or do you want to be a victim of a launched campaign?"

Launched campaign indeed! It's amazing how many of Trittin's poodles are trying to recreate reality. Just read what the man said. His words speak for themselves. Yet these people are coming out of the woodwork, telling us with a straight face that if you read Trittin's remarks "carefully," and interpret the German nuances "correctly," Voila! the scales will fall from your eyes, and you will see he was only trying to "help" us. Why, tears of gratitude should be running down our cheeks. Forget it, Trittin vassals. You can create your own swamp of phantasies if you like, but don't expect us to wade in with you. We are not impressed with your game of magically transmuting black into white via "correct interpretation." We know when we are being insulted and patronized by someone who is trying to exploit our dead to score cheap political points. And considering the fact that the remarks came from Germany's official court clown, we are hardly surprised.

Trittin's 'opinion' was the very first reaction from a member of the German government which I heard, and was allowed to stand alone as the presumed opinion of the German government for a long time. It's only a couple of days ago that we heard anything else - so it was reasonable to assume that Trittin's views were a reasonable approximation of what Foreign Minister Fischer's and Chancellor Schroeder's opinions were.

Given that the various iniquities of the US and of President Bush have been used as major campaign fodder by the good Chancellor in two elections now - and the long silence from more senior figures in the German government - a very unpleasant picture came together.

After the then German Justice Minister compared Bush with Adolf Hitler during 2002 I assumed that Schroeder and his government would be more careful this year. Apparently not. And it very much appears that the German public approves of this kind of talk - at least a measured quantity of it.

Is this a 'breaking point'? I'm not sure. For me the breaking point apparently fell somewhere between 2002 and now because my reaction was to sigh and think 'more of the same'. I did think about whether Germany or China was a better friend to the US - I think on balance China is at this point.

China is making serious efforts to help resolve several major crisises in Asia. Germany? What is Germany doing other than to help reassure the Ayahtollahs of Iran that they can co ahead with building their bomb unscathed. 'Take force off the table, President Bush'. A big help, Germany has been. Iran is going to get their bomb - and what exactly has Germany done to avoid creating an explosive situation in the Middle East?

There once was a court fool named Trittin,
Whose remarks weren't entirely fittin',
He said with a smirk,
I'm not really a jerk!
You've just misunderstood what I've written!

A launched campaign? Another way of saying victim of a DoS attack?

>>Trittin's 'opinion' was the very first reaction from a member of the German government which I heard, and was allowed to stand alone as the presumed opinion of the German government for a long time. It's only a couple of days ago that we heard anything else - so it was reasonable to assume that Trittin's views were a reasonable approximation of what Foreign Minister Fischer's and Chancellor Schroeder's opinions were.<<

Um, yeah, whatever. Trittin's comment - whatever you think of it, let's leave that aside for the moment - was published in a paper on Tuesday 30th. Later that same day, this was issued: clickme, in which Schröder expresses his condolences towards the victims.
When it became apparent that the richest country in the world couldn't handle the situation, both Schröder and Fischer offered further help. A promise that has been kept, as far as I know.
What else do you want?

@St.Roch

>>"What else do you want?"

Whatever are you going on about, St.Roch? Want something from you, after all Schroeder, et.al. have done for us?! Good heavens, no! Can't you see the tears of gratitude glistening on our cheeks?

As the twin disasters (the hurricane, then the levee breach) were in full fledged media hysteria in America, the MSM was flailing about for international reaction. The first thing we hear from Germany is the Environment Minister spouting off that Katrina was made worse because Bush didn't sign Kyoto.

First impressions are a dear thing and the first thing Americans hear is that Germany blamed the victims... oh... but after Americans heard this, Schröder offers condolences. Too late, the media hysterics moved on. Damage done. And Bush gets the blame when his underlings bungle international relations...

"When it became apparent that the richest country in the world couldn't handle the situation, both Schröder and Fischer offered further help"

Do you grasp yet that territory the size of England has beel blasted off the Earth? Without fuel to move resources around (because fleeing civilians used it up), it has to be brought back in with the returning responders. Without Power (it takes power to run gas pump if there was fuel). More than a million people displaced from their homes for months to years? Bridges wiped out, rail washed out. Teritory the size of England!

What does being the richest country in the world have to do with the enormity of the situation?

Maybe Germany can give Americans a great big group hug when it's over. Or because we're so rich, maybe just one of those butt-stuck-out air kisses would do...

First of all, it is not fair to blame Bush for a hurricane. Before I've heard of what Mr. Trittin said, I never thought someone could say such a thing. On the other hand, it is not fair to blame all Germans for what one minister said. Although I do not agree with every aspect of the American politic (as I do not agree with every aspect of German politic) I would never blame that on every American.

Trittin is a fool (for the 100th time someone has said it.) Trittin is not the German people. He may not speak for the German people. He is however a member of the Federal Government of Germany and should shut up if his statements don't represent the thoughts of the government. So far his statements do however comport with the thoughts, acts and policys of the government of Germany.

What German people really feel? Well we will know after the next election won't we. If they return Gerhard Schröder and Joschka Fischer then they are screwed.

Helian:
>>Whatever are you going on about, St.Roch? Want something from you, after all Schroeder, et.al. have done for us?! Good heavens, no! Can't you see the tears of gratitude glistening on our cheeks?<<

Yes, yes, I can see you are very good at sarcasm.
Don said he thought it very inappropriate that Trittin's comments were the only ones forthcoming from the German government "for a long time". I responded - and proved - that he was mistaken. Contrary to what he says - and remembers, maybe -, there had been a statement, an official statement, not an obscure interview in a leftist paper, at the same time or right after the comments of Trittin. Two days later, an offer for help was sent. That is what "what else do you want" refers to: the claim that the government silently agreed with Trittin because it didn't say anything.
Now, if your government wants my government to send some flood-trained troops, or more provisions, or some special equipment, I'm sure my government would be happy to comply. The offer has been made, and I know for a fact that the first requested planes (carrying food, I believe, which right now is probably more important than money) have already taken off.


Anondson:
>>The first thing we hear from Germany is the Environment Minister spouting off that Katrina was made worse because Bush didn't sign Kyoto.<<

*sigh* He didn't say that. Read my comments under the last Trittin article on this site, the one with the three updates. If you've read them and still believe these lies, then, well, engage me in a discussion, because honestly, I can't read "Bush responsible for Katrina, and haha, Americans are drowning, this is so funny" into Trittin's comments. I can't read it into Robert Kennedy's blog article, either.

I know that David and Ray do not share my opinion. For the record, if SPON and blogs like this one hadn't made such a huge fuss about his comments, I doubt even FR readers would remember them now, or take them seriously. Has the mainstream media caught it up, anyways? CNN, BBC, FoxNews, Tagesschau, heute-journal? I don't know. I know that a lot of people who are not particularly Internet-savvy and don't read BILD didn't even know about Trittin's comments until I told them. People who do watch more TV than I do.
Maybe I've been asking the wrong people. If I went on a street in New York and asked 50 intelligent-looking people whether they were outraged by the comments of the German environmental minister, how many would even know what I was talking about?


>>Do you grasp yet that territory the size of England has beel blasted off the Earth?<<

No, I couldn't, I'm an idiotic self-centred Eurolefty who laughs about the perceived stupidity of fat Americans and jerks off to pictures comparing Mr Bush to a yawning cimpanzee. That is what you think of me, isn't it?

Regardless of what you seem to think of me, I am not stupid. I know the extent of the damage. My line that the richest country in the world couldn't handle the problem was not criticism. Now, in retrospect, I think no country could be faulted to have problems finding a solution and, more importantly, putting it into effect.

It (the line) was about expectations. Your country is one of the richest, maybe the richest, I don't know the GDP of the emirates, in the world. You're so rich you can afford to fight a war for freedom, to bring liberty to the Iraqi people even though you have nothing to do with them. I did not expect the United States to need any assistance, and frankly, most Germans probably didn't.
The German government and German charity organisations instantly sent money off to Asia after last year's Christmas floods, for a very simple reason: these countries were already piss-poor before the floods, and there was simply no way they could afford the instant tidying up and recovery process they needed. But America? Americans are great. Americans are independent. Americans are able solve their own problems. Americans are offended if anyone says they can't. That's your image.
Now that the world has seen that you really would be very glad of any assistance, it is prepared to help. It's not just Germany; did you receive instant offers from any other European country before Monday or Tuesday? It's an honest question, because I simply don't know. Enlighten me if any of you is better informed.
Note that I'm not saying it's Bush's fault. I'm not saying it's the fault of the mayor of New Orleans either that so many people have been killed and that rescue operations work, to put it mildly, less-than-optimally. No-one (living) can be faulted for a catastrophe like this. For the way the rescues worked, or, more to the point, didn't work, yes. But I'm not sitting at the source, I don't know all of the facts, and, besides, there will be more than enough time to judge who's responsible after everyone who can be saved has been saved.

I'm not sitting here writing this with a self-righteous grin on my face and thinking: "Ah, the stupid fat Americans with more guns than brain tissue, these arrogant bastards who think they're the King. They've run the boat against the iceberg and they need us, us the absolutely superior, brilliant, well-spoken and pacifistic Europeans, us whom they're always belittling, to HELP them! Imagine that! Ha! I hope all Bush-voters drown before the help my government is sending over-seas can reach them!" I'm sure there are people like that all over Europe; I'm not even denying that some of them are working right now on Americans-bashing articles appearing in the papers of tomorrow.
But I'm not one of them. I am not without feeling. I do care. Frankly, I find it insulting to be deliberately misinterpreted just because I see things in a different light than the one this site's lamps radiate. I do not hate you people, damnit! It would be nice if someone tried to read my comments on a basis other than interpreting them in the worst possible way. If I go into a conversation with the expectation that I'm going to be offended, I will be offended even if that was never the other one's intention. And if I was all about stirring up the hate between Germans and Americans, I wouldn't bother writing long posts like this, because, excuse me, this blog is doing a splendid job already and doesn't need me to help it along.

@ St roch


1) Why Didn't Louisiana Follow it's required Emergency Plan? Why isn't anyone talking about this?

2) Why hasn't anyone mentioned that a Pre-Requisite for a Federal Response BY LAW is that State Law is Executed and the Emergency Plan is Executed FIRST?

3) Why did the Governor abandon the City of New Orleans for the Safety of Baton Rouge, before the Plan was Executed?

4) Why, when the federal Government was acting in accordance with the Stafford Act, did the State of Louisiana, by its Governors acts, delay making requests when being told this storm was going to hit?

5) Why did Mayor Nagin or Governor Blanco, delay while sleeping on it Saturday night, the Mandatory evacuation spelled out in the Louisiana Emergency Plan? Saturday the Mayor said he may order an evacuation tomorrow. (Sunday)

6) Where were the Parish Presidents who were signatories to the Louisiana Emergency Plan, and why did they fail in its Execution to the plan?

7) In the Parish failure to implement, why didn't the State take over as required by the plan?

8) Why weren't the Hospitals nursing homes, etc. evacuated since the plan required them to do so?

9) Why did the Mandatory evacuation only occur AFTER President Bush called, and why did Governor Blanco stress that it was only after President Bush Called to urging the Evacuation order? Was she concerned for the Citizens, or was she grandstanding so she could blame the President if the Storm didn't hit?

10) Why were the Action Plan implementations required not done by the Local and State Government?

The tipping point is long past for many Americans. We no longer like or trust many Germans, certainly not those represented by the policies or attitudes of the current German government. We will not doubt cooperate when it suits both countries, but I for one neither consider today's Germany an ally, more importantly I don't trust or RESPECT her.

What most of us wanted, St. Roch, was a moment of silence and sympathy.

I find it morally repugnant that ANY official of your government would show such disrespect to the dead, the dying and those who have lost everything they had -- in many cases including their families. The resounding indifference that came from European press and officials about the scope of death and loss says all that needs to be said: Europe may sanctimoniously preach about social equality and love for the environment but at heart she is empty, dead, a puppet going through the motions with no humanity in her any more.

Really pathetic. While there may be some immediate help we could use, such as the medical teams coming from India with their own support materiel and pharmaceuticals, it is true that we will do without your help.

But by withholding any obvious concern for the suffering of so many people, Europeans have sealed for ever in my mind an opinion of Europe as beneath contempt.

On a more practical matter, Europeans might want to keep in mind that the ports of New Orleans and South Louisiana are (were) the 4th or 5th largest in the world by tonnage. They are the exit point for massive amounts of grain due to be harvested in a few weeks: grain that Europe buys and that goes in part as food aid to the hungry in places like Africa.

Katrina appears to have shifted the channel and the ports are not usable right now. It may take many months and billions of dollars to repair.

WE will eat fine. It is economical to get grain to the food processors within our own country by rail. But all those who didn't bother to find dead Americans worth a moment of respect and grief had better check out where their own country's food supplies come from. For a number of countries in Europe, the price of flour and bread may well be affected for the next year and perhaps a lot longer than that. Meat too, since some of the grain is exported as feed for cattle and other food animals.

Just a reminder that ecologies and environments aren't limited to nature. They exist economically and geopolitically as well. And Europe's new friends the Arabs and China are, regrettably, not able to feed her quite yet. Nor after Chernobyl will Russia and the Ukraine.

I am not happy about the break between Germany and my country. But neither am I sad. It's just the way things are and from my perspective that is by German's choice. Bye .....

I should also add that the same ports by New Orleans that export our grain have been the port of entry for heavier industrial goods and parts we purchase.

It may well be the case that Germany doesn't sell all that much to us these days. I haven't checked the recent figures. But all who do will find that buying our own products will be less expensive than importing them from Europe and trucking or shipping them by rail across the country now that the great waterway of the Mississippi, Ohio and Missouri rivers is unavailable for freight transit -- perhaps for a long time.

PS: thanks for sticking around as a European to whom we can speak our outrage, St. Roch.

@St.Roch

>>"And if I was all about stirring up the hate between Germans and Americans, I wouldn't bother writing long posts like this, because, excuse me, this blog is doing a splendid job already and doesn't need me to help it along."

This is beyond sarcasm. This is really outrageous. The German media have been pouring out hate by the bucketfull for the last decade, but St.Roch didn't notice a thing. The German media have served up racist caricatures of Americans that would have made Streicher smile, but St.Roch didn't notice a thing. The German media, obsessed with America, have consistently and constantly emphasized the negative, and hidden the positive about America, but St.Roch didn't notice a thing. The German media has condoned and rationalized attacks on America for the last ten years, egging on the terrorists who carry out those attacks, but St.Roch didn't notice a thing. But if a little blog takes notice of what's going on and bravely takes a stand against the media hate peddling and pandering to the lowest instincts of the German people, suddenly St.Roch notices something. He "didn't notice" any of the hate and bile being thrown our way by the German media for the last ten years, but, suddenly, he finally notices that "someone is stirring up hate." And who, pray tell, is guilty of "stirring up hate." The people who portray Americans on the covers of their magazines as parasitic insects? No! The people who portray Americans on the covers of their magazines as gun-toting lunatics? No! The people who portray Americans on the covers of their magazines in the flattering figure of a boot crushing German workers, in the style of "Der Stuermer?" No! St.Roch would have us believe that an individual who was outraged by what he saw and, by himself, stood up against the hate peddlars, and that very effectively, is guilty of "stirring up hate." St.Roch would have us believe that a one man who has arguably done more to defeat the panderers of hate in Germany than anyone else in the country, and that not with a view to the 30 pieces of silver the media Judases get from their readers for feeding their obsession with bashing America, but as a matter of principle, at his own expense, is "stirring up hate." Let me tell you something, St.Roch. I don't hate you, and I certainly don't hate all Germans. After seeing my country outrageously vilified and slandered in the German media for the last ten years, that's not something you can take for granted. Human beings tend to requite hate with hate. The reason I don't hate back is precisely because of brave, principled people like David, who, knowing they will be vilified and slandered themselves, have not taken the easy path, but have taken a principled stand against that vilification and slander. When the anti-American hate campaign began in earnest in the mid-90's, there were always a few Germans on Internet forums, taking a stand, defending America against the hate peddlars much better than I could have done it myself. David was the first to become a serious thorn in the side of the arrogant German mainstream media, and they reacted not with reason, but with rage, slandering and vilifying him, as we saw in Spiegel's blundering "anti-Freeper" debacle. David has been following by a stout little group of other like-minded bloggers, who provide the only significant alternative to the mainstream media hate peddlars. If I and many other Americans don't return hate for hate, you can thank David and his fellow bloggers. Before her people were traumatized by the horrendous events of the 20th century, many intelligent people visited Germany and commented on her people. The characteristics they often mentioned were honesty, simplicity, and decency. It is because of David and his peers that I know those core characteristics and values are still there. In a word, St.Roch, take some advice from someone who has been on the receiving end for the last ten years. Do you have a problem with hate? Don't blame the victims, or the people who have tried to defend them. You obviously have a very thin skin when it comes to criticism of Germany. How is it, then, that you expect others to react differently from you? Before you compose any more long posts about the sliver in David's eye, pray take note of the beam in your own eye.

americanbychoice:
>>@ St roch

1) Why Didn't Louisiana Follow it's required Emergency Plan? Why isn't anyone talking about this?
[...]<<

I don't really know why you're addressing all of this to me. I have explicitly stated that I have no intention to judge who's guilty. I don't come close to knowing all of the facts, and, honestly, I don't care enough for them to spend hours of research to get them. The question who's responsible is a question that needs to be answered by Americans when the time is right.
If I came at any of you with "facts" about who misspent money originally intended for the dams, and who didn't realize the danger of the hurricane early enough, and whatnot, many of you would criticize me for snooping about matters that don't concern me, and rightfully so. What I feel I can comment on I will comment on; but this whole question of responsibility is not one of those pots I may safely stick my nose in, as we Germans say.


too true:
>>What most of us wanted, St. Roch, was a moment of silence and sympathy.<<

Understandably so. And as far as a large portion of Germans I know are concerned, the sympathy is yours.
I can also understand the anger, even outrage at Trittin's comments. No problem. I have never said I agreed with his timing; if I have evoked this impression, I am sorry. English is not my native language; I fancy myself rather good with it, if you will allow the self-confidence :), but it's entirely possible that I phrased some of my arguments unluckily and open to misinterpretation.
However, as I have also said several times already, the first impression of a comment we read in anger can sometimes be coloured by that emotion. I am convinced that if one reads his original comments and his second article with the idea in mind that maybe, though terribly misplaced, his comments are not all that insulting (and stupid), one will see them in a more favourable light. Not lose the anger at his business-as-usual tone, but see the original article as what it actually is: an unimportant and repititive rant about how important climatic protection and the reduction of greenhouse gases are, a rant that uses the destruction caused by Katrina as a springboard only. Much like Robert Kennedy did; feel free to be angry at Trittin, but please be angry at Kennedy, too, for he wrote exactly the same thing and even worked a joke into it.
Excuse me that I bring up this point again and again, but this is one of the pots the contents of which I do know and can comment on.


>>But by withholding any obvious concern for the suffering of so many people, Europeans have sealed for ever in my mind an opinion of Europe as beneath contempt.<<
Now, now. To how many Europeans have you listened? You cannot criticize all of us for projecting our "hatred" towards Bush onto the American populace and yet do the same thing in return. A people is not defined by what their leaders are saying. In fact, once someone's in power, he can say anything he wants without being thrown out of office by an angry populace. Think of Spain, where the war in Iraq was extremely unpopular but which the then-leader of Spain supported anyway. (Well, he got voted out of office. But only later.) European politicians, or German ones at least, have a way of thinking that they should do and say what they think is right and not what the people believe what should be done or said. I have heard that this is different in America. If so, you can count yourselves lucky.


>>WE will eat fine. It is economical to get grain to the food processors within our own country by rail. But all those who didn't bother to find dead Americans worth a moment of respect and grief had better check out where their own country's food supplies come from.<<

Hm, well, I'm not an expert. I have no idea how much of European food is imported from America. I'm pretty sure though that Germany will not suffer many consequences in this regard. I have no facts to back my wild guesswork up with, and I'll be glad to accept any if anyone wants to look them up, but I think that the fields in Southern Germany alone could support the country for a few years. The same applies to France, probably. Spain or even the Czechs might be not that lucky, though. Incidentally, some German farmers who I know to have been bothered by cheap over-seas imports might even profit from this. The reason for it is sad, but they're probably going to be happy once they realize this.
Anyway, you bring up a good point (ports being closed) that I have not seen addressed yet in the media, German or international. They're too busy reporting the failures of the Bush administration (their words, not mine) and showing pictures of dead black people, I guess...


>>PS: thanks for sticking around as a European to whom we can speak our outrage, St. Roch.<<

I will continue sticking around as long as I think I'm making a difference. I'll be honest and say straight out that I think this blog extremely biased. Everything that can be interpreted negatively is interpreted that way. I've looked at the archives. Many times, Ray and David are quite right in criticizing the German media. But mostly I think that they're going overboard with their phrasing, which is too harsh, too aggressive in the light of the offence or perceived offence that started it, inciting anger in both German and American readers instead of trying to build a bridge between our two peoples. I'll try to present matters in a different light. If David allows, of course.
As long as I think I'm being listened to -- and not shrugged off as someone not worth the time of a reply, David -- I'll be here. I'm not out to change anybody's mind, because that's up to you, and, hey, you don't have to see things my way. Considering the experience some here seem to have had with Germans, I'd be surprised if it wasn't easy being easily offended. But at least listen (or read, whatever).


As far as the German/American relationship is concerned...
Western Germans can be divided into approximately three generations here in Germany. Hm, well, that was a pretty stupid statement. Which Western country doesn't have largely three generations of people around?
Anyway. There are the people who are now old men and women and who were children when WWII ended. Most of them are pro-America. They remember them as the guys who defeated Hitler and liberated them. They remember them as the guys who helped build up the country again. They remember them as the guys who stopped the Russians from controlling all of Germany. Many of them think that the Germans should be extremely grateful and show their gratitude by remaining (or again becoming) America's closest ally. Unfortunately for the German/American relationship, this generation is dying out. Yes, I know, it's a cruel thing to say, but it's true. All four of my grandparents are still alive, and I'm grateful for it, but I'm realistic enough to know they're not going to last much longer.
The next generation, by and large, is still grateful. Make no mistake about that. But when they were growing up, America's shining white armor began to show dark spots. One spot in particular is still in people's minds: Vietnam. You have to keep that in mind when gauging the Germans' reaction to the Iraq war. Justified or not, they compare the two and think it's the same thing all over again. Besides, none of them participated in the War. They don't feel personally guilty, because they didn't do anything, and besides, you know how the child-generation always turns against the older one? That's another reason why many people are not so pro-America anymore, and weren't in their youth, either (but didn't say it then, because, you know, "these Amis are keeping the Russians away"). Or at least that's my theory.
Next generation: mine. Those who have experienced only the end of the Cold War or grown up entirely in a unified Germany. It's here you'll find most anti-American sentiments. Partly because of high unemployment among young people. They need someone to lash out to, and Bush happens to be a big target. Never mind that, if you ask about details, none of them could explain quite why "that man is the greatest danger to world peace". Another reason is, obviously, the detachment from WWII and the Cold War.
Oh, and then there are the "Ossis". Many of whom do not link the end of the GDR to America's efforts. (Oh, have no illusions. I, myself think that the Russians did a lot more to help crash their system than many Americans allow for. I also think that Ronald Reagan was an extremely dangerous man who could have plunged the world into a nuclear war if Gorbatshew hadn't clung to his seat quite so fiercely and been quite as naive as he proved to be. But to completely rule the Americans out of the picture is a mistake.) And, well, there's unemployment again. If you don't have work, you've got a lot of time to think about matters. Once it becomes boring to bitch about your own government, you bitch about other governments. Bush, again, is just the biggest target.

And what do I think, you ask? I'm certainly not out to bash Americans for no reason at all. You may have gleamed that from my comments here. I think it's important that Germany and the US remain strong allies. However, I do not think that Germany has to bow to America's every whim. Many of you might not agree, might say that we should be grateful we're alive and shut the hell up. To which I respond: you gave us freedom. If you're not hypocrites, you should let us practice it.
I think it was right that Schröder said "no" to any participation in the latest installment of the Gulf War. Iraq was a complicated matter, and under certain circumstances, I would have agreed that war was inevitable. War might be inevitable in the case of North Korea, depending what Kim Jong-Il does in his next fit of madness. But back then, the Iraq invasion was illegal and, if you ask me, morally wrong. But please understand that when he's "playing the Iraq card" he's not being anti-American. He's being anti-war, and that's the main message he wants the people to get. I won't deny that he's fishing for voters on the fringe, the young, frustrated people I spoke of, with the "anti-Bush" implications an "anti-war" stance has. But that's not his main aim. (Says I. You might not see it this way. Let's talk about it.)
So, I said it. I'm against the war. But I'm not anti-American. I respect your country, I respect many of your artists (my tastes have shifted recently - and no, it has nothing to do with Iraq -, but I still enjoy a lot of American literature and films, and the greatest composer alive is an American).
Do I trust you? Ah, well... the people, sure. People are people, everywhere in the world. More to the point, do I trust your government to do what I think is best for world peace? Hell, no. Any man whose hand playfully hovers above the switch that will send an atomic bomb across the ocean unearns any trust I might have had in him. Sure, Russia's got a lot of bombs, too, but Putin hasn't explicitly said he'll use it! (North Korea doesn't count. Or do you seriously want to me to compare Bush with Kim Jong-Il? Come on...) If that marks me an anti-American, then I'm sorry, but then the two continents have really drifted too far apart for even Roland Koch to fix it.

@Helian: I'm sorry, I don't have the time right now to more than skim your comment. I'll answer tomorrow in more detail if I don't cover this enough now. Just a few quick responses for now:

>>The German media have been pouring out hate by the bucketfull for the last decade, but St.Roch didn't notice a thing.<<
That's bullshit. I know very well that the German media is biased. How do you know I haven't written letters to papers that portray other nations, specifically America, in a worse light then neccessary? Just because I haven't been posting here for more than a few days? I didn't even know this blog existed until two weeks or so ago.

>>The German media have served up racist caricatures of Americans that would have made Streicher smile, but St.Roch didn't notice a thing.<<
Caricatures, exaggerations of reality, are a German specialty. Britains jokingly say we have no humour. We have, we're just not particularly good at it. That Stern article, for instance, prominently linked to on the right? I haven't read it. But I have looked at the pictures. And I laughed. Yes, I laughed, because I thought it was funny. They even put a bar under each picture to show that they didn't portray the average American, but extremes.
I would have found it funny if Stern had done a similar list with German stereotypes. Or European ones. Or Franconian ones. I thought the whole thing was a light-hearted joke, and David's comments ridiculous. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe Stern didn't intend the list as a joke, but as a presentation of reality. I haven't read the article. And I sure as hell haven't read the mind of the writer.
To any Americans who were offended by the images I apologize, as a German.

There are several examples like that, where I thought: "What's the big deal? Stern's not a serious magazine. They don't really think like that. No-one can take these exaggerations as reality." That's not only my opinion. I know many Germans who'd agree with me. That's where e-mails like "why can't we criticize Americans?" come from. Many people don't realize - I don't realize - how one can be offended by things like that.

There's one other example I'd like to mention. It is, you guessed it, about the "Trittin outrage" coverage of this site. Sorry, David, but I really think your editing was anything but objective. You don't have to be, I know, this is your blog, you can do what you want. But you cannot do that and at the same time claim that you're the only one who's showing people the truth, the ugly face of the German media and of German anti-Americanism.
Please bear with me. You were angry, ok, why not. I've said numerous times that there are some things in his article to be angry about, not least of all his timing. But saying that Trittin claimed Katrina was Bush's fault is simply wrong. He didn't. You might think that's the message he wanted to get across, ok. But then say so and do not lie for the sake of your argument. Or was that American humour (humor), an exaggeration me stupid German did not get?
Now, back to the point about "stirring up the hate". I might have phrased that less agressively, sure. Sorry about that. But I still think that this blog, and especially the Trittin article, does not help fixing the transatlantican relationship. An American reads it: "What, how can this German dog dare?" A German reads it: "What the hell, that's an outright lie, he never said that!" To a lesser degree, quite a few other articles are phrased in a way that will prompt similar reactions.
It's not the facts per se: I said that I agree about the bias of German media. I'll even concede the Stern article. It's the way the facts are presented that I find irresponsible: the comments, the selective quoting, the use of bold type. What would have been so hard about taking the edge off of some of your comments on the two follow-up pieces on the original Trittin article? I quite like the way you did "The Sophisticated View: It's All Bush's Fault". (No, I didn't reply there. I was busy defending myself from people who're accusing me to be an arsehole with a frelling beam in my eye.)

St.Roch

It appears that both of us are misinterpreting what each of us are saying. I understand that as you say English is not your native language, but IMO you are much more coherent than most college educated native Americans. (that a complement! :) ) There was a lot that I thought I was saying that it seems you read other than what I thought I was saying... so I hope you will forgive me if I say that I'm a bit punchy over watching simply Americans tear each other apart over this before everyone is saved that I have a touchy trigger finger on perceived criticisms.

So rather than spin wheels getting nowhere (I certainly wasn't accusing you of anything, truly!), I'll just withdraw.

But must say this, catching your use of "frelling" hints that you are at least a fan of Farscape... I certainly can't criticise a fellow fan. *ahem* ;)

St.Roch: And if I was all about stirring up the hate between Germans and Americans, I wouldn't bother writing long posts like this, because, excuse me, this blog is doing a splendid job already and doesn't need me to help it along.

Good we cleared that one up. So, this blog is at least as toxic as the German media. I see. Other than that St.Roch, you love the US, right? If this blog just stopped exposing the Anti-Americanism of the German media and would blog only about, say, the weather(ooops, than can quickly become political too), things would be great. OK, a little bit of criticism should be allowed. But not much ! Not so much ! And only between 6 PM and 8 PM. And no politics, please. See, now you have the perfect blog.

The German media is a rotten apple, it's sick inside and contaminates everything it touches. Anyone defending it has already been contaminated. Only very few of those can be saved, all the others are irremediably lost.

Now, now. To how many Europeans have you listened

Far more than you realize. I worked with people in 5 countries within the EU over the last decade. I maintain working relationships with many of them, have relatives by marriage in Germany and read most of the European press weekly.

A people is not defined by what their leaders are saying. In fact, once someone's in power, he can say anything he wants without being thrown out of office by an angry populace.

The politician bit is YOUR problem, not ours. But I am in fact not talking about leaders -- I'm talking about people like you, St. Roch. I really see no moment of human grief for a tragedy that has killed thousands of people, displaced several MILLION (possibly permanently), destroyed whole towns with no buildings standing .....

You are cold and empty. YOU, not just those you elect and tolerate.

As far as generations within Germany go, let's just say that I have a pretty good view of that. My family includes 5 living generations of Germans or those born to Americans who themselves were born in Germany. There is extensive visting between the two countries.

There once was a court fool named Trittin,
Two points for Helian! But you could grow more fond of paragraph breaks...


@St. Roch - Thanks for your analysis.
I think it was right that Schröder said "no" to any participation in the latest installment of the Gulf War.

That's not precisely true. He did loan us some equipment (the chemical-detecting Fox vehicles), and he stamped his feet and demanded to be eligible for reconstruction contracts.

but I still enjoy a lot of American literature and films, and the greatest composer alive is an American).

An Al Yankovich fan!


@Anondson
But must say this, catching your use of "frelling" hints that you are at least a fan of Farscape...

You know, that's only a half-step removed from speaking Klingon.

Over the years I have been astounded by the misconceptions my friends and relatives in Germany had about the US. Things that absolutely amazed me, for example concerning the environment. According to them, the way we treat our environment is just terrible. When I explain some of the facts to them they seem genuinely astonished and when I ask them where they got these misconceptions, I hear: from our media.
Since the invention of the internet and the wide use of it, I can see with my own eyes some of the lies and distortions that are printed or shown in the German media. Katrina is a good example. Nowhere has there been anything the way natural catastrophes are handled in the US. How the chain of command works. Many of us live in areas where natural disasters of one kind or the other occur, some pretty frequent. All of us who live there, know that for the first few days the people responsible for us and our families are: us. We are told to keep at least 3 days of emergency supplies for us and our families at hand. Next come the local and state authorities. After that come the feds. Until they bring their emergency gear in the area, after help has been requested by our state's Governeur,who btw: is also in charge of each States National Guard, the local authorities are in charge. So far I have not seen anything like this being mentioned in the German media.
The other 2 things that have been conveniently forgotten are that yes New Orleans is almost 70% black, but most of the other areas just as bad hit are mostly white and they too had to wait for help to arrive. The other thing is the geography of the area. Large parts of the costal strip are even in the best of times a pretty waterlogged area with streams, swamps and bayous. If the roads are destroyed or under water, the only way in and out is by boat or air.This also applies to New Orleans. It is pretty hard to deliver any kind of supplies by trucks until the roads have either dried out or have been cleared of debris like fallen trees or power lines.

@St. Roch: "To how many Europeans have you listened? You cannot criticize all of us for projecting our "hatred" towards Bush onto the American populace and yet do the same thing in return."

Talk to any American, who's spent any time in Germany. You'd be hard put to find an American, who hasn't had some self-righteous, ignoramous German spout on about how bad America is. A German Diplomat at the UN in New York was sent back to the Foreign Ministry for doing just this. And where have you been, with what's in the German papers, with what's-her-name German Justice Minister getting canned in '02 for comparing Bush to Hitler, with the daily, hourly anti-American hate propaganda?

Schroeder used New Orleans in his TV-Duell with Merkel. Oh, yeah, if 70% of Germany were destroyed, Schroeder would do better than the Americans. Gott sei Dank, that you'll never have to find that out. Schroeder, Fischer, Trittin, the entire German media all have been saying the same crap, year after year, decade after decade. I heard this same crap in 1975. Trittin was not the first, he's well within the German mainstream.

If this isn't criticism, what is it? "When it became apparent that the richest country in the world couldn't handle the situation, both Schröder and Fischer offered further help"

Jabba

would you happen to know the name of that German diplomat they sacked at UN ? Just curious.

Excerpts of Trittin's article:

By neglecting environmental protection, America’s president shuts his eyes to the economic and human damage that natural catastrophes like Katrina inflict on his country and the world’s economy. ...many Americans have long been unwilling to follow the president’s errant environmental policy. Indications are multiplying that Bush has more than Katrina’s headwind blowing in his face... .

@St Roch
While Trittin may not have said it's "Bush's fault" in so many words, I think he implies it--quite clearly. In the first sentence, Trittin definitely connects Bush's environmental policy to the "economic and human damage that natural catastrophes like Katrina inflict."

If you see another way to interpret the message that Trittin was trying to convey here--I'm all ears.

But back then, the Iraq invasion was illegal and, if you ask me, morally wrong.

Nnooooooo!!!! I MUST resist replying to this!!!!!

Anondson:
>>So rather than spin wheels getting nowhere (I certainly wasn't accusing you of anything, truly!), I'll just withdraw.<<

Ok. I'm sorry if I misinterpreted you :).


>>IMO you are much more coherent than most college educated native Americans. (that a complement! :)<<

Thank you. I appreciate it.


>>But must say this, catching your use of "frelling" hints that you are at least a fan of Farscape... I certainly can't criticise a fellow fan. *ahem* ;)<<

Only a fan of the first four seasons. The mini-series was plain crap. No, worse than that: not... plain... but dirty crap. Yeah.
Isn't it the fault of the Americans that the series got cancelled? That, and 'Futurama'. And 'Firefly'. Bad Americans who didn't watch enough TV, I hate you so much ;).


WhatDoIKnow:
>>So, this blog is at least as toxic as the German media. I see. Other than that St.Roch, you love the US, right? If this blog just stopped exposing the Anti-Americanism of the German media and would blog only about, say, the weather(ooops, than can quickly become political too), things would be great.<<

*sigh*
I'm not really in the mood right know explaining myself again. I'll just say this: I agree with many of the articles posted here by Ray and David. I think it's right they're criticizing the German media. But I think they should do it in a way that serves the good of the transatlantican relationship, not destroys it further. For further details, read the rest of my comments.


tootrue:
>>Far more than you realize. I worked with people in 5 countries within the EU over the last decade. I maintain working relationships with many of them, have relatives by marriage in Germany and read most of the European press weekly.<<

Ok. You didn't answer my question. How many German people have you asked over the course of last week what they think about the catastrophe?
And no, "reading European press" doesn't count. It's a common misconception that the press prints only what the people think. The press actually prints what the editors believe the people want to hear. There's a difference.


>>I'm talking about people like you, St. Roch. I really see no moment of human grief for a tragedy that has killed thousands of people, displaced several MILLION (possibly permanently), destroyed whole towns with no buildings standing .....
You are cold and empty. YOU, not just those you elect and tolerate.<<

You as in "St.Roch, the hypocrite", or you as in "the Germans"? Because if it's the first, there's really no point in me talking to you, since you're obviously unable to see me as anything that you don't want me to be.


Doug:
>>That's not precisely true. He did loan us some equipment (the chemical-detecting Fox vehicles), and he stamped his feet and demanded to be eligible for reconstruction contracts.<<

He did? Hm, I didn't know that. But of course, the things aren't really helping you fight the war, are they? They're there to protect American soldiers from walking into, I don't know, fields infested with... chemicals. Are they? I'm not an expert.


>>An Al Yankovich fan!<<

John Williams, actually ;).


Jabba the Tut:
>>Talk to any American, who's spent any time in Germany. You'd be hard put to find an American, who hasn't had some self-righteous, ignoramous German spout on about how bad America is.<<

I'm sure there are people like that. And it's them that are always remembered when one returns to America. I know. And yes, there are probably more of them than there are people in America who think Germany's still a ruined country and/or ruled by a Hitler ersatz.
You can only speak from your experience, and I can only speak from mine. I just haven't experienced wide-ranging America-bashing. One of my former classmates is half-American. She's never mentioned being confronted by Bush-bashing idiots, and I think she would have. (She has mentioned being confronted by Americans, when she was visiting her relatives, with the two "beliefs" mentioned at the end of last paragraph. I didn't invent that.)
I'm moving to another city later this year (off to university!), I'll see how matters are there. Of course, it's only marginally bigger than my old city, and I'm sure that an American-hating attitude is more frequent and more obvious in large cities (the more people, the less brain, I like to say). I'm not sure, but I also think there's an American garrison in the vicinity.


>>If this isn't criticism, what is it? "When it became apparent that the richest country in the world couldn't handle the situation, both Schröder and Fischer offered further help"<<

As I've said before: you can interpret anything into anything with the right mindset. If you want these lines to be insulting criticism, they are. I've explained how I really meant them further above.


James W.:
>>While Trittin may not have said it's "Bush's fault" in so many words, I think he implies it--quite clearly. In the first sentence, Trittin definitely connects Bush's environmental policy to the "economic and human damage that natural catastrophes like Katrina inflict."
If you see another way to interpret the message that Trittin was trying to convey here--I'm all ears.<<

Sure, but David has unfortunately neglected to tell you what the rest of the article is saying:
No-one can prove that climate change is solely responsible for a single storm like this. But three things are scientifically provable: natural catastrophes are occuring more frequently and are becoming more violent. Climate change increases the possibility of storms and floods happening in North America and Europe. And: people are contributing to the climate change by polluting the air with greenhouse gases.
There can be only one consequence: greenhouse gases must be radically reduced, worldwide. So far, the US have closed their eyes to this neccessity.

Those are the actual first sentences. Followed by some examples how the US are, according to Trittin, polluting the environment. Then comes what you've quoted. Well, not entirely, a little different:
The American President is closing his eyes to the economical and human damage inflicted to his country and world economy because of natural catastrophes like "Katrina", ergo, because of lacking climate protection.
It's the lacking climate policy of the past that's responsible (again, according to Trittin) for the catastrophe, not Bush's attitude. Sure, you might say that correction of mine is nitpicking. It is. But there is a difference.
Trittin does say Bush's attitude is wrong. What he is implying is that catastrophes in the (far) future might be strengthened by your President's decision to shrug off climate protection policies (says he, I don't know what Bush is actually doing). Yes. But does he connect this storm with this President of yours? No.
You can still say he's an idiot, of course. Blaming hurricanes our children or grand-children will experience on Bush. And that's ok, I'd be inclined to agree with this sentiment.

(The rest of that article, that only by the way and for the sake of completeness, is Trittin saying how great his ideas are and how many people in the world agree with him, among them Americans. He says the agreements reached so far are a step in the right direction but do not go far enough, which is why the world needs a "Kyoto 2" treaty that's even more restricting; that's also the headline. He ends with the hope that "when" the "headquarters of climatic polluters" (read: America) "see reason" (read: come around to Trittin's way of thinking), they will accept a proposal by the "international community" (read: Germany; read: Trittin) on climate protection (that, so far, isn't even worked out yet).)


>>Nnooooooo!!!! I MUST resist replying to this!!!!!<<
*grins*
I can guess what you'd have said if you hadn't resisted. That the Iraqi were an oppressed people that had to be rid of their oppressor. You would have cited several examples. You would have been quite right. However, I think that at that time, the Iraqi were relatively well-off for an oppressed people. Contrary to others, like, for example, the North Koreans. That's why I think your Operation Iraqi Freedom was morally wrong, not because you didn't wait for the UN[1]. Sure, you can go around freeing oppressed people if you feel that's your Christian duty. But why didn't you start with the worst cases, North Korea, or Cuba, or countless states in Africa?

[1]= My impression is that UN-bashing is pretty popular in the States. Is that true?

@St Roch
Allright, you’ve argued your point well. I still disagree though. I guess it all comes down to malice and the ability to convey a message without actually saying it.

Don’t worry about nitpicking. I’m not too shabby at it myself.

This is how I see it:
You must take into account the mentality of the audience, which has been influenced (or primed if you will) in the past by a biased German media (which you have admitted exists), and how they will receive Trittin’s words. I’ll bet you that many , if not most, deciphered his code to mean „it’s Bush’s fault.“ Obviously, there are at least a few Germans in the media and in politics that have also understood Trittin’s words to represent what David has suggested. Some have called for him to step down or be fired. I’ve read the article, using my modest German skills, and have come to the same conclusion as David. Reading through the comments section at Medienkritik, it seems there are several concerned and upset Germans that also agree with David. Furthermore, as you’ve pointed out, there are many things in Trittin’s article that you can be upset about; in that context, it becomes much more difficult to see his comments on Bush’s environmental policy and hurricane Katrina in the somewhat more positive light that you see it. Remember, there was not a single word of condolence in Trittin’s remarks. Now, Trittin has had a week to clarify any misunderstanding of what he meant. Have you read or heard a clarification from Trittin that may change what many have perceived?

No-one can prove that climate change is solely responsible for a single storm like this. But three things are scientifically provable:

This is the typicle qualifier—politics 101. No one can prove blah, blah, blah. BUT!... Then he follows up with what he thinks are “three things that are scientifically provable”, that are not necessarily relevant to the connection between global warming and hurricanes; or, that are not provable as to what effect, or amount thereof, they have on hurricanes. Of course, people who are not interested in checking facts or stats, or believe they have no reason to doubt the accuracy of what they see or hear in the media or from politicians via the media, are largely going to believe this junk.

Now, I’ve noticed that you’ve gone to great lengths to separate your way of thinking from “Trittin’s way of thinking.” So, my argument is not with you on your beliefs about global warming and the human influence. My argument is that indeed Trittin’s comments were targeted at Bush (who environmentalists love to hate), very possibly motivated by the need to win a few more votes for the Greens in the upcoming election.

But why didn't you start with the worst cases, North Korea, or Cuba, or countless states in Africa?

I guess you would have to ask the people who had access to the intel for the most informed answer to that question. Based on all the things I’ve read and heard over the last decade and a half concerning the Iraq problem, coupled with the post 9-11 reality—Iraq was the logical choice in my opinion. That being said, if I had the access to ALL the available intel, maybe I would conclude that Iraq was an idiotic choice. I don’t think the average person realizes just how complex such a decision is, and the media playing politics doesn’t necessarily help in the decision making—which may have an influence on the safety of our citizens and soldiers.

[1]= My impression is that UN-bashing is pretty popular in the States. Is that true?

I’d say it’s pretty popular on the American right. It’s popular with me. :)

Oh, there is also the issue of the legality of the Iraq war. But, we don't need to rehash this old spat. Do we?

James W.:
>>I still disagree though. I guess it all comes down to malice and the ability to convey a message without actually saying it.<<

Ok, no problem. I think you're wrong, of course, but life would be boring (though easier) if everyone agreed with me ;).


>>You must take into account the mentality of the audience, which has been influenced (or primed if you will) in the past by a biased German media (which you have admitted exists), and how they will receive Trittin’s words. I’ll bet you that many , if not most, deciphered his code to mean „it’s Bush’s fault.“ <<

Yes. I don't disagree. Skimming the article, or even reading it carelessly, what jumps into mind? "Bush", "Kyoto", "Katrina". Ah, the average German says, Bush is responsible. I just don't think it was more than careless phrasing on Trittin's part.


>>Now, Trittin has had a week to clarify any misunderstanding of what he meant. Have you read or heard a clarification from Trittin that may change what many have perceived?<<

Well, he has posted a clarification. Whether it will change your perception I do not know, since he does not respond to any "Bush caused Katrina" allegations directly. That may or may not mean that he's not even aware of that possible "misinterpretation". The majority of the criticism that was levelled at him on and after Tuesday was about his timing and his coldness, after all (think about Mahlzahn's comment).


>>Of course, people who are not interested in checking facts or stats, or believe they have no reason to doubt the accuracy of what they see or hear in the media or from politicians via the media, are largely going to believe this junk.<<

There are scientists who've said for years that global warming is indeed happening and that there's "conclusive evidence" that all of the things Trittin claimed were true are true. There are also scientists who say that Katrina probably was so unprecedently strong because the temperature of part of the ocean was a few degrees higher than usual. It's not as if it's unthinkable that there might be a connection.
There are also scientists who are claiming the contrary, of course. Who also have "conclusive evidence" to prove their theories. There always are. There are even scientists who say cigarettes are not nearly as harmful to the human body as is commonly believed.
If you think about it, the only theory that's actually provable is "I exist", because if you didn't, you couldn't think about the question. As far as everything else is concerned, perception and axioms get in the way. That goes for studies concerning the climate as well, of course. There is evidence supporting Trittin's point of view, and that's enough to prompt him to use the term "provable".


>>That being said, if I had the access to ALL the available intel, maybe I would conclude that Iraq was an idiotic choice.<<

Obviously, I don't have all available information, either. And as far as US interests are concerned, it probably was the right choice. But in matters of morality, does that count? I don't think so.


>>I don’t think the average person realizes just how complex such a decision is, and the media playing politics doesn’t necessarily help in the decision making—which may have an influence on the safety of our citizens and soldiers.<<

Well, I think it's fair to say that I at least haven't been influenced by the media in my opinion, because in the years that have passed since the invasion/freedom operation, I've never heard it (my particular opinion) mentioned anywhere even once.


>>I’d say it’s pretty popular on the American right. It’s popular with me. :)<<

Hm, but you do know that the UN is an international organisation, right? It's only as strong as its strongest members want it to be. Of course it could do a great deal more if it was a supranational organisation. But for that, all of the member states, including the US, would have to give up a little bit of their sovereignty. Which, if you ask me, is the only way, really. But then, I also think that the nation-state was the stupidest idea the Europeans ever had, so ;)...


>>Oh, there is also the issue of the legality of the Iraq war. But, we don't need to rehash this old spat. Do we?<<

Not as far as I'm concerned. You can probably guess whose side I'm on in this question ;).


@St Roch
Hm, but you do know that the UN is an international organisation, right? It's only as strong as its strongest members want it to be.

Exactly. Just the way I like it.

Of course it could do a great deal more if it was a supranational organisation. But for that, all of the member states, including the US, would have to give up a little bit of their sovereignty.

Bite your tongue! Have you ever had your mouth washed out with soap?! That's all we need--the world's largest bureaucracy. You're pulling my leg. Right?

As far as global warmings effects, and amount of any effect, on the strength and frequency of hurricanes, the jury is a LONG way from a verdict. This has been shown by a few commenters here over the last week.

You know what? Before we start nitpicking, I think that as far as the Trittin debate goes, we agree on more than we disagree. I seem to be a little more sceptical about Trittin's intent than you, but I think what's important is that we agree that the comments were, at a minimum, very untimely and disturbing.

I must say that it's quite refreshing have a debate with somebody who may not agree with you, but seems to have an open mind, and an intelligent argument.

James W.:
>>That's all we need--the world's largest bureaucracy.<<
You agree with me? Great!

>>You're pulling my leg. Right?<<
Oh. ;)
No, seriously. I think this decade is a crucial point in history. We've already got economic globalisation. Cultural globalisation is on the way as well. I think it's inevitable that political globalisation is to follow. Not a world government, not right away at least. But more and more countries will want to have a say in how the world is handled.
Consider Iran's quest for atomic power: yes, you'll say that the fanatical muslims want the bomb so they can eradicate Israel. You might not be that far off the mark. But ask the average Persian what he thinks about the matter. He'll say it's a matter of national pride for Iran/Persia to be able to divide the atom. Why should Iran stand back when so many other countries already have atomic reactors, and bombs even, among them the definitely not democratic Pakistan?
These ambitions are not going to go away if you invade the country and replace their leadership. So, what do you do? If, understandably, you don't want the Persians to have atomic bombs, what can you do, besides dropping a big one onto Teheran? You let them have their damn reactors, as long as they're only operated under international supervision. For which you need a strong UN. A UN that can intervene if Iran violates these agreements. Right now, the US can intervene themselves, of course; can, actually, even supervise the Iranians on their own. But Iran's not going to be the only nation clamouring for something they don't have but the West does. The number of nations silently accepting "their fate" will definitely decline. If you - not you personally, but the US - really want to keep the world a safe place, you will eventually have to rely on a strong UN.
And about the bureaucracy: there's no reason why the UN couldn't be streamlined. It would require a reform, of course. Just as EU level bureaucracy could be streamlined if the European chiefs of state/government wanted. They don't, because they like the bogged-up way things are now. But I think even they will see reason sometime.

>>As far as global warmings effects, and amount of any effect, on the strength and frequency of hurricanes, the jury is a LONG way from a verdict.<<
Exactly. And since the jury is divided, the judge cannot pronounce the case closed.

>>You know what? Before we start nitpicking, I think that as far as the Trittin debate goes, we agree on more than we disagree. I seem to be a little more sceptical about Trittin's intent than you, but I think what's important is that we agree that the comments were, at a minimum, very untimely and disturbing.<<
ACK.

>>I must say that it's quite refreshing have a debate with somebody who may not agree with you, but seems to have an open mind, and an intelligent argument.<<
Thank you. I second the sentiment.

You have to love the way Germans put their faith in big distant organizations. Those organizations have the power and knowledge to solve all problems. Ask any German and that is what they will tell you.

So the question becomes when will Berlin go out of business and just turn all its problems over to the EU?

St Roch, what you've just suggested, political globalisation and an eventual world government, sounds like something you can read in the "Left Behind" series of 12 books written by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins. The story begins in the first book with the Rapture of the churches. Then, the story continues through Armageddon and finally in the last book--the return of Jesus. The only thing is, I don't think you would like the role the UN, which becomes the GC (Global Community), plays in this story. The GC is led by a man named Nicolae Jetty Carpathia (former UN secretary-general). Well, Carpathia turns out to be the anti-Christ.

Ummm--no thanks! I got goose bumps just reading your last comments.

Actually, you may think only religious nuts read such things. Well, I believe, but I don't go to church NEARLY (translation= 2 or 3 times a year) as often as a believer probably should go. What I'm trying to get at is that I found the books very difficult to put down. Maybe you would find them interesting. Just a tip. I didn't have to buy the books because a good friend of mine had the entire collection. I guess it would be pretty costly. Well, anyway I'm tired and starting to babble.

Ciao!

joe:
>>So the question becomes when will Berlin go out of business and just turn all its problems over to the EU?<<
As soon as the EU has been reformed into an organization that's actually capable of doing anything and that's actually democratic, as far as my hopes are concerned. Alternatively, a merging of the Montanunion states into a "Carolingia" of sorts would be a good first step, too.

James W.:
>>St Roch, what you've just suggested, political globalisation and an eventual world government<<
Not suggested. I think it's happening or going to happen. Maybe not now, or in this decade, or in my lifetime. But at some time the world will have to do away with tribalism. An invasion by extraterrestrials would be nice to speed things up a bit, though; Roland Emmerich has filmed a great documentary about this ;).

>>sounds like something you can read in the "Left Behind" series of 12 books written by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins<<
Then it is not something I can read. I've got so many unread books waiting for me to give them their due attention that this is an impossibility. Especially since I don't read unfinished works (unless the writer is a favourite of mine or it's an assignment) and always finish what I'm reading (unless it's an assignment ;)) and thus would have to buy and read all 12 parts.
I thank you for the tip, though.

>>The only thing is, I don't think you would like the role the UN, which becomes the GC (Global Community), plays in this story. The GC is led by a man named Nicolae Jetty Carpathia (former UN secretary-general). Well, Carpathia turns out to be the anti-Christ.<<
Oh, I've read a fair share of science-fiction books in which the UN is displayed in less than favourable terms. I'm used to it. I'd agree that, principally, there's great danger in one man governing the entire world (unless the man is me, naturally ;)). A danger that can be offset by several powerful control measures, bureaucracy among them, by the way. It's not a situation we find ourselves in (yet), so I won't bother with working out some of the other measures.
As for the anti-Christ bit, and on a very off-topic note: I consider the Devil to be the most underrated, um, "character who's regularly appeared in literature for 2000 years" ever. In some incarnations, especially the ones where he's portrayed as a bumbling fool who never succeeds no matter how intricate his plans, I quite like the poor guy. Even in a traditional evil role I often find him fascinating. I looked forward to seeing the OMEN trilogy because of the satanic focus. To be honest, I was very disappointed. The first film was mildly scary crap, the second film was mildly amusing crap, the third film was mildly stupid crap and the fourth film (the TV one; I only watched it because it was included in the DVD set) was outrageously stupid crap. I wonder what possessed (haha) the producer/writer to make these movies and the audiences whose money made them successes.

>>Well, I believe, but I don't go to church NEARLY (translation= 2 or 3 times a year) as often as a believer probably should go.<<
That describes my situation as well (though we probably differ in our denominations).

I cannot tell you, how much the anti Americanism in Germany pisses me of. Excpecially the media bias is ridiculous. It's allways the same. If you address anti Americanism the common excuses are:

"It is only a legitimate critisism (sic!) on american policy."
"Bush did not sign the kyoto treaty."
"Capitalism is fashism (sic!) and therefore America is true axis of evil."
"America is at war, Germany is for peace."
"George Bush is just a dumb cowboy."
And so on and so on...

There is no room for reason anymore. It's so embarrassing.

I'm with you America!

Tomislav
Karlsruhe, GERMANY

@St. Roch -
He did? Hm, I didn't know that. But of course, the things aren't really helping you fight the war, are they? They're there to protect American soldiers from walking into, I don't know, fields infested with... chemicals. Are they? I'm not an expert.

25 of them if memory serves, and that's exactly what they're for. They're air-tight, and loaded with equipment like mass spectrometers for finding airbourne chemical/biological agents, or residue of same on the ground. A nice piece of work from whoever made them. No, they're not an actual fighting vehicle, but it takes more than fighting vehicles to do the job. I think they've probably been returned by now.

One of my former classmates is half-American

I've never seen "American" used as an ethnicity before. Except for "Native American", of course.

But why didn't you start with the worst cases, North Korea, or Cuba, or countless states in Africa?

Because 1) none of them are as well positioned to serve as a catalyst for social and political reform in the region, which will be required to attack the jihadist ideology, 2) none of them (as far as I know) had an existing condition to satisfy the U.N., 3) it was one of few providing direct material support to terrorism, and 4) there was no one on earth more ripe for an ass-whuppin' than Saddam.

There was actually more than one reason to go to Iraq, you realize.

My impression is that UN-bashing is pretty popular in the States. Is that true?

It's been increasingly popular with conservatives in the U.S. for years. It seemed to start picking up steam around the time that U.N. peacekeepers ran away from Rwanda and let the genocide occur, and gained momentum when U.N. Peacekeepers disarmed the people of Srebrenica and ran away allowing them to be slaughtered. With every new child prostitution ring discovered, bank robbery, and Volker commission report, it gets more popular still. Does the oil-for-food investigation get much coverage in Germany?

Doug:
>>I've never seen "American" used as an ethnicity before. Except for "Native American", of course.<<
I used it to name her nationality. The girl's mother was born and raised in the United States and is legally still a US American (short: American), though she's been living in Germany for years. The girl's father is German, which makes her half-American, two passports and all.

>>Because 1) none of them are as well positioned to serve as a catalyst for social and political reform in the region<<
A domino theory that's worked really well, just as predicted.
>>3) it was one of few providing direct material support to terrorism,<<
On a far, far smaller scale than, oh, pretty much every other country in the region. Saddam himself was a secular leader who pissed off Osama bin-Laden when he invaded then newly fundamentalist-ruled Iran (with US support).

>>4) there was no one on earth more ripe for an ass-whuppin' than Saddam.<<
Who had been quiet pretty much since the end of the Iraq/Kuwait conflict, while other dictators scrambled into the spotlight, eager to show the world their horrendous human rights violations and claim the top spot in a "most despised dictators" list. Kim Jong-Il is starving his people right now, not ten years ago.
I'm not saying that Saddam Hussein was not a despicable dictator. He was. But I do think that there were and are countries with even worse conditions and populaces in more dire need of being liberated.

>>It's been increasingly popular with conservatives in the U.S. for years. It seemed to start picking up steam around the time that U.N. peacekeepers ran away from Rwanda and let the genocide occur, and gained momentum when U.N. Peacekeepers disarmed the people of Srebrenica and ran away allowing them to be slaughtered.<<
Which is exactly what I've been saying: if you want the UN to be stronger than that, you've got to do your part. The UN doesn't have any soldiers of its own; it relies on member states "donating" soldiers and military equipment for certain missions. And which country prides itself on having the best military in the world?
And criticizing the UN for lacking intervention in Rwanda is extremely hypocritical if you're a US American.

>>Does the oil-for-food investigation get much coverage in Germany?<<
Much? No. Some. Last I heard, many commentators said Annan should resign as Secretary-General; not because he was personally involved (as far as I know, he wasn't), but because it's his responsibility.

Note from David: "many commentators said Annan should resign as Secretary-General" ... hmm... that's news to me. Checked with Google news and found not one call Annan's resignation. Of course, the German media report on calls for Annan's resignation by others.

Any links to "many" German commentators that "said Annan should resign as Secretary-General", St.Roch? Thanks for your help.

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