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"I hope you surprise me."

Unfortunately the surprise for Germans will be that their leaders and press have led them astray into believing anybody gives a shit about what they do or think.

David, Ray:

not bad. Mentioned in the Washington times! Impressive.

"A quick reminder of how things stand here: A poll presented this week by the German Marshall Fund finds that a majority of Germans continues to have an unfavorable view of the United States. In fact, China stands in higher regard, according to a Pew poll from earlier this year. Germans yearn for someone to rival the United States militarily, preferably the European Union. This might be due to the fact that they consider the United States a bigger "threat to world peace" than countries such as Iran and North Korea, as a EU study found in 2003. So, don't count on us supporting German politicians that are openly friendly to you."

Well is this development really so surprising? Of course Germany and the US got along very well as long as Germany accepted US Western leadership during the cold war.. which nation would not get along with such an abject foreign politics like germany pursued.

After we have rediscovered our own interests though, we finally start to follow our own agenda again. Naturally, a nation that wants to gain more influence can only acquire from those nations that have a lot of power.
And thats exactly where our interests stop corresponding.

So its no coincidence the german people considers the US - who uses our ground as a base for its military options - as a threat to our own country, once interests are opposed to each other.

The only way I can see to reduce these trans-atlantical strains is the US troops disappearing from european grounds plus the US leaders accepting Europe as continent which pursues its own interests.
America has no choice but to accept that partnership with Russia and China has more important here.

*America has no choice but to accept that partnership with Russia and China has become more important here.


"But I hope she remembers that it was the hostile hearts and minds of (old) European voters that cost the United States a considerable amount of potential international support and legitimacy in recent years."

I hate to disappoint Julian Knapp, but the time where this American was concerned or interested in attempting to mediate between our two countries by spending (wasting) my time talking to the hostile hearts and minds has long passed. If you want our countries to get along again, I suggest you find a German Karen Hughes and send her to the States. It seems that even those Germans who appear still to like the US are under the assumption that it is our job to convince the Germans. It is not.

As far as legitimacy is concerned, my Government represents me and I don't need the hostile hearts and minds to agree with my Government to legitimize anything. Our elected officials are to check with their constituents, they don't poll the German population to see if what their constituents want is acceptable to the people of Germany.

This whole issue is not and issue of US VS GERMANY, it is however an issue of:
SOCIALISM VS DEMOCRACY,
the STATE VS the INDIVIDUAL,
GOVERNMENT MAKING DECISIONS FOR YOU STRIPING ANY PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY AWAY FROM THE INDIVIDUAL VS PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY THAT IS PART AND PARCEL OF PERSONAL FREEDOM.

The GERMANS will have to decide if they are for FREEDOM and PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY. Should they decide they are for these values then we will see eye to eye again. If they don't we won't.

This is an internal German process. We can sit back and watch and wait and see. In the mean time it is a total waste of time to invest any effort into the German American Relationship, as defined by the Germans: namely it is the Americans who need to convince the Germans that the GERMAN AMERICAN relationship is worth pursuing. (Note I used the word relationship not friendship)

Zyme wrote:

"America has no choice but to accept that partnership with Russia and China has become more important here."

Has it indeed ? I always thought that a lasting partnership with Russia and China is some leftist SPON/Stern/Panorama editor's wet dream. however, if considerate pundits, like you, zyme, whose political agenda includes such visiionary goals as a reunification with Austria, see it coming, things must really get serious.

So, if you will please enlighten me, where exactly are German interests aligned with China, a nation threatening its neighbours (Taiwan, Japan) and giving a damn about human rights ? Or Russia, just about to crack down on the last feeble remainders of a free press and a liberalized market-based economy, with bloody hands from a civl war in Czechnia ? What exactly do we want from these nations that we won't get from the Americans ?

"This might be due to the fact that they consider the United States a bigger 'threat to world peace' than countries such as Iran and North Korea, as a EU study found in 2003."

I don't like this at all. Anyone who believes the United States constitutes a bigger threat than Iran and North Korea, has lost his marbles. But here's another study that shows a different result (with UK and France representing Europe). The question was: "Which of these two is the more dangerous to world peace and stability, America or North Korea?" Here's how many people believe America is more dangerous:
Jordan: 71%
Indonesia: 66%
Russia: 63%
Brasil: 55%
Korea: 48%
Canada: 37%
France: 35%
UK: 30%
Australia: 25%
Israel: 22%
USA: 14%
You can find the complete and highly interesting study (dated June 2003) here. Has anyone been able to track down the original study Julian Knapp is refering to?

http://people-press.org/commentary/display.php3?AnalysisID=104

Try that link.

Our relationship with Russia is much more important than our relationship with the United States. We should still have some diplomatic relationship with the US, but the Russian - German relationship has to be the top priority in the years to come. It is also much more important than our relationship with France and other EU members.

Of course German blows are low. Where else can a midget strike?

@ Toby

"So, if you will please enlighten me, where exactly are German interests aligned with China, a nation threatening its neighbours (Taiwan, Japan) and giving a damn about human rights ? Or Russia, just about to crack down on the last feeble remainders of a free press and a liberalized market-based economy, with bloody hands from a civl war in Czechnia ? What exactly do we want from these nations that we won't get from the Americans?"

Ok here you go:

1) China
Its a country with rapidly growing average income, its people will need huge amounts of cars in the next decades. So we need to bring our manufacturers into the best position possible. This includes leaving Chinas other interests (Taiwan and greater Asia) to them - its not up to us interfering in these matters. While the americans cant keep themselves from criticizing China, discreet germany and france will be preferred.

Also, China is has a great need for advanced weapons technology. So to arm them, we have the ideal technology around plus we would see its real war pros and cons in case China would have some conventional shootouts with its neighbours (and could thereby test and improve our own concepts without needing to go to war for ourselves).

Last but not least, Chinas rapidly growing economy needs more and more power to sustain it. Thats why they plan to build more than two dozens of nuclear power plants in the next decades. And thats exactly what companies like Siemens want to built for them..

2) Russia
Traditionally an important european country, our partnership is actually needed by both sides today.
Russia has the worlds greatest natural gas reserves and a considerable amount of raw oil within its territory - which we are going to need until alternative technologies are developed and fully installed (which might easily take a few decades).
On the other hand, Germany has become Russias most important trading partner. Most urgently, they need to buy our modern heavy machinery to reform their industries.
So both cant go without each other - why not be partners then?

As regards Czechnia: Here the same thing works as with China and Taiwan - while others prefer risking a good relationship to the Russian government, discreet germany and france gain its sympathy by not interfering with russian inner politics. As we have recently found out, having bad relationships with Russian leaders does not lead to a promising economical future (remember that chodorkowski guy? or how the polish recently have been treated in russia?)

Instead, an important pipeline deal has been signed between berlin and moscow last week, allowing russian natural gas to be delievered directly from russia to germany through the eastern sea from 2010 on. This way, those irrelevant countries in between (especially poland) can no longer interfere (which is why they were protesting against that deal hysterically).

This deal is considered a symbolical turning point in german-russian relationships - instead of neglecting our own interests and supporting those small countries in between like germany did in the past, we are doing real buisness with really useful partners again.

It's too bad we Americans did not have the advantage of Zyme's insightful thoughts sixty years ago. We should have been working then with Russia to maximize the US's economic advantages with Russia. This includes leaving Russia's other interests (Germany and greater Europe) to them. Russia could have become a huge market for American vehicles and weapons as it elimnated the German population and moved vast numbers of Russians westward to to re-populate former German territory. Unfortunate for us, we could not keep ourselves from critizing Russia (and spending huge amounts of money supporting our imperial army in West Germany and West Berlin)which had the unfortunate consequence of saving Germans and allowing Germany to exist today. Russian would have been an ideal customer for the arsenal of democracy (well, OK, we'd have to come up with another name - arsenal of communism?) to test our tanks and other weapons out on the remaining Germans. And we would not have offended those Russians, like the silly Polish.

I give Zyme credit for being honest. Germany sees opportunity (at least short term) by selliing its soul (assuming it didn't already give it away)or leaset its cars and weapons systems to Russia and China - the US, Taiwan, greater Asia be damned - and hope it does not come back to bite them, i.e, hope the US saves their sorry asses again. The US should act accordingly and realize that Germany is not an ally and, if there's a buck to made, an enemy, as in Iraq, where it supported Saddam and sold him weapon materials.

Zyme
>>As we have recently found out, having bad relationships with Russian leaders does not lead to a promising economical future (remember that chodorkowski guy? or how the polish recently have been treated in russia?)

Michail Chordorkowski, the founder of that oil group? Yep, Lubyanka prison is a RECENT innovation undertaken just for his ilk. And the treatment of Poles in Russia has GOT to be recent as it is only recently that the Poles were not OF Russia, when they were treated just wonderfully - according to Lech Walesa and his buddies.

Of course for the longest time the U.S. had a bad relationship with Russia and - the oddest thing - the U.S. economic system never recovered.

Zyme, I don't know what the hell you're smoking but I want some.

@Zyme
"instead of neglecting our own interests and supporting those small countries in between like germany did in the past, we are doing real buisness with really useful partners again."

I look forward to watching you recover your former glory in close partnership with the Russian bear. Times were great back then before America showed up, weren't they? It should also be heartwarming to watch Germany pull it off with a shrinking population. Now I wouldn't want anyone here to think you're overreaching or anything, but I am a little bit challenged by your assumption that Germany, a country that dislikes importing from foreigners, will be able to sell its exports to China, a country with a long history of being similarly opposed to foreign goods. Given that you're German, I know you've thought this through thoroughly, but the rest of us remain curious.

@DCM
"The US should act accordingly and realize that Germany is not an ally"

Germany never was an ally; it just wants to run things, like being the car in front after you've overtaken everyone else on the autobahn. Unfortunately they keep screwing up and the French end up getting to call all the shots. A source of never ending humiliation. Zyme is right when she says Germany just used the US during the cold war years - lots of Germans try to tell me differently until they loosen up after a few beers. Many in the US realized this at the time but the USA is strong enough to overlook the irritations of a conquered people. Where Zyme is wrong is in her complete misunderstanding of the role, size and power of modern Germany compared to the 1930s. It has lost a lot of physical territory since the war, it's raw materials are depleted, a great number of its people have emigrated, a large block of the rest of the world has achieved economic parity and, as I said earlier, the population of Germany is shrinking. To paraphrase Hitler: Germany now needs less space and less industry, not more. With a grand coalition government, such a result may come about sooner than we all think...

Zyme: "Instead, an important pipeline deal has been signed between berlin and moscow last week, allowing russian natural gas to be delievered directly from russia to germany through the eastern sea from 2010 on. "

Why... so Germany can use more oil and fall further behind than it already is in its Kyoto commitments? Which the US had the foresight to disagree with from the get-go?

Zyme:

I hope Germany never ticks off the Russians. You are already dependent on their gas and oil and will be more so in the future. That means they will have the upper hand- you annoy them, you don't agree with them - and the spigot will be turned off. It absolutely amazes me, that there is such a trust in Germany in the Russians. All those years of the Cold War haven't taught you anything? Do you honestly trust Mr. Putin to keep his commitments to you?
And another question. All the wailing one hears from Europe about the environment - how the terrible Americans destroy it. Just a question- how much environmental damage will a pipeline through the Baltic cause, instead of one on dry land? Will you request that the Russians, who are such wonderful stewards of their lands to start out with, agree to strict environmental regulation so they will cause the absolute minimum of damage? Or does this not apply in this case?

@ SeanM

"Where Zyme is wrong is in her complete misunderstanding of the role, size and power of modern Germany compared to the 1930s"

Do you have any idea what a desperate role Germany played in the 1920s? And how quickly that changed? The same applies to what happened after 1871.
Thats exactly why one should never underestimate the potential of a discordant people that might become a combined society again.


@ LC Mamapajamas

You always have to improvise - When countries like the US and China eat up the worlds oil reserves, the most valuable partner (as regards energy politics) you can think of is country like Russia. Developing alternative methods takes its time. Its no good for anyone if you stop burning oil / gas too quickly just to buy electricity from neighbours which do.


@ Johannes Thust

"Our relationship with Russia is much more important than our relationship with the United States. We should still have some diplomatic relationship with the US, but the Russian - German relationship has to be the top priority in the years to come. It is also much more important than our relationship with France and other EU members."

I cannot agree to that statement. You must not forget that France still is Germany's most important trading partner. With France on board, our sometimes hysterical european neighbours (especially the eastern ones) remain much calmer although Germany is pursueing our own interests again. So while thinking about our (certainly nessessary) partnership with Russia, I would say both are equally important for us.
And thats exactly why the Axis Paris-Berlin-Moscow is so promising!

- Zyme:

"This deal is considered a symbolical turning point in german-russian relationships - instead of neglecting our own interests and supporting those small countries in between like germany did in the past, we are doing real buisness with really useful partners again."

When in the past was Germany neglecting its own interests and supporting those small countries in between Germany and Russia? Are you referring to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact? Most small countries in bewtween Germany and Russia do not consider Geramny's agreement to invade them and slaughter them as "supporting" them, though apparently the Germans do. As some of the other commentators say - I hope your new deals with Russia work out better for you - and for the small countries in between.

- SeanM:

We don't really disagree. I did not say that Germany was an ally once - but not now. I just said we need to realize that it is not an ally. You touch on an interesting point - which is that the US was powerful enough to overlook the irritations of our phoney "friends". I think the balance of power is changing and the irritations have become insults if not outright injuries. The US needs to start making sure that those who stab us in the back are not rewarded or ignored but are made to pay for their transgressions.

Finally a German who promotes a pullout of American troops from Germany! There are many of us in the US who completely agree. Last year Schroeder skipped the meeting in Munich where he was scheduled, in the presence of Donald Rumsfeld, to call for the EDF to replace NATO as the key European defense organization. Only the prior day Rumsfeld had stated openly that no American troops would stay where they were not welcome. Coincidence?

As a supporter of Bush and activist in the Republican Party, I fully support Germans asking, no DEMANDING, that American troops leave Germany. It is hugely expensive pre-positioning troops, particularly in a country that feels eminently comfortable with Russia and China as strategic partners. Particularly near countries (France) who conduct military operations with the expressed purpose of threatening our Taiwanese ally. Particularly in and near countries whose companies built the palaces that were bought with "Oil for Food" money.

But please excuse me if I find a whiff of hypocracy in Germans allowing Americans troops on their soil. German politicians and journalists continue to compare Americans to Nazis, while not a peep is heard about the thousands of American troops in their country. If I were cynical I would say that Germans appreciate the deterrent and $$$ that Americans troops provide, yet continue to demagogue American military power anyway.

It is instructive to note what happened in Korea when Rumsfeld threatened to move an infantry regiment from the DMZ to Pusan, and actually did move another to Iraq. Suddenly all the anti-US bating and protests ended. Suddenly the US multi-party talks became an acceptable solution to the North Korean problem. Not soon thereafter, the president of Korea, elected on a anti-American platform, sat in the Oval Office for photo ops with the horrid Mr. Bush.

So yes, please, call for a US pullout from Europe. You would get a great deal of support from the American Right which runs this country. I submit that you could have the remainder of American troop strength out of Germany by 2008. But until I hear ONE Germany politician and ONE German media outlet call for a pullout... well, excuse me if it's hard to take the German elite seriously.


@ geoduck

"Do you honestly trust Mr. Putin to keep his commitments to you?"

Actually, i do. I do since not only Germany is to some extend dependent on Russia's Gas and Oil but Russia is also dependant on Germany as regards economical interaction. One might argue that Russia could decide to work together with other european countries and leave out germany one day just as Germany might decide to buy gas and oil from someone else one day.

The point is that both would be harmed by such decisions. That is what makes partners out of both countries - and friends out of our leaders.

Also there is numerous proof from the Russians that shows us their friendly intentions. For example, for the first time in Russian history, a foreign airforce may generally fly above russian airspace - its the german Luftwaffe, which asked for this agreement for easier supply of german troops in Afghanistan.
So in contrast to the US (which never asked us before building military bases here), these developments show the beginning of a real friendship.

"Just a question- how much environmental damage will a pipeline through the Baltic cause, instead of one on dry land?"

Sorry but I couldnt find any scientific research to whether ecological consequences of pipelines in the sea are worse than those of land-based pipelines. Maybe someone knows?
Clearly in a strategic deal like that, the chancellor dominates though - and those from the Green Party dont play a role.

On the article by Julian Knapp at the top, he says "the American contribution to fostering pro-American sentiment is feeble"

This may be difficult for the rest of the world to understand but the entire english speaking world refuses to defend itself against the regular onslaught of slanders, half-truths and outright lies. I just got back from London, a city that should be proud of its international cuisine and where unfortunately I put on more weight than I should have. Time will pay. The French have successfully marketed the slander than British food is amongst the worst in the world. Well I certainly ate better in London than the last time I was in France. Google it and see what the Brits are eating today. You don't see them offering up a spirited defence of their cusine.

Or take Australia: a country with an ethnically diverse population from the four corners of the globe, with a tolerant attitude to race, creed, religion and national origin. Contrast that with the ethnic unrest of Indonesia, her neighbor, or the lack of political dissent in Malaysia, not to mention the state control of China. For those not paying attention you might be surprised to discover that Australia is widely pilloried throughout the region as being racist, a charge laughable if it weren't for the unfortunate cover it provides the region's tyrants. Australia doesn't defend itself either because its own press would collude with the attackers by agreeing with the racist label.

What could the US possibly say to counter the daily barrage of slander against her? The average German youth that I meet would leap enthusiastically at the chance to ridicule any defender of the US, springing from some half-finished argument over Allende to a half-baked one over Noriega. It's always America's fault, they know it and they intend to make you realize it before the night's over, if you don't retire early from inhaling their second-hand smoke.

Perhaps the fault lies in our lack of centrally administered thought system. Who could speak for us? We all have different opinions. If some Parisian doesn't like English food, well that's their perogative. Who would quibble? But if I were so say I don't like French food, that I do not cook in butter and I don't think much of their wine, I could expect a good portion of the French population to conclude that I lack taste and style. If I were a person of note and worth the effort they would be certain to challenge my credentials in matters of food.

We don't do that. We haven't done it for a very long time, if ever. Last time I looked the English speaking world was full of a dynamism and openess that is widely lacking elsewhere. The attacks on our culture from the Germans or the French are really just the hallmark of a disturbing pathology. It tells us more about the critics then us. Oh, we can handle criticism alright: we do it ourselves - just read our press. But it's precisely because we are self critical and read it all day that we recognize pretty quickly when the form of criticism is really just another form of racism or demogogery. Especially when it comes from a people who have a recent history in that particular pathology.

My view is: Germans created this mess and they must fix it. Germans who understand what is happening on the world stage must explain it to other Germans who only think they do. Americans cannot change this.

On the article by Julian Knapp at the top, he says "the American contribution to fostering pro-American sentiment is feeble"

This may be difficult for the rest of the world to understand but the entire english speaking world refuses to defend itself against the regular onslaught of slanders, half-truths and outright lies. I just got back from London, a city that should be proud of its international cuisine and where unfortunately I put on more weight than I should have. Time will pay. The French have successfully marketed the slander than British food is amongst the worst in the world. Well I certainly ate better in London than the last time I was in France. Google it and see what the Brits are eating today. You don't see them offering up a spirited defence of their cusine.

Or take Australia: a country with an ethnically diverse population from the four corners of the globe, with a tolerant attitude to race, creed, religion and national origin. Contrast that with the ethnic unrest of Indonesia, her neighbor, or the lack of political dissent in Malaysia, not to mention the state control of China. For those not paying attention you might be surprised to discover that Australia is widely pilloried throughout the region as being racist, a charge laughable if it weren't for the unfortunate cover it provides the region's tyrants. Australia doesn't defend itself either because its own press would collude with the attackers by agreeing with the racist label.

What could the US possibly say to counter the daily barrage of slander against her? The average German youth that I meet would leap enthusiastically at the chance to ridicule any defender of the US, springing from some half-finished argument over Allende to a half-baked one over Noriega. It's always America's fault, they know it and they intend to make you realize it before the night's over, if you don't retire early from inhaling their second-hand smoke.

Perhaps the fault lies in our lack of centrally administered thought system. Who could speak for us? We all have different opinions. If some Parisian doesn't like English food, well that's their perogative. Who would quibble? But if I were so say I don't like French food, that I do not cook in butter and I don't think much of their wine, I could expect a good portion of the French population to conclude that I lack taste and style. If I were a person of note and worth the effort they would be certain to challenge my credentials in matters of food.

We don't do that. We haven't done it for a very long time, if ever. Last time I looked the English speaking world was full of a dynamism and openess that is widely lacking elsewhere. The attacks on our culture from the Germans or the French are really just the hallmark of a disturbing pathology. It tells us more about the critics then us. Oh, we can handle criticism alright: we do it ourselves - just read our press. But it's precisely because we are self critical and read it all day that we recognize pretty quickly when the form of criticism is really just another form of racism or demogogery. Especially when it comes from a people who have a recent history in that particular pathology.

My view is: Germans created this mess and they must fix it. Germans who understand what is happening on the world stage must explain it to other Germans who only think they do. Americans cannot change this.

@ DCM

I was referring to the Ostpolitik of Chancellors Brandt, Schmidt and Kohl - they could not stop asking for forgiveness by those formerly occupied eastern european countries. Schroeder instead clearly is paying attention to our present and future instead of the last Reich.


@ Jake

I dont want to disillusion you, but its really just the $$$ that are earned by those germans near american bases which keep our politicians from asking americans to finally leave this country. If any politician would do, he would quickly be attacked by his opponents and the press for putting german jobs at risk.

In the end, those regions which profit from those additional american consumers will have to realign anyway. But until that happens, they will continue to earn as much as possible.

@Sean M

"Germany never was an ally"
"Germany just used the US during the cold war years "

You should provide some facts to underpin your theory. I mean, other than the fact that some German told you so after a couple of beers...

Germany could have stayed out of Nato. Like Japan, Austria or France. Actually, I think that the Soviets offered the then Chancellor Adenauer a reunion with the GDR, if the resulting state would agree to remain neutral.
Germany joined Nato, and we spent a lot of money for it: for the draft, and also for some nifty new weaponry like the Leopard (still one of the best tanks in the world) or the fighter jet G91(?), a joint project with GB and Italy. True, German soldiers have not been seen on foreign grounds for a long time (by popular request). I still think we fulfilled our part of the deal very well.

Fuchur: Don't you think West Germany only became a Nato member because it was afraid of a Soviet invasion? Do you think that West Germany, without British and American troops within its borders, would have been safe from invasion by the Soviet Union? Go play with your friends in Russia, China, France and Turkey. The future of Germany looks rather bleak as far as I am concerned. Rest in peace.

@fuchur

Let me argue by example: Australia would be an ally of the US if the US protected it against threatening behaviour from its neighbor, Indonesia. We are talking about hypothetical threats. Australia has an excellent military but only 20 million or so people. Indonesia has about 220 million people so Australia would be well advised to work well in its alliance with the US. Wouldn't you agree? It's similar to the Nato alliance with a small West Germany threatened by the Warsaw Pact.

In the history of just the last 100 years we have substantial examples of behaviour markedly distinct from this self interested alliance. In both the first and second world wars Australia sent troops to help Britain in its defence. They fought and died on the battlefront in great numbers, just as Americans would have in Germany had the Soviet Union attacked or if someone had miscalculated. Or take Britain (and Australia again) sending troops to Iraq in their alliance with the US. To be sure, there is mutual interest involved here, that's one of the ingredients of an alliance. But both examples, and there are many more, rise well above the level of agreeing to an alliance where the US risks its blood and treasure on protecting your territory.

Now perhaps you see the alliance as being more two sided then I do. Perhaps you deeply believe that if the US had been invaded or threatened by, say, China that Germany would have devoted blood and treasure by sending battletroops to US soil. Convince me, because try as I might I just don't see that happening, not now, not ever.

@Zyme

one question- did the Russians ask the then East Germans if they could built their bases there? Why did you feel it necessary to add this little tidbit about the US Bases in Germany?
Please, do trust the nice man in Moscow. And whoever will take over after him. And good luck trying to get those amounts of gas and oil from somewhere else, in case the Russians turn off your spigot. For a country who likes to call the Americans Hinterwaeldler your Chancellor seems to be naive. It looks just dandy for his coming election, but does he ever think further then his chances to be re-elected? Does he ever think about the future, when he and Mr. Putin are not such good friends anymore? And what would happen, if somebody will be in power in Russia who is not a great fan of the charming Mr. Schroeder or the Germans? Many countries depend on raw materials coming from countries with less than stable governments. This is always a worry and so most of us try not to put "all our eggs in one basket". In case there are trouble in one country one can always try to get supplies from another, more friendly country. For Germany to be so dependent on one country only for vital supplies should be something to worry about.

@Sean M

When intercontinental missiles are in the game, then it doesn´t make sense to talk about protecting some "territory". The blood and treasure Germany devoted to Nato was devoted directly to the safety of the US. Nato was not about defending Germany. It was very much a two sided agreement.
Let´s take the Cuba crisis. Cuba isn´t exactly German territory, is it? Still, Germany stood at the side of the US.

@dis german

Has Austria been invaded by the SU? Japan? As I said: Neutrality would have been the easy option for West Germany.
And of course it´s ridiculous to assume that the British and American troops on German territory scared the Soviets away...

Fuchur:
Maybe Austria wasn't invaded because of its close geographical proximity to Germany - ever thought about that? I never said the presence of British and American troops stopped the Soviets but the atomic weapons in place in Germany might have. You sound like someone who is sorry that the Soviet Union no longer exists and that's the problem with most Germans - they're socialists / communists and that's why I'm ashamed to be German. You're lucky that the Americans didn't feel it necessary to drop an atomic bomb on Berlin. And, by the way, you can't cause two World Wars and just go on to being neutral. The Swiss might be able to do that but then they didn't kill millions of people, did they.

Fact is: You started two World Wars. After WW II Germany got seperated into East and West Germany. And I understand why the Russians would want their share of German territory. They suffered enough during WW II. But I have to ask you - as you seem to be a Soviet sympathiser - how many West Germans willingly crossed the border in order to live in East Germany? If you think communism is such a good thing move to North Korea.

fucher
>>The blood and treasure Germany devoted to Nato was devoted directly to the safety of the US.

Excuse me while I vomit.

Your scope is far too narrow. The blood and treasure that Germany spilled during the 20th century was spent in WWI in the cause of of territory and power. The blood and treasure Germany devoted in WWII was in the name of THE MASTER RACE.

The only blood Germany spilled in the Nato years was from those caught in East Germany shot while trying to get to the West.

Listen. Listen very carefully. Do not talk to me about German blood and treasure. The only circumstances in which German blood and treasure were ever committed by your culture ended in world wars and genocide on a scale never known before in human history.

NATO was never about US safety only. It was and is about the safety of the world from the predators - those of you who have a secretly loved history of conquest and blood. Hence Zyme's twisted affinity for Russia and China. It matters not what Russia did to the remnants of Germany after WWII. It matters not the millions of its own people that China has slaughtered. These are internal matters after all. If Hitler had not been stupid enough to declare war on the U.S., the Holocaust should have remained an internal matter.

No. What Zyme and Zyme's ilk want is political demarche for lust for power measured in blood.

But Zyme? What if Russia doesn't like it? We all know what happens if you have a bad relationship with Russia. Remember the Poles? You wouldn't want to be treated like the Poles now would you?

Oh. Got it. It's all about natural gas and oil.

@Zyme and Fuchur,

I thought they disbanded the Hitler Youth. I guess we should all respect your honesty in being Nazis, that does take a little courage since '45, but this is cyber space after all. Let's see you wear those Brown shirts in public, let's say in Moscow. Communism, Nazism are basically the same thing (one just emphasizes race), and I guess like minds will flock together in times of weakness. But, my dear mortal enemies Zyme and Fuchur, you really need to be aware of your recent history and how your new close friends view you based on that little detail.

Hmmm, may I suggest some reading material for you, how about two books by Anthony Beevor (a Brit), "The Fall of Berlin 1945" and "Stalingrad", or how about the diary of a Wehrmacht soldier, Guy Sajer, "The Forgotten Soldier". Try reading any of these books and you will understand how Russians view Germans. Yes, yes, its been awhile, but if you think they have forgotten, you are sadly mistaken. Morality and ethics, to say nothing of forgiveness, are not in the Russian cultural character or soul. Research Russian history at your local library. Maybe you think they are like American citizens. Think again.

Russia wants power and money. Period. And they will do anything to get them. Anything. If you think Putin, or any Russian leader of the conceivable future, gives one shit about Germany, Kyoto, the ICC, the UN, peace, justice, or any moral scrupple, you are far more stupid than language can express. And if you think Germany can some how out smart the Russians, rebuild and retool into the "Fourth Reich," then you don't even understand your own people. Germans actually bought into all that Marxist bullshit, the Russians never did. Russia will eat its own weak for material gain, Germany couldn't handle the bruised feelings of less benefits. Talk about falling for western decadence!

You will never defeat Russia, and you will never realize your own delusions of granduer. The Russians, or the Chinese, will chew you up and spit you out before you knew what happened.

Join the rest of the civilized world this time, those who will forgive and forget, and help create a better future for the world like the one we helped establish in western Europe and in Japan/Asia.

@SwampFox & disillusioned german

Learn to read before you call me a Nazi or a Commie. Sheesh...


@Pamela

"Do not talk to me about German blood and treasure. "

My dad served in the German airforce. And, come to think of it, I also did my mandatory 10 months in the army.
I think that gives me the right to use slightly pathetic catchphrases.

"NATO was never about US safety only. "

But it was not only about German safety, either. It was a mutual agreement, and as I said before, Germany more than fulfilled its part of the deal.

@Furchur
"Let´s take the Cuba crisis. Cuba isn´t exactly German territory, is it? Still, Germany stood at the side of the US."

The Cuban missile crisis was a naval standoff between Soviet and US warships, and while I note that you ignored the much more relevant example I used of the US vs China, I can only conclude that you agree with me and also find the concept of German battletroops stationed on US soil to defend the territory of an ally to be simply unimaginable.

You have an entirely handicapped notion of what it means to be an ally. It's not just about having your own territory protected, the occasional joint military exercise, the sharing of equipment and training, the occasional agreement to send peace keeping troops. Nor is it about being dragged into any "military adventure" of your ally (the First World War taught us the folly of that). Most people here know what being an ally means and I gave examples in an earlier post, but let me tell you about behaviour that is NOT compatible with being an ally:

1. Providing military support to an enemy.
2. Providing reassurance to that enemy that the UN will not enforce already passed resolutions against it.
3. Providing technical assistance to the enemy to enable them to produce and hide the manufacture of weapons systems and WMD.
4. Providing a philosophical cover for the enemy through the use of propaganda in the media: in other words, to help demonize your ally.

In case you think I'm just referring to Iraq, consider Libya's chemical factories, buried deep in the hillsides, or Germany's current overtures to China. In fact, to be an ally Germany would have to have had a different history since at least the late 1960's: it would have to have not actively sought out enemies of the US, supplied them and encouraged them. The problem the US has with Germany over Iraq is not just that you would not send troops, that's your clear right (and Americans should not forget that Germany still has a conscript army so the troops did not sign up freely), the problem is how Germany conducted itself with respect to Iraq over the years after the end of the first Gulf War in 1991. The US and Britain (and Kuwait!) had serious ongoing problems with Iraq over noncompliance with the end-of-hostilities treaty, over disrupting UN searches and support of terrorism, among other things. In this time Germany was not part of the solution but a big part of the problem!

Throughout this period Britain remained an ally, even under a socialist (Labour) government, as did the US toward Britain. Read Tony Blair's speech from 1999 here. Calling him Bush's poodle when he was out front on the issue (and before Bush was elected) is also not compatible with being an ally: it gives succor to the enemy. Britain has a lively and free press and substantial portions have become anti-American as the European project has achieved prominence. But it also has lively dissent and the fact that a socialist government has remained an ally serves as evidence that the all-encompassing anti-Americanism that prevails here in Germany is not the only voice to be heard there. That's because Britain is an ally.

Zyme,

well, I am deeply impressed by your insight into German interests, so thanks for the enlightenment. not only are your favoured principles heartless, zynical and oblivious to any moral category whatsoever, they are also downright dangerous.

1) While you mention China's ermerging markets, what are your thoughts about the fact that Germany's most important non-european trade partner is the USA (and will be for a long time, unless of course your ideas will make it to Berlin's foreign secretary).

2) What about the fact that a huge chunk of foreign investment into Germany's ailing economy is coming from capital markets in New York and London, not Beijing ?

3) What about markets and investors in those insignificant countries of Eastern Europe and "Greater Asia" (India, Taiwan, Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, SE Asia, Australia, NZL,...)that would have a huge problem with an unrestrained Chinese or Russian policy of agression and might object to a German foreign policy as envisioned by you ? Leave them to their fate ? Too bad that most of them favour their relations with the angloamerican world much more than you and have true allies in the US and Brittain that just won't let them be swallowed by those two nations favoured by you. So your policy basically means afronting those nations and kissing those markets good-bye.

Again, I am deeply impressed by your lecture on German diplomacy. It is truly worthy of your German heritage. The thing is: It simply does not work out. It has not in 1914 and it is not going to in 2005.

So think again or leave it to your friends, the French. At least they know what they are doing.

fucher
>>My dad served in the German airforce. And, come to think of it, I also did my mandatory 10 months in the army.
I think that gives me the right to use slightly pathetic catchphrases.

Oh. Please. The conscript German military duty is mainly served in activities such as emptying bed pans in hospitals. Do you really want to engage in the schoolyard nonsense of "My dad...blah blah blah"? Ok. My father was a B26 pilot stationed in Chelmsford. He flew over 70 missions. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

So what? Oh. Right. German blood and treasure is about mandatory duty in hospitals during a peace guaranteed by the U.S. military and merit inherited from one's parent's service.

It's not the catchphrase that is pathetic. It's you.

@Sean M

Your China example is purely hypothetical. The Cuba crisis was real. It nearly lead to WWIII, and Germany showed its loyalty. That´s my definition of an ally. Germans were ready to fight and die for a cause that did not in the least concern German territory. Again, your conception of sending soldiers to some territory stems from 19th century warfare. During the Cuba crisis the Americans were glad that the German army was in Germany. Nobody wanted German soldiers in Florida. It is perfectly possible for a German soldier to protect American interests while never leaving Germany.


We were talking about the cold war, but now you jump to Iraq...
Maybe we should mention that Germany politically backed every major military venture of the US. The second Iraq war is the first exception. The German rules for weapons exports have always been very strict and very clear. It never was official (or inofficial) German policy to proliferate military goods or knowledge to rogue states.
Of course this policy has been violated several times (through mistakes or criminal acts), but the same goes for any other major nation. According to your rules, not even the US is an ally to the US.

Then you say that Germany was a big problem after the 1991 Gulf War. That´s nonsense. Tell me of one resolution (or draft) that failed because of Germany. And contrary to popular insinuations, German officials were not involved in the Oil-for-food scam.

Your accusation of providing negative "propaganda" is pointless. Like Britain, Germany has a free and lively press that is not at all government controlled.
And you conveniently forget about the fact that the conservative German opposition always has been quite pro-American.


Another thing:
"Americans should not forget that Germany still has a conscript army so the troops did not sign up freely"

Wrong. The basic military service is mandatory. If you want to become a professional soldier, then it´s your free choice.

@fuchur

I'll let your comments stand unchallenged. There's enough already written in this thread for the interested reader to come to their own conclusions.

@Pamela

I don´t clain my father´s merit for me. But I claim it for him. I can only repeat my point since you don´t seem to get it: Peace was not only guaranteed by the US military. The contribution my dad made is just as valuable as that of some American soldier.

@Pamela
"The conscript German military duty is mainly served in activities such as emptying bed pans in hospitals"

Maybe you are completely uninformed or just plain dumb, probably the people you are mean here are "Zivildienstleistende", those are the guys who regret to join the army those are not soldiers!
By the way i know many american soldiers and im sorry to say that but many of them have such an low IQ that they are not even able to "emptying bed pans" in hospitals....lol

@frechdachs 'By the way i know many american soldiers and im sorry to say that but many of them have such an low IQ that they are not even able to "emptying bed pans" in hospitals'

But that's an unfair comparison to make between American soldiers and their German counterparts: afterall, we all know Germans are a master race.

SeanM

Yes those bedpan emptying soldiers grandfathers did a number on frechdachs grandfathers. There is no question their grandsons would not do the same only quicker.

This again is selective reality by the Germans.

@Zyme's fantasy:

Let's consider some of those neighbors, shall we? They may not feel quite so positively about the result of this little German diplomatic coup....

We need some music first though: Springtime, for Schroeder, and Germany! Winter, for Russia, and the Yanks!

The testing grounds for German weapon technology might include Japan, South Korea, India, Australia, Taiwan, Malaysia, and the US. And last but surely not least - Russia.

Major sales of arms technology to the Chinese will probably shift the affected nations closer to the US - and to each other. And against Germany, I think.

Let's also assume that the US acknoledges that Europe must go it's own way - and dissolves NATO. No more US army to protect Europe from Russia - but who needs the damned Yanks anyway? The Bear is toothless - so go ahead and sell a bunch to the Chinese!

What is to stop the US from selling technology to Russia, Japan, and India to level the playing field? Whose technology is likely to be better? Could Russia recover enough to be a threat to Germany now that the Yanks are out of the way? Nah - look what happened in 1918 - it took them 25 years to recover - maybe.

2) Russia
Traditionally an important european country, our partnership is actually needed by both sides today.

So both cant go without each other - why not be partners then?

I don't think that there is overwhelming US opposition to German trade with Russia - but then Russia is even less of a threat to the US than it is to Germany. So why not? Keep one thing in mind, though. Any Russian goodwill you create by trading with them will likely be more than offset by selling advanced military technology to China. China has historical claims to much of Siberia. Russia may well feel that arming the Chinese will put China into the position to conquer Siberia.

@Don wrote, "Springtime, for Schroeder, and Germany"

I liked your analysis so I won't add anything there. But I just saw the musical "The Producers" in London and what a smash hit! My German wife had to be constantly pulled back into her chair from collapsing on the floor from laughter.

Who could forget:

Springtime for Hitler and Germany

Rhinelands a fine land once more!

Springtime for Hitler and Germany...

Watch out Europe,

We're going on tour!

You wrote, "China has historical claims to much of Siberia. Russia may well feel that arming the Chinese will put China into the position to conquer Siberia."

Are you suggesting that Germans have not thought of this, like the recognition of Slovenia might upset the Serbs? Whoops, sorry, the program only allows criticism of the USA. Germany is an expert at using diplomacy...

SeanM,

What Zyme is postulating is a volte-face of breathtaking scope. I don't think it's practical in that Germany is part of the EU and surely the other 24 members are going to have something to say about it. I doubt Poland, the UK, Hungary, Slovenia, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Netherlands, or Ireland will be for anything like this, and even France, Spain, and Italy are unlikely to be so bold.

Let's assume that it happens anyway. From that moment NATO will have entered the Land of the Living Dead. It might not die right away but the US is unlikely to regard NATO as the fundamental rock of US foreign policy which it is today. The US will have to consider other arrangements, and the massive transfer of technology to China will create opportunities in profusion - among China's neighbors.

I might predict a new alliance hinged upon four countries - the US, Russia, India, and Japan. Korea may be too close to the Dragon - I think it would be Finlandized sooner or later.

And Germany? Germany would still be what it is now - a medium-sized European country. The EU could become a superpower, particularly if the eastern countries grow rapidly. But paradoxically the rapid growth of Poland would probably weaken Germany's influence within the EU by adding another great EU country to the current troika of Germany, France, and the UK. As would continued growth in Spain.

@Don,

The fantasy of that subset of Germans still hoping for world power and influence is based on a belief that today's Germany shares much in common with the Germany of 100 years ago. Today it is territorially smaller, has less natural resources, a declining population, a widespread desire for the easy life without sacrifice, a need to subordinate foreign influence to the goal of selling exports (Zyme references this while apparently imagining that when trading partners take more of your exports than you do of theirs, that Germany's influence will be greater: the opposite is the case as Germany will need to do what their trading partners demand), a widespread suspicion of Germany lingering from her last attempt at international Macht, and of course the fact that many foreign nations are now at a roughly equivalent level of technology. It's easier to be a shark in a goldfish tank when you are the only shark.

While many Germans might dream of a renewed international great-power status, in my experience here that is no more pronounced than in other countries of Europe, and probably the world. Zyme is unique both in her honestly expressed desires for power and in her relatively isolated position. Most Germans today just assume they are well informed and could make the world a better place, history notwithstanding, and are prepared to let it stand at that. But maybe I've met the wrong Germans...

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