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SeanM,

There is a degree of truth to what you have said about the British media. However, there are some in the UK media who counter the rabid anti Americanism that seems to exists in the German M$M. There is also a level of political leadership and debate, which is not present in Germany or france when it comes to the US.

Having said that I think you will find the political leadership in the UK in either the Labor or the Tory parties align themselves firmly with the US in many areas. This does not revolve solely around Blair. It does not revolve only around the US foreign policy. In fact, Blair has begun a discussion anew about the Kyoto Agreement. He is moving closer to the reality the US has seen for some time.

The differences between political leadership is striking when compared to the nations of the chocolate summit. A key part of political leadership is at times doing what is right and not what is necessarily popular.

Compare for a moment the decisions made by Blair with those of Gerhard. Blair had to overcome his own party’s resistance to support the actions in Iraq. He went against the popular anti war position held by much of the British general public. Gerhard took the populist position not to support the US in Iraq. It is no wonder then Gerhard failed to pass his Agenda 2010 reforms. Gerhard never displayed any leadership. He only made the easy decisions.(Yes, I know all about this putting his leadership on the line about senting troops to Afganastien.) Then again this is both the leader and the style of leadership it seems the Germans both want and are most comfortable with.

Pamela made the comment about where would Spain go. The same comment could very well made about the British. Do you actually think the majority of the British people have a great affection for france and Germany than they do for America? I think not. Do you think they have a great sense of being European than British? I think not. In fact, the dilemma for Blair was the referendum on the EU constitution. He knew the British people would reject it. In the end, the french did Blair a huge favor by rejecting it before the UK did.


@joe, "British media. However, there are some in the UK media who counter the rabid anti Americanism that seems to exists in the German M$M. There is also a level of political leadership and debate, which is not present in Germany or france when it comes to the US."

Not to mention the fact that no country in the English speaking world remains an island unto itself. Each anglophone nation influences the others, producing a dynamic competition of ideas. We can talk directly to one another without the services of an intermediary. Meaning is not so easily lost in translation, although I remember a Brit once commenting, in answer to the question, "What is the greatest difference between the English and Americans", he replied, "The language".

As for anti-Americanism in the UK, in my experience it comes in three different flavors, whoops "flavours":


1. A relatively harmless, in the Pub kind of joking around, that no national group, ethnicity, sex or religious entity escapes from unabused. This is the most general and at different times in history has been focused on various national groups, such as the Germans during and shortly after WWII.

2. Anti-semitism, or as they insist, anti-Zionism. There's a long tradition in the UK, despite the Balfour Declaration, of pro-Arabist thinking and through this lens, America's perceived "pro-Israeli" position has led to considerable scepticism of things American.

3. Leftism in general. These politicos are still awaiting the uprising of the immiserated masses to overthrow the capitalism system but America keeps inconveniently making the poor and the "working classes" better off. The revolution is of necessity postponed until the USA is removed from the world stage, or discredited. These people must be defeated, if for no other reason then because it should be so easy: we have history on our side.

"Do you actually think the majority of the British people have a great affection for france and Germany than they do for America?"

I would feel more comfortable if a Brit would answer this. I don't presume to know what lies in their hearts.

One thing I am disappointed by is how little the Brits seem to know of what's happening here on the continent: France is an enigma and Germany a mystery. I can only remember perhaps one or two reports from the UK that came close to analysing the Germany that I know. Mostly the reports are just out of date caricatures of order and efficiency.

I have also noted with interest Blair's supposed turn around on Kyoto, rumors of which sneaked out of the Clinton bash in NY last month. We will have to see.

Well why should the Brits concern themselves a great deal with the chocolate summit nations?

In most cases when dealing with the EU and all members of the chocolate summit are members of both the EU and the euro, the Brits always have to give up something. Of course, this is normally fine with the Germans. It kind of depends on what it is for the french. For the most part the french are takers in all of this. It is france first and for most and the EU is a fine organization as long as the french control it and get their way.

So the question becomes just what do they have to offer the Brits. I would tell you not a great deal.

@Pamela - "Do you have ANY idea how many Hindi Indians have immigrated here?"

Nearly as many as Muslims, but still not enough to establish a rewriting of history that teaches Christopher Columbus had been one of them. He believed he had found India, though.

@joe - "Well why should the Brits concern themselves a great deal with the chocolate summit nations?"

Tony Blair is a staunch Atlanticist, but then think again he is a socialist in comparison to a conservative like Jaques Chirac. I think the question is not whether he sees Great Britain as an integral part of Europe, but which kind of European integration he agrees to and which not. My impression is that Tony Blair wants an European Union where the demographic representation of member states is achieved by a proper bicameral parliamentary system on the model of the US constitution, rather than by a skewed proportional representation between the national governments. Why should he fail to see the crumbling of the chocolate governments as an opportunity to bring the European integration - that the chocolate cartel has been cheating with so much - on a Republican course? After the London replay of the Madrid attack shattered the last remnants of a sense of splendid isolation, the British Declaration of Interdependence that initiated his G8 and EU presidencies is the only political ground he can stand upon.

FranzisM,

Old jacko might claim to be a conservative, just as he claims to be an ally of the US. He is neither.

I suggest you look beyond his words and his labels and look at his deeds and actions.

@joe: I should have added a big fat "paleo-" to make clear that the only thing conservative about him is that he knows how to keep his power together, but no values whatsoever. Napoleon denied the German princebishops their mundane powers, but can you see anybody in France who would take the same view about the Islamic mullahs?

FranzisM,

An do not think this is something Blair cannot change in a heartbeat.

One only needs to remember the swift change Gerhard made when it came to German America relationships.

That bridge has been burnt forever by the Germans. Hopefully the Americans will catch on to this and maybe tear down the last standing pillars of it. The we all can move on to another era in trans- Atlantic relationships and stop this playing nice toward each other.

Yes, I know but at least I do not believe in Santa Claus anymore.

@joe - Seen from the inside, the change Schröder made was not all that swift, what came to the surface was just a movement that had been building up over years. E.g. during the Jenin hoax he proposed to send UN peacekeepers into the Palestinian territories and Bush just did not listen. There is no similiar anti-European movement building up in Britain which might suddenly erupt into radical policy changes.

@joe - "It is no wonder then Gerhard failed to pass his Agenda 2010 reforms. Gerhard never displayed any leadership. He only made the easy decisions. ... Then again this is both the leader and the style of leadership it seems the Germans both want and are most comfortable with."

The key idea of the Agenda 2010 was that dead-end welfare-to-work programs by the Bundesagentur für Arbeit would scare away enough potential clients to melt down the welfare state and save costs. The result was that we now have made the transition from a four- into a five-party system that could be suspended since the reunification.

There is a declared will with Angela Merkel and with the FDP to unfold a disengagement plan from the Bundesagentur für Arbeit when the time has come to do so. This is a 100.000 man entity of which even its former leader, Florian Gerster, has publicly said that "it is not reformable." How do you disengage from a 50 billion euro bureaucracy without hurting the millions who vitally depend on its functionality?

FranzisM,

It would seem the options are really only 2 as much as Germans hate the idea of only two of anything. It is much too much like black and white or You are with us or you are not. This does not set well with Germans anymore than presenting something in terms of good versus evil. It just makes today’s Germans get all huffy and nervous.

Germans will either engage the welfare state and change it or the welfare state will consume them.

Either choice is going to be painful. One does not need to be an elite; in fact not being an elite is an advantage, to know where the welfare state will lead. It will lead to further decline of Germany. It will be a slow process but with each passing month and year more and more people will come to realize this.

The other choice, to change the welfare state, will be equally as painful or maybe even more painful. But this choice does provide some hope for the future. Of course, when you are dealing with a population who does not look forward to the future with hope but longs for the “good old days”, this will not be easy to obtain.

To make these choices especially the one concerning changing the welfare state will require great courage. It will require the courage of not only the elites but of the political leaders. The leaders must as some point demonstrate leadership and make the truly hard decisions.

Looking at the way the future government is being divided up should give one little hope that any real reforms will be made.

For the Union it is the worse of all worlds. They will be blamed for the pain and yet like Gerhard will not go far enough nor fast enough to impact change.

The real winners in this are the neo communists and the FDP. The party next to gain will be the spd and the huge loser will be the Union.

Germany will become even more of a sideshow than it already is. The rest of the world will move on and so will much of Europe. Germany will in the mean time huffy and puff and confuse talk with action. The people will become even more fearful and more inpatient with Berlin. The next election should be more fun to watch than this one.

Of course, one thing which will help is if one is to believe this grand government will actually govern for 4 years is the US will have its own election. This should at least distract the Germans long enough to make them feel good about being so much better in all aspects than Americans.


Instead of partying with Putin, Schroeder should have partied with the veterans of the Berlin Airlift, who came to mark the closure of the Rhein-Main Air Base. Apparently the highest ranking German politician attending that ceremony was the finance minister of Hessen:

http://atlanticreview.org/archives/144-Famous-Berlin-Airlift-base-Rhein-Main-is-closed.html

@joe: I don't think it's necessary to invoke Santa Claus to come to the conclusion that your apocalyptic scenarios - such as the collapse of the European Union - are not realistic unless there was some greater international disruption that caused them, such as Iran exploding a nuclear weapon. Yes, in that case Kyoto would be the symbol to unite these who were "not convinced" of retaliation, and the effect of such a blast on the German-American relationship might indeed be as bad as that of Pearl Harbor. The European continent might fall on the Islamic side of the line, life might become really difficult here and Great Britain might have to worry about nuclear threats from France. That risk has even been decreasing a bit with the end of Red-Green, and I hope indeed that the rest of the world will move on with us on Iran.

Of course I am aware that the welfare state is a dead end which bears increasing financial risk, but I have to take into account that mass poverty is also a security risk. The problem with the leftist immiserization theories is not that they were true, but that there are these who work to make them true. If terror frontend charities were to substitute the welfare state, then in combination with the dependency of our export industries from Islamic customers this would be a pincer movement which would allow the terror investors to turn our internal economic conflicts into a proxy war for Islamization. The EU hasn't even blacklisted Hamas yet, let alone Hezbollah, so what might happen in a great sudden welfare cold turkey? An increase in Islamic foreign aid to the Muslim brotherhood network is the last thing anybody could seriously want. Hezbollah demonstrations in Germany already run under the same motto of "peaceful coexistence" as we know it from the Soviet proxies in the last century. The risk is that Germany rather will become another Lebanon than the cozy sideshow you're talking about.

Whether the next government will be a Grand Coalition depends on whether the SPD can find a Vice Chancellor who can get the approval of the SPD national convention. If not then we will have to go back to Jamaica. It's still 50:50 whether Red or Green will be a part of the next government, the only thing certain so far is that Red and Green will end up in opposite roles. If Angela Merkel manages to establish parallel negotiations with both then she has the best preconditions to get out with the best possible deal.

FranzisM,

I am totally ambivalent as to whether the EU collapses or not. If you forced me to make a prediction on this, I would tell you it will. It is only a matter of time. I would also say the same about the euro. The EU as Jacko and Gerhard and the members of the chocolate summit envisions as a counter weight to the US and a dominant world power will not happen. The EU will more than likely revert back to being an economic trading block.

It really will not take an international disruption to trigger this. I can give you three events, which could cause this. First the US leaving NATO. This would in effect mean the US would no longer take responsibility for the defense of Europe. This combined with the US being willing to enter into bi lateral security agreements with individual nations to form a new defensive alliance would unwind the EU.

To some degree this is already happening with the actions taken by Germany. However, those are really not very significant. Action by the US would be.

A second event, which could trigger this would be the end of massive transfers of funds between European nations. Right now Germany is a net contributor to the EU. It is one of the few bill-paying nations in Europe. The majority of nations stand around with their hands out. A good reason for them of course to become members. So when the Germans wise up, and I realize this is along the Santa Claus belief line, that they are funding infrastructure improvements in Eastern Europe so jobs from Germany can be transferred there, these transfers might decrease or even stop.

Finally the development of a multi speed EU where certain groups of nations form blocks based on economic needs, security issues, etc. We have already seen this with the split in the run up to the Iraq war. We are seeing this also in how individual nations are managing their economies.

In the case of economic policy, one block of nations – france and Germany – want to cling to a heavy handed state control over the market. Other nations lead by the UK want less state control. These two systems are at odds with each other. As both the french and Germans refuse to accept less state control there will be a natural conflict. This conflict will be centered not on reforms within their own nations but by attempting to convert other nations to their position by using the Brussels.

So as france and Germany attempt to drag other nations to their level instead of rising to a new level this will weaken the EU. At some point some nations are going to question just why are we a part of the EU and just what is the purpose of the EU. The elites in Brussels are already engaged in this debate because the EU has run out of ideas with the rejection of a super European state.

Discontent is already being heard from the Dutch. The same can be heard in Italy about the euro. Many nations dislike the double standard Germany applies. A great example is the continued breach of the stability pack. Something the Germans demanded and like many things Germans demand are now unhappy with it and tend to just to ignore it.

Any of these and I am sure there are even more could cause the EU to unwind.

The Germans will not be very happy with this but then it seems little make the Germans happy anymore.

As for the french nuclear force, that is as much as an illusion as anything. If you actually think the french could launch such a strike then it shows how little you know of the actual french military capability. It also indicates how little you know about the Americans and the Brits.


@joe - You might have good reasons to want to get rid of what Red-Green has made of NATO, but what matters is under wich conditions would the US government actually make a watershed decision to turn away from the doctrine put forward in the Second Inaugural Address, and give up the strategic benefit that spontaneous coalitions can gain from the dynamics of existing institutions.

The Declaration of the Eight alone might not have achieved the stalemate in the EU, had it not been staunchly endorsed by the Balkan and Baltic nations, whose voices were heard in Brussells only because they came from the doorsteps of NATO. Had not the former Warsaw Pact nations first joined NATO before they joined the EU, these declarations might never have been made. Had not Rumsfeld pushed forward NATO's opening to Eastern Europe at the Prague Summit late 2002, the Franco-German-Russian "Axis" coalition would probably have succeeded to produce an united European front against the liberation of Iraq.

An US decision that would make the Brussels twin towers of NATO and EU collapse might probably be seen if a possible Left Coalition openly hostile to NATO comes to power in Germany. Such a government would very likely regress to the position of Willy Brandt, who in the Yom-Kippur war 1973 rejected Israeli freighters that were to take cargo from US troops in Germany their access to our ports.

In that case however the US also would have given up IAEA, whose headquarters are on a neutral insula within NATO territory, and the diplomatic process on Iran would end without Security Council referral. Then nothing would stop the currently fragmented UN from closing ranks and the General Assembly would turn into a permanent Durban conference where it would only be a matter of time until the US and Israel have to walk out. France would probably be the first European state to embrace Islam as a political system, yet before Germany, therefore my concerns regarding their weapons.

The European Union originally was designed in such a way that a success on its own terms would have required the Euro to develop into the lead currency of the global markets instantly after its launch. But Greta Duisenbergs kaffiye didn't help turn around OPEC, and now the rise of China has closed that window of opportunity. The current leadership miscalculated that the predictable popular schadenfreude over a predicted collapse of the United States would provide an opportunity to get popular approval for a bunch of ridiculously discursive international treaties that were dubbed "a constitution" (Germany didn't even have a referendum on this thing).

Though, the Euro is being used as a currency reserve, and thus more stable than the individual European economies, otherwise the breach of the stability pact would never have been possible in the first place. And the opposing camps within the EU, though they may vastly differ on economic ideas, are kept together by the Franco-German-British "EU-3" coalition that represents the EU in the IAEA. Brussels may well see one or another food fight, but as long as Europe remains aware of the common stability and security interests we can go through the political limbo period without the crisis you describe.

But much more important is their domination of the financial markets and the media, especially the entertainment industry, which they use as a propaganda tool

That's right, you caught us. We secretly turned all the video and record store owners in the world into CIA agents (the ones who wouldn't turn are in Guantanamo Bay, of course), and we slip subliminal signals into all the broadcast signals worldwide that force people to go buy our products totally against their will. The NSA actually runs Hollywood through several thousand figureheads to coordinate propaganda agenda, and every piece of music is actually written by a secret division of the Treasury Department. But the financial markets were really the piece de resistance - we buy things that we want from others, and others buy things that they want from us! We generate wealth and invest it! Is that devious or what?

Johannes, you're psychotic. You might benefit from medication. I'm going to skip right past asking who this "they" is that you keep referring to, and just point out that you're talking about things that result from the actions of at least hundreds of thousands of independant individuals. This group is much too large to be any sort of cabal, and too self-interested to be scheming for the "Anglo-Saxon machine". It's the natural result of a system that works, although you can be forgiven for not appearing to know what one of those looks like.

When Stephen Spielberg makes a film, he doesn't do it to advance the Evil Imperialist Agenda (what does he care about anything like that?) - he does it to create appealing entertainment that people will buy. Judging by the fact that people all over the planet choose to stand in line for it, he clearly succeeds. If he didn't succeed, no one would be buying it. If no one was buying it, he wouldn't be selling it. If he wasn't selling it, your theaters wouldn't be showing it, and video stores wouldn't be stocking it. It isn't possible for Stephen Spielberg to force your video stores to carry his films; they choose to because they believe their customers will buy them. They continue choosing to because this proves to be correct.

Your wild conspiracy yarns are entertaining, and might make a good plot line for a mini series or video game, but are sadly lacking in anything resembling deductive reasoning. Got anything better?


Look at Putin's expression, especially his eyes. He's thinking he'd like to throw this guy to the ground and throttle him.

You're cheating! Putin would like to throw *everyone* to the ground and throttle them.

@ Atlanticus

Well, as an American living not far from Frankfurt, news of the 'official' closure of Rhein-Main AB was a surprise to me, learning of it on German radio on Sunday, the day before the ceremony. I heard more about Hessen's 60th birthday and its origins (GEN Eisenhower, etc.) than about the closure of the "Gateway to Europe".

So at least to me, it all seemed low-key for some reason.

But that's o.k. The Germans/Hessians are already bickering about expanding the current Frankfurt International Airport once the Americans leave once and for all. Let them bicker over a third terminal and not worry about the > 5,000,000 wallowing unemployed.

@Doug - As the entertainment industry is also a target of Islam, this deserves a late reply. I'd emphasize it's important not to focus too much on his "Anglosaxon imperialism" obsession, because Johannes is trying to provide an explanation why the cinema has become a sunset industry in Germany.

And he has got an important point - it's not the home DVD, it's the current stories that frustrate even long-term cineasts out of the audience, and the same goes for television. Public entertainment has been a zero-sum game in which any fun is always made at somebody else's expense, this has not changed since Till Eulenspiegel. Though psychological subtlety may widely vary, and in one case it might be obvious who is being targeted while it might be quite esoteric in another, there is no such thing as a divide between crude propaganda on one side and pure art on the other. Whenever entertainment becomes the least common denominator of a civilization, it is a political tool no matter what the big entertainers declare about their intentions.

There's a strong perception in Germany that the culture industry seems ambitioned to run the major consensus narrative of the world and to educate about situations from any walk of life, but itself does require everybody who wants to know the spoilers it puts into these situations to get accustomed to the audiovisual technologies it relies upon. What dubious kind of political tool is this, whose effects on our culture can only be kept track of by consumption of its own output, but not through the written word? Only recently we see the rise of the web and the wiki provide some transparency to the international cinema, and slowly open up alternatives to the Kulturpessimismus which became predominant on its heels.

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