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I can hardly wait to see how Rofle spins this one.

As I posted in response to Guessen and his capital punishment comment:

Is Capital Punishment Morally Required? The Relevance of Life-Life Tradeoffs

CASS R. SUNSTEIN
University of Chicago Law School
ADRIAN VERMEULE
University of Chicago Law School
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
March 2005

U Chicago Law & Econ, Olin Working Paper No. 239; AEI-Brookings Joint Center Working Paper No. 05-06; U of Chicago, Public Law Working Paper No. 85


http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=691447

---
Abstract:
Recent evidence suggests that capital punishment may have a significant deterrent effect, preventing as many eighteen or more murders for each execution. This evidence greatly unsettles moral objections to the death penalty, because it suggests that a refusal to impose that penalty condemns numerous innocent people to death. Capital punishment thus presents a life-life tradeoff, and a serious commitment to the sanctity of human life may well compel, rather than forbid, that form of punishment. Moral objections to the death penalty frequently depend on a distinction between acts and omissions, but that distinction is misleading in this context, because government is a special kind of moral agent. The familiar problems with capital punishment - potential error, irreversibility, arbitrariness, and racial skew - do not argue in favor of abolition, because the world of homicide suffers from those same problems in even more acute form. The widespread failure to appreciate the life-life tradeoffs involved in capital punishment may depend on cognitive processes that fail to treat "statistical lives" with the seriousness that they deserve.

Remember Fullbright scholarships? I think that Father Wahl should be nominated for a Michael Jackson scholarship to Georgetown. He could sit in the Father Geoghan chair for social justice (http://www.bishop-accountability.org/) and set the Catholic Church straight on social issues in America.

This man is an idiot, the clemency he speaks about is not a Saudi let off Islamic exceptionalism. It does also exist in the German law, where it is known as Täter-Opfer-Ausgleich, and officials hve to explain to victims how much work lies ahead if they chose that path.

What they have in Arabia seems to be a caricature of the Täter-Opfer-Ausgleich in which the state leaves the implementation of the law to family feud and honor cults. But this man cannot even make a proper distinction between the legal system and the majority religion of that country. He should consider that anybody there who is sentended to death for a victimless crime has no victim or family thereof to grant him clemency...

As for the death penalty, it makes a difference whether it is part of a war crime tribunal or part of a civilian legal system. The first belongs under the rules of war, the latter does not. And even with the death penalty in civilian legal systems there is a difference whether it is applied to victimless crimes or not.

I am against the death penalty, but this man is a self righteous b.....

"I would like to add, as a personal opinion, that the German state was responsible - among other evils - for the gassing and slaughtering of millions of Jews, and it is therefore unconceivable in all eternity to again grant this state a right to put humans - even convicted killers - to death."

Oh man, that is so self-righteous. As if there was a right to kill people.
And yes, the germans murdered millions of jews, but does that still take away their right to criticize other atrocities or injustice. It's pretty lame to say to a german, who criticizes capital punishment: "Shut up, you gassed the jews!"

By the way, this priest is an idiot.

“Capital punishment is the most premeditated of murders, to which no criminal’s deed, however calculated, can be compared. For there to be an equivalency, the death penalty would have to punish a criminal who had warned his victim of the date on which he would inflict a horrible death on him and who, from that moment onward, had confined him at his mercy for months. Such a monster is not to be encountered in private life.” Albert Camus

this repulsive priest did not provide the average number of executions [beheadings] in Saudi Arabia compared proportionlly to population with the number of executions in the USA. Obviously, on these grounds the Saudi kingdom has a higher rate of executions than the USA. If I am wrong then let me know. Further, if the priest wants to consider blood money which Saudi Arabia sometimes allows in lieu of execution, as an advanced social arrangement, then he can, disregarding what happens to the poor murderer whose family cannot raise the blood money. Nevertheless, the rate of Saudi executions is very high.

There cannot be a more qualified person to hold the moral high ground - Catholic and German.

This man is an idiot or this priest is an idiot? The idiotic statement is from a speech in a TV program that also features lay theologians, not from a sermon in a church, so it appears to me as his private opinion.

You know who I think should be executed by the state without mercy?

Child molesters. Including Catholic priests.

@Pamela..

hmmmm...
based on his statement
"We don't have to worry here (in Germany) about the death penalty, thank heavens."

no wonder he is so relieved..

amiexpat, do you think it has occurred to this repugnant creature that Saudi Arabia executes its own citizens for apostasy?

Such as Christianity? Let him try to go to Riyadh and build a church.

Maybe the Vatican could come up with some blood money to ransom his sorry ass.

"I would like to add, as a personal opinion, that the German state was responsible - among other evils - for the gassing and slaughtering of millions of Jews, and it is therefore unconceivable in all eternity to again grant this state a right to put humans - even convicted killers - to death."

Again and again and again... My children and grandchildren will be Nazis, still having jewish blood on their hands.

"In terms of being in a moral position to judge other countries' practice of the death penalty, Germany ranks even below Saudi Arabia."

Yes, as i said above... we all are Nazis. German children are born with a swastika on their forehead.
The difference between WWII and the recent death penalties are sixty years.

@Pamela

or even try to smuggle in a Bible..
I read somewhere if you try to bring in more than
one or two Bibles into Saudi Arabia, you can kiss your a... goodbye. floggings or worse..

and people get all bent out of shape because supposedly urine got splattered on a Koran?
sorry, if that happened it wasn't right, but
how about a little PERSPECTIVE?!?!?!?!

I mean the Germans.. this Volk von Dichter u. Denker had to execute MILLIONS.. almost all of whom were TOTALLY INNOCENT.. before they realized.. maybe we shouldn't do this?

and the Amis.. the unkultivierte barbarische Hinterwäldler... execute 1000 people in 30 years..
most (HOPEFULLY all) of whom were todschuldig..

Geez aren't the Germans just SO MUCH MORE MORALLY advanced than us? you would think they could grant us just a bit more time and patience so we could see the light, repent of our ways and become moralish überheblich just like them?

@Heinz..
point well taken.. I also don't like it when Germans are constantly reminded of something their parents/grandparents did.. I call myself a German-American and I don't think there is anything inherently evil about being German.

but as I said above... how about a little PERSPECTIVE?
Read through my comment - then read through the self righteous comment of the priest.. if the Germans stop wagging their finger in the Amis faces, the Amis will be more than happy to stop doing it to them..

the Germans realized that capital punishment is wrong..
great.. I agree.. but how many innocent people had to die before that happened?

I come from Michigan. The death penalty was banned there in 1848.. what did Europe look like then in that regard?

"In terms of being in a moral position to judge other countries' practice of the death penalty, Germany ranks even below Saudi Arabia."

1. It was not the country of Germany that judged other countries practice of the death penalty . A country is usually represented by elected officials like a President, a Prime Minister or a Chancellor and not by a catholic priest, who is a citizen of this country.

2. Just because this catholic priest is a German citizen he is not in a lower position to judge other countries practice of the death penalty than any other citizen from any other country.

3. While I do not at all agree with that priest, I also don't agree with such a ridiculous comment which I view as insulting and discriminatory against Germany and the citizens of Germany.

J.T,

Why do you find the comment to be insulting and discriminatory?

@joe:

I feel the same like J.T. You always have Nazi-Germany in your mind. That´s similar to Dirndl und Weißwurst are typically german. As I said in my comment, Nazi-Germany is sixty years away, but our younger generations are confronted with it without having had direct reference to this. I do not want to say that it should be forgotten. But "In terms of being in a moral position to judge other countries' practice of the death penalty, Germany ranks even below Saudi Arabia." in coherence with the Nazis sixty years ago is simply stupid.

And ONE priest is not EVERY german citizen.

@Heinz,
did you read my comments?
one priest is not every German citizen, but the attitude among Germans is quite common.
you will admit that, won't you?

so the Germans have the past totally behind them, eh?
in Sept 2004 there was an election in saxony, you wouldn't know, the German press
was so obsessed with the AMerican election.

Over 30 percent of the voters chose the parties of Hitler, Honecker and Ulbrecht.

Joschka Fischer, who for quite a while was a folk hero, attended a PLO conference BEFORE the PLO recognízed Israel.. and then went on to be in charge of Aussenpolitik with Israel for 7 years.

Shall I go on?

As I said, I can understand your frustration, but if the Germans stop rubbing our noses in our shit, we will be happy to stop rubbing your noses into yours.


"one priest is not every German citizen, but the attitude among Germans is quite common.
you will admit that, won't you?"

There´s no reason to admit that.

"Over 30 percent of the voters chose the parties of Hitler, Honecker and Ulbrecht."

And 2005 in my electoral district Honecker´s party didn´t got over 4 %, for the Nazis there´s no need to mention.

"in Sept 2004 there was an election in saxony, you wouldn't know, the German press
was so obsessed with the AMerican election."

Yes, and evil Bush won ;).
Saxony belongs to "eastern germany". A land of frustrated people. Rebuild the wall.

"Joschka Fischer, who for quite a while was a folk hero, attended a PLO conference BEFORE the PLO recognízed Israel.. and then went on to be in charge of Aussenpolitik with Israel for 7 years."

Hmm, yes. So our new Aussenminister has been told to increase the defence budget on his first visitation.. you frightened him.

"As I said, I can understand your frustration, but if the Germans stop rubbing our noses in our shit, we will be happy to stop rubbing your noses into yours."

Well, USA (attention not everybody agrees with this) rubs in many more pieces of shit.
And in case of comments like above I surely won´t shut up.

BTW: Excuse my poor English.

Heinz,

It not what your grandparents did. It is what you and your children and your grandchildren are doing.

You choose to live snug, perched high on the mountain of moral superiority. Yet this mountain is based on nothing but the hypocrisy of quicksand.

Want to compare German attitudes toward VPOUS and Gerhard and their respective employment? Want to compare any aspects of economic policy or the reporting of it? Want to compare multilateral and unilateral actions? Want to talk about the Stability Pact that was to be a part of the Euro, which the Germans demanded prior to conversion?

Here is an example – Kyoto. Germans rail against the United States for not signing the treaty that the EU countries have signed and failed to enforce. Is it better not to sign a treaty you know you can't fulfill, or to sign it and then fail to take the steps that signing it requires?

For the Germans it is better to sign because apparently it makes you feel good.

Want to talk about closing German nuclear power plants and then purchasing power from france where most electrical power is nuclear produced? I know it makes you feel good.

One can take almost any event or position and the Germans like to use a standard they cannot meet but yet feel free to beat the drum about how America and Americans are wrong.

Germans and Europeans in general confuse talk and words with actions. You talk about it and therefore you have taken action.

Well here is a good basic template for US and EU-German relations that recognize the basic differences between the two: Americans have responsibilities, Europeans and Germans have attitudes. Indeed, Germany has attitudes in inverse proportion to its ability to act on them. It's able to strut and preen on the world stage secure in the knowledge that nobody expects it to do anything about anything. If Germans wants to embrace self-congratulatory, holier-than-thou gesture politics as a way of life, then by all means do it. Just don’t expect to always get a free pass and do not expect to be taken seriously.

Heinz since you directed your comment to me. I did not say this priest was every German. I said…” There cannot be a more qualified person to hold the moral high ground - Catholic and German.”

Equally I did not make the statement about Saudi Arabia. My comment was about the German priest.

So no Heinz I do not have Nazi-Germany on my mind. If anything, it would appear you might be the one who does. You might want to exam why you do.


@amiexpat
this whole Nazi thing is just stupid, because it is past. I think you cannot project this to modern times. think about american racial laws, not abolished before the sixties. And quite some Americans are not passed that.
Better talk about present issues.
@joe
Talking about a moral high ground and standards, which cannot be met. You can always play the old blame game over and over, but it wont lead to anything. For example: America is quite a religious country, compared to other industry states. " ... And this be our motto - In God is our trust.", is one line in the national anthem. "God bless America" is spoken out so many times, it almost lost any meaning, "In God We Trust" is even printed on dollar bills, pretty gross, isnt it. So how does America meet this religious standard:
America executes criminals. 6th commandment "Thou shall not kill". You might quote "an eye for an eye..." Jesus says: "You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.' But I tell you, don't resist him who is evil; but whoever strikes you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also." (Matthew 5:38-40). "He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." (John 8:7) American double standard.
Printing the Lords name on dollar bills. Jesus says: "... You cannot be the servant of both God and money." (Matthew 6:24). American double standard.
And America's pious president is the peak of it. His religiousness is simply blasphemic.

I dont believe too much in the above said, i just want to show, that many standards Americans set are not met by them either. As i said, it is the old boring blame game.
But ... setting own standards is important, cause this is how a change starts. Wether you achieve all those standard is a second question. Maybe you fail the first or second time, but you keep on trying and someday you will succeed. Concerning the Kyoto-protocol America doesnt even try. As a producer of 25% of the global amount of greenhouse gases by less than 0.5% of world population, it plays a poor role.

JoseM,

Interesting you should view my post as playing a blame game. That was not the point. I fear you missed it. The point was the hypocrisy most Germans display with their attitudes. I have to assume by your comments you either choose not to see this or do not see it.

If anything it would appear you have fallen into your own blame game.

When you speak of the POTUS, which one do you mean? I think you might actually find the current one to be more religious than the previous one. Did you also object to President Clinton being religious too and with as much distaste? I know religion gives the Left a lot of heartburn and it surely does the Europeans. They have all transcended religion and now hold state institutions in greater regard.

I do find your comment about Kyoto be boring,

Boring seems to be a word you like to use.

It is boring because you did not address the question I asked. You only make an excuse. An excuse, that seems to be acceptable to you on this issue. What is not acceptable to you is the US not signing Kyoto. I dare say if the US had signed and the performance in obtaining results was the same as Europe’s you would not be so magnanimous as you now appear to be.

Also would you get your facts correct. It is 20% and not 25%. But given the figures used in Kyoto from the very beginning were arbitrary and not based upon science this is quibbling.

But do not be so quick to make excuses. The truth is the European nations could in fact meet the targets they have agreed too. We both know this to be the case. What they are unwilling to do is to implement those actions necessary to do so. They are unwilling to do this because of the negative economic impact, with layoffs of workers and price increases for consumers. Even for Europeans this is not good public policy.

Equally you caused me to smile by your omission that the US also accounts for 25% of the world’s economic output. You might be surprised that energy usage and economic output are related.

Equally missing was the fact that since 1990 the US has spent 18 Billion dollars on climate research and technology development. This is three times as much as any other country, and more than Japan and all 15-core nations of the EU combined.

Finally, I wonder is such an excuse equally acceptable for others to use when dealing with other issues? Is this something Europeans and the Left get as a “free pass” so they can continue to confuse talk with action.

Hi Joe,

what I have described in my above post is american hypocrisy in its finest. So pointing out german hypocrisy is throwing stones while sitting in a glasshouse. And that IS a point throughout this blog.
Kyoto was just an example for the try to set global environmental standards. Maybe it fails now, maybe it pays off in the long run. Okay, 20% greenhousegas-emmission. You must have been grinning by writing that. It's like being accused of stealing three apples and then to defend myself by pointing out, that only stole two apples. And 18 billion $ for the last 25 years? I guess this investment was a failure as well, cause where are the results?

The basic point is how YOU deal with criticism and how the USA deals with it. The US follows a policy of a growing diplomatic isoltaion. Your leader already described it: "Either you're with us or against us!". That's Kyoto, That's Den Haag, That's the UN.

As you made a hobby out of pointing out stupid german opinions and criticism, like from this german catholic priest, i give you one from your country: http://www.moveamericaforward.org/Video/MAF07446-HI.wmv

You will find plenty of similar ads, paper articles, tv comments in America. All reactionary and contraproductive.

But before I write a novel, here's an excellent article written by an american, which is my opinion as well. It describes how the things are between Europe and America and neither does he single out pros for antiamericanism or the contras.

http://www.thenation.com/docprint.mhtml?i=20030210&s=alterman1

I really recommend all you neocons on this blog read it. But it will have quite an impact on your arguments for the evil european anti-americanism.

JoseM -
You're amazing. On the one hand, you dredge up a litter of scattershot observations to support your thesis that "America is quite a religious country". On the other hand, you have the applied practical reality of American life and behavior completely failing to support your thesis. How do you reconcile this? Maybe by concluding that your thesis is wrong? No! You can't be wrong, America must be a bunch of hypocrites!

I'd write something crude and churlish about your intellectual capacity, but I can't top what you do just by speaking what you "think". Kudos.

Doug,

You are dealing with a true believer here. LOL

I am not sure what one says to a person like this.

Doug, Joe,

you dudes finally convinced me.
Yes, I see it so clearly now. Europe is just plain evil. Nothing good ever came from Europe. On the opposite America glistens in its devine infallibility. Who are we to criticize anything about America. We should better stand aside in quiet admiration of american superiority, because that is the only what history entitles us to. You have to be patient with us, but someday we'll get it. Tomorrow I'll buy a bumper sticker with "God bless America " on it. Then I spread the word.
Resistance is futile.

Thank you

JoseM - Sorry to break it to you, but you have a problem with your self-esteem. First you expect your audience to be impressed by a two year old propaganda piece, and then you are trying to preach that the Pope had become an American. Better put your Startrek collection aside and learn to see your own culture from the outside, then you may become able to talk on equal eye level to others who see it from that point of view.

JoseM,

Well I am glad you have established where you stand on the issue of American’s hypocrisy. For a while, I really was not so sure. Thank you for clearing that up.

Equally it would appear facts seem to cloud engaging in a discussion with you. You therefore have a clear advantage in any exchange.

It is obvious you have chosen once again not to discuss the merits of a topic but only to frame the discussion in how you emotionally feel. This makes it a bit difficult to have any dialog on any topic since facts, have little value in your world.

Your position is investment in emission technology since it has not produced results is wasteful. Yet it has produced positive results. While emissions are growing in almost all European nations the rate of growth in the US is less. Comparatively they are declining in the US. This while economic growth in the US continues and most of Europe has seen their economies stagnate.

Apply this same standard of results only to Europe, a Europe signed up for emission reduction levels in Kyoto,. Just what are the results? Are they better?

You of course believe they are better because, .. . . well it makes you feel good.

But the truth is they are not better. In fact, they are in most all cases worse. Why is this?

Your policy makers, who signed up for these reductions, have it within their power to reach these goals.

Is this just some more talk from Europe? It surely would appear to be. In fact, behind all your excuses about Kyoto there is nothing but talk. And you are correct I am smiling because by signing Kyoto you have captured the moral high ground of saving the world. It does not matter if there are no results. What is important is you feel good about doing it.

Using your logic pattern then should all medical research be stoppped too as it to has not produced results? How long has research gone on for the cure and prevention of cancer? AIDS? Has all this money also been wasted? You would by your standards say it has been.

Instead of addressing the key to the actual reduction of emissions by using technology you want to disparage the investment in emission technology. Even Tony Blair now realizes no nation is willing to meet the goals of Kyoto by cutting economic growth. He too has come to the conclusion technology holds the key and there must be a bottom up solution as opposed to a top down government mandated reduction.

So please feel free to continue to deprecate the US. I know it makes you feel good and if nothing else you are all about feeling good. Also know as I watch your efforts to feel good I will not be smiling as I will witness the continual decline of Europe. I find no joy in that believe it or not.

By the way I happen to be a conservative. That is different than a so-called neocon.

As to anti-Americism in Europe, I am indifferent to it. It is, however: useful in as it becomes more known in the US, it will make disengaging from Europe much easier. This has nothing to do with the position you attribute to me about the evils of Europe. I have no real opinion on what is evil in Europe as it does not concern me. What is evil or not evil is something Europeans need to decide for themselves.

As you have so clearly pointed out there is little the US shares with Europe. I surely would not expect you to buy a bumper sticker or become a convert. In fact, I want you not only continue to hold your opinions, I want them to grow both stronger and louder. They serve a very useful purpose.


Equally I know this exchange has in no way changed your opinion nor will it in anyway effect the criticism or the hypocrisy you display toward the US. I would not expect it too quite frankly as you are a true believer.


@ FranzisM

I don't lack self-esteem, but this whole blog shows a lack of self-esteem, otherwise it simply wouldn't exist.
About propaganda, read through the most contributing threads here, THAT'S propaganda.

@ Joe

Most of the comparisons you give are wrong. For example US results in funding enviremental actions and the results in Aids and cancer research. Many kinds of cancer are curable nowadays, e.g. leucemia was a death sentence 20 years ago, now there's a curing rate between 80-90%, when recognized early enough.
On spanish television, they introduced people living with HIV 10 to 20 years or longer without an outbreak of the desease. I call that results.

Concerning the global roles of Europe and America read this.

http://www.brookings.edu/views/articles/gordon/survival20050603.htm

You can also read other interesting articles there.

http://www.brookings.edu/fp/cuse/center_hp.htm

But I know, any critcism on America, whether it is highly plausible, whether it is by a wise men, it falls on deaf ears or is rejected as stupid, propaganda, or simply false information.
I would like to know, if there is any criticism on americas foreign policies, that you would admit is right. If there is one, please let me know. Because, when you talk to most europeans, you will experience their ability of self-criticsm. This lacks totally with you people. Ask me and I give you plenty of self-criticism on Europe. I also agree with some of your criticism.
You wrote: "..., Germans wants to embrace self-congratulatory,...". I agree with that I travel a lot between Spain and Germany, cause my ex-wife and my younger son moved back there after our devorce. Germans often want to be praised for how good and responsible they are. When a european law is past, Germany wants to top it. See immigration policies. Later they fail miserably. You wrote about shutting down german nuclear power plants, later buying french electricity produced by french nuclear power plants. That's pathetic. There are similar issues with other european countries as well. Or the Balkan war showed how paralyzed a european state union can be.
I don't know if you are able to reflect your own policies from an objective point of view. I doubt it, but maybe this blog isn't made up for contoversial discussions. It more apears to be a place where you can share your anger on europeans among like-mindeds.

@JoseM - "I don't lack self-esteem, but this whole blog shows a lack of self-esteem, otherwise it simply wouldn't exist."

Don't step into it. This blog may lack some content management features, but it has only as much of a personality as you project on it. Self-criticism is an internal issue, by whoring with it you do Europe no favor, the only thing that needs to be shown to the outside are only the results of that activity. And did you really believe you could tell a regular his host blog was propaganda and get away with it because everybody loves Bruce Springsteen? LOL

"I would like to know, if there is any criticism on americas foreign policies, that you would admit is right."

E.g. the Bush administration has failed so far to move the Israeli embassy of the United States to Jerusalem where it belongs.

@JoseM -
Gee, raise many strawmen? You addressed that response to me, but it had nothing to do with what I said. I'm a big boy, now - I can put words in my own mouth, thank you. Make an effort to confine yourself to criticising what I've actually written.

JoseM,

You asked if there were American foreign policy issues, which I thought, lend themselves to criticism. I have many.

While you probably have others issues, below are the ones I find where I have had the most criticism in the last 18 months. (I have not listed trade, funding, research, ICC, Kyoto, etc issues.)

I would not expect you to agree with any or many of these as not only do we have a different perspective, each has a different proportional impact and importance to our respective nations. I have discussed each of these with my Congressional Delegation and have communicated my criticisms to the Bush Administration.

I will not go into any great detail but now knowing I am a conservative you can pretty much ascertain my position on each of these. View it as a combination of engagement and disengagement and the use of soft and hard power. You will probably note Germany and most of Europe play rather small roles in my list. It is because realistically there is little they can or are willing to do. Equally in most cases such as standing up EUDF and standing down NATO, this is an important theme of EU integration and is becoming a part of the developing Germany foreign policy.

Turkey – define the relationship and expectations

Syria – close border with Iraq. Syria failing to do so; conduct Air Ops inside Syria on terrorist sites and organizations.

NATO - Support forming of EUDF with clear understanding as this organization is stood up NATO will stand down. Transfer defense of Europe from NATO to EUDF.

Germany – increase rate and numbers of troop withdrawals. Reduce number of bases in Germany. Withdraw invitation to Merkel’s White House visit. Develop work arounds for current support bases located in Germany.

UN – Withhold funding pending reform.

Korea - Transfer more defense responsibility to ROK. Complete base realignment. Reduce troop levels by another 5,000.

Japan – Support more balanced defense posture by Japan. Increase cooperation. Open discussions about Japan’s possible development of a nuclear force. Increase joint technology research and transfers.

India – Continue development of areas of agreement. Work to establish nuclear safeguards.

Iran – Pass The Iran Freedom and Support Act of 2005. Establish end date for EU3 discussions. Provide Israel with necessary systems for both protection and first strike.

Poland – Increase aid. Develop bilateral basing and training areas agreement. (Same for Romania and Bulgaria) Implement lily pad basing strategy.

Mexico – Secure border.

Russia – Increase funding for the Nunn-Lugar program.

Central Asia – support developing democratic movement in these nations.


** Some of my criticisms have been acted upon but many have not.

@ FrancisM

What I meant with a lack of self-esteem is, that if e.g. some unknow american priest would come up with such a dump opinion, my reaction would just be: "Phhh". I wouldn't even dignify such bulls..t with a discussion.

@ Nico

See, that's what I mean with the danger of growing US isolation. A complete retreat of the United States from the UN would be a diplomatic desaster. For the rest of the world, as for the US as well.

@ Joe

Those are good ideas you came up with and I agree with most of them. Some I didn't understand (lily pad basing strategy).
But most of these points are criticism on what the US, from your point of view, failed to do so far. It's is tougher to criticize what an administration DID and will continue to do.

You earlier wrote, correct me if I'm wrong, that europe talks, america acts. On many occasions, I can agree with that. But, talking without letting actions to follow is as wrong, as it is to act without enough consideration before.

Concluding I'd like to say, that I alwyas support political discussion, but it should be in a more modest manner. I read many comments by contributors, which lower themselves on the same level, than the articles they want to criticize. By this way I want to apologize for being cynical earlier in this thread. That's usually not my style to discuss, but sometimes it's hard to accept the lower rhetorical level I have using a foreign language.
Hopefully the us-euro relations will improve in the near future, and both sides move in their position, cause this will be more beneficial for both of us, than bashing our heads constantly.

JoseM,

(This started out to be a very short reply but it has grown, probably much too long. I will break it into two parts because I think the second part is really more of a “root cause” of the current status of the relationship.)

Lily Pad - is stationing US forces at bare bone bases to conduct either intense training or stage for operations. The deployment period would be rather short - 6 months. The forces would then redeploy back to their home stations located in the US.

These Lily Pad bases would be much closer to areas, which concern the US. This means they would be out of central Europe. The footprint of the US military in central Europe would be extremely small. In fact, if work arounds for Ramstein Air Base, and Landstuhl, and the surrounding support bases could be found, I dare say there would not be any US forces in Germany.

The USMC does this now but from ships provided by the USN. .

As for US-EU relations, as I told you I am really very ambivalent about them. I believe they should be restricted to only those areas where there is true agreement and cooperation.

Today this is limited to trade and economics. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, Europe does not register with most Americans other than in economic terms. But going forward, I see major difficulties in this area too as the EU becomes more protective with their economies in an effort to shore up their social welfare states.

The history of the US is in fact one of being isolationists. This changed when the US entered into WWII. It very well many change back.

Many Americans today are rethinking America’s role in the world and whether to remain engaged or to disengage. About 30% of Americans across both political party lines are isolationists. This number is increasing. My estimate is it is now above 40%.

There is a disconnect between these Americans and the political class in the US. One area where you can see this is with illegal immigration, primarily via Mexico. Americans want this stopped. For much of the political class, they are willing to allow it to continue. This is an issue that will not go away until such time it is addressed.

Some of this increase in isolationism is related to the war in Iraq but much more of it is related to the actions of our so-called allies, actions at the UN and how America is being portrayed in most of the world. Right now what is keeping this number low is the M$M in the US does not report it and Americans are not engaged in what is going on in other nations which have no direct impact on their lives, safety or well being. This means most of the world. Still there are more and more Americans who are becoming aware of this rampant anti-Americism via the Internet. This linkage does not bode well for a healing of any perceived or real riffs which exist between the US and Europe.

You would be shocked as many others would be to include many Americans if a Presidential candidate was to run on a platform of disengagement. While I would not predict he would win, the share of the vote he would receive would be truly shocking. My estimate would be it would exceed 45%.

The ramifications of an isolationist America would have little impact on most Americans. We might see some changes in our current standard of living and existing life styles while we adjusted to this new era but America has always been in some state of change and flux.

JoseM, I am quite sincere when I use terms such as ambivalent, indifferent, disinterested, disengage. If all the alphabet organizations (NATO, UN, WTO, IMF, etc.) were to unwind or at least the US was not a part of these, then I for one would consider that to be progress.

If one were to believe the elites in most other nations they would for a while also see it as progress.

JoseM, I also believe your comment about moving closer together and stop bashing each other is as sincere as my comments.

If you have time, I might suggest you read this article by P J O'ROURKE. It is of course satire but there is more truth in it than most people would want to admit.

http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110005146

JoseM,

A possible root cause…

An awful lot of what is written about Transatlantic affairs recycles old cliches and is not very interesting. But the distinguished historian and foreign policy expert Walter Russell Mead gets to the point of the policy differences, as opposed to the missionary, public relations differences. He says the fundamental difference between the United States and the European positions is about mutual influence over each other's policies. He writes in a recent essay, "a cardinal element in the European position is that for the relationship to be satisfactory Europe, or at least a critical mass within Europe, must be able to veto American military adventures under certain circumstances. For the United States to go ahead with military action in the face of strong European opposition is unilateralism and is radically unacceptable to many European states." I think everyone would pretty much agree with that”.

"On the other hand," he continues, "if European states propose some global initiative, on the international criminal court, for example, or the Kyoto protocol, the United States has no legitimate right of veto." Even if the United States simply seeks an exemption from such initiatives, it is a sign of unacceptably unilateral behavior. In other words, "Europe wants a nonreciprocal veto over American initiatives worldwide."

For Europeans, partnership often means pushing for policies they see as perfectly understandable, reasonable and multilateral. But from the point of view of any U.S. administration, the American public and the Congress that approach amounts to a sort of nonreciprocal veto.

Walter Russell Mead says a debate is under way in the United States about whether or not to accept this nonreciprocal veto, whether it is a reasonable request or not. Americans, he says, are still discussing the value of the mantle of legitimacy that comes from agreeing with Europe. "The Bush administration, and behind it a gradually growing proportion of the American public and foreign policy staff, believes that the mantle is worth much less than Europe wants for it. Neoconservatives argue that the value is close to zero. Many liberal internationalists are ready to pay something close to the asking price. Most American opinion is somewhere in between, with a general tendency since the Cold War to revise its value estimate slowly downward." This is a very brilliant formulation of the issue.

There is also an element of coercion or pressure. The message is that Europe has a larger population than the United States; it has the euro; it has the second biggest defense spending; everybody else in the world agrees with Europe on multilateralism and so on. The implication is that if the Americans do not see the light, they will be isolated. There are reasons to be a little bit skeptical about this. Europe has its problems; the United States has its problems. I doubt that mere pressure is going to compel Americans to accept the "nonreciprocal veto." The debate on multilateralism is growing, but I am not sure that global trends are running so strongly in Europe's favor.

JoseM, I am not this brilliant. This was a comment by an American Professor made during a discussion on Europe 2020 sponsored by the EU in Washington.

I do believe there is some merit to this comment.

If you were to ask me today, where in 2020 I think US-European relations will be, an assuming the EU will still be on the scene as a major player, I would answer as follows. The US and the EU will have economic ties. There will be little agreement in other issues. How the EU chooses to deal with this will be a key factor in the degree of isolationism displayed by the US.


BTW, I do admire your language skills, research and presentation of your points of view.



"I would like to add, as a personal opinion, that the German state was responsible - among other evils - for the gassing and slaughtering of millions of Jews, and it is therefore unconceivable in all eternity to again grant this state a right to put humans - even convicted killers - to death." A statement like this is emotional - and meaningless. The stupidity of a German "priest" does not rectify the same level of stupidity by your comments. Come on, I thought you were better than that! I'm longing for coolness and "objectivity". German media lack it certainly. I had hoped you were better.

@JoseM - The statement is dumb, but dangerously dumb and not harmlessly dumb. When an American makes a dangerous dumb statement (such as Pat Robertson on Ariel Sharon) it should be discussed too.

FranZ,

Old Pat unlike Old Martin got slamed today why the WH.

Old Pat is really become the right's answer to Jimmy Carter.

"The ramifications of an isolationist America would have little impact on most Americans." -- I doubt this. For two reasons: (1) World-wide credit: The US is living off the credit of the rest of the world. This credit is based on America's role as a dominant power. America is a save haven for the money of the rest of the world. Abandon this role and America's credit position will erode. (2) Intellectual property: The US is a major owner of media content and intellectual property. This originates from the cultural dominance of the US (and reinforces it again) and this will ensure the competitiveness of the US economy in decades and maybe centuries to come. The US already defends this position vigorously and it will have to go on to defend it in the future. This can not be achieved in splendid isolation. My conclusion: maybe the American voter is disappointed by the international emotional reaction to US "imperialism". They should relax and expect America to drop somewhat more to the background in the not too far future (20, 30, 50 years?). Then there will be "Chinese imperialism". It will be less bashful, more ruthless and I doubt it will be based on democratic values. If Europe will not by then be more closely allied to the US, there will be no force big enough to counter China and maybe India. Even Russia, with all its raw materials, will not be big enough to survive alone. (diclosure: I like the US, am German - US reader's probably already knew from my English - and I'm grateful for US generosity that allowed me to spend some time at one of the best US universities. And, yes, some of my best teachers were jewish.)

@jeo - "Withdraw invitation to Merkel's White House visit."

Remember Doug Weads smear action on the eve of Bushs Mainz visit last year? There might be a German equivalent, maybe somebody has some sleazy Stasi file to throw into her face... just in case.

And thanks for your update on Mario Gordon Robertson. If Stephan Wahl was Angela Merkels former campaign manager, I would certainly expect her to make a similiar statement.

But in this case the appropriate authority to quiz Father Wahl about his knowledge (or lack thereof) of Christians and Jews in Arabia before the invention of Islam is the Catholic Church, not the German government. Remember that Angela Merkel is a child of a Protestant priest just like Friedrich Nietzsche, she can contribute a lot to work around the human flaws of the Church but obviously she is not the Pope.

FranZ,

Yes, I actually sent a handwritten letter to the WH requesting this action. That I would do this should come as a real surprise to you.

I pointed out the actions of the Merkel government in trading a terrorist for a hostage and denying the US the right to try him for the murder of a US service member was a direct insult to all those who have served and are serving our nation. It surely could not be considered the actions of a supposedly ally.

Did it have the desired effect of stopping this visit – NO.

It did however convey to the WH there were Americans who found the actions of the German government to be offensive.

You have me at a disadvantage in your references to Stephan Wahl. I do know a little about Doug Weads. What I found more interesting was the way this story was handled by the M$M in the US. More or less when Wead state that GWB said the same things in private as he did in public, it became not much of a story.

Since there is no real right or conservatives in Germany I am not sure if there is a way to compare Old Pat to Jimmy Carter. They both, as they age, become more and more of an embarrassment.

HH,

There are several points you might have overlooked or some assumptions you might have made which are probably wrong.

Not wanting to write a position paper I will only take two of your points and give you a very possible scenario

One of the assumptions it would appear you have made is the world will stay as it is today. If you actually believe that, then I do fear you live in a post-historical paradise.

It is very easy to see the Middle East becoming a battle zone. Israel would be a prime target. Their possible aggressors are many. They would of course fight back and make martyrs of a large percentage of the population of the Middle East.

Equally it is easy to see Turkey move into northern Iraq to attack the Kurds. Iran with a nuclear capability would attempt to dominate this region. None of the oil producing states have the military capability individually or collective to defeat Iran. You might see the EUDF riding to the rescue to protect the oil fields but I do not. Europe lacks the ability, the capability and the will to do so. You would be left to deal with the winners. If there were in fact any winners.

Under any of these events the price of oil would sky rocket. Think of oil in the range of 200 –300 euros per barrel. This would affect almost every nation in the world. Those nations being effected the least would probably be france, Canada, UK, Norway and the US. Of course both Norway and the UK would have to defend their oil fields in the North Sea from take over from nations desperate for oil. Some of these nations might be other members of the EU.

The US could easily become energy independent from the gasification of coal. The US coal reserves are so large that if energy consumption in the US increased by 15% percent each year for the next 100 years and all energy consumed today were converted to coal, the coal supply would last more than a 100 years. This would still leave the US with oil, oil shale, and natural gas to also address its energy needs.

Any of these scenarios would continue to make the US the safest place in the world to both invest and hold money.

One thing you might not have considered is China’s own demographic problem. Because of the decades long policy of aborting female children, China is going to run out of people. Already the imbalance between 20 something males and females is causing social unrest.

Also China has its own social welfare state problem. In 2040 there will be 400 million Chinese elders—which is more than the total current population of France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the UK combined. The vast majority are due to reach old age without pension or health-care coverage. How China navigates its aging challenge will go a long way toward determining whether it achieves its aspiration of becoming a prosperous and stable developed economy.

Then China would also have the problem of a nuclear Japan. The Chinese do have a history with Japan. They seem to come up on the losing side.

Now I thought I was very clear in saying there would be a period of adjustment for the US. There would be. Our current standard of living would at first take a hit but then would adjust to the new world we chose to live in. But this adjustment period would not be as difficult as it would be for the rest of world.

Of course, without the US as a player, the EU could become the central player on the world stage. This has been the desire of most of the elites in Europe for what the last 500 years. I can clearly see the Naval arm of the EUDF patrolling the Pacific Ocean to insure the free flow of trade between Asia and Europe. Then again it could be the Chinese Navy, which does this being supplied with ships from Europe.

Who knows how all of this would work its way out. The one thing is it would not be of interest to or America’s problem.


BTW am glad you enjoyed your eductional experience in the US. You should have taken more critical thinking courses.

FranZ

Seems The Frau is coming to the WH to lecture POTUS on morality and Gitmo. . .LOL

I guess The Frau did have a conversation with Stephan Wahl. Her little speech to the masses sure fired them up. I am sure she gave them that cute little crooked smile and hand wave.

So let’s see to free dear Susan you have traded one murderer and paid about 5 million. I guess The Frau views this as a huge success. It seems most Germans do.

Wonder if this is the course of action she is going to suggest for the US?

The Frau really is showing the eurolanders she is a person to be dealt with. Instead of being like that wimp Gerhard who railed against GWB from the safety of the Father Land, The Frau is going into the lion’s den to take on the Great Satan in person. Oh so brave, so very brave.

It would seem she is working on her place in history. The first President of the EU looks like a lock after this trip. Think she is still thinking SG of the UN?

I have to assume she is going to speak “firmly” to POTUS just like Germany has with Iran.

Remember it is not results but good intentions which matter.

Not to worry Americans will not confuse her words with actions, even if her citizens do.

Just to give you a heads up, her request for support for a UNSC seat will be turned down.

And if you remember the last time something like this took place, think it was Gerhard's first visit 30 minutes before it started POTUS said the US would not be signing Kyoto. Kind of left a real bitter taste for the head of the red-green government in charge in Berlin. Maybe this time he will say we have launched against Iran. That would demostrate the difference between speaking frimly and acting firmly.


Hell he could pull a Frau and say - Well I talked it over with the new leader of Germany and she thought it was a wonderful way to conclude the Iranian problem the EU3 was facing.

Kinda the way she did Condi.


Man the headlines - Germany encourages US to Bomb Iran.....

Talk about moral suicide

@joe - Can I really scare you with Nietzsche after Hollywood turned him into big cinema and the Pope blessed the shrine of Zoroastrianism?

Listen what Angela Merkel actually said: "My talks with leaders of other countries don't consist of my expressing demands but of exchanging views." That is, she said little more than what I said on this blog, the external state of emergency we see in Gitmo is a temporary construct for the war but no permanent institution for the peace. She is saying this tailored in the most consensus-bilding way for a German audience, to pick up the leadership of the Green Trek, but do you believe she would bring an ultimatum to the White House? Shut down Gitmo, or else you have to stand my Cindy Sheehan performance? The Bush administration would surely respond that other issues, such as victory, are more urgent, and I believe she knows this anyways.

I don't think that the demand for a German Security Council seat is still on the table. Even Frank-Walter Steinmeier did not mention it anymore in his post-election speech to the Berlin think tanks. What should a nation that does not want to maintain a nuclear arsenal do with a Security Council veto right anyways? And as much as I want to see Kofi Annan fired, I don't think his successor should be an European, I think the best candidate would come from a small country that is firmly rooted in the ideals of the West and has been exposed to globalisation all through the 1990s. But don't tell the ChiComs...

As for Iran, I would like to see it if some of the energy that is wasted to insist that the American signature under the Kyoto Protocol was a statement of an intention to complete the ratification process could be redirected to the Iranian signature under the Additional Protocol to the NPT.

As Putin is trying to drag this out endlessly, it is now time to take the Mullahs' bargaining chip away:

The implementation of the additional protocol to the NPT before its approval by the Iranian Parliament was a bargaining chip given to Iran's nuclear officials by MPs who favor a rational settlement of the issue. This privilege remains in the hands of parliamentarians, who can change their decision if Europe wavers in its commitments.

ElBaradei won't end the cheat-and-retreat game, but Merkel could.

Joe,
thanks for your answer. Many of your points I can agree with. I just don't see how they refute my points.

The US being "energy-independent" from the rest of the world (in the long run) may be true. But I did not argue, that the US would be hurt by an isolationist course because of energy issues.

BTW: Did you know that all biomass produced on earth is by far enough to fill all energy needs in the foreseeable future? At a price of USD 200 or 300 per barrel it will be interesting to consider all kinds of sources of energy.

A war in Europe (between Norway and Germnay? or which countries?) for oil seems to me somewhat exotic. Other solutions will be less costly.

"China is going to run out of people" - not really. 1.4 billion people currently. There's enough room to shrink.

"Also China has its own social welfare state problem. In 2040 there will be 400 million Chinese elders—which is more than the total current population of France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the UK combined." The big difference being: Europe's economy hardly grows. China's will not be saturated by 2040. But they may have bought half the US by that time.

"Then China would also have the problem of a nuclear Japan. The Chinese do have a history with Japan. They seem to come up on the losing side." Japan will set China checkmate with nuclear bombs? I don't know how China will react to a nuclear threat by Japan. I can imagine preemptive action. I can imagine all kinds of things. Do you think an isolationist America would intervene?

"Of course, without the US as a player, the EU could become the central player on the world stage." I'd agree, if you had written: Of course, together with the US the EU could become a central player on the world stage. Interdendence is growing exponentially on a global scale. China will be the biggest player. The US and Europe, Russia, Vietnam, Korea, Japan have to combine forces. I doubt this will be feasible. I know it is desirable. Europe needs the US. The US will never again be an island. Your economic leaders will make this quite clear to any US government, conservative or not.

"You should have taken more critical thinking courses." One can never have enough of these. Are you the only exemption to this rule?


@FranzisM -
I don't think that the demand for a German Security Council seat is still on the table.

For whatever it's worth, I've always thought that Germany should have had one of the five permanent seats in the first place (France's). While I don't favor Germany gaining one today, I think that Germany's might be a different political culture (as regards international affairs) if Germany had had that responsibility for the last few decades.

@Doug - It is one thing to invent the Wunderwaffe but another thing to have it, so I think it is better that Adenauer failed with his grasp for a nuclear arsenal. But the speed at which the British and French arsenals will be merged under a single command and representation to the Security Council has to be decided by Great Britain. Up to that point Germany can perfectly exert its influence through France, and when one of the two European seats becomes vacant it should better be given to India instead.

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