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For a while now, I've been thinking about the squandered-solidarity myth and the seemingly spontaneous demonstrations that took place in Europe in the first 24 hours after the 9/11 attack. How do the two reconcile? No, I don't really believe the myth, but it's also indisputiable that there was a lot of seemingly pro-American sentiment in that period of hours immediately after the attack.

Reading this article brought me back to the question, which I had put on the mental shelf a while back. What's the common thread between the two things? I don't buy the squandered-solidarity theory because of two things: (1) as has been pointed out, there was anti-American sentiment being expressed in Europe within hours of the attacks, and (2) the subsequent European critique of America has gone way beyond just questioning actions and methods, all the way to impugning America's very right to exist. (In fact, it has gone so far as to give Europeans moral permission to engage in doublethink in regards to their supposed belief in universal tolerance and understanding. They believe that all humans are entitled to these rights, and yet they simultaneously belive that Americans are not entitled to these rights even though Americans are humans. Lenin would be proud.)

So what's the answer? No doubt, at least some of that sympathy expressed in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 was genuine. But I'm inclined to believe that those who were sympathetic then are still symphathetic now. They may or may not agree with the subsequent actions taken, but they still approve of the desired outcome. However, these people are probably in the minority.

As for the rest, let me draw up an analogy: We've all had the experience at some point of being part of a team, a project, or a relationship, that suddenly came to an end due to some unforeseen and tragic circumstance. Take as an example a person who marries not for love, but because they expect their spouse to provide them some service that they want. It could be a woman who chooses a high-income man to be a "provider", or a man who chooses a trophy wife to show off at the club. Now what if that person is suddenly widowed? Do they grieve for their deceased spouse? No -- they grieve for themselves. They don't care about another's death, or how it might impact their spouse's friends and family. They only care about how it effects themsevles. They grieve not for the loss of a loved one, but for the loss of their own ease. They cry not because their spouse is dead, but because they themselves are going to have to work harder in the future.

That is the description of a lot of those weeping Europeans in the hours after the 9/11 attacks. They weeped not for the 5000 innocent lives lost, or for the lives that would be lost in the war sure to follow. What they weeped for was the end of their own cushy little post-historical life. When the WTC towers fell, history came rushing back in with a vengence. Everyone knew that the future would be harder in some fashion. That was more important to those showing "solidarity" than any meaningless American deaths: their own Utopia was gone. (Of course, people with more sense knew that it never really existed, but that's beside the point.)

These, then, were the majority of those present at the ceremonies immediately after 9/11. They wept not for those lost, but solely for themselves. They are the same people who occupied the Sorbonne last week, and the same people who threaten strikes and riot anytime any authority in Europe has the temerity to suggest even the mildest economic reform measures. (There are some of them in America too. They make up most of the people whining and bitching about how the ultra-boondoggle Medicare Part B isn't giving them every single thing they want absolutely free, without them having to lift a finger for it.) These people don't cry for innocent lives lost. They cry because Fate has the audacity to make them get up off of their lazy asses for a while.

I used to be pro-German. Unfortunately, nichts mehr.

The striking thing about the points Marian makes is how obvious they are to anyone who allows himself to think logically. That's the scary thing about anti-Americanism; its irrationality. It has a lot more to do with genetic predispositions than logic, just like any other form of racism or quasi-racism. The visceral hatred of the top dog so evident in Germany and the rest of the world is an inevitable manifestation of human nature given the perception of the U.S. as "the one remaining superpower." It comes with the genes. As long as the perception remains, the hatred will still be there, just as the more common flavors of racism will remain as long as there are differences in skin color. We will never entirely eliminate the hatred. We can, however, stigmatize the haters and those who profit from them, just as we have stigmatized the more familiar variants of racism.

"Endnote: Marian mentioned that German media do not always provide in-depth coverage of China. With a few exceptions, that is generally true. They're not particularly interested in Sudan either, despite the fact that the German government is actively promoting trade there while the Sudanese government is involved in genocide and massive human rights abuses. Double-standards"

Double standards? You mean, like this?

From Foreign Affairs, May/June 2006:

"Judging from his private statements, the single most important element in Saddam's strategic calculus was his faith that France and Russia would prevent an invasion by the United States. According to [Tariq] Aziz, Saddam's confidence was firmly rooted in his belief in the nexus between the economic interests of France and Russia and his own strategic goals: "France and Russia each secured millions of dollars worth of trade and service contracts in Iraq, with the implied understanding that their political posture with regard to sanctions on Iraq would be pro-Iraqi. In addition, the French wanted sanctions lifted to safeguard their trade and service contracts in Iraq. Moreover, they wanted to prove their importance in the world as members of the Security Council -- that they could use their veto to show they still had power."

[Saddam's Delusions: The View from the Inside By Kevin Woods, James Lacey, and Williamson Murray From Foreign Affairs, May/June 2006

Summary: A special, double-length article from the upcoming May/June issue of Foreign Affairs, presenting key excerpts from the recently declassified book-length report of the USJFCOM Iraqi Perspectives Project.]

Ah. You don't mean German-American the same way we mean it (Americans of German ancestry, the largest "ethinic" group in the United States).

Scott H, the delusion isn't that France, et al, would try and prevent America from taking military action. The delusion is that anybody in America cares what France thinks. And yes, even the left wing, maybe even especially the left wing, has utter contempt and disregard for Europe. Did Clinton go to the security council when he use the military in Europe? Not that that stops the left wing from crying foul over any phony issue they can dream up.

Ok, maybe 'anybody' not caring isn't literally true, but close enough. Rumsfeld could say 'old Europe' till he's blue in the face, and Germans will never realize that he's actually being diplomatic.

Not that Germany isn't a significant 3rd tier country, but their bloated sense of importance is solely based on their rapacious history.

Oh Eric!, said "the delusion isn't that France, et al, would try and prevent America from taking military action. The delusion is that anybody in America cares what France thinks."

The point of this Pentagon report is to identify, among other things, what Saddam was thinking -- rightly or wrongly (he was mostly wrong). As the world now knows, he was delusional because he thought (rightly so) that Iraq, France and Russia shared the same goals and this would ultimately keep the Americans out of Baghdad. But, at the end of the day, France and Russia were powerless to stop the US.

My point in posting that excerpt was to highlight the double standard of the French and Russians. Most Americans, who cared, pretty much concluded that France was being a weasel and a two-timer. These quotes from Saddam's inner circle just confirm that that conclusion was correct.

Incidentally, the latest revelations from the German government show indications that Schroeder's government had a more direct role in the prisoner "renditions" than they let on to the world. One issue is particularly telling. Apparently, German intelligence officials took part in questioning a key al Qaida suspect holed up in a Syrian jail.

It seems to me that this is something that should be splashed all over the papers in Germany under the headline "Schroeder's government participated in rendition." My understanding is that nary a peep has been made.

From a Chicago Tribune article last week, "Germany says 9/11 hijackers called Syria, Saudi Arabia":

"Later, when the CIA arranged for Mohammed Zammar to be arrested by Moroccan authorities during a visit to Casablanca, the Syrians agreed to take custody of Zammar and clapped him in a Damascus prison, where he is believed to remain today.

"The report's disclosure that senior officials in the government of former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder traveled to Syria to participate in the questioning of Zammar is likely to raise further questions within the parliament over Germany's involvement in the CIA's forced relocation of terrorist suspects to countries like Syria, where many say they have been tortured."

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-0603080206mar08,1,4149411.story

Just to add, I guess what makes the information above about Zammer all the more "sensational" is that he is a Syrian expatriate who became a German citizen. So, according to the recently released "classified" German documents, apparently Germany participated directly in the "rendition" of a German citizen.

How's that for a double standard?

Oh, and if the pattern holds true, we should expect to see an official from the German Federal Police go on ARD or ZDF and declare the report that German police officials participated in the rendition of a German citizen in Syria to be wrong (assuming that hasn't already happened) -- perhaps, a lie fabricated by someone else (in the German government?) to use as they see fit.

Scott H,

that Chicago Tribune story was not picked up in the German media. Not even in the German Blogosphere:
http://www.technorati.com/search/www.chicagotribune.com%2Fnews%2Fnationworld%2Fchi-0603080206mar08%2C1%2C4149411.story?sort=authority

Except for us. We wrote about the 9/11 hijackers calls to Germany, Syria and Saudi Arabia:
http://atlanticreview.org/archives/280-guide.html

Our friends at American Future consider this another example of media bias, because another Chicago Tribune story about CIA agents having their cover blown was widely quoted in the German media.
http://americanfuture.net/?p=1498

I think the story about the 9/11 calls is not so damaging to Germany, but rather to Syria and your dear allies in Saudi Arabia.

If the 9/11 hijackers called Syria so frequently, then it is completely reasonable for Germany to interrogate Zammar. Sure there was and is a lot of hypocrisy in Germany and I think it is very good to strongly criticize the hypocrites, but which politician or massmedia isn't hypocritical?


Ray,
thanks for the update on seeking submissions and the link to our Sudan post.

Well, it seems SPON was indeed "on top" of this scandal back in December:

Berlin's Silence for Washington
http://service.spiegel.de/cache/international/0,1518,388652,00.html

I don't recall hearing much about this at the time. There must have been more important things going on back then:

http://service.spiegel.de/cache/international/0,1518,389057,00.html

http://service.spiegel.de/cache/international/0,1518,389084,00.html


Jorg said "Sure there was and is a lot of hypocrisy in Germany and I think it is very good to strongly criticize the hypocrites, but which politician or massmedia isn't hypocritical?"

That basically sums it all up right there. Unfortunately, too many people in responsible positions don't understand this.

Then, of course, there's that other thing...something about glass houses and stones. It just plain pisses a lot of people off.

"Ah. You don't mean German-American the same way we mean it (Americans of German ancestry, the largest "ethinic" group in the United States)."

Really? Is that a fact? So Donald Rumsfeld is actually German-American? I thought he was just American. Period. By the way, how do you know that "the Germans" represent the largest "ethnic" group in the US?

Scott H & et. al.
So, according to the recently released "classified" German documents, apparently Germany participated directly in the "rendition" of a German citizen.

Remember when the 'secret CIA prisons in Europe' story broke and everybody was just up in arms about it. Condi Rice hopped across the pond and all of a sudden everybody shut up about it. Why was that?

BRUSSELS -- A previously unpublished document shows that the European Union secretly agreed in 2003 to let the United States use transit facilities on European soil to transport "criminals."
The revelation supports U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's strong suggestion last week that so-called "rendition" flights were undertaken with the approval of other governments, despite denials by European officials.

EU deal secretly let in U.S. flights

The organization that got those documents is Statewatch

But in order to cover their hypocritical backsides, the EU lets loose the hounds to investigate. And find what?

The Council of Europe's interim report on the claims of CIA rendition of prisoners and secret jails in Europe shows few hard facts. But the investigation continues
Report finds scarce evidence on CIA prison claims

Now, far be it from me to miss an opportunity to trash the French (it's on my resume under 'Hobbies/Outside Interests') but their intelligence service has been enormously good to us.

Pamela, I have no issue with anyone's intelligence services (well, in general, anyway) -- even in France. If that's the impression I've given, then I've obviously not made my point clearly. It's not France's or Germany's intelligence services that are playing the hypocrisy game.

We all know everyone plays that game, but if one side is being a jerk about it and the other side calls them on it, it's time to stop (or at least tone it down). Otherwise, you just piss people off unnecessarily. And, as Rumsfeld likes to say, "that's most unhelpful."

Really? Is that a fact? So Donald Rumsfeld is actually German-American? I thought he was just American. Period. By the way, how do you know that "the Germans" represent the largest "ethnic" group in the US?

Hostile and illiterate, I see.

----"Really? Is that a fact? So Donald Rumsfeld is actually German-American? I thought he was just American. Period. By the way, how do you know that "the Germans" represent the largest "ethnic" group in the US?"----

We know the Germans are the largest "ethnic" group through immigration records. But surely you knew that. Our national census also asks us about our ethnic heritage.

And Americans do celebrate their ethnic identities; I'm sure you've read about our Irish St. Patrick's day celebrations and German October Fest to name two. Any town will use an ethnic background as an excuse to put on a party. My home town of Chicago sponsors Polish, Lithuanian, German, Greek, Irish (with 2 televised parades!), Mexican, African, Swedish, Chinese and many other festivals in recognition of its ethnic heritage and the peoples that built this city.

Me, I'm happy to be a 3rd generation American of German, Irish, Swedish and Ukranian extraction. But of course we're all "American" and relish our diversity and heritage.

PacRimJim,

Genau!

@Scott H.
Pamela, I have no issue with anyone's intelligence services (well, in general, anyway) -- even in France. If that's the impression I've given, then I've obviously not made my point clearly. It's not France's or Germany's intelligence services that are playing the hypocrisy game.

Sorry to take so long to get back to you. TypeKey has been giving me fits and I can't always get in.

I understood what you meant. The point I was trying to make is either these governments are criminally clueless about what their intelligence services are doing or they're all lying sacks of bullpucky.

This is OT but might be of interest. I don't know if the non_Americans here are aware of it, but the U.S. government has just decided to declassify some documents recovered/discovered in Iraq. The military has posted them on the internet. I've read a few news reports but haven't yet sat down to read the actual docs. So, if you're interested, here's the link.

Iraq Intelligence docs

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