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I really don't know if the Ambassador is doing well; from what I read on Atlantic Review it looks like he's doing a good job. That's very good, it means he's doing his job and that's all I have to say.


What I found extremely interesting are the comments there. According to some commenters, DMK is nothing but a partisan site, which almost constantly and unfairly criticizes Germany and Germans.

It is a well established fact that DMK's archives are overfilled with real-life examples of German media bias against America. However, in the mind of some people, this doesn't put the German media to shame. Oh, no... This is in fact an indictment of DMK's unhealthy obsessiveness with Germany.

I don't think there will ever be a more blatant case of shooting the messenger... There is obviously a large supply of people who are touchy enough to not realize the difference between justified criticism and blind accusations.

Of course, the main accusation is that DMK blows out of proportion the anti-American sentiment in Germany. The other argument is that if such an anti-American sentiment existed, it was mainly because of the controversial figure of Bush.

I am always puzzled why those people, if they see a DMK post they don't agree with, do not address those issues directly on DMK?

Helian, a commenter here, kind of specialized in posting articles from the German MSM expressing different degrees of anti-American sentiment, all of them from the times before Bush. Where are DMK's critics in those cases ? Why don't they discuss the issue of anti-Americanism at that point in time, but prefer to whine about DMK on other blogs ? Maybe I have too much of a cowboy attitude, but why not confront head-on what they perceive to be an incorrectly presented issue ? Is this an unreasonable request ?

Too much about Anti-Americanism in DMK that is if I would complain about too much soccer in a soccer magazin.

It is difficult to say whether Ambassador Timken is doing a good job or not - he is almost inexistant in the German media. Regarding anti-Americanism, I am very glad to hear that he has not (yet) experienced it on a personal level, but of course this does not mean that anti-Americanism does not exist. Anybody reading German newspapers or watching German news on TV, knows that. So maybe Ambassador Timken does not read German newspapers? Or maybe he does read them and diplomatic restraint keeps him from commenting? In any case, I hope he knows that never ever a problem has been solved by denying it`s very existence.

Germans, do not be surprised that, when you call on the U.S. for help against the rising Muslim tide in your country--and you will, sooner than you imagine--the U.S. will decline. Because of your anti-American orgy, there is now little sympathy for Germany in the U.S. Congratulations.

Apart from the American President himself who a few months ago has given a great interview to Sabine Christiansen, the only one who in my view effectively represents the United States in the German media is Jeff Gedmin. His articles are published in German newspapers (I really enjoy reading his regular column in DIE WELT), he has been a guest in German talk shows and as director of the Aspen Institute in Berlin he is constantly working to foster trans-atlantic dialogue. And what I appreciate as a German: He speaks fluent German!

@PacRimJim
I thought the americans don't really know what is going on in Germany
(rather a Germany-became-irrelevant)
Do you really think they do know, and from where?

It has something to do with the topic ;)
Does anyone know where I could get a US flag bumper sticker?
Did anyone experience bad things happening to the car because of such a sticker?

Neocon: "Does anyone know where I could get a US flag bumper sticker?"

Not right off hand, but I DO know where you can get a Gadsden, Culpeper, or 1st Navy Jack :D.

This shop in Albany, New York, Gadsden and Culpeper, specializes in flags from the Revolution, and the "Don't Tread on Me" message seems a bit more to the point than any other at this point in time :).

I spent twenty years in Germany (ten in the German academic system) returning by choice to the U.S. with my family earlier this year. Like Ambassador Timkin, I can't recall experiencing anti-Americanism on a PERSONAL level during that time. The German media, on the other hand, is hysterically anti-American. In fact, much of the garbage they print would be comical were it not for the history of the German media and the apparent propensity of the German public to believe the media propaganda.

In answer to the questions;

- I have never seen the U.S. represented effectively and accurately in the German media.
- I had never heard of Ambassador Timkin. He is a non-entity in the German media.

Neocon
"I thought the americans don't really know what is going on in Germany
(rather a Germany-became-irrelevant)
Do you really think they do know, and from where?"

As one of the unwashed, ignorant Americans who know nothing about Germany I will bow in shame for my ignorance tonight when one of my host sons arrives (German) and in the following days when another arrives with his entire family (Germans) I will do my best to return the kindness they have shown my family in Germany on our visits.

Are you like a German I met when I was over there? He told me how stupid Americans were. OK. He said I wouldn't even know where someplace like Augsburg was located. I told him. He asked where I was from and I said: "Washington State, near Seattle" He asked me if I saw the president often.

I HAVE seen anti American in Germany. It has ranged from rudeness to the police being called because there were violent protests under our windows at the hotel (I was with a group of American students.)

As for an American bumper sticker. There is probably a reason that the US military no longer has the License plates in Germany that are easily identified as American.

"He said I wouldn't even know where someplace like Augsburg was located."

Let me guess in my irredemably apish American fashion, without looking in an atlas (which would be cheating). Augsburg, which is the home town of the Fugger dynasty of financiers, is in southern Germany east of Ulm, west of Munchen, and south of Nordlingen.

How it that for a display of chimpyness?

jlwb
If you want to take it out on me, go on.
But this is not what i meant.
I meant if the americans know what the germans think about them


For some reason this low profile position seems to be the preferred method of the US State Department. In the US, it's not unusual to see the Ambassador's of other nations interviewed on national cable news -- usually when there is some disagreement or an international event affecting that nation.

My general impression from the nations whose news I regularly monitor is that the US Embassies world wide maintain a low profile. Makes one wonder what, exactly, the State Department is accomplishing, if anything. They don't seem to be representing the American position to anyone with any degree of competence.

@Neocon
"I meant if the americans know what the germans think about them"
Americans that I know are well aware of what many Germans think of them.
Do Germans know how this effects the American's view of Germans?

Choosing an ambassador who doesn’t speak German might have been the smartest thing to do. And I think his primary job is representing the United States to the German government, and just secondary, to the public.
The main reason that Timken hasn’t experienced anti-Americanism is that he hasn’t been able to understand the German media well enough. Although I spoke German reasonably well when I moved here, it still took a couple years before I became aware of the degree of anti-Americanism in the media. It is much easier for Timken to be “diplomatic” when he doesn’t realize what is being said behind his back. With two or three exceptions, almost no one here in Germany has been Openly anti-American directly to me. But when I see the media by which they are being influenced, and when I overhear other’s conversations, I have to wonder if some of them are just being “diplomatic”. When Ambassador Timken finds out what people really think, he might find it difficult to restrain himself from using such undiplomatic words as “ignorant” or “hypocrite”.

Besides ex Ambassador Coats there are three people I have seen defending the United States in German media. Jeff Gedmin of the Aspen Institute, Don Jordan, an American journalist, and Andrew B. Denison of Transatlantic Networks.

I recall hearing news about Timken only when he took office. It was reported that he was probably awarded the position only because he had contributed generously to the president's election campaign. Of course it doesn’t take much thought to realize that that probably isn’t true, since being US Ambassador to Germany is probably more punishing than rewarding. ;)

Bush, the administration and before that the 2000 campaign, just does not believe in the importance of an information strategy. I've gone bald pulling my hair out at their boneheadedness. Just one example: The Bush Administration apologized over the media kerfluffle over the "sixteen words", where Bush cited British Intelligence that Saddam's Iraq attempted to purchase uranium in Africa. The gleichgeschaltet, Bush-dominated American media used this apology as proof that Bush lied, that Iraq had no WMDs, that Bush manipulated intelligence to fake a case for the Iraq war, etc, etc, etc.

There was no need for an apology, which has hurt the Bush administration and the US, because IT WAS TRUE! Saddam did attempt to purchase yellowcake in Niger as documented by professional liar Mr. Valerie Plame (Ambassador Joe Wilson).

There are dozens of such examples of Bush ineptitude and stupidity in the information war. And they wonder why his approval ratings are in the mid-30s to low-40s. So, sadly, it's no surprise that the Bushies would name a non-German speaking ambassador and maintain a zero public advocacy position in Germany. I'd expect this from them.

@Jabba,

"So, sadly, it's no surprise that the Bushies would name a non-German speaking ambassador and maintain a zero public advocacy position in Germany. I'd expect this from them"

Jabba, from what you have seen would smater behavior make any significance difference at all on German attitudes?

I personally doubt it. I think the only thing which has the power to change German public attitudes is something truly explosive. Something like 9/11 but on German soil.

I devoutly hope it never happens because 9/11 is something I wouldn't wish on my worse enemy.

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