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Now it's getting complicated, Mr Kleine-Brockhoff. Many German "journalists" would probably call me a nationalist because I'm very much opposed to the EU in it's current state. Yet I'm immune to those prejudices. In fact, I'm uncompromising pro-American and proud of it. ;)

It IS true that the current administration hasn't done enough to explain the necessity for some actions at home and abroad. However, it would also be the job of other governments and the media to honestly tell their citizens what's going on in the world. You, the media, Mr Kleine-Brockhoff, are part of the problem.

PS: Good article, Ray.

Maybe we can go to a deeper, longer wave level for incite into anti-Americanism.
I actually think there are true, and in a way, legitimate reasons for anti-Americanism.

First and easiest and shallowest is cultural. I admit that in many ways Americans are superficial. But, since many of us are light hearted, and not really concerned about things, what would you expect? We don’t read Kant when deciding to buy a second hand car. We just buy it. If it doesn’t work, we get another. Same with jobs, careers, and the towns we live in.

The deeper and real reason for anti-Americanisms is the radical nature of the very idea of America. Most people all through time have been ruled by an elite. In return for ruling the elites were to provide basic security, food and housings, but the nature of the society would always be decided by the elites. America is the polar opposite. Not as much, but still, there is a strong American thought that the elites, and the state owe you nothing. Zip, zero, nada, nothing. You are on your own. Sink or swim. This is very not liked by the dependent populations, and they would feel cheated. But, the American idea is that you are free. Materially, physically and internally. To the group think of most cultures this is not only odd, but in fact dangerous, since in group think cultures a person thinking and acting independently usually brings down the harsh hand of the master elite on the group. The group is supposed to suppress and discipline its members. This is considered being ‘nice’ by the elite. One more thing, the group also feel ‘shown up’ by independent actors. To be short, these actors are adults, men and they expose the serf bootlicking of group-think/elite ruled culture.

Enough about the masses, and on to the elites. The American idea is that elites are disposable. American’s had no problem disposing of the royal British elites or it’s own, more cultured and refined slave owning Southern elites. In both cases, it was true that the British and Southerners were in truth, and saw themselves as more culturally superior. Interestingly, Southern slave owners, who way more than anybody thought of themselves as an elite, felt that they were sacrificing in taking care of the slaves. This is very common notion about elites. Kings, Nazis, Communist Party members, Slave owners, EU bureaucrats in Brussels, all felt that they were sacrificing. A kind of Stockholm syndrome for rulers.

Even amongst Americans today, airs and pretensions, even if one is a famous athlete, or businessman, or actor is thought of rude, arrogant, un democratic. People are happy for your success. They acknowledge and support you getting rich. It is just that in the public space, everyone is to be treated fairly.. I don’t think most elites in the world, and even in the US, like that. Little people thinking they are one’s equal and all that. Usually only leftist occupations like actors or academics act like non American elites.

Unless you are a medical doctor, or have a Ph D in a science or engineering, the use of Dr. So and so, is laughed at. Americans will listen to a Doctor of Philosophy, but if he’s pushing junk, they laugh at him. It is very, very common to meet educated people, who have doctorates, and never know it. Because the elite title doesn’t by itself, carry much weight. Everyone has to prove themselves and their ideas to people of all stations.
So, all over the world, elites rule and the populations obey. Repugnant, but fine from the American point of view, although there is a long and strong idea of liberation by force. But world wide, elites see the intellectual and cultural freedoms and more importantly the actions of the American masses. Everywhere this is a threat to these elites, and from their point of view, America is their class enemy. And they are right, we are.

So, even if the US does nothing, ruling elites and their courtiers, staff, flunkies, hooked up businessmen will see us as a threat.

The masses with their group-think will go along, as that is always part of the deal for them. An example would be the ‘Arab Street’ demonstrations, well accepted by the European leftist elite and the American leftist elite. The fact that the demonstrations lasted but a couple of days, rarely numbered in the few thousands and have never been repeated in the supposed American hating cultures, means nothing. Right down the Orwell memory hole.


America just in it’s ideas does destroy. No doubt about it. I don’t see so long as America remains egalitarian, free and capitalistic, and much of the world is ruled by titled elite and servile masses, any change in anti-Americanism. In a phrase, good, if they hate us, we must be doing something right. America, and Americans being simple and unsophisticated people, know as we say, “Where we are coming from.” Others just won’t admit, because they can’t. It is too dangerous for the elites, and too pathetic for the masses.

Mr. Kleine-Brockhoff should have distanced himself from the readers who allege that the U.S. is more dangerous than Iran or Russia instead of wondering whether they have a point.

Fundamentalist mullahs in an unstable country armed with nuclear warheads soon within striking range of Europe less dangerous than the U.S.?

That is "plain nuts."

Mr. Kleine-Brockhoff writes: "Last weekend Russian President Putin attacked the American goliath at a security conference in Munich."

The American "Goliath" means Putin is David? Given Putin's record on human rights abuses, restricting non-governmental organizations, murder of journalists, he makes for a rather odd David. The analogy lends him a moral credibility he surely lacks.

The Russian President gave an aggressive, backward-looking speech, replete with Cold War clichés, which was skillfully--even humorously--countered by Mr. Gates.

Only an ideologue could find that speech appealing.

"Maybe we are getting a good look at anti-Americanism. Surely, Germany has quite a bit of that."

True, true, painfully true.

"But the undeniable anti-Americanism in Germany and all of Europe has also become a convenient excuse for Americans. The argument goes: if it is all about who we are instead of what we do, then why care?"

For many Germans these days, it is indeed all about what they think we Americans are, not what we do. The boogies in their minds, not the complex American reality. And whatever we do, it's damned if we do and damned if we don't.

I share the view that the U.S. has acted "to its own detriment" in the last few years. The Iraq War is a moral and strategic calamity for the U.S. Civilian casualties and abuses, including torture, have undermined American credibility.

American foreign policy under G. W. Bush has been a major cause of the steep rise of anti-Americanism since 2000.

However, this is only part of the picture. Ray is right to excoriate the German press for "fanning the flames of anti-American bigotry and ignorance--particularly over the past five years."

Responsible German journalists, including Mr. Kleine-Brockhoff, should take this into account. They routinely fail to do so.

Mr. Brockhoff states, "Surely, Germans will have to work through these stereotypes –- and historically they have."

No. Historically, they have had "these stereotypes" beaten out of them, but apparently only temporarily.

Brockhoff praises the same Fukuyama that said Bush was becoming another Lenin? Uh-oh. And that while he discusses how Putin is turning into exatly what Fukuyama had expected elsewhere.

The idea didn´t even come close to this writers mind that the Russian battlefield in Chechnya may be a little bit more brutal than the American one in Iraq.

"Germany's unwillingness to deploy troops in harm's way"

Do You have the balls to tell this to an old school friend of mine who already served a tour in Afghanistan, lost a good comrade over there while being (luckily only lightly) injured himself, and is now preparing to deploy again this summer or autumn?

"Germany's unwillingness to deploy troops in harm's way"

Tell this to the wife and daughter of another friend who is serving over there right now ... or better show the moral backbone to retract this remark.

Trogby, it is the general consensus inside (and outside) NATO that Germany, France, and Italy (oh, and Turkey) are not pulling their weight in Afghanistan. We don't need to tell this to anyone...just turn on the news (take your pick of sources...heck, even the BBC says so).

So much for multilateralism, huh?

@ Tropby,

I have no desire to diminish anyone's individual sacrifice. But let's examine casualties in Afghanistan beyond anecdotes. What percentage of NATO casualties has Germany taken? Answer: 3.3% What percentage have the US/Canada/UK taken? Answer: 86.5% Why won't German troops deploy to southern Afghanistan if they are so willing to sacrifice? Do you have the balls to explain that?

I have not yet read all of this useful article because I cannot take reading too much about these prejudces against the US at one sitting, but I do have one comment to make already.

It is wrong to think of Brockhoff and other journalists as lacking in intellectual honesty ("Mr. Brockhoff obviously lacks the intellectual honesty ....") or of similar failings. I feel quite sure he is tryng as hard as he can to be honest, fair, and so on. He has learned of certain facts--the US did this, that, and so on. These are,as far as he knows, HISTORICAL facts. They occured in the past. But how do we ascertain ANYTHING about the past, anything that we have not been present to see ourselves? Only by what we are told by others as fact. And we must then judge whether what we have been are really facts.

Very few of us know enough to make informed judgements, and even when we can, these are just judgements--guesses. Those who write history, determine the perception of history. And once a large enough population has accepted some version as fact, that version never disappears unless that population is killed, or somehow prevented from educating later generations. Thus large numbers of people 'know' that the Jews drink gentile children's blood at Passover (and hundreds of million of Muslims are being taught this daily--a fact that seems to evokes little concern from Europeans, and Germans in particular). Similarly, with the occurrence of the Holocaust.

In this respect at least, the US is today becoming, along with Israel, the Jew amongst the nations.

Grat post.

Paul

For many Germans these days, it is indeed all about what they think we Americans are, not what we do. The boogies in their minds, not the complex American reality. And whatever we do, it's damned if we do and damned if we don't.

Indeed. As Ray righfully mentions, this is a result of the distorted reporting across German media.

I share the view that the U.S. has acted "to its own detriment" in the last few years. The Iraq War is a moral and strategic calamity for the U.S. Civilian casualties and abuses, including torture, have undermined American credibility.

American foreign policy under G. W. Bush has been a major cause of the steep rise of anti-Americanism since 2000.

However, this is only part of the picture.

And this is where the role of the media comes into play.

It's as stupid to bash Germany or Schroeder for not participating in the second (current) Iraq war as to bash the US for going into Afghanistan or Kuweit/Iraq in the first gulf war. Brockhoff and Markovits are on the same level here.

The "general consensus" that Germany and others are not pulling their weight seems to be limited to the Anglophone countries and Denmark, who are having problems to deploy enough troops to their sectors in Afghanistan, as large parts of their forces are in Iraq.

"Germans to the Front!" is a simple way to hide this inconvenient truth.

About Germany not taking responsibility in the South: The Merkel-government has agreed to intervene in the South, if the need arises. But I agree with our chancellor that the German campaign for Reconstruction/Hearts&Minds seems to be working in our sector, and should not be endangered by prematurely quitting the area (aka cut&run) to shift troops South.
Patton said that "War is not about dying for your country. It's about getting the other bastard to die for his country", so Your casualty count is of limited value. Germany seems to succeed by winning hearts and minds, while the conventional approach of our Allies seems to be less successful and results in higher casualties.
The Canadians are getting Bundeswehr Leopard 2A6Ms, btw. .

"The "general consensus" that Germany and others are not pulling their weight seems to be limited to the Anglophone countries and Denmark..."

Trogby, I think Holland and Poland would beg to differ with the statement above. Try a little harder...and don't let your prejudices cloud your thinking.

And, I'm a bit confused by the "hearts and minds" operation that has been so successful. This is something new. I was only aware of a certain campaign to train Afghan police forces (how's that going, btw?). Please explain.

And, if something like "winning the hearts and minds" worked so well, then don't you think it makes sense to employ it where it is really needed (rather than where it apparently *isn't* needed)?

I am going to disagree on a couple of comments made above.

First, the statement that Bush hasn't properly explained the American goals in Iraq. By and large, the European media I have examined doesn't care to portray the Bush Administration's position. My experience with Euro press is predominently with Sweden, and it was apalling at how the President's position was ignored (not to mention many facts and factors involved). The liberal/left European media has a deaf ear for anything that doesn't fit their world view (same for the liberal US media).

Next was the claim that the "U.S. has acted "to its own detriment" in the last few years...The Iraq War is a moral and strategic calamity for the U.S."

I find it interesting that our bombing of the Serbs (including civilians) was viewed in Europe as a righteous cause while Iraq is viewed as a moral calamity. While I think it was an American who posted the above quote, it applies to Europeans as well.

Next: "Civilian casualties and abuses, including torture, have undermined American credibility."

Actually, it is the media who has hyper-promoted these aberations that has "undermined credibility". No war has zero civilian casulties. And the numbers of civilians killed in the last few years is largely the result of terrorists - not Americans/Brits. And when people think playing putting panties on the heads of prisioners is torture I can only question their moral compass. It is degrading - but hardly torture. Again, the Euro AND US liberal media feels free to redefine words for maximum impact. Panties on head = torture. And the readers remember nothing else.

In any endeavor involving thousands of people there will always be rogues who mistreat innocents. The mistake the poster makes is (again) the result of the media (both sides of the Atlantic). They trump up the bad stories and totally ignore anything good.

About the troops in Afghanistan........

there is a good article on Captain's Quarters Blog that can be read here:
http://www.captainsquartersblog.com/mt/archives/009255.php

The Brits are redeploying those 1600 troops from Iraq to Afghanistan. Know why?

[quote]
General Bantz Craddock, the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (Saceur), had appealed to all Nato members to come up with additional troops during a defence ministers’ meeting in Seville this month.

Whitehall sources said that, apart from “a few bits and pieces”, no one had offered fighting troops.[/quote]

AFghanistan was the 'good war' wasn't it? Then why????.......

[quote]
Britain and the US have received years of criticism for the foray into Iraq to resolve the 12-year standoff there rather than commit more troops to fight the terrorists of the Taliban. However, when the subject of that fight comes up, the defense ministers of the NATO alliance suddenly find a lot of excuses as to why they cannot contribute troops for the mission. Liam Fox, the shadow Defence Secretary, puts it rather bluntly: “Too many of our European partners are now pocketing the Nato security guarantee but leaving UK taxpayers and the UK military to carry the cost."

NATO currently has 35,000 troops in Afghanistan. The US provides 27,000 of them, followed by the existing British contingent of 5,500. That leaves around 2,500 troops contributed by the rest of our partners in the war on terror, many of which have placed restrictions on their deployment in combat areas. [/quote]

It is also true about the frontline in Afghanistan......

[quote]
Bear in mind that almost all of the combat occurs in RC(S) and RC(E). Which flags do we see? American, British, American, Canadian, American, Australian, the Dutch, and ... uh ... American. Most of the nations in the north have restrictions on the use of their troops for combat missions, leaving the Anglosphere with almost all of the front-line duty.
[/quote]

Tropby,
The real truth is that in any intervention, Germany always takes the safest and easiest tasks - everyone at NATO, the EU, and the UN knows this. I can recall a number of occasions in the past where we had to ensure we had a mission available which was "safe enough for the Germans to deploy troops." This is certainly not a criticism of the Bundeswehr, which is more than capable of doing the most difficult tasks, but certainly a "j'accuse" of Germany's political leaders.

In Afghanistan, Germany wanted the sector in the north because it was the safest - it is the least populated and amost 95% Taliban free (thanks to the US-led coalition). It was already a stronhold of the anti-Taliban resistance and those hearts and minds were already largely won by US Special Forces back in 2001.

The US, UK, NL, and CA are all in the much stickier southern region actually fighting the Taliban. The German press regularly misrepresents that these nations are being "aggressive cowboys" and causing trouble while Germany has a peaceful region due to their "superiour methods." If you believe this, you are lying to yourself. Germany said they would help the southern region "in extremus" but that is a check I doubt NATO will ever be able to cash.

There was a KSK unit in the orginal coalition which did some good work but they were seldom allowed to do much (despite being very capable) because of the politicians not wanting German troops to: a) actually shoot someone, and b) risk getting killed or injured themselves.

The six recon Tornado jets which Germany is now offering to ISAF (after months of cajoling) are yet another example. They are offered with a large number of caveats - may not shoot at anything, may not provide intelligence which would lead to an attack on the Taliban, etc. Again, a nice safe misson which will not risk anyone hurt but lets Germany tell itself they are sharing the danger with their allies. Quatsch!

In the case of Somalia, Germany guarded logistics bases on the south coast and even down in peaceful Kenya, far away from the fighting. Patrolling the streets of Mogidishu was out of the question.

In the recent EU deployment to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the German troops were not allowed out of their compound in Kinshasa (except to return to their hotels - the French/Spanish barracks were not good enough for them), nor were they allowed to draw weapons or ammunition - except in case of emergency. There were even a few German helicopters in Kinshasa but they were not allowed to fly outside the city to provide medical evacuation for other troops (the French had to pick up the slack there - again). When things got hairy during the elections, only the French, Spanish, and Polish troops were allowed out to take action.

In the Balkans, Germany has done well but they could only deploy troops once the US, UK, Italy, and France had made it safe enough for the Bundestag to let the Bundeswher deploy troops (to keep the peace). There are a few thousand German troops still deployed in Bosnia, a place where Tante Emma can visit on a bus tour.

How about the expansion of UNIFIL in Lebanon after last summer's fighting? Germany volunteered to offer a maritime patrol, but not to offer ground troops. The UN never asked for a maritime patrol but Germany insisted on offering it - largely to appear that they were doing something. The maritime patrol there now is not allowed to do much of anything except talk to passing ships on the radio and provide sea rescue. The UN authorized them to use force in certain situations but the Bundestag mandate will not allow them to do so - in counter to the UN mandate. Thus, while avoiding all risk to themselves, they won't be very effective to stopping the flow of arms into the region. Meanwhile, Italian, Spanish, French, Irish, Indian, Ghanan, and Finnish troops are carrying the load and patrolling the borders and cities of Lebanon.

Unfortunately, few people in Germany are aware that their nation has this reputation because the German press (and government) tell the people that they are carrying a heavy load. I remember a recent two-page spread in Die Welt which made it look as though German soldiers were in daily firefights all over Afghanistan, Congo, and Lebanon. It also highlighted that 64 German soldiers have died since the Bundeswehr started deploying troops back in 1991.

While I have the deepest respect for their sacrifices and would never denigrate the pain they, their families, and their units have made - this is an incredibly low number compared to losses by Spain, France, Italy, the UK, Canada, Netherlands, Australia, and yes - the USA.

In 1990, General Schwarzkopf asked for an armored division from Germany and was refused since the newly reunited Germany was not ready. In 2002-2003, no one in the US government had any assumption that Germany would provide any troops to such an effort and thus did not even ask (that's correct - no one asked or expected troops from Germany). The fact that Schroeder campaigned in 2002 by saying no to a question that was never asked is something few Germans are aware of (or want to hear).

The German polity has by far the lowest casualty tolerance of any of these nations - something everyone (outside of Germany) is well aware of. This is a real shame because the Bundeswehr is among the most highly trained, well equipped forces in NATO. We all understand that Germany has a certain number of historic reasons why they are so cautious but in these times when the UN, NATO, and the EU need help, it is an unconvincing (and lame) excuse. Until Germany is willing (they are already able) to take on the toughest tasks just like their allies and partners, they will never be taken entirely seriously by the major powers of the world.

Hector


Hector07

Thank you for a very informative post. Just a minor point:

Germany volunteered to offer a maritime patrol, but not to offer ground troops.

No German ground troops will ever be deployed to the vicinity of Israel, and with a reason. I agree with the rest of your post.

I meant to write not "boogies" but "boogiemen" in the above post. Saw that this morning after a night's sleep when I re-read my post.

@ Suzanne

I see what you're getting at and I agree with you to the extent that the European press, in its depiction of Iraq, has not given it fair and balanced treatment. The press has never given Bush much of a chance and has always regarded him as a sort of Darth Vader.

As for coverage of Gulf War II, I remember, just after the troops went in, several low-ranking soldiers being captured after the truck they were in took a wrong turn. Video footage of them in captivity was shown on German TV. They looked terrified and they had reason to be. Next day I was listening to German radio and the commentator was not only indifferent to the soldiers' plight but also said words to the effect that they more or less had it coming to them. I couldn't believe what I was listening to; it reminded me of former GDR propaganda.

As for my position, I supported Gulf War I, fought according to Powell military doctrine, but not Gulf War II, which was not. From the beginning, I had an uneasy feeling about this intervention, the lack of focus on tracking down bin Laden, the misleading intelligence, the questionable casus belli, and, in particular, the sending of too few soldiers without the materiel and backup they needed.

War should be a means of last, not first, resort. It is not easy to spread freedom and democracy at the point of a gun, and probably impossible in a country as torn by ethnic and religious rivalries as Iraq is.

I think if you're going to send your young into combat, make sure you have a good cause, a rightful cause, and then make sure they have what they need to carry out their mission.

I write as an American. I don't want to see my country, with its fine and honorable traditions, go any farther down this road.

The German media reporting on Abu Ghraib abuse of detainees, while downplaying the far worse murder and torture carried out by insurgents, is a source of continuing displeasure to me, but facts are facts. Abu Ghraib shouldn't have happened, but it did, with disastrous impact on U.S. government credibility.

In some ways the Iraq war is a success: Saddam's gone, elections were held, Iraqis have a chance at democracy. The final verdict will come when the fog of war has cleared. But at the moment it doesn't look like that verdict will be favorable. The war looks like such a mess that no amount of spin will ever justify it.
´
Here, Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff has a point.

Hector07, you are of course right. But our media would never tell these facts. They portray our mission in Afghanistan and the "hearts and minds" strategy as a more successful and superior to those stupid Americans and their "terror". To some extent, this may even be a good thing. The average German doesn't really know what's going on in the world - our media, politicians and the "elites" aren't telling them and may not know themselves. Therefore, the easiest way to make all the "pacifists" accept our mission in Afghanistan is to present it in the mentioned way.

Suzanne's observation of the Swedish press is similar to the German media. (But even the war against Milosevic has already been portrayed as having been pushed by the US.) The left is constantly rewriting history to fit their worldview and agendas. And most of the time they are getting away with it because no one checks their facts, no one questions their credibility. Okay, the internet does, but it's still a long time until it could really make a difference in countering our media's lies. I fear the EU will do its best to censor blogs and websites before they are becoming a danger.

Thoughts on anti-americanism (some by Dennis Prager)

The Europeans have an equation in which appear smiling and superficiality.
If you smile a lot, then you have to be superficial. For Europeans (in particular Germans and French), Americans are simpletons (because of smiling and optimism). And, even more, how is it that these "yahoos" lead the world? (accepting that US is number 1, let's say just economically)

Optimism? The Europeans (and many Germans) hated Reagan, because of his optimism (something I never fully understood, since he hat much to do with the fall of communism, and hence the reunification of Germany)
USA? A country where an actor could become president (he didn't become president overnight, by the way, in the meantime he was governor, too, but what the hell, he is described as "Rambo president" in Spiegel or Stern, don't remember exactly)

Food? Well, the Americans have McDonalds (here it's nothing more to be said, we know it all). Yet, surprinsingly, Saturday evening, I had to wait in line for 15 minutes, it was so crowded. Yet, if I asked the people, I guess many would say - we know what - about McDonalds.

The Europeans have a sophisticated cuisine, many are gourmets, like wine, etc. The Americans? Well, they drink beer.

Then, Europeans have history. How old is USA? Two hundred years!? We have castles 700 years old.
We have philosophy (well, this is something I never understood, the nihilism of the French Enlightment is so overrated, while no-one is speaking about the Scottish Enlightment, which was the root of the capitalism as we know it today)

"The pursuit of happiness" is an American concept. Like the American dream. Which obviously is also a sign of naivete. Well, buy a car and a house, so what? Is this the meaning of life?
Everyone seems to mock nowadays the American dream. I never understood why. I guess because the government isn't involved somehow.

By chance, I read that Victor Steinbrueck, architect and former mayor of Seattle, said about Columbia Center (highest building and quite impressive, I would say): "It's terrible. A flat-out symbol of greed and egoism. It's probably the most obscene erection of ego edifice on the Pacific Coast". In this moment you can suspect him of being equalitarian and anti-capitalist. And he is, indeed.
Somehow like our friend Wolfgang Joop who said about the collapsed twins towers "I don't regret that the twin towers are no longer standing because they symbolised capitalist arrogance".
I told my girlfriend "I'd rather drop dead than buy you something from Joop"

I can't wait the Oscars tonight. So that they can leave me alone afterwards. But, anyway, does anyone doubt who'll get the Oscar for documentary?

@Hector
The fact that Schroeder campaigned in 2002 by saying no to a question that was never asked is something few Germans are aware of (or want to hear).

This a point that I, as an American, was not aware of. The media I read did not make this clear. It is one of the more egregious examples of European --and in particular, German/French--hypocrisy in their relations to US.
-----
One of the most common criticisms made of Germans in this blog relates to how they focus on and exaggerate US mistakes,and bad behavior (e.g., see Brockhoff's nonsensical aside remark that US 'routinely' tortures prisoners(!?)). I just recently read an article by a German author named Navid Kermani. The article originally appearead in the Süddeutsche Zeitung on 21 December, 2006 and also delivered as a lecture in the series "Was eint uns?" (What unites us?) on 13 December 2006 at the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Berlin and can be found at.
http://www.signandsight.com/features/1139.html

Its summary is given as:
Germany can be proud of those who were not proud of Germany. Navid Kermani examines this peculiar paradox and singles out Franz Kafka as Germany's most exemplary writer.

He states that, the 'best' Germans, historically, have been those who have been most critical of Germany and who have eagerly absorbed intpo their culture what is best in foreign cultures. This type of German seems to be in short supply today.

This is probably one of the best DMK threads ever. Can't imagine addressing all posts in just one of my own. So. Where does one begin? hmmm. This looks like a good place.

Tropby
Do You have the balls to tell this to an old school friend of mine who already served a tour in Afghanistan, lost a good comrade over there while being (luckily only lightly) injured himself, and is now preparing to deploy again this summer or autumn?

"Germany's unwillingness to deploy troops in harm's way"

Tell this to the wife and daughter of another friend who is serving over there right now ... or better show the moral backbone to retract this remark.

How does one say 'fuck you' in German? Your friends' personal losses notwithstanding, the German government and German society at large have been quite clear about not putting German lives on the line. I could waste time posting links but there are too many. If I could post 1 I could post 100. Anyone here who does not already know can google for themselves.

If memory serves, one of the campaign posters against Angela Merkel showed American flag-draped coffins with a legend that said something like "She'll send them there".

The bottom line on this is that Germany has wasted your friends' lives because it has used them as trophies/symbols. Germany will not support them with the force they need or the value system that gives them purpose. Germany, having come close to destroying Western civilization, cannot now understand why it should stand on the front line of trying to save it.

And I will be more than happy to say just that to your friends. Take your cockadooladoo posturing to the barnyard with the other wannabe roosters who spend their lives squawking and strutting.

Give us Japan, Korea, China, and India, and Europe can wallow in what is left. Call it "Disney Continent."

Carl Spackler
Everywhere this is a threat to these elites, and from their point of view, America is their class enemy. And they are right, we are.

I loved your post. I have posited that class hierarchy, all the way back to the feudal system, has informed European mindset to the present.

There's a story in today's Washington Post's Style section profiling an announcer for BBC radio by the name of Katty Kay. Get this.

When State Department official Karen Hughes told women in Saudi Arabia that it was a shame they weren't allowed to drive, Kay instantly saw the problem: "Saying it to a group of Saudi women is going to come across as patronizing. For me, it was no surprise they were upset that an American diplomat was telling them how to live their lives."

An American diplomat telling slaves it's a shame they're slaves. No problem with the chattel status of Saudi women, no sireee, only with those patronizing Americans.

The whole piece has great potential for inducing projectile vomiting among the more sentient of us.

The Washington Times begins today with a 4 part series on the status of women in India, titled "The Killing of Eve". Today's installment talks about the pressure to abort female fetuses.

So, I told a few of my 'feminst' friends about it. They blew me off with "Washington Times and abortion. Right."

Not one thought for the status of women as chattel that can be bought, sold, murdered at will.

My husband has a good friend of many years, Carol Waite. Her father, Norman Briggs, was a corporate employee in Hong Kong when WWII broke out and he was imprisoned by the Japanese. Based on his memoirs and her mom's letters, she wrote a book about it - Taken in Hong Kong

After they were interned, Briggs had a revealing vignette he wrote about.

One of the main places for congregating was on the banks of the road leading up the hill. While lugging blocks up the hill one day, I heard one of the British women say, "My, I think it is remarkable the number of the working classes amongst the Americans." What a sentiment to express in and internment camp! Here she was sitting on her rear end on a bench, and we were doing what we could to improve out situration. All of us were corporate executives, and we were certainly working!"

The criteria for belonging to the elite has morphed, I think. An ersatz populism that is more concerned about 'talking down' than the human violations committed against those they would be talking down to.

Arendt tried to address this in her piece on Eichman in Jeruszalem. Clumsily, yes, but still I think she has done it better than most. What she termed "thoughtlessness" - but more correctly called 'lack of thinking'.

And therein does indeed lie the banality of evil. The refusal to think.

Pamela

I admire your posts. Do you have a PhD in philosophy? Just curious.

The Andrei Markovits article is the more interesting. He suggests that America gives the various quarrelsome people of Europe something to unite against; otherwise they would turn on themselves. If this is true, Europe can't give up its Anti-Americanism; perhaps the cynical among them realise this, but for the rest it's a habit of thought. It also explains Europe's strange tendresse for all those Muslims living among them. Muslims hate America, ergo Muslims are good.

I'm afraid time will reveal that the Europeans are very, very mistaken. Perhaps in the back of their minds they think they can flee to the hated America if things get bad, which will be their second and final mistake.

Ooops. It should read: the various quarrelsome peoples of Europe

@german observer
Do you have a PhD in philosophy?

I think you meant that as a compliment, so I thank you.

But in truth I fell off my chair laughing.

I was a philosophy major in high school(private school - needed a major and a dissertation to graduate) and in college - from which I never graduated.

Please transfer your admiration where it belongs - my mother and father - who against great odds with a most recalcitrant and headstrong child they were entrusted with - taught me right from wrong and taught me that loving someone means doing the right thing even if that someone doesn't 'get it' at the moment.

His name was Clifford.
Her name was Althea.

Although Daddy called her 'the Secretary of War'.

No big thoughts here. Just the normal human stuff.

Pamela

Although Daddy called her 'the Secretary of War'.

No big thoughts here. Just the normal human stuff.

Lol. I did not mention the statement above because you use cryptic phrases and sophisticated rantings. Rather, you are erudite and precise, to the point, and with moral clarity. This is my ideal picture of a philosophy PhD, not what we find at Berkeley today.

You had wise parents. May they be in peace.

Hector07 -

In 1990, General Schwarzkopf asked for an armored division from Germany and was refused since the newly reunited Germany was not ready.

Is that what Chancellor Kohl said? Wow. And that when we had a Ministry for Disarmament and Defense. He should have said that the question was too late in history.

The rearmament was a cold war provisorium, not something meant to remain longer than the wall. Then the quagmire in the Balkans tied three governments into making one exception after another in sending troops abroad, Kohl, Schröder and Merkel. And now you are saying becoming a military nation again was the only way to be serious.

Are the Marshall Islands not serious?

I agree with Pamela, great post and comments. Especially Hector07.

Europe will never give up its anti-Americanism because it would mean they would have to admit we're right.

As to Germany not deploying, go easy, they do what they can in the parameters that were set up for them after WWII.

Tropby - You should visit Rantburg, it would really liven up the place.

----

As to the elite - mutated monarchy, that's what they're used to, unelected 1, unelected brusselsprouts.

Same old, same old. It's what they've known for 1000 years, can't expect an old(e) dog to learn new tricks.

---

Paul, disagree --American foreign policy under G. W. Bush has been a major cause of the steep rise of anti-Americanism since 2000.--

What did Bubba do to cause the steep rise in anti-Americanism in 2000?????

W wasn't pres until 2001.

That we fought back after 9/11 and the Cold War was over and it was safe to go back to their default position is part of the reason. This is how it was before the age of 24/7 contact, we just didn't hear/read their sniping.

The West being "united" for 50 years is an anomaly, it wasn't the norm, they were killing each other with rest stops inbetween.

Read "America's Oldest Enemy" by the late Philippe Roger.

That they're afraid of US speaks volumes, what do they think we intend to do to them, invade? Are they so far gone they seriously think we're going to bomb them?

Well, only if they think/feel that once Islamization is complete and we're going to have to protect ourselves.......

@FranzisM,

Nice try but your twisting of my words is too simple and transparent.

You say: "And now you are saying becoming a military nation again was the only way to be serious."

From this: "Until Germany is willing (they are already able) to take on the toughest tasks just like their allies and partners, they will never be taken entirely seriously by the major powers of the world."

It is no secret that Germany is a nation which aspires to be taken seriously in the world...read the press releases of the Aussenministerium, look at any of the last 4 (different) chancellor's speeches on Germany's role in the world, look at Germany's aspiration for a permanent seat on the UNSC.

To be taken seriuously by the other major powers, you must have the instruments to support your policies and yes, these include diplomatic, economic, informational, and military capabilities. More importantly, for Germany to pursue her national interests (and yes, Germany certainly has national interests) she needs credible instruments. As I pointed out, these policies and instruments are not very credible when you avoid the difficult tasks, leaving them to your partners (while telling yourself you are sharing the burdens). Scheinheilligkeit ist ungenuegend.

Hector


Via Samizdata:

Today I visited the consulate of an Asian nation to apply for a tourist visa. When observing the visa application fee, I noticed that those travelling on a U.S. passport must pay almost three times more for a visa to enter this particular country. I believe many other countries impose an extraordinary surcharge for visa applicants travelling as U.S. citizens, too. Talk about American exceptionalism.

Still, I expect Americans are used to this sort of arrangement. When it comes to a whole suite of multilateral projects, the rest of the world expects the American taxpayer to cough up a hugely disproportionate share. When the American taxpayer wants to travel to the rest of the world, they find themselves paying considerably more for an entry visa to many countries as punishment for their poor choice of nationality.

Being a U.S. citizen must rankle at times.

Pamela:

From your post:

"When State Department official Karen Hughes told women in Saudi Arabia that it was a shame they weren't allowed to drive, Kay instantly saw the problem: "Saying it to a group of Saudi women is going to come across as patronizing. For me, it was no surprise they were upset that an American diplomat was telling them how to live their lives."

An American diplomat telling slaves it's a shame they're slaves. No problem with the chattel status of Saudi women, no sireee, only with those patronizing Americans."

**

Having just finished reading Dinesh D'Souza's most recent book - he presented an interesting point-of-view consideration in dealings between westerners and others. One factor is not the "patronizing" tone - but the presumption that the moral/cultural viewpoint of (mostly) liberal human rights activists/leaders is so superior to that of the "others" that they should be emulating those views post haste. That presentation to the Saudi women was included in his book. According to D'Souza's book:

"She (Hughes) subsequently discovered that the women didn't feel oppressed by Saudi driving laws because, like other well-to-do women in non-Western societies, most of them had drivers...Moreover these Saudi women were not attracted by Hughes "working mom" model because they did not perceive work outside the home to be a form of liberation."

Basically, D'Souza argues that it isn't so much of American "importation" of McDonalds that offends the muslim world, but it is the sea change of culture that is exported - again, the culture of the left. This is not to say that women shouldn't have rights - but many women don't feel that working outside the home is a "right" they want.

I found this book ("The Enemy at Home") to bring a new perspective to the "culture clash" between the west and Islam - one I hadn't fully considered before.

What is amusing is that this "American culture" which is so detested by the Muslim world is the culture most idolized (and promoted) by the US and European Left. When Leftists accuse the US of causing terrorism they are likely the practitioners of the policies which do indeed cause terrorism.

@Sandy P

Visa fees are often reciprocal. Americans often get charged more because the U.S. also charges a lot more than other countries. I think the fee for a U.S. visa is about 100 dollars. A Schengen visa costs less than that (35 euros, subject to rise due to biometric requirements).

Brazil for example doesn't demand a visa from Europeans, but insists on one from Americans, for the same fee Brazilians get charged if they want to travel to the U.S. It's a quid pro quo, not always very wise, but that's what it is.

@Suzanne
"She (Hughes) subsequently discovered that the women didn't feel oppressed by Saudi driving laws because, like other well-to-do women in non-Western societies, most of them had drivers...Moreover these Saudi women were not attracted by Hughes "working mom" model because they did not perceive work outside the home to be a form of liberation."

Haven't read the book but I do remember those comments from the Saudi women who attended that meeting. They were university students, were they not? I remember one who was majoring in some sort of medical field. Probably not because she wanted to be a working mom, though. (That was sarcasm).

Here's the deal.

I don't care what the Saudi women said about what they thought.

You and I both know that they are in a cultural environment that enslaves them. For D'Souza or anyone else to treat them as free agents is something only Orwell could plumb.

They have drivers? Waiter, could I have some moral clarity here? Make it a double.

THEY HAVE NO CHOICE.

I have had the somewhat amibiguous honor of living next door to two different Saudi families. I see first hand how the wives, daughters and nannies are treated.

If you want some heartbreak, meet Noora. She was about 5 when they moved in and a more adorable exhuburant kid you could never find. Every summer over school break they went back to Saudi Arabia and every autumn when they returned she was more and more sullen. And more fearful.

Then came the day I saw just the eyes. Flat, empty, no expression. Her first day in that fucking abayya or whatever - burqha thing.

So I'm not impressed by D'Souza or Kay or any of the rest of their ilk.

I want all the Nooras to smile again - in the freedom that is fundamental to being human.

The rest is just bullshit.

Acch! Suzanne, I meant to refer you to this book,
Inside the Kingdom; My Life Inside Saudi Arabia.

It was written by Carmen bin Ladin. Yeah, THAT bin Ladin. She was married to one of his brothers. Unlike Kay or D'Souza, she lived it. She tells about how women are disposed of there. They are buried in the desert. Just 'disappeared'.

But since they had drivers to take them there in the first place, I guess that's ok.

@ Suzanne

Statistics... well, we all know that statistics can be used as much to reveal as to veil the truth.

As Andrew Lang said: "He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp posts--for support rather than illumination."

That said, I would welcome a methodologically rigorous statistical survey of anti-Americanism in Germany. Something sophisticated that would take into account the 82-year-old CSU-voting Oma as well as the former East German Stasi operative with years of "anti-imperalist" indoctrination behind him.

The closest to such a survey--and I am not content with it--is the Pew Global Attitudes Project (see http://pewglobal.org/reports/display.php?PageID=824). The survey shows no "spike" in 2000. The percentage of Germans having a favorable opinion of the U.S. was 78 percent in 2000 and declined sharply after the outbreak of Gulf War II to 37 percent in 2006.

My admittedly unscientific view is that relatively few Germans are "hard-core" America haters. Among these are bureaucratic and party elites with a vested interest in anti-Americanism as a scapegoating mechanism, younger Germans who, paradoxically enough, blame Americans for their own failed attempts at Vergangenheitsbewältigung, the many embittered losers of Reunification in the former GDR, and, last but not least, unethical German journalists capitalizing on anti-American sentiment to sell newsprint.

This is a social pathology and has much to do with clumsy German attempts to establish a viable national identity, as well as the notable social and political failures in recent years, primarily under the Red-Green Coalition but also under Helmut Kohl ("blühende Landschaften" ad nauseam).

The majority of Germans, IMHO, are full of America ambivalence, not hatred. They have been swayed in recent years by the above groups, but also by U.S. foreign policy (rightly or wrong depending on your political persuasion).

@ All German DMK readers

I consulted the German-language online edition of Wikipedia to read about Henryk Broder's book "Hurra, wir kapitulieren!" Regrettably, one of Broder's many enemies has turned the article into a one-sided condemnation of his book. Since I haven't yet read the book and am not a native speaker, I'd be pleased if a German DMK reader could step into the breach and repair some of the damage done.

Great comments here - and yes, Hector - good stuff

I just wanted to add my 2 pfennings here about the successful German efforts in Northern Afghanistan compared to the warmongering imperialist American methods there

We see the same doublespeak applied in Iraq - where British forces operating in the pacified south are said to be doing things better than US forces operating in the Sunni Triangle area - hotbed of violence.

I am not saying the German and British forces aren't doing the right things here - but this idea that the level of violence in their sectors as compared to that in the US sectors is caused primarily by these tactics is quite offensive on so many levels.

And as noted - if the Germans in Afghanistan have this "magic touch" - then rotate to the southern border already because they need your expertise there

@Pogue Mahone,
Thanks for pointing out a very similar case in Iraq. Since most people do not understand the varying situations in different parts of Iraq and Afghanistan, they are being easily fooled by their media and governments.

@Atlantiksegler,
Just paid 75 euros for my wife to get a Schengen visa - it looks like the price has doubled.

the idea that german troops cannot be deployed into the southern regions for any other reason than to keep german troops from being killed (and politicians from having to explain their deaths) is simply preposterous.

know how many casualties germany had in 2006 in afghanistan? wanna guess?

ZERO.

i'll admit it's a perverse measure of how much fighting they're doing, but the fact remains - there's a lot of fighting and dying going on in afghanistan, and a (infuriatingly, quite frankly) high proportion of casualties are born by u.s. and british troops.

No one remembers the Saudi women driving, IIRC, circa the first phase of GW I?

Of course, it could have been the mid-late 80s.

They made a point to drive their own cars for a day, saying there was no law against them driving.

Ohhh, Pamela, maybe they performed FGM when she was in the majik kingdom.

---

Funny, watched 3 Law and Orders from the mid-late 90s, all wondered if there were terrorist attacks coming and 1 was about FGM.

Should have written in a row last night.

How quickly they forget.

@jwtkac ,
Absolutely. Just don't forget the Dutch and Candians (especially) who have also lost more than a few men in the south. Hats off to them for their committment.

@jwtkac ,
Absolutely. Just don't forget the Dutch and Canadians (especially) who have also lost more than a few men in the south. Hats off to them for their committment.

Hector,

It is no secret that Germany is a nation which aspires to be taken seriously in the world...read the press releases of the Aussenministerium, look at any of the last 4 (different) chancellor's speeches on Germany's role in the world, look at Germany's aspiration for a permanent seat on the UNSC.

I am convinced the permanent seat campaign is a legacy from her predecessor.

There was such a campaign by Germany, Japan, India and Brazil but it turned out the only way to make it work would have been to have Libya join it.

My impression is after the Vertrauensfrage ol´ Schröder sought a different way and is now trying to use the Russian veto for the purposes for which he sought a German one.

Mohamed ElBaradei said from his perspective the primary goal of an UNSC expansion campaign lies "in removing the current correlation — in that the same five countries recognized under the NPT as nuclear weapon States hold the five permanent seats on the Security Council."

Do you think as I do that this regulation is worth to be preserved for the time being? Either have a legitimate nuclear arsenal and a UNSC veto right, or none of the above? I think that makes sense, but then again I don´t aspire a German nuclear arsenal, so I don´t aspire a German veto right either. But I would like my country to use its General Assembly vote consistently the Marhallese way.

@FranzisM,

The argument which correlates permanent membership of the UNSC with nuclear weapons is false and misleading. When the UNSC was formed, only one state (the USA) had nuclear weapons. At the same time, India, Israel, and Pakistan have nuclear weapons but are not on the UNSC.

I do believe that the Security Council needs to be reformed; Europe is over-represented while India, Japan, and South America are underrepresented. We could remove the veto for all of the UNSC but France and Russia would never allow it - they both draw an disproportionate ammount of power from their veto rights. The staff of the UN is bloated, corrupt, and incredibly inefficient. The entire organization needs to be reformed.

What is your fixation with the Marshall Islands?


Hector,

when the United Nations Charta was signed, the Trinity test was still couple of weeks away. For the first half of the cold war there was no such thing as the NPT, the veto-arsenal correlation was reached only in the second half of it, or its second half began when it was reached, depending on your perspective. And of the current NPT outsiders, none is in a position of stability. Methinks establishing the IAEA-proposed WMD-free zone in West Asia would begin with the Hague trial of AQ Khan.

In the Security Council the number of veto rights should remain constant for the time being. One veto for Europe, one for India, leave the rest as is. This is not a body for regional representation, this is the last line of defense against the Islamic initiative to undermine the NPT and let the already rotten United Nations system deteriorate into nuclear war according to Islamic Mahdi eschatology.

The Marshall Islands are an example of a former German colony now playing an essential role in the global security system* without being a military nation.

The US knew it had a nuclear weapon when signing and had already used them well before the charter went into force in October. All of it well before the BRD existed as a political entity. We can agree to disagree on which way to split that hair since we seem to agree that the connection between UNSC and nukes is not valid.

I'm glad you are so pleased that defensive systems to prevent millions from being vaporized by nuclear missiles are being tested in a former German colony (nevermind the millions they receive from the US for use of their soil). The systems which result may one day be the only thing to protect Germany from a possible Iranian nuclear missile.

A WMD-free zone in west Asia is a noble idea but not a realistic one. I often wonder if we are wasting our time with the NPT - the further spread of nuclear weapons is inevitable. In the hands of responsible governemnts, OK. In the hands of non-state actors, not acceptable.

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