« Warsaw Ghetto = Ramallah Ghetto? | Main | Die Welt: America's Trigger-Happy Jesus Rambos »

Comments

In short, Ray, what Matz is saying is, "Why are you washing our dirty linen in public?"

Implies, blue?

Maybe over there.....

My opinion about the so called anti-americanism is this: the average world view of europeans and americans is quite far apart. The average world view of europeans and republican/right wing americans is even more apart. Additionally, the world, including Germany/Europe is influenced by the US far more than by any other country, which naturally provokes stronger reactions/feelings about the US than about other countries.

Together, with the Bush government, you have strong reactions to policies/world views which are very far away from the average european way of thinking. This also reflects in the media. Americans must perceive this as anti-americanism. Especially republican/right wing americans probably behave in a way (perhaps without wanting it, just by having the world view that they have) that they provoke even stronger reactions and therefore perceive more anti-americanism. That's it.

This article is a bit sloppy leaves a lot to be desired. Yes, some of the errors come from mistranslation, but usually those sorts of things are relatively easy to fix and double check before publishing. Overall, I'd be reluctant to use it as a source just based on a first read-through.

Anyone with a two-digit IQ can see that Americans may get overly defense about the US in response to foreign Anti-Americanism. I would honestly like Matz however to please articulate by which process a typical American should be able to recognize true Anti-Americanism versus valid constructive criticism. Do we take it instance by instance, or is there a point where criticisms, while seemingly innocuous in isolation nevertheless rise to the level of Anti-Americanism by their sheer quantity and frequency. Finally, when making conclusions about America or any nation, should the language be in absolute or relative terms?

Don Miguel

"Sadists get weeded out of American special operations groups real quick.."

Sadists wouldn't make it through the psyche eval or the peer review during the SF assesment/selection course.

"and it’s almost impossible for a "muscle man" to be able to pass the rigorous physical acceptance tests and training; they’re too big and slow."

Almost impossible? Endurance and intelligence is mainly what gets you through but there are a few muscle bound boys in the ranks.

@WhatDoIKnow

"The question is how did they manage to do this? You can not influence such a large mass of people without the passive participation of the mass, without some sort of psychological "pre-existing conditions" (I guess this health insurance term is quite appropriate here)."

Indeed! It's really impossible to do anything about the problem unless you understand the "root causes." It's much easier to swallow portrayals of irrational behavior as reasonable if you're not aware of the psychological factors that lead to the behavior to begin with. One can speculate, as Lewis does, more or less accurately, about the specific triggers for the behavior in a given country such as Germany. However, that begs the question of why we see the same phenomenon of anti-Americanism all over the world. It's the old, "eat shit, 50 billion flies can't be wrong" argument. If hatred of the US is not unique to any one country, but is pervasive throughout the world, isn't that hatred justified?

The "eat shit" argument is hard to refute unless you understand human nature. Human beings do not seek only friends. They also seek enemies. They identify themselves with an "in-group," but also require an "out-group," the evil enemy. There are good evolutionary reasons for the predisposition to this type of in-group/out-group psychology. In fact we see the same type of behavior in many other primates. Both American and European scientists have given us detailed descriptions of the behavior of, for example, troops of monkeys that face off along their common boundaries with expressions of wild hostility. This behavior helped us survive at a time when our largest social unit was a group of hunter-gatherers, as it was for most of our prehistory. In our "civilized" societies it may well spell our doom.

Of course, ideas like this may be dismissed as the fantasies of a crank, but I can point to many "inconvenient truths" to back them up. Not the least of these is the pervasive and constant eruption of otherwise completely irrational and inexplicable wars throughout recorded history. One can point to countless other examples of this type of behavior. The reason so few of us are really aware of it has to do, I think, with our simply taking it for granted. It is so much a part of us that we don't bother to think about it.

Why then, in our day and age, is the US singled out as the universal enemy and object of hate among so many people in so many countries? If you accept the in-group/out-group paradigm, it's obvious. The US is unique, it is different, it is perceived as the "one remaining superpower," and it happens to represent a philosophy that is threatening to many for a host of reasons. The US is the obvious "out-group," and it is also a worthy "out-group." That's really all it takes. IMHO, the phenomenon of anti-Americanism is no more complex or rational than that.

It seems to me we really need to understand what is going on here. Unless we understand ourselves, and what motivates our behavior, we are likely to face many repetitions of the worst horrors of the 20th century, on even vaster scales than the last two world wars and aided by ever more destructive technological advances. We have been forced to face some of the worst manifestations of this aspect of our nature in the past. Instead of really understanding it, we have identified it with some "evil," such as racism, bigotry, anti-Semitism, or what have you, and then tried to fight that particular variant of the general behavior. The problem with that is, that when virtually identical behavior patterns emerge in the form of, for example, anti-Americanism, they can lack some of the specific characteristics assigned to the previously identified "evils." Americans are not really a race, so the behavior is not really racism. They are not all Jews, so it is not really anti-Semitism. They don't share a common religion different from the rest of the world, so it is not really bigotry. The fundamental nature of the phenomenon is, however, still the same.

That's the nature of the truth we must finally come to grasp.

@ Matz

Or to flip your argument on its head, maybe left-wing Europeans are to blame for being "far apart" from Americans?

I don't think blaming one side or the other gives us a satisfying answer to the problem. For example: What does IG Metall's portrayal of Americans as blood sucking parasites have to do with conservatives (or liberals)? It is simply a shameful and ugly slur with no basis in rational thought, as is far too much of the reporting and discussion of the United States in German media and politics - case in point: The term "amerikanische Verhaeltnisse."

@ blue:

"The translation errors are very damning and content altering ones."

I disagree. How does it being "Fuehrer" or "Torturer" or KKK vs. Abu Ghraib prisoner really impact the essential argument that the German media has a sick obsession with the US (a "bone stuck in its throat" to quote the key analogy)?

"In contrast to this, Lewis implies you can gain politically by equating Hitler to Bush.

Is Lewis really that off base in making the implication? Sure, major heads of state can't do that, but is it really an unpopular sentiment among most Germans? There again, I'm not so sure...

@Ray:

"So can you point to a major, well-respected US magazine that has repeatedly published the sorts of covers SPIEGEL (or Stern) does? When DaimlerChrysler decided to fire over 10,000 US workers, I was waiting to see magazine covers with a German boot crushing American workers (as we saw with Stern when GM fired Opel workers). But it didn't happen. Trying to create a comparison between US and German media in that respect simply robs you of your credibility. A few New York Post "weasels" covers from years ago doesn't balance things out. If anything, the US media is far more guilty of ignoring Europe than bashing it. We have to face the facts as they are."

Oh, that's just a misunderstanding. I didn't mean to imply that US media featured similar caricatures regarding German politicians or companies. Quite likely they don't, and if they do, I am certainly not aware of it. How come? Probably because Germany plays simply too insignificant a role in US politics to warrant this kind of attention and consequently, just like many other global issues, flies under the radar in the general public's perception, as you yourself correctly stated. That's the big difference. The caricatures similar to German covers I referred to, however, are exactly that: similar in that they, for instance, depict GWB as a cowboy or the US as an octopus controlling the globe etc. As you know very well, critical political caricatures like that are regularly published in the NY Times, the Washington Post, New Yorker and so on and so on and so on. You may dislike them or their political stance, but they exist. In the US, in Germany, in other places. And quite frankly, aren't we all happy we live in places where the press has got the freedom to print stuff like that?

"One point where the critics have it right: I can't remember Schroeder comparing Bush to Hitler (which Lewis seems to imply.) But one of Schroeder's top ministers was let go for doing so shortly before a major election. Schroeder's people have also exploited photos of dead American soldiers for their election posters. Lewis could have mentioned that instead and been more on the money."

And, as others have pointed out, she had to resign. Good, no?

"Wrong. Read our mission statement on the sidebar. It states: "It is important to keep in mind that the examples documented on this site do not reflect the entire German media landscape. There are numerous highly professional, relatively unbiased news sources to be had from Berlin to Bavaria. That said: The biased, anti-American media coverage that we document here does reflect a large and influential segment of German media. Most importantly: The type of reporting and coverage that we document on this site is having a significant and detrimental impact on German-American relations and transatlantic understanding." Obviously there are some very good papers (Die Welt is one of them) that don't often engage in this activity. The problem is that far too many publications do, and it is having a major impact on how people see the United States. Further, before you go attacking this site and the people who produce it and their mission, at least know what you are talking about."

As you recall, I have voiced my doubts over the effects this site has before. And, as I posted above, this article you linked to at least in my opinion vindicates these doubts. That said, the mission statement is important, though, and I am really happy and grateful that you guys have put it up to clarify things.

"There is already a clear dichotomy here in the comments section: Those who can relate to the article and have experienced what it talks about first hand and those who feel a need to completely deny, diminish and discredit what it is talking about. Very interesting."

Alright, a few final thoughts on that:

1. Quite frankly, I am somewhat disappointed by your "dichotomy." With all due respect, it's simply not a fair and honest way to discuss these things: You are saying I and other people disagreeing with the article you linked to felt the "need to _completely deny, diminish and discredit_ what it is talking about." Where do I, Matz or Joerg do that? On the contrary, I explicitly -- as I have done numerous times before -- acknowledged that there is bias and anti-American sentiment. So, I do not _completely deny, diminish and discredit_ the regrettable fact that some newspapers and journalists spread this bias. I just state the obvious, i.e. that others, some of them also very influential -- again: Die Welt (Posener!), Tagesspiegel, Handelsblatt (Ziesemer), often Die Zeit (Joffe!), Koelner Stadt Anzeiger (Kaufmann!) come to mind -- not only don't join the anti-American crowd, but explicitly speak up against it. On a regular basis, so there is considerably pluralism. You know that, some of your readers might know that, but the article you linked to certainly didn't seem to acknowledge that. And the author explicitly introduced his piece by saying "judging by David's Medienkritik"... . So there, while it honors you that you think all your readers are aware of the broader picture, I really don't know how accurate that assumption is (and how could they, of course people have other things to do, moreover, it's difficult if you have to rely exclusively on English language sources).

2. Talking about the first hand experiences you mention: As you know, I am living in Germany. I mentioned in this very comment section that I address anti-Americanism where I come across it. So, is there some? Yes, as sad as it is. Is it supported and catered to by some parts of the media? Yes again, like I have just said. Is it, in general, pretty bad? No, it's 90% purely political and never directly directed against me personally, i.e. me as a person, as an American. My son is currently attending college in the US, and believe me, the general tone of debates about Iraq etc. he experienced on campus has been far more venomous than the general opinion over here. Please don't get me wrong, I certainly don't want to make light of whatever bad experiences you or any of the other commentators have had, however, do I, as an American living in Germany, feel or have I ever felt like the Germans where about to force me to wear a stigmatic symbol, as somebody implied above? Heck no.

3. I already mentioned the many events the German-American clubs I belong to organize. If any of you were to attend, you would see that there is great interest among Germans to learn more about the US, and that by and large, they are still fascinated by the US. At political events, we do meet a fair share of critical people. But have those people ever been hostile to me personally? No.

4. Finally, let me ask you this: Imagine your daughter comes home from kindergarten and tells you about how her friends and this other group of kids don't seem to get along well, even though she would really like the whole kindergarten to be friends with each other. Now, she just found out that one of the bossy kids in that other group is telling lots of horrible lies about her and her circle of friends. The less informed kids apparently believe all these lies. Your daughter now asks you -- who supposedly also wants the whole kindergarten to get along -- what she should do. Wouldn't you agree that the constructive answer would probably be to go the kids in the _other_ group and tell _them_ about the lies of that obnoxious bossy kid? Instead of sitting down with her friends, telling each other over and over again how stupid the other kids are, and letting the other kids be permanently manipulated by the bossy kid? Plus, suck even more kids into this who don't know anything about the other group at all?

Anyway, be that as it may, it's pretty late over here already and I should go to bed. Do what you think you have to do. If you honestly believe that what you are doing is _effective_ in addressing the problem you want to deal with -- anti-Americanism among _Germans_ and in the _German_ media, yes, I agree it exists --, continue what you are doing. My honest boda fide impression, however, is that you reach neither anti-American Germans nor their favorite media, but only those Germans who are aware of the problem anyway. Plus -- and that much is evident -- the non-Germans who form their picture of what is going on in Germany by reading this site... . So, all I can say is that I constantly write letters to the editor of newspapers printing anti-American articles, that I directly confront people over here if necessary, and that I spent the little free time I have organizing cultural and political events which are meant to contribute to Americans and Germans understanding each other better. At the end of the day, this seems to be so much more effective to me.

@ Matz,

I read your comments with interest, but I disagree with your view that DMK's work is only contributing to the problem. I'm one of those right-wing Americans you mentioned, and I first stumbled upon this site during Schroeder's successful use of anti-American xenophobia in his last campaign. In other words, when German anti-Americanism became so strong that it managed to filter through the dense, blinkered lens of the American media, I went looking for a site like this one to get a better idea of what was going on. DMK is the effect, not the cause.

@ Ray,

This is one of my favorite websites, and is invaluable to me--unfortunately, I don't speak German. I check this site every day, though I don't comment very often. Keep up the good work.

@ all,

At the risk of sounding like Rodney King, Germany and America have so much in common, it seems bizarre that the media in either of our countries would spend time bashing the other when the world is so chock-full of basket-case third-world countries governed by homicidal raving loons. (I wouldn't want to mention any names like Iran, the rest of the Arab/Muslim world, Cuba, or North Korea. It might hurt some feelings.)

Regards,

Redfern8

I think his text is not too far from the truth.
The only "error" that i immediately saw was this here:
"The German neurosis isn't like that. They're not saying, "we like this about America, but we don't like that.They just keep pushing outrageous slanders that have no basis in reality, and then get übermad about us as moral defectives; the next week they come back and repeat the process. Then they do it again. And again."

The "error" is that this is not related specifically to antiamericanism. Its a typical german trait to see things negatively and to blame everyone for it.
This is all too often a country of jealousy and naggers.

@blue

If one is going to accuse others of “taking liberties with the truth” – a formula that implies an intention to mislead – one should at least have one’s own facts straight. Herta Däubler Gmelin’s comparison of Bush to Hitler (she did more than just “mention them in the same breath”) by no means “ended her political career,” as you claim. She is presently the chairperson of the Bundestag’s Committee on Human Rights and Humanitarian Assistance. Here is her Bundestag profile: http://www.bundestag.de/mdb/bio/D/daeubhe0.html. She also, incidentally, forms part of the German delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. In this latter capacity, she co-chairs a COE Parliamentary Assembly sub-committee that recently produced a draft resolution that harshly condemns the United States for violating international law in the pursuit of the “war on terror” – as you and others can confirm here: http://assembly.coe.int/Main.asp?link=/Documents/WorkingDocs/Doc07/EDOC11181.htm.

""American Thinker" is an extreme rightwing"

Well no, there's nothing "extreme" about it, unless you're somewhere to the left of Stalin. Oh wait. You're a European. Never mind.

Check out the latest propaganda-lite offering at SPON. Think there's any significance to the red, white and blue colors on the fat, steak and hot dog sucking CO2 polluter? Naahhh! You're being paranoid again!

I was wondering why conservatives care what the world thinks.

Isn't that usually more of a liberal trait?

We're for poverty, polluted air, war, starvation, etc.

OH, and puppies, ducklings, bunnies and kitties in blenders - for breakfast.

Thank you John Rosenthal for pointing out my major error, you are correct.

I would like to apologize for misrepresenting Mrs. Däubler-Gmelin's career. Her comment effectively resulted in her no longer being Ministry of Justice after the election in 2002. IIRC, she made it clear that she would no longer participate as a minister in a future red-green government and was therefore not considered. After that time she had gone off my radar (which seems to be wanting), hence my assertion on the "ending" of her career. I now realize, that in addition to the info you have provided, she was head of the committee on consumer protection, food and agriculture from 2002-2005, so the down turn of her career was much less severe than I misremembered.

My mistake and I am sincerely sorry for it, I try to stick to facts.

I'm still waiting for the, "...and they lived happily ever after," ending for the kindergarten story. Were they American or German kindergartners, or even red diaper babies? Did they solve all their problems before or after taking naps? I'm waiting!

Via Dailypundit:

http://coldfury.com/index.php/?p=7962

...As for what is going on in the other Continental countries in detail… I don’t have a handle on that because I was able to read more of the English papers than the German papers, my translation isn’t as good as it once was… I think the Germans have recognized that socialism is a pretty bad road, but they are stuck on it and don’t know where the next exit is. One senses nothing so much as unease emanating from Berlin in the political coverage, a queasy apprehension about the future. Recent trade talks within the EU have had the Germans speaking most strongly of all the EU nations about resisting any moves by Brussels that might damage the German economy, which is really a big hand grenade in German politics right now. They need the economy to keep ticking along, or they could face something like a political revolution; there are simply too many people depending on generous benefits to let the economy fail, and the hard right and hard left are too popular to be given a political opportunity by mere tough times. Neither Labor nor the Tories in England have said anything of that sort, so consider that when you are reading the German chicken guts. We’ve seen the German economy fail before (repeatedly), and each time it has, it has thrown the continent into cataclysmic violence....

----

You guys think we were late last time????? Don't hold your breath.

Helian - Under your link I found this: US-FRATERNITIES: Die bizarren Rituale der Zech-Studenten

According to Der Spiegel, campus groups bring back slavery and intimidation. Any opinions on the issue?

"According to Der Spiegel, campus groups bring back slavery and intimidation. Any opinions on the issue?"

I understand that at least they don't shave each other with sabres.

Ray you were correct in predicting the comments should be fascinating but to me they have been amusing. All we are missing is Ralf. He should be along shortly.

WDIK - that so few can influence so many should not be a surprise to you. If it does I am disappointed in you because this is not the first time this has happened in germany nor will it be the last time.

This is a short summary of what we know.

Jorg - is defending the “honor” of germany such as it is – with revisions of course.

Matz - wants us to believe that germans are now rational.

Tabor - takes the Rodney King position of “why can’t we all just get along” Making the issue of german anti-Americanism somehow America’s problem.

Blue - who likes to pass his posts off as well researched and thoughtful positions now can find nothing to “substantiate his above assertions”. This can only lead to the conclusions that blue must believe the EU to be a democratic organization. He also puts himself at odds with his previous post on this thread where he says he agrees anti-Americanism is as a tool to distract from problems at home. Then he has trouble wondering why Americans pay so little attention.

Comments by blue and Jorg fit their well established pattern of previous posts. Matz and tabor are new so it will be interesting to see their development


Joe,

"Tabor - takes the Rodney King position of “why can’t we all just get along” Making the issue of german anti-Americanism somehow America’s problem."

This is not exactly what I meant. I tried to explain that anti-americanism is a consequence of the way the world is shaped right now. This is just an analysis, I don't blame someone for it.

In order to understand it, you have to first acknowledge that the image of the US is bad throughout the world. Be honest, there is certainly no singular "German" anti-americanism.
Then you have to ask why. I tried to provide an explanation - the US and Europe are very different on crucial issues - Socialism or not, War or not. Then the US is still the most powerful nation and influences every other nations quite strongly - in politics, economics. Just as every country they try to secure their interests, but the fact that they are much more powerful results in more impact - they are perceived as a bully. (germany is perceived as a bully sometimes by some european countries). This often creates the notion of being "helpless", especially when people are unsecure about their own futire.
Then add Bushs policies which are totally unacceptable in Europe, and things like "everyone who's not for us, is against us" etc. For some time, the US were really perceived as a threat here.

Take all this together, and it should be understandable that this creates strong reactions. We are all humans, so sometimes when the reactions get too strong people fail and proper criticism becomes real anti-americanism. But, then again, america IS the americans, they have elected the government, they work in its companies etc.

Now, the interesting question: what is to be done? America cannot be blamed for being like it is, as well as Europe. It's not americas fault for being powerful, either. You have to live with it - there will always be fundamental disagreement. A thing like the Iraq war will never be tolerated by europeans, for example.

What can be done:
- more diplomacy in politics, more multilateralism by the US
- but also, Europe should be more engaged in international affairs
- fair discussion of individual topics, no general blaming
- acknowlegement thet there are fundamental differences
- trying to understand the root of the problem, instead of creating more misunderstanding

To conclude, I think that anti-americanism will disappear by itself as the US gets less powerful. In ten years, the blood sucking parasite probably would wear a chinese straw hat.

Redfern8,

if you read my previous comment you will understand why I believe DMK is the effect of a n effect. The cause for both are differences between the US and Europa and the global power balance.
Respectfully, I think that DMK fails in explaining the cause, it just puts oil to the conflict.
I agree, that the US and Europe have also a lot in common - we should build on that.

Matz: I think that DMK fails in explaining the cause, it just puts oil to the conflict.

I have a brilliant idea. Let's have a contest on DMK on the following topic: who can express the most amount of stupidity in the fewest words? I think there are a few strong candidates and the one above is my favorite so far.

@WDIK - "Who can express the most amount of stupidity in the fewest words?"

The writing on the flag of Arabia is the all-time winner in this challenge.

Matz´s failed metaphor is just an also-ran.

Excuse me, my English must seem funny to you, but it's not my first language.

Franzis

I know about "Öl ins Feuer giessen". I only meant that it's endlessly stupid to claim the DMK's exposure of the German media contributes to the destructive "fire" that has been raging year after year in the (fire which by the way was created by the media itself in the first place).

In Matz's mind(??), talking about the "fire" or criticizing the fire is the same as feeding the fire. A fiery mind that is NOT.

- Matz: "Tibor, you've made an excellent point."

- Tibor: "[BlabaRodneyKingblabla]"

- Joe: "Tibor - takes the Rodney King position of “why can’t we all just get along” Making the issue of german anti-Americanism somehow America’s problem."

- Matz: "This is not exactly what I meant. I tried to explain that anti-americanism [...]"

??? Anyone notice anything? ;)

@Matz, it´s not mine either, but LEO works quite reliable for phrases as well.

@WDIK, the oil phrase certainly has implications on several layers of interpretation, that´s what makes it funny.

??? Anyone notice anything? ;)

Yes, Alex N. is commenting again ;-)

"In Matz's mind(??), talking about the "fire" or criticizing the fire is the same as feeding the fire. A fiery mind that is NOT."

Remember, if you come home and find someone raping your daughter, don't lose your temper. Be very polite and considerate about telling him to stop, or you'll only be pouring oil on the fire.


Matz identifies fear, frustration, envy and jealousy as the root causes of anti-Americanism in Europe. Overlay these with a very different culture one that is centered on collectivism and loss of personal freedom in the name of social justice and you end up with the attitudes the euros have toward the US.

Matz suggests the way to solve this is for the US to relinquish its sovereignty and then embark on a course to insure a state of decline. This will result in the decline of anti-Americanism in Europe.

That is an interesting theory. It is built on the assumption America will in fact decline. I have to assume there are some reasons to believe this. To appease the euros, America would have to undertake a rapid decline that even the democrats would find impossible to accomplish given that with each passing year Europe continues to decline at an ever increasing rate.

Of course the Europeans have been waiting for America to be in decline for several centuries now. One can assume they are prepared to wait a bit longer. Then again they might not have as much time as they believe they have due to the demographic changes occurring in the heart of Europe.

Matz to lessen the current anti-Americanism, the price is much too great. Europeans seem to place a high value on their approval and support. I do not. Most Americans would not either when the true costs were presented to them.

But I do have a much easier suggestion to accomplish the same goal. It is for the US to leave NATO. This will accomplish many things. For Europe it will release you from an alliance which today you do not want to support. It opens the door for germany and france to establish a common defense structure for the protection of Europe. I am sure such a structure will be well received the capitals of Europe. For the US it eliminates the legal responsibility to spend our national treasure to protect Europe.


If Obama did that Abbas would feel as if Yasser had risen again.

Posted by: rightwingprof | March 09, 2007 at 05:10 PM

"""American Thinker" is an extreme rightwing"

Well no, there's nothing "extreme" about it, unless you're somewhere to the left of Stalin. Oh wait. You're a European. Never mind."

I think the author says he is a classical liberal... they don't tend to accept the term 'rightwing' at all (extreme or not). Assocating libertarians and classical liberals with 'the right' is a good sign of a leftwing bias...


The comments to this entry are closed.

Mission

The Debate

Blog powered by Typepad

February 2021

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28