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He did a good job. Let us not forget however that it would be firstly and mainly the job of our media to present us the whole picture. It is their job to get all facts and opinions and deliver them to the viewer / listener / reader. Of course most journalists don't care to do that anymore. They share the most blame for the lack of facts and the amount of Anti-Americanism in the German public.

That said, it's unfortunately very true that the current US administration fails to reach out (enough) to the public, (most importantly) at home, but (also important) abroad. They could of course do this in two ways. Either through the media - but there's the problem that even in the US, many outlets are hostile towards Republicans or conservative ideas in general. They could also do it through new ways of communication and thereby bypass the old media. Up until the last election, they relied on talk radio and weblogs to carry the message for them, of course mostly Americans ones. It's certainly not expected too much of President Bush and his administration to do more themselves. More important is that the next president (hopefully a conservative Republican) will do better in this regard.

Ray,

What would be the purpose of this effort? For the Germans to like us?

You speak of accountability. I agree for this need. But lets start where there is some serious money - like the defense of Europe.

Do you guys know where I can get an English transcript of this? It's not like I can pop a vid into Babelfish :). I'd love to know what this man is saying, and what the questions were.

And yes... I completely agree that our Foreign Service has been derelict. Unfortunately, those positions tend to be political favors, especially in nations regarded as friendly and where not much work is needed to keep the situation friendly. However, the recent years have proven that things are slipping too much all over Europe. Perhaps it's past time to put some serious diplomats back into place there.

Eric Staal did a great job. He didn't come up with any groundbreaking ideas (no one really ever does), he only presented a point of view, which is sorely missing in the German media. The German media has managed to literally demonize the face of American Conservatives, and Eric's common sense arguments managed to present a different face of American Conservatives.

The German audience applauded his arguments at one point; this is a maybe a small evidence that many regular Germans aren't a priori indisposed against American Conservatives, they are just strongly influenced by the bias and "Hetze" in the German media.

On one hand Eric's genuine demeanor might be more effective than a State Dpt. official unconvincingly spouting rationalizations for America's policies, OTOH it is inadmissible that the entire State Dpt. can not and will not find someone like Eric Staal who could represent the US.

The same in Latvia. The US embassy is doing next to nothing to explain American policies and is more famed with generous promotion of homosexuality.

The State Department should represent the USA in a neutral manner. Would you like the US Ambassador to Germany appointed by President John Edwards to be active in the German media, representing the administration's position? All he would have to do is tell SPON, whatever you say, we agree, that is our position..no problem...good work, keep it up, by the way, bash conservatives some more, we have info and leaks for you....etc....

Unfortunately, a quiet State Department compared to an activist State Department is better. An activist Democrat State Department could really do more damage to the truth than Stern and Spiegel could ever do.

Yes it would be nice if President Bush would fight back some, but anything that becomes a precedent, an institution, needs to be well thought out, because the other side gets to use it too.

Representation is needed, but the US State Department probably isn't the right group to do it. They're more a part of the problem than part of the solution. The State Department is nothing but a bunch of career bureaucrats who want nothing more than t get through the day with a minimum of grief. If you're looking for a champion, don't turn to appeasers.

Remember - these are the people that advised President Reagan against his "Mr Gorbachev, Tear down this wall!" speech.

Here´s the translation of the statement that got applause:

"Welcome Mr. Staal. You are an executive consultant and the leader of Republicans Abroad Germany, an organisation that represents the party of George W. Bush here in Germany. Certainly, you have noticed that a large number of protesters are targeting this American President - are they right or wrong?"

"In a certain sense they´re right. I take criticism serious and think in many respects its required, but it must be honestly motivated. When I see the demonstrators at the summit, one thing I notice that many people are frustrated, and rightly so. The world is unjust, and they´re frustrated about that, all of us feel that way, and they want to voice it. But there are other people, who maybe not, or let´s say: How honestly is that being expressed? I will make an interesting example: For three years now, the UN is only talking about Sudan and Darfur. In the last three years, 200.000 people have been killed. In the last two years 2.000.000 people have been raped, expelled, and are suffering famine just right now. The U.S.A. stand entirely alone, as the only country, for sanctions against Sudan and the Darfur regime."

"Which the [???]nese government also imposed?"

"Exactly, in Khartum. And there is China. China is selling arms to Sudan, which they use for their genocide. China ist investing the most money into Sudan. Nevertheless, I can´t find anyone... I wish that just ten percent of these protesters were just as insitent against China or against Sudan. Then I would be able to perceive the protest as really honest, then I would see that it really is against injustice in this world, that it is not for other agendas. And that is the point, while I share the frustration about the injustice of this world."

Now for my assessment of the situation.

With the global communication revolution, the role of diplomacy has fundamentally changed. A century ago, The Ambassador and his staff was all what the common man would ever get to see from a country on distant shores. Now just about nothing is left from that monopoly of representation - when everybody can click around the internet, ambassadors no longer are the mastheads of the cultures, or a special kind of celebrities. Language barriers still exist, but anyone paying a translator can bridge them. Nowadays, diplomacy no longer is a canvas on that people between which there are no other links do project their big expectations, it is just a formal bureaucracy like any other branch of government. Political parties better represent themselves, even abroad. E.g. they can make statements about third countries that government officials cannot make as easily.

Actually, it is a good thing that the monopoly of representation is vanishing - ever since the emergence of television, journalists have vigourously been trying to take it over. Sustainable change to the better can only come as journalists get rid of the illusion that they were monopoly narrative providers to their core audiences. As long as a journalist can plausibly imagine a significant share of his audience would never look at competitors, he will suppress viewpoints that would require him to adjust his grand story, no matter how well they may be presented. E.g. in the aftermath of the Virginia Tech massacre, did any German talkshow ask a pro-gun rights group to put a German-speaking representative into a local studio from which he could participate in a debate? Could a more active embassy have changed this? Should the ambassador, that is the government, have provided explanations of the event? My impression is rather that too many journalists think of themselves as public diplomats in the worst sense of the word, and treat their audience as if they had a monopoly on issuing visas to reality.

(OT) And as I´m talking about journalists trying to sweep under the rug what they don´t want their audience to be bothered with, there have been the usual pro-jihad manifestations in Western capitals on the event of the 40th anniversary of the Six Day War. The one in Berlin featured Felicia Langer, a sort of Israeli version of Cindy Sheehan, and was virtually ignored by the mainstream media. But the useful idiots themselves have put up a photoalbum, from which maybe this picture is most telling: How long would the lady at the microphone survive, if she walked through Gaza dressed the way she is? The event was supported by the Palestinian embassy, no joke...

Franzis... thank you for taking the time to translate Eric's statement :). The comments here are absolutely right... that is exactly the sort of thing ALL Europeans, not just Germans, need to hear. I wonder if there's any way we can recall our Foreign Service for dereliction of duty? When a non-official has to go out and defend our government's positions, someone isn't doing his job!

And one other thing... if the US were as oppressive and dangerous as the demonstrators are making us out to be, shouldn't they be afraid that we would drop a cruise missile into the middle of their demonstrations? This is what puzzles me.

Of the past three years...lets just say that Eric probably carried more American weight than anyone on the Sunday talk show circuit so far. He isn't a Muhammad Ali yet...but he might eventually develop into a heavyweight boxer....by the eyes of Germans.

The US diplomatic corps in Europe...is quiet pitiful. They haven't carried their weight...they haven't stood for the best interest of Americans or America...they seem to be trained to carry out the best interests of the country by attending parties & such...and finally, they won't argue the position of the gov't in front of any European audience.

The American who wants to captivate the German public....ought to talk to people and set the balance upon small-town America...where real people still run their gov't and run productive lives. These people are proud of their history...proud of their ethnic backgroun....proud of helping their friends, neighbors and those abroad when help is needed...and they are most proud of the chances of children, where anyone of them might be the head of Microsoft in 40 years or the president of the US or perhaps just a honest civic guy living a productive life.

Germans may be shocked that we practice the same forestry goals as the German gov't. We also put tremendous amounts of money into supporting various 3rd world health and educational efforts....just like the Germans. We also put vast sums of money into the infrastructure efforts of major American metropolitan areas...just like Germany. And yes...we tax our citizens like the Germans...just not quiet as much.

There are alot of stories we could tell...and guys like Eric ought to be at the front...telling them.

Oh...and comments about the US being oppressive and dangerous...compared to the dudes in black shirts at the G8 last week...well...I remember some similar guys....in brown shirts...in 1936...who later became much more ruthless...and in the end...some American guys in green shirts arrived and did what had to be done. The values of the republic...may not be as bad as one thinks. Just my two cents.

Do you seriously believe that a PR campaign is going to do much good to turn world opinion around? Do you seriously believe the world press is hostile to America for no good reason? If so you are seriously mistaken. The US threw all the goodwill and political capital it had in the bank after September 11 right out the window by turning around and invading Iraq. Perhaps if the US stopped talking about how great they are and simply showed it, perception of it overseas might change. Track record's pretty poor lately though.

Here we go again... There is no anti-Americanism, there is only "Bush frustration". Right...

This blog posted numerous instances, which make it crystal clear the bias in the German media has nothing to do with the Bush years and everything to do with ideology, but why should one bother with facts, when spouting slogans is soooo much easier.

Perhaps if the US stopped talking about how great they are and simply showed it

They did and do that regularly. The problem is that people like you choose to ignore everything that doesn't fit in your sadly simple worldview.

I have been wondering for quite some time why no public relations efforts were being made by the American embassy in Berlin to counter anti-Americanism in Germany. Only last year I got the answer. Ambassador Timken in an interview with DIE WELT said he did not see any anti-Americanism in Germany (http://anti-anti-americanism.com/cgi-bin/weblog_basic/index.php?p=5). So, he has probably not seen either that in the context of the dispute about the missile defense shield, many Germans see the Americans as warmongers and Putin as the prince of peace. Which is absurd. But I am afraid that drinking cocktails in Berlin will not help change the picture.

"And one other thing... if the US were as oppressive and dangerous as the demonstrators are making us out to be, shouldn't they be afraid that we would drop a cruise missile into the middle of their demonstrations? This is what puzzles me."

LC Mamapajamas: The hypocritical chowderheads know perfectly well who is more personally dangerous to them; the answer to your not-quite-asked question is FEAR. These are not the sorts of folks who demonstrated in Tiannamin Square some 18 years ago against a real oppressor. These are "wanna bees."

letters -

"Perhaps if the US stopped talking about how great they are and simply showed it,"

Anyone can say that action speaks louder than words, but can you act upon that principle?

I agree with your premise that the U.S.A. are not doing enough against tyranny in our world, so what is your proposal?

@franzism

"I agree with your premise that the U.S.A. are not doing enough against tyranny in our world, so what is your proposal?"

What is Germany doing against Tyranny in the world other than stand on the sidelines and damn the USA for everything they do. We have enough monday morning quarterbacks in our own country, we don't need Germany and the EU.

The US is one of the few countries who spends the blood of their citizens around the globe to promote peace and to protect many countries from agression. We do the "Drecksarbeit" while Germany wants to sit in their Ivory towers, preaches the high German morality, their racist superior intellect and constantly tries to weasel out of any conflicts.

Hopefully I will live long enough to see the US take a stand and become more protectionist like Switzerland, let the Europeans, especially Germany finally spend their own money on their defense. We need to get out of NATO and pursue our own national interests. Let Russia be the protector and benefactor for a change.

abc,

Actually Germany is doing a great deal against tryanny. It has not attacked another nation in Europe for some time now.

americanbychoice - I respect your ability to run a country which does not get locked on goosestepping into self-destruction when it maintains a strong military. We do not have this ability here.

I made the above statement based on the observation that tyranny still has a strong grasp on many countries. I think what Germany can and should do against it is speaking out consistently against the genocidal antisemitism in Islam, and the delusional abuse of the Nazi history against the free world. It´s here where the craze originated, and it´s from here where it can be revoked.

@Franzism

Sorry, I have to disagree with you. I don't believe that Germany can't have a strong military without wanting to take over the world, even though the temptation would be there for many.
However, the Mantra of "let the US do the hard and dirty work" while we "Uebermenschen" will direct everything and chastise from far away, cuts the mustard anymore.
Germany must learn self reliance and protection.

The interesting question in all this would be whether the existence of a weak military in Germany, as just right now, is a gateway to building a strong one, or a nutrient for delusional arrogance.

A man who protects himself tends to have a realistic assessment of threats.
A man who pretends protecting himself does have a false sense of security.
A man who does not protect himself will have a realistic threat assessment too.

The difference between the first and the third example is that they are taking different risks. The second example is trying to ignore the risks altogether.

I asked commenter letters to back up his complaint with a proposal how the situation can be improved. Mine is the disarmament of Germany, because that will require us to become realistic. And spreading a realistic perception of the threats is the best contribution to bring the war to a successful end with as few fatalities as possible.

@ Franzism

All that disarmament talk sounds soooo sweet. However, at this time in the world it is silly.

Always remember that a coin has two sides and pay attention to unintented consequences. When quoting something that sounds soooo wonderful on paper, be aware that all are opinions which are like assholes. Everyone has one.

Germany disarming would require leaving NATO, having to become neutral and accepting all the financial hardships that would follow. Germany has a huge arms manufacturing base. That would have to be abandoned. You can't become "neutral" and continue arming any side.
There are many other "Unintended problems" that would show up in loss of trade, jobs and wellbeing.

americanbychoice - There is no such thing as neutrality, not even for a pacifist. And why should we leave NATO when we are surrounded by it? I expect sites like Ramstein to remain in a disarmed Germany, such as sites like Kwajalein exist on the Marshall Islands, which do not maintain a military either. Arms manufacturers are private businesses, all that the government can decide for them is that they must not arm tyrannies, and if that means their market dries up then that is so.

I agree with your assessment that the transformation will bring about tremendous changes. So did the pullout of American troops that had their mission accomplished. So did the dismantling of the iron curtain. Germany is still chewing on the economic consequences. The point is however that the rise of Islamic terrorism has shattered the old world order in which nations were able to defend their borders and deter each other, and defeating it requires not only hunting down the evil forces, but also finding a way to erect a new order that provides an equilibrium.

This is my ambition. It may be a long way to go, but I am sincerely convinced drafting a post-war order is better than whining that the world is at war.

@Franzism
NATO is the military arm of the Atlantic Alliance. If Germany disarmed, there would be no existance in NATO. Why would any nation defend Germany and do the dirty work while Germany does not participate?
Why would the USA even consider keeping Ramstein, or for that matter any soldiers in that country?
I would love for us to get out of Germany and NATO completely.
Switzerland is neutral and is doing very well.

One sided disarmament does not work. It would just hasten your take over by Islam. Oh well, what's the difference whether it happens in 20 years or 50? It is still unavoidable. Isuggest that you familiarise yourself with "Sharia law", depending on your age.

americanbychoice - I understand your frustration with Germany, and in a certain way I share it, but no nation can chose its exceptionalisms.

We all expect other countries to be like our own, and react disappointed when it turns out they are not, but that does not change them. Different countries can contribute differently to the pursuit of victory, some may be best in winning wars, others in developing ideas.

Our time is shaped by a threat not against this or that nation but against civilisation in its entirety. It does not come from armies standing at specific borders but from terrorists and missiles that may strike everywhere. Similarly, the benefit from defeating it is not particulate but universal.

Switzerland is not neutral, it does not even blacklist Hamas, unlike the rest of Europe. If Islam is going to take over this culture, it will not be through a fight but through a delusion. I believe however that we will instead succeed to transform the heartlands of Islam. If I were to assume that the Al-Saud would still be there in 20 or 50 years I would not have any hope.

Thanks for the translation, FranzisM.

@Franzism
One thing that troubles me is the fact that you seem to see the necessity of a military overall. That the Germans are exceptional in their thinking and talking vs other nations being better at waging war troubles me. Is your bottom line suggesting that it is OK to spill American blood over German blood? Would that mean that Geramn lives are more precious? Germany should demilitarize and use their clearly superior intellect to man thinktanks and issue edicts the warring USA could then embrace? Sounds somewhat racist to me. Again, if Germany is not interested in a military, why should we or anyone else care about defending Germany's ideals or physical country?
Switzerland is neutral pertaining to military matters. They do have a military to repell an invasion.
Al Saud (Islam, Koran, etc.) has been around for approx. 1400 years , why would they not be around for another 50?
Be careful what you wish for, you may get it. :)

americanbychoice - Maybe I can answer your reservations with a thought experiment: How about sending Bundeswehr into Gaza? Besides the possible fatalities, would that bring about peace, or would we end up killing Jews again?

In comparison, would you send American troops there? I suppose in making a decision you will balance the possible gain against the possible fatalities, but you do not have to face a fundamental dilemma with your history in it.

From how you are examining my argument for concepts of racist supremacy I can see that you are not convinced there was a bottom line under that part of German history. And I cannot make such a decision for you, because the nation that takes the risk makes the decision. This is the principle I am advocating, no matter whether it is a risk that blood of soldiers abroad is being spilled due to warfare, or that blood of civilians at home is being spilled due to inability to retaliate.

The Gaza situation is a prototype what the combination of Islamic barbarianism and Western technology has in storage for the world. What troubles me is that this combination since it came about in the last century has nearly achieved domination of the fossil resources of our planet. These are desert tyrants who have ruled their subjects by the threat of thirst for millennia, with their new grasp on the crude oil they are moving toward ruling the entire world that way. That is destroying it that way.

One of the unfinished ideas that has been spreading across the World from Germany is the legacy of Karl Marx. In the last century destructive rebellions in his name have taken over entire nations and caused the oppression and death of dozens of millions, and still do. Nevertheless, the idea of lifting up capitalism to a higher equilibrium is attractive for so many in almost every nation that civilisation on this planet remains in a stalemate where it is undecided whether it should trust or punish itself. Giving the West the self-confidence it needs to resist the barbarianism emanating from Islam does require to finish this idea. That is to fullfill it.

Another such idea that originated here is the concept of the ultimate weapon. Dissident scientists decided to rather pass it on to the most promising candidate among rest of the world than wait for the Nazis to get it. Nuclear weapons could help to establish on the planetary scale a monopoly of force as it is at the core of any legitimate government, but in a fragmented world they proliferate to those with destructive intentions and a sick desire for prestige. This tendency is undermining the entire concept of international law as it was established in the aftermath of the German attempt of self-destruction.

All these developments are to bring about tremendous change in the order of the world rather sooner than later, for good or worse. I wish I could work to bring them to a good outcome.

To all:

There is an interesting article on "Europe's Anti-American Agenda" by Dale Hurd on CBN News:

http://www.cbn.com/CBNnews/177729.aspx

I see that Gedmin is no longer director of the Aspen Institute. I sincerely hope that he continues to find ways to make his voice heard. Good article, Karin.

Thanks, Doug! And I do hope the same.

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