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Darn, you're right about the American ambassador in Germany: not only does the man not speak German, but given his resumé he sticks out like a sore thumb. Honorary citizen of Colmar, chevalier de la légion d'honneur? What's he doing in Berlin? He should be in Paris! Very surprising, I'd have thought that speaking the local language would be a major requirement for an ambassador. It is for all German and French ambassadors, AFAIK.

As for American representation in the German media: what happened to Jeffrey Gedmin and John Kornblum? They popped up in the German media often enough. They were generally pretty eloquent and well informed.

The current U.S. Ambassador here has been trading in kugellager (ball-bearings) for several decades.

During the Nazi era, these items were considered the crucial point at which to attack the Wehrmacht´s production of tanks, and became proverbial, such as in Yitzak Rabin´s comment about Netzarim: "If that's a settlement, I'm a kugellager."

I honestly enjoyed listening to the President of the US in his own words in the German media. He clearly outlined his position transparently, and the usual slant of the well-known German media candidates was absent. A breath of fresh air.

Now the US preseident has much to do and his main priority is not giving interviews to German media. I therefore fully agree with Ray that a high representative of the US, fluent in German, should be consulted whenever US positions need to be represented in the German media. I honestly do not understand that an ambassador does not speak the local language. Even if the current US ambassador is well-educated with respect to current developments in German politics, he is not able to directly communicate. That is a major obstacle.

A final note I thought about concerning the US missile shiled in Poland and the Czech Republic. The Iranian Manhattan project has significantly profited from the collaboration with Russia. Russian technology appears to be a key component. Behind the scene, Putin therefore has a major leverage on Western policy and is implicitly capable of nuclear blackmailing. By introducing the missile shield, the US are able to weaken this position. i honestly think this has been the reason for Putin's eruption of anger with respect to the missile shield: he fully well knows that it is no threat to Russia at all. He just knows that his deck of cards has lost value.

As mbast observed correctly, the mass media coverage wasn´t significantly more effective when there was a German-speaking diplomatic Ambassador and a German-speaking thinktank Ambassador. They popped up once in a while and were forgotten when the next thing popped up.

BTW - Here´s the negative highlight from the Rostock riots (found via indymedia). For some reason, they were phrasing their message in English in the first place.

The Bush administration does not do a very good job of defending its policies and postions on their home turf in Washington unfortunately, but that might explain why protecting their positions in other countries might not be a high priority.

What Germany needs is a Rush Limbaugh to help make the country "right"

Ray D.: I've quoted you and linked to you here: http://consul-at-arms.blogspot.com/2007/06/re_05.html

mbast: The current U.S. ambassador to Germany, like many in recent years, is a political appointee. In his particular case, he is of German descent although at several generations remove.

@wc - It is difficult to find a description of what Rush Limbaugh is that is stripped of all the American exceptionalisms.

Let´s try this one: An principled individual with enough knowledge and charisma to shame all the mainstream media pimps into the ground.

Now add the German exceptionalisms to this definition, and one thing is obvious: it´s all but a career opportunity.

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