Friday, January 16. 2009
Posted by Joerg Wolf in Transatlantic Relations on Friday, January 16. 2009
The Washington Post has learned that Americans are feeling the love from around the world:
With Obama's Election, Expatriates Say, There's a New Attitude Abroad. Instead of Challenges on Iraq and WMDs, They're Met With Hugs and Good Wishes.
Will this "love" turn into real and significant support for US policies? Probably not, but that's okay, I guess. Just being popular again is a nice change after eight tough years, when American expats were constantly blamed for President Bush's real and alleged wrong doings.
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Pat Patterson - #1 - 2009-01-16 22:13 -
Joerg-I still have a lump on my head from the last time Americans were "loved" in Europe! Maybe it was just real aggresive kissing that left me with 10 stitches.
Joe Noory - #2 - 2009-01-17 02:06 -
There was love? Have I been missing something for the last quarter century?
Marie Claude - #3 - 2009-01-17 02:38 -
hey may-be cuz we love with a stick those who are baiting us wouah !! wouah !!
Pat Patterson - #3.1 - 2009-01-17 05:54 -
Sorry, for some reason Google won't translate that. Could you provide a more accurate one?
Marie Claude - #3.1.1 - 2009-01-17 19:46 -
http://www.thepeoplescube.com/Media_Lapdog_for_Obama.php wouah wouah !!!
Pamela - #4 - 2009-01-17 11:39 -
Gah. Where do I hurl?
David - #5 - 2009-01-17 14:12 -
At home, too, Americans are breathing a huge sigh of relief as the Bushies leave town. Bush leaves office with the lowest poll ratings since Gallup has been in business, and there is optimism that things can only improve with the new president. Here is the (lefty) Economist magazine: " HE LEAVES the White House as one of the least popular and most divisive presidents in American history. At home, his approval rating has been stuck in the 20s for months; abroad, George Bush has presided over the most catastrophic collapse in America’s reputation since the second world war. The American economy is in deep recession, brought on by a crisis that forced Mr Bush to preside over huge and unpopular bail-outs. America is embroiled in two wars, one of which Mr Bush launched against the tide of world opinion. The Bush family name, once among the most illustrious in American political life, is now so tainted that Jeb, George’s younger brother, recently decided not to run for the Senate from Florida. A Bush relative describes family gatherings as "funeral wakes".
Joe Noory - #5.1 - 2009-01-17 15:06 -
You're overinterpreting your own acute preferences to be something universal. I'm in DC now, and there isn't the kind of "breaking out of stigmata" that you want there to be. It's all been talked up, just like the idea that 5 million people will show up, and for that matter, the supernatural qualities of the President elect. It isn't real. It's formed entirely out of people talking it up.
Pat Patterson - #5.1.1 - 2009-01-18 19:21 -
Did we miss some of the states seceding and forming their own country under the Bush administrations? When in doubt and all hyperbole fails bandy about divisive and lowest since World War II and everything becomes warm and fuzzy and bearable to the left that has been in a steady philosphical and political decline since 1917.
Zyme - #5.2 - 2009-01-17 16:56 -
I will certainly miss him. He had a very amusing kind of humor. Apart from that he did cost the Americans a good deal of the influence in the world they had gained after winning the Cold War. So he made world politics interesting again. There cannot be a better American President from a European perspective!
Pat Patterson - #5.3 - 2009-01-17 21:39 -
Yep, all 58% of the sample poll of over 1,031. Let's just cancel the next election and use the same number of people as inhabit an elementary school to determine Amercian policy and attitudes.
Pamela - #5.3.1 - 2009-01-18 11:32 -
" Let's just cancel the next election" Don't look now, but I just came across a headline that some whack jobs are out to eliminate term limits for POTUS. Good luck with that. Here's an apropo piece from the Financial Times. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/96243350-e32c-11dd-a5cf-0000779fd2ac.html?nclick_check=1 Among my European friends (and that includes the British), Barack Obama’s task is simply stated. First, he should stop throwing America’s weight around; next he should deploy his country’s unmatched might to solve the world’s myriad problems. If he consults closely, Mr Obama can be assured that his allies will give of their best: they will cheer him loudly from the security of the sidelines. [ ] For Europe it demands a recognition that the postmodern world of cuddly multilateralism that some imagined would come to pass after the fall of the Berlin Wall has not materialised. The US war in Iraq may have tested to destruction the efficacy of unilateral military might. But events since 1989 have shown also that normative, or soft, power is an inadequate answer to conflict and disorder. Europe needs to accept more of the burden of action. ----------------- I'm not posting this because I agree with the author (I don't for the most part) but because he, too, thinks there is a lot of star dust around Obama.
Don S - #188.8.131.52 - 2009-01-18 15:44 -
"Among my European friends (and that includes the British), Barack Obama’s task is simply stated. First, he should stop throwing America’s weight around; next he should deploy his country’s unmatched might to solve the world’s myriad problems." There is a contradiction at the heart of this 'policy' of course; if Obama stops "throwing America's weight around" then he logically cannot "deploy his country's unmatched might to solve the world's myriad problems". Because the latter requires that he throw America's weight around, which is unthinkable. "If he consults closely, Mr Obama can be assured that his allies will give of their best: they will cheer him loudly from the security of the sidelines." Stephens is an optimist. While it's true that US 'allies' demand complete control over US foreign policy, he still limits himself to phase one. Phase two is when the policy begins to come apart. As we know adversity has no parents, so the allies will go aglimmering in an instant and it will prove that they had actually warned Obama not to do any such thing as the policies they had previously pushed so heartily. Meanwhile the 'street' in Europe and the nasty left in the US will be burning Obama in effigy and parading floats depicting him with toothbrush mustache engarbed in SS uniform...... I think there is a way around this for Obama. He should closely befriend Putin and in a 'peaceful' gesture pull all but token US forces from Europe, stationing the token forces as far from the Russian border as possible (UK, Nederlands, Ireland)? The transnationalists can hardly object even though this gives Uncle Vlad the whip hand over their countries, and the 'peaceful' gesture will please both the pacifist left in the US and ex-Atlanticists like myself who believe NATO is a fool's errand for Uncle Sucker....
Pat Patterson - #184.108.40.206.1 - 2009-01-18 16:21 -
But one of the salient points of the idea of NATO, perhaps the main one, was that if there was an attack that American and British forces would be defending European territory where the fighting was happening. Not in some redoubt waiting to be invited in by some now beseiged government on the continent. Plus since the Irish are officially neutral I don't imagine they are going to welcome American forces any time this millenium. Though the landings at Shannon will probably be allowed to continue.
Kevin Sampson - #220.127.116.11.1.1 - 2009-01-19 16:37 -
That's exactly the point. By disengaging from Europe militarily, we serve notice that if there is an attack, American forces will not be defending European territory anywhere, the Europeans will have to do it themselves.
Don S - #18.104.22.168.1.2 - 2009-01-19 21:18 -
Pat, let's take a fresh look at the strategic situation today in 2009, rather than harking back to the glorious days of yesteryear when the USSR was a threat to Europe externally and Germany was regarded an even bigger threat internally. The biggest reason NATO is coming apart at the seams is that there is no credible external threat to Europe anymore. This is why the Germans have cut their relative defense spending by 75% and increased the quotient of abuse flung at the US by 400% since 1990. They can afford to - because there is no threat as long as the US remains committed to Europe's defense. But if there is no threat, why is the US even there any more? And if there is a threat which would manifest itself if the US pulled out, why all the abuse? NATO is on life support now. Let's pull the plug.
Pat Patterson - #22.214.171.124.1.2.1 - 2009-01-19 23:20 -
Maybe, but if NATO is to continue then the charter will have to be rewritten not simply glossed over. Which glossing over simply allows a multitude of versions of the response, "Not tonight, dear, I have a headache."
Don S - #126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52 - 2009-01-20 17:43 -
Pat, NATO was 'remade' during the 90's, and we've seen the result in the double-oughts. Not good. The problem with re-writing charters is that it doesn't change anything fundamental. It's just a legal document until the crisis, then it's TP. Rewriting the charter won't convince Germany to raise it's defense spending by one red euro, nor will anyone else. It will be the same-old same-old. The only way to handle NATO is zero-base budgeting; if a new NATO is needed it will be very obvious, and cash on the nail the new slogan. Most of the Continental European NATO members have bounced multiple checks on the 'contributing' members, and trust almost completely wrong. I don't trust Germany's committment to NATO - they have broken it repeatedly.
Joe Noory - #5.4 - 2009-01-21 00:43 -
Look who else is [url=http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=86412]relieved[/url], especially since relieving oneself is part of the celebration.
Joe Noory - #6 - 2009-01-18 16:36 -
Le Parisien reports that Segolene Royal is showing up unannounced and uninvited by the sound of it. "Assistez" is the word she used. How exactly, remains to be seen. Between sycophants like David employing "the world" in his complaints, and free-riders like Sego, it shaping up to look like that "love" is something Americans could do without. The first branded presidency, complete with its' own logo, may not sell America as well as it tries to sells itself. "Love" is the most ill-founded concept that could be suggested. Is it going to be accompanied by perhaps a little empathy or at least a break from the demagogery, irrational expectationm and mindless invective? I doubt it. It's too deeply seeded in the operating narrative of most of Europe's (a.k.a. "the world's") cultural commentator's. A glimpse at the political commentary in Liberation or the Guardian makes that pretty clear, and it's not just about America. It's about who it's always been about: "the other."
Pamela - #6.1 - 2009-01-18 19:51 -
Showing up where?
David - #7 - 2009-01-18 18:20 -
Just as every poll in the US shows Bush as leaving office despised by 70%+ of Americans, the polls show overwhelming approval of Barack Obama as he takes office. Even 59% of McCain voters like the way the transition has gone so far. This was the lead on the NY Time's front page: "President-elect Barack Obama is riding a powerful wave of optimism into the White House, with Americans confident he can turn the economy around but prepared to give him years to deal with the crush of problems he faces starting Tuesday, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News Poll." Joe can't face the truth that Americans for the most part like the new guy (just as they have nothing but disdain for the guy leaving office).
Pat Patterson - #7.1 - 2009-01-18 19:17 -
Could you show me one poll that asks people if the despise or disdain Pres Bush? Let alone one poll that shows Bush's disapproval approval rating of over 70%. Or is that simply reading between the lines to fulfill your own rather unbridled hatred. Relax, your guy won, and if people can start being nostalgic for Jimmy Carter then who knows how popular Pres. Bush will be in a few years.
Joe Noory - #7.2 - 2009-01-18 20:33 -
This must be the kind of "[url=http://uk.news.yahoo.com/22/20090113/tpl-uk-iran-usa-obama-sb-43a8d4f.html]love[/url]" you're talking about. Using the concept of love in this context is a mockery of the greatest human virtue to begin with. I don't have any delusions, David. You're following the man like a lost child before he's taken office. How is that rational? As to being venal, this inauguration costs 4 times more than George Bush's 2004 inauguration did, and yet these are the people hectoring others about prudence and restraint while they imitate Nero. You'll note that there is no evident outrage now over [url=http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123206822799888351.html]this[/url] once "telling" matter, despite the year of stamping feet and impotent screaming. Suddenly, the belief systems change now that it isn't politically useful. There's the depth of that human superiority the left attempt to impress. In this case they know how to run an economy: cronyism, access for sale, and a bailout for the UAW, while screeching and projecting it on others. The Democrats set up the causes that triggered the financial crisis by insisting that those who couldn't pay back loans be lent money... "for the people", taking a stunning amount of money from Fannie and Freddie, they started spending like drunken sailors when they took the HR in 2006, now they're telling people that nearly 2 trillion must be spent on whatever Chicago-esque patronage they can dress up nicely. Sure, we're supposed to buy that, right? After all we'll have a non-sceptical press to keep a check on it, right?
David - #7.2.1 - 2009-01-18 20:46 -
"This must be the kind of "love" you're talking about. Using the concept of love in this context is a mockery of the greatest human virtue to begin with." WTF? To quote Tina Turner: "What's love got to do with it?"
Joe Noory - #184.108.40.206 - 2009-01-19 01:23 -
What you ask? zip. zich. nada. bupkus. To look for a love of a nation is misusing the term, imagining a nation is human. As to Bush's rating, they were typically double that of the Democratic congress, floating at 10-13%. Truly, our deliverers! More to the point is what Dick Morris is plausiting, that that 70% will become 25% within 3 month with no intervention on the part of anything other than his own policies and foolish expectations from the adherents. He will then become more conservative with the hope that he can reconstruct himself for the next election. The disposition of congress is questionable, as I believe most will more-or-less forget that they exist. For the moment there is something far more important going on: Baltimore v Pittsburgh. Have a nice day.
David - #220.127.116.11.1 - 2009-01-19 12:53 -
JOe, America is celebrating a great moment in history. Too bad you are so miserable. And too bad about the Ravens... you always seem to be on the losing side...
Pat Patterson - #18.104.22.168.1.1 - 2009-01-19 14:54 -
I could swear that we had a "...great moment in history..." four years ago and will again four years in the future. And I have it on good authority that Pres Obama has decided not to interfere with the movements of the planets and stars because he will be too busy making the tide reverse itself.
Joe Noory - #7.3 - 2009-01-22 13:26 -
If you have to spend 4 years continually ginning up class warfare, with the entire press in bed with you, having anyone with exposure in pop culture gunning for you 24/7, and outspending your opponent by 50% I would think you could call only getting 52% of the vote a miserable failure.
influx - #7.3.1 - 2009-01-22 18:50 -
Why would anyone think you're a sore loser?
David - #8 - 2009-01-18 20:39 -
"Let alone one poll that shows Bush's disapproval approval rating of over 70%." Here you go, Pat: "A New York Times/CBS News poll found 22 percent of respondents approved of George W. Bush's performance in two terms as president, the Times said Friday. Just 17 percent rated Bush's performance during the last eight years as very good or good, and 83 percent said his job performance has been average or poor, the newspaper said. [b]Seventy-three percent said they disapproved of Bush's performance during his two terms in office.[/b] By the way, Jimmy Carter's approval ratings were 44%, or double those of President Bush.
Pat Patterson - #8.1 - 2009-01-18 21:04 -
Ok, I used the Pew and Gallup and assumed others would fall in line. But as I said earlier relax, your guy beat McCain and likely as not expectations will be his undoing.
Pat Patterson - #8.1.1 - 2009-01-20 03:48 -
Are disapprove and disdain the same thing now, David?
Pamela - #9 - 2009-01-18 20:40 -
More utter crap from the utopians. Martin Indyk interview in Spiegel (h/t LGF) http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,600862,00.html SPIEGEL: What kind of Middle East policy do you expect from him? Indyk: He will reach out to both sides. America is Israel's closest ally and will remain so. But Obama has the potential to develop much more influence in the region than his predecessors. His narrative as the son of a Kenyan father, his childhood in Muslim Indonesia, his middle name Hussein, his rise to power as the first African-American president on his own merits without wealth or a famous name behind him -- all that deeply impresses the Arabs. (Hussein? Jeebus, every time we mentioned that during the campaign we were called racists. Guess I missed the memo.) [ ] SPIEGEL: Does that mean the Europeans should get more involved and they are more welcome to do so? Indyk: The Europeans will have a role in everything that America tries under Obama, even more than during the Clinton years. (The Europeans had a role in American policy during Clinton? Excuse me, what was that little dust-up in the Balkans again?) [ ] SPIEGEL: And what is the price Obama will need to pay? Indyk: If the Middle East should be a priority -- and I am convinced it will be -- the US needs to be more considerate of the interests of potential allies. SPIEGEL: You mean: concessions. Indyk: I don't like the word concessions. But we need to understand something George W. Bush never grasped: We can't have it both ways. Obama quickly needs to sit down with the Russian leadership and try to get a better understanding of their interests. If we want Russian support in the Middle East, we need to reconsider our current strategy on NATO expansion or the missile shield in Eastern Europe. We can't have Russian cooperation on a strategy to prevent Iran's nuclear program and the missile shield at the same time. (Well, I guess Ukraine and Georgia can just go pound sand, then. Good luck on the Gazprom thing Europe.)
joe - #10 - 2009-01-20 15:11 -
This is going to be interesting. We now live in a period of time when the POTUS can do no wrong. So this is very unique. My study of history tells me there has never been another time like this. Of course we have never had a president like the Chosen One before. The most difficult task for Americans will be relearning the meanings of words. I look forward to my investments returning to the levels they were 12 months ago. I should think by the end of March they should be back to that level.
Don S - #10.1 - 2009-01-20 17:33 -
Given the "Chosen One's" unique talents, I think that your expectations are perhaps a little high, but you re almost right. Your portfolio will surely have recovered by September, and the value of your house will have recovered it's 2006 value by the congressional election in 2010.....
Zyme - #10.1.1 - 2009-01-20 17:44 -
I certainly hope the same for all our portfolios. Although the outlook for Germany in 2009 is rather bleak.
joe - #10.1.1.1 - 2009-01-20 22:28 -
The bright spot is I have been shorting the hell out of the DAX since the Frau proclaimed what was happening in the US would have little or no effect on Germany. I have also been buying puts on the nationalized banks in the US. This too has become another bright spot. If Fiat is stupid enough to join forces with the UAW, then buying puts on Fiat will also become a money maker though I have my doubts if you can find someone willing to sell them at a price that makes any sense.
Zyme - #10.1.1.1.1 - 2009-01-21 07:36 -
Yeah the Fiat case. What will two sick companies achieve when combining their weaknesses? Oh dear - as far as I read the idea is that Fiat can help Chrysler with its expertise for small cars. Is this really going to work - Chrysler creating Fiat-like cars? Another version was that Fiat is simply seeking to make use of the Chrysler sales network in the US.
Pat Patterson - #10.1.1.1.1.1 - 2009-01-22 04:51 -
Does that mean that the company with the slogan, "Fix It Again Tony," will be back in the USA?
Zyme - #10.1.1.1.1.1.1 - 2009-01-22 07:07 -
If you mean Fiat, then that is what I read - they are said to seek taking advantage of the lack of small cars produced by the Big Three.
Pat Patterson - #10.1.1.1.22.214.171.124 - 2009-01-22 07:49 -
Considering that Toyota is one of the Big Three and produces Camrys, Corollas and most of the trucks it sells are made in the us and sold in the US then I think that Fiat is again going to be horribly disappointed.
joe - #10.1.1.1.126.96.36.199.1 - 2009-01-22 12:10 -
Pat You are wrong about the home grown imports. They are not considered American no matter what they do because they are not part of the UAW. Therefore they will not recieve the largess of the American taxpayer. It appears VW is once again preparing to enter the US market with assembly production. At the end of the day they too might just be very disappointed. Of course, there is a very real possibilty that small cars will be the in thing. It appears we, as a nation, are on the a new path to doing this as all of a sudden drilling off our coasts is no longer an acceptable option. It seems we would rather depend on the ME and Russia for oil. There is also the very real likelyhood that our gas tax will start a rapid climb to reflect the rates Europe currently enjoys. These two actions or just one will make small cars attractive to the masses. I wonder which members of the left have huge positions in Fiat and VW.
Zyme - #10.1.2 - 2009-01-20 17:49 -
Regarding 'the One' - his inauguration seems to block our national news media, which is nerv-killing. But I am refreshed by the fact that we can still agree on something here - which would be his "unique talents".
Don S - #10.1.2.1 - 2009-01-20 17:59 -
Zyme, the 'Unique One' also changes water into wine, ordinary cheddar into Roquefort, and has been known to feed a large crowd on a few loaves of bread and fishes.
joe - #10.1.3 - 2009-01-21 04:18 -
Don S Well this has not turned out quite like I had expected. It seems the DOW had it biggest ever loss for an inauguration. Then again maybe this was not an inauguration but a coronation. See how difficult learning all these meanings are going to be. I however do not seem to be the only one having trouble.
Don S - #10.1.3.1 - 2009-01-21 11:59 -
I think the acclamation of a Roman emperor comes closer, joe. Roman emperors had aspects of the divine which kings never did, and I'm seeing signs of worship here.... It will be interesting to see what the Senate (er, Congress) makes of that. ;) I'm thinking of laying in a supply of incense so I'm in a position to properly honor our new Emperor - er President, as in 'burning incense to the Emperor's genius'....
Zyme - #10.1.3.1.1 - 2009-01-21 13:00 -
Kings generally relied on divine appointment until the beginning of Nationalism and the Age of Englightenment. But the appointment of an emperor is closer than the coronation of a king compared to Obama's inauguration in the point that kings generally did not have to rely on the people as much as the emperors in Rome, where losing public support could become somewhat lethal. Which brings us to the next question: Such a "Lichtgestalt" as we say here (literally "figure of light") unavoidably disappoints the highest expectations - will he survive his term?
Don S - #10.1.3.1.1.1 - 2009-01-21 13:39 -
I believe you are thinking of the 'divine right of kings', but that was a relatively short phenomena even in France, which was it's epicentre. King Charles I tried it on in England, and wound up shortened for his efforts. There was a certain degree of this in Russia also, but for a long time a Czar who died in bed was a rare one. A similarity with many Roman emperors I suppose. Popes also, a little. But not really. And the pope was not really a king, anyway.
Marie Claude - #10.1.3.1.1.1.1 - 2009-01-21 17:37 -
In France, it lasted until Louis XVI, you got the Japan emeperor and the Chinese, ie movie
Zyme - #10.1.3.1.188.8.131.52 - 2009-01-21 18:08 -
"In France, it lasted until Louis XVI" Almost the same here, lasting at least until the fall of the "Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation" in 1806 - the first word should say it all :) Only afterwards in various german states constitutions have been introduced and these often no longer relied upon a divine power of the king. But maybe we misunderstood him and he wanted to point out the fact of Roman emperors calling themselves gods.
Don S - #10.1.3.1.184.108.40.206.1 - 2009-01-21 20:48 -
Caesar Augustus had the late Julius Caesar declared a god after his death, but I think all of remaining the Claudians (Cccccclaudians in the case of Claudius) were proclaimed gods during their lifetimes. The good old chap Vespasian (born a Croatian peasant) did not require this honor. In fact his least words were reputed to be: "Oh dear! I think I'm about to become a god!" I read a piece in the London Times this week comparing various politicians with Roman emperors. Tony Blair was equated with Augustus, Gordon Brown with surly Tiberius, Nixon with Caligula, Reagan with Ccccclaudius. Amusing, and the most amusing part was the finale. Bush was equated with Vespasian, and Obama with the Emperor Titus. Poor US: that means the next President will be like Diocletian! Hmmm, Biden has depths, deep depths. He's a seriously cheeky plagiarist, did you know? http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article5548786.ece
Marie Claude - #10.1.3.1.220.127.116.11.1.1 - 2009-01-23 01:23 -
Bush equated to Vespasien, ummm, the vespasiennes were our parisian old style men toilets, any british mean intention there ?
Don S - #10.1.3.1.18.104.22.168.1.1.1 - 2009-01-23 01:46 -
Perhaps, Marie. The vespasiennes were an excellent invention, permitting any boulevardier to saunter suavely up to one of these conveniences, relieve himself, and proceed without even a break in the conversation. A shame they were removed. I think it more that the commentator finds Bush unassuming, plain-spoken, and perhaps a little bloody-minded, as Vespasian was.
Pat Patterson - #10.1.3.1.22.214.171.124.1.2 - 2009-01-23 07:17 -
Slight correction Vespasian was a distant relative of the Julii but was born in Sabine which is NW of Rome itself. In the early 2nd century military leaders could indeed rise but none were from the plebian class. Whereas Vespasian was born of an equestrian-senatorial family that had been in that area for at least 300 years as they are mentioned in Livy. I think you might be thinking of Diocletian who was considered to be an Illyrian from Dalmatia. Though he was low born he was not a peasant nor was he Croatian as the Slavs didn't arrive in Dalmatia until the 7th Century AD.
Don S - #10.1.3.1.126.96.36.199.1.2.1 - 2009-01-23 11:47 -
Thanks for the correction, Pat. That of course makes Vespasian even more like Bush, although perhaps Bush pere rather than Bush fils. The problem with this analogy is that it works somewhat backward in that Bush pere was more patrician in manner than Bush fils, who projected a 'folksy' style as Vespasian did. In the case of both men this seems to have been both a put-on (neither were unfamiliar with the corridors of power before ascending to the highest office) but also genuine as their persona remained after it was no longer necessary to maintain it.
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