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German Kaiser Does Not Digg Obama's Czars

The wonders of communication technology never cease to amaze me. Now Obama gets advice from a dead guy. The Washington Post  (via Justin Logan) published an open letter to President Obama from Wilhelm II, German Kaiser and King of Prussia:

Enough with the czars! You've named 18 so far, according to something I read in Foreign Policy. That includes a border czar, a climate czar, an information technology czar and -- I don't think Thomas Jefferson grew enough hemp in his lifetime to dream up this one -- the "faith-based czar." Your car czar, Steve Rattner, was in the news last week, trying to keep Chrysler out of bankruptcy. It took Russia 281 years to accumulate that many czars. Even with hemophilia, repeated assassinations and a level of inbreeding that would gag a Dalmatian breeder. You did it in less than 100 days.

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Zyme on :

I actually thought of him recently, but in a different context. A study from the identity foundation has revealed how patriotism has developed in Germany in the last two years - and some of the questions asked contained response options that might just come from Wilhelm's age :) In 2007 the same foundation has concluded that the majority of the population is lacking a national sentiment. But till 2009 things changed somewhat: 60 % are proud to be Germans today. 70 % sense a cordial connection between them and the nation. 50 % feel a danger for their 'German-ness' by immigration, while a further 19 % remain undecided in this matter. 69 % rejected the idea that Europe or the UN could become more important than Germany for them. Upon being asked what is typically German, today 80 % actually say that loving the fatherland is a typically German trait. (that is where I had to think of Wilhelm) Even more approval was revealed for "being dutiful and meritocratic" and the "love for rules and order" (91 and 90 % each) 82 % agree that "love for the homeland and care for tradition" are also typically German. That is a lot of numbers - but one more is particularly interesting: Upon being asked whether Germans should be more self-confident for their national and cultural heritage, 43 % fully agreed and a further 30 % agreed - a clear majority. The entire study (in German) can be found here: http://www.identityfoundation.de/fileadmin/templates_identityfoundation/downloads/presse/Deutsch-Sein/Studie%20Deutsch-Sein_final_klein.pdf

Pamela on :

Hi Zyme, "69 % rejected the idea that Europe or the UN could become more important than Germany for them." That, to me, is excellent news. You know my opinion of the EU. But it also is, in a way, NOT good news. The EU makes a lot of laws that citizens/subjects of member nations have no say in. Don't mean to be rude, but perhaps Germans should pay more attention? Go back to the question on immigration. "a level of inbreeding that would gag a Dalmatian breeder." Oh. Man. That is cold.

Joe Noory on :

It's interseting how such a domestic matter could be selectively tagged as a "Transatlantic Relations" issue, but that real transatlantic issues, such as events in Afghanistan, or trade are reduced to schoolyard level whining. It's beneath the standards of a bunch of adults, especially IR graduates linked to anything that calls itself a "stiftung". I had no idea that all it was about - the titles, the Vereins, the seminars where people sit and nod to one another, getting earnest and unemployable fellowship students to run around in circles, was only about mockery.

Marie Claude on :

I'd to say there was such a statment for the French lately too The EU isn't a dream anymore

John in Michigan, USA on :

Don't forget the car czar! The original czar was a Maltese-American called [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_G._Zarb]Frank G. Zarb[/url]. His kingdom was energy. If we brought him back from retirement, we could have [url=http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123575769862796019.html#CZAR]Car Czar Zarb[/url]! In the past, this Czar concept was used to silence journalists and other whiners, without actually making many changes. However, the Obama administration has taken it to a whole new level, appointing czars even when there is no scandal... There is a theory that there is actual a method behind this madness, and he is attempting to circumvent the federal bureaucracy and the Cabinet (all the official Secretaries of This or That) and run the government directly via the White House. Perhaps this will help him coordinate all the various aspects of his radical, socialist agenda? Well, we've mostly seen the pragmatic side of Obama so far, but perhaps he's waiting for the filibuster-proof majority in the Senate before embarking on the [i]real[/i] 100 days. Well, I sort of doubt that, but stranger things have happened.

Pat Patterson on :

Zarb is now working for AIG so unless he appears in public in surplice and as a flagellant it is doubtful he'll get any czar job from the Obama administration. But this does tend to remind me of the Arab Council after they had driven out the Turks from Damascus and proceeded to let the city burn to the ground while arguing where to put the horses. And what to do with the few Arabs left in the city that had stayed loyal to the Ottomans.

Don S on :

I think the idea behind czar is something like Ivan the Terrible, but it's possibly something like "Autocrat of all the Russias". If so they've missed an obvious trick. Call him a Khan - as in Genghis Khan or Kublai Khan - they were two dudes one didn't mess with. The problem with appointing 18 of them at once is that it's too common, and almst begs for a slight change in title - to czarlet (or khanlet). Which rather changes the effect, don't you think?

Don S on :

"Car Czar Zarb!" SHades of Catch 22. Anyone remember Private Major Major? Or Major Major Major, which he was promoted to the next day before finishing Basic Training?

John in Michigan, USA on :

Certainly I remember. One of those times where the [url=http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0065528/]movie[/url] was every bit as good as the [url=http://www.amazon.com/Catch-22-Joseph-Heller/dp/0684833395]book [/url](except, the movie left stuff out).

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