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German Heartland Critical of Obama

The Financial Times Deutschland presented an editorial round-up of 11 smaller, regional newspapers commentaries on Obama's short trip to Dresden and Buchenwald. Apparently these heartland newspapers were critical of the president and sense Germany's waning influence. The World Meets US has the English summaries.

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Don S on :

mz-web.de: "Up to now, all the U.S. president has had left for his most important allies have been gestures." A little slow on the uptake, these editors are. All the chancellor of Germany has had for her 'most important alliy' have been gestures. That goes doubly for her predecessor Schroeder, though in his case the 'gestures' were rude ones often as not. Saarbrücker Zeitung: "Yet despite quite differing interests: Merkel's reason and Obama's vision are not inevitably in opposition. Political cooperation and the exchange of ideas can overcome personal idiosyncrasies. If they wish to do so." This was better. Political cooperation and communication can overcome the current coolness - if allowed to do so. Wiesbadener Kurier: For the German hosts there was very little time, because Obama had little new to discuss with the campaigning chancellor. Since the NATO and G20 summits, the Americans have taken note of the areas of cooperation and a subtle attitude of denial by the Europeans. The non-committal, polite exchanges between Obama and Merkel in Dresden speak volumes: If not for the people back home, a visit to Germany would simply have been unnecessary for the President." Much better: "a subtle attitude of denial". No kidding. Frequenly not subtle at all, but even in the best of times this denial that NATO is a partnership in which every member must contribute substantially underlies - everything. Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung : "In any case, the radiance of German-American relations today has its limits. In the G8, as in NATO, as in Afghanistan, but also in Obama's itinerary, the waning importance of Germany is obvious. As much as the campaigning chancellor may like sunbathing in Obama's popularity, she must eventually do something more than share a friendly smile." This was the most percpetive comment in the roundup. Is Germany's influence 'waning'. With the US there is little doubt; one's influence is determined by what one is willing to contribute, and since 1995 Germany has found itself unable to do much of anything. Even symbolic gestures such as taking in a small number of 'innocent' Guantanamo Bay detinees seems utterly beyond Deutchland's abilities. The only thing Deautchland seems willing to contribute are endless lectures about what the US should be doing - with little or no help from Deautchland. Manning war-crime tribunals to send US and Israeli's to 'justice' for their supposed 'crimes' is all Germany seems to have any enthusiasm for, That is why Germany's influence is waning - that and the perception among many that Germany is striving to achieve utter neutrality between it's ally the US and it's adversary Russia; If Germany wishes to ally with Putin they should just do it.

Pamela on :

Oh, good work on the registration, Joerg! On some level I agree with Don's view, but on another level I think both the editorials and Don's take on them misses the point. The Obama admin doesn't give a toss about ANY of our 'traditional' allies. Let's see, we somehow 'forgot' to inform the governor of Bermuda (or the UK Foreign office) that we were trying to resettle some Gitmo guys there. I understand Hillary got an earful from Milibrand. Of course that's AFTER the bust of Churchill was removed from the Oval Office and returned to the Brits and after those non-compatible DVDs were gifted. The French - well how many invitations can one turn down before it gets leaked by the French and you finally have to show up at the Palace with the girls in tow for a quickie lunch? Israel? Divide Jerusalem. An attack on Israel by Iran will no longer be considered an attack on the U.S. Lose the settlements. Not even 'organic growth', i.e., no more babies you guys! Germany? Look. Merkel nixed the Brandenberg Gate setting for Obama's campaign speech. What exactly did she expect? Get a clue, woman. But Iran? Well, Obama just said something about the elections contributing to 'robust debate' in Iran. The last time I checked 'robust debate' didn't include security services beating people in the streets, but, hey, maybe Obama thinks it's just a different culture's form of community organizing. And where the hell is Palau anyway? At $12 million a pop, I want my cut.

Kevin Sampson on :

'The last time I checked 'robust debate' didn't include security services beating people in the streets' You should read 'Miami and the Siege of Chicago' by Norman Mailer, and remember where our Dear Leader hails from.

Pamela on :

I don't need to read Norman Mailer. I lived thru it via television. Also, my first husband was of Polish extraction on his father's side. Look in the Chicago phone book and there are about 40 pages of his surname there. They told me a lot.

Pat Patterson on :

Coming to a superpower like us, The Coalition of the Insignificant and the Murderous."

John in Michigan, US on :

Nice work on the registration, thanks.

John in Michigan, US on :

I should clarify: my traditional identity, John in Michigan, USA, is apparently one single letter too long for the registration system. Therefore, henceforth I will be known as John in Michigan, US.

Pamela on :

I wonder where our old buddie Pen Name is. I hope he's ok. I'm not being facetious.

John in Michigan, US on :

Me too. I would very much like to know what Pen thinks of all that is going on in Iran today.

Zyme on :

Maybe being on duty in the streets requires his undivided attention at the moment? ;)

Pamela on :

Truly, I am worried. I know we have argued with him constantly about everything - BUT. This is not good. Full disclosure: I had an Iranian friend in college from a prominent family. It took years to find out what had happened to him, but eventually I was told (by an Iranian who escaped) that Khomeini wiped out his whole family. I think I'll email Joerg. He should have an email address for Pen Name. This whole situation just brings back years of nightmares.

Zyme on :

Don't get your hopes up on email communication. Reports indicate that internet communication is being restricted by the government there - otherwise we wouldn't have such a lack of information from the ongoing.

Marie Claude on :

Pen Name must be on strike for a islamist candidate with green banner, when he should support the secular revolt of the plebe http://www.iran-resist.org/article5437.html (249 deads in 3 days, not the "7" that the twitt green "propaganda" announced) uh, aren't they cute those mullahs ? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQgc5Tp1Gsw and Musavi's wife, what a charming chick : http://rehmat1.wordpress.com/2009/02/23/tale-of-two-muslim-feminists/ on the real Iran : http://www.stratfor.com/weekly/20090615_western_misconceptions_meet_iranian_reality

Pamela on :

Oh, Marie Claude, excellent link to the Stratfor post. We Americans have a really dangerous cultural fault line. In crude terms, it can be expressed as 'Everyone wants to be like us". Well, no they don't. The narrative that is taking hold here is that we - Americans - should support the protesters - because they are fighting to be like us. No. They are not. They are fighting for their own authenticity which is far away from ours. And even given that - read the Stratfor piece Marie Claude linked to. The demographics are really damning. Charles Krauthammer has a piece today (sorry, paid subscribers only, so no link) that says "Where is Obama?" I love Krauthammer and I despise Obama. But in this case, Obama is right. Stay out of it. Are the Iranians protesting for their votes to be counted? Indeed they are. But the only choices they had to vote for were just different versions of tyranny. There is no way human freedom and dignity triumphs, regardless of who 'wins'.

Marie Claude on :

check how Musavi's egery is nice too : http://bokedou-an-hanv.blogspot.com/2009/06/zahra-rahnavard-musavis-egery.html

Pamela on :

Good lord. Can these people get any more insane? Either the Americans are all knowing and super conpetent or we're complete fuckups. Make a decision already.

Marie Claude on :

http://www.iran-resist.org/article5440.html check the "real" casualties, scary !

Zyme on :

Pamela - here is a good satire on EU politics, making use of recent events in Iran: http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/daniel_hannan/blog/2009/06/19/brussels_ayatollahs_confirm_yes_votes_in_referendums_ I like reading his posts a lot and think you might as well.

Pamela on :

HA! I've enjoyed this guy for awhile now. He's sarting to show up on the cable news channels over here. Thanks, Zyme.

John in Michigan, US on :

I will give him a read. When Euro-philes (EP) attempt to explain the EU to me, it goes something like this: EP: European national governments are vassals of NATO (meaning: the US). They have been compromised, and lack authenticity. The EU is the solution. John: Is the EU democratic? What is the source of its sovereign authority? EP: It is a bit like your American Revolution - the democratically elected representatives of each state, used their sovereign authority to form a union. Each European nation has the same sort of authority as a US state in 1787, the year of the Constitutional Convention. In fact, European nations have more authority, because they have universal suffrage. John: But in 1787, American voters trusted their states and believed in their authenticity. They wanted to continue protect their states from foreign influence; they were not overly worried that their states had already been corrupted by that influence. Europeans do not seem to feel that way about their nations. If the democratic process in many European nations is compromised, or even, corrupt, due to US influence, won't that influence still be a problem in the EU? If European national sovereignty is suspect, how will transferring that sovereignty (via appointment, not elections) to a new, super-national authority, be any different? Isn't this the sort of transfer of authority that by its very nature requires a popular vote or referendum of some sort? Doesn't there need to be a more direct mechanism for connecting the European people to the European Union? EP: Well we have the European Parliament. John: But most Europeans see that as a joke. Even if they took it seriously, the Parliament has very little power. And, what about a referendum? This is the point where the discussion ends. Can anyone continue it?

Pamela on :

This is the point where the discussion ends. Can anyone continue it? heh. But of course! Ask them about subsidiarities and competencies written into the constitution/treaty and what that means for national self-determination. I promise you they will produce blank looks.

Don S on :

Pamela, I read the Stratfor piece as well. I'm not sure at all. The two most dangerous illusions are "They are just like us", and "They are not at all like us". Seems to me Stratfor may be falling into the second trap. Not to mention that Stratfor are just another Western think tank trying to analyze that which they don't know enough about, potentially no better than those they disagree with. Whenever we have been told that a society values different things (usually by idealists who admire those illusory ideals) it turns out to be bullshit in the end. I've read reams of BS about Russia, China, Vietnam, Iran, etc through the years and learned skepticism. Now we are told by 'realists' that the election wasn't frigged, but they overlook some very good reasons why it was pretty likely to have been; starting with the opinions of a lot of people much closer to the situation than we are. There are other curiosities; one of the 'minor candidates drew 300,000 votes; in 2005 he got 5 million. Lots of reasons that could be of course. Nixon wouldn't have gotten many votes had he run in 1976. But I hadn't heard anything like that about this candidate. Another was the margins run up by ex-president Khatami in 1997 and 2001. He's a 'liberal' who drew 70% and 74% of the vote from an older, less educated voting populace than the current one; so what changed? It seems more likely that ALL the elections between 1997 and the present one were massively frigged than the electorate changing their spots that radically. And it's a definite posibillity that is actually the truth. But does that make it better? I think it makes it worse; it arguably was an effort to send the young 'reformers' home disllusioned; to 'teach them a lesson'. Such 'lessons' have a way of backfiring sooner or later to students of history. Open autocracies have a better record of long-term survival than faux democracies. Suggest you recall what the Estates-General in France turned into. Or for that matter, Kaiser Bill's Germany....

Pamela on :

Joerg advises that he does not have pen name's email. It's getting worse. Reports of Hamas and Hezbollah in Iran. http://www.commentarymagazine.com/blogs/index.php/category/contentions

Pat Patterson on :

The brother of one of my former students called me after leaving Iran and said that the Basij were pulling people out of the boarding line at the airport from a list and that most of the militiamen spoke little or no Farsi at all. Has anybody tried Twitter?

Kevin Sampson on :

‘Up to now, all the U.S. president has had left for his most important allies have been gestures’ Europe was our most important ally largely because the Soviet Union was our most important enemy. These days the Russians have been eclipsed by North Korea and Iran. No European nation is a member of the six-party talks on Korea, and Europe’s record with respect to controlling Iran’s nuclear ambitions is hardly anything to brag about. That this state of affairs is reflected in our foreign policy shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.

Don S on :

True. Another reason why Obama has little time for Germany is that discussions have taken on a certain pattern in recent years, with the German Chancelor arguing long and hard to paralyze progress on issues. Compromise has dropped out the discussions. Almost any US President is going to learn to regard this kinds of discussion as bootles and unproductive. Even if the 'friendly' German government refrains from calling him a fascist...... ;)

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