So much is going on these days. Multiple catastrophes in Japan, civilians slaughtered in Libya, cheating German defense minister, US soldiers shot in Germany, uprisings throughout the Arab world and in Wisconsin, bees disappear, Neo-Nazi changes sex and becomes a leftist etc. etc.
I find it hard to keep up, let alone form an opinion and blog about it. This is an open thread for you to discuss and share analyses of current issues important to transatlantic allies. Non-registered users can comment as well.
A few observations and comments of mine to get things started:
1. Japanese earthquake and tsunami and "nuclear catastrophe" and vulcano eruption
It seems that German TV and radio is full of pundits who warn about nuclear meltdowns and a looming catastrophe, while the BBC presents one analyst after another, who says that is all unlikely. What a contrast! I prefer the BBC in situation like this. Yet, I know that the Japanese power companies do not have a reputation of being entirely honest and the government might have good reasons to play down the dangers. Still, I believe this does not justify the shrill headlines in the German media. How's the US coverage?
My sincere sympathies to all Japanese readers! The images and news are so shocking. And yet, I am amazed how the Japanese deal with it. When I wrote about solidarity with Japan on Facebook, it did not take long, until someone responded: "I hope it works better this time than it did the last time." Come on! Nazi jokes are so lame, these days. Everybody Loves Deutschland.
2. Islamist Terror Attack in Germany
Two US soldiers were murdered at Frankfurt airport on March 2, 2011. The first deadly Islamist terror attack in Germany. The media liked to stress that he was an Einzeltäter (acting alone). That was probably supposed to play down the terrorist attack and the new threat level, but intelligence agencies are concerned about a large number of Einzeltäters doing low level terrorist attacks these days. After about two days, this terrorist attack was out of the newspapers. I don't even know how the two wounded soldiers are doing right now. I am very sorry.
3. Libya & Charlie Sheen
I doubt that a no-fly zone will be sufficient to stop the bloodshed. Since neither Europe nor the US has the stomach to do more, why talk about it? Interesting, how discussions about possible military interventions get repeated. The Observer asks: "Is Libya today the Iraq of 10 years ago, the Bosnia of 15 years ago or the Suez now 55 years gone? Is it Czechoslovakia as Hitler invaded? Or Vietnam? Did somebody mention Afghanistan?"
The Guardian: "Charlie Sheen v Muammar Gaddafi: whose line is it anyway? The US actor and the Libyan leader have produced some choice lines recently. Can you distinguish between them?"
4. Defense Minister Guttenberg & Charlie Sheen
"While Americans have been obsessing lately about Charlie Sheen and his live-in porn film stars, Germany has been consumed by improprieties over a doctoral thesis," writes the NYT.
First it seemed as if Guttenberg would get a way with his plagiarism and keep his post as defense minister due to his huge popularity with the people and his supposed charisma, but then the protests from PhD students and others lead to his resignation. That's good. I felt relieved that science still counts and that this strange popularity is not everything. The huge admiration for Guttenberg was scary.
What is bad, is that Guttenberg's resignation is a blow to transatlantic relations. Professor Dan Hamilton wrote an op-ed about it:
Guttenberg was the most prominent transatlanticist of his rising generation of German parliamentary leaders. Unfortunately, he was also one of the only transatlanticists. His resignation, therefore, further accelerates what has been a steady erosion of expertise on the United States in the German Bundestag.
Can't stand another mentioning of Charlie Sheen? Better get Tinted Sheen, an "extension for the Firefox and Chrome browsers that will blot out Sheen's name anywhere it appears."
+ For conspiracy nuts: The Japanese Tsunami and earthquake happened on 3/11/11, which was the seventh anniversary of the Madrid train bombings AND exactly one month after the fall of Mubarak AND the same day the movie "Battle LA" movie about an alien invasion opened in US theaters AND exactly half a year before the 10th anniversary of 9/11. The world is on speed. If world events happen that quickly, then the world will end in 2012 as the Mayans predicted. How about a Tsunami in the Atlantic next month?
+ Another sign of the upcoming apocalypse?
Taking us on a journey through the catastrophic disappearance of bees and the mysterious world of the beehive, this engaging and ultimately uplifting film weaves an unusual and dramatic story of the heartfelt struggles of beekeepers, scientists and philosophers from around the world.
Seriously, they have some very good points. Besides, our industrial agricultural is seriously messed up. And Rudolf Steiner predicted the disappearance of bees 90 years ago.
+ This is not exactly news, but with all this gloom and doom, let's have a nice and uplifting song at the end to calm our fears of the upcoming apocalypse ;-) I'M NOT A WITCH - sung by Christine O'Donnell