Skip to content

Carnival of German American Relations

Sixty-Four years ago today, Germany declared war on the United States. To reflect on the evolution of US-German relations and the current state of our alliance, GM's Corner and the Atlantic Review are hosting a blog carnival. Many Germans have had a high regard for the US for its support for (West-)Germany, civil liberties and the rule of law, its thoughtful political debates and critical press, and the establishment of international organizations. Many German friends of the US have felt increasingly estranged in the last couple of years due to restrictions on civil liberties and the rule of law in the US, an uncritical media during the run up to the Iraq war, and the perception of increasing unilateralism and of a bellicose foreign policy rhetoric of some politicians. Others just seized the chance to express their anti-Americanism more openly.

Many Americans have the impression that Germans are ungrateful, unsupportive, hypocritical and don't understand how the world has changed on 9/11 and that the war on terror requires new methods and thinking. The disagreements, however, are not primarily between Americans and Germans, but between liberals and conservatives on both sides of the Atlantic, and even within those political tents. Thus many liberal Americans and Germans argue that giving up moral values in the war on terrorism is surrender and does not defeat terrorists, but helps them to get more recruits.

The leading German weekly DIE ZEIT now calls the United States a "Torture State." The editor Michael Naumann even writes that legal executions could be considered torture. The Wall Street Journal hits back:

One of Europe's moral conceits is to fret constantly about the looming outbreak of fascism in America, even though it is on the Continent itself where the dictators seem to pop up every couple of decades. (...) More dangerous for the longer term, the Continent's preening anti-Americanism has also been duly noted on this side of the Atlantic. Europeans should worry that their moral hauteur may well be repaid by American popular opinion the next time they call on the Yanks to put down one of their homegrown fascists.

While these two venerable papers trade shrill insults and hurtful, exaggerated accusations, the 21 participants of our Blog Carnival have written critical, but much more respectful and thoughtful opinion pieces on a wide range of topics on our transatlantic partnership. Please continue to read here what they have to say:

 
 
 
 

ON SOLIDARITY AND IGNORANCE:

Jim Bass writes about his father's participation in the Berlin Airlift in 1948. His post Germany's Memory Loss criticizes that history is being rewritten in Germany today and that the US role is increasingly left out. Jim lives in California and writes for the group blog Attack Machine 

 

Loren Cobb is the editor of The Quaker Economist. In Thanks, Germany, he describes Germany's contribution to pump the water out of New Orleans. He is

truly surprised by the silence with which this help has been greeted in the American media. President Bush and Ambassador Timken have officially thanked the German government for this timely and effective assistance. But has any trace of these official communications made it into print, or into our wall-to-wall television coverage?

 (This is not supposed to be a comparision. Obviously, the airlift was much bigger and much more important.)

  

ANTI-AMERICANISM: 

Kathy Krajco from Wisconsin reminds us that Anti-Americanism did not start with the Iraq war, but is older than the United States and a natural consequence of the exodus from Europe to America, which exists as a rejection of European ideals at the time. With no dreaded common enemy in the Soviet Union anymore, the hostility rises to the surface again over virtually any excuse, explains her post The Roots of Anti-Americanism Kathy has written many more interesting posts about Anti-Americanism in her blog At The Zoo 

 

Ray D. submitted Germany's Lilipuz: Indoctrinating Tomorrow's Little America Haters Today about a radio program for kids with biased Iraq news: "One of the most sinister media programs in Germany is one aimed at an audience too young to differentiate bias and think critically about the political messages directed at it." He also asks "Is there some law against reporting on positive things happening in Iraq in the German media?" Ray D. is one of two editors at the watchblog Davids Medienkritik – Politically Incorrect Observations on Reporting in the German Media

  

THE GERMARICAN:

Michael Meyn is a Germerican in Las Vegas, i.e. a German, who emigrated to the United States and became an admirer of President Bush and a US citizen after 9/11, because "America has been very good to me. America has been very good to millions of people from all over the world who have come to this wonderful country to start a new life, a better life, a life they couldn’t think possible in the countries they’ve left for good." With Come as you are he pays tribute to the Statue of Liberty and his new home. Michael is one of the three Misunderestimated Germans
  

LEARNING FROM THE US:

Carsten Boesel is the Berlin based editor of TransatlanTicker, which "aims to provide a broad German audience with useful news and commentary on the full range of educational opportunities in the United States and important trends in transatlantic cultural exchange." He submitted his English language blog post Wanted: A Bit of Berkeley for Germany.
 

NOW MORE GERMAN-US CONFRONTATION OR COOPERATION?
Bruce Miller is puzzled that "the Bush administration really seemed to think that a new government in Germany headed by the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) would pursue much better relations with the US." He points out: "The previous German government, the one that Bush fans loved to hate, that government is now being criticized by German members of parliament across the political spectrum for not being more opposed to" the alleged CIA rendition flights. His post German-American relations is one of many posts on US-German relations in his Old Hickory's Weblog.

  

SOVEREIGNTY AND INDEPENDENCE:

Sandra Plas is the editor of Transatlanticist -- Informed Comments about the US and Transatlantic Relations and a Dutch citizen currently based in Brussels, who spends a lot of time on the other side of the Atlantic. In her post Eagle Nations, she describes Germany's opposition to the US-led invasion of Iraq as a big surprise to Americans and as "a first manifestation of a unified Germany that is looking for a new independent voice in international politics."

 

Clemens Wergin, Editorial Writer and Political Book Editor of Berlin's leading newspaper Der Tagesspiegel, submitted his article Die neue Freiheit about the Schroeder era, which was printed in November 2005. Clemens provided the following summary in English:

After the 2 plus 4 treaty it took some years until the German governments fully realized that Germany had regained complete sovereignty in its foreign policy. It was not until the red-green coalition took power that German foreign policy began to break the mold of the cold war years. This essay examines the legacy of the seven Schroeder years, new traits of Germany's foreign policy that should be kept and others that are in desperate need to be mended. The article argues that Germany should regain the middle ground again, between the US and France in transatlantic issues and between the British and the French approach in European matters, because this is the only way to regain influence on Germany's major partners in the world. Schroeder postured as somebody whose aim was to build a new self-confident foreign policy, but instead of increasing Germany's foreign policy options he actually reduced them by almost unconditionally binding himself to the French in international and European issues. It' s about time that German politics but also the German public dropped fantasies of building a counterweight to the US. Almost no one in the world profits as much from America's stabilizing role on the globe as Germany, the worlds export champion. So the biggest threat to the world is not the US, as many Europeans think, but the fact that one day the Americans might not be willing anymore to shoulder the enormous burden of their stabilizing role. Germany's foreign policy also in remote regions like Asia should do everything to ease this burden instead of making it even more heavy. One of the most disappointing features of his foreign policy are in the field of human rights and transformation, issues that once had been at the core especially of the foreign policy thinking of the greens. But in the very moment that Moralpolitik became a function of Realpolitik through 9/11, highlighting the fact that the Middle East policies of the West of stability and blocked reforms had utterly failed, the social democrats and greens missed the chance of making transformation and democratization their top priorities and didn't take up the chances of Bush's Greater Middle East initiative that was actually much more in tune with European policy approaches than the regime change doctrine of the first Bush term.

If you can't read his Tagesspiegel-article in German, you could try this automatic Google translation. Clemens Wergin blogs at Flatworld.

 

THE MARKETPLACE OF IDEAS:

Clive Davis lives near London, writes for The Times and The Washington Times and blogs about Politics and Culture from both sides of the AtlanticHe submitted his interview with Jeff Gedmin, director of Berlin's Aspen Institute, which has been described as the "de facto U.S. embassy". It is the first interview of his outstanding Transatlantic Voices series.

 

Olaf Petersen from the German-Danish border describes the transatlantic relationship as Broken China and says it's up to the US to fix it. Olaf is "enraged that the U.S. didn't win the Iraq war even though it was based on lies." Most of his Extrablog posts are in German, but this post (and some others) are in English.

  

OTTO VON BISMARCK:

Starling Hunter blames Germany's first chancellor Otto von Bismarck for many of today's problems and hopes that "the German people now reclaim what Grand Theft Otto helped steal from them and their forefathers- a firmly established Democracy." Starling is a professor at the American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates and blogs at The Business of America Is Business.

 

Bill Rice blogs at By Dawns Early Light and submitted Germany's Angela Merkel the Next Bismarck? Bill opines: "As a woman who grew up in communist East Germany, she has a clearer understanding than her predecessor of the value of not playing politics with your country's long-term national security interests."

 
Similarly, but also differently, Shah Alexander from Tokyo contends that Angela Merkel will improve the US-German relationship, as she is from "New Europe." In Bush Foreign Policy: Improving with Europe, Straining with Asia
he regrets that there is no "New Asia" to improve the US-Asian relations. Shah Alexander aka H. Ross (Hiroshi) Kawamura directs the hawkish and pro-American NGO New GEAR.

 

GERMANY'S ECONOMY:

George A. Pieler, a Senior Fellow with the Institute for Policy Innovation and former Tax Counsel to the Senate Finance Committee, submitted Merkel Outfoxed, or Leading the Pack?, which he wrote for Tech Central Station – Where Free Markets Meet Technology with Jens F. Laurson. George is concerned that the new German government's economic policy "seems designed for failure" and he describes the tension between the US economic model as opposed to the European social model and the way Germany is caught between the two.

 

Ralf Goergens submitted his Postmortem of the 2005 German general elections, where he explains that "fear of the flat tax served to mobilize Social Democratic voters and to demobilize many Christian Democratic voters this year, while in 2002, Schroeder's opposition against the war on Iraq and his anti-American rhetoric had rallied his disaffected party base around him." Ralf emailed us that "it seems that from the American point of view the 2002 election campaign especially had been exclusively about anti-Americanism. This is an misunderstanding, caused by the way American media had reported about the campaign, making it look as if Schröder had been solely campaigning on an anti-American platform." Ralf blogs at Chicagoboyz

 

MERKEL, GERMAN ANCESTRY, UNITED FRONT AND MORE 

Rob gives an overview of US-German relations, writes about Angela Merkel's rise to power, the potential for better US-German relations and the Khaled al-Masri case. He also has a great US map showing the centers of Americans with German ancestry. Rob lives in New York. "Following 9/11 I went through the stereotypical transformation into a hawk with regard to the Iraq war and the War on Terror. I still consider myself liberal on almost all social issues," he writes on the About me page in his blog Quick Rob

   
Rosemary opines in Knickerbocker News
that the Iraq war might have been avoided if Germany and France had joined the US and Britain in forming a united front against Saddam. Rosemary looks forward to Chancellor Merkel to Visit USA Jan. 11, 2006.

  

Erik P. Hauth with Ringfahndung submitted his fictive plea to Arnold Schwarzenegger not to execute the convicted murderer Tookie.

 

Our co-host of the first carnival GM's Corner contributed New German Leadership; Or Just A New Wrapper? which provides info on Angela Merkel and Germany's economic challenges.

 

And the Atlantic Review submitted Germany's Aid to Katrina's Victims about new feelings of solidarity.

 

 
That concludes our first ever Carnival on German-American Relations.  Both George M. Roper of GM's Corner and we at the Atlantic Review thank you very much for participating, and for reading our contributors.  The next of our quarterly Carnivals of German American Relations will take place on March 11th, which happens to be the second anniversary of the Madrid terrorist attacks. If you would like to host it, send us an email at editors@atlanticreview.org.

 

We hope these carnivals become a great tradition and enhance ties between the Western and Eastern blogosphere and improve the transatlantic friendship.

 

Linked at TTLB ÜberCarnival.

Trackbacks

GM's Corner on : Carnival of German-American Relations, Vol 1, No. 1

Show preview
On this date in 1941 Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich declared war on the United States and thus signed it's death warrant. Relationships between our two countries between then and now have had more ups and downs than a roller coaster; the ride has been at times exhilarating, at times terrifying, at times maddening but it has never been...

Ringfahndung Blog on : Karneval der Nationen: USA-GER

Show preview
Das Schöne am Onlineleben ist die tägliche Erkenntnis, von den ganz vielen Dingen, die es da Draussen gibt, noch nie etwas gehört zu haben. Das ging mir mit dem Begriff "Carnival" auch so. Wenn ich es richtig verstehe, dann ruft...

transatlanticker.twoday.net on : Blog-Karneval

Show preview
Heute gibt

Davids Medienkritik on : German-American Blog Carnival

Show preview
The German-American Blog Carnival is up. Don't miss out! More information here and here.

CatHouse Chat on : The Carnival of German-American Relations is up!

Show preview
... at GM's Corner. For some really excellent reading with a new look at things (well, at least for me), you ought to go on over and browse the selections. The Carnival is also posted over at the Atlantic Review.

Clive Davis on : FROM BERLIN TO DC

Show preview
Atlantic Review and GM's Corner have posted their first carnival of German-American relations. Lots of good stuff there.

Misunderestimated Germans on : Welcome to all new readers!

Show preview
Thank you very much for checking out this new site, which is run by two handsome, smart and prudent German men and a…uhm…hmm…German lady as well. Also thanks to all of you who already linked our blog or wrote something nice about thi...

Global American Discourse on : The German-American Blog Carnival

Show preview
On December 11, I attended a blog carnival of the US-German relations hosted by the Atlantic Review and Mr. George M. Roper. The Atlantic Review is founded by three German Fulbright scholars. Their objective is to promote better understanding between Germany and the United States through their blog.

Atlantic Review on : Carnival of US-German relations on March 11, 2006

Show preview
The first carnival was a big success: More than 20 blogs participated with very interesting posts on various aspects of our transatlantic relations, and several thousand visitors read the carnival post due to the many links by many big bloggers. The next

Atlantic Review on : German-American Relations Carnival on September 24th

Show preview
The German Liberale Stimme and the American Dialog International will host the next carnival and seek submissions. Both bloggers suggest interesting topics, but everything relating to German-American relations is very welcome. The Atlantic Review organiz

Atlantic Review on : December 11th: Blog Carnival of German-American Relations

Show preview
Quick reminder: The fifth Carnival of German-American Relations will take place on December 11th and will be hosted by Too Much Cookies (in German) and GM's Corner (in English). Please consider participating in this project to promote transatlantic dialo

Comments

Display comments as Linear | Threaded

David on :

Many thanks to Joerg and the others at Atlantic Review for pulling this together. The range of topics and viewpoints is indeed impressive. Well done!

Marian Wirth on :

Congrats, Joerg! Well done, indeed. Since I didn't make it for the official deadline, you can find my contribution [url=http://pursuitofserenity.blogspot.com/2005/12/day-i-woke-as-pro-american-part-i.html]here[/url].

ats on :

Interesting and informative piece. Germany has an ambiguous attitude toward the US, but a rather uniform disdain for our current government. The issues most Americans do not appreciate are Capital Punishment, and SUV gas profligacy. The other issues are obvious enough to anyone. One must add that President Bush has done a inept job of selling whatever case he had for war among the Europeans as a whole. Nor does his strutting peacock act play well abroad.

Rosemary on :

Dear Joerg, Wonderful! I am so happy to read others thoughts and ideas. I had no idea you were over here to help! This is a shameful error by our media. Please accept my apology for them. I'll be there in March. It seems like we cannot avoid these anniversaries. Maybe it isn't us? Hey ats, you just don't know how to appreciate a good Texan man when you see one! lol.

ROA on :

Germans shouldn't fel bad because they got no recognition for their efforts during Katrina, we never gave the Russians any credit for their efforts during WWII either.

Thomas on :

The German media is anti-American. And the American media is ignorant. If the American media were not so ignorant, it would probably be anti-Germany, anti-European etc. The US media only writes about Germany, when we oppose US policy. As if our job is to agree with the US. Thus, they just ignored our contributions in the Katrina relief operations, in Afghanistan, for Enduring Freedom, the Iraq war and reconstruction etc. This ignorance is sort of anti-German, anti-European etc. Therefore Americans should not complain so much about the anti-American media in Germany.

joe on :

Most Americans don't complain. They don't know that you are anti-American. I think if they knew your feelings they would at first be very confused, seek some form of understanding, and then take action. The action would probably be one some in Europe might not like but action would be taken none the less. So for now consider that you are getting a free pass. You have to do nothing, make no hard choices. All you need to do is to enjoy the rewards and benifits of being European. Have a wonderful Christmas.

JeremyR on :

Of course, if Russia hadn't been Germany's ally originally, maybe they would have gotten a bit more credit. The Russians only stood up to Hitler when he decided to invade them. (And not coincidently, that was the same point when Hollywood started turning against Hitler as well...) Anyway, Americans don't really care what Europeans think. Pretty much the only ones that do are the very liberal types who yearn to live on a French Villa.

Shawn on :

German-US relations came up with a German friend of earlier this Fall. He posted his feelings (although while slightly intoxicated), offering another straightfoward glimpse into the German perspective: I will simplify since i am still a bit "under the influence of yesterday night". and it's not structured again:) i will look at my main theme from anecdotal evidence and my general perception, from many angles. before i start: "Anti-Americanism (AA)" is a very abstract concept. nobody throws stones against US property. for me it means a generally negatively biased view on every matter that related to US POLITICS and society. we still love hollywood :) my main point: antiamericanism in Germany is recent, it's due to Bush/Iraq, it's pretty big, but curable. hope lies ahead. From my very subjective view: there is anti-americanism in germany. it's extremely much due to Bush, (people really loved clinton btw). if people talk badly about the US, it is ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS due to bush: "IRAQ, IRAQ, IRAQ", "guantanamo" (showning US as ruthless and brutal) and "no kyoto", "UN" (featuring US as arrogant, very egocentric). however, people mostly think of IRAQ and GUANTANAMO. Bush is like the "brand" of the whole mess, a politician who is, from his personality and background, pretty much "un-german". so i counter the argument of "not related to bush, the antiamericanism" fiercly. from my experience, its BUSH/IRAQ. the point that germany resented the US even during 60s, 70s while US was guarding us it total BS. there were some leftist forces that had antiamerican views, but at 0,05% of the population. no m,ainstream at all. this argument is not based on any evidence and, so to say, very "mean". WHile sociologists may trace what we have now back to the 60s (possible), the perception of the US was VERY favourably still in 1991 (citing statistics from my head that i cannot show u:)). so to speak: AA started to take of somewhere between 1991 and now. it reached its height with IRAQ. there are no political reasons a la "we wanna be as powerful as the US" behind the AA. BS... Germany always had a very collaborative approach to foreign politics and since the last debacle with the attempt to take over global supremacy in the 40s has learned from that. france's AA has a WAY longer also political history and dimension ("france, la grande nation"). But i also have an example that AA grows: my father was an insane america-lover, always. he has been born during the airlift in germany, has lived for 40 years under american protection in berlin. it still gets me emotionally (and i told some of u VERY emotionally) what the US has done for germany, and specifically berlin. i can say that without the US, my father/mom would not have achieved anything from which i prosper now. i wouldnt have been in the US with u without the US. (all this as a side remark to show u what i personally feel on the whole story. it makes me saaaaad, but it's explainable.) However, my father as a very very deep america lover (he was in the front row when JFK visited Berlin "ich bin ein berliner...") started changing his perspective on the US. recently, i had to defend the US against him, normally, he was in this position.) He still was on the US side 2 years ago, clearly. so he changed durng the last 2 years. oh man, aslo germany was very close in the aftermath of 911. but u guys lost the credit u had in 2001 due to BUSH/IRAQ. the general perceptoion of the US has gone down due to this, as a trigger. now, my father doesnt see america, its society, economy as great example for germany anymore. so here we see how bush/iraq acted as a trigger to change the general perception on the US society model. my father still thanks god and the US for the protection, he will NEVER forget that. but even his perception has changed "slightly". if even my father's perception changes, than that small'mans perception changed grossly during the last 2-3 years. and if we look what happened in the last 2-3 years, we again come back to IRAQ. that's my main point. Short summary: as i said previously, there is soignificant AA in GErmany now, it's recent and due to BUSH. so to speak: it's reversable, i am deeply convinced and i desperately hope for!

anti on :

You honestly think Bild or the FAZ are anti-American? And since this is happening more often - is presenting facts 'biased?' Yes, I realize this means it is easy to recognize me as an American who grew up in a tradition of objective journalism, but really, does anyone but the PR people from Lincoln really believe things are vastly improved in Iraq? I mean, the bank accounts held 'in trust' have been plundered (even Saddam seems to have only gathered $4 billion or so - the amount 'missing' under U.S. ownership seems to be $9 billion or more), oil production is less, utilities are certainly no better, and the criminality of Saddam's regime has been replaced by the criminality of criminals and terrorists, in both cases with apparently comparable death rates. Throw in a low grade war in addition, religious intolerance replacing the mandatory secularism of equal rights for women, and the potential for the Kurds to establish their own state (which the Turks will just be thrilled about), and I guess this means I must be a biased anti-American for bringing these facts up. Are various media in Germany biased? Sure - no one considers Bild to be objective, for example, but then they are generally pro-West, which means that they can't be biased when supporting America. It is kind of a Fox News thing, I guess. Who knows - maybe the Bild will bring us the war on Christmas next.

ROA on :

The fact is Russia, the USSR at the time, lost something like 15 million people and most of their infrastructure during WW II. The US lost 300,000 people and none of its infrastructure. The resources the Germans used to kill that many Russians were not available to kill Americans. If they had been, we would have been in trouble. It would only be fair to acknowledge their contribution. As to the claim that German anti-Americanism is due to Bush/Iraq: There may not have been an Iraq war if Saddam had not been able to buy France, Russia, and China. This was an issue that deeply troubled Richard Butler, second Chief UNSCOM Inspector, even before Bush was elected. Europe’s/Germany’s holier than thou attitude concerning Iraq seems extremely hypocritical in light of the Oil For Food Scandal. Europe’s unwillingness to apply pressure on Saddam was because he bought them off, nothing else. And why is Bush being blamed for Kyoto? A treaty negotiated by the Clinton administration, that president Clinton signed in 1998 but never submitted to congress because he knew it would be rejected. If Clinton, supposedly the best American politician in 50 years, really believed in global warming why did he negotiate a treaty whose basic principle had been rejected by 95 US Senators, and didn’t include China, India, or Brazil. The only possible reason for negotiating such a joke would be to pacify his environmental constituency.

Solipson on :

Congrats to the Carnival, I always thought it a pity that the two countries with such a long and common history (e.g. Germans are still the largest ethnic group in the US) don’t really talk to and much less understand each other. Generally I don’t think there is much Anti-Americanism in Germany. At least structurally, the Germans pretty much know what the US has done for us in the last 60 years and is grateful for it. The current ranting of some parts of the mainstream press shouldn’t be taken that serious. First of all nobody takes the likes of the ZEIT etc. serious anymore, even the Spiegel has lost an enormous amount of influence in the last decade. Secondly most of the negative press is in some shape or form related to the current administration and the less than professional handling of the communication regarding the Iraq issue. Even when the former Chancellor Schroeder shamelessly but cleverly used the German position on the war in Iraq to gain ground in the 2002 election, the public reaction to the war was less hostile than it was before the first Gulf war. Come the point in time when history will judge the US intervention in Iraq as one of the more successful attempts to bring democracy to a place where it hasn’t existed before and everything will be forgotten. A word on the German position on the Iraq war. I think one should not forget the historical context in which the German reaction has to be put. This country is a fully sovereign nation only since the early 90’s when the last Russian army units left Germany. In Gulf War One nobody seriously expected the Germans to take part and they were let go paying the US to fight (or better say bomb). Before the Iraq war, every support of the war would have meant sending troops. And the German public wasn’t ready for that. Bodybags I mean. And the Bundeswehr wasn’t ready either. I am a firm believer in the Real World School of Military Training. The British Army and the IDF are the best armies in the world because they have their realistic live-fire training camps round the corner in the Gaza Strip and Northern Ireland. The Bundeswehr doesn’t have that. One last word to the guys who always work themselves into a fit when somebody criticises the US. You don’t have to start yelling every time somebody does that. We like you lot. But reserve the right to disagree. Merry Christmas!

Thomas on :

@ ROA, "Europe’s unwillingness to apply pressure on Saddam was because he bought them off, nothing else." What indications do you have that he bought the German government? I think Schroeder just wanted to win the elections. @ anti Bild and FAZ might be the only publications that are not biased against the US @ Solipson "First of all nobody takes the likes of the ZEIT etc. serious anymore, even the Spiegel has lost an enormous amount of influence in the last decade." Both Die Zeit and Spiegel are still VERY influential I agree, however, 120% with your statement: "One last word to the guys who always work themselves into a fit when somebody criticises the US. You don’t have to start yelling every time somebody does that. We like you lot. But reserve the right to disagree."

ROA on :

@ Thomas Germany received preferential treatment at the 35th annual Baghdad international trade fair. “France is not alone in this practice of downplaying their stake in Saddam Hussein’s regime and voicing supposedly humanitarian concern. As many know, Germany has emerged as the other staunch anti-war European nation, standing shoulder to shoulder with France. The Germans, much like the French, cite objections to war with Iraq on moral grounds. In addition, a warm welcome awaited German businessmen recently at the 35th annual Baghdad international trade fair. They, along with the French, were given priority by Saddam Hussein in entering the Iraqi market. According to Al-Iraq, a government-run newspaper, this commercial priority was granted as a result of “the firm positive stand of Germany in rejecting the launching of a military attack against Iraq by the U.S.” In light of the economic investments France and Germany have in a Hussein-run Iraqi government, it is unsettling that they have the audacity to suggest that the United States is interested only in “Blood for Oil.” In spite of the constant criticism of American “cowboy” mentality, the fact remains that France and Germany stand to gain substantially from the sustained rule of the totalitarian dictator currently in power in Iraq.” http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2003/02/14/1044927801162.html Same general subject: http://www.heritage.org/Research/MiddleEast/wm217.cfm A German intelligence official wanted to build closer ties to Iraq. In return, the Iraqis offered to give lucrative contracts to German companies if the Berlin government helped prevent an American invasion of the country. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2003/04/20/wirq20.xml&sSheet=/portal/2003/04/20/ixportaltop.html Level of trade between Iraq and Germany http://www.portal.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml;jsessionid=JM3D2PGIMR1PJQFIQMGCFF4AVCBQUIV0?xml=/news/2003/03/21/world321.xml German companies involved in selling weapons to Iraq after sanctions imposed http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/2584975.stm I don’t have details, but I thought the Volcker report indicated that there were a large number of German companies participating in the OIF scandal.

Solipson on :

ROA a bit thin, the arguments I mean. The Age article refers to something else (maybe you got the quote from a different article) The Heritage article basically states that Germany has done trade in 2002 of about Euro 350 million with Iraq, an astonishing 0,0004% of the German export volume. And I fully agree with the author of that article (and the Telegraph article as well) that this extensive trade relationship was the reason for Schroeder to risk a huge rift in NATO and in the relationship with the US. The other Telegraph article actually says what you quote, you just kindly forgot the quote of the German government spokesman when being asked about this.: "Last night, a spokesman for the German government said it was "well known" that it had been offered lucrative contracts by Baghdad providing it maintained an anti-Iraq war stance. "Iraq made these kinds of promises before the war and praised Germany for its position," he said." I can only repeat my and some of the others position here. The German governments stance on Iraq was purely internal, to win an election. And not to piss off the Yanks:-)

nixxon on :

I always wonder why you Americans expect us Germans to be grateful for what you did after WW II for us. It were simply economic reasons that led to ERP and other measures. The American economy needed Europe as markets. So why should we pay back double or triple? You - Americans - do your business and leave us alone! Kill as many Iraquis as you want! Support a dictatorship as Saudi-Arabia as long as you want! But: leave us alone!

Joerg W on :

This is a great debate! Very good points are raised in my humble opinion. And a bit of humor/sarcasm is fun, too! *Thank* *you!* *Solipson,* *ROA,* *JeremyR,* *Joe,* *Shawn,* *Thomas,* *ats,* *anti,* we very much appreciate your contributions to this carnival! I'd love to publish some posts from you in our next carnival. You don't need to have a blog of your own. We can work something out. Okay, and now, *EVERYBODY* please continue the debate here in the comments. I am learning a lot.

ROA on :

Solipson: You are right about the age article. Sorry, it was late. But it doesn’t detract from my premise. Why else would Saddam give Germany $4 billion dollars in goods and services contracts? The article I quoted from is actually the following: http://www.mndaily.com/articles/2002/11/11/37053 As far as Germany’s opposition to the war being solely internal, and not intended to piss of the US, I can’t agree. There was certainly an internal political motive, but Schroeder’s actions went far beyond opposition to the war. Having a German official compare the president to Hitler is not the type of rhetoric I would expect a country to use if it was involved in a substantive policy disagreement. The type of rhetoric Germany used seemed designed to show its contempt for the US. Nixxon: US/Saudi relations: Please don’t act so morally superior. Just read the archives on this blog for German/Sudan relations: http://atlanticreview.org/archives/172-Genocide-U.S.-calls-for-more-sanctions-against-Sudan,-but-Germany-sees-business-opportunities.html General question: the Scotsman just published an article that basically says NATO has screwed up its role in Afghanistan. Dutch troops want the US to protect them, Germany has only trained just over 200 officers in four years, etc. I know nothing about the Scotsman but find it difficult to believe NATO is so incompetent. Comments? http://news.scotsman.com/international.cfm?id=2402732005

Solipson on :

ROA the article you quote from is really funny. The title: "Iraq uses dollar diplomacy to counter U.S.-led campaign" The only interesting fact in it: "The single biggest customer for Iraqi oil has been the United States. From January to August of this year, Iraq was America's sixth-largest supplier, providing 525,000 barrels of oil a day, or 4.6 percent of total U.S. imports, according to the American Petroleum Institute." :-)))) The rest is the sort of quality that you would expect from somebody in Minnesota writing about world affairs. Re. your 4 billion figure, you don't explain where it comes from, (maybe it is the Telegraph article which says GBP 1,7 billion in exports in 8 years, Germany and France combined) The official figure for exports from Germany to Iraq for the years 2001/2002 are Euro 336/403 Million. Or 0,052%/0,062% of German exports. (www.destatis.de, German Federal Statistical Office) A WHOPPING 20% increase. Looking at these numbers, you know what I would have done being Chancellor and in danger of loosing this strategically important market? With exports nearly comparable to the Great Empire of Lichtenstein (Euro 408 million)? I would have sent in the Grandsons of Rommel. Maybe even his son. (He is the retired Mayor of Stuttgart and is surely itching to get back at the Desert Rats. Family Pride, you know.) I agree with you on nixxon, but not with the proof, you will find the exact same page on the US/UK and whathaveyou export promotion page. by the way, there were 13 of the 550.000 German companies represented The Scotsman article is not about the incompetence of NATO but mainly about the British Army cocking up the preparations for additional British troops in Afghanistan and having learned nothing from the built-up for the Iraq war. The claim about the 200 Afghan policemen who were trained by the Germans and who promptly disappeared is .. well ...a claim by an unnamed official The German Foreign Ministry says that they have trained 2624 police recruits. (http://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/www/de/laenderinfos/laender/laender_ausgabe_html?type_id=14&land_id=1, german only) By the way the German military contigent is the second largest after the US. How comes that I get the impression of your search activity being a bit targeted? :-)

ROA on :

Solipson 1. US was Iraq’s biggest customer. I won’t argue with that, but you should be happy that we purchased most of it from European traders. 2. Someone from Minnesota writing about world affairs: Article originally appeared in the LA Times and was written by a Times reporter. Not sure if reporters from LA are considered more knowledgeable than those from Minnesota. 3. The $4 billion dollar figure came from an article in my previous post that is dated February 15, 2003. Saddam probably didn’t have time to execute those contracts. http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2003/02/14/1044927801162.html 4. Sudan – From the article quoted in the Atlantic Review item “U.S. terrorism sanctions have kept American companies out of Sudan since 1997, except for sales of humanitarian goods. No other government has imposed curbs.” Don’t we get some credit? 5. Afghanistan article not being about NATO being screwed up: If Germany, Britain, and Holland all are incompetent, as the article states what’s left? However, if you read my comment I said that I found it hard to believe NATO was that incompetent. My impression is that German troops are well trained, but the German army is small which probably makes her neighbors happy. I also think the British army is competent. The Dutch are another matter. They are the ones that promised Muslims refuge in Srebrenica and then ran when the Serbs showed up allowing thousands to be massacred. 6. I don’t understand the comment about my search area being targeted? One of the sources I used was this blog, and another one contained a nugget of information you thought was useful

Add Comment

E-Mail addresses will not be displayed and will only be used for E-Mail notifications.

To prevent automated Bots from commentspamming, please enter the string you see in the image below in the appropriate input box. Your comment will only be submitted if the strings match. Please ensure that your browser supports and accepts cookies, or your comment cannot be verified correctly.
CAPTCHA

Form options