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"Wenn sich amerikanischer Optimismus mit europäischer Erfahrung verbinden ließe, dann wäre das wohl die perfekte politische Mischung."

Henry Kissinger in einem Interview mit Die Welt

Calling US companies “bloodsuckers” does not work

The Wall Street Journal argues that Anti-Americanism reaches its limit in Germany, because the Social Democrats lost the elections in North Rhine-Westphalia despite anti-American propaganda by the biggest trade union:

The centerpiece of the anti-American, anticapitalist campaign was a cover story in the magazine of IG Metall, Germany's largest trade union, which has a circulation of two million. (…) The article's headline: "The Plunderers Are Here." Medienkritik, a German blog, pointed out that the artistic depiction and commentary bore a striking resemblance to 1930s Nazi propaganda against the Jews; it posted a cartoon from Der Stuermer depicting a spider with a Star of David on its back and dead Germans caught in its Web. That caption read Die Ausgesaugten--"those whose blood has been sucked out."

The Wall Street Journal concludes:

Bad news for Mr. Schroeder is also good news for America. The Christian Democrats have announced that Angela Merkel, their pro-U.S. party chairman, will be their candidate for chancellor in the fall elections.

“Als Urheber der deutschen Wiedergutwerdung stören die USA”

From one of our readers: “Richard Herzinger (früher bei 'Die Zeit', heute bei der sehr lesenswerten schweizer Wochenzeitung 'Die Weltwoche') hat einen interessanten Essay zum Verhältnis der Deutschen und Deutschland zu den USA geschrieben:”
"Amerika - eine deutsche Wunde", Internationale Politik, Mai-Heft 2005:

Unter amerikanischem Schutz florierte Deutschland. Jetzt will sich das Land endlich von den USA abnabeln. Dabei geht es nicht um Politik, sondern um Identität. Die neue Selbstdefinition wird auf dem Terrain der Vergangenheit gesucht und artikuliert sich als Stolz auf die gelungene Läuterung. Ein friedliches Europa anstelle der machtbewussten USA soll nun der Welt zum Vorbild dienen. Doch ein Ende der amerikanischen Supermacht sollte sich Deutschland lieber nicht wünschen.

(…) Der Schluss liegt daher nahe, dass es sich beim jüngsten Distanzierungskurs von Amerika mehr um eine identitäts- und geschichtspolitische als um eine realpolitische Operation handelt. (…) Jenseits des tagespolitischen Interessenskalküls werden in diesem Prozess der Verschiebung geschichtspolitischer Parameter langfristige Grundlagen für eine fortschreitende Entfremdung, wenn nicht Abkoppelung Deutschlands von den USA gelegt.

US Fulbright professor criticizes the US and his fellow Fulbrighters

The Chronicle of Higher Education has an interesting piece by Christopher Phelps, professor of history at Ohio State University, who is currently in Poland on a Fulbright grant. He praises Senator Fulbright and the Fulbright Program, but he is also very critical:

America, if viewed from Europe, is disconcerting today. (…) Jonathan Steele, writing in the British newspaper The Guardian, considers the United States to be in "dangerous ignorance of the world, a mixture of intellectual isolationism and imperial intervention abroad." I am inclined to accept those painful criticisms. In the aftermath of American conduct in the Phillippines in 1898, the Harvard philosopher William James said he had the feeling of having lost his country. I experienced an identical feeling when the United States invaded Iraq.

Perhaps we should extend the Fulbright program to Congress. Most senators and representatives have never traveled outside the United States. (…) If our representatives lived and studied abroad for a few months before taking office, it would expose them to the world's complexity. It might humble us.

(…) It was not immaterial that Senator Fulbright was a former Rhodes scholar and president of the University of Arkansas, but Congress's motivation [for the creation the Fulbright program] in 1946-47 was neither cerebral nor pacifist. It was to win the cold war. "We have intellectuals," the Fulbright program said. "America is not a land of yahoos!" Sixty years later, the world still demands proof.

Fulbrighters handle the position of cultural ambassador in various ways. Some treat it as a holiday. Others hesitate to dissent from American policy while abroad. I have taken the approach that the Fulbright is a call to public service, and that the democratic interest is best upheld by free expression.

(...) That kind of independent judgment [=reference to Senator Fulbright] is worthy of emulation at a time when some would once again conflate dissent and treason.

“Dream on America”

In light of the "Newsweek Scandal" (alleged desecration of the Koran at Guantanamo) The Globalist editor Stephan Richter argues that the "real crisis [of American journalism] is about an increasing unwillingness to tell hard truths when it really matters."

He describes how Newsweek printed an excellent, but US critical article by Princeton's Andrew Moravcsik in its international edition after President Bush's second inaugurual address, but not in its domestic edition.

Prof. Moravcsik wrote:

Americans are living in a dream world. Not only do others not share America's self-regard, they no longer aspire to emulate the country's social and economic achievement.

(...) The failure of the American Dream has only been highlighted by the country's foreign-policy failures, not caused by them. The true danger is that Americans do not realize this, lost in the reveries of greatness, speechifying about liberty and freedom.

(...) Tellingly, the anti-Bushism of the president's first term is giving way to a more general anti-Americanism.

Stephan Richter (a German immigrant to the US) considers it appaling that Newsweek did not print this article its US edition "given that the real audience for the essay was not the readership abroad, but Americans at home. It would have been a powerful contribution to journalism's highest function — telling truth to power."

Tell the G8 to make extreme poverty history

According to UNICEF, "around 29,000 under-fives die every day from causes that are easily prevented, such as diarrhoeal dehydration, acute respiratory infections, measles and malaria."

The international campaign "Make Poverty History" calls on the G8 to deliver a historic deal for the world's poorest people at their Africa Summit in Edinburgh from July 6-8, 2005. The G8 is a cornerstone of the transatlantic alliance since it consists of eight of the most powerful European and North American countries (as well as Japan). At their annual summits the Heads of Government of this small and mighty group discuss global economic issues and set an international agenda.

As host of this year's summit Tony Blair decided to put the focus on Africa:

In 2000, the international community set itself eight goals to achieve by 2015. The UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) include targets on eradicating extreme poverty, combating HIV and AIDS and malaria, and ensuring that every child receives primary education. The UN Millennium Review Summit in 2005 will consider progress towards the MDGs. We already know that we need to do much more if we are to meet the MDGs in Sub-Saharan Africa. This is one of the reasons why UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has said that Africa will be a priority of the G8 Summit in Gleneagles.

The Atlantic Review believes that the G8 leaders need to be pressured to intensify the war on poverty. The international "Make Poverty History" aka "white band" campaign explains how you can help and how this ambitious goal can be achieved and financed. Visit the German, US, or international homepage.

New York Times writes

According to a poll, most Americans believe that the United States spends 24 percent of its budget on aid to poor countries; it actually spends well under a quarter of 1 percent. As Jeffrey Sachs, the Columbia University economist in charge of the United Nations' Millennium Project, put it so well, the notion that there is a flood of American aid going to Africa "is one of our great national myths."

The United States currently gives just 0.16 percent of its national income to help poor countries, despite signing a United Nations declaration three years ago in which rich countries agreed to increase their aid to 0.7 percent by 2015. Since then, Britain, France and Germany have all announced plans for how to get to 0.7 percent; America has not. The piddling amount Mr. Bush announced yesterday is not even 0.007 percent. What is 0.7 percent of the American economy? About $80 billion. That is about the amount the Senate just approved for additional military spending, mostly in Iraq. It's not remotely close to the $140 billion corporate tax cut last year.

More Germans and Americans apply for Fulbright

Deutschland (published by the Societäts-Verlag in cooperation with the Federal Foreign Office) asked Dr. Hoffmann, Executive Director of the German-American Fulbright Commission, whether Senator Fulbright's vision is "still attractive" on his 100th birthday.

Dr. Hoffmann spoke about the increasing interest among young Americans and Germans to study in each other's country and described the German-American Fulbright Program:

Fulbright grantees on both sides have to go through a strict selection procedure in which each person’s openness vis-à-vis other cultures still plays an important role. We have supported a total of 40,000 grantees, half of them Germans, half Americans, since the German-American Fulbright program was launched in 1952. So our network is very well established across both countries. We still keep in contact with alumni even from the early years. We support the exchange of 300 Americans and 300 Germans every year in a broad range of programs. These people include students, scientists, teachers, professors, principals, managers and presidents of universities and other scientific and development institutions. The Fulbright name has not lost its attraction.

In a very short separate article in 'Deutschland' about the J. William Fulbright Centennial Celebration Mrs. Fulbright is quoted:

Recent events prove that even the most powerful cannot ‘go it alone’, and that, furthermore, understanding is the basic requirement for successful collaborative activity – an understanding of the values and attitudes of potential collaborators.