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Welcome to all Instapundit readers, who came to this site due to Prof. Reynolds' highlighting of the German-American Carnival, which the Atlantic Review organizes with GM's Corner. A big welcome also to all readers of GM's Corner, Davids Medienkritik, Extrablog, A Fistful of Euros, Europhobia, and everybody else who discovered this blog recently. Thank you to all other Bloggers who linked to us as well.

Have a look around our site. We strive for a critical, but fair and multifaceted coverage of US policies and transatlantic relations. For more info about the Atlantic Review check out the About Us page.

 

Some of our most recent posts are about German business ties with Sudan, the third post-war generation, the Guantanamo detainee from Germany and the struggle for the rule of law, the media coverage of Iraq and Kosovo, and a pretty extensive look at the US-Saudi relationship: Oil supply at the expense of US security and moral values. We have a Fulbright category for press articles referring to Senator Fulbright, the exchange program named after him and for news about or written by Fulbright Scholars and Fellows. All categories can be found in the left column. Enjoy! We welcome feedback and any question.

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Genocide: U.S. calls for more sanctions against Sudan, but Germany sees business opportunities

The German media is very critical of any wrong doing by the US government, a few US soldiers and many US companies. Hedge funds were not just characterized as bloodsuckers, but as American bloodsuckers. German companies receive less criticism. Sometimes they even receive government support for doing business with rogue states.

The Sudanese government is complicit in the genocide in the western province of Darfur, but the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Labor sponsored a "German Pavilion" at a trade fair in the Sudanese capital in February 2005 and will do so again in February 2006 due to "the positive feedback from the German participants," according to one chamber of commerce.
 

Neokomplott has exposed another chamber of commerce, which calls the genocide "political disturbances," praises Sudan's dynamic oil industry and the improved business climate and mentions the German government's support of the fair. 

Continue reading "Genocide: U.S. calls for more sanctions against Sudan, but Germany sees business opportunities"

Germany is governed by the third postwar generation

Henry Kissinger, a former secretary of state, history professor and a German emigrant, writes in the Washington Post that he first feared deadlock, but now tends to believe that the new grand coalition in Germany will work. He describes Chancellor Merkel's government as the "advent of a third postwar generation: less in thrall to the emotional pro-Americanism of the 1950s and '60s but not shaped by the passions of the so-called '68 generation":

The collapse of the Soviet Union ended Europe's strategic dependence on the United States; the emergence of a new generation ended Germany's emotional dependence on U.S. policy. For those who came to maturity in the 1960s and afterward, the great emotional political experience was opposition to the Vietnam War and deployment of medium-range missiles in Germany. This dissociation from the United States escalated into massive demonstrations, especially in 1968 and '82. When the collapse of the Soviet Union coincided with a change of government in Germany, the stage was set for a modification in the tone as well as the substance of allied relationships. A similar shift of generations in the United States moved the center of gravity of U.S. politics to regions less emotionally tied to Europe. It is likely that any German chancellor would have been reluctant to join the war in Iraq. But no chancellor or foreign minister not of the '68 generation would have based his policy on overt opposition to the United States and conducted two election campaigns on a theme of profound distrust of America's ultimate motives. Nor would demonstrative joint efforts with France and Russia to thwart American diplomatic efforts at the United Nations have been likely. (Hat tip to Clive Davis)

While Kissinger opines that Chancellor Merkel will "avoid choosing between Atlanticism and Europe" and somehow manage to embrace both, the International Herald Tribune points out that "Merkel visits Paris and Brussels on Wednesday [today], London on Thursday and Warsaw next week," but does not mention when she will travel to Washington. The IHT article describes her primary foreign policy advisor, Christoph Heusgen, as a "staunch European," who worked as director of the European Union's Policy Planning Unit since 1999 and was a close advisor to Javier Solana, the EU's foreign policy chief.

The Guantanamo detainee from Germany

One of the more than 500 detainees at Guantanamo is the 23 years old Murat Kurnaz, who was born and raised in Bremen in northern Germany. He travelled to Pakistan in October 2001, was arrested shortly afterwards and detained at Guantanamo Bay since at least January 2002, because a military panel ruled that he was a member of Al Qaeda. However, according to a March 2005 article in The Washington Post:

Evidence, recently declassified and obtained by The Washington Post, shows that U.S. military intelligence and German law enforcement authorities had largely concluded there was no information that linked Kurnaz to al Qaeda, any other terrorist organization or terrorist activities. (…)

The Command Intelligence Task Force, the investigative arm of the U.S. Southern Command, which oversees the Guantanamo Bay facility, repeatedly suggested that it may have been a mistake to take Kurnaz off a bus of Islamic missionaries traveling through Pakistan in October 2001. "CITF has no definite link/evidence of detainee having an association with Al Qaida or making any specific threat against the U.S.," one document says. "CITF is not aware of evidence that Kurnaz was or is a member of Al Quaeda."

According to a Wall Street Journal article from January 2005, Murat Kurnaz isn't an isolated case:

American commanders acknowledge that many prisoners shouldn't have been locked up here in the first place because they weren't dangerous and didn't know anything of value. "Sometimes, we just didn't get the right folks," says Brig. Gen. Jay Hood, Guantanamo's current commander." 

Continue reading "The Guantanamo detainee from Germany"

The struggle for the rule of law: Guantanamo and torture

Torture and indefinite detention without trial at Guantanamo have been hot topics in Washington in recent weeks. Senator McCain wants to categorically ban torture, while Vice President Cheney wants to give the CIA the right to torture.  The Senate is looking for a compromise, writes the Washington Post:

By linking a provision to deny prisoners the right to challenge their detention in federal court with language restricting interrogation methods, senators hope to soften the administration's ardent opposition to McCain's anti-torture provision -- or possibly win its support.

Following is a list of the many different decisions made by the Supreme Court, federal courts and the Senate concerning the application of the law to terrorist suspects as well as appeals by three Republican Senators for defending liberal values in the war on terrorism and suggesting that Guantanamo should be closed based on a the cost-benefit analysis.

 
JUNE 2004: SUPREME COURT GRANTS ACCESS TO FEDERAL COURTS

The struggle for the rule of law intensified, when the Supreme Court ruled that the government may hold terrorist suspects in Guantanamo without trial, but there must be judicial oversight, i.e. all detainees have the right to challenge their detention in a U.S. court on the basis of habeas corpus (wrongful imprisonment). Consequently the lawyers of many Guantanamo detainees went to the federal courts to appeal the decisions of the military tribunals.

The federal courts ruled in favor of many detainees, like Murat Kurnaz. The administration then went to the Court of Appeals.

 

NOVEMBER 10TH, 2005: SENATE VOTES AGAINST ACCESS TO FEDERAL COURTS

The Senate did not want to wait for the ruling of the Court of Appeals and voted 49 to 42 for the Graham Amendment that would undermine the habeas corpus principle and the previous Supreme Court ruling concerning judicial oversight. 350 law professors oppose the amendment and argue

This Amendment, as currently drafted, seeks to eliminate existing habeas corpus jurisdiction over petitions now pending as well as those to be filed by detainees at Guantánamo Bay. We write because we believe this course of action unwise and contrary to the most fundamental precepts of American constitutional traditions. (…)

The Graham Amendment would dramatically erode our core constitutional commitment to separation of powers. The Amendment consigns the protection of fundamental human liberties to unilateral executive determination under which the Executive chooses the prisoners, chooses the charges, chooses the judges, chooses the punishment – and cuts off judicial review of its determinations. We should not forget the Framers' insight, expressed so eloquently by James Madison in the 47th Federalist Paper, that the "accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands … may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny."

Continue reading "The struggle for the rule of law: Guantanamo and torture"

Fighting Extremism – the American or the European Way?

"It's long been predicted that France's simmering cauldron of lawless Muslim ghettoes would someday combust," contends Duncan Currie in his article called "Over There, Over here" in the rightwing magazine The Weekly Standard.

Along with the chronic troubles in Iraq, the 7/7 bombings in London, and last year's murder of Theo van Gogh in Holland, the French riots pose one of the central geopolitical questions of our age: Does democracy quell ideological fanaticism?  President Bush thinks so, and he's based his long-range anti-terrorism strategy on spreading liberal institutions and decent governance in the Middle East. 

Continue reading "Fighting Extremism – the American or the European Way?"

US Fulbrighter probes the question of on-going German guilt

The terrorist attacks in Jordan on November 9th were apparently supposed to be a reminder of the 9-11 attacks, because November 9th is written "9.11." in many parts of the world. While 9-11 has shaped US foreign policy and national identity significantly, 9.11. (aka November 9th) has been "Germany's Day of Destiny" according to the Deutsche Welle (Article is in English) and shaped German identity and foreign policy even more than 9-11 did in the US.

 
On November 9th, 1848 Germany's first revolutionary dreams were killed. Nov 9th 1918 marked the proclamation of the Weimar Republic. Nov 9th 1923 Hitler first attempted to take over the government. Nov 9th 1938 the so-called Reichskristallnacht increased the brutal persecution of Jews that would end in the murder of millions of people. And on Nov 9th 1989 the Berlin Wall fell.

 
James DeWitt arrived in Berlin on September 11th 2001 and conducted his Fulbright research on the issue of German national identity and the possible role that residual-guilt from World War II may play in forming foreign policy opinions among the staffers of the German Bundestag (parliament). James allowed the Atlantic Review to publish the summary of his survey. It is not a dry and dusted academic paper, but a well written account of doing research as an aspiring US Fulbright grantee in Germany.  
 
Continue reading "US Fulbrighter probes the question of on-going German guilt"

Fulbrighters in the Middle East

Prof. Joshua Landis works as a Fulbright Scholar in Damaskus. His frequently updated blog Syria Comment is one of the most read English news sources about Syrian politics and related US policy and his often quoted in the US mass media.

 

Raphael Cohen-Almagor, Israeli Fulbright Alumnus and Professor at The University of Haifa, writes about "events in the Middle East in general and in Israel in particular." The latest of his monthly posts covers the attack on Hadera, opinion polls in Israel, the UN report on the Hariri assassination, and other issues.

 

Curiousity in a Kingdom is a new group blog by three American Fulbrighters "sharing their experiences, ideas and tips on Jordanian life." The three also run their individual websites: Jim Korpi, Elisabeth Page and Will Raynolds. Another US Fulbrighter, Brendan Geary, moved to Qatar recently and writes once a month about his life as a Fulbright Scholar at Tales from Qatar.

 

UPDATE 11/10/05: Prof. Marcy Newman is a Fulbright Scholar in Jordan and informed us of her blog body on the line by commenting on this post. She attended a solidarity march for the victims of the terrorist attacks and wrote in her Amman's 9/11 entry:

Steven and I offered our condolences to people we met in the march. One very sweet woman, who teaches autistic children, began crying while I spoke to her. After she learned I was American she told her children and relatives that these Americans were here to join them in solidarity. To me, this is what Fulbright is all about. Isn't this the epitome of cross-cultural exchange? If you're not going to put yourself out there to connect with people when they are at their worst then when will you do it? I even told people, who asked, that I am also Jewish. Equally important, I think, for Jordanians to understand that a Jewish American woman stands in solidarity with them at this moment.

 
If you want to see how beautiful, smart, serious and funny Fulbrighters from around the world look like, go to http://fulbright.smugmug.com/ or directly to the photo gallery from the Islamic Civilization Enrichment Seminar in Tunisia.

 

Keith Reinhard, president of Business for Diplomatic Action, told the NY Times (republished by Eccentric Star Public Diplomacy Weblog) that the bad US image hurts the economy and offered various strategies to improve the image: "We're working with a group called Young Arab Leaders that has identified 500 Arab and Muslim youth who we think should be brought into the United States and into U.S. companies. Think of it as the Fulbright for the private sector."