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Senator Fulbright and statistics of the Fulbright Program

"Our future is not in the stars but in our minds and hearts.  Creative leadership and liberal education, which in fact go together, are the first requirements for a hopeful future for humankind.  Fostering these – leadership, learning, and empathy between cultures – was and remains the purpose of the international scholarship program that I was privileged to sponsor in the U.S. Senate over forty years ago.  Its is a modest program with an immodest aim – the achievement in international affairs of a regime more civilized, rational, and humane than the empty system of power of the past.  I believed in that possibility when I began.  I still do."
J. William Fulbright, The Price of Empire, 1989, page xi

To answer a question in the comments section of the last post: According to the State Department, the congressional appropriation for the entire Fulbright Program for 2005 was $144.5 million. Foreign governments contributed an additional $37 million directly to the Program. According to the German-American Fulbright Commission's annual report for 2003-2004 (page 7), the German government contributed 4.2 million Euro and the US government contributed 2.4 million Euro to the US-German Fulbright Programme's budget. The Association of Friends and Sponsors of the German-American Fulbright Program donated 78,000 Euro. This annual report also quotes Alison Kamhi, a US Fulbright grantee at the University of Rostock and originally from Stanford University:
Being one of the few Americans in Rostock, I took it as my job to provide the Germans in this city with a positive example of an American. Every time I was challenged about Bush or the war in Iraq or consumerism or whatever I took the time to talk to the person, simply to show that all Americans are not anti-European war-mongers, as is unfortunately often the stereotype. Volunteering at so many social organizations, I got the opportunity to answer questions from children, immigrants, or elderly Germans about the United States and our culture and politics, and I enjoyed being a representative of another side of America than what gets portrayed in the media.

Former Foreign Minister Fischer described the significance and purpose of Fulbright exchanges as well as Senator Fulbright's legacy at a ceremony to mark the 50th anniversary of the German American Fulbright Program in 2002: His speech in German. The English translation. More than 40,000 Americans and Germans received a Fulbright grant since 1952. According to the State Department, "approximately 267,500 'Fulbrighters,' 100,900 from the United States and 166,600 from other countries, have participated in the Program since its inception over fifty years ago. The Fulbright Program awards approximately 6,000 new grants annually."

Attacking Syria and Iran? (Updated)

Writing for the American Conservative magazine, Robert Dreyfuss describes how numerous neoconservatives beat the drums of war and concludes:
The United States is indeed pursuing a hard-edged regime-change strategy for Syria. And it isn't necessarily going to be a Cold War—in fact, it could well get very hot very soon. In Washington, analysts disagree over exactly how far the Bush administration is willing to go in pursuing its goal of overthrowing the Assad government. In the view of Flynt Leverett, a former CIA Syria analyst now at the Brookings Institution, the White House favors a kind of slow-motion toppling. In a forum at Brookings, Leverett, author of Inheriting Syria: Bashar's Trial by Fire, announced his conclusion that Bush was pursuing "regime change on the cheap" in Syria. But others disagree, and believe that Syria could indeed be the next Iraq.
Fulbrighter Harry recommends the article Nuclear War against Iran by Michel Chossudovsky. The Professor of Economics at the University of Ottawa writes about the US, Israel, Turkey, and NATO and opines: "The launching of an outright war using nuclear warheads against Iran is now in the final planning stages."  President Chirac's comments on the use of nuclear weapons were made after the publication of his article. While both President Ahmadinejad's statements and the response from Western leaders should be taken very seriously, they should also be considered as part of the psychological 'warfare' in the bargaining process. Any informed comments and news tips concerning the EU-3 and US policy on Iran and the progress and current threat of the Iranian nuclear program are appreciated. For excellent news and commentary on Syria check the blog of Fulbright Scholar Joshua Landis.

UPDATE 01/27/2006: Dialog International links to Flynt Leverett's
NYT op-ed. The former director for Middle East affairs at the National Security Council discusses missed opportunities concerning Iran:
During its five years in office, the administration has turned away from every opportunity to put relations with Iran on a more positive trajectory. Three examples stand out. In the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, Tehran offered to help Washington overthrow the Taliban and establish a new political order in Afghanistan. But in his 2002 State of the Union address, President Bush announced that Iran was part of an "axis of evil," thereby scuttling any possibility of leveraging tactical cooperation over Afghanistan into a strategic opening. In the spring of 2003, shortly before I left government, the Iranian Foreign Ministry sent Washington a detailed proposal for comprehensive negotiations to resolve bilateral differences. The document acknowledged that Iran would have to address concerns about its weapons programs and support for anti-Israeli terrorist organizations.
Another former CIA analyst, Reuel Marc Gerecht, argues in the Weekly Standard that Iran missed many opportunities for better relations with the US. He criticizes the Europeans:
Washington seriously wanted the Europeans to become more supportive in Mesopotamia; they were becoming more engaged on the ground in Afghanistan. We needed the French, Germans, and Brits to "own" our Iran policy, which would, so the sincere proponents of this policy argued, form a united Western front against the Islamic Republic. Ownership would produce responsibility -- something the commercially driven Europeans had rarely shown toward the clerical regime.
He bets that US policy makers "would rather see the clerics go nuclear than deal with the world the day after Washington begins bombing Iran's atomic-weapons and ballistic-missile facilities." Ulrich Speck discusses Gerecht's and other analyses in his German Kosmoblog at Die Zeit.

Think Tank essays on US-German relations

The German Council on Foreign Relations has published a special edition of the Internationale Politik Transatlantic Edition: Richard Herzinger writes about "German Self-Definition Against the US," while Joachim Krause assesses the red-green foreign policy over the last seven years: "The good news is Germany's participation in international intervention. The bad news is a lingering desire to thumb its nose at the United States."  Constanze Stelzenmüller concludes from a German Marshall Fund survey: "In Germany, left and right both reject George W. Bush's foreign policy. But young Germans favor 'regime change' more than US Republicans do." Alan Posener argues that "the EU looks today much more like an empire than the US." And William Drozdiak calls the transatlantic alliance an "indispensable partnership." All these and some more essays are in English and can be downloaded as pdf files.

The American Institute for Contemporary German Studies profiles Chancellor Merkel, discusses her warm welcome in Washington and the "Germany-fever."

In the latest edition of Foreign Policy, Michael Mandelbaum's writes not only about Germany's relationship with the US:
The rest of the world complains that American hegemony is reckless, arrogant, and insensitive. Just don't expect them to do anything about it. The world's guilty secret is that it enjoys the security and stability the United States provides. The world won't admit it, but they will miss the American empire when it's gone.

State Department: Global Repositioning and Transformational Diplomacy

Secretary Condoleeza Rice described how the State Department's "transformational diplomacy" contributes to the vision President Bush outlined in his second Inaugural Address: "to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world." In a speech at the Georgetown School of Foreign Service, Secretary Rice said:
The new front lines of our diplomacy are appearing more clearly, in transitional countries of Africa and of Latin America and of the Middle East. Our current global posture does not really reflect that fact. For instance, we have nearly the same number of State Department personnel in Germany, a country of 82 million people that we have in India, a country of one billion people. It is clear today that America must begin to reposition our diplomatic forces around the world, so over the next few years the United States will begin to shift several hundred of our diplomatic positions to new critical posts for the 21st century. We will begin this year with a down payment of moving 100 positions from Europe and, yes, from here in Washington, D.C., to countries like China and India and Nigeria and Lebanon, where additional staffing will make an essential difference.
Secretary Rice spoke about the the localization of the diplomatic presence, the broadened authority and mandate of the Reconstruction and Stabilization Office and how diplomats have to work side-by-side with the men and women in uniform in disaster relief and stabilization missions as well as in the fight against drugs. The State Department provides her speech
and a fact sheet on Transformational Diplomacy. (Hat tip ROA)

A new chapter in U.S.-German relations

Most newspapers believe that Chancellor Merkel's warm welcome in Washington D.C. will not lead to a "new transatlantic romance," but to improved, business-like relations based on more hard-headed practicality and reliability. The U.S.-German realtionship is expected to be less tainted by populist abuse of political disagreements.
The chancellor and the president disagreed on Guantanamo, but agreed on a common approach towards Iran. President Bush did not mention the military option, but stressed UN Security Council negotiations. Chancellor Merkel said that as many countries as possible should be persuaded to ally themselves with the US and Germany and not be intimidated by Iran.
Continue reading "A new chapter in U.S.-German relations"

Two upcoming Fulbright Alumni Conferences

Both events are open to non-Fulbrighters:

Anniversary Ball and General Assembly in Erlangen, January 20-22
Our Organization Committee and the Board of the Fulbright Alumni Association cordially invite all Fulbrighters and friends to our Anniversary Ball and annual General Assembly which will take place in Erlangen on the weekend of 20-22 January 2006. We have prepared some specials and surprises for you; there are also various highlights to discover: a bit of Franconian culture and some insights into local education. Of course, there will be lots of opportunity to mingle and chat with new and old friends and - even better - to dance the night away. More information and our online registration form are available under www.fulbright-alumni.de/jb2006.

Fulbrighters in Science Conference in Berlin, March 4-5
Founded in 2003, the Fulbright Academy of Science & Technology (FAST) is an international membership organization established by alumni of the Fulbright Exchange Program and other individuals interested in science and technology innovation.  Through its meetings and programs, FAST creates new international ties among alumni, current grantees, Fulbright hosts, and others interested in international exchange.  Participants in the Berlin program are coming from 16 countries and four continents, and they include students, teachers, professors and professionals working in fields such as natural and social science, law, engineering, technology, medicine, and business.  Panels & presentations will cover topics such as internet & education, biology, teaching, international development, climate change, conservation of art, and science policy.  Visit the Academy's website for information about this conference, other events, and membership.  The weekend conference is 150 Euros, and discounts are available.  Membership in the Academy is 50 Euros, with discounts for students.

German Chancellor calls for closure of Guantanamo

Chancellor Merkel, who is scheduled to meet President Bush on Friday in Washington DC, told Der Spiegel (In English): "An institution like Guantanamo can and should not exist in the longer term." She would discuss the issue with President Bush, but would not allow Germany and the United States' long-standing relationship to be trivialized into one focused on differences over the fight against terror and the Iraq war. An amnesic American lost in Berlin criticizes "Angela Merkel's Lecture Tour."

The German site of Der Spiegel reports about a German-Turkish initiative for the release of Murat Kurnaz, who was born and raised in Bremen, but has Turkish citizenship. This would mean that the Merkel government is much more active than the Schroeder government, who has cooperated with the US in Guantanamo according to some reports. Dialog International writes:
The neoconservative gang was anxious to see Gerhard Schroeder leave office, but Angela Merkel could be a much bigger headache, since she is seen (so far) as having a much more independent position (outside the Schroeder - Chirac - Putin axis).
The Atlantic Review wrote in November that Kurnaz has been detained at Guantanamo without charge since 2002, although U.S. military intelligence and German law enforcement authorities had largely concluded there was no information that linked him to a terrorist organization. The Court of Appeals currently contemplates the case of Murat Kurnaz and other detainees on the basis of habeas corpus. The Observer, however, writes on January 8th:
Last week, President Bush signed into law a measure removing detainees' right to file habeas corpus petitions in the US federal courts. On Friday, the administration asked the Supreme Court to make this retroactive, so nullifying about 220 cases in which prisoners have contested the basis of their detention and the legality of pending trials by military commission.
If Murat Kurnaz is released, he may not immediately return to Germany, because the German authorities believe that his four years long detention at Guantanamo without charge radicalized him, writes Der Spiegel, but his lawyer points out his valid residence permit for Germany. What an irony it would be if Murat Kurnaz were only to be considered a threat due to his experiences at Gitmo.

Many of our posts have led to thoughtful and provocative debates in the comment sections. Steve commented on our previous post about the Guantanamo Detainee from Germany:
The evidence to date overwhelmingly makes clear that jihadi terrorists are provoked by American weakness, not the harshness of American policies. (...) When [former Syrian president] Hafiz Assad leveled Hama, he went out of his way to show the devastation on TV for a reason--jihadi terrorists are intimidated by brutality greater than their own. On the other hand, our humanitarian interventions in Bosnia and Kosovo have won us no credit in jihadi terrorist circles. These are not people you can cozy up to. They treat friendly gestures with contempt.
You find both of Steve's elaborate comments by scrolling down here. Many great and thought provoking arguments are made by our wonderful readers in the comments section of Europe vs. America and Isolationism on the rise.

UPDATE: The full interview with Chancellor Merkel is now available on Der Spiegel's English site.