American political science professors take different approaches and assess the forms and strengths of Anti-Americanism(s) differently in two books (and in freely available essays adapted from the books). Professor Markovits sounds more alarmist than professors Keohane and Katzenstein. US Fulbright Alumnus Andrei S. Markovits is a professor of comparative politics and German studies at the University of Michigan and writes about "Western Europe's America Problem:"
Any trip to Europe confirms what surveys have been finding: The aversion to America is becoming greater, louder, more determined. It is unifying Western Europeans more than any other political emotion -- with the exception of a common hostility toward Israel. Indeed, the virulence in Western Europe's antipathy to Israel cannot be understood without the presence of anti-Americanism and hostility to the United States. Those two closely related resentments are now considered proper etiquette. They are present in polite company and acceptable in the discourse of the political classes. They constitute common fare not only among Western Europe's cultural and media elites, but also throughout society itself, from London to Athens and from Stockholm to Rome, even if European politicians visiting Washington or European professors at international conferences about anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism are adamant about denying or sugarcoating that reality. There can be no doubt that many disastrous and irresponsible policies by members of the Bush administration, as well as their haughty demeanor and arrogant tone, have contributed massively to this unprecedented vocal animosity on the part of Europeans toward Americans and America. Indeed, they bear responsibility for having created a situation in which anti-Americanism has mutated into a sort of global antinomy, a mutually shared language of opposition to and resistance against the real and perceived ills of modernity that are now inextricably identified with America. I have been traveling back and forth with considerable frequency between the United States and Europe since 1960, and I cannot recall a time like the present, when such a vehement aversion to everything American has been articulated in Europe.
Iraq vs. Darfur:Foreign Policy Blog Torture: "The European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that two Chechen brothers were tortured in their strife-torn Russian republic and that authorities there failed to investigate their allegations of abuse." The Washington Post
Europe says it is ready for more military action under the EU flag in 2007 after its "success" in Congo last year, with the German EU presidency putting Kosovo, Bosnia, Lebanon and Afghanistan at the top of its defence agenda for the next six months. "We begin 2007 ready to take up our responsibilities if needed - which I sincerely hope won't be the case - but we are in a position of readiness," EU top diplomat Javier Solana said in Brussels on Wednesday (17 January), after recalling that the EU's "battle group" structure reached "full operational capacity" on 1 January.
Iran: "U.S. officials, who asked not to be identified, say that the Iran policy has expanded from focusing chiefly on Iran's nuclear ambitions to challenging Tehran's suspected misbehavior across the Middle East. Indeed, one source said succinctly that the new policy is geared to 'confront Iran in every way but direct armed conflict, using all means short of war.'" National Journal Insurgencies: "Vietnam taught many Americans the wrong lesson: that determined guerrilla fighters are invincible. But history shows that insurgents rarely win, and Iraq should be no different. Now that it finally has a winning strategy, the Bush administration is in a race against time to beat the insurgency before the public’s patience finally wears out." Foreign Policy
• Coming Anarchy about policy on Russia: "Merkel Lets the Cat Officially Out of the Bag."
Endnote: All About Germany has a personal take on "American vs German Business Culture" (Apparently the author is neither American nor German, but she studied in Germany and describes herself as a "nomad.")
U.S. and North Korean officials will hold a third day of bilateral talks on Thursday in Berlin amid hopes of a breakthrough in efforts to curb the communist state's nuclear weapons program. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy confirmed that U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, who met North Korean officials for six hours on Tuesday and 1-1/2 hours on Wednesday, would hold more talks on Thursday.
I am convinced the German government would also be happy to host some bilateral talks between high-ranking U.S. and Iranian officials. Such direct negotiations might help Iraq and lead to a solution of the nuclear issue. The BBC (via CQ) has learned from a "senior former US official" that "Iran offered the US a package of concessions in 2003":
Tehran proposed ending support for Lebanese and Palestinian militant groups and helping to stabilise Iraq following the US-led invasion. Offers, including making its nuclear programme more transparent, were conditional on the US ending hostility. But Vice-President Dick Cheney's office rejected the plan, the official said. The offers came in a letter, seen by Newsnight, which was unsigned but which the US state department apparently believed to have been approved by the highest authorities. In return for its concessions, Tehran asked Washington to end its hostility, to end sanctions, and to disband the Iranian rebel group the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq and repatriate its members. (...) Observers say the Iranian offer as outlined nearly four years ago corresponds pretty closely to what Washington is demanding from Tehran now.
More international negotiations: German news agency dpa reports that US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice briefed German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday on the outcome of her latest trip to the Middle East:
'I have the impression that there has been some movement on the issue of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,' Merkel said. (...) Merkel made a revival of the Mideast peace process a key goal of the EU's foreign policy during Germany's current presidency of the 27-nation bloc. Rice said after her arrival in Berlin on Wednesday that the Mideast Quartet comprised of Russia, the United States, the UN and the European Union was likely to meet early next month in a bid to kickstart Middle East peace talks. Merkel said Germany would take part in the meeting in its capacity as EU president.
Observing Hermann adds a much needed dose of humor to the coverage of the "Mideast Quartet."
Endnote: Currently a severe storm is gathering pace in Germany. A weather expert talked to DW World about the unusual storm and predicts more storms in coming winters. I am more concerned about the upcoming political storms in the Broader Middle East.
Germany's role in Europe:The Economist's Charlemagne describes the new power structure in the European Union and makes good points criticizing Chancellor Merkel's agenda for the EU presidency as too broad, too ambitious and focusing on the wrong priorities. The criticism of the plans for a "transatlantic free trade area" might be based on a misunderstanding. See the Atlantic Review post Harmonization of Technical Standards.
EU Constitution: "German Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned Europe it faces an "historic failure" if it does not revive the deadlocked European constitution." BBC
EU Parliament: German conservative Hans-Gert Poettering, a close ally of German Chancellor Merkel and a backer of the EU's embattled constitution, has been elected as the next president of the European Parliament on Tuesday." DW World
EU Police Cooperation: "Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said Monday that Germany would seek to make increased cross-border cooperation of the police and judicial authorities, particularly the exchange of DNA databases, part of European Union law despite strong opposition led by Britain." International Herald Tribune
Today is a national holiday in the United States to mark the birthday of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and to "celebrate the life and legacy of a man who brought hope and healing to America," wrote Mrs. Coretta Scott King. The musical "Martin Luther King - The King of Love" by and with Ron Williams premieres in Berlin on February 2, 2007, writes Die Welt (in German). Ron Williams is a German-American entertainer, who came to Germany as a GI in the 60s. His homepage.
YouTube has a 17 minutes video of Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech, which is still very powerful and moving on the European side of the Atlantic as well. Transcript. Let freedom ring... Crooks and Liars has another video: "The evolution (devolution?) of rhetoric: Bill O'Reilly vs. Martin Luther King, Jr." which includes some of the reverend's quotes on Vietnam and dissent vs disloyalty.
UPDATE: Martin Luther King used his American Express Card to enter East Berlin: See Freitag (in German) or English summary in this comment.