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I Am Blogging at The Moderate Voice

Moderate Voice The Moderate Voice (TMV) is among the most popular political blogs in the United States. It is certainly the premier voice for centrist positions in the blogosphere. Joe Gandelman, the Editor-In-Chief, has invited me to join TMV as a co-blogger. 

Here's a quote from TMV's mission statement:

A prime guiding principle was that differing ideas don't give people brain cancer, so from the start TMV linked to Democratic, Republican, liberal, conservative and centrist blogs. It also put a special emphasis on linking to blogs written by "independent thinkers" of any (or no) party who sought to discuss issues and promote dialogue rather than hype specific candidates or repeat talk show (of the left and right) talking points.
Since then, TMV has grown into one of the Internet's fastest growing and respected group moderate/centrist sites. And it hopes to grow more in coming years.

I very much like these principles and goals. In fact, the Atlantic Review has also been linking to both sides of the aisle (and not just to both sides of the Atlantic. Some readers don't like it, but I will continue to link to both Davids Medienkritik and Dialog International, for instance. And I try to see both sides of an argument. Okay, enough navel-gazing and bragging. Of course, Atlantic Review continues as usual. I will cross-post a lot. Sometimes I will write a pointer on TMV and link to Atlantic Review or vice versa.

My first post at The Moderate Voice is online: Secretary Gates Is Not "Satisfied" with NATO. It's about Afghanistan, obviously. More specifically: About the NY Sun's wrong point on European policy, about Canada's frustration with the lack of European solidarity, about the "threat" (?) to move US troops from Kosovo to Afghanistan and about US Defense Secretary Gates' politeness. You are invited to translate his diplo speech into plain English. There are quite a few interesting comments from TMV readers. Some of my responses might sound familiar. ;-)

The first link in my TMV post goes to a Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty interview with Secretary Gates, which was conducted by Ulrich Speck. I am sure many Atlantic Review readers used read Ulrich's Kosmoblog and might be interested in what he is doing now.

ENDNOTE: The Moderate Voice has a lot of outstanding posts on the devasting California wildfires. Check it out.

"I'm completely fed up with Germany"

Part of a comment from our reader Jean:
At this point, I'm completely fed up w/ Germany - had to sit at a dinner where German generals declared the Iraq War lost, and then smirked about it.  This from a country that pays $5 million per German hostage, money which is then used to buy weaponry to kill US soldiers and Iraqis!
Indeed. That's bad! And it is not an excuse either that -- according to the US Government Accountability Office -- the Pentagon has lost track of about 190,000 AK-47 assault rifles and pistols given to Iraqi security forces in 2004 and 2005. And as of January 2005 nearly $9 billion of money spent on Iraqi reconstruction is unaccounted for and might have ended up in the hands of evil-doers. The difference of course is that -- according to unconfirmed media reports -- the German government deliberately gave money to kidnappers or to groups who bought the hostages from the kidnappers, while the US unintentionally lost money and arms. One is deliberate (and evil?) carelessness, the other unintentional (incompetent?) carelessness.

Swiss Right-Wing Party Wins

People who vote(d) for the Swiss People's Party (Schweizerische Volkspartei, SVP) probably consider it "civic" or simply conservative. But the international press (from the UK to South Africa to Israel to the U.S.) calls it what it is: "nationalist", "right-wing", "rightist", "far-right" or "anti-immigrant".

In national elections yesterday, the SVP received almost 29 % of all votes, gaining seven more seats in the Swiss parliament (according to projections). It has therewith established itself once more as the country's largest political group. The result came after an aggressive election campaign that many observers consider blatantly racist. One of the SVP's infamous, posters showed a black sheep being kicked from a Swiss flag by three white sheep; another one black hands grabbing Swiss passports. According to African News Switzerland The party was once ordered by a judge to remove a campaign video from its website: Footage had shown staged scenes of youth violence and pictures of foreigners juxtaposed with picture-postcard scenes of Switzerland, along with the message: “Heaven and Hell”. Continue reading "Swiss Right-Wing Party Wins"

Chancellor Merkel's Lack of Leadership on Afghanistan

The US, Britain, Canada, and the Netherlands provide most of the troops to fend off the insurgency in Afghanistan. Germany's engagement is quite limited and yet public support has fallen to new lows.

"It should be Merkel's job to explain why Germany has 3,300 troops based in Afghanistan. But she rarely does," writes Judy Dempsey in the International Herald Tribune (via Anglofritz):
[Merkel] has not given a single speech devoted to Afghanistan to the Bundestag, or Parliament. She missed an ideal chance last Friday during a parliamentary debate over renewing the mandates for the German troops based there. But she left the explanation to her not terribly persuasive defense minister, Franz-Josef Jung. And since taking office nearly two years ago, Merkel has traveled neither to Kabul nor to the comparatively peaceful north where most of the German troops are based. Now, under pressure from the opposition, she has finally announced travel plans. But so far, no date has been set. What is baffling is that her attitude is out of line with the rest of her foreign policy agenda.

Dempsey describes Afghanistan as Merkel's "big blind spot," because she has shown more leadership on other issues like Russia and China.

Ulf Gartzke, a visiting scholar at the BMW Center for German and European Studies at Georgetown University in Washington, argues in a similar direction in "German Lessons: The Afghan Conundrum" in The Globe and Mail.

Carl Robichaud asks a rhetorical question in Afghanistan Watch: "Last week Germany voted by a 2 to 1 margin to sustain the deployment of its 3,000 strong forces in Afghanistan--for now. But how sustainable is this mission when the public at large opposes the deployment by the same margin?"

Yep, we need "emancipated Atlanticists" who are willing to make and explain tough decisions. This requires more "foreign policy maturity," see Jan Techau's op-ed "Deutschland muss außenpolitisch erwachsen werden" in Deutschlandradio Kultur (in German, translation soon on Atlantic Community.)

German Solar House Wins Contest Sponsored by US Department of Energy

The Technical University Darmstadt won the first pize in the US Department of Energy's Solar Decathalon, beating out major US universities, writes Dialog International and quotes the jury:
The Architecture Jury said the house pushed the envelope on all levels and is the type of house they came to the Decathlon hoping to see. The Lighting Jury loved the way this house glows at night. The Engineering Jury gave this team an innovation score that was as high as you could go, and said nobody did the integration of the PV system any better.

Earlier this year, the Atlantic Review post Positive US Media Coverage of Environmentalism in Germany quoted the Rocky Mountain News: "Home importer turns to Europe for quality, speed and energy efficiency, not to mention looks."

RELATED: Anglofritz writes about green technology as well:
Germany sells the most climate friendly technology worldwide, thanks to the pioneering EEG law of the Schröder/Fischer government - now adopted by 47 other nations. It's said that the renewable will overtake the automobile industry in the next decade. And sure enough, the United States is in second position and already a strong competitor.

More Mosques => New Atlanticism?

Viola Herms Drath writes about some kind of new Atlanticism in The Washington Times (via James Joyner in Outside the Beltway):

The dawn of a New Alanticism comes as a welcome surprise. After years of benign neglect, European leaders who are energetic and emancipated Atlanticists in Germany, France and England are ready to shoulder new responsibilities outside their borders. Based on their appraisal of terrorist threats and the Middle East quagmire as immediate danger to world peace and Western civilization, these newly elected politicians are shifting political gears. Activated by the number of mosques rising on their soils, failing integration policies and the radicalization of young Muslims, leaders in the three major European nations promise, at long last, new geostrategic horizons benefiting partners on both sides of the Atlantic: a New Atlanticism - reviving the spirit of the West.

I am skeptical whether there will be that much more transatlantic cooperation and less disagreements on crucial security issues, but I like the author's use of the term "emancipated Atlanticists," which gives a realistic understanding of recent changes.

Though, I strongly disagree with Viola Herms Drath's assessment that that the increase in mosques has "activated" this spirit of Atlanticism in Germany, France and Britain. Perhaps the author hopes that (radical) Islam will serve as the new enemy that unites the West as the Soviet Union has done in the past. It's not gonna happen. A rising number of mosques in Europe will not convince any European government to send troops to Iraq or support air strikes on Iran or promise any other "new geostrategic horizons."

Europeans can learn a lot from Americans about how to integrate people with diverse backgrounds and religions, but that has nothing to do with Atlanticism.

Related Atlantic Review posts on the Eurabia myth: International Conference about the Collapse of Europe