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"Rent an American" to Reduce Anti-Americanism

The Financial Times (HT: Pamela) writes about young Americans, who go to German high schools "to help reverse Germany's transformation from best friend of the US in Europe to a stronghold of anti-Americanism." The Atlantic Review wrote about this project in July: Frustrated by Anti-Americanism, US Exchange Students Try to Change German Attitudes.

The Financial Times article ends with an explanation of Anti-Americanism by Stephan Bierling, professor of international relations at the University of Regensburg:

As the Israeli psychoanalyst Zvi Rex once said, 'The Germans will never forgive the Jews for the Holocaust'. I say they will never forgive the US for the liberation. We never quite got used to being the bad guys. Many see the US invasion of Iraq as a licence to step out of that role and capture the moral high ground. Some of what is bubbling up today is very old indeed.
Endnote: You can also Rent a German.

WSJ: Russia and Jihadists Target America's "Giant Aircraft Carrier with Sausages"

Mark Helprin, a senior fellow at the Claremont Institute, is concerned about Germany's security. He describes Germany as the "soft underbelly of Europe," which presents a tempting target for Russia and the Jihadists.

Having been deeply humiliated in recent years, Russia is now "like Germany between the wars." Moscow is encouraged by European pacifisim and US failure in Iraq and views Germany as "the strategic gate to Western Europe," says Helprin.

And the Jihadists are interested in Germany, because it is according to Helprin the "richest target least defended," because Germany does not spend much on defense and lacks an independent expeditionary capability and nuclear weapons. Helprin assumes that nukes would deterr Jihadists... He also opines that NATO would not retaliate with nuclear weapons, if a member country was attacked by a nuclear weapon.

Germany, says Helprin, "sleeps and dreams unaware" of all theses threats. And the The US just views Germany as a "giant aircraft carrier with sausages." His entire post is available in the Wall Street Journal's Opinion Journal (HT: ROA and GM Roper). I find Helprin's comments on Russia more convincing than those on the "Jihadists."

"Germany's Iran Lobby"

Benjamin Weinthal writes about the German reception of the book "The Israel Lobby" by professors Walt and Mearsheimer. He compares the big interest in the power of the Israel lobby in the US with the lack of interest in the power of the Iran lobby in Germany.

Writing in the Jewish Press (via Achse des Guten) he asks a good question, but I disagree with his answer. Weinthal praises a journalist famous for his polemicism, who accuses his fellow Germans of wanting Israel to "disappear" so that they (we) are not reminded of Auschwitz anymore:

How does one explain this disconnect between the pathological obsession with dead Jews and the painful indifference toward the survivors of the Holocaust, their children and grandchildren, and Israel as an oasis of security for Jews? The German Jewish Journalist Henryk M. Broder remarked recently, during a panel discussion in the Jewish Community Center in Berlin, that the inaction of a large segment of German society is due to covert admiration for Iran, a kind of Schadenfreude (malicious joy). For the Iranians vow to carry out the Nazi plan of extermination. and Israel, as the permanent reminder of Auschwitz, with the concomitant emotions of guilt and shame for Germans, will disappear. A better social-psychological explanation has yet to surface to explain German indifference to the Iran Lobby.

What is This "Mystical Conception"

This is a guest blog post about the European Union written by Pamela, who monitors EU agricultural policy on behalf of U.S. agricultural interests and thereby became familiar with the political and philosophical underpinnings of the European Union. It would be great to have a debate about the issues raised by Pamela.

What is This "mystical conception?" I'm not referring to a theological tenant. I'm recalling Harold Macmillan's swoon over the Schuman Plan, which has evolved into what we know today as the European Union. It would be churlish to expect Macmillian to have foreseen the hydra the object of his admiration has become. But surely contemporary Europeans are cognizant, yes? No?

If 'yes', then I must ask why it has come to this. If 'no', then I must ask how it has come to this.

Over the past two years or so, I have solicited the opinions of Europeans I've encountered. The negative opinions closely track my own. The positive views of the EU were more illuminating for me. They exposed premises in my own thinking about Europe and forced me to recalibrate my mental 'ear'. In the early days of the conversations I had, it would have been quite reasonable to tell me "I know you think you know what I said, but that's not what I said".

The gulf between the cultural conceptions of 'nationalism' held by Europeans and Americans could hardly be wider. To Americans it simply means the primacy of a nation's self-interest. It is an amoral political construct. Yet when Europeans hear the word, they hear one loaded with a cacophony of voices crying 'aggression', 'destruction', 'racism'.

Without exception, when the abolition of the nation-state is used as a justification for the European Union, it is the European concept of 'nationalism' that is the underlying premise. Still, from the perspective of this admittedly conservative American, the 'soft power' posture toward its global neighbors that supporters of the EU tout as one of its primary virtues is concomitant with a 'soft totalitarianism' toward its citizens. Continue reading "What is This "Mystical Conception""

US Policy on Iran: Deterrence versus Pre-Emption

Fareed Zakaria and Norman Podhoretz debate on PBS whether Iran would be a rational nuclear power and what US policy should be: Deterrence or pre-emption? Zakaria is concerned about yet another US invasion of Muslim country, and made this interesting quote on deterrence:

It used to be that one had to explain deterrence to the Left; it has now become something the Right does not understand.

The transcript is available at The Australian and a video is posted below and available at Youtube. HT: Jeb Koogler, who also writes in Foreign Policy Watch that deterrence is not enough.

Germany's Dirty Cars

International Herald Tribune:

Cars produced by German manufacturers like Daimler and Volkswagen are getting dirtier even as those from French and Italian manufacturers like Peugeot and Fiat are getting cleaner. Of the major car producing countries in Europe, emissions of carbon dioxide from new cars sold by German automakers increased 0.6 percent in 2006, even as French and Italian car makers cut their emissions by an average 1.6 percent, according to the study published by Transport & Environment, a campaign group for sustainable transport based in Brussels. German carmakers "seem to be intent on building ever heavier, larger and more gas-guzzling cars that simply don't belong in the 21st century," said Jos Dings, a director of T&E.

Thanksgiving: More Americans Travel to Europe Despite the Weak Dollar


Western Europe, which is the fourth most popular travel destination for Americans, has increased its share of Thanksgiving bookings this year by 9.5 percent, according to Travelocity data. Eastern Europe, where the dollar goes a bit farther than in cities like Paris and London, saw a 24.6 percent surge in its share of bookings, Travelocity said. U.S. airlines are seeing similar trends in international travel for the 12-day Thanksgiving holiday rush.

US Forces May Stay Longer in Europe

AFP reports:
Two of the four US combat brigades left in Europe were supposed to move to US bases over the next year, but General Bantz Craddock, the commander of US forces in Europe, has recommended postponing the move by about a year. [Secretary of Defense] Gates "is inclined to embrace the concept of leaving two of them there for a time longer than originally anticipated," said Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman. Craddock had recommended the slowdown in withdrawing the troops, saying more forces were needed for "security theater engagement," Whitman added. The plan is seen as a "short term solution" to a troop crunch in Europe, but it also indicates the US military is having second thoughts about a two-year-old plan to scale back its presence in Europe.
Stars and Stripes:

[U.S. Army Europe commander Gen. David] McKiernan said two weeks ago at the Pentagon that he wanted to keep four combat brigades not two in Germany. Specifically, he wanted to keep the Schweinfurt, Germany-based 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division; the Baumholder, Germany-based 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division; the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team in Italy; and the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment from Vilseck, Germany. He cited a resurgent Russia, a potential for violence in Kosovo and unresolved energy issues near the Caspian Sea Basin as among very valid reasons to be forward-present in Europe.

McKiernan said he believed the Army should keep about 40,000 troops in Europe, down from 43,000 now stationed there. That's some 20,000 fewer than there were three years ago and some 16,000 more than the plan for Europe envisioned when it was announced in 2003. Gen. Bantz Craddock previously said that even with current troop strength it was difficult to fulfill European Command missions.

Commentary from Atlantic Review on this matter in the post: Reductions of US Troops in Europe Could Impede US Operations