"We had ping pong diplomacy with China, and now we may soon engage in soccer diplomacy with Iran. Reports out of Tehran indicate that the US Soccer Federation has inquired about the possibility of holding a friendly with Iran sometime in October and November," writes Democracyarsenal.
America's next ambassador to Germany might come from the Board of Directors of the US Soccer Foundation... Germans are certainly going to support soccer diplomacy with Iran.
Atlantic Review has written about Soccer in German-American Relations. Also see these posts about the world cup in Germany to understand the importance of soccer to world peace: Germany's National Holiday and the "Summer's Tale" Documentary, U.S. Soccer Captain Praises Party Atmosphere in Germany and State Department Uses the World Cup to Improve U.S. Image.
Who says Germans are not grateful to the United States anymore? Currently there is an architectural photo exhibition in Berlin featuring cultural buildings financed by the United States during the Cold War. The exhibition and website is called Geschenke der Amerikaner ("Gifts from the Americans"), which is in German, but includes a few good photos.
"U.N. sees progress for Afghanistan in 2009" is UPI's headline for an article by its correspondent Daniel Graeber.
It turns out, however, that a qualifier is missing in that headline. After all the article is based on a big "If" in a quote by Kai Eide, the U.N. special envoy to Afghanistan:
If we can manage to strengthen the positive work now under way, and implement what we have agreed on, if additional troops can bring the insurgency on the defensive and if we can hold elections that have the credibility required to be accepted by the population at large, then 2009 could well be a turning point,
That's a huge "if," isn't it? Have you seen bigger "ifs" recently? Are you optimistic of pessimistic regarding Afghanistan's future?
The Federal Republic of Germany turns sixty on May 23, 2009. Spiegel International has photos documenting Germany's rise out of the ashes of war.
What comes to your mind, when you look back at Germany's development and achievements of the last six decades? And what advice do you have for the difficult times ahead? What words of wisdom does the birthday kid deserve and need?
Related posts on Atlantic Review:
Historical Comparisons: Fritz Stern Publishes "Five Germanys I Have Known"
Historical Revisionism in Germany? and Two More Americans Accuse Germany of Historical Revisionism
Germans said to be more afraid to kill than to get killed, German Military Returns to Traditional Standing in German Society, and Germans to the Front!
The US embassies in Berlin, London, Brussels, and Paris still lack ambassadors. President Obama is taking his time to screen all candidates after the trouble with the nominations of various secretaries. It now seems that he would like to announce his choice for all four embassies prior to his visit to Germany and France on June 5-6, 2009.
"The Germany posting looks to be going to former investment banker Phil Murphy, national finance chairman of the Democratic National Committee, who's oft credited with turning around the party's fundraising operation, " says Washington Post columnist Al Kamen, but does not write much about Murphy. Spiegel (in German) has more information about the first (and positive) reactions from Germany to these "targeted leaks." Murphy used to work for Goldman Sachs in Frankfurt.
And Murphy is also on the Board of Directors of the US Soccer Foundation (HT: David). His knowledge of soccer will help him to win friends in Germany and improve German-American relations to unprecedented levels. At least, let's hope so.
When the Soviet Union cut off all land links into West Berlin in 1948, the United States, Britain and France launched the biggest airlift in history to keep 2.25 million residents from starving. 11 months later Stalin gave up. Last week Berliners celebrated the 60th anniversary of the end of the Berlin blockade.
According to the BBC:
Thousands of people, including dozens of American, British and French veterans, attended ceremonies at Berlin's recently closed Tempelhof Airport on Tuesday to pay tributes to those involved in the unprecedented effort. (...) Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit said. "We will never forget the victims who fell for the freedom of our city," he added. "You laid the cornerstone for today's trans-Atlantic relationship. It was a logistic, humanitarian masterpiece that is... burned in the memory of the city."
Related article on Atlantic Review: Famous Berlin Airlift base Rhein-Main is closed
"Since the Berlin Wall fell, the old GDR has been showered with money. Overall, some $2 trillion has been pumped in — the equivalent of about 4% of Germany's economic output every year," writes TIME Magazine and draws three lessons for the United States from Germany’s attempt to spend its way out of a major economic slump: What Germany got for Its $2 Trillion.
The Tapmag blog summarizes those three lessons and discusses other articles, which compare the economic policies of Germany and the United States, some of which where discussed on Atlantic Review as well.
Endnote: According to the New York Times Thriving Norway Provides an Economics Lesson as well.
Are Americans now more open to learn from other countries economic systems, incl. those "socialist" European economies?
"Desperate to rescue itself from disappointing performances in recent years, Germany is sending two Americans to sing and dance in the Eurovision Song Contest," writes my Fulbright buddy Jakob Comenetz for Reuters.
Three years ago, we already tried it our luck with an American music genre and cowboy hats: Germany Sends Country Band to Eurovision Song Contest