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Carnival of German-American Relations, Second Edition

Welcome to our transatlantic dialogue! Excellent blog posts about various aspects of U.S.-German relations from both sides of the Atlantic (and the Pacific), in English and in German were submitted and are now introduced to you. A large variety of political opinions and perspectives and well-written arguments provide a lot of food for thought and controversial debates. After a careful selection we are presenting to you 30 of the more than forty submissions.
The posts deal with these topics:
1. American and German perceptions of each other
2. Anti-Americanism and Pro-Americanism
3. The German media coverage of the U.S.
4. "Hitler's Gift" to America and the Nazi Slur
5. German and Muslim Immigration
6. Europe is the empire, not the U.S.
7. More criticism of German policies concerning the U.S.
8. Optimistic Outlook on US-German relations

You don't have to read this entire carnival post at once. Bookmark this page and return anytime ;-) Okay, here we go:
American and German perceptions of each other

•  Dr. Demarche writes about the strong ties, the shared history and the similarities between the US and Germany, which outweigh the differences. The US has done so much for West-Germany during the Cold War and afterwards for the reunification. After attending the German-American Volksfest in 2004, Dr. D. was confronted in the subway with the wide-spread sentiment in Germany that the US has "become a too violent player on the world stage." Still, he believes that:
petty differences have blossomed and become major issues, on both sides of the Atlantic. I would venture to say that the average German has nothing against the average American, and vice versa. Elites on both sides of the ocean, fueled by, and at the same time fueling, the media propagate the idea that a vast gulf separates Americans and Europeans. (...) It is up to us, Germans and Americans, to look for the similarities and to recognize that the differences do not make us enemies or mean that we can not work together to solve common problems, but rather that those differences may hold the key to reaching viable solutions.

Berlin Airlift in 1948-49 (Photo Source: U.S. Air Forces in Europe)

•  Adger has the impression that the U.S. and the German government pretend to normalize transatlantic relations again, while the confrontation between German and U.S. citizens gets uglier. Germans and Americans call each other naïve fools and ignorant imperialists. The debate has become increasingly personal and less issue orientated on both sides. Differentiations are unpopular and the few Americans and Germans who can empathize with those on the other side of the Atlantic are insulted: Germans who say that they can relate to some US polices are called "imperialistic pigs" by the compatriots, while Americans who express sympathy for European attitudes are called "weasels" or "unpatriotic," which is synonymous to "anti-American" and – in sharp contrast to German customs -- one of the worst insults for an American, opines Adger very eloquently in his German blog Tapirherde. Google provides the English translation.
Google's translation is often quite awful, but the best machine translation we know of. If you can read some German, but need to look up a few words, then Leo will be of great service to you. LEO übersetzt auch englische Wörter ins Deutsche. Wir benutzen es ständig und können es wärmsten empfehlen.
•  Michael Meyn writes about the contradicting mindsets of Americans and Germans in Misunderestimated Germans. He blames the German MSM for the strained U.S.-German relations and expresses his hope in a more diverse online media. I think the "clashing mindsets" he is discussing is not just a confrontation between the German and the American mindset, but also between the liberal and the conservative mindset. Perhaps the clash is not only primarily national, but rather political. It just appears to be a national mindset confrontation, because there are more conservatives in the US than in Germany and more liberals in Germany than in the US. Does this thesis of mine make sense? (Our US carnival host Marc Schulman opines about a different point I made during the first carnival: "The center of gravity of German politics is significantly further to the left (liberal) side." Read his entire carnival introduction at American Future.)
Back to the Misunderestimated Germans: Michael says "It's almost impossible to find a person who doesn’t have anything bad to say about the President of the United States." While Bush supporters are a minority in Germany, there are many in the German blogosphere. Ulrike is a GOP-Germany member and a new blogger submitting an article of her's from 2004, expressing her wish that President Bush will govern four more years, please.
Anti-Americanism and Pro-Americanism
•   Swiss Blogger Greg Grabinski is soon publishing his paper "Anti-Americanism in Europe: a historic disease." Read a German summary in his blog A New European and/or this abstract from his upcoming paper:
Anti-Americanism in Europe is a sentiment that has existed since the creation of America itself. Since then, European thinkers have discussed and discredited America, often without a single visit to the country. They saw in America a degenerate nation with no culture and money as its only religion. These views were mostly born out of 19th Century Romanticism and remain today. Both, before, between and after the world wars, America was perceived as the great liberator, and simultaneously an empire with imperialistic intentions. During the Cold War, America was needed as protector, while despised as before especially true during the Vietnam War and by the socialists of '68 who saw in America nothing less then the imperialistic evil. After the fall of the Soviet empire, America remained the sole superpower on the globe. During this period, all the old clichés of America came back and Europe envied America's liberty to do whatever she liked - something the Europeans have lost. Today, the anti-Americans use such old prejudices rather more subtly, and sometimes not. The reactions to 9/11 have shown that the resentment is profound and that it reemerges even in America's hours of darkness.
•  Carsten Boesel writes about the importance and popularity of U.S.-German exchange programs. More US students than ever are studying in Germany this academic year. Carsten talked two students from Duke and NYU, who enjoy life in Berlin and have good personal relations to their guest families, but suffer from their constant criticism of US policies. Although Erica and Dave describe themselves as liberals, they are blamed and made to feel guilty for being American. The guest parents are educated, one guest mother has even lived in the US, but nevertheless they are prejudiced and don't seem to learn from the Americans they are hosting. Erica acknowledges, however, that their US friends don't suffer from this. Read Carsten's post in English or in German. His blog is called TransatlanTicker and focuses on studies, internships and further education in the US.
•  Olaf Petersen encountered prejudices, when he was in Washington D.C.: "I often was greeted Heil Hitler - we've bombed you, hardeeharhar! Not in the Pentagon but in restaurants and bars - some of the most disturbing experiences I was to make there." In Mexico, however, he was positively associated with Beckenbauer, the popular German soccer player. Moreover, Olaf points out that the U.S. has succeeded in denazifying Germany, so that Germans are extremely reluctant to go to war again. Don't blame us, when we don't support your wars, he seems to say in his Extrablog.
•  Why are the above mentioned guest families and many other Germans and Europeans so fond of criticizing the US? Kathy Krajco says it's because of
Europe's shame over the breath-taking brutality in the world wars and the great fall of its empires. Frankly, I wish Europeans would get off the guilt trip already. We are the principal victims of it. Delusions of superiority disable people so that they can't handle guilt and shame like honest people do. Instead they project it all -- correction: they project the semblance of it all -- off onto a scapegoat. In this case, us.
Kathy recommends in her blog At the Zoo that Europeans should get over their violent past and deal with the many current problems rather than being obsessed with the US.
•  In the meantime, perhaps Erica, Dave and other expats, who suffer from lectures about the US wrongdoings, should join "Americans Anonymous," founded by Erik Svane, who blogs at ¡No Pasarán! about what is "Behind the Façades in France":
"Hello, my name is Eric, and I'm an American."

"I used to be embarrassed to admit I carried a U.S. passport, and ashamed in turn to be embarrassed about that. These dark secrets led to feelings of guilt and to an evil circle from which I couldn't escape. That's when I discovered AA (Americans Anonymous). Thanks to this 12-step group, and to the fellowship of like-minded people, I have learned true humility.
Americans Anonymous is a funny, but also a serious and well-argued post full of advice how to deal with constant criticism from Europeans. For example Eric recommends to respond to popular criticism of the Iraq war and the death penalty by inquiring about the protest against the war in Congo (with much more casualties) or the much higher number of executions in China.
•  Karsten Dürotin believes that many Americans misunderstand the criticism: Most Germans are not Anti-American. Criticism of the US and big demonstrations against the Iraq war should rather be seen as a compliment. Most Germans like America, admire and import a lot from the US. Therefore Germans have a keen interest in U.S. policies. Most Germans consider Americans as friends, and believe that the U.S. will listen to them. This might be naïve, but that's how it is, Karsten opines. Germans, however, don't assume that Congo or North Korea would pay any attention to their criticism.  Read Karsten's German post in Liberale Stimme Online or read Google's English Translation.
•  Don't be afraid of Anti-Americanism, it's only business! And the bookstore at the Pentagon subway station offers the world's largest collection of Anti-American literature, writes Olaf Petersen in Extrablog. Google's English translation.

•  The contrast: Check out Marian Wirth's eloquent three part series about his Kafkaesque Transformation The day I woke as pro-American, Part I, Part II and Part III
The German media coverage of the U.S.
•  Davids Medienkritik has been analyzing and criticizing the German media coverage of the U.S. for nearly three years now. This blog by two Germans, one of them (Ray) holds U.S. citizenship as well, has been one of the pioneers of the German blogosphere and a big supporter of this carnival. In his in-depth analysis of the German public TV program "Der Weltspiegel," David concludes:
"Weltspiegel's" reports from the USA are marked by an overwhelmingly arrogant, critical, know-it-all posture of moral superiority that’s become routine for the German left since the Vietnam war. Pro-Bush Americans appear on "Weltspiegel" as naïve jerks who are paid tribute only if they turn critical of the war in Iraq. On the other hand, leftist Bush critics constantly get complaisant opportunities to present their positions.
You can read his post in English and in German.

•  Ray's contribution is Rushing to Judge America: A Blinding German Obsession:
A morbid obsession with American crimes, real and perceived, has replaced most authentic concern for international human rights. (...) It is not our intent at Davids Medienkritik to quell or discourage discussion on the legitimacy of Guantanamo as a means of dealing with stateless enemy combatants or the very real abuses at Abu Ghraib. The very opposite is true. (...) The central question is one of constructive versus destructive criticism. When we look out across the German media landscape over the past three to four years and beyond, we see far too much of the latter and far too little of the former. That has to change. If it doesn't, meaningful dialog will continue to grow increasingly difficult and the German-American partnership will continue to disintegrate.
•  Similarly, I have claimed in my submission Why is Abu Ghraib a cover story again, but not Darfur? that the German media coverage of international politics is focused on the U.S. (especially negative stories) and underreports the most awful humanitarian stories from around the world. 
•  Winds of Change starts with Ray's post and draws harsher conclusions:
[Wash Post Columnist and author] Anne Applebaum referred to the phenomenon as "parallel information universes." Which is apt, but really it's just the beginning. Read enough, and it's hard to escape the conclusion that a lot of the stuff in the German and European media goes beyond the merely insular or hypocritical - and rises very nearly to the level of organized hate. Which is not entirely surprising to some of us.

German pumps in action in New Orleans. Photo: THW (German Technical Relief Agency). Source and more info: The Quaker Economist.

"Hitler's Gift" to America and the Nazi Slur
•  Dialog International, an outstanding U.S. blog on "German-American Opinion: Politics and Culture" writes:
German influence on American political thought has never been greater. The ghosts of the Weimar Republic are haunting us still today. The amazing influx of artists, scientists and intellectuals from Germany from 1932 to 1945 was "Hitler's gift" to America.
David focuses on Leo Strauss and Hannah Arendt, who "represent the two poles of the ideological struggle that began in the Weimar Republic and which continues even today in America."

•  Indeterminacy, "an American living in Europe since the late 1980's", translates the work from the prominent Weimar Republic satirists and critic Kurt Tucholsky, "because not only was he uncannily accurate in predicting Germany's future, many of his works produce eerie undertones when held against the backdrop of contemporary America."
•  Done With Mirrors discusses the use of the "Nazi" insult and how American G.I.s identified with Germans the most of all the peoples they encountered in WWII:
The Allies had a policy of distinguishing between "good" and "bad" Germans. Our enemies usually were not "Germans," but "Nazis," or even "Hitler." But in the Pacific, it was "the Japs," or even "the Jap." Probably this was because of the Germans' nearness to us in race and culture. In the Pacific War, the good/bad dichotomy took place on the level of "Asian." The "good" Asians were the Chinese and the Filipinos -- on our side. (....) But there is something about the Germans' stagger into darkness in the 1930s that thoughtful Americans can take as a warning. It's particularly worth our while to study and learn that dreadful wrong turn, and how it happened. And maybe, by keeping the "Nazi" insult alive as the worst one in our cultural vocabulary, the partisan loudmouths are doing us a small favor.

•  Thought You'd Never Ask writes:
The more I learn about the problems of immigrant Muslims in western countries, the more similarities I see between their situation and the situation that existed among the communities of German immigrants here in the U.S. before the World Wars. The German immigrants too had to face the question of how far to assimilate in their new homeland, what traditions and customs and values to jettison (or to say goodbye to when circumstances stripped them away), and what to embrace (or at least tolerate with an uneasy truce).
•  GM Roper, who co-hosted our first carnival, is on the one hand concerned that Germans still do not take "the threat of Islamo-fascism" seriously and one other hand concerned that the German courts might ban the Quran, because a fringe group has "gone to the prosecutors of several states to hinder the dissemination of the Quran" according to Jyllands-Posten. George opines "Banning the Quran is far too close to the book burnings of the Nazi era in Germany, the novel Fahrenheit 451, and even the destruction of rock and roll records seen in this country not too many moons ago." IMHO his post Let Us Hope Germany Doesn't Go Down This Road Again demonstrates a lack of trust in Germany's democracy, but, please, make up your own mind: As with all introductions here: Check out the posts, form you own opinion and let the authors know what you think. All carnival participants are open-minded fellows, who appreciate feedback and enjoy a tough, honest debate.
•  One more post concerning an immigration issue: Pigilito quotes the Atlantic Review on brain drain from Germany to the US and adds that "the benefit to the US has been calculated to be around $50 billion." (Got a source for that number? Another question from me: Shouldn't the US be grateful that Germany sends you top-notch graduates? Isn't that much more significant than any contribution to the Iraq war would have been? ;-)) 
Europe is the empire, not the U.S.
•  Alan Posener, in charge of the editorial page at the Welt am Sonntag newspaper and the Apocalypso Blogger, submitted his essay "The Empire of Europe." Although the U.S. is often called an empire, it is really the European Union, which is following an imperial path in the Balkans and elsewhere, he argues: 
One only has to compare the conduct of the United States in Iraq, which it defeated militarily and occupied, with that of the European Union toward its nominally independent neighbor Turkey. The Americans will withdraw from Iraq as soon as the country is halfway capable of providing security for its citizens. They will leave behind a relatively (compared to other Arab states) democratic, federal Islamic republic. It certainly is not a republic in the United States' own image – and its future remains open. Turkey, by contrast, will be working through the 80,000 pages of the acquis communautaire, which regulates all aspects of political, legal, and economic activity in the European Union. The Turks will have to prove that they have implemented these regulations, even before the country joins the European Union! The countries formerly under Russian domination had to achieve the same feat of homogenization.
Alan provides in Apocalypso both a German version and an English version.

•  Speaking of the European Union's acquis communautaire: Clarsonimus, the "amnesic American lost in Berlin," writes about the German bureaucracy as one of his favorite Herrschaftsformen (ways of being ruled). Empire, monarchy, aristocracy, autocracy... forget it, it's bureaucracy! Fortunately bureaucracy is forbidden by law in the US, he says. ;-))
More criticism of German policies concerning the U.S.
•  Knickerbocker News is angry that a German court released a convicted Hezbollah highjacker who murdered U.S. Navy diver Robert Dean Stethem in Beirut in 1985 and was in a German jail for 19 years: "The USA has been trying to persuade Germany to release him to US custody ever since. Germany has not complied, and now they have let him free."
•  Fred Fry International asks Whose Side is Germany On?:
Germany is supposed to be our ally, but there seems to be nothing in their recent actions to prove that this is true. In fact, one can say that Germany is actively working against the US, on many fronts.
•  Kuch mentions the assistance Germany's Intelligence Agency provided to the Iraq war, but would like to see A Little Even-handedness.
Optimistic Outlook on US-German relations
•  George A. Pieler and Jens F. Laurson at TCS Daily are optimistic about Germany under Chancellor Merkel's leadership and looks forward to improved transatlantic relations:
In Washington she broke new ground, or rather re-conquered ground abandoned by the blustery Gerhard Schröder. Surely but subtly Merkel is nudging Berlin’s foreign policy a bit closer to the US-UK Atlantic Alliance, delicately relaxing links with the Franco-Russian entente that so entrances Schröder. The question is: can she manage these power relations to strengthen US-German relations without weakening Germany’s role in Europe. If history offers any guidance, the answer is yes. Unlike her predecessor but much like her former mentor, Helmut Kohl, Merkel has a solid grasp of the role Germany has played in global affairs since Adenauer. Germany has succeeded by ‘tipping the scales’ at crucial moments ("Zünglein an der Waage").
•  Flex Blue is optimistic about US-German relations, convinced that "Americans need the cooperation and friendship of Europeans, and vice versa" and believes that Chancellor Merkel and President Bush understand this basic need and share other perceptions as well. "Both leaders appear to recognize that the common adversary -- Islamic jihadists -- are a relatively small subset of the Muslim world."
•  Bruce Miller is more skeptical:
I'm sure Merkel would like to repair relations with the US.  But will the Bush administration let her? It's hard to see how that's gone very far at this point.  If anything, the disputes over torture and CIA kidnapping have raised even more problems for European governments, including Germany, to cooperate with the US on counterterrorism work. And while the Bush and his senior officials may be less personally resentful of Merkel than of Schröder, the foreign minister is a Social Democrat in her Grand Coalition government. And other than atmospherics, it's not clear to me that Merkel is breaking with the previous government's policies in any significant way, so far, including relations with America.  Joschka Fischer, the Green foreign minister in Schröder's government, was actually considered to be one of the most "pro-American" of the European foreign ministers.
Last but not least
•  We received an interesting post from as far away as Japan: Global American Discourse submitted Iran Review: America, Europe, and Japan at Crossroads to Deal With Nuclear Theocracy.

There is even more!
Have a look at the different take on these posts, the different introductions and a slightly different selections of the more than forty submissions: Check out Statler & Waldorf's carnival post in German (or Google's English translation) as well as American Future's carnival post in the United States.

You can access all 40+ submitted posts and future submissions in our Carnival Submissions Blog. This blog is permanent and accepts submissions for the next carnival in three months. Just send a trackback and your post will be listed. The German and the American host of the next carnival will pick the best submissions and present them on their blogs on June 11th.  

Continue to submit posts!
We strongly encourage you to submit good posts on US-German whenever you write them. Don't wait till June. Thanks to the many blogs who display the carnival logo in their sidebar and link to the Carnival Submissions Blog, the previous submissions have been read by many readers prior to this carnival.  Please keep the Carnival logo on your blogs so that there is a constant stream of visitors checking out the latest posts on transatlantic relations. Here is the HTML code for the big carnival logo and for the small carnival logo.

Thank you!
Thank you, Jim, for designing the logo. Jim Bass works for Bassworks and blogs for the Attack Machine.

"Thank you!" to all carnival participants and the many bloggers who have promoted this carnival in their blogs and continue to do so!  

I think we are improving the transatlantic dialogue and the ties between the German and the U.S. blogosphere. Keep up the good work. 


GM's Corner on : German-American Relations Blog Carnival is UP!

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Joerg Wolf and I established the German American Relations Blog Carnival in December 2005, and, if I may add, it was quite successful. This quarter, the carnival is hosted by two more terrific blogs (With Atlantic Review providing assistance as well). English language entries are at American Future and have a terrific bunch of entries all well worth reading...

Democracy Project on : Interesting Stuff # 23

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Moscow's spies are at it again, officials say German State Elections Strengthen Merkel The empire of Europe (An eye-opener: Thanks to Atlantic Review's invaluable Carnival of German-American Relations collection of blog posts.) In Iraq and Israel, The Fix Is In...

Winds of Change.NET on : German-American Relations: The Blogs Discuss

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Organized by Atlantic ReviewWant this badge? The Carnival of German-American Relations went well, with 30 International and German bloggers particiating. Including Winds of Change.NET's "The German Question: Darfur, Diplomacy & the European Media," which noted...

Soldiers' Angels Germany on : Blog Carnival on German-American Relations

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I'm late on this, but wanted to make sure you checked out the second edition of the Blog Carnival on German-American Relations. There were over 40 submissions from German and American bloggers, and the three blog carnival hosts have presented selections in their carnival coverage.

My Newz 'n Ideas on : United States-German Carnival #2 3/26/2006

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Joerg has done it again, only this time there are more people particating. It is wonderful! Great job, everyone. Even those with whom I disagree. This is a better way to discuss our differences. I encourage everyone to take the time to read all of the posts.


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Olaf Petersen on :

Congratulations for this blog carnival! I think this is a break through for the German blogosphere! And, personally, thank you for the link to Basswork.

GM Roper on :

Joerg, you have done a terrific job of introductions and commentary. Well done my friend, well done!

PacRim Jim on :

Too late. Many Americans here in California no longer care about Europe in general and Europe and France in particular. In fact, they positively detest them. One request: When the Muslims take over in Europe and you Europeans flee, stay away from America. We don't need you and don't want you.

Rosemary on :

Dear PacRim Jim, I understand your anger and frustration. Do you think it is healthy to say, "Don't bother talking to us to repair relations" instead of engaging in conservation? I live in California, and I am a conservative. I believe what Joerg is doing is very brave and admirable. He is reaching out not only to America, but to his own friends in Germany. This is risky for him. You could at least write an article for the next carnival, instead of condemning him for trying. ;)

Fuchur on :

PacRimJim, thanks for taking the time to tell us that you really don´t care about the subject of this blog. Now, hop along, and find yourself another blog that totally does not interest you, will ya?

Thomas on :

@ PocemonJim, Get real! Our immigration problems are nothing compared with yours in California. Half a million demonstrated in Los Angeles in support of basically legalizing illegal immigration. Illegal immigration isn't illegal when you don't enforce the law and don't do anything else either. If we would tolerate illegal immigration as much as you do, you right-wingers would talk about appeasement. Sort out your own stuff and learn Spanish! Because the Hispanics are taking over California soon. Get real.

Rosemary on :

So many wonderful articles! I am going to busy for quite a while, I can tell. lol. Great job, everyone. When is the next one? Have you given thought to my suggestion of having one every week? ;)

stehpinkeln on :

PacRim Jim has about half a point. You would be hard put to find many Americans that still acknowledge a tie to the 'old country'. American attention is shifting toward the Pacific Rim. That is understandable, since that is where America's future lies. Europe and any sort of special relationship is in the past. Let me buthcher an old clich'e; 'Those who live in the past are doomed to repeat it.' There is a major difference between the immigration problems of Europe and America. Religion. There is a host of minor differences also, but this isn't the place and I lack the time. My interest in Europe is historical. That is in part because I don't think Europe has a future. Europeans obviously agree with me, as demonstrated by the birth rates. When a Civilization will not protect itself, It's because that Civilization feels it isn't worth protecting. The USA should have withdrawn from NATO, the day after the French convienced the Turks to reject passage of the 4ID. 100% of the problems in Iraq are due to Europe not backing the USA. With European backing, Saddam would have gone quietly into exile in Southern France and that would have been that. So when you get offered the cresent or the sword. Don't bother looking for a place to hide in America.

Jorg on :

On the one hand you say we are "the past" i.e. unimportant. On the other hand you say Germany's and France's lack of support for your Iraq war is 100% responsible for the problems in Iraq, thus we are influential after all. What is it? Are we important or not? Regarding the Pacific Rim: You got much more enemies than friends there: China, North Korea, fundamentalists in Indonesia etc. Does Japan (ageing population as well) have any combat troops in Iraq or Afghanistan?? Poland has more troops in Iraq than Australia. Tiny, poor Romania has more troops in Iraq than big, wealthy Japan. Italy has nearly as many as South Korea. Denmark has more than Fiji and all your other dear allies in the Pacific. [url][/url] And that was just Iraq. You wanna look up numbers for Afghanistan?

David on :

Kudos again, Joerg, for an excellent carnival. I have to say, however, that I find the crude anti-European tone of some of the posts disturbing. German readers may get the impression that Americans are seething with anger at Germany for failing to support Bush's Iraq War. I can assure them that this is not the case: the war is extremely unpopular. If anything, most Americans now regret we did not listen to our traditional allies in Europe before making the unilateral plunge into disaster.

Jorg on :

Thank you, David. I will have to think about that impression. Re the Iraq war: Even in winter and spring 2003 many Americans were against the Iraq war. Many Americans are angry at Europe for our media coverage of US and I empathize with them. Other Americans are angry because the majority of European countries (and most European citizens) did not support the Iraq. I do NOT empathize with them at all. And in both cases, I sometimes don't like the tone or the conclusions they draw. P.S.: Are there many liberal Americans who complain about our media coverage of the US? I am asking because often our media coverage is not just biased against the Bush administration but Americans in general.

Shah Alexander on :

An interesting post from as far away as Japan? Thank you. I hope this carnival will develop furthermore. The future of world depends on successful alliance of the US, Europe, and Japan.

stehpinkeln on :

Translation problem. Why is the past unimportant? I don't think so and I don't see where my post would have you think I do. Neither did I say that Europe Lacks influence. What I said was Europe is fading fast and America needs to look to the future, which is on the Rim, with the Rim nations. It is factual that a chain is no stronger then it's weakest link. From there I can argue that it is the weakest link that is the most influential. It's much better from the US POV to have opponents that are in direct and open conflict then profess alliance while positioning us for the ol' stab in the back manuver. How do you say that in French? "Ah! My Friend the Ami." Nothing on the Rim that cannot be negoiated. How do you negoiate with someone who claims friendship while looking to do you wrong? Negoiation REQUIRES TRUST, even if that trust is of the basic 'they will do what is in their best interest' varitey. Or as Ronnie would say 'Trust but varify' I tend to take the Rumsfield view of EUrope. There is OLD Europe, which consists of former allies and new Europe which consists of former Warsaw Pact Nations. I'm not sure why Europeans see themselves as one, since obviously they aren't. If put to the vote, I suspect that most 'europeans' would NOT vote for the EU. Enough didn't last time to keep it from happening, and that was after the pols carefully avoided a vote in nations that thought would reject the Constitution. France is between a rock and a Hard place. To give the rioters what they want will require either France's bankruptcy or a massive influx of cold hard cash. Which nations comes to mind when one thinks of cold hard cash (CHC) in copious amounts? The same nation that France stabbed in the back not so long ago. So the only place France can turn to for CHC is Europe. Does the rest of Europe, Old And New, feel like supporting the French welfare program? Does Germany? Shah Alex is correct. The question is just what is meant by the word 'alliance'? I would not use that word to describe a football team where the players are fighting over the ball, instead of passing it. Considering that this oh so poorly named War on Terror will last the rest of this century at least, we (The West) need to sit down and decide who will play striker, who plays the half and who is in goal. The sooner we do this the sooner the War will be won and the sonner we can all go back to squabbling over import quotas and Farm support payments. If we don't, then there will be no imports or farms to squabble over. BTW, why don't you guys start a name the war contest? PRESIDENT Bush made a wrong mistake on that one.

Thomas on :

PRESIDENT? Capital letters for the fearless leader? Wow. That guy made more severe mistakes than any other president. He's a disaster for America. One day even Bush cultists like you will realize that. It will be fun to confront you in ten years with all the nonsense you are writing now. I wonder what your excuse will be then. Surely, you will blame it on the MSM, which you CHOSE not to read any more and which you CHOSE to replace by reading rightwing blogs. I know you want poodles rather than allies. There are less and less countries willing to be your poodle, though. Get used to it. It's not Europe, but the U.S. that is the empire! And go to the doctor to treat your obsession with France. If you idiots don't like NATO or the UN, go and tell your politicians to pull out, but stop complaining about them. Find out the hard way how how good that will be for you. Good luck fighting your problems alone.

Callimachus on :

Great work; congratulations to all involved in this effort. We can't spend too much time talking to one another and listening to one another.

stehpinkeln on :

Thomas, why the vitriol? Should I respond in kind? I won't, one of us needs to act adult. Mistakes, yes. To err is human, to foregive is not part of the Socialist program. Diaster, no. I am not a Bush cultist, and I put president in caps so as to get the BDS victums out of the undergrowth right off. Nothing gets someone with Bush Derangement Syndrome frothing faster then the semi-subtle reminder that he is, indeed, the Legitimate PRESIDENT of the USA. I wanted to vote for Libberman in '04, but the dumb donks ran scary kerry instead. Oh well, far be it from me to tell the moonbats how to organize their belfry. Any American that was president on '01 was going to respond to the WTC attack with some sort of military action. Even Saint Clinton would have bombed something. An asprin factory, perhaps, or maybe sunk a fishing dhow in the red sea. Something ineffectual, you can be sure. As far as the USA withdrawing from the UN and NATO leaving America alone, so? What would change from the way it is now? Are you suggesting that those nations which are helping the US would stop? I think not, since those nations are aiding the US because it is in their interest to do so, not out of fidelity to the UN. As far as NATO goes, ONLY the Brits and the Italians of old europe ARE helping. And that is begrudgingly . The rest have choosen to ignore their treaty obligations. So why should the USA remain part of a treaty relationship when other parties will not honor their obligations under that treaty? Bloc treaties were da bomb during the last century when power blocks were popular in diplomatic circles. I hate to break it to yaw'll, but the USA is a power block all by itself. What the left and our euro budddies fail to understand is that the WoT is directed at Tyranny, not terror directly. It is an indirect approach, so those that lack the mental agility to eschew frontal assaults have trouble understanding it. Terrorism is a weapon, one that typically is used by despots, although in extreme circumstances, democracies will use it also. When I use the word terrorism, I am speaking about TARGETING what the Geneva Conventions classify as non-combatants. America is a martial nation, having fought more wars then any other nation since it's creation. I think it is pure ignorance that causes others to think we are weak and cowardly. Lazy is a better word. America doesn't so much fear war as thinking that mostlty war isn't worth the trouble. Guys like Osama, Saddam (and since it's time to end this thread) Tojo and Hitler mistake that laziness for weakness. No matter who the president was, Iraq would have been invaded. The Main enemy is Iran and Iran has to have regime change also. In oder to affect regime change on Iran, it is a military neccessity that Iraq be held first. If England had fallen in 1940, it would have been a requirement that England be liberated before the Continent was invaded. Logistics, you know. Iraq fills the same place in the military scheme that England did in WW2. A logistics, staging and air base. The homocide bombimg campiagn being carried out by the Iranians is the Middle eastern version of the Blitz. A point I was trying to make and failed to do so a couple of posts ago; "Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or the present are certain to miss the future." -John F. Kennedy (JFK), Speech, Frankfurt, 25 June 1963.

Fuchur on :

[i]As far as NATO goes, ONLY the Brits and the Italians of old europe ARE helping ... The rest have choosen to ignore their treaty obligations. [/i] I really don´t know what you´re talking about. What kind of treaty obligations did Germany break, for example? There were several small Nato missions related to the Iraq war (Awacs for Turkey; instructing Iraqi soldiers; Fuchs search tanks in Kuwait(?)), and Germany definitely fulfilled those. In case you were referring to the Coalition of the Willing: [url=]check again[/url].

Thomas on :

Americans believe that there is a treaty obligation for all European countries to do whatever the US says.

Thomas on :

1. Your so-called war on terrorism has increased terrorism, because you make so many stupid mistakes. 2. If you don't like us, leave NATO rather than complaining 24/7 3. Yes, you are weak. You will give up and pull out of Iraq soon. You liberated Iraq from Saddam and hand over Iraq to some guys who are as bad as Saddam. You have lost and given up in Vietnam in the 70s, in Lebanon in the 80s and in Somalia in the 90s. This decade you will lose and give up in Iraq. 4. On Iran: Stop dreaming, you just don't have the capability for regime change. Your army has been wasted in Iraq. China, North Korea, Iran and Osama appreciate your Iraq adventure, because you have been wasting your ressources. The housing bubble will burst soon. Your deficit spending will haunt you. And peng!, another great power has fallen. Byebye, empire.

stehpinkeln on :

Evidence? America produces 46% of the worlds GDP, last I looked. If you think that is the result of the housing bubble, then there is no point in talking with you. And those resources are being put to the best possible use, fighting a war on someone elses soil. A lesson the Europeans would do well to learn. A few points on your dire prediction of doom regarding the US economy. If the USA economy sneezes, the world's economy catches a cold. The acutal value of America's economy isn't as important as it's position relative the the rest of the worlds. As long as we stay above that 30% mark, we will be fine. Besides, the economic future lies in nano-tech, genetics and low temperature physics. All sorts of marketable devices will spin-off from that research. Who is doing it? American universities, in co-operation with certain allies (Austrailia and Japan). "The Future's so bright, I got to wear shades" AS far as treaty obligations goes, it's called the North Alantic Treaty Orginazation. The Members pledged to aid one another when one party is attacked. The response of 'old europe' to what was undeniably an attack on America is the equalavent of the US sending 1 cargo airplane to Europe if the Soviets had come crashing thru Germany in 1976. ( I choose that date because they would have won, no problemo. They didn't do it because they weren't sure if we would nuke them or not). After the weather breaks in Europe and it gets warm enough for some street fighting, the 'rioters' will take up their kalsahnakovs and RPG's and get serious. Since the French and German military isn't trained for urban combat, they only way theu will be able to defeat half a million Islamic Jihad revolutionaries in the streets of Europe's major cities is with the use of heavy weapons. So the politicians will have the choice of surrender, or killing hundreds of times the numbers of people the US has killed in Iraq and destroying their cities in the process. They will turn once again to the USA, which does have the trained troops and special weapons needed to fight Urban battles. It will interesting to see what happens then. Will America decide that this is strictly an internal affair and therefore not covered under NATO? Or will we save your sorry asses one more time?

Jorg on :

"The Members pledged to aid one another when one party is attacked." NATO declared on 9/11 or 9/12 that the alliance was attacked and offered help, but the US refused. "The response of 'old europe' to what was undeniably an attack on America is the equalavent of the US sending 1 cargo airplane to Europe if the Soviets had come crashing thru Germany in 1976." Not true. You don't know anyting about what we have done in Afghanistan, it seems. Why are you so afraid of Muslim immigrants? Where do you get your news about Europe from?

joe on :

Jorg, I happen to know a lot about what NATO has done and not done in Afghanistan. Discounting the British, it is not very much. Until most recently, NATO's activity there was much along the line of KFOR. NATO has not been conducting combat operations. I fully realize we can disagree on the point of contribution. For many nations in NATO it is a lot because it is an out of sector mission. Equally what NATO is doing is important because we are in a nation building excerise. This is on going while there are combat operations in other parts of the nation. Tricky at best. Hopefully NATO will remain engaged while this is on going. NATO is a much better option than the UN. We need look no further than KFOR to validate this point.

Jorg on :

What is the basis for your conclusion "I happen to know a lot about what NATO has done and not done in Afghanistan. Discounting the British, it is not very much." Please present some evidence why Britain is the only NATO country that has done something significant. I am convinced Germany's contribution to NATO's mission in Afghanistan is more significant than the British. Since you start this. You made the claim "Discounting the British...", please back it up. What NATO is doing is very important, because combat operations alone do not lead to a stable country and do not provide alternatives to the opium production. Have a look at my earlier comments about the contributions from European versus Pacific allies of the US. There is a repetition here. Some conservative EU critical American commentators claim that Europe does not help the US much and the Pacific countries become more important. Then I present some contrary evidence and they are quiet all of a sudden... So this time, I suggest you look for evidence to back up your thesis.

joe on :

Jorg, LOL I can see you are going to force me to make a contribution to the next carnival. I say this because to reply to you would require much more than a short comment. As we had discussed before my inability to find a topic, has precluded me from participating more fully. You have given me one. Right now it is a bit broad – NATO, Europe and the US. I shall try to refine it a bit. When I do, I shall run it by you to see where improvements can be made and if it should be more focused. I think either by design or accident you have stumbled into a critical issue, which lies at the heart of the trans-Atlantic relationship, both current and into the future. That issue is really about the future of NATO and how NATO will be defined. Once this happens, it will become the foundation for mutual relationships going forward, whatever those relationships might be.

Jorg on :

Great, Joe. I look forward to read your carnival contribution. You got plenty of time till June. Regarding Germany, Britain and NATO in Afghanistan, I think it is pretty simple. Just write down what those countries have been doing in Afghanistan and then tell me if you still stand by your statement "Discounting the British, it is not very much" what NATO has been doing.

joe on :

Jorg, I would like to regress a moment to your comment about the assistance offered the US by NATO after 9/11 and the rejection of such help by the US. An assessment by the US of what NATO could provide in the way of combat capability was revealed during the initial operations in the Balkans. Due to a failure of most NATO nations to invest in defense capability the US was unable at that time to conduct combat operations with most of its allies. This unfortunate situation had not improved when the Afghan operation was undertaken nor has it improved since. It should be easy for you to come to this same conclusion by doing a very basic analysis of your own defense budget over time. Today only 6 of the 25 nations of NATO spend 2% of their GDP on defense, even though this is the agreed upon level. Just as important or maybe even more important is how these declining defense funds are being spent. Here is an assessment by someone you might know. General (Ret.) Klaus Naumann, former Chairman of NATOs Military Committee and Chief of Staff German Federal Armed Forces: "Europe spends 41% of what America does, and in per capita terms, Europe spends 25% of what each American citizen is required to spend for defence. The issue is not to spend more, but to spend it in a way that produces real power projection capabilities." “For the European NATO countries it is intolerable to spend 61% what the US spends but only achieve 10% of the US power projection capacity. The issue is not to spend more but to spend in a way that produces real European power projection capabilities.” What has been lost in NATO is interoperability and an agreed upon enemy. Efforts to establish the NATO Rapid Reaction Force is an effort to correct the issue of interoperability. The question of an agreed upon enemy lies at the heart of the future of NATO and as such at the heart of trans-Atlantic relationships. The US war plan in Afghanistan called for the use of special operation forces and air power. In fact, the dislodgement of most of the Taliban was done with less 2600 personnel on the ground and at a cost of 70 million dollars directly spend in Afghanistan. (This discounts of course the air war costs.) NATO as an organization does not and did not have these capabilities to conduct such a campaign. Going forward to now, I believe I acknowledge that what NATO is doing is important. It is part of military stability operations. These are a follow on to combat operations and occur after every war. Where I think there is disagreement is. The Europeans (citizens, M$M, and political leaders) view these as more important than they are and Americans (citizens) view them as much less important. Both of these assessments are not accurate. To successful complete the mission requires both. It also requires a long-term commitment. One only needs to look at the Balkans to see this and from the very beginning this was a much less hostile Area of Operations. Equally there is still combat operations on going in parts of Afghanistan. Until most recently, NATO was not participating in these operations. In fact, today only Britain, Canada, and The Netherlands are. What the US has relearned and NATO is learning, is combat operations and stability operations are part of the same overall effort. Yet forces cannot be deployed under the concept they will conduct only one of these.

stehpinkeln on :

I'm not afraid of Muslim immigrants, you should be. Most of my information regarding European trends comes from Europeans I correspond with. I have been an active netizen since 1991. Over the years I have developed several 'pen pals' in Europe. We trade opinions on current events. The Converstions are Media driven, since one of us will be intrigued by a news article and then ask about it. Most I meet thru the old UCal-Berkley 'On War' Forum. My Belgium buddy I meet while I was stationed at NATO HQ back in the 70's. He is the one who told me about rumors of Arms Caches in the Mosques of France and the Low Countries. One of my German pen pals said there was a one line (local?) news item about a tractor-trailer full of small arms being siezed by the German police. Local, NOT the state anti-terrorist guys. I asked my Czech and Polish penpals to let me know if they hear of anything of that sort in their neck-o-the-woods. Europe DOES NOT have a free press as Americans understand it, so depending on the AFP or it's ilk is dangerous. For help to be help it has to be effective. I don't consider a back room deal to prevent the US Army from using Turkey as a staging area for a pincers movement into Iraq helpful. Nor building reactors for Iran, mush less providing the technicians to run them. If Germany wants to help, why don't the germans provide targeting data for the US Air Force? Iran has gone the DPRK route and moved it's nuclear program underground. Those below ground sites were built by German firms. The flaw in the underground approach is that there has to de some way to get things underground and then bring things back to the surface. Those entrances and exits can be blocked/destroyed if they can be found. Most can be located thru arial survalliance, but most isn't good enough. The German Construction companies that built them KNOW where they are. So instead of sending de-con units to Kuwait, which has never been attacked by CBW and never will be attacked by CBW, why not do something effective? Afghanistan was a Clinton type manuver. It felt good and the media got a lot of sound bites, but it acomplished almost nothing in the WoT. It would be like the Allies invading the Channel islands instead of Normandy in '44. The Center of Gravity of the enemy is Iran. Then the KSA. The KSA can be negoiated with. Saudies are basicly businessmen and pander to the fanatics among them to stave off their own revolution. They are rounding up and killing the fanatics, which is what they should have been doing all along. Iran will not negoiate. They are not susceptible to normal diplomatic pressure and they look forward to death, since it a release for an otherwise miserable existance. The Only Pressure point the West has on the Mad Mullahs is that they Fear failure. They are on a mission from god, and failing that mission is the worst thing that can happen to them. So the best way to buy time is for the Germans to disclose the locations of the entrances for the underground nuclear weapons sites. As Publically as possible. I'm talking Maps with GPS coordinates and blulines of the entrances. The Mad Mullahs will understand that ALLAH (PBUH) will see having nukes, but not being able to use them because they are trapped in a cave 400 meters under a mountain, as failure. It will set back their program for years while they dig new hidy holes. Meanwhile the main requirement for any sort of sucessful military action against Iran is a Logistics base nearby. Iraq is not ideal, but it's the best of the bunch.

Jorg on :

Joe and Stehpinkeln, you bring up many new issues. I agree to a large extend with many of the new issues. The original debate, however, was that one of you said that we violated our NATO obligations. I said that we offered help after 9/11. That was our treaty obligation. Our military is not the best, but we could have easily chased away the Taleban. The US, however, did not want our help. You prefered to go alone. The result was that Bin Laden slipped away in Tora Bora... If NATO had been involved you would have had more reliable troops on the ground rather than some Afghan warlords, i.e. the chances of catching bin Laden would have been bigger. As far as I know NATO members are not obliged to spend a certain percentage of GDP on defence. You accused us of violating our treaty obligations, so please state which paragraph of the treaty we violated. Joe, I am confused by your latest comment. Do you still stand by your statement "Discounting the British, it is not very much" what NATO has been doing in Afghanistan.

joe on :

Jorg, Yes I do stand by that. It is going to be the topic I will write about. But in a much broader sense. An I am a bit disappointed in your observations about both what NATO can and cannot do as well as what happened and did not happen at Bora Bora. But that can wait. What I would be more interesting in knowing from you is, how important or not important is NATO to the trans-Atlantic relationship. I am inclined to believe it is the single most important element, trumphing all others. I would be interested in your views on both NATO's importance as well as my inclination. Thanks

Jorg on :

What are you disappointed with? I said with NATO forces in Afghanistan in 2001, there would have been a higher chance of catching Bin Laden. Several highranking US military officers mentioned mistakes in Tora Bora and other places. I don't understand why you prefered to rely on shady war lords rather than NATO partners. The war lords knew the terrain, thus using them is good, but relying on them is not. Your question is more difficult to answer in a short comment than my question to you was ;-) I agree, NATO is the single most important element. NATO is primarily a military organization, but the Transatlantic relationship is not limited to the military.

joe on :

Jorg, LOL Gotta you *g* I believe NATO is more political than military. It has been for some time. The change in this direction has only been greater since the fall of the Wall. To answer your question about preference of how to conduct this particular operation would again require a very lenghty reply. I go back to what your General said. It really is about power projection. NATO is very limited in this. It is almost non existant without the US. This is a real stumbling block for anything that the EU outside of NATO might want to do. Equally it is not easy even with US support. I think you can see this with all the talk about deployments to the Congo. I honestly think the US had there have been the same option in Iraq as was in Afghanstan would have taken it. Since this option did not exist it had to use conventional forces. There is another group of high ranking officals who believe had you deployed a full division as a blocking force the results might very well have been the same. The problem with either of these was the terrian and movement. Some things are difficult to overcome and this was one of them. You also had the wild card of the Paks not being just sure where they were aligned in all of this at that point in time.

Jorg on :

You got me? Again, what are you disappointed with? What political stuff is NATO doing? There is a "mediterranean dialogue" with some Arab countries that is is responsible for dead trees and hot air. What else? I am against the Congo mission. I think our military should protect us rather than secure elections in far away countries. I think it is justified to send soldiers in harms way, if the mission is in the national interest, has a clear objective, and is achievable. I don't see that in Congo. German military is overstretched on the Balkans and Afghanistan and Enduring Freedom and Caucasus etc. I have read that many US and European soldiers return from the Balkans, Afgahnistan and Iraq with post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety attacks and other mental health problems. Others return very brutalized. What power projection are you talking about? Scaring regimes? I don't see the Iranians, Norht Koreans or the Iraqi insurgency being scared by your mighty military. You mentiond the EU's small defense spending. Well the US spends a lot, but this does not help much in Iraq. You spend billions on missile defense each year, but it does not protect you in the war on terrorism. Just yesterday US agents succeeded in smuggling two dirty bombs into the US in a test. EU enlargement has been part of our security policy. Thus you have to count the billions we spend on EU enlargement as part of our defense spending. There used to be sooo many wars in Europe's history. Now there are much much less. That's a big success of the European integration. Life in Europe is much more secure than it used to be 100 years ago. Thus, overall our politicians made the right decisions in the last fourty years. Please, don't forget to answer my questions. There's no rush, but I won't forget them either... ;-) I said that we offered help after 9/11. That was our treaty obligation. You did not want it. As far as I know NATO members are not obligated to spend a certain percentage of GDP on defence. Am I wrong? You accused us of violating our treaty obligations, so please state which paragraph of the treaty we violated.

stehpinkeln on :

"The US, however, did not want our help. You prefered to go alone." Factually inaccurate. It wasn't that the USA didn't want German help in Afghanistan, it's that Germany wasn't able to help. The only thing Germany could have contributed was 'grunts'. Footsoldiers. Infantrymen. They were not needed in Afghanistan, there were plent of 'gani's that were more then happy to serve that role, knew the ground and the enemy and were more experienced. Not to mention they were fighting for their homes and families, which adds to the effort. Where the USA could have used German foot soldiers was in Iraq. The world renowned courage of the German soldier would have more then made up for his poor equipment. I might add that the USA would have been more then willing to bring the german gear (kit) up to speed. The US Army fights in an automated battlespace. German weapon systems would have shown up as targets and been destroyed during the actual invasion phase of OIF. The Most important contribution Germany could have made was as an example. The Iraqi's could have seen right from the beggining that the USA had no teritorial ambitions in Iraq. After all, we gave back Germany, France, England, Japan, the Philipines, Cuba, etc. Not because we had to, but becasuse we didn't want them. One of my pen pals is Italian. He was here in the states last summer and drove from New York thru Canada. He was impressed by how unpopulated the land is once you get away from the cities. I broke his heart by pointing out that he was traveling thru one of N. Americas most densely populated areas. The Nato treaty requires the members to come to the aid of one another when attacked. It dosn't specify by whom, or how big an attack. If the parties can pick and choose when to honor a treaty, why have the treaty? If you don't want to honor a treaty, leave it. Treaties don't last forever. They serve their purpose and then are cancelled. To stay in a treaty and then not honor your promise is what Germany did. The American response to 9-11 was both rational and effective. Much more so then Europe's response. Notice there havn't been any mass casualty attacks on American soil since 9-11. The Turbans understand that we know they want to fight and so we are fighting them. We are doing it a mano a mano, in their front yard. We are beating them too. Menwhile Old Europe has demonstrated cowardice, which has encouraged the Turbans to attack them. These people don't think like westerners. They do not find us reasonable, just as we don't find them reasonable. In the turd world, if you are stronger then someone you dictate to them. If you don't dictate to someone, it is because you are weaker then they are. So the Turbans see the West's reluctance to kill as a weakness and are confused by the West not surrendering to Islam, which thru it's willingness to slaughter humans demonstrates that it is stronger then the west. PRESIDENT Bush is wrong. Islam IS at war with western civilization. We are not yet at war with Islam. That confuses them. The quickest way to end this war that Old Europe refuses to accept is a war is to gather the strength of western civilization and smite Islam a mighty blow. Make them understand that our charity and forbarence is from strength, not weakness. Then they can honorably surrender and we can cut a deal. Two things could have ended this War in the first year. First make a list of all mosques that preach Jihad. Publish that list. Then ever time there is an islamic terrorist attack, the following Friday during prayer srvice JDAM a mosque selected randomly off that list. Tit for Tat. Even the world's most stupid Imam can figure that out. By making the list public, the muslims that don't support Jihad know which JDAM targets to not attend. The Imams live off the collection plate, mostly. Second, ALL the guys at Gitmo get their right foot and left hand amputated. Then they get sent back to the Mosque that recruited them. Let them sit out front with their beggers bowl, telling tales of the 'glory' of Jihad.

stehpinkeln on : In case you missed it.

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