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To Talk Turkey (Tacheles reden)

Here are a few reading recommendations featuring some harsh words:
• The Heritage Foundation about President Bush's trip to Germany:
German public opinion is still largely hostile toward U.S. foreign policy, and anti-Americanism remains a major force in German politics.
Hostile? Major Force? If that is an accurate description of German public opinion and politics, how does the Heritage Foundation describe the situation in Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq, Iran or many other countries?

• The Canadian paper Macleans has a long article about Angela Merkel with the peculiar headline "The most popular German leader since, well..." Here's an untypical quote from that article:
The Germans are used to taking abuse from the British tabloid press, whose schoolboyish journalists seem to be locked in a 1940 time warp. Germans are routinely described as "Krauts" and "Fritz," and one newspaper's photo spread of supposedly the ugliest girls in Germany featured women with black Hitler moustaches airbrushed on their faces.
How Would A Patriot Act?: Defending American Values from a President Run Amok  By Glenn Greenwald • Glenn Greenwald, author of How Would A Patriot Act?: Defending American Values from a President Run Amok (Amazon.com, Amazon.de), writes in his popular blog about some Neocon responses to the war between Hezbollah and Israel:
The mindless casualness with which such people blithely advocate starting a new war -- like it's no different that deciding what one will eat for dinner tomorrow -- is breathtaking.
Too Much Cookies has a video of the popular comedian Stephen Colbert pretending to talk to a Guantanamo detainee:
You were innocent. Four years ago! This place has changed you. I mean all that time, you’ve been kept in a cage without trial - aren’t you a little angry?

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BernieGoldberg on :

Re Heritage's anti-German rhetoric: It should come to no surprise at all. The author of the article you quote, Nile Gardiner (a former Thatcher aide), is a neocon par excellence and deeply distrustful of continental Europe in general and Germany and France in particular. His views are neoconnish in the sense that they don't allow for compromise, perceive the world mainly in black and white (good vs evil) terms, are strongly rooted in the belief of US/UK moral superiority and overrate US/UK power. Inherently, these views are not amenable to falsifaction by rational discourse. Ideologues are the ones who don't allow facts to get in the way of their convictions...

Fuchur on :

Re:Gardiner/Heritage Foundation What a clown. I had to laugh so hard when I saw his recommendations for US foreign policy. Maybe somebody should have told him that the US doesn´t have a seat in the German parliament... Take this one: "The Bush Administration should strongly back the new German government’s efforts to implement a more flexible policy in Europe by strengthening Germany’s bilateral ties with pro-U.S. allies such as Poland and Britain." Gee, that´s a brilliant idea. Bush could arrange secret meetings between Merkel and Blair. Or, when Merkel visits Bush on his ranch, he could invite the Polish prime minister (or president, who´d know the difference ;-) ) as a surprise guest. Whenever Merkel visits Chirac, Bush could disturb those meetings by making phone calls about some fake nuclear crisis. Or he could pop in and give Merkel a surprise massage... Or the priceless conclusion: "The U.S. should work with Germany on an issue-by-issue basis, cooperating with Berlin on matters of closely aligned common interests but strongly opposing German policy in areas of disagreement." Um, yes: That would be a good description of US foreign policy towards anybody for the last 200 years. Really: Do they actually pay this guy?

BernieGoldberg on :

@ Fuchur Gardiner is not only paid by the increasingly anti-German Heritage Foundation, he's also got his own fanclub... http://gopvixen.blogs.com/gop_vixen/nile_gardiner_fan_club/index.html

JW-Atlantic Review on :

Thanks for the link, Bernie. I will check it out. I don't know much about the Heritage Foundation. I haven't had a good look at their website. Please, let me know of any anti-German stuff from the Heritage Foundation. I would like to blog about it, when I got some more time. Thanks.

Don on :

Hmmm, I'm not so sure that the Heritage piece was all that anti-German. Gardiner wrote that Germany is 'still largely anti-American'. I don't think this is that far off. Wyhat does 'largely' mean, 20-40%? I think it's true at the lower end of that range. Don't forget that Schroeder managed to get re-elected largely on an anti-US platform in 2002 and tried it again in 2005. That doesn't indiacte that it lacks appeal with the electorate, I think. I think Gardiner pushes a little too hard in this essay. But this time last year I thought that Germany had tipped over the line and had become an active adversary of the US. Now I'm not so sure - mostly because of Merkel and blogs like this one and Pursuit of Serenity. Schroeder and Fischer did a lot of damage to the relationship. It's going to take time to heal, perhaps even a decade or more in full. From a German POV I'm sure the same could be said about Bush, but Bush didn't go out of his way to criticise Germany and it's leadership the way the Germans did to him and the US. Glenn Greenwald is an interesting character. It seems he was caught using sock-puppets - alternate identities who show up in the somment sections of his blog and support him absolutely. This is identified by the fact that the commenter uses the same IP address (aka the same computer) as Mr. Greenwald. It's not the end of the world - but it's not exactly truthful of him to do such a thing....

BernieGoldberg on :

@ Don You write: "Schroeder and Fischer did a lot of damage to the relationship." What damage do you think Fischer has done to German-American relations? On other blogs I've read that it can be held against him that he's not a neocon redneck. I agree! It could also be criticized that he disagreed openly with Don Rumsfeld in early 2003, saying that he was "not convinced" of the necessity to start a war in Iraq. Oops, what a faux-pas on his side... Apart from that, Fischer is one of the most highly regarded, best-connected and respected German politicians/intellectuals in the US. You bet he's always wanted to keep the transatlantic partnership alive! Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not a Fischer fan or anything. I'm merely setting the record straight on him. On a side note: For a great overview how both sides (Berlin and Washington) have messed up during the run-up to the Iraq war see Steve Szabo's book titled "Parting Ways" (link on the right).

JW-Atlantic Review on :

Szabo is great. Thanks for recommending his book as well. I can understand why many conservative Americans are mad at Schroeder, but their dislike of Fischer is beyond me. Recent example: [url]http://atlanticreview.org/archives/347-UPDATE-The-National-Review-labels-Joschka-Fischer-as-Nazi-Propaganda-Minister.html[/url]

Don on :

German foreign policy was run by two people, Bernie. Fischer and Schroeder. A lot of damage was done during Fischer's tenure as Foreign Minister. Schroeder was worse no dount. but Fischer was there when the decision were made, and Fischer stayed there while various jackanapes in the SDP compounded an already tense situation. He could have resigned but did not. Therefore he has to accept a share of the responsibility.

BernieGoldberg on :

@ Don I take it that you think the damage that Fischer has done to German-American relations is that he did not resign during the run-up to the Iraq war. Indeed, what a grave mistake that was... Maybe it's more complicated that that. Maybe he was just trying to save as much as he could by staying on the job and trying to avoid that Iran becomes another Iraq. That is exactly what German foreign policy was all about in the aftermath of the Iraq war (during the summer of 2003.) Germany actively pursued to build the E3 (with France and the UK) in order to prevent another regime change in Tehran. This logic is the same one that Colin Powell followed by not resigning from his post despite being actively sidelined by Rumsfeld and Cheney (including John Bolton in his own department) in the interagency process of formulating US foreign policy on issues such as Iraq, North Korea and perhaps most notably Iran. Measured by that standard Fischer like Powell are to be applauded for being realistic and strategic thinkers. PS: Again, don't get me wrong, I'm NOT a Fischer fan...

JW-Atlantic Review on :

I like your comparision. Colin Powell is pretty popular in Germany, because he is seen as being a moderate, realistic and cautious voice. I was often surprised how popular Powell was in Germany. It sometimes seems that many Germans thought that Powell opposed the Iraq war. Not that many Germans thought that Powell should have resigned. Many Americans seem to be angry at Fischer, but Germans are not angry at Powell, although some have argued that Powell was just playing the god cop, while fully supporting the war plans. Powell knows how to talk to Europeans. I think many (not all) problems in transatlantic relations are based on style and rhetoric. I think German-American relations would be much better, if the German and US government would look differently: If Bush junior, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Bolton would not be in the US government and the cabinet would be filled with people like Bush senior, Colin Powell, James Baker, McCain, Hagel etc, then the US government could have started the Iraq war without driving so many Germans sooo mad. And if the German government would be filled with more folks like Fischer rather than Schroeder, German opposition to the Iraq would not drive so many Americans sooo mad.

Kuch on :

@JW "If Bush junior, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Bolton would not be in the US government and the cabinet would be filled with people like Bush senior, Colin Powell, James Baker, McCain, Hagel etc, then the US government could have started the Iraq war without driving so many Germans sooo mad." I think the main thing here is that Germans probably don't necessarily embrace "anti-americanism" as much as they DO seem to embrace "anti-republicanism." Bush senior, Powell, and James Baker actually were part of a US government that DID start a war that drove Germans sooo mad. Their renewed and agressive waging of the Cold War caused a very similar backlash of public opinion in Germany. Millions marched against Reagan and his adminstration... effigies and all! Today, the best that most Germans have to say about Ronald Reagan (with the benefit of hindsight) is that he perhaps was not the "worst" American President. Meanwhile, most of us think he was one of the very best!

Don on :

What I'm saying is that Fischer's sins were mostly of omission, Bernie. As Foreign Minister he was supposed to have control of foreign policy - and he didn't. If I were in his shoes I probably would have resigned several times. I would have demanded the head of the clown of an environment minister (was he a Green?). The one who told the world that Hurricane Katrina occured because Bush didn't sign the Kyoto treaty. I probably would have resigned when Schroeder started beating on the US during the 2002 election campaign. Fischer seemingly had little control over anything - even in his own ministry. There were those reports about German diplomats spouting off about their contempt for Bush. And the 'interview' a diplomat gave which vented his contempt for 'middle America'. No forced resignations that I ever heard of, or summary transfers to the Fijii embassy. This is not how one treats a friend or even an enemy which is of any importance. Put that together with the German-led effort to sell arms to the Chinese government, and I could make a case that the US was not of major importance to the Schroeder-Fischer administration! China and any number of other countries were treated with more respect than they treated the US!

JW-Atlantic Review on :

"What I'm saying is that Fischer's sins were mostly of omission" Does not sound very severe. "As Foreign Minister he was supposed to have control of foreign policy - and he didn't." Is the US Secretary of State in control of foreign policy or does the US President make the final decisions? "Fischer seemingly had little control over anything" Colin Powell could not do much about Dick Cheney and Rumsfeld either, although Powell was supposed to be in charge of foreign policy. "There were those reports about German diplomats spouting off about their contempt for Bush." I know of [url=http://medienkritik.typepad.com/blog/2005/06/the_german_dipl.html]one editorial in the WSJ accusing one diplomat of making anti-American comments (but not against President Bush) at a private dinner[/url]. What reports (plural) about what diplomats (plural) are you thinking of? "No forced resignations that I ever heard of, or summary transfers to the Fijii embassy." The diplomat criticized in the WSJ denied the charges, but was removed from his post.

Don on :

Jeorg: "Is the US Secretary of State in control of foreign policy or does the US President make the final decisions?" The President makes the final decisions. Me: "Fischer seemingly had little control over anything" Jeorg: "Colin Powell could not do much about Dick Cheney and Rumsfeld either, although Powell was supposed to be in charge of foreign policy." I don't recall Cheney and Rumsfeld being terribly offensive. The most offensive Rummy quote I can recall was the one about distuinguishing between 'Old Europe' and 'New Europe'. You will recall that US 'reporters' were making flying visits to Brussels, talking to a few French and Germans, and reporting that 'Europe' was against the Iraq war. Rummy pointed out that there was more to Europe than France and Germany - which is true. And it certainly wasn't personally directed at anyone. One could construe 'Old Europe' as an insult: but remember the climate and the rhetoric of the times. During that period I was hearing Bush described as a 'fascist' and a 'war criminal' on a regular basis. Not only from the European press but from more or less official figures in the EU, German, and French governments. It's hard to tell who is and isn't important in the EU and even within the German government, particularly when you don't live there and cannot read the press. Herta Daeubler-Gmelin's quoted comments were part of a pattern. This was the period when a serious attempt was made in Belgium to indict US military officers for war crimes in Afghanistan, to which Rumsfeld responded by offering to withdraw US funding for a new NATO headquarters in Brussels on the perfectly reasonable grounds that a country where this is possible is not suitable to be NATO headquarters. In the context of all that 'Old Europe' and what I can recall of Cheney's comments were downright restrained by comparison to the attacks being launched on Bush and the US. Yes even Colin Powell was fiercely attacked. Remember? I do! What specifically and most importantly Fischer had no control over was the mouth of his Chancellor, Gerd Schroeder. The 2002 German election was a shearing point between people like myself in the US and Germany and Germans for three reasons: Schroeder made Bush and the US into a major election issue, it was highly publicised in the US, and because it worked. Schroeder was re-elected despite an incredibly uninspired first term as chancellor - and despite the Daeubler-Gmelin thing. Germans clearly seemed to agree with the chancellor and probably with the (ex) Justice Minister. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/2269514.stm Absent the Daeubler-Gmelin comments comparing Buch's 'methods' with those of Hitler I think there would have been a crisis but the effects would have been shorter lived. As it was - it got very very personal. And it was burned into my brain - to the point where I still don't know what to make of German public opinion. I remember my thoughts at the time. I recalled the speech Schroeder's first Defense Minister had made about how Jews run the US political system. This link isn't to the original column, which was by William Safire in the NY Times, but it contains the gist of Scharping's remarks: http://www.centerforcatholicjewishstudies.org/Content/news/commentary_09_27_02.htm I put that together with the Justice Minister's comment, and concluded that the German government seemed to largely be made up of unreconstructed 68'ers who hadn't visibly revised their views with the passing years. Schroeder's campaign tactics seemed to fit, and the German public seemed to approve. They re-elected him. QED... Now it doesn't seem as cut and dried. I'm not certain (or not) whether Germany is a friend of the US; I observe....

BernieGoldberg on :

@ Don Well, as it turns out you're really going out on a limb here. I believe you're just trying to be polemical. You write that if you had been in Fischer's shoes you probably would have "resigned several times." And that Fischer's actions (or his guilt by "omission") were not "how one treats a friend or even an enemy which is of any importance." (Now that's pure polemics.) Your narrow self-serving focus on how one has to treat friends gets in the way of seeing the bigger picture. I grant you that the US is the single most important country on the face of the earth. What follows from that is that we can't ignore it, love it or hate it. Fischer has been very much willing and actively trying to work with his counterpart and with every Bush administration official to get something done in the Middle East. His plans for the Greater Middle East, in fact, were gladly usurped by the Bush administration. Then nothing followed from that. The US chose to disengage from everything Middle East bogged down and occupied with Iraq. Wanna reinvigorate transatlantic relations? You have calls from Schröder (2005) and Merkel (2006) alike to make NATO more relevant and not just a tool for cleaning up after US-led military invasions. To have a real strategic debate. Nothing followed from the US side. Rather it's dismay and preferences for coalitions of the willing and cherry-picking of allies who are willing to serve the US. Yeah, that's a common perception. That allies are there to serve. Let's debate and see where our interests converge. Then we can work together. I get the impression that the US is still riding on the waves of the unipolar moment by choosing to lead (or not to such as on Iran) without worrying too much about who follows and contempt for those who oppose Washington. Kyoto? Yes, we want the US to join. But it just said no and lobbied other countries to do the same without offering any alternative. Same with the ICC. I could go on. Where you look, you see obstruction. And, come on, drop the talk about what you can expect "from a friend." Where do you live? This is the real world.

Don on :

"Your narrow self-serving focus on how one has to treat friends gets in the way of seeing the bigger picture." Fischer has been very much willing and actively trying to work with his counterpart and with every Bush administration official to get something done in the Middle East. His plans for the Greater Middle East, in fact, were gladly usurped by the Bush administration. Then nothing followed from that. The US chose to disengage from everything Middle East bogged down and occupied with Iraq. "Wanna reinvigorate transatlantic relations? You have calls from Schröder (2005) and Merkel (2006) alike to make NATO more relevant and not just a tool for cleaning up after US-led military invasions. To have a real strategic debate. Nothing followed from the US side. Rather it's dismay and preferences for coalitions of the willing and cherry-picking of allies who are willing to serve the US. Yeah, that's a common perception. That allies are there to serve. Let's debate and see where our interests converge. Then we can work together." NATO is a treaty which has lost it's mission; on that much we can agree. NATO was created to defend Europe against an agressive, dangerous appearing USSR. Seen any such lately? I haven't. I might even agree that NATO has been stretched far beyond it was designed to accomplish in the years since the fall of the Berlin Wall. The abuse has not originated uniquely with the US or France/Germany etc. Redesign NATO? I doubt it is possible. I think it's possible to start anew, but the best thing may be to dissolve NATO. May I point out that history doesn't stop while one redesigns NATO. September 11th happens, Hamas happens, suicide bombing offensives happen, Hitzbolah happens. They won't wait 10 or 15 years while we slowly and carefully work out a new mission for NATO - one which retains the partnership without putting the US or Germany/France/UK in a straitjacket; which is increasingly what is being attempted.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

@ Don "But this time last year I thought that Germany had tipped over the line and had become an active adversary of the US." I take issue with the phrase "active adversary", but maybe I just understand them differently. "Now I'm not so sure - mostly because of Merkel and blogs like this one and Pursuit of Serenity." Thank you! I appreciate that. I think, Marian (the author of Pursuit of Serenity, which is in our blogroll) will agree with me that we are not some lone exceptions.

Don on :

Joerg, I simply could not figure out German foreign policy. It seemed as if every time Bush tried to do something the Germans denounced it or tried to veto it. In one case (the NATO vote on supporting Turkey) they succeeded in their veto. There was heavy & often nasty criticism and worse both from the German 'quality press' and from governmental circles. Some of it at the highest levels of the government but even members of the German diplomatic corps did not trouble to hide their utter disdain for the Bush administration. And (I'm afraid on one occasion) a German 'diplomat' told a US reporter of his utter personal disdain for the US and Americans. On policy matters the German government under Scroeder was almost invariably the most difficult to negociate with - seemingly far more intractible than even the Russians and Chinese! This was very strange behavior from a 'friend', Joerg. Even the French were friendlier in manner. They opposed but for the most part refrained from personal attacks on either Bush the man or the US generally. I was looking for a theory which fit the behavior and decided it was very possible that Germany and Germans had decided that they no longer valued the US friendship. That in fact they were either direct adversaries or on the way to becoming so. Perhaps without concious decision the German government (and from what I read, the people) were behaving like adversaries. Sooner or later you become what you behave like. I deliberately use the term adversary as opposed to enemy - which is a much more serious word.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

Don, if I remember correctly there was some controversy about NATO support for Turkey, because Germany isn't supposed to support a war without UN approval, but in the end Germany agreed to NATO support for Turkey. There were German AWACS teams in Turkey or elsewhere. I don't remember all this very well, but I am pretty sure that Germany did not use a veto. Turkey however did not support the Iraq war either. Turkey has hesitated and only made a decision in the last minute, if I remember correctly. Do you hold a grudge against Turkey? I have difficulty to follow your other statements on German Foreign policy. You have been involved in such debates for a long time. I did not participate much in debates before the Iraq war. I would appreciate it if you could look up and link to some of the accusations against Germany. I would like to get to the bottom of this. I am especially interested why so many conservative Americans still hold a grudge against Fischer. Why do you think has he done so much damage to US-German relations?

joe on :

Little differentiates the points made in the Heritage Foundation article than those of the Marshall Fund. Why not label The Marshall Fund as a propagandist for Germany? It is apparent by some of the comments the musings of German think tanks are not something many here bother to read. JW questioned what were the nations he listed such as Iran, Iraq, etc. They are the ME version of the chocolate summit. AR will now add the Heritage Foundation to its “watch list” of organizations potentially taking anti-German positions. The purpose of this blog is to find fault with the US by being critical. It appears even the hint of being critical of Germany is considered to be anti-German. The application of standards in this manner is no longer surprising.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

1.) Please back up your claims about the Marshall Fund. 2.) Statements like "They are the ME version of the chocolate summit." encourage me to stop reading your comments. 3.) This blog criticizes Anti-Americanism much more often than it criticizes Anti-Germanism or Anti-Europeanism or Europhobia. If you think we have double standards, please present some evidence. Did you read the post before this one? [url]http://atlanticreview.org/archives/364-Lack-of-Progress-in-Kosovo.html[/url] Here are a few more posts about Anti-Americanism: [url]http://atlanticreview.org/archives/334-Tagesspiegel-Blames-Haditha-partly-on-a-Military-Dominated-by-White-Trash-and-Minorities.html[/url] [url]http://atlanticreview.org/archives/314-Failure-of-Education-Franco-German-reconciliation-with-Anti-Americanism.html[/url] [url]http://atlanticreview.org/archives/306-UPDATE-Whos-failing-America-or-Neoconservatism.html[/url] [url]http://atlanticreview.org/archives/299-Poll-45-of-Germans-consider-U.S.-more-dangerous-than-Iran.html[/url] [url]http://atlanticreview.org/archives/285-Why-is-Abu-Ghraib-a-cover-story-again,-but-not-Darfur.html[/url] [url]http://atlanticreview.org/archives/258-Senator-Fulbright-and-statistics-of-the-Fulbright-Program.html[/url] [url]http://atlanticreview.org/archives/176-Europes-Moral-Outrage.html[/url] [url]http://atlanticreview.org/archives/172-Genocide-U.S.-calls-for-more-sanctions-against-Sudan,-but-Germany-sees-business-opportunities.html[/url] [url]http://atlanticreview.org/archives/170-Germany-is-governed-by-the-third-postwar-generation.html[/url] [url]http://atlanticreview.org/archives/133-Picture-of-miltary-caskets-abused-in-election-campaign.html[/url] [url]http://atlanticreview.org/archives/120-One-sided-coverage-of-Iraq.html[/url] [url]http://atlanticreview.org/archives/118-Misleading-reporting-in-German-public-TV.html[/url] [url]http://atlanticreview.org/archives/109-War-against-Iran-Populism-against-the-US.html[/url] [url]http://atlanticreview.org/archives/37-Calling-US-companies-bloodsuckers-does-not-work.html[/url] Now, please list some posts to support your claim that "It appears even the hint of being critical of Germany is considered to be anti-German." How often did we accuse someone or something of being "anti-German"? You can use the search function in the sidebar.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

Joe, your assessment of this blog seems to suffer from the hostile media effect: "The hostile media effect, sometimes called the hostile media phenomenon, refers to the theory that ideological partisans often think that media coverage is biased against their particular opinions on an issue." [url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hostile_media_phenomenon[/url]

ADMIN on :

Please note that by default the comments in this blog are threaded rather than linear, i.e. some of the latest comments and responses to comments are not at the bottom, but in the middle. At the top of the comments section you have the option to change the view from threaded to linear, which enable you to see the latest comments at the end of the thread.

joe on :

JW. Others might not fully appreciate your sense of humor but I do.

ROA on :

What do Schroeder and Merkel want to do to strengthen NATO, put more Americans in the military? Germany, as part of the EU in 1997 in the Treaty of Amsterdam agreed to have a 60,000 strong military force by now. It doesn't exist. Why should the US believe Germany, or any other European country is ever going to do anything about increasing defense spending? In Lebanon, Chancellor Merkel says Israel's response should not be "disproportianate." Since Germany was attempting to exterminate the Jewish race during WW II, wouldn't an appropriate, proportianate response been to exterminate all Germans? Another example of German anti-Americanism is the picture of the Taliban detainee who had been shackled and blindfolded on a flight to Guantanamo. There was tremendous outrage in Germany and much of the rest of the world. Recent news reports have stated that Hezbollah has established military command posts in hospitals. Are the same people who were so upset about the shackled Taliban going to say anything about Hezbollah, except that Israel's response shouldn't be disproportianate? On a positive note, Daimler-Benz did purchase Chrysler and put it out of its misery. If other German auto manufacturers would just purchase GM and Ford, much would be forgiven.

BernieGoldberg on :

@ ROA What do Schröder and Merkel want to do about NATO? Read their speeches from the 2005 and 2006 Munich Security Conference if you really care. (I believe you're just trying to make cheap shots, though.) I won't comment on your points about the extermination of the Germans. Let others decide. On Hezbollah and Germany's stance: Germany just yesterday opposed the rest of the EU (together with the UK) by opposing calls for an "immediate cease fire." In doing so, Germany is trying to build a bridge and reach out to the US (non-)position on the conflict. Yeah, you're right though: Germany won't support a bombing campaign against either Syria nor Iran. PS: BTW, the European Rapid Reaction Force was established in 1999 not 1997 by the so-called Helsinki Headline Goal. It was declared operational in 2003. Again, if you care. I believe you don't.

Pinkerton on :

BernieGoldberg: Your commentary is very refreshing to hear, thank you. In the case of Bush diplomacy...an oxymoron, to be sure, his utter lack of understanding in world matters has put the US in a dangerous position. When Colin Powell went before the UN with bogus information about WMD that was fed to him by Bush and his cohorts, all US credibility went down the drain. I seem to remember C.Powell mention that his speech before the UN was a low point in his career. I don't believe he was aware of the falsehoods that he was given as fact. If it is true that the German-American relations have been damaged, it is solely due to the fact that President Bush is clueless in the affairs of the world. He generally receives his information from those that he has chosen to surround himself with. Unfortunately, those people are more interested in world dominance than world cooperation. The video showing Bush manhandling Merkel was just another example of the utter lack of respect that Bush has for other world leaders. It shows his ignorance in protocol regarding such affairs of the G8 and therefore cannot be taken seriously by Germany or any other European country, IMO. As far as Germany trying to build a bridge to reach out to the US...they should be very careful. The US, under Bush, has a tendency to burn their bridges.

BernieGoldberg on :

@ Pinkerton Thanks for the flowers, appreciate that. I must warn you though that Bush-bashing will not lead anywhere. Only alternative, smarter foreign policy concepts will. Kerry tried to set some marks during the campaign 2004. He demanded that the US should put its foreign policy to a "global test." Although he was ridiculed for this remark ("let France decide what the US can do...") US foreign policy as conducted by the 2nd Bush administration essentially sought more legitimacy by reaching out to the old allies--the ones that neocons and aggressive nationalists told Bush he could ignore. The hard core of the Bush doctrine, however, the premise that spreading democracy is the only way to defeat terrorism, remains largely unquestioned by Democrats. And Kerry had his trouble finding a consistent line on all things Iraq. As long as alternatives to Bush's foreign policy amount to "more of the same, just better implemented" it will not change much. A growing body of literature on the topic of spreading democracy as a foreign policy strategy suggests that it is fundamentally ill-advised. For a start, see recent contributions by ex-neocon Francis Fukuyama. But even he remains reluctant to spell out what to do instead. PS: You write: "As far as Germany trying to build a bridge to reach out to the US...they should be very careful. The US, under Bush, has a tendency to burn their bridges." You're right, and my suspicion is that the Federal Chancellery is very much aware of that. Merkel is careful to keep a professional distance from Bush's constant schmooze attacks.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

[i]A growing body of literature on the topic of spreading democracy as a foreign policy strategy suggests that it is fundamentally ill-advised.[/i] Spreading democracy in general or just the Neocon way of doing so? I thought that Fukuyama did not totally give up on democratisation, but put the blame on other Neocons who took Neoconservatism to the extreme. However, I have only read the the beginning of his book. BTW the German publisher chose are more gloomy title for Fukuyama's book: [b][url]http://atlanticreview.org/archives/306-UPDATE-Whos-failing-America-or-Neoconservatism.html[/url][/b] Larry Diamond is one of the leading democratisation experts (along with Thomas Carothers). His book is called "Squandered Victory" [b][url]http://atlanticreview.org/archives/319-Books-About-the-Bush-Administration-Reviewed-by-NYT.html[/url][/b] which I also have not yet read, but it sounds like he put the blame on the certain policy descisions rather than on the idea of spreading democracy as such. Related post in Atlantic Review: [b][url=http://atlanticreview.org/archives/281-Conservative-experts-critical-of-Democratic-Peace-Theory.html]Conservative experts critical of Democratic Peace Theory[/url][/b]

BernieGoldberg on :

@ JW You're right, Fukuyama does not abandon the goal of spreading democracy. He calls for "realistic Wilsonianism that better matches means to ends." His summary (as published by the NYT) reads: "Neoconservatism, whatever its complex roots, has become indelibly associated with concepts like coercive regime change, unilateralism and American hegemony. What is needed now are new ideas, neither neoconservative nor realist, for how America is to relate to the rest of the world — ideas that retain the neoconservative belief in the universality of human rights, but without its illusions about the efficacy of American power and hegemony to bring these ends about." In short, Fukuyama argues for keeping all the "good intentions" displayed by neocons while realizing the limits of American power. He does not question the transformative power of democracy, however. And that's a real pity. Because by making the promotion of democracy the central concept of US foreign policy neocons have espoused a pseudo-morality --rather than really caring for the fates of the peoples of the Middle East. Their premise is act tough and talk values. Neocons were reckless, careless and indifferent to the very real human cost of their actions. Promoting democracy without taking into accout local realities means creating unnecessary turmoil and more terrorism. There are still too few people in the US who get to the bottom of that debate...

Don on :

Pinkerton wrote: "As far as Germany trying to build a bridge to reach out to the US...they should be very careful. The US, under Bush, has a tendency to burn their bridges." Bernie replied: "You're right, and my suspicion is that the Federal Chancellery is very much aware of that. Merkel is careful to keep a professional distance from Bush's constant schmooze attacks!" I agree - and the converse is also true. That is, Bush and any other US President needs to watch out that an embrace from the leaders of Germany or France does not turn into a set of shackles. The foreign policy interests of the US and Germany/France have diverged since 1989 - that is simple fact. Germany does not need the US the way it did in 1955 or even 1970, and the change shows in German foreign policy. Similarly, the threats to the US do not come from European nations - although one could argue that many of the individuals prominent in the current threat came from or spent much time in Europe (Atta, Richard Reid, etc); that is not remotely to what NATO was designed to counter; A huge and possibly agressive Red Army. NATO has proven unable to take effective action in the crisis after 9/11. Indeed certain parties seemed to be trying to make NATO (and the UN Security Council, and whatever else came to hand) into a set of shackles to inhibit any kind of decisive action at all. This is why the Bush administration (and I think future US administrations) will resort to working outside these organisations; they have been changed into bodies of paralysis and corruption.

Pinkerton on :

BernieGoldman: First of all, my comment was not meant to "Bush bash" as much as to point out that the US no longer has a foreign policy to follow. The fact that we have a leader who is not capable of understanding the full impact of his words and actions throughout the world is damaging our image as a strong country. It just so happens that Bush is that leader, not Kerry. Now, do I think that Kerry would have done a better job? I don't know, to be honest. In fact, you have to really dig deep to find any information regarding his views on foreign policy because the media rarely carried anything more than sound bytes that were followed by skewed commentary on their part. Kerry just made a statement recently that stated that if he were elected President in the last election that we wouldn't be in the mess we are in now. Maybe that is true, considering the fact that he would have had a different group of advisors than Bush that would not be giving him cherry picked intellegence in order to support a policy to pre-empt a war with Iraq. I don't think he would have been so quick to put us into a war and send in troops since he, himself, had been involved in a war and knows the reality of what that brings, something that Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld had not experienced themselves. I also feel that the Democratic party is the reason for its own demise. They don't support their candidates and can't seem to find their "messege". It's not that there isn't plenty to agree on, but they insist on doing their in-fighting in public view. Personally, I don't think Kerry has a snowballs chance in hell of being re-nominated as our candidate in the next election. It's more likely to go to someone who can relate to the conservative base (the real conservatives, not the neo-cons) and still not offend their liberal base. I just hope they don't point to Hillary Clinton. Not that I don't think she is a smart woman, but she is a magnet for conservative hate and fear. I agree that spreading democracy around the world is best done with diplomacy, not by the nose of a gun. It was pretty embarrassing to have Putin tell Bush that they're not interested in the kind of democracy that Bush gave to Iraq. In one short sentence, Putin crushed the swagger in Bush's step, and American foreign policy looked weak because of it.

Marian Wirth on :

What a discussion, folks. Oh, my. I really don't know where to start. Let me make only a few points: Joerg, thank you for kicking off debates like this one; I wished I had more time to weigh in. I'll try to do so next time, honestly. Don, thank you for mentioning my blog. I'm not that pessimistic re anti-Americanism. In my perception, most of the Germans simply don't care about the U.S. Sure, sometimes they disgorge something media outlets like STERN and SPIEGEL fed them with, but I wouldn't go so far to call that deep rooted hostility or something. At last year's peak of anti-American media bias ("peak" is my perception, again), there was one accusation of the STERN, which I can't get out of my head: AND THEY (the U.S., that is) DON'T CARE FOR THE REST OF THE WORLD. Well, surfing the U.S. part of the internet for about four hours a day (with only two hours left for pieces in German), one thing is for sure to me: There is NO other country in the world, which cares more than the U.S. (I'm talking about bloggers, journalists and think tank people here.) There is no single country which isn't analysed, scrutinized and provided with advice, at least on a weekly basis. As well from the right as from the left side of the aisle. With Germany, it's exactly the opposite. What we, both elites and ordinary people, care for is: Germany. And that's it. We love to talk about health care reform, taxes and the pathetic performance of our government and the EU until we're blue in the face. Without ANY result, btw. Um, Darfur? Eastern Europe? Africa? The rise of China and India? No dice. Strait of Taiwan - what's that - a new sitcom? Lebanon? Nice vacation spot. (Um, used to be.) Oh, and we have troops in Afghanistan and Kongo and Bosnia and about a dozen other places in the world? Interesting. What I do want to point out is this: Yes, the coverage of the U.S. in German media is poor and the knowledge of German politicians is sometimes outrageous. But you're not alone. Ask Israel, or China, or a random African country. As for the Heritage Foundation piece and the Macleans' piece: they are amazingly pathetic, but anti-German? No. I must admit, that I often take issue of the usage of terms like "left", "right", "socialist", "conservative", "influential paper", etc. in American pieces on Europe in general and on Germany in particular. To use those terms without providing any detailed information is misleading. In comparison with, say, Rick Santorum, Angela Merkel is by no means a "Conservative". And to what degree is DIE ZEIT an "influential paper"? Whom does anything published in DIE ZEIT influence? (apart from other journalists, of course). In my humble opinion, this blog and [url=http://andrewhammel.typepad.com/]Andrew Hammel's blog[/url] are the most reliable sources on Germany. Unfortunately, the American left does not care about Germany that much - and Conservatives prefer "David's Medienkritik" and stuff like the Heritage Foundation piece. So much for my "doing Joerg justice for pointing more frequently to my little blog than would be due"-mission of today.

Don on :

@Marian, "I'm not that pessimistic re anti-Americanism. In my perception, most of the Germans simply don't care about the U.S. Sure, sometimes they disgorge something media outlets like STERN and SPIEGEL fed them with, but I wouldn't go so far to call that deep rooted hostility or something." Marian, I was writing about my own state of mind, not yours. I wouldn't presume to do that to you, though I'm not above doing it to certain others. I have lived in Europe for years and I know it fairly well. I would say that prior to 9/11 there was deep hostility to the US in France in almost every part of the political spectrum, and marked hostility in certain parts of the German and British political spectrums, but mostly benign attitudes over the rest of the German political spectrum. Post 9/11 the signals I saw from Germany were much different. At the time I was a participant on a large internet BB named 'World Crossing'. I was on several BB's including a largely German one which nonetheless mostly posted in English. What I saw there was a devastating revelation. I was told 'You had it coming, you richly deserved it' by most of the Germans posting there, who nonetheless protested their friendship. codswallop. It was bullshit then and remains so. Bush was 'Hilter' (or worse than Hitler) and when I defended what Bush was doing I was a 'fascist'. Multiply that by 50 or 100 times to appreciate the true effect. The US were 'war criminals' and we were going to 'Murder millions!'. 'Genocide' was also trotted out - routinely. All this while discussing Afghanistan. The heat went up another order of magnitude after the 'Axis of Evil' speech when Iraq began to become a topic, and I dropped out - with enduring memories of what 'Real' Germans were actually like. I also learned what 'Germans' thought of Israel at the time of the Jenin 'massacre'. They were slightly concerned about the daily suicide bombings - but only slightly. It had passed out of their heads the next morning. Israel 'had it coming' after all!.... Later on I joined Medienkritik, which has a different atmosphere. But I wasn't completely comfortable there after a time. The venom of Medienkritik was appropriate to the level of venom from the German 'quality' press circa 2003/2004, but as the intensity of the venom dropped in the German press Medienkritik's intensity did not much. The venom was coming from the commentors more than from the moderators by then, but even so.... I think the problem for the moderators is that the premise of the blog was perfectly appropriate to 2002 - but the German MSM has learned something from Mediencritik (as have many Germans) and the coverage has tightened and improved since then. But Medienkritik hasn't shifted with it which is why I rarely comment over there any more. The other reason is that I saw some Germans being subject to the same sort of thing I had experienced on World Crossing, and while I can understand why I can't condone it.

Tom on :

Just want to make two quick points: First: Schroeder got reelected because of the Anti-US sentiments but also because the East of Germany suffered from a severe flooding and most analysts agreed that the election was won in the East. Second: The situation for Germany has changed tremendously since 1990. More and more countries ask Germany to take on a bigger role and there are people who argue that Schroeder's and Fischer's offense were just the result of trying to find the limits of a truely independet foreign policy. I do admit, though, that Anti-US sentiments were growing but that is partly, at least, a reason for the equation: US=Globalisation

Don on :

"More and more countries ask Germany to take on a bigger role and there are people who argue that Schroeder's and Fischer's offense were just the result of trying to find the limits of a truely independet foreign policy." Independent of whom? The US obviously, but also independent of the the EU? I would suggest that the way to pursue an independent foreign policy it to just do it - without slamming the leader of an ally in your election campaign. Or comparing him to Hitler. Germany has followed an independent foreign policy since 1970 or so unless you believe that the opening to the east that Brandt pursued wasn't independent. What Germany hadn't done until Schoeder was pursue an openly foreign policy to the US. No German leader had behaved as Charles DeGaulle did in the 60's. Unfortunately Gerhard Schroeder is no Charles DeGaulle and apparently didn't get the effect he wanted. DeGaulle pursued his policy out of political strength; Schroeder did so from weakness, pandering to anti-US sentiments to get himself (barely) re-elected. Yes I know about the floods. But Schroeder was so weak politically that he had to have both the flood releief and the open US-bashing in order to win.

Don on :

I made a mistake here: "What Germany hadn't done until Schoeder was pursue an openly foreign policy to the US." I meant an openly hostile foreign policy; a war of words.

Fuchur on :

(I know I´m awfully late for the party... but here goes) I enjoy reading Medienkritik (though I do disagree with them rather often), but I think you´re grossly overestimating their influence. I bet most people in the MSM haven´t even heard of them. Malte Lehming (from ARD or so? too lazy to look it up) once mentioned DMK, and it sounded as if they were a bit of a joke among German correspondents in the US. Likewise, I really doubt that they ever had a big following among "Germans" (I don´t know what their stats say about the proportion of German visitors). Keep in mind that it was the American blogosphere that made them big. The attempts to start a German section failed. Right now, there aren´t hardly any Germans commenters left - which is kind of sad, since there are often gross mistakes or assumptions made which go unchallenged.

Don on :

I doubt Mendienkritik has major eyeball share among the German public. They do seem to have an effect upon occasion. I think there may be a more general thing - though it may not be Medienkritik but other blogs having this effect. The 'pyjamas' effect, after the ill-advised comment by Dan Rather that people in pyjamas were judging his work. They were fact-checking his work, and the fact that people on the blogosphere were able to expose a flimsy set of 'evidence' as almost certainly fabricated was telling. People are reading what journalists write but for the first time they can talk back in a form that the MSM cannot censure or just refuse to print. US journalists have known this for several years; could be the German MSM is learning the same lesson.

Fuchur on :

"other blogs having this effect" It´s very hard to believe this, since the German blogosphere is only developing. The German (political) blogs I know of could only dream of Medienkritik´s stats. Maybe things will change now: "Reutersgate" is the first big blogger-coup that also affects the German MSM.

Don on :

Reutersgate is an interesting matter, one perhaps worthy of it's own thread Joerg? Some photos were obviously doctored, and there have been allegations that Hitzbolah has been seeking to manipulate the news which is being presented in the West. Successfully? That is an interesting question. Hussein's Iraq more or less succeeded in manipulating the news coverage of Iraq by using licensing and police-state tactics. Reporters who wrote things which Hussein liked were deported and their news organisations were blackballed or threatened with it. I think one lesson of the Iraq war is that bad news (and bad information) can help start a war. I did see information about Iraq's weakness which appears to have been true post-war. There was opposite intelligence information showing that Hussein's nuclear program was moving quickly, the basis of seems to have been false reports written by Iraqi scientests and engineers to Hussein and the high officials surrounding him. Western intelligence agencies seem to have been reading the same reports. Whom do you believe? The reports or some reporter who would never be allowed to see for himself? Well in this case, the reporter. I guess. I think the practice of using local 'stringers' to gather news is increasingly being questioned - for good reason. What are their loyalties? Is it to the 'truth' or even to Reuters or to 'journalism'? Or are some of them being used to sell something? You wouldn't take a news report authored by the IDF at face value, why should you believe a Shia Muslim stringer living in Southern Labanon whose relatives are fighting the Israeli army?

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