Friday, November 10. 2006
Posted by Joerg Wolf in Transatlantic Relations on Friday, November 10. 2006
One of the most outspoken reactions and quoted in many papers and blogs is "We are relieved that we now see the beginning of the end of a six-year nightmare for the world. The Bush administration is seriously weakened by this Democrat election victory." Martin Schulz, a German member of the European Parliament, made that statement as president of the 201 members strong Socialist Group in the EP. Many media reports, however, present this statement as if all 201 members have put their signature on it. Schulz also said that "European social democrats have worked hard to prevent widespread despair among European citizens at the aggressive foreign policy of the Bush administration turning into naked, and wholly unjustified, anti-Americanism" but unfortunately did not explain what kind of hard work his group has done.
Matthew Schofield writes for the McClatchy Newspapers:
Under the headline US Elections Mark New Beginning for Transatlantic Ties, DW World reports: "The Democratic Party's victory in US midterm elections has been welcomed across the Atlantic. German experts expect this political change to improve bilateral relations, both politically and in terms of public opinion."
Many in the German media and most experts don't expect a drastic shift in U.S. foreign policy or in transatlantic relations. Besides, not every policy shift will be welcomed in Germany: The new US Congress will probably put more pressure on Germany to increase international commitments. Many German observers are also concerned about rising isolationism and protectionism after the defeat of the Republicans and the new majority for the Democrats in the House of Representatives and in the Senate as well.
Davids Medienkritik's perception that Europeans want the US to "cut and run in Iraq" is misinformed. I think most Europeans are very concerned about developments in Iraq and Afghanistan and will blame the US for any problem in Iraq resulting from a pre-mature withdrawal in Iraq.
A New Beginning
Atlantic Review has a good rundown on the reactions in the German press concerning this week's huge win for the US Democrats. There is a new sense of hope and optimism that Europeans and Americans can work constructively together. Back
Weblog: Dialog International
Tracked: Nov 10, 19:26
Two American Experts Comment on the European Reactions to the U.S. Elections
The Atlantic Review has already written about German Reactions to the Midterm Elections. Americans are now commenting about the European reactions to the elections: "Aspen Institute Berlin Director Jeffrey Gedmin has an interesting and useful piece,
Weblog: Atlantic Review
Tracked: Nov 16, 12:02
Display comments as (Linear | Threaded)
Zyme - #1 - 2006-11-09 12:46 -
Pinkerton - #2 - 2006-11-09 15:04 -
Zyme The Congress will be able to set the agenda in the government. Instead of bills on flag burning and gay marriage, the Democrats will be able to have hearings and pick who will be on the Committees. Already, just by the fact that the Democrats have taken the House/Senate, it was enough for the President to finally act and fire Rumsfeld. I have to wonder, if the Republicans have not be defeated so handily in this election, if Bush would have followed through and fired Rumsfeld. He might have held on to him. I think Gates was just a contingency plan.
Don S - #2.1 - 2006-11-09 22:05 -
The Congress will set the agenda within the congress and have some influence on the executive branch. Newt Gingrich could not set the agenda for 'the Government' in 1994; Nancy Pelosi will not be able to in 2006.
joe - #3 - 2006-11-10 03:46 -
Jorg, Should your friends the left in the US known as the demos withdraw, I am sure Germany will back fill the draw down of forces. Then again why would it matter Iraq never was a threat to Germany just as Iran is not now.
David - #4 - 2006-11-10 14:46 -
The whole premise of Medienkritik is now completely absurd. The world press -including most of the US press - applaud the Democrats' election victory, and yet Medienkritik sees this as anti-American hate in the German media. Medienkritik was never anything more than a right-wing blog that expoused Bush-Cheney values (torture, pre-emptive wars abroad, suppression of civil liberties at home). Americans repudiated those values on Tuesday. RayD, have Americans been reading Der Spiegel?
RayD - #4.1 - 2006-11-11 23:19 -
@ David, You write: "The whole premise of Medienkritik is now completely absurd. The world press -including most of the US press - applaud the Democrats' election victory, and yet Medienkritik sees this as anti-American hate in the German media. Medienkritik was never anything more than a right-wing blog that expoused Bush-Cheney values (torture, pre-emptive wars abroad, suppression of civil liberties at home). Americans repudiated those values on Tuesday. RayD, have Americans been reading Der Spiegel? Your comment is flat out wrong. What you write is a total distortion of our work because we never implied in any way whatsoever that the election was a sign of anti-Americanism. We have also never supported or espoused torture or the suppression of civil liberties in any manner whatsoever. That is nothing less than a bald-faced lie and a pathetic smear attempt on your part. It seems that smearing our site has become a full-time hobby for you. We have expressed support for the liberation of Iraq and the removal of Saddam Hussein. If you define that as "pre-emptive war" after 12 years and 17 UN resolutions of inaction, so be it.
David - #4.1.1 - 2006-11-12 21:26 -
@RayD You have consistently portrayed Democrats and any critics of President Bush as "loony left", terrorist-sympathizers, and worse. In your most recent post you imply that only Socialists and al-Qaeda celebrate the outcome of the midterm election. It is you - not the German media - that has contempt for America.
RayD - #188.8.131.52 - 2006-11-13 00:06 -
Wrong again David. I never stated or implied that only Socialists or Al-Qaeda are happy about the election results. Once again you are twisting, distorting and frankly lying about what we have written.
RayD - #184.108.40.206 - 2006-11-13 00:22 -
We have also not consistently portrayed Democrats as terrorist sympathizers or loony left. We have portrayed some Democrats as loony left (Michael Moore for example) but I can't remember a single instance of portraying them as terrorist sympathizers "or worse". Again, simply false.
Fuchur - #5 - 2006-11-10 16:06 -
RayD - #5.1 - 2006-11-11 23:22 -
@ Fuchur, That's interesting, because I've never heard David express an opinion like that once. You say we are in the business of lying and distorting and are an anti-German propaganda blog. We are German my friend. And just because you don't want to hear what we have to say doesn't make us liars. It makes you bitter and unable to engage in a civil argument with anything more than name calling.
Fuchur - #5.1.1 - 2006-11-12 14:40 -
RayD - #220.127.116.11 - 2006-11-13 00:19 -
What you write about David has been torn completely out of context. Furthermore, my cut-and-run comment was clearly made tongue-in-cheek. It is obvious that not all Europeans advocate cut-and-run. But how many have you seen advocating American success over the past three years? Furthermore, it is not our job to promote Germany every time someone criticizes it. We are not a tourist office. We criticize the German media's extremism. That's what we do and that is what our site is about. We have raised an enormous level of awareness about this issue in the hope of improving German-American relations. We aren't going to sugarcoat or write token nice-nice articles every week about how much we love Lebkuechen to please people like you. Finally, we don't respond to the comments of Germany haters because they don't dignify a response. We don't need to respond to every whack-job to somehow prove we love our country. We respond to the comments of those we wish to engage in a debate. And please stop balling about how bitter you are, it is just plain pathetic.
Assistant Village Idiot - #6 - 2006-11-10 22:33 -
Pinkerton, do you have any basis for that suspicion, or is it just the standard cynical prejudice against the Bush Administration? David, by "world press" I think you are leaving out about a billion people in India, 100 million in Eastern Europe, 100 million in Central Asia... And the torture/pre-emptive/civil liberties oversimplifications are just tiring. Just because people try to paint things one way doesn't make them so. Several of the comments in the OP would certainly be taken as anti-German if the roles were reversed and Americans were so opinionated about one party versus another in your elections.
David - #6.1 - 2006-11-10 23:36 -
Could you point me to newspapers in Central asia and eastern europe that published articles or editorials that were critical of outcome of the US midterm election?
Possum - #7 - 2006-11-10 22:56 -
Note that Karsten Voigt's comment that the election would "reduce the growing European prejudice against the United States," what you also quote him as calling an "anti-American prejudice" is an admission that Europeans are prejudiced, anti-American and growing ever more so. He said it, not me. I think he's right about the Democrats' expectations. Since I was one (till Europe's reaction to 9/11 and the Democrats' smear campaign became so disgusting I was alienated), I know he is right. They just don't know yet what I have learned the past few years = that European anti-Americanism is just the same old nationalism with a negative face on it. But they will learn when they get no more cooperation than Bush did. The NYT's comment that "the criticism of America was less shrill, less gloating, more textured" is an accusation that Europe's criticism is shrill, gloating, and monolithic. The NYT said it, not me. And I think you are exactly right, Joerg, when you write that if we listen to Europe's screaming at us about how evil our being in Iraq is and pull out, Europe will not be happy, that it "will blame the US for any problem in Iraq resulting from a pre-mature withdrawal in Iraq." The Dems don't yet know that it's a just a hypocritical holier-than-thou game of Catch-22.
Don S - #8 - 2006-11-11 00:33 -
"And I think you are exactly right, Joerg, when you write that if we listen to Europe's screaming at us about how evil our being in Iraq is and pull out, Europe will not be happy" The common saying is that the US pulls out of Iraq they will follow us home. I agree to an extenet - but [i]which home[/i]?!!! It's a lot harder to get into the US these days than it is to get into Europe. To get into Europe all one has to do is get into one of the borderlands and more or less walk across. To get into the US you have to fly direct or via Canada or Mexico. There are fewer holes in the security. SO I think the terrorists 'following' will end up disproportionately in Europe. In places like Hamburg. The Germans had a choice; they could fight alongside us in Iraq - or in Hamburg. Rotsa Ruck to poor bloody Hamburg now that they can't export the problem to the WTC!
JW-Atlantic Review - #8.1 - 2006-11-11 01:05 -
"The Germans had a choice; they could fight alongside us in Iraq - or in Hamburg" You seem to think that developments in Iraq would be better if Germany had joined this war. You have too much faith in our capabilities. Speaking about choices: You made the wrong choice in 2003, not us. Now you have to fix it. You have to keep the promises you have made to Iraqis and the world and bring democracy to Iraq, or at least stability. If the US stays in Iraq and the conflict gets worse, Europeans will blame America. If the US leaves Iraq and the conflict gets worse, Europeans will blame America. Possum and the folks at Medienkritik seem to consier that a contradiction, but it is not. Europeans want the US to succeed in Iraq, i.e. to bring stability to that country, ideally democracy, as you have promised in 2003. Instability in that region is not in our interest. To the contrary it is dangerous for us. If the US stays in Iraq and the Iraq gets stable, then Europeans will not blame America. If Iraq turns out to be the model democracy that you promised in 2003 and brings democracy to the entire region, as you promised in 2003, then we will all sing praise for you and name bridges, highschools, hospitals etc after all Neocons. You started that war. Now you have to fix it. You have to keep you promises. If you don't keep your promise and fail in Iraq, people will blame you. That's hard, but that's life. It certainly is not hypocritical as Possum (comment above) and many folks at Medienkritik think.
JW-Atlantic Review - #8.2 - 2006-11-11 01:09 -
@ Don "The common saying is that the US pulls out of Iraq they will follow us home. I agree to an extenet - but which home?!!! It's a lot harder to get into the US these days than it is to get into Europe. To get into Europe all one has to do is get into one of the borderlands and more or less walk across." I agree. And I acknowledge that you admit that the US would be responsible for increased threats to Europe, if you pull out prematurely. Most Europeans believe anyway, that the US led war in Iraq increased the threats against Europe. Thus, don't be surprised about European criticism at the US these days (and more in the future, if Iraq goes further downhill).
Don S - #8.2.1 - 2006-11-11 17:59 -
Joerg, you need to understand that the political party which wanted to stay the course in Iraq [i]just lost power[/i]! To the loud cheers and satisfaction of the majority of Germans - or so it seems. The party which wishes to leave Iraq [i]just won power[/i] with the best of wishes and even help from Europe. Very well, so be it. Vox Poplei, vox Dei. We'll leave Iraq. Germans got what they wanted at long last. Perhaps you need to be more careful in what you wished for. As for European terrorism being the US fault? Tell me something I don't know - something which I haven't seen said 1000 times before? Everything bad is caused by the US - it'a axiomatic....
JW - #18.104.22.168 - 2006-11-11 19:30 -
"The party which wishes to leave Iraq just won power with the best of wishes and even help from Europe." What makes you think that? "We'll leave Iraq. Germans got what they wanted at long last." Do you mean immediate withdrawal? What makes you think that? Please present any poll that suggests that Germans want the US to leave Iraq immidiately. If you don't mean immediate withdrawal, then okay. Though Americans don't want the US to stay in Iraq forever either. I think you are wrong. Fischer said a few months ago: "If, in 2003, everything suggested that this US war was a mistake, then today, the arguments against a US retreat in Iraq are at least as strong" [url]http://atlanticreview.org/archives/330-guide.html[/url] And I think most folks in Germany agree with that statement.
Don S - #22.214.171.124.1 - 2006-11-11 22:49 -
JW-Atlantic Review - #126.96.36.199.1.1 - 2006-11-12 10:09 -
You are just writing about protests against the start of the Iraq war in 2003. You have not mentioned a single demonstration, petitition, etc calling for immediate withdrawal, after the war has been underway. As I said earlier, I think most Germans agree with Fischer who said a few months ago: "If, in 2003, everything suggested that this US war was a mistake, then today, the arguments against a US retreat in Iraq are at least as strong" [url]http://atlanticreview.org/archives/330-guide.html[/url] The German government and most Germans were against the start of the Iraq war, but we did not want you to fail and we still do not want you to fail. That's why the Bundeswehr provided various kinds of support once you started the Iraq war: NYT: German Intelligence gave U.S. Iraqi defense plan - Atlantic Review - Analysis of Transatlantic Relations and U.S. Foreign Policy "The United States awarded a medal to one of the two agents of the German Federal Intelligence for his support to combat operations The NYT also describes the German governments vocal public opposition to the Iraq war and the significant help the German armed forces provided nevertheless: "German ships guarded the sea lanes near the Horn of Africa as part of Task Force 150, an effort to deter terrorist attacks in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, for example. The patrols helped safeguard the waterways the United States used to build up its forces in the Persian Gulf for the invasion of Iraq. German troops were also part of a "consequence management" team, at the United States military base at Camp Doha, Kuwait, which was charged with protecting Kuwaitis after a chemical attack. The measure was justified as defensive. German personnel also guarded American military bases in Germany, freeing United States soldiers to go to Iraq. When NATO debated whether to send Awacs radar planes and Patriot missile batteries to Turkey, a move the United States was promoting to help persuade Ankara to open a northern front in Iraq, Germany initially was opposed. But it soon dropped its objections. Germany later provided the missiles for the Patriot batteries sent to Turkey." [url]http://atlanticreview.org/archives/274-guide.html[/url]
joe - #9 - 2006-11-11 08:12 -
That the US M$M would be happy is an understatement. This is what they have been working hard to accomplish for the last 6 years. So why not be happy when your teams wins.
Assistant Village Idiot - #10 - 2006-11-11 16:09 -
Ah David, you finally choose to answer a comment of mine! I was beginning to think you were unable to answer. Your comment seems a diversion. The point, whcih I believe you took but chose to sidestep, is that world opinion is highly varied about Bush, America, GWOT - as it is on many things - but you made an enormously inclusive claim about the opinion of the world press. JW, I agree that "most Europeans" believe that the US led war in Iraq increased the threats against Europe. But is it true? The fact that terrorist attacks long predate Iraq, and continue to be waged against nations which did not support the US effort, would certainly be at least some evidence against that proposition. I thank you that you, and some here, are willing to look at such issues with an eye to plusses and minusses, pros and cons. But in general, "most Europeans" haven't really put any actual thought into coming up to that belief. As evidence for that, I cite the ongoing repetition of the same complaints, no matter what answers are given to them. People find a particular narrative the most convenient way to understand the world. That is all people, not just Europeans, or Americans, or Islamists. The narrative usually trumps all contrary data. In any controversy, then, it is best to first understand the narrative of the people you are arguing with. I find that those who generally support the Bush approach to the GWOT can articulate the views of those that oppose it, even if they disagree. In contrast, those opposing the Bush approach nearly always caricature and oversimplify his view. As a consequence, I find it difficult to take them seriously.
David - #10.1 - 2006-11-11 21:38 -
In other words, you were not being truthful when you implied that the Eastern European/Central Asian press condemned the Dems' midterm victory. As far as world opinion being highly varied about Bush and America, I agree with you about America. On Bush, however, there is universal condemnation. Here at home, Newsweek poll of today: Bush's approval rating falls to 31% - even some of the evangelicals are abandoning Dear Leader.
joe - #11 - 2006-11-11 21:45 -
With an approval rating that low, seems GWB will not win in 08
Assistant Village Idiot - #12 - 2006-11-13 04:14 -
David, I am content to let my previous comment stand on its own for its honesty of interpretation. I don't think it needs any further defense.
Olaf Petersen - #13 - 2006-11-13 06:03 -
The best antidote against anti-americanism is a democrat in the White House.
ADMIN - #14 - 2006-11-13 13:38 -
Please note that by default the comments in this blog are threaded rather than linear, i.e. some of the latest responses to comments are not at the bottom, but in the middle of the thread right behind the comment they respond to. At the top of the comments section you have the option to change the view from threaded to linear, which enables you to see the latest comments at the end of the thread.
Google the Site