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Ronald Reagan Love-Fest in Europe, but not in Germany

"There's been a lot of love for the 40th president of the United States these past few days in Europe," writes Robert Zeliger in Foreign Policy. Ronald Reagan got a street named for for him, was honored with statues in Budapest and London and with a Catholic Mass in Krakow.

I remember that there was a short debate in Berlin about a memorial or street for President Reagan, but the leftist government does not like him. It's all politics and ideology. Even a small memorial plaque in the ground at the Brandenburger Gate was rejected, as Majjid Sattar wrote in the German FAZ newspaper in February.

Instead of honoring the US president who urged the General Secretary Gorbachev to "Tear down this wall," the square next to the Brandenburg Gate hosts the The Kennedys Museum, even though President John F. Kennedy acquiesced to the communist construction of the Berlin Wall.

The German fans of JFK should read Fred Kempe's new book "Berlin 1961". Kempe is the president and CEO of the Atlantic Council and argues in the Amazon Q&A:

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How US Girls Can Find Hot Men in Europe

As a blog dedicated to transatlantic relations, I guess we are obligated to promote this book: The Single Girl's Guide to Meeting European Men, "This book offers single girls forty proven tips for meeting and interacting with European men - in a frank, energetic voice that twenty-somethings and thirty-somethings alike will love. Katherine Chloe Cahoon then guides readers through the hottest man-meeting spots in Europe country by country - including phone numbers and addresses of the establishments where single girls have the best chances of meeting Europe's hottest males."

Here is one of the many favorable (and totally serious) reviews on

So good I might switch teams! I'm a guy. I had absolutely no interest in this book, but my wife did. After she read it, she told me it was the greatest piece of 21st century literature. Naturally, I dismissed the notion of a manual to pick up men actually being a worthwhile read, but she insisted, so I gave it a shot. Imagine my surprise when I went to get a drink and saw that I had been reading for 9 hours straight! It was such a compelling page-turner that I somehow unwittingly finished the whole book and convinced myself to start over twice! Never in the course of human history has so much been owed by so many to one author. There are, as advertised, great tips for getting yourself in with some Euro spice, but they feel like an extra gift included with the deftly woven narrative. I only regret that I fell so in love with this book that now I, too, want to fly to Berlin and try to land one of the beautiful young men so well-described in these pages. My wife regrets it, too, but you won't! Read this book today!

The author seems to be serious and has produced a large number of videos to promote the book.

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Remembering Holbrooke and Bosnia

Richard Holbrooke, described by President Obama as a "true giant of American foreign policy," has died following heart surgery. He was only 69, but his career covered nearly fifty years. From 1993-1994, he was the US Ambassador to Germany and founded the American Academy in Berlin.

Ambassador Holbrooke died on the eve of the 15th anniversary of the Dayton Peace Accords, which was the biggest of his many accomplishments and ended more than three years of bloody war in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

NATO published a three-part mini video documentary "From Peacekeeping To Partnership":

Part I: Building Peace tells of NATO's gradual engagement in support of United Nations' efforts to end the Bosnian War (1992-1995) and the deployment of its first peacekeeping force in December 1995. NATO's mission continued for nine years until responsibility for security was handed over to the European Union in December 2004. 

Part II: Reforming the Military shows how NATO's support for essential defence reforms in Bosnia and Herzegovina has helped downsize the armed forces and turn them into a single military force under state-level control. Progress made allowed the country to join NATO's Partnership for Peace in 2006.

Part III: The Road to Integration highlights the country's deepening partnership with NATO and provides an insight into the challenges ahead on the road to the country's possible membership of the Alliance.

Richard Holbrooke's book about Bosnia "To End a War" (, is my favorite foreign policy memoir. It is so well written that it reads like a good thriller. I was very inspired when I read his book during my Political Science studies in the late 90s. Richard Holbrooke was an inspiration to many other German students as well.

Another Crazy Bush-Hitler Comparison

I always found the conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung's feuilleton to be weird compared to the rest of the paper, but this book review (in German) by Edo Reents is beyond weird, i.e. it is outrageous. The book tries to explain why the Dreyfus Affair matters today and is written by the US novelist Louis Begley. The reviewer claims: ". the Bush government, which, inasmuch as it illegally imprisoned and tortured people, essentially behaved no differently than the National Socialists."

So, now John Rosenthal was able to state in Pajama's Media: "German Daily: Bush Was Hitler" And it is this sort of blog posts and headlines that seems to give quite a few Americans the impression that Bush-Hitler comparisons are a common feature in the German media. I find that quite unfortunate, but I admit that these crazy comparisons (or even equations) do happen and are worse than their exaggerations on some US blogs, like on the American Thinker.

Related posts on Atlantic Review: Two More Americans Accuse Germany of Historical Revisionism and Top Democrat on Auschwitz, Guantanamo and Europe

How Many Like Steve?

Steve Coll - whose book on the Bin Laden family we plugged - laments the 'end of civilisation' on his The New Yorker blog:
Before takeoff, as usual, I had thumbed through my email on my BlackBerry. As the in-flight wireless signal popped up on my laptop (fourteen dollars, including tax) I remembered all of what was left undone and decided to sign up.


I note that the Very Important Book, whose last hundred pages I had expected to finish before landing, sits tucked into the seatback pocket in front of me, in no particular danger of being read. My mission now is not to forget about it altogether and leave it on the airplane. These airliner tubes, with their confined hours-long intervals, had been a last refuge from the grid, a sort of enforced library reading room. Those of us in the bound-and-printed intellectual-property creation racket had best reconsider tweeting.
Sound familiar?

When I review my yearly Christmas reading - it is, again, the season - the Worldchanging book from last year sits in the shelf as an occassional reference, while I'm due for a third start-over of Against the Day, a novel I received two years ago. Both wonderful books, but not the type to easily read from cover to cover (I did manage a number of shorter books in between). A dismal record. This year, the reading will be somewhat less... liberal as I've settled on Drezner's 'All Politics is Global'.

War Hero Versus Shooting Star

As Andrew Hammel from the University of Düsseldorf pointed out in his interview with Jörg Wolf recently, most Germans "haven't the faintest idea what John McCain stands for" politically. If you thought you could find out by reading his autobiography, think again. "Faith of My Fathers" could just as well be placed on the bookshelf labeled "military history".

In his so-called "family memoir", John McCain describes in detail wartime adventures of his father and his grandfather. Both were named like himself: John Sidney McCain, and both were four-star admirals in the Navy. John McCain the third (72) succeeded them to military academy and became a bomber pilot. After childhood and youth full of fits of rage and fistfights followed the stereotypical life of a soldier, including fights, romantic escapades, alcohol and gambling.

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US Foreign Policy From 11/9 to 9/11

As part of a media partnership with Blogactiv, we are cross-posting this book review by Stanley Crossick:

"America Between the Wars: From 11/9 to 9/11", by Derek Chollet and James Goldgeier, is an interesting read, in particular in highlighting the continuities of policies of the Clinton and George W Bush Administrations.

American exceptionalism is alive and well in both parties as can be seen from the speeches of both Senators McCain and Obama. The authors argue that President Clinton and Madeleine Albright, his Secretary of State, shared common ground on many policies with the Project for a New American Century, a neo-con organisation, including NATO enlargement and the Balkans. And both opposed any isolationist tendencies and the US turning its back on global problems. Both believe in the "indispensable nation" (a phrase coined by Albright) with a unique role to play in the world. Both believe in democracy promotion.

These conclusions no doubt upset many red and blue politicians but it is timely to express them. There is a danger in believing that all will be well after 4 November and EU-US relations will resume where they left off. However, this is not so. Deep foreign policy differences divide the Atlantic and we need to address these frankly together. The gulf in understanding between Americans and Europeans cannot be bridged if its width is underestimated.

Finally and frighteningly, the authors point out that from 1989 to 2001, the United States averaged one large-scale military intervention every 18 months.

World War IV: Europe on the Front Line

While Swiss media are reporting Al Qaeda bomb threats during the upcoming EU- soccer championship (taking place in Switzerland and Austria), Eric Grover warns from an Islamic "World War IV" against the West on blogactiv. This entry was cross-posted from blogactiv with permission and without further editing. It does not represent the Atlantic Review's opinion on the matter:

"A resurgent fundamentalist Islam is engaged in a global war against the West and the rest of the infidel world. In World War IV: The Long Struggle Against Islamofascism former Commentary editor in chief Norman Podhoretz calls it WW4.

Republican presidential frontrunner John McCain believes "the transcendent challenge of the 21st century is radical Islamic extremists." Mitt Romney said the “philosophy of radical jihadism says, ‘We want to kill.’” In stark contrast, Democrats, George Bush and many European leaders talk about combating terrorism – a means, disembodied from any animating ideology or purpose. It is as if in WW2 Roosevelt and Churchill had called for waging war against Panzer tanks. UK Home Secretary Jacqui Smith in a positively Orwellian construction now refers to Islamic terrorism as “anti-Islamic activity.”

21st century Europeans and Americans no longer understand men motivated by and willing, indeed eager, to kill and die for their faith.

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