What a pleasant surprise! Germany is more widely seen as "having a mainly positive influence" in the world than any other country, according to the BBC World Service's Country Ratings Poll. I doubt, however, whether poll participants really meant Germany's foreign policy.
A three-point increase in Germany's average rating returned it to the top of the BBC list, displacing Japan, which saw its positive ratings drop from 58% to 51%, and fell from first to fourth place overall. (...)
In Spain, the recipient of a bailout with tight German strings attached, 68% said they felt Germany had "a mainly positive influence in the world".
In Britain, it was even higher at 78%. In France 81% - the poll indicates that four in every five French people look over the border with approval!
Only Greece maintains its Germanophobia, with 52% giving a negative rating.
Will the poll matter? It might well. It may confirm German ministers in their belief that tough love is true friendship.
Re the last sentence: I doubt that people consider tough love in the euro-crisis as a true friendship.
Continue reading "Britain and the World Love Germany"
The EU not only finds itself in a fiscal crisis, it is also faced with a crisis of confidence. We need a broadly based public debate on alternative proposals for the future of Europe. With this in mind, the Heinrich Böll Foundation's international conference "Europe's Common Future" explored different perspectives and policy proposals.
The Greek, French, Polish and German speakers on the panel "Germany's role in the crisis" strongly reinforced five opinions of mine:
1. Poland likes Germany much more than ever before. They count on us.
2. The French inferiority complex in EU matters is getting worse.
Continue reading "Five Theses on the State of EU Politics"
Although Germany approves one aid package after the other for Greece, "hardly a day goes by without Chancellor Angela Merkel being depicted in a Nazi uniform somewhere. Swastikas are a common sight as well," writes Jan Fleischhauer in both the German and English Edition of Der Spiegel.
He does not blame the imposed austerity measures for our lack of popularity, but rather Germany's success, self-confidence and strength. He concludes that Germans have become "the Americans of Europe":
Continue reading ""We have become the Americans of Europe""
The Eurocrisis is severe, but no reason to wet your pants -- or to mention the war, is it? As did The Times editor-at-large Anatole Kaletsky, in an op-ed for his paper by the headline: "Germany has declared war on the eurozone"
If Clausewitz is right that "war is the continuation of policy by other means", then Germany is again at war with Europe -- in the sense that German policy is trying to achieve the characteristic objectives of war: the redrawing of international boundaries and the subjugation of foreign peoples.
Holy guacamole! The Australian has republished his op-ed with free access to everyone visiting via Google. So search for the headline "Europe is at economic war, and Germany is winning". (HT Christian)
Continue reading "The Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself"
The NY Times published the craziest op-ed on Germany's policy on Greece that I have seen in a broadsheet. Ever.
After tons of articles about Germany being too slow, too hesitant, too selfish to sufficiently help Greece, the NYT now opened its op-ed pages for the American economist Todd Buchholz to write about "Germany's Love for Greece":
Continue reading "Craziest Commentary on Germany and Greece"
Germany's real motivation to help Greece is not cash; it's culture. Germans struggle with a national envy. For over 200 years, they have been searching for a missing part of their soul: passion. They find it in the south and covet the loosey-goosey, sun-filled days of their free-wheeling Mediterranean neighbors.
In the early 1800s, Goethe reported that his travels to Italy charged him up with new creative energy. Later, Heinrich Heine made the pilgrimage, writing to his uncle: "Here, nature is beautiful and man lovable. In the high mountain air that you breathe in here, you forget instantly your troubles and the soul expands."
"The Slow Death of Europe" is the headline of Walter Laqueur's commentary in The National Interest:
Continue reading "The reports of Europe's death are greatly exaggerated"
Some five years ago in a book entitled The Last Days of Europe I dealt with Europe's decline-and was criticized for my pessimism. And yet I now feel uneasy facing the apocalyptic utterances of yesterday's Euro-enthusiasts. For even if Europe's decline is irreversible, there is no reason that it should become a collapse. At a time of deep, multiple crises in Europe it is too easy to ridicule the delusions of yesteryear.
Is this going to be a new running theme? Vanity Fair runs a long essay under the headline "It's the Economy, Dummkopf!"
Continue reading "German Dummkoepfe"
With Greece and Ireland in economic shreds, while Portugal, Spain, and perhaps even Italy head south, only one nation can save Europe from financial Armageddon: a highly reluctant Germany. The ironies-like the fact that bankers from Düsseldorf were the ultimate patsies in Wall Street's con game-pile up quickly as Michael Lewis investigates German attitudes toward money, excrement, and the country's Nazi past, all of which help explain its peculiar new status.