The German media is full of NSA and TTIP criticism, but 56% of Germans still want more cooperation with the United States. That’s a surprisingly positive result of the Körber-Foundation poll “Involvement or Restraint” in support of the German Foreign Office’s “Review 2014”-process. And yet, several journalists manage to draw Anti-American conclusions from this poll.
I have explained it in German at Deutschlands Agenda, but including some tweets in English.
Continue reading "Majority of Germans in Favor of More Transatlantic Cooperation"
Ahead of Chancellor Merkel's US trip I had the pleasure to be on the TV talkshow "Agenda" at Deutsche Welle, Germany's international broadcaster.
Continue reading "Discussing Transatlantic Relations on Deutsche Welle TV"
I answered questions on Merkel's agenda, the NSA scandal, TTIP, and whether Germany is firmly in the West (at 34:55 min). I also participated in the discussion on Ukraine (3:37, 13:45 min) with Roman Goncharenko, DW Eastern Europe Correspondent, and moderated by Brent Goff. I conceded to panelist Fraya Frehse from Sao Paulo University that Brazil will win the World Cup.
Yesterday, the New York Times published a short article by Professor Hendrickson with wrong claims about Germany’s defense spending:
“Germany’s cuts of 25 percent over the next four years are similarly appalling.”
Ryan C. Hendrickson’s only stated reference about such drastic defense cuts is a RAND study, which he describes as „recent“, although it was published in mid-2012 and relies on data mostly from 2011. The professor of political science at Eastern Illinois University took the phrase „the next four years“ from the first paragraph of the RAND summary. It seems that he has not read the next two pages, which state: “The German Ministry of Defense plans to cut $10 billion (or roughly €7.8 billion) from its defense budget by 2013. If these cuts are implemented as planned, the entire German Armed Forces will…” This means that the 25 percent cut was supposed to already have happened. Professor Hendrickson also missed RAND’s qualifier expressed with the big “If” and he has not bothered to check the numbers for 2013. Fact is that Germany’s defense spending has increased by 2 billion Euro between 2009 and 2013.
Continue reading "Germany's Defense Spending: Fact-checking the NY Times"
Interesting responses to the Israeli elections in some European newspapers - to say the least:
1. The Sunday Times from London publishes a Nazi style cartoon on Holocaust Memorial Day.
Continue reading "Israel in the European Media"
Heather A. Conley, a senior fellow and director of the Europe Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C, has a piece in Foreign Policy titled "The Transatlantic Test" with the subheading "Europe is facing an existential crisis, and it's time the United States recognized it."
Continue reading "Think Tanks as Tabloids"
Foreign Policy covers Polish FM Sikorski's statements at the Munich Security Conference: Don't even try to become a hegemon
Continue reading "Perception of Germany"
"Germany cannot be said to be said to be similar to the United States [in the post WWII period]," Sikorski said. "The position of benign hegemon for Germany is not attainable, and therefore I would propose your actual position in the EU, which is a very honorable one, is the position of the largest shareholder."
Excellent post by Kosmopolit:
Continue reading "Short Guide to Lazy EU Journalism"
1. Not sure how the EU works or what institutions are involved? -> Just write "Brussels".
2. Germany is generally seen as important in EU politics and journalists know how to frame it:
If Germany is active in a certain policy domain just write something about "German dominance" and if you work for British newspaper add some subtle references to the war.
If Germany is passive in a given policy area just write that Germany abandons the EU and it clearly adopted a unilateral strategy, if you work for a British newspaper you could add something about the war.
Russell Berman responded to our criticism with an update below his Daily Beast article that is longer than his original article.
This is my response: Yes, the United States started an impressive surge in Afghanistan last year, while the European NATO members "just" increased their troops. This means that the share of European compared to US troops is today lower than it used to be. The US surge, however, is temporary and Obama is expected to declare soon how many troops he will withdraw. European countries are sovereign and are not obligated to follow every US policy decision.
Moreover, this does not change the fact that Berman was factually wrong in stating that the Obama administration "was completely unable to convince any European ally to increase troop commitments" and "some [European allies], like the Netherlands, have in fact already withdrawn." Professor Berman's claim that it is "hard" "to find Europeans on the front lines," is wrong and insensitive to the families of dead soldiers.
Such statements will not encourage Europeans to increase their support US led wars in Afghanistan and elsewhere, which is Prof Berman's goal. Today, nearly ten years after 9/11, European countries have 37,000 troops in Afghanistan. That's an increase of 11,000 troops since Obama became president. Why is not Berman acknowledging this at all? Think about all the European families who have a loved one in Afghanistan!
Only if US think tankers appreciate the European contributions to Afghanistan, is there a chance that Europe continues to follow the US leadership and support the wars that the US political and think tank elite (but not the public) cares about.
Continue reading "We need to appreciate each other!"