Yesterday, Steven Den Beste gave us one of his usual gifts
I am over half German,and I can tell you that from what I know of German people, they are basically sullen and unfriendly and angry; they need to have an enemy vent their anger towards. I think that that enemy was the USSR in the cold war, with the end of the cold war, I think the 2 leading contenders for official scapegoat is the USA and Schroeder himselt. Hopefully we can win the war quickly, find some evidence that Schroder abetted German firms in illegally arming Hussein in Iraq and get the Germans to vent their hate inwards towards Schroder instead of at us.
Barbara Tuchman thought there was a German cultural pathology too, but her diagnosis was that it was authoritarian in nature: “Given a choice between disorder and injustice, the German prefers injustice.”
In this particular case, it’s more likely to be the demographic upheaval of the East-West reunification, finally manifesting itself in a political fashion. Couple that to the socialist German government’s own distaste for the Bush Administration, and unease about what we’ll discover about German industrialists’ collaboration with Saddam Hussein once we start smashing open his file cabinets.
It is also interesting to considered German Philosophy. Save only Kant, German philosophers are responsible for the growth of both communism and facism. From Marx and Hegel, to Nietzsche and Heidegger, to Marcuse (founder of the new left)…not one has understood or respected individual liberty. I one way or another the all were collectivists, (yes, even Nietzsche in some ways)
If it coincidence that German has experienced as much oppression as it has in the last century.
I spent two years in Germany (May 88 to May 90) in the US Army. I was in one or two Armored Cavalry Regiments (ACR) that patrolled the East German & Czechoslovakian borders. I remember areas that were off limits because of attacks on American service personnel & thier dependents. But I also remember, as you got closer to the Iron Curtain, away from the cities, the locals loved us. Children, adults & the elderly. They had different reasons, but the love was still there.
When I first arrived, I had to attend a ‘First Start’ type program to learn the basics of German (since I took it in high school I really felt it was unnecessary). On the last day of the program, the instructor, a local, stated that America should have stepped in sooner to stop Hitler. I took that as a sign of shame and didn’t really think she was trying to blame America, but only the wish that we could somehow go back and save the Germans from themselves.
I only hope that they save themselves this time. I am sure that the euros have the same problem with polls that we do. Maybe the latest election is a good sign. Maybe the removal of American troops & dollars will be a wake-up call. Maybe Germany will launch aggression on her neighbors once again. Maybe we will find out that the French & Germans were just trying to make some fast money, gain some power & are just trying to cover thier tracks.
I’m not making excuses. I loath both countries right now (the french-loathing is quite easy) and don’t wish to see normalization of relations between any of them. Maybe, one day when the Europeans stop acting like squabbling children and start acting like adults, we can welcome them back into the American community.
Given your sentiments, you’d like the quote where Churchill called the Germans “carnivorous sheep”.
Steven, your post deeply concerns me, but I think it is based on incorrect assumptions. I’ve commented at length at http://www.solport.com (the archived link is http://www.solport.com/blog/2003_02_09_archive#88972290).
Hopefully the points in my post will help change your assumptions that your post is based upon. I enjoy reading your writings and this one doesn’t seem like you.
Sorry for mispelling your name – I’ll go fix it on my site…
No, they weren’t willing executioners, it was all the SS and the Nazis, just ask any German, he’ll tell you.
With Germany, I think it difficult to underestimate the influence of 1960′s/70′s vintage neo-leftists, and their heirs, in the SPD and Greens, and their diversion of the worries of many Germans into anti-American hysteria.
Curiosly, they view themselves as rejecting traditional German culture, but see Adenauer and Kohl as its embodiments.
In fact, much the same is going on within the Labour Party in Britain, which is Tony Blair’s main political problem.
There’s an article by Anne Daley in the Daily Telegraph that touches on another possible source, the amoral ‘accomodationism’ prevalent on the Continent. (Link indirect, as I think direct ones require prior registration)
As for France, I think a good deal of their behaviour may aim at using German politics and the Iraq crisis to damage German-American relations, an objective of Paris for decades.
Funny thing is, Stephen, I feel almost exactly the way you do. Almost to a T.
Except I’m not part Jewish, and have no other ties to Germany I can think of.
I’ve reached the point where I simply loathe the Germans and the French.
Seems the germans that leave and come over here do ok, so maybe its something in the water over there. But even if the french leave and go somewhere else, they are exactly the same. ( quebec – for example)
I wonder if living next door to the french for a millenia can make you the ‘cranky old man of europe’?
and does that explain the attitude of people in the far north-eastern united states?( are new yorkers cranky because they live in proximity to a large french population?)
Quixote wrote (on his website):
> From our perspective, we have been (mostly) trying to save other countries (e.g, WWI, WWII, Vietnam, Korea, Kuwait, etc.), but sometimes we do it for other reasons (e.g., Panama).
Don’t know why you isolate Panama there, since from the perspective of the Panamenians (me included) it resulted in the liberation of the country too from a coked up pinnaple faced dictator.
As for the rest of the comment, my last name is German but I know very little of German culture. Anti-Americanism is in Vogue today (even in Puerto Rico!) so I wouldn’t single out the German people that much. It’s just their insipid govt. trying to distract the populace.
Just as a mostly irrelevatn side note, Germany is not totally pre-eminent among continental nations in the physical sciences. Austria is at least in the ballpark, and very possibly the equal of Germany.
Frank, in my experience, French people who come to America are as American as all the other people who come to America. And Quebec is no more French than I am British. I’m as mad at the French right now as anyone else, but let’s keep a clear head. Quebec is not France. Americans of French origin are not France.
Anyone who wishes to understand the unique pathology of modern Germany (and to a lesser extent, continental western Europe at large) could do not better than to read anything by W.G. Sebald. I would especially recommend The Emigrants or his last “novel” (unfortunately, he died 2 years ago in a car wreck) Austerlitz. The latter is a masterpiece: a man with no sense of his personal history, raised by a severe Welsh couple during and after WWII, begins a search of literal self-discovery only to find that he was a Czech jew saved by the English kindertransport. As he delves deeper into his past, suffering a nervous breakdown along the way, he finds that his history is synonomous with that of 20th century Europe. So much awesome potential, so much culture turned rabidly upon its own people.
Sebald’s Europe is a paralyzed, haunted graveyard of a place. It can never recover from its psychosis because every time it comes near to discovering the buried truth about itself it shoves the memories deeper and deeper. The only characters that ever find peace in Sebald’s novels (which are incredibly rich with stunning “facts” woven into the narrative) are those that leave Germany, as Sebald himself did (he moved to England in his twenties, though he wrote in German all his life).
To bring this all back to today’s fascinating discussion, I would vote for Germany’s having a long, rocky road ahead of it in terms of “normalization.” They don’t have the balls to either admit that it was a mistake to let in so many Turks and Arabs OR grant them citizenship because of their inferior blut.
My sense is that France is in danger of falling into Germany’s trap, not because of any deepseated angst about the Holocaust or the “resistance” that largely wasn’t, but because it is wedded inextricably to the socialist welfare state that stands on the brink of bankruptcy and its own failure at the mission civilatrice within its own borders. Dont forget that Great Britain’s economy (along with right-led Spain and Italy) has boomed along after the Thatcherite rebellion. This galls even more than American superpowerdom, but they could never vent their spleen on neighboring EU vassal states.
Boot them both out of NATO for failing to live up to obligations not to US but to Turkey (interesting thought, suppose Iraq bordered a white Christian country?). And Belgium can be divied up between its neighbors as a parting gift.
Thanks for the feedback. I added your comments to the site. I was about to send you an email, then noticed the address. LOL
I’ve received a couple of posts from Germans giving their side of things. I posted them (and my response) at my blog.
Sorry Katherine, I will return to my “something in the water” theory, no offence intended.
Maybe its just genetic drift then?, those germans and french that migrate to the ‘new world” take with them specific traits that are passed along to their offspring, while those that stayed behind lose the same traits.
speaking as the offspring of french-canadians, english and germans, I thank my lucky stars every day that my ancestors got kicked out of the so called decent countries of europe.
“are new yorkers cranky because they live in proximity to a large french population?”
Nah, Quebec doesn’t make too much of an impression on us here. I suspect we got those snarly attitudes as a defense mechanism because we’re not allowed to own guns.
Also, a much worse NY flaw than the crankiness is our self-centeredness. We’re the center of the universe, and we know it.
Kobes, I’m completely in favor of dividing Belgium. Give the Walloons to France, where they themselves think they belong ever since the French revolution. Let Flanders do as it pleases, it will very much behave like the Netherlands (but more pleasant, because it doesn’t have a strict calvinist past).
Stephen, your analysis of Germany was an interesting read. Living in a country that has had the displeasure of being invaded twice by the Germans, I’ve always had an interest in their present and their past. You cited Adenauer and Kohl (the latter was a disciple of the former) as anomalies. Well, I would state it otherwise : they’re both from the Rhineland, the westernmost part of Germany. Rhinelanders often say that they would rather not have anything to do with those who live further to the east (by which they mean Saxons and Prussians). Schr
Republican Rome gets the credit for inventing a way to keep the peasants fat, happy, and uninterested in politics. The grain dole was a staple part of life in ancient Rome. Bismark should only get credit for adapting the concept to the practices of the industrial age.
When I think of Germany, I always remember the Dennis Miller Line “I view the reunification of Germany the same way I would view a Martin-Lewis reunion. I have seen the old shit, don’t need to see the new shit. Whoever objects to this union please speak now or forever hold your piece in a locked and ready position” or words to that effect. There is something rotting in the core of Germany and France as well. They are nations that have stopped striving, stopped growing. That they so quickly forget what America has done for them over the last 60 years, how many of our lives were snuffed out becuase of the evil they inflicted upon thier fellow nations. Quite frankly fuck them.
Your list of Germany’s pros and cons is impressive, if only because I can hardly see any point in it.
Guttenberg’s moveable type is, quite objectively, a good thing. Luther’s proposals have had good and bad effects (so have Marx’ btw.). Modern medicine is objectively a good thing.
However, the idea that Bismarck invented the welfare state is ridiculous. His plans were simply the socialists’ and neither they nor him can, objectivey, be said to have only come up with the concept to keep “peasants fat, happy and uninterested in voting”.
I don’t know your history of Prussia, but the Prussian kings have in their time never been a symbol of tyranny or intolerance, quite the contrary. And the Prussian-led German empire was also not a tyrannic state but was for its time a most democratic country.
As for the undesireables that were killed by Hitler, I have to agree that this is one objective point you make. But Germany and Hitler weren’t the only ones who did that sort of thing, they were only more effective (and more recent). I am myself of a Jewish background, but I don’t see what Hitler has to do with the whole lot of German history, and I don’t see why I should simply forget Germany’s history of religious tolerance in the decades before WWI just because of the Nazis.
So your argument is basically that when you ignore what Germany did before WWI and misrepresent what Prussian kings stood for and claim that Bismarck had evil intentions when he created the modern welfare state, you can also claim that Germany is an evil place that had to be beaten twice and still hasn’t learned. (Afterall, Germany still has that welfare system and thus all the evil intentions that made it come about, right?)
Speaking of Wilhelm’s Imperial Army and its unspeakable evils… wasn’t that the same army that was among the very few in Europe that did not attack every single piece of land that could be found in Africa or Asia? The Germany of emperor Wilhelm was, in comparison to the USA, the UK, and France, the most friendly nation on earth, even if the reason was only that evil emperor Wilhelm did not have the chance to occupy the lot of Northern America or Africa or India. Heck. even Hitler never attempted to occupy as much land as all the other great powers actually _did_ occupy each.
So my point is that if you wanted to explain why you dislike Germany and couldn’t find anything but the usual Hitler argument and a few opinions based on, I am sorry, ignorance, you have failed to convince me. There are a lot of things I don’t like about Germany, but Wilhelm’s evil ways are not among them and neither is the fact that Germany defended itself in WWI which was started by a terrorist attack (and ironically, we now know that attacking countries that refuse to hand over the terrorists or support the terrorists in any other way counts as “defence” rather than “attack”; the world has changed in the last 100 years, I think). To you WWI was just another example of a war Germany started and where America had to come and stop Germany. From a German point of view WWI was started by those who attacked first (the Serbian terrorist) and was then ended by the Americans who for some reason decided to help France gain control over Germany’s most valuable region (Rhineland). How exactly do you exspect Germans to be thankful for that? What happened after WWI was the Germans’ fault but the stage was built by the British, the French, and the Americans.
You see WWI and WWII as examples of how America solved a problem and wonder why Germans are against a war in Iraq. But Germans see WWI as an example of how America blew it and WWII as an example of how America fixed it again and wonder whether a war in Iraq will end like WWI or WWII. _I_ think it will be like WWII, but _most_ Germans believe it will be like WWI, and this is _NOT_ a good prospect and I find it quite understandable that many Germans see hypocricy among Americans who claim that WWI was an example of how America did the right thing when everybody on the continent now agrees that the treaty of Versailles was the worst treaty the modern world ever came up with.
So what will a war in Iraq result in? A carbon copy of the end of WWI or a carbon copy of the end of WWII?
But I agree with you about Helmut Kohl being an aberration. Not because I think he and Adenauer were the best among an evil lot, but because I hope that other politicians won’t be as corrupt and dishonest as he was (and still is).
I don’t exspect you to change your mind about Germany, but I do hope that you find better arguments for your position.
Andrew, are you asking for trouble? This after all is the blog of a man who wrote:
“I just don
Otto, until the US invades Belgium, rapes Poland, murders 12 million Jews, gays, handicapped, etc., you might just want to keep a little more quiet.
There IS something objectively sick and wrong with Germany, something which led it to do these things.
That’s not to say — as I took great pains to point out, and you took even greater pains to ignore — that I don’t see any good in German culture. In fact, if I may quote myself, “For all its faults, I thought the many, many more numerous virtues of German culture would be enough to save it.”
Current German political leadership and trends are showing my hopes to be misplaced, at least for the moment.
Again, that’s an objective fact — and I do hope that someday soon my hopes become well-founded.
Oh, and I’ll have a fun reply to Andrew J. Brehm later this evening or early tomorrow. We’re gonna have a real-live Fisking!
I am indeed asking for trouble, if you will. But I’ll try to make this perfectly clear.
My argument is not about whether the war against Iraq is just or not (as I believe it is) or whether there is something fundamentally wrong with Germany (since I agree it is). My argument is about the fallacies and inaccuracies the author based his opinion on and about what exactly should be seen as symptoms of what is wrong with Germany.
And my argument is about the irony that the same people who consider a terrorist attack on the US as a reason for the US to attack countries that support or might support the terrorists, but who also find it incredible evil when the German emperor acted the same way 90 years ago.
I understood correctly what you were saying, Andrew. Which is why my reply is taking so long to write, and why it will be so completely charming and cruel.
What Americans don’t seem to critically reflect about is the behaviour of their ‘pushy’ US cabinet. Since the Bush team took over it is showing a behaviour towards allies that has more resemblance to the relations between a Medieval king and his regional vasalls. The US government at the helm of the only super power left follows the concept of the old empires in history. Empires are by definition the strongest states in a world region, but in the long run none of the them was able to hold its position against a coalition of weaker states. Through its behaviour the US government is actively encouraging the formation of a coalition of the weak that has the courage to stand up against US foreign policy positions.
“Otto, until the US invades Belgium, rapes Poland, murders 12 million Jews, gays, handicapped, etc., you might just want to keep a little more quiet.”
Do look at a map. Compare ALL the land Germany has ever occupied in its history and compare it to the land the United States have occupied or bought from those who occupied it. There is no reason to be quiet about it: no country powerful enough to do evil has ever had much trouble with being evil when it suited its interests.
I haven’t been alive when any of that happened and neither (probably) have you. The two of us have exactly the same connection to the issues we are talking about, namely none at all. We both look at them as history, acts committed by other people. I don’t see a particular connection between myself and people I have never met. I don’t see why anybody should be quiet just because people they have never met have commited more evil acts in more recent times than other people they have never met.
Andrew, I perfectly understand your point but for one detail. When you say something is wrong with Germany you probably mean something entirely different from Stephen. He means something along the line “all Germans have been and always will be psychopaths at heart”. It seems to me you refer to the present political and economical situation in Germany. This is something entirely different.
I’d like to deepen Andrew’s argument. The US invaded the land of: the Apache, the Jicarilla, the Navaho, the Mohave, the Maricopa, the Qahatika, the Pima, the Papago, the Yuma, the Lakota, the Sioux, the Ogalala, the Apsaroke and many, many other people. Nowadays the best they can hope for is to run a casino. The US is the most successful colonial venture ever, all horrors and injustices included.
Stephen said: “There IS something objectively sick and wrong with Germany, something which led it to do these things.” Er… let me think. Yes it IS human nature, shared by all of us. Germans have no monopoly on the horrors of this world. You should read more than just Goldhagen BTW. Hannah Arendt for example.
I’ve spent two or more years of my life in Deutschland and have concluded: I love Germany; it’s the Germans whom I have problems with.
Gordon Craig’s “The Germans” does an excellent job of exploring the historical roots of Germanhood. In short…very short….centuries of tiny fiefdoms, dukedoms, kingdoms and whatever other doms you had left a people hungry for order and safety in the face of chaos. Add in romanticism and worship of nature and you have the Greens, hungry for a New EU Order, the SPD, hungry for power, and das Volk, hungry for an evil against which they can define themselves as good.
But if one thinks the Germans inherently antagonistic to democracy, how can we hold hope for the Arab nations?
Ah yes, the old “It’s Bush’s fault/Bush is rude”. Nope – Americans are just noticing that “old Europeans” have been anti-American for some time.
Lucky for them, they aren’t a threat to the US so they’ve got nothing to fear from the US.
Unlucky for them – they don’t have any defense against those who would attack them, and every day they piss away any chance that the US might help.
One thing that the Euros might not have seen on Baywatch is that almost every family has someone who says that Europe is not worth American lives. Europe is making his argument for him these days.
>>no offence intended.
>>Maybe its just genetic drift then?
I honestly think it is. In which case one could make the point that we have a certain responsibility here: not only are we enabling Europe’s self-destructive behavior (as Stephen argued a while back), we’ve been draining their pioneer stock for centuries…
Re: the old “It’s Bush’s fault/Bush is rude”.
You don’t seem to understand. Slowly the perception of the US in Europe is changing towards one of the US as a threat to European security and not as the great defender of the past against the Reds. The Red superpower is gone, but there is still another one that is pushing states and people around trying to involve them in its own wars.
I don’t think I mean something entirely different from Stephen. I too think that the war against Iraq is justified and I too think that something is wrong with Germany when Germans are so strictly against this war. I find that Germany is too friendly with the Arabs (regardless of what horrors they committ) and not friendly enough with Israel (which afterall only defends itself). There is a remaining anti-semitism in Germany and that is certainly what is wrong.
It is Stephen’s examples I find myself at odds with. I don’t see WWI as a war started by the Germans because I know it was started by a terrorist attack. I find it deeply hypocritical to claim that the US is only defending itself when it attacks Arab countries in order to win a war against Muslim fundamentalism while upholding the opinion that Germany and its emperor were somehow evil when they did the very same thing 100 years ago. It’s either RIGHT to attack countries that support or might support the terrorists or it is WRONG, but the answer cannot depend on whether you are German or American or whatever.
I think it was a mistake for America to help the British win WWI and then allow France to treat Germany like dirt, even force German to admitt that they started the war, even though this simply wasn’t true. And I can understand that many Germans have doubts that America will do the right thing in Iraq. Will America win this war like America won WWII? If so, everything is fine. But when America wins this war like America won WWI, nothing is fine. Both outcomes are possible. What I don’t understand is why so many Germans (of all people) believe it would be like WWI rather than WWII. I believe a mixture of a slight anti-semitism, a fear of American power, the knowledge that America does abuse its power every now and then, and pacifist ideals created what is now the public opinion in Germany.
And it doesn’t help when Americans publicly declare that they hate Germany because they are essentially ignorant of what happened in Germany to make German opinion what it is.
Tell a German that America has failed to do the right thing in WWI but hopes to act as it did in WWII and you will find that Germans start agreeing with you.
But tell them that WWI and WWII were essentially the same king and that the emperor was just as evil as Hitler and that Germany deserved the same faith both for starting a war (WWII) and for being attacked (WWI) and you will find that Germans despise you, and they will be fully justified in doing so.
One reason the French and the Germans go along so well today is that France was willing to forget and so was Germany.
But America has helped destroy Germany once and in the next war liberated Germany from a dictatorship. And while Germans are thankful for America’s help against the Nazis, you cannot exspect Germany to be thankful for American help in defeating the German empire (which German Jews helped defend btw and they didn’t do it because Wilhelm was evil incarnate or an anti-semite or anything like that, they did it because they were convinced that he wasn’t).
> Slowly the perception of the US in Europe is changing towards one of the US as a threat to European security
Really? How is the US threatening European security? Are we threatening to invade?
I understand that US movies and fast food threatens the economic security of certain folks, but as long their own countrymen prefer US dreck….
Or, are you suggesting that the Arab street is going to rise up in Europe AND that that’s the US’ fault?
> The Red superpower is gone, but there is still another one that is pushing states and people around trying to involve them in its own wars.
Huh? Europe ASKED to be involved, insisted that the US couldn’t act without European “consultation”. And it seems to think that it’s entitled to a veto.
A Europe that didn’t want to be involved would have said “hey, that’s your thing, leave us out of it”. But no, Europe said “we want to make the call” and is getting pissy about being ignored. That’s not “being pushed around”.
I’m married to a German guy, although we (thankfully) are now living back in the U.S. Based on my personal experience over the last six years, this “new” anti-americanism was well in place prior to Bush’s election. So all this claptrap about it’s all a response to his “unilateralism” and his Kyoto Treaty refusal is just an excuse painted on as an afterthought.
What’s new is that we have a serious Adminstration fighting a worldwide threat and it isn’t willing to put up with being used as a convenient whipping post to win a dodgy Chancellor’s re-election. Nor will it tolerate allies acting as the enemy.
What I noticed when I was there, is that there seems to be a general resentment among many Germans that they are still reminded of their past transgressions. I think that motivates Schroeder quite a bit, too. And it seems to be morphing into a transference of resentment. So that it’s not the sin they regret, but losing and being called to account. I think this also is manifested in the inexplicable support for Arafat. How best to shed their guilt over the holocaust than by seeing Israel as the “new Nazis”.
I have yet to meet anyone in Germany whose grandparent was a Nazi or supported Hitler. (I guess all those newsreels of adoring crowds were faked.) It’s like you’ll never meet anyone in France who wasn’t a member of the Resistance.
Their resentment of America is that they feel their culture is superior. And while they’re usually saying this, they’re sipping a coke, wearing their Levis and listening to American music. If you want to know where irony is dead, look no further than Germany.
What genuinely worries me is that the present Europe looks very much like the Europe of the twenties. So-called Pacifism is rampant. Resentful Germans are uniting under an opportunistic chancellor who gained popularity by talking about “the German Way” and that he “won’t click his heels to the wishes of the US”. An economy that is tanking, which will deprive Germans of their expected cradle to grave benefits and a feeling of weakness coupled with a sense of cultural superiority.
Some or all of these elements were present in the twenties and they’re back today. And while Schroeder is obviously no Hitler, given his actions of late, he’s obviously capable of leading his country down a dangerous road. Once Bagdad is liberated I expect to see copious evidence of German complicity with Hussein. What the German people will do about this will tell the true story.
>Really? How is the US threatening European security? Are we threatening to invade?
The US military is already here in dozens of bases. So there is no need to invade.
>Or, are you suggesting that the Arab street is going to rise up in Europe AND that that’s the US’ fault?
That’s the least worry. The fixation on an Arab threat is not ours.
>Huh? Europe ASKED to be involved, insisted that the US couldn’t act without European “consultation”. And it seems to think that it’s entitled to a veto.
>A Europe that didn’t want to be involved would have said “hey, that’s your thing, leave us out of it”. But no, Europe said “we want to make the call” and is getting pissy about being ignored. That’s not “being pushed around”.
You would get pissy, too, if you were commanded to take part in a war you don’t want. That’s the trick the US tried via Turkey and the NATO.
What many people in Europe worry about is the behaviour of some prominent members of the Bush team (Rumsfeld, Perle, Ashcroft and now even Powell) and of Bush himself. They all seem less and less amenable to rational thinking in foreign diplomacy and lusting for the coming war. So no surprise, that some call them “warmongerers”.
An Israeli general put it nicely, as quoted in the Haaretz newspaper today:
“Nothing will stop President Bush. He’s like the Blues Brothers, on a mission from God.”
Why should Europe join a US president on his imagined God sent mission? It’s a pity that the critical voices in the US Congress are so weak and few now. The lessons from Vietnam and the Contra affair after which Congress tried to put adventurous presidents on a short leash seem to have been completely forgotten.
> You would get pissy, too, if you were commanded to take part in a war you don’t want. That’s the trick the US tried via Turkey and the NATO.
That can’t be it because the whining started long before Turkey made the request.
But, let’s go with Turkey. Turkey is a member of NATO. It asked for the defense that the NATO agreement promises its members, the same defense that Germany expected during the Cold War.
Now we find that NATO was a one-way street.
Good luck making mutual defense pacts in the future.
> The US military is already here in dozens of bases. So there is no need to invade.
Ask and they’ll be gone. Heck, the remaining ones are probably leaving anyway.
I note that Pirx never did say how th US threatens European security….
>But, let’s go with Turkey. Turkey is a member of NATO. It asked for the defense that the NATO agreement promises its members, the same defense that Germany expected during the Cold War.
>Now we find that NATO was a one-way street.
>Good luck making mutual defense pacts in the future.
The US put a package on the NATO table that included much more than providing ‘defense’ for Turkey. They demanded for example that European troops replace the US boys in Bosnia, so that these would be free to fight in Iraq. What has that got to do with providing defense for Turkey?
You call Europeans “whining”. So what do you say about ‘old man’ Rumsfeld who is whining all day long that he doesn’t get what he wants. He is commanding the largest military force in the world and it still isn’t enough for him, so that he has to push other nations to do the job for him.
>Ask and they’ll be gone. Heck, the remaining ones are probably leaving anyway.
The economic consequences will be surely felt in the regions where the big US bases are located. But apart from that, there won’t be much regret. If the Bush government continues to steer its current course, the climate of opinion towards US troops in Europe will be similar to that of the populations in the Philippines, South Corea or Okinawa.
>I note that Pirx never did say how th US threatens European security….
That’s an easy one: By dragging European nations into wars they don’t want, they don’t see neither as necessary nor as the single available means to solve a political conflict.
Remember Napoleon and his campaign against Russia? Napoleon pressured all his ‘allies’ into providing troops for that fateful campaign. That describes more or less the current policy style of the Bush team towards its European allies. Fortunately so far only “Bush’s poodle” Blair has fallen into line.
> They demanded for example that European troops replace the US boys in Bosnia, so that these would be free to fight in Iraq.
So what? That substitution is neither a threat to European security nor an instance of dragging Europeans into a war that they don’t want to be part of.
>>>I note that Pirx never did say how th US threatens European security….
> That’s an easy one: By dragging European nations into wars
That’s the claim, but there’s no actual dragging taking place. Germany and France were both asked to contribute troops to Iraq and both have refused. (France may well change its mind.)
> If the Bush government continues to steer its current course, the climate of opinion towards US troops in Europe will be similar to that of the populations in the Philippines, South Corea or Okinawa.
The Philippines are currently complaining that the US left. SK is of a divided opinion, and every move by the US to leave results in pro-American protests. We’ll see how Okinawa reacts to the consequences of a US pull-out of SK.
You seem to be under the impression that the typical American values such bases. That’s wrong. We tolerate them as the cost of a civilized world. When we get the idea that we’re not appreciated, we leave. Interestingly enough, such leaving has yet to be accompanied by a great boon. There haven’t been hugely negative consequences yet either.
SK may change that; SK is about to find out whether NK really is a good neighbor.
BTW – not only is that substitution NOT an example of the US dragging Europeans into a US war, it IS an example of Europeans insisting that the US fight their wars, AKA dragging the US into European wars….
Now, one could argue that the Bosnian war is good, so the US should be involved. But, you can’t argue that if you’re claiming that war is always bad or that asking for help is “dragging”.
I’ve just read the first two posts yet. Because, as you all know, Germans don’t spend their time having fun but work hard and stubborn.
Yes, I am German.
I have to say, I am totally shocked about what’s going on here. I think people who sit in the glasshouse should not throw stones.
Gerhard Schroeder’s policy is not anti-americanistic. But you are right, many Germans may have the attitude that America is a threat to the world. And you should not wonder why that is.
You know, I’ve never been a friend of America, I actually didn’t really care about you guys over there. You do your thing, we do ours. But unfortunately you want to do our things too. And maybe you even wanna reign the whole world just because you’re the usa.
Recently I’ve seen the movie “Bowling for Columbine” (directed by Michael Moore, an American. You may have heard about that)
Well, watch this and ask me again why we feel threatened by you.
And it’s not only the movie. I’d be stupid to believe everything what’s shown in cinema. But it’s your policy. It’s your president. It’s your prejudices. It’s your ignorance and arrogance. It’s your dumb statements about Europe.
Why do you think we should do what you want us to do? I just don’t understand it. I’m 20 years old, I am not really aware of the 2nd world war and your people that died in that war. And more than this I am not aware of Bismarck or some kings 300 years ago. Who cares about this? I don’t. I have nothing to do with this. No one around me has anything to do with this.
But America cares about such things as if it has no own problems.
Germany is against the upcoming war. I am against it. So I guess it’s a problem for you that I am against a war you wanna fight because to show the world how great you are and how grateful the world must be, to put the non-american world (yes, there is one) under pressure and to get some barrels of oil. No, I don’ think that these are convincing reasons to set the world in chaos.
Actually I still don’t know what you wanted to tell us. That we’ve done some good things in the past but because of too much sauerkraut and some ‘news’ you read in history books there must be something wrong with us?
How ridiculous is that?
The problem that many don’t realize is the expansive policy of the new neo-liberalist Empire and what it does, with its huge propaganda apparatus, to the individual minds of the American multitude.
In classical Imperialism (around 1900) every industrial nation tried to develop superior military power and to conquer as much of the “non-civilized” world as possible. (What was the point in Germany owning part of China e.g.)
To the mind of the standard German citizen this had the sub-conscious effect of “I am more powerful and can do more things because my nation/government has so much power.” Every military/colonial victory is seen as a personal victory and vice cersa as for all the setbacks.
This was clearly the cause (not the starter) for WWI (no nation dared to give in one step as this would’ve threatened the respective government) and the basic for German fascism. The underlying slogan/song of which was “Heute geh
Keep the typos if you find any.
Was in a hurry.
Actually, Martin, you guys can play or sit on the sidelines. Just don’t try to call a rain day when the sun is shining, ok?
The U.N. doesn’t think this is their fight? Fine. Then it’s ours. And we won’t even ask that you thank us when it’s over.
Regarding our plundering of the world’s riches, you’re welcome to introduce fact at any time. Until then, I think you’re making it all up. And I have shown as much evidence for my opinion as you’ve shown for yours.
The rest of your statements mostly reflect a reluctance to read a newspaper from time to time. It’s not our job to educate you.
First of all: I can’t find your evidence. Where is it? Show me, please.
Why is it your fight? Why isn’t it ours? Or mine? You know, my uncle has got a brother whose father’s friend has got a son. Why isn’t it his fight? I just don’t see the point why it’d be your fight.
I guess Martins statements mostly reflect that he reads non-american newspaper.
And one last thing: You won’t have to ask me. I’m gonna thank you when it’s over. When many people will be dead and the world is on fire.
The reason that US policies are unpopular is simply because of thepolicies. There are several aspects to the way the US deals with other countries that provokes this response. When reading this please take care to distinguish criticism of American policies from criticism of Americans or America.
Europe and other countries would like to place the US as
first among equals. As the most wealthy and powerful country the voice of the US should and does carry great weight but for the US this is not sufficient. The US does not regard other countries as having any legitimate voice at all. This was clear well before the current crisis. In the US there is opposition to all international measures of a multi-lateral or cooperative nature. The US has blocked, repudiated or refused to sign treaties on nuclear weapons, chemical weapons, biological weapons human rights and war crimes. The US position on land-mines is that all countries should be banned from the production and use of land-mines except the US, the position on chemical weapons was that all countries would be inspected except the US. The position is that the US should be above the ‘law’.
The US armed forces have been used more often in more countries than any other nation since WW2. The US enters these wars claiming high moral purpose but after the smoke has cleared the motive seems little more than self interest. Some of these actions have involved the deaths of huge numbers of civilians sometimes without even declaring war. When the US has been involved in the overthrow of governments it has almost invariably resulted in the installation of brutal military
dictatorships, sometimes the previous regimes were communist but frequently the US has overthrown democratic governments to replace them with compliant dictatorships.
Politics and diplomacy are probably not possible without a degree of hypocrisy but the US foreign policy consists of hypocrisy on a massive scale. The US condemns terrorism and sponsors of terrorism but sponsored terrorism on a huge scale in South America and continues to shelter large numbers of terrorists. The US is by far the worlds biggest drug trafficking nation but wages a ‘war’ against drugs which penalizes trafficking nations. The US talks endlessly about human rights but sponsors some of the worst regimes, sheltering them in the UN (for example Pol Pot), supplying equipment and training for death squads and torturers. During the cold war most people were willing to accept US sponsored dictators and death squads as a price that had to
be paid, but since the end of the cold war there has been no change inUS policy and the US appears to be a cause of human rights problems rather than part of the solution.
The US has massive armed forces far too large for any conceivable defense purposes. The US armed forces are since the cold war clearly not defensive in nature but offensive.
There is a very frightening xenophobic aspect to US culture which is accepted and encouraged in a way which is frightening to anyone who thinks they may become a target. I have lived in the US and traveled extensively in both the US and Europe. The nature of the anti-european and especially anti-French comment and rhetoric not just recently but over more than ten years is shocking. It is of a nature which is not accepted in Europe and far worse than any anti-American rhetoric I have ever seen. In the US I have heard mainstream commentators state that France is an anti-Semitic state similar to Nazi germany, I have heard frequent descriptions of germany as a facist warlike state and
I have even heard Britain criticized as a nation supporting terrorism and undermining the US on the networked media. Similar remarks are occasionally made about the US in Europe but they are not considered acceptable and politicians and commentators are made to apologies or even resign, not so in the US. The current outburst of anti-French sentiment is simply because France disagrees about US policy over Iraq. The French position is not a ridiculous or unreasonable one but disagreeing with the US is enough to cause extreme outrage and anger
The reason almost the entire world (not just Europe) is to one degree or another becoming more and more anti-American is because America treats the rest of the world as if they don’t matter, hypocritically performs the actions it most criticizes other for and because the combination of massive military power and xenophobia is very frightening.
As far as the war in Iraq is concerned four reasons are generally given:
All the available evidence is that far from an association Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein are enemies.
2. Weapons of mass destruction.
If Iraq posses chemical weapons they are not at all comparable to nuclear weapons. Iraq has no delivery capability and no credible desire to use the weapons. The doctrine of MAD for 50 years the cornerstone of US defense policy has been overturned. Where statements by the US on chemical weapons can be independently verified they have always been false.
3. Iraq is undermining the authority of the UN.
The undermining of the UN appears to be a goal of US policy so it is strange it is used as a reason to attack Iraq. It is not explained how Iraq trying hard to give the impression of complying with UN resolutions undermines UN authority but Israel’s continued open defiance of large numbers of resolutions is not, nor the US threatening to ignore the UN and the UN charter is not.
4. Human Rights
There is no doubt that Saddam is a brutal dictator, and this is a good reason to remove him but it is almost certain the US will replace him with another military dictator and large numbers of civilians will be killed (in order to ‘save’ them). The crimes that Saddam is most frequently accused of were actually assisted and encouraged by the US and the US blocked condemnation of Saddam in the UN at the time. It is difficult to see this as a genuine reason given the large number of equally if not even more unpleasant regimes many of which have good relations with the US.
The case against war is that it will give a huge boost to anti-American, anti-western terrorist groups, that war will inevitably mean wide spread loss of life. Whatever ones personel opinion it is clearly not unreasonable to oppose the war which is what makes the US reaction to France and Germany so frightening.
Good questions, Patrick. But I think the answers have to come from your government, not from me. Because if it’s our fight and your government says it’s not yours, there’s got to be a good reason.
Let me reduce it further: We’ve decided it’s our fight. We’ve gone to the U.N. and so far it appears that Frankreich and Deutschland have concluded it’s not their fight. Fine. So why do both countries think that means we shouldn’t go to war because of that?
I don’t care if you thank us or hate us. We’ve decided on what we believe to be a necessary course of action. And I’m pretty sure we’re going to take it.
I forgot the evidence thing. Not enough coffee yet, I imagine.
Look, Martin made a claim that he utterly failed to substantiate. I merely pointed that out to him. Perhaps I’m being too oblique. I’ll make an attempt to be more direct next time. I can even offer it auf Deutsch, but I fear that’d not serve the cause of directness very well.
Nice, I’ve just read this very old forum and got a funny conclusion.
“The US fought a war, and won it.” – That would be the typicall US-citizen answer.
The German answer would be – “The US invaded a country with too much usage of military equipment, of course invaded too fast (cause to do a Blitz is the speciality of another nation), and didn’t get the rebells under their control till now.
The German government and militaries, with their knowledge to fight, to win and to loose, always knew that this war would be a disaster for the American soldiers in the post-war period and for the US economy.
Well, our number of tanks, ships and so on isn’t as high as yours, but it is effective enough to defend our homeland (with East-Prussia and Schlesien) against every noble enemy.
Not the quantity but the quality is decisive.
Time heals every wounds, well but it has to start in the heads.
I for myself am a German, I have got several American friends, and I respect the Americans for their way of how to respect them in the US, but I would love they would also respect their homelands!
Maybe one day the American society will recognize that they’re not the only nation in the world. Maybe when it is getting a good education in school, when it has got the technical development to produce enough electricity whole the time, or to built normal cars.
Well, time will show!
After all I’m always following my favourite slogan: “Back to the Glory Of Germany”
(Of course without trying to supress other nation but with economical and cultural power and a free spirit)
is this the official united states national idiot-reunion, well hard to say who won the first prize
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