December 11, 2005

Carnival of German-American Relations, Vol 1, No. 1

On this date in 1941 Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich declared war on the United States and thus signed it's death warrant. Relationships between our two countries between then and now have had more ups and downs than a roller coaster; the ride has been at times exhilarating, at times terrifying, at times maddening but it has never been boring.

Welcome to the first Carnival of German-American Relations. Willkommen zum ersten Karneval der Deutsch-Amerikanischen Relationen.

Joerge Wolf of the Atlantic Review had the idea of hosting a carnival to help the peoples of two great countries better understand each other. GM Roper of GM's Corner was asked to pitch in and this is the result. This carnival is unique in that it is being hosted on two continents seperated by the Atlantic Ocean simultaneously. Although the majority of posts picked for the carnival will be in English, an occasional German post will be selected. If you have difficulty reading and understanding German, you can often get a rough translation here or here. Just follow the directions. Now, on with the carnival of more than excellent posts. Read them all, follow the links, make comments on posts you either agree with, or disagree with. Be polite to the other commenters and polite to the authors. This is, after all, about understanding. Below, you will find links to both German and American, English and Japanese blogs. Blogs from the left of us, blogs from the right of us, blogs in front of us have vollyed and thundered. Some posts will make you angry, some will cause you to reflect, but all are part of a growing trans-atlantic dialogue that can only serve us well. Germany thwarted what many of us felt was a just cause in going after Iraq. Schroeder, who was one of the master's of that action, is no longer in power. Maybe we can heal the rift. Maybe not, but we have to try. Too much is at stake in this troubled world.

Our first entry notes the tremendous help the United States received from Germany following Hurricane Katrina. From The Quaker Economist comes "Thanks Germany." A tid bit for you: Remember those estimates that it would take three to six months to pump the water out of New Orleans? Just ten days after those estimates were made, the city is more or less dry. There is a story behind this news. It has to do with a large contingent of German volunteers who came to play a major role in the rescue of New Orleans. It's time someone told their story.

Next comes Ray D. of David's Medienkritik who is really angry at German Media for planting, nourishing, watering anti-American feeling in the little ones. This one is a must read as it gets to the root of anti-American feeling for many (most?) Germans today, but also portends what we can expect in the future if relationships don't improve.

Bill Rice who writes By Dawns Early Light contributes Germany's Angela Merkel, the Next Bismarck? This is a terrific read and looks at German governance. A particularly apt statement: "Ms. Merkel, like Otto von Bismarck almost 150 years before, has positioned herself (all the while in a weak government) as the center of gravity for any reform and progress in Europe. She has distanced herself from the non-democratic Russians, usurped the stumbling French, and opened the door to the outsider British while affirming America's role in European security. And all this with one tour.

Atlantic Review has an article Germany's Aid To Katrinas Victims also noting the quick response of the German Republic when we were hit by one of the worst storms of the last 100 years. This is good reporting.

Olaf at Extrablog is quite angry with the United States. For good reason? I don't think so, but Olaf does.

Sandra Plas of The Transatlanticist contributes Eagle Nations. Sandra looks at the relationship between Germany and the United States from a Dutch viewpoint. Good reading!

Michael Meyn, a "Germerican" talks about why he decided to stay in America after 9-11. Well worth the read, and then some.

Kathy Krajco who writes at "At The Zoo" has written (pixeled?) a terrific post (warning, long but worth every minute of your time) on the Roots of Anti-Americanism! Way to go Kathy!!

Bruce Miller writing at Old Hickory's Weblog has an interesting article up regarding his take on Condi Rice's recent trip to meet with Angela Merkel. Bruce doesn't think that the ascension of Merkel to the Chancerllorship will improve relations much: "I've said it before. And I find occasion to keep saying it. I just don't know what gave the Bush Republicans the idea that having the Christian Democrats come to power in Germany was going to result in warmer US-German relations." An interesting read even if you don't agree with the premise and well worth your time.

Quick Rob, a delightful read under any circumstances contributes: US-German Relations. Quic Rob notes: Schroeder’s tendency to use Bush-bashing as an election strategy in the same manner with which Arab despots use Americans and Jews as scapegoats belied both a shallow foreign policy approach and a weasely personality, not to mention a lack of respect for his electorate. As German pundits would ridicule the Americans for being talked down to by sloppy-speaking Shrub , so the Germans and their American issues were manipulated on the campaign trail to boost Schroeder’s image..." Besides, Quick Rob quotes GM's Corner in this article, so you know it's gotta be good!

Clemens Wergin, Editorial Writer and Political Book Editor of Berlin's leading newspaper Der Tagesspiegel, submitted his article Die neue Freiheit (The New Liberty) about the Schroeder era, which was printed in November 2005. Clemens provided the following summary in English:

After the 2 plus 4 treaty it took some years until the German governments fully realized that Germany had regained complete sovereignty in its foreign policy. It was not until the red-green coalition took power that German foreign policy began to break the mold of the cold war years. This essay examines the legacy of the seven Schroeder years, new traits of Germany's foreign policy that should be kept and others that are in desperate need to be mended. The article argues that Germany should regain the middle ground again, between the US and France in transatlantic issues and between the British and the French approach in European matters, because this is the only way to regain influence on Germany's major partners in the world. Schroeder postured as somebody whose aim was to build a new self-confident foreign policy, but instead of increasing Germany's foreign policy options he actually reduced them by almost unconditionally binding himself to the French in international and European issues. It' s about time that German politics but also the German public dropped fantasies of building a counterweight to the US. Almost no one in the world profits as much from America's stabilizing role on the globe as Germany, the worlds export champion. So the biggest threat to the world is not the US, as many Europeans think, but the fact that one day the Americans might not be willing anymore to shoulder the enormous burden of their stabilizing role. Germany's foreign policy also in remote regions like Asia should do everything to easen this burden instead of making it even more heavy. One of the most disappointing fesatures of his foreign policy are in the field of human rights and transformation, issues that once had been at the core especially of the foreign policy thinking of the greens. But in the very moment that Moralpolitik became a function of Realpolitik through 9/11, highlighting the fact that the Middle East policies of the West of stability and blocked reforms had utterly failed, the social democrats and greens missed the chance of making transformation and democratization their top priorities and didn't take up the chances of Bush's Greater Middle East initiative that was actually much more in tune with European policy approaches than the regime change doctrin of the first Bush term.

If you can't read his Tagesspiegel-article in German , you could try this automatic google translation. Clemens Wergin blogs at Flatworld.

Rosemary with Knickerbocker News not only publicizes the Carnival, she tells us why she mistrusts Germany: Prior to the 1441 resolution, which was unanimously endorsed, France and Germany promised Secretary of State Powell they would back the United States if Saddam Hussein did not comply with said resolution. This was very important because had they done so, a united front would possibly have provided enough pressure on Saddam Hussein to back down and comply. He would have been without allies in the UN." Rosemary makes some good points.

Shah Alexander writing in Global American Discourse (from Kiyose, Tokyo, Japan ) has written an interesting article noting that while European-American relations are improving, Asian-American ones are not. "New German administration will put more emphasis on the transatlantic alliance than the Franco-German axis. Even France is trying to move closer to the United States, in face of the Arab riot near Paris. Both Germany and France are beginning to recognize that they keep close ties with the United States in order to defeat common threats, particularly radical Islam terrorists."

GM of this Blog contributed "New German Leadership; Or Just A New Wrapper?"

Starling Hunter writing at "The Business of America Is Business" has a very interesting, take on the source of Modern Germany's problems; Otto von Bismarck. The title is terrific: Grand Theft Otto. A sample: It's long past the time that the German people reclaim what Grand Theft Otto helped steal from them and their forefathers- a firmly established Democracy ."

Clive Davis from the United Kingdom who writes, interestingly enough, the Clive Davis Blog has entered a terrific Interview with Jeff Gedmin called "Transatlantic Voices." Gedmin is, according to Clive: Director of Berlin's Aspen Institute, a self-styled "marketplace of ideas" that has been described by Irwin Stelzer as the city's "de facto U.S. embassy". A former Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, Jeff writes for Die Welt, and The Financial Times. He also contributed an essay to Stelzer's recent collection, Neoconservatism." This is a fascinating interview, complete with links to various subjects discussed. Miss this one, and you will have missed a lot.

Erik P. Hauth with Ringfahndung (dragnet operation or cordon search) submitted his "fictitious" plea to Arnold Schwarzenegger not to execute the convicted murderer Tookie Williams. This is totally tongue in cheek. I think!

Jim at Attack Machine remembers the Berlin Airlift and wonders why so many German's have seemed to have forgotten it. So do I.

George A. Pieler and Jens F. Laurson writing in Tech Central Station have a great article on the New Chancellor Andrea Merkel. They wonder if Merkel is Outfoxed, or Leading the Pack?

From Carsten Boesel at the TransatlanTicker wrote Wanted: A Bit of Berkeley for Germany and notes:
It is only recently that commentators and employers have abandoned their dream of a German Harvard in favor of the University of California system as a far more feasible model for higher education reform in Germany. Now, why anyone would want to import the ultra lib Berkely system to Germany is beyond me (just kidding folks) but Carsten makes a challenging case. Go read it, short and sweet and very well written.

Ralf Goergens writing in the very popular Chicagoboyz has written a very well thought out article:
A postmortem of the 2005 German general elections Ralf sees perhaps, a rocky road ahead: "The previous grand coalition in the late 1960's had been quite successful, but then bother partners had put the interests of the country before their own, and there are strong doubts that the Social Democrats will be willing to do that this time around."

Last, but not least by a long shot Anton Reiser who calls his blog a "Psychological Weblog" takes a look at Merkel: Merkel Looks to Undo Bankrupt German Foreign Policy and is a little upset with the German Main Stream Media. A good good read.

That concludes our first ever Carnival on German-American Relations. Both Joerg Wolf of Atlantic Review and I thank you very much for participating, and for reading our contributors. Improving understanding first involves breaking down barriers and increasing contact. If two great nations like ours, with the history we have cannot do this, who can?

If you would like to host the next Carnival of German American Relations, please email Joerg Wolf at Atlantic Review. His e-mail address is Joerg DOT Wolf @ atlanticreview dot org. (be sure and substitute and bring it all together)

Posted by GM Roper at December 11, 2005 12:01 AM | TrackBack

Very interesting! Lots of stuff to read there -- nicely done.

Posted by Ogre at December 11, 2005 07:07 AM

Great stuff...will read it all over later when I get home. For now, I did a link post and trackback!

Posted by Raven at December 11, 2005 07:17 AM

Thank you GM :)

Posted by Ralf Goergens at December 11, 2005 10:58 AM

Good job GM. A lot of good stuff here.

I spent two years in Germany, a quarter of a century ago. And I loved it. Getting out of the cities and into the Bavarian countryside was very educational and a lot of fun.

Posted by LASunsett at December 12, 2005 08:37 AM

Nice job! Thanks for pulling it all together.

Posted by vw bug at December 12, 2005 04:58 PM

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