December 11, 2006
Once again dear readers, it is time for CARNIVAL!!! This is the 5th edition of the Carnival of German American Relations, a carnival started last year at this time from an idea born of Joerg Wolf who, along with two other Fullbright scholars writes Atlantic Review. Joerg and I hosted the first carnival one year ago today. I opened with:
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.And what a ride it has been. This is the, if we are to count exactly, the first edition of the second volume and what is really nice, is this is a carnival that celebrates the two countries with all of their ups and downs in the relationships.
Welcome to the first Carnival of German-American Relations. Willkommen zum ersten Karneval der Deutsch-Amerikanischen Relationen.
I was born in Germany in 1946 and was there during the Hungarian Revolution as well as in Berlin on 9/11. My ties to Germany are deep and broad. But I'm also a realist. There are as many things that divide these two great democracies as there are things that join them together in a quest for freedom. So, without further ado, let's take a look at some of what the blogosphere is saying about Germany and America. This issue of the Carnival of German American Relations is brought to you by yours truly GM Roper (a nefarious, right-wing, knuckle dragging, Neandertholithic conservative) and the good folk at Too Much Cookies Network who will be writing the Carnival in German.
Our first entry is by my very good friend and fellow Psych Blogger The Assistant Village Idiot. AVI writes about The German American Economic Collapse a post regarding governmental intervention is what may be called by some social welfare by others fostering social dependence. Do people appreciate what they are given, or more what they earn. The old Chinese proverb "Give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach him to fish and he eat's for a lifetime," would seem to apply.
Oddly enough, or maybe not so, our next entry is an entry from Ralf Goergens writing in Chicago Boyz with an entry stating that Mark Steyn is wrong, that The future doesn't belong to Islam, thank you very much and goes on to explain that demographics are not the whole story. I'm hoping that Ralf is right.
Next up, an entry from our own Joerg Wolf writing in Atlantic Review. Joerg notes that the US and Germany have not done as good a job at training Afghanistanian Police as we would like, and after expenditures of millions of dollars, we cannot say how many police are actually on the job, and where all the equipment has gone. Joerg also has a short piece on Americans being the Friendliest Nation
Next up; George A. Pieler & Jens F. Laurson writing in the International Affairs Forum tell a tale of Merkel's Geopolitical Menage Trois and describe Merkel's problems dealing with both Russia and Poland over energy supplies. This is really a good read.
Terrific reading so far, and I'm not even a third of the way done. Whew!!!
The folk at World Wide Success (Dedicated to your success anywhere in the world) have written a two part post (here is part 1 and here is part 2) and takes a hard look at the successes in the German economy. They note in particular, decisions made by BMW in the 70's are one of the many driving forces (no pun intended) that make this such a great company today.
My good friend and commenter Shah Alexander writing in Global American Discourse has written an excellent article on the NATO Summit at Riga, Latvia. Shah looks at the globalization of NATO no less. Very interesting article with some links that might make you sit up and read further.
Over at Observing Hermann we find Are you riding the Wohlstandwelle yet? What is Wohlstandwelle you ask? Read and discover because Hermann is looking at the uptick in the German economy and asks if the German consumer will finally beging consuming and thus keep the boom going. OH also submitted Lame Duck in which he looks at the comparisons between the Bush Administration and the Merkel Administration while noting the Pelosi has shot herself in the foot. Lastly, OH submitted Remembrance of Things Past regarding the People's Day of Remembrance noting its similarity to our own Veteran's day here in the US and Armistice Day in Great Britain. OH also submitted When Is The Next Wall Coming Down? concerning the walls that provide security but at the same time seperate us. Lastly, OH submits Confusing Symbols a look at the stupidity of a German Court for outlawing a sign crossing out a swastika because
"Swastikas are constitutionally banned symbols in Germany, you see, and according to the judge, when it comes to a crossed-out swastika, in this case anyway, “It is not always so easy to recognize that these symbols are being used against Nazis, especially for foreigners.”
2020 writing at Peace and (explicative deleted) entered "Hey Joe." and states up front that "America has to catch up on human rights and social welfare or they will never be fully accepted as the lead nation of the free world." I'm not sure I agree with that statement, but it proves to be an interesting opening into political discussion.
Omar, writing at my co-host Too Much Cookies Network has an interesting article (in German and his blog appears much better in FireFox 2) on the issue of the newly elected Democratic Representative Keith Ellison taking the oath of office swearing on the Koran. Omar wonders if the Country that espouses freedom of Religion really means that. I wonder if our openness to others too often invites bigotry among our own, and if others do or do not take advantage of that very fact. At any rate, if you read German, this is an interesting and thought provoking post, regardless of which side you think is right.
Next up David Vickery who writes Dialog International (German-American Opinion: Politics and Culture) and whom I don't read anywhere often enough, has a great piece on Dorothy Thompson: Fearless Friend of Free Germany. Thompson was an absolutely amazing woman and David has written a great article on this great woman. Good Job David!
We also have the German Blog written by an American Scot W. Stevenson, USA Erklärt (Explaining the USA) with a submission that takes a look at slogans used by some of the worlds armed forces "Army Strong und die germanischen Plätzchen" and wonders if the German Federal Forces will be forced to use the same recruiting devices. Scot's blog attempts to explain to Germans the hows and whys of being an American. Perhaps through his efforts, we won't come across as the bad guys we are frequently protrayed as.
Next up: A Singer's Life Blog writes about the pulling of Mozart's Idomeneo opera from the stage due to fears it might upset the Muslim community. Idomeneo Censorship in Berlin. This bowing to the sensibility of the Muslim world, because they might "riot" is the height of hypocracy in my view. The reason? Simple, if it shows the head of Muhammad the Muslim's might be offended, but it doesn't seem to matter that the opera also ends with the heads of Jesus and Buddha. Political Correctness gone amuck! A great read in my opinion. Again, this blog appears much better in Firefox!
A German Blog "Che's Warlog" posts "Der Weg Nach Hause" (The Way Home) gives a very moving portrait of his father being a young man in the Hitler Youth and surrendering to the American Forces at the end of World War II and how that memory contrasts with images fostered by the left. If you read German, this one is not to be missed, and if my poor German has not done well by this post, please forgive me.
Thus endith the 5th edition of the Carnival of German American Relations. I'm proud to have been its host once again and brought to you all the thought provoking articles. And once again, if my poor German has misrendered the German entries, please accept my apology. This is GM Roper, signing off.
November 28, 2006
July 01, 2006
Olaf had this to say:
GM's Corner erinnert an die Berliner LuftbrÃ¼cke, bewundert, wie schnell aus ehemaligen Feinden Freunde wurden, bedauert das seit einiger Zeit getrÃ¼bte VerhÃ¤ltnis der Deutschen zu den USA, sieht aber Zeichen der Hoffnung. Hoffnung und Zuversicht sind geradezu ein herausragendes Kennzeichen George Mann Ropers, einem der bekannteren US-Blogger. Vielleicht sollten die USA zur Imagepflege gelegentlich mal wieder ein paar Rosinenbomber einsetzen?
Translated into semi-acceptable English:
GM's Corner reminds us of the Berlin Airlift, and how quickly former enemies can become friends again. He also regrets the current relationships between Germany and the USA but does see some hope for improvement. Hope and assurance are almost an outstanding characteristic of George Mann Roper. One of the more well-known US bloggers. Perhaps the US could begin the improvement by sending over a few more raisin bombers? [Note: raisin bomber or Rosinenbomber is the term used by berliners for the candy and other foodstuffs dropped from cargo planes during the airlift] [emphasis added ~ Although I'm not sure I'm one of the "more well known US bloggers" but it does feel good that Olaf thinks so.]
June 24, 2006
The Soviets however, were staunchly against the merger, seeing the embryo of a new German state, which they both feared, and which would, given the freedom of the west, soon outclass the Russian efforts in the east. Russian opposition however may have created the German state sooner than anticipated. France, England and America decided in June of '48 that a new German Federal Republic would be established by 1949 at the latest. Stalin was incensed. more...
December 10, 2005
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.
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: SchroederÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢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 SchroederÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢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)
December 01, 2005
The United States has had an up and down history with female leaders, Margaret Thatcher of England, Golda Mier of Israel, Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan, Corazon Aquino of Philippines and Indira Gandhi of India. Strong women all, and always having an effect on the United States relationships with that country. Will the relationships with Germany then, be different with Merkel as Chancellor?
Merkel, as was noted, was born in Hamburg, but raised in communist East Germany. In 1990 she was elected to the Bundestag. Merkel became a member of the CDU and was picked by Helmut Kohl to be the Minister of Women and Youth. In 1998, strugling with the increased costs of reunification, the Kohl government was defeated by Gerhard SchrÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¶der.
So, a new day is dawning in Germany, a new Chancellor, a tough, conservative female. What does that portend for future relationships between Germany and the United States? To begin with, much of the diplomatic warfare between these two countries had been "poisoned" by SchrÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¶der's choice to lambast the US over the Iraq war. He shamefully used increasing anti-americanism in Europer and Germany to get himself re-elected in 2002. Merkel had come out in favor of supporting the US invasion of Iraq as "unavoidable." Leading up to the elections in 2005, the CDU was significantly ahead of the SPD by some 21%. However, Merkel proposed Paul Kirchhof as head of fiscal policy but Kirchhof proposed an addition of a flat tax and Merkel proposed an increase in the value added tax to fill in the funding gaps. Both proposals convinced many Germans that the CDU was snuggling up to the rich at the expense of the poor. The CDU lost ground and the SPD merely held a position that there would be no flat tax or an increase in the VAT.
The election was extremely close with the CDU and its allies garnering 35.2% of the vote and the SPD and its allies garnering 34.2%. Both Merkel and SchrÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¶der claiming victory. Finaly, after a couple of months wrangling, a "grand coalition" was formed and Merkel named Chancellor.
The US and Germany have a long history of rocky relationships. From a previous posting:
German/American or Deutsch/Amerikanisch have, since the beginning of World War I, had a rocky relationship. Yet, our two countries are bound by more than just being adversaries, we share more common bonds than most people realize. From the first German settlers in 1683 through out the early and mid 1900's Germans came to this country in droves. . . Americans claiming German ancestry number more than 60 million, fully one fifth of our population according to the 2000 census. Our language is peppered with German words from "Cobalt" to "Waltz," from "Frankfurter" to "Sauerkraut." We have been friends, enemies and nodding acquaintences."Merkel's ascendency to the chancellorship of Germany may be the beginning of a new chapter in the dance between our two countries. She has good conservative credentials that please many American conservatives, she quoted (actually, plagerized a la Biden) passages from Ronald Reagan in her debates with SchrÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¶der, but she has a liberal streak in her too. She noted that "The state has to be the Gardner, not the fence." Many on this side of the atlantic would dispute that. Much of Germany's economic and political problems today are that the state has over-watered, over-fertalized and under-pruned the garden.
I have observed Germany from afar for many decades, the German people are industrious, hard working and dynamic. If left alone, the boom would probably be stupendous. But, Germany, like France, Belgium, England is the "Nanny State." Its citizens have figured out that they can vote in the individuals and parties that will hand out the most goodies. One result of this social tinkering has been the growth of unemployment in Germany of a seasonally adjusted rate of 11.5%. and the unemployment amoung its "guest workers" (Gastarbeiter) are primarily of Turkish descent or immigrants, as many now, as three generations worth is greater than 21%. Germans view Turks with suspicion primarily for two, and possibly three reasons. First was September 11, 2001 and second the murder of Theo van Goeh, and the possible third? Muslim rioting in France.
How this will play out in the US-German dance is unclear but the issue cannot be ignored.
Germany has a problem according to Aaron Erlich:
Starting in the 1950s, to feed the post World War II economic miracle, Germany signed bilateral agreements with poorer Mediterranean countries to import guestworkers to fill vacant positions in the booming industrial economy. The first guestworkers came from southern European countries, mainly Italy, Croatia, Spain, and Greece. As these sources of labor dried up, the German authorities moved further afield. In the 1960s and 70s millions of Turks came to work in Germany. This Turkish population soon overtook all of the other guestworker populations and today 2,375,000 people of Turkish origin live in Germany and comprise approximately thirty percent of all those of foreign descent."
"Turks in Germany are not the educated elites from Ankara or Istanbul but come from the Anatolian Plain, a place that has not taken on the trappings of modernity and remains a cultural backwater."
So, while both countries struggle with Islamic identity within their boundaries, both countries work on their economic growth (and here the US is outstripping the German effort by far) and both countries consider how their respective leaders get along, a new day is dawning. As Angela Merkel stated in her first address to the Bundestag and reported by the German Embassy in Washington, ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…“Let us dare to have more freedom,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â�... alluding to a call by Willy Brandt in 1969 to dare to have more democracy. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…“Let us release the brakes on growth. Let us free ourselves from bureaucracy and old-fashioned regulations.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â�
New conservative leadership, or the old liberal leadership in a new wrapper? Time will tell.
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