March 29, 2007

It's Safer To Hate Us

Germans, in a recent poll, believed that the US presented a greater threat to world peace than Iran. Forty-eight percent of Germans agreed with that statement, opposed by only 31%, and the number goes to 57% among younger Germans. In his essay in Der Spiegel, Claus Christian Malzahn skewers his countrymen for their reflexive and ignorant anti-Americanism:

The German political establishment, which will no doubt loudly lament the result of the poll, is largely responsible for this wave of anti-Americanism. For years the country's foreign ministers fed the Germans the fairy tale of what they called a "critical dialogue" between Europe and Iran. It went something like this: If we are nice to the ayatollahs, cuddle up to them a bit and occasionally wag our fingers at them when they've been naughty, they'll stop condemning their women to death for "unchaste behavior" and they'll stop building the atom bomb.

That plan failed at some point -- an outcome, incidentally, that Washington had long anticipated. Iran continues to work away unhindered on its nuclear program, and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reacts to UN demands with an ostentatious show of ignorance. The UN gets upset and drafts a resolution.

Another item on the Iranian president's wish list is the annihilation of Israel. But that will take a bit longer. In the meantime, just to make sure it doesn't get out of practice, the regime had 15 British soldiers kidnapped a few days ago. But it's still all the Americans' fault -- that much is obvious. ...

Not a day passes in Germany when someone isn't making the wildest claims, hurling the vilest insults or spreading the most outlandish conspiracy theories about the United States. But there's no risk involved and it all serves mainly to boost the German feeling of self-righteousness.

Iran is a different story. The last time someone made a joke on German TV about an Iranian leader, the outcome was not pleasant. Exactly 20 years ago, Dutch entertainer Rudi Carell produced a short TV sketch portraying Ayatollah Khomeini dressed in women's underwear. Carell received death threats. The piece, which lasted all of a few seconds, led to flights being cancelled and German diplomats being expelled from Tehran. Carell apologized. Jokes about fat Americans are just safer.

I'm not going to claim that America has never made a foreign-policy error, but the notion that we represent a greater threat to peace than the main terrorist-sponsoring state in the world is nothing short of breathtakingly stupid. And Malzahn has this analyzed perfectly: it's safe to hate America. We don't set off bombs in discotheques or mass in front of embassies whenever anyone insults us or our leadership.

But the Germans really should know better. For decades, we stood guard on the freedom of most of Germany, putting American lives on the line to keep the Soviets from overrunning the rest of their country. We rebuilt their nation after their defeat in the last world war, and we have maintained European security even after the end of the Cold War. If anyone should understand the efforts we have made in keeping totalitarianism and terrorism at bay, it should be the Germans.

This should especially embarrass them considering the rhetoric used by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He has adopted the policies of the Nazis of late, calling for the destruction of the Jews and claiming that the Holocaust is nothing more than Jewish conspiracies against them. Ahmadinejad has thumbed his nose at German diplomacy to build nuclear weapons with one obvious target -- Israel.

Perhaps the Germans would get a better appreciation for security issues if they shouldered more of the burden for them. It's time to close down the relics of the Cold War in Germany, and locate our military forces in nations more amenable to America. Poland would probably have some interest in hosting American bases, and they would have more strategic location in this era than Germany. Let the Germans have their space from the warmongering Americans and pay for their own national security. We do not need to stay where we are not wanted or appreciated.

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Comments (47)

Posted by ShrinkWrapped [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 29, 2007 6:30 AM

Don't underestimate the significance of German shame and guilt over the Holocaust. Shame evokes anger,and when one is shamed, the tendency is to either turn it inwards or reject it and turn it outward. In the first case, internalized shame/anger causes depression and despair; when projected it becomes an opportunity to discharge the unpleasure of anger and shame by attacking the imagined source of the pain. ("You made me feel bad, so I will blame and attack you.") For Germans, and the Europeans complicit in the Holocaust, imagining the Jew as the new Nazi rationalizes their past hate and perpetuates their present hate (often disguised as intellectualized anti-Zionism.) Americans, since Nuremberg, are not only the embodiment of the morality forced upon the German state, but have also now become conflated with Jews (and are considered the only thing keeping the world from dealing with the "evil" of the state of Israel); thus we are included in the German animus.
Thus, it is not only safe to attack Americans (and Jews), but it discharges unpleasant feelings and gratifies the need to disown their own past and present hatreds.
As has been said, the Germans have never forgiven the Jews for the Holocaust.

Posted by docjim505 [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 29, 2007 6:32 AM

Cap'n Ed wrote:

Perhaps the Germans would get a better appreciation for security issues if they shouldered more of the burden for them. It's time to close down the relics of the Cold War in Germany, and locate our military forces in nations more amenable to America. Poland would probably have some interest in hosting American bases, and they would have more strategic location in this era than Germany. Let the Germans have their space from the warmongering Americans and pay for their own national security. We do not need to stay where we are not wanted or appreciated.

This is often discussed, and I can't figure out why we don't do it. I know that the German left kinda-sorta doesn't want us to leave, as many of their union members have cushy jobs on US bases or otherwise make a living catering to GIs stationed in the country.

O' course, if we DID withdraw our troops from Germany and most of the other EU countries where they are stationed, I'm sure we'd catch hell from the usual suspects for our "unilateralism" and for "turning our backs on our European allies". And, o' course, the instant that the Euros get into any sort of a tiff (for example, a group of angry Girl Scouts attacked Belgium), they'd be screaming about our NATO obligations and how it's the clear duty of the United States to bail them out... Again.

Posted by syn [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 29, 2007 6:36 AM

Germans.... their marriage rate is rock bottom, they sustain their self-indulgent lifesyle by importing slavery while their females are so narcissistic that they are now dumping their babies in the garbage.


By any menas necessary we must get away from that hellhole.


Posted by Ralf Goergens [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 29, 2007 6:45 AM

It's Safer To Hate Us

Now, hate is way too strong a term.

Germans want things to remain just as they are, and resent anybody who is rocking the boat. Stupidly enough, a lot of of us are ready to ignore what Iran is doing so that they can keep on thinking that way.

Even so, a poll is just a poll. Depending on who is asking, a majority of German respondents are either for or against military action again.

Posted by The Friendly Grizzly [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 29, 2007 6:48 AM

I hope when (not if) things go sour in Europe, that we sit back with our arms folded, and say "You hate us so much? Now you have CAUSE to hate us. YOU made your bed, no sleep in it, you ungrateful bastards!"

Posted by moneyrunner [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 29, 2007 6:58 AM

Captain,

You can be fairly sure that a re-deployment from Germany is going to happen. This will be gradual since we have spent over 50 years creating an American military infrastructure there. It will take time to re-create that in places like Poland. But it will happen and “good Germans” will not be able to stop it.

But you can also be sure that during that time neither Germany nor the rest of that exhausted, aging and moribund continent will prepare itself for defense. “Defense against who?” will be the question as sharia law gradually becomes a fact. It will be interesting to watch today’s hip young German frauleins adapt to headscarves.

Posted by jerry [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 29, 2007 7:18 AM

Shrinkwrapped:

Let's cut through the psycho-babble. The German's hate us because we crushed them in two World Wars. As the Cold War has recedes from living memory that old anger about losing twice to the Americans reasserts itself. They blame us for Hitler because we defeated the Kaiser. They blame us for beating Hitler because we destroyed Germany in the process. They blame the Jews because once an idea enters a culture it becomes part of that culture.

Posted by Cybrludite [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 29, 2007 7:23 AM

Sometimes in the dark of the night , when I'm in my cups, I sometimes wish we would act as evily as the world claims that we do for a bit, just so they'd quit their kvetching about how we act now. The old routine of being hung for a sheep instead of a lamb. You have to admit, it works. We bend over backwards to help them, and they spit in our face. The Iranians make threats and thumb their noses at them, and everyone wants to make accomodations with the Mullahs. Machiavelli was right. Much better to be feared than loved.

Posted by Cybrludite [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 29, 2007 7:35 AM

Actually, it might be better if we just crash terraformed Mars, moved there, & brought Israel with us. Let the rest of the world join us once they get their act together enough to make it to the Up And Out. If they make it, great. If not, then it sucks to be them.

Posted by reddog [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 29, 2007 7:38 AM

Who would you consider to be more dangerous? Iraq, Iran or Afganistan don't have the inclination or resources to travel halfway around the world and completely destroy countries that have done them no harm.

9/11 was planned, funded and perpetrated by terrorists from the Gulf States. Radical Islamic Jihad is preached around the World by Wahaby clerics, from the Gulf States. Bush failed to see the real threat and took us to war against the wrong people.

The Germans would not have made that mistake!

Posted by pilsener [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 29, 2007 7:44 AM

I'm reading a terrific book - http://www.amazon.com/While-Europe-Slept-Radical-Destroying/dp/0385514727/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/002-2532309-3602403?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1175171843&sr=1-1 - that spends a lot of time on anti-Americanism.

It's goes back to the Cold War, and has always been a "safe" conversational gambit, not just in Germany but throughout Western Europe.

This book is weil-worth reading.

Posted by cahmd55 [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 29, 2007 7:45 AM

Assuming the accuracy of the poll, these results suggest projection on the part of the German people. Germany was the "catalyst"
for the two most horrific wars in human history and "perfected" state sponsored genocide. The Germans have a hard time acknowledging the sins of their recent past and are psychologically stunted elitists.

Posted by Larry J [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 29, 2007 7:54 AM

The matter of US bases on "old Europe" is a simple one. If those countries don't believe there is a security problem, then there's no need for us to spend billions each year maintaining about 80,000 US military personnel there. If they do believe there is a security problem, it's their responsibility to address it. Let them spend the billions necessary to provide for their own security. If they're unwilling to do so, it doesn't make it our problem. We've carried those ingrates long enough.

Posted by Ralf Goergens [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 29, 2007 7:59 AM

shrinkwrapped and jerry:

If there is Anti-Americanism or not, Germans don't blame the Jews for anything, and Germany is Israel most important and closest besides the US:

Posted by unclesmrgol [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 29, 2007 7:59 AM

isn't it interesting that a lot of us don't think much of the Germans either? Contracts to build Palaces and a cozy relationship with Saddam by the Germans certainly soured me on them. Of course, it was in their immediate national best interests to save those millions of oil saturated dollars they got as a reward for opposing the sanctions regime.

Don't the liberals know that the Europeans are smart enough to figure out that the "Bush lied, people died" mantra which won them the last election points back at what the previous Clinton Administration did too? American foriegn policy concerning what Iraq was about did not significantly change when Bush took office.

A significant number of Americans believe what the Germans believe, which influences the German belief. We just have to live with it for the rest of our lives.

Posted by burt [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 29, 2007 8:10 AM

Many of the previous comments are interesting and mostly thoughtful. I tend to agree most with Larry J and The Friendly Grizzly except I don't agree with the middle sentence, "Now you have CAUSE to hate us." They have no cause for hating us for ceasing to do what they should have been doing and which they didn't want us to do.

We should have been out of Europe not just Germany fifteen years ago. It's not at all clear to me that NATO serves our interests anymore either.

I tend to be an originalist in policy as well as judiciary.
Washington, "steer clear of permanent alliances".
Jefferson, "no entangling alliances".

Posted by Bostonian [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 29, 2007 8:25 AM

reddog,

You are a fool if you think the war against Islamofascism can be won solely by military means.

It is a war of ideas. It is Wahhabist Islam versus the idea that men can govern themselves.

Supporting a democracy in the mideast is a direct threat to the ideology of Wahhabism. The jihadis know this, and you are a fool to ignore them in your calculations of how this war should be fought.

Posted by rbj [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 29, 2007 8:29 AM

US has what, 70,000 troops stationed in Germany, yet Germans feel safe enough to hate us, and even take the lead in imposing the war against Saddam. As an evil empire the US is sure going about it badly.

Oh, and whenever we do consider moving some troops out of Germany to other countries, somehow we are just being crybabies, and we should leave the troops there because the local people love them (well, at least the dollars we spend there.)

i think we have taken all the fight out of the Germans; now is that necessarily a good thing or a bad thing?

Posted by Al_Maviva [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 29, 2007 8:32 AM

Occasionally reading the German papers online makes me regret my six years of service in USAREUR. I froze my ass off near the inner German border for this? We should have let Germany rot after WWII. I'm sure many Germans - the leftists who oppose us so vehemently now - would have found life in a communist police state quite amenable.

The lesson is pretty clear to me, and it's a 180 from what I've believed all my life. But in the future the U.S. should only ever act in direct national self interest. Screw human rights causes abroad, liberty and all that stuff. We got ours. Not one more penny for the defense of ingrates. Germany and France and Belgium want to have the privilege to talk like grownups and to stand in grownup podiums and be treated as grownups, but don't want to be saddled with the duties that grownup countries have to execute. For chrissakes, even Russia and China understand this... Most of Olde Europe needs to sit at the kids' table for a while until they can act like adults. Petulance is ugly in individuals, it is downright embarassing when nations indulge in it.

Posted by dave [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 29, 2007 9:37 AM

Shrinkwrapped, jerry, cahmd55:
You give some reasons, psychological and otherwise, for why Germany thinks that the US is a greater threat to peace than Iran. This view, however, is also shared by the rest of the world. For example, the EU as a whole sees the US tied with Iran and North Korea for second place (behind Israel) as the biggest threat to world peace:

http://www.angus-reid.com/polls/index.cfm/fuseaction/viewItem/itemID/1142

So what are the reasons for Spain, Austria, Denmark, Belgium, the UK, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Sweden seeing the US as a threat to global peace equal to Iran? Does it all have to do with WWII and Hitler?

People here say that because of the public opinion in Germany against the US, the US should remove its troops from that country. I agree. I think the public should decide in all countries on whether or not they want the US military in their nations. If so, the US would have to shut down 99% of its 800 or so bases around the world.

Moneyrunner:
“…as sharia law gradually becomes a fact. It will be interesting to watch today’s hip young German frauleins adapt to headscarves.”

I work with someone from Iran, and she has shown me pictures of women in Iran. The scarves they wear are simply that – scarves draped over their heads. They are certainly not burkas. You can see a couple examples in this slideshow (the show also has some scenic pictures of Iran – you can see what it looks like there before the US and/or Israel nukes it):

http://www.lucasgray.com/video/peacetrain.html

The women in Iran keep up with all the latest trends and colors in Europe, and many wear their montos (wraps) skin tight, and they leave little to the imagination. Many of the Iranian women I’ve seen look much sexier in these tight wraps than the fat-ass American women I see walking around where I live.

Cybrludite:
“Actually, it might be better if we just crash terraformed Mars, moved there, & brought Israel with us.”

Best idea I ever heard.

Posted by Bennett [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 29, 2007 9:44 AM

We see these polls often, from every country around the world. I think possibly it has more to do with the perception of American power (and a belief that we will use it). Our power compared to any other country in the world is overwhelming.

I also think that the people who respond to these polls are defining world peace as an absence of military activity, a maintenance of the status quo; however inharmonious or oppressive it might be, it constitutes peace as long as American tanks aren't rolling in the streets.

America cannot be counted on to maintain the status quo, we have this disturbing tendency to shake things up, and as we have shown in the last 10 years we are prepared to use military power to do it. Iran would as well, she just doesn't have the arsenal to do it at our level. And of course her motives would be different.

Posted by rbj [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 29, 2007 10:13 AM

"So what are the reasons for Spain, Austria, Denmark, Belgium, the UK, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Sweden seeing the US as a threat to global peace equal to Iran? Does it all have to do with WWII and Hitler?"
Dave,

This year the US is celebrating the 400th anniversary of Jamestown, one of the first colonies in (what would become) the US. In those 400 years we have gone from a raw wilderness to the largest economy, most powerful military, the first constitutional republic that enshrined natural rights, and the only country to put a man on the moon. The rest of the world hates us because they are jealous.

Posted by AMR [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 29, 2007 10:21 AM

From what I have read, the German media has done its best to accent the worse in the US and leave out the good; therefore they picture we are now under the Bush dictatorship with our freedoms suppressed. They have attempted to create a caricature of the US at least since the Reagan administration. When I was there in the early 1970’s I encountered no anti-Americanism; just the opposite. Actually when I spent a month in 1999 in Germany I didn’t notice any overt anti-Americanism. But their MSM is to the left of ours, if that can be imagined. The German media have used this to influence the people against us, especially since Mr. Bush has taken office. And their past governments have aided in that effort.

Since we are not permitted to kick a@@ and take names by the world community and our suicidal PC BDS inclined elite, maybe it is time after over 60 years of American occupation of Germany to remove our occupying forces and allow them total self- government. Maybe we should consider doing that also in Japan and South Korea. We could redeploy to New Orleans to help that economy instead and be available for rapid deployment to Europe, Japan or Korea, if needed. That is not too far away, just as Okinawa is close to Iraq as our esteemed military genius Representative Murtha informed us recently. But seriously, keeping 70,000 or so troops in Germany and however many we have in other European countries is a little ridiculous with the war against Islamicfascist ongoing and the cold war over (unless Putin is rekindling it). Could this be why our efforts in Iraq are being portrayed as stretching our military too thin.

As one commentator indicated, it is a shame that we can’t use the tactics that are used against us. We are being accused of that by the world press and NGOs anyway, I would submit. These are the very same ones that have been silent about Iran’s violation of the Geneva Accords with the treatment of the 15 Brits they have kidnapped, ah captured. Actually we could use much more aggressive tactics, but are not willing to expose ourselves to criticism or infect our political system and military with that virus. However, in the Pacific during WWII we fought with ROE that was criminal by the elite’s present moral standards for warfare. And that was by the “Greatest Generation”. The major wars since WWII; Korea, Vietnam, Iraq I and now Iraq II have been fought without utilizing our full military power and none were victories in the conventional sense. Heck, we still have troops in former Yugoslavia more than 10 years after they were promised to be withdrawn. It is time that we relearned how to defeat an enemy, using the old definition of defeat.

Posted by Theresa, MSgt (ret) [TypeKey Profile Page] | March 29, 2007 10:27 AM

The move out of germany has been in the works for a long time now and it can’t happen fast enough. Wonder how the business's in K-town will feel when their customer base is gone? And dave, as an American I think the pacifist bent of all the nations you list is more a threat to world peace than the US could ever be and history supports my assertion. You on the other hand are talking out your ass. I could care less what the rest of the world thinks. Your all hypocrites and cowards. Can you say sharia, dave