Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Germany's Top Media Blogger Delivers the Goods

For several weeks, I've been wanting to make a link to No Pasarán et al's across-the-Rhine equivalent, David's Medienkritik, which skewers "the stale anti-American fare coming from the German media", and this time is as good as any. Actually, this time is better than any, for several reasons (nudge nudge), but perhaps especially because one of David Kaspar's latest posts concerns a Welt am Sonntag article that starts out by skewering France's foreign minister and his country's policies. It is by Jeffrey Gedmin, director of the Aspen Institute office in Berlin.
I am not convinced, Monsieur Barnier!

Even if the Bush-haters don't like it — Iraq is not lost.

French Foreign Minister Barnier warned the US that the coming 'transfer of power to the new [Iraqi] government must be comprehensive, genuine, and without any ambiguity.'

The minister added that it was high time that the US behaved 'credibly.' We need not, as long as a French politician can make such comments, fear for the survival of cynicism. …

The two closely related ideologies, EU-nationalism and anti-Americanism like to keep themselves above mere facts…

America, Great Britain, Germany, France, Israel, the Arab world, and Peter Scholl-Latour all believed that Saddam had secret, illegal weapons depots. We should ask ourselves what went wrong, what could we have done better, how much do our intelligence services actually know about what the North Koreans and the Iranians have in their arsenals. But “Bush lied” sounds wonderful — so why bother to be at all concerned with unpleasant details?

Make sure you read the rest of the article

A previous post concerns an analysis by Prof. Joachim Krause of Kiel University's Institute for Security Policy. His main conclusions (in "The Iraq Crisis and the International Order") :

There is no indication of any basis for the assumption that US policy is guided by a selfish interest in securing energy sources. By contrast, one is led to conclude that, above all, the French and Russian positions have been determined by very narrowly defined financial interests in crude oil exploration in Iraq.

The German position on the Iraq crisis has been characterized by an undifferentiated pacificism and an anti-American populism that has led to a serious degradation of trans-Atlantic solidarity.

David's conclusion: "Given his advocacy of these theses, Prof. Krause has little hope of being cited frequently as an expert by the German media. "

A third and final example concerns an interview Dubya gave last week. "Although he was speaking to a domestic audience, some of the President's remarks clearly counter the prejudices and misinformation spread about Mr. Bush in the German media." (That could apply to the French media too, needless to say.) One quote, in particular, seems to put the lie to the argument that W is a religious fanatic:

My job is to make sure that, as President, people understand that in this country you can worship any way you choose. And I'll take that a step further. You can be a patriot if you don't believe in the Almighty. You can honor your country and be as patriotic as your neighbor.
Bush also discourses on Iraq, Cuba, history, and the 2000 election. David's conclusion (which might apply to the French political class as well): "No wonder German Chancellor Schroeder doesn't get along with this guy.

"Bush has principles."

At this point, it is perhaps time to remember that yesterday and today were the birthdays of two great Americans. Here is one quote from each. (It is not altogether unfitting to ask whether they apply to the current crisis in Iraq, and the various responses of the "coalition of the willing" and the "peace camp".)

There are risks and costs to a program of action. But they are far less than the long-range risks and costs of comfortable inaction.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Action is a great restorer and builder of confidence. Inaction is not only the result, but the cause, of fear. Perhaps the action you take will be successful; perhaps different action or adjustments will have to follow. But any action is better than no action at all.

Norman Vincent Peale

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