Tag Archives: German-US relation

Angela Merkel hits back at Donald Trump at Nato summit

Angela Merkel has pushed back against Donald Trump’s extraordinary tirade against Germany on the first day of the Nato summit in Brussels, denying her country was “totally controlled” by Russia and saying it made its own independent decisions and policies.

USA | “The Yanks Are Coming!” – Obama Orders Greatest Redeployment to Germany in a Quarter Century

by Victor Grossman

2017 had hardly begun in Germany’s port of  Bremerhaven when 4000 lads and lasses in Yankee uniform disembarked and unloaded three shiploads, over 2,500 tanks, trucks and other combat vehicles, and sent them on by rail, on ferries through the Baltic or clanking along those Autobahn highways through North Germany. So many memories!
Colonel Bertulis at US Command Headquarters in Stuttgart called it “the greatest redeployment operation of the US Army to Germany since 1990.It will ensure that the necessary combat power is brought to the right place in Europe at the right time.” Higher up the ladder, Lt. Gen. Frederick Hodges, commander of US forces in Europe, said, “Three years after the last American tanks left the continent, we need to get them back.”
What dangerous front are they moving to defend? Where, this time, is “over there”?
Well, it is not exactly a front. Or not yet! Not one BB gun has been fired along the Russian border with Latvia or Estonia, nor along the short Polish or Lithuanian borders around the small, fully surrounded Russian enclave at Kaliningrad. Nor has anyone heard Putin or any other Russian leader utter a single threat or make one demand directed at any of those countries.
But, as General Hodges told journalists, the measures were a “response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the illegal annexation of Crimea.” He added consolingly, “This does not mean that there necessarily has to be a war, none of this is inevitable, but Moscow is preparing for the possibility.”
Peace demonstrations (far too few) point out that Russia has 900,000 armed troops while NATO has 3.5 million, stationed in over a hundred bases in a world-wide ring around Russia. It threatened to shut off Russia’s only warm-water naval base on the Crimea (where most people, Russian-speakers, voted for their “take-over” in a referendum) while moving to close the ring from the south. It’s coup d’état Ukrainian government of Russophobes (and many fascist types) was largely set up by Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland in 2014. “‘Yats’ is our man,” she telephoned and, after more money and violence, Yatsenyuk it was! People wondered what Washington would do if friends of Russia moved right up to American borders. Then they recalled coups or invasions in Guatemala, Cuba, Grenada, Panama, Chile. Not to mention Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, hardly closer to US borders!
Some Europeans even wondered at the planned arrival date of the new troops at the Russian borders, January 20th  of all days! Were there any star-struck generals or well-groomed connivers who hoped to end an era not with a whimper but with a bang? Did some fear that Donald Trump, while switching back and forth on nearly everything else he said in his campaign, might just possibly, for whatever reason,  keep his word about getting along peacefully with Putin? For the highest ranking neo-con enthusiast down to the last deluded riveter at Lockheed-Martin – that sounded alarming!
How many Germans believe all the New Year’s fireworks from Washington about Putin’s electoral hacking? Most of them certainly drew other conclusions as to why Clinton was defeated. They have many questions about that mysterious American institution, the Electoral College, which somehow offers nothing remotely resembling anything like an academic degree. Many have lost old faiths in their great friend and protector.
But some welcome this operation, “Atlantic Resolve”, like smaller ones which preceded it. Although it is not sponsored by the UN, not even by NATO, but only by the outgoing US administration, some political leaders, as in Canada and Britain, now want to have the German Bundeswehr get into the act and send a battalion to Lithuania. The Baltic countries are not far from St. Petersburg. Then still called Leningrad, a million and a half people died there, mostly of hunger and cold during the genocidal Nazi siege in 1941 to 1944. The flags and uniform colors of those who maintained that siege were different, but some traditions have long lives, as too many have been demonstrating in loud marches and more and more voting booths.
As yet, at least, not too many in Germany like the idea of playing mass scale Russian roulette. In Augsburg, over 50,000 people, many old-timers unable to walk, had to leave homes and hospitals on Christmas Day so a giant triple-fused bomb from World War Two, 75 years ago, could be defused. And now there are those, only a hundred miles away in Stuttgart, who speak lightly of a Number Three! And today’s missiles can have phosphorus, uranium and nuclear components, and be delivered by unmanned drones.
If this Operation Atlantic Resolve somehow recalls the idea of New Year’s resolutions, millions could supply a few of absolute, overriding urgency; move troops and weapons out and away, negotiate, make peace, break with the conscience-less plans and ambitions of a limited number of greedy adventurers and turn to the planet’s vitally crucial problems – a decent life for all its people and plans for saving our tortured planet.

Germany | Brandenburgs Ministerpräsident: Dietmar Woidke kritisiert Stationierung von US-Panzer an der Grenze zu Polen

Brandenburgs Ministerpräsident Dietmar Woidke (SPD) hat sich besorgt über US-Panzer geäußert, die durch sein Land zu ihren neuen Stationierungsorten im Westen Polens gebracht werden sollen.

“Es hilft uns nicht weiter, wenn Panzer auf beiden Seiten der Grenze auf und ab fahren”, sagte Woidke am Mittwochabend am Rande einer Veranstaltung in Cottbus, wie der Sender RBB am Donnerstag mitteilte. Woidke warnte in diesem Zusammenhang vor einer Verschlechterung des Verhältnisses zu Russland. “Ich hoffe, dass alle ruhig Blut bewahren”, sagte der SPD-Politiker laut RBB. “Ich glaube, dass wir trotz aller Schwierigkeiten den Dialog mit Russland suchen sollten”, hob er weiter hervor.

USA | Germans are obsessed with the U.S. But they’ll deny it

September 6

If you want to keep up with U.S. domestic news, you should probably come to Europe.
When I moved back to Germany a few months ago, I was surprised to find out that even things that nobody seemed to care about in North America made it onto front pages here. When there’s a shooting in the U.S., editors in Germany go into breaking news mode, even though the story probably won’t ever make it onto most American newscasts.
It’s a bizarre obsession: European (and particularly German) media spend more time reporting on and from the U.S. than from neighboring countries, including France and Britain.
Take 2014, for example: It was a year dominated by international news events, including Ukraine, Syria and the Ebola-struck nations in West Africa. Despite all this, U.S.-related news dominated German evening newscasts, generating three times more reports than the situation in Syria, for instance, according to the IFEM media institute.
Europeans often blame Americans for being obsessed with themselves, so why all the attention in Germany?
For the Germans, it’s a love-hate relationship
Here’s one example: When the New York Times recently wrote a piece about the Berlin district of Wedding, German media went in overdrive, with commentators questioning whether the newspaper was correct in portraying the local district as up-and-coming. But the undertone seemed clear: “Wow, even the U.S. likes Wedding!”
Americans didn’t actually care, of course. The daily paper Süddeutsche Zeitung later asked its readers in a moment of self-reflection: “American journalists praise Munich and Frankfurt, and now Berlin-Wedding — and everyone is going crazy. But why?”
German journalists in particular don’t usually spare an opportunity to comment negatively on U.S. society and politics — yet, many of them seem to crave signs of approval from the U.S. “Germans see the U.S. almost as their father,” says Timo Lochocki, a fellow at the German Marshall Fund, a transatlantic think tank. “It’s almost schizophrenic: They want to be admired by the U.S., but do everything to distance themselves from Americans.”
The U.S. is an easy target
“Most German media outlets love to criticize the U.S. because it makes for such an easy target,” says Stephan Bierling, a professor for international politics at the University of Regensburg. “There is a deep-rooted anti-Americanism in Germany that partially comes out of an inferiority complex. In a certain sense some Germans will never ‘forgive’ the Americans that they defeated the Nazis and brought about a stable world order because it reminds us that we couldn’t get rid of the Nazis ourselves and were the main culprit for the division of Europe.”
No other nationality triggers such strong emotions and associations in Germany. There are few people in the world Europeans feel more similar to than North Americans. At the same time, quite a lot of them have grown skeptical of the “big brother” overseas. They fear the National Security Agency, they ridicule its politics and gun laws, but many also secretly admire the global appeal and influence of the United States.
European correspondents in the U.S. will likely argue that the U.S. is the world’s superpower, and that the really important decisions are made in the White House. But let’s keep in mind that while Germany’s attention was focused on the White House last year, a war was fought in Ukraine — a country located only a few hundred miles from Berlin. While TV channels went “live to our correspondent in Washington D.C.,” the Islamic State took over parts of Syria and Iraq and worsened a refugee crisis that is now hitting Europe hard.
Couldn’t Germany’s obsession with the U.S. also be a sign that continental Europe still hopes that Americans will deal with its problems sooner or later, rather than searching for its own solutions?
“We hold the U.S. responsible for all things that go wrong in the Middle East or Ukraine, but demand more American engagement to rectify these crisis situations,” says German politics professor Bierling, who blames Germans for relying too much on the U.S. in resolving crises.
Maybe it’s harder to be the U.S. than it looks
Researchers had, for instance, long warned that 2015 could be the worst year in the Mediterranean Sea in decades: Thousands of migrants would die, analysts warned as early as last year. However, instead of expanding its Mediterranean rescue mission, it was downsized. And instead of preparing for the influx of refugees, little was done.
German Marshall Fund expert Lochocki draws a different conclusion, though: “The crises that are prioritized by Washington, such as Syria or Ukraine, aren’t necessarily what matters most in Berlin where the default of Greece seems much more devastating.”
A financial trader reacts at his desk as a television screen displays Alexis Tsipras, Greece’s prime minister, during a news report at the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, on Monday, June 29, 2015. (Photographer: Martin Leissl/Bloomberg)
Given that Germany is increasingly perceived as the main actor in resolving that crisis, France and Britain are becoming irrelevant as benchmarks, Lochocki says. “The only other Western country Germany considers itself on the same level to is the U.S. — and that’s why we care so much about what Americans think of us.”
“Germans have long blamed the U.S. for all its mistakes, but now they suddenly realize that leading a powerful nation is more difficult than they expected it to be. That’s what creates more understanding between the two countries. Nevertheless, Germans still love to hear about what’s going wrong on the other side of the ocean because it makes them feel better about their own struggles,” Lochocki explained.