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German and US Media Coverage of Georgia War is Biased! What a Surprise!

"Georgia crisis sparks Anti-American sentiment in Germany," declares Dialog International:

I know George W. Bush is unpopular in Germany (as he is in the US) but I was unprepared for some of the pro-Putin opinions that have been expressed in the German media and especially in the German blogosphere. There was considerable Schadenfreude on many German fronts that Russia's invasion of Georgian territory was a blow to the foreign policy of the US, and the conflict in Georgia is viewed by some as a proxy war between Russia and the US, with jubilation that Putin has been victorious on all fronts.

Is the German media really supportive of Putin?

Compared to US media that might indeed be the case, because large parts of the US media tend to support poor little Georgia -- one of the first Christian nations, as McCain reminds us -- against the big Russian bear, who ran the communist, evil empire. Okay, the US media is a bit more sophisticated, but many media reports painted a picture of good guys and bad guys:

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A Title (Mis)Match

This is a guest post by Joe Noory:

For the past two weeks the story has been making the rounds. Fouad Ajami of the School for Advanced International Studies offers a recitation of the timbre of the traditional hatred floating around between Europe and the Near East. The title of his Wall Street Journal op-ed is "Anti-Americanism Is Mostly Hype", but seems to end up being betrayed by selectively deciding the bombings of the 80's and 90's being little other than hype, not to mention the Hizballah's debutante party on Marines stationed in Beirut as part of an Palestinian-Israeli cease fire, the holding of American diplomats as hostages in Teheran, and so forth:

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The United States is Losing its Mojo

"The United States is simply becoming more irrelevant" to Europeans, writes Ellen Creager in Detroit Free Press:

The United States is barely mentioned on TV news networks like the BBC, Sky News, Deutsche Welt, or in newspapers, but when it is, it is with condescension. I’m not sure why, but it’s a big change from a few years ago. I can feel it: The United States is losing — or has lost — its mojo in Europe. Fewer people care what we’re doing or why. Fewer people look up to us. Our reputation is as low as the value of a dollar here, and that’s pretty low.

I don't quite agree with the analysis, but I love the mojo headline.

Another good headline I am nuts about is: "It’s Not About the T Shirts," which serves to draw attention to a Newsweek article by Matt Frei, chief anchor of BBC World News America. He argues that "Europeans should beware the perils of Obamamania."

Britain: Pro-European And Pro-American At Once?

Gordon Brown’s administration, despite its domestic (foremost economic) troubles, has a great foreign policy opportunity, claims Philip Stephens in the Financial Times:

The next year or so offers Britain the best chance in a generation to get its foreign policy right. Whoever wins the White House, the time has come for Britain to rebalance its European and transatlantic relationships. [...]

While Foreign Minister David Miliband insists on the "special relationship" between Britain and the US, he's also been making remarks hinting at a new recognition of Great Britain being part of Europe, says Stephens.

The implication is that a British government will speak from a European perspective in Washington as much as from a US one in Paris or Berlin. Behind this – at least I hope this is what Mr Miliband means – is an understanding that strong ties between London and Washington work in Britain’s interest only in so far as they also reflect wider transatlantic cohesion. [...] What has changed [though] is that a less subservient British relationship with Washington need no longer imply a weakening of broader transatlantic ties. The message for Britain from the Iraq war was that it could not have the best of both worlds – a privileged place in Washington and a leadership role in Europe. But France too learned a tough lesson: it cannot unite Europe against the US. [...] The governments of Europe’s three most powerful nations are now more or less at one. France’s Nicolas Sarkozy has abandoned his predecessors’ anti-Americanism. Angela Merkel has restored Germany’s Atlanticist tilt. [...] What this means is that Mr Brown can be at once pro-European and pro-American.

Sarkozy's Tradeoff: France Considering NATO Reintegration

France has signaled over the past few months that it may pursue reintegration into the NATO command structure, which President Charles de Gaulle fitfully left in 1966.  A sympathetic member of the French National Assembly published an article in Newsweek arguing this move is, “no less than a revolution for NATO and transatlantic relations.” The article explains Sarkozy's proposed tradeoff:
By showing that France is America's trusted friend again, Sarkozy hopes to gain influence on American policy, and, in particular, on lifting the longtime U.S. veto on European defense.
This is an interesting proposal: France will rejoin NATO if it can pursue its own parallel EU military structures.  Many in the US defense establishment have long been concerned that a more autonomous European Security and Defense Policy is intended to act as a counterweight to the United States, or that it will duplicate/detract from NATO programs and assets.  As Soeren Kern of the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos states in World Politics Review:
… most of Sarkozy's proposals seem to be geared toward creating a rival European defense structure that over time will duplicate but not double NATO resources… Indeed, some of the more U.S.-leaning European states suspect that France's renewed interest in rejoining NATO is in fact a Trojan horse designed, ultimately, to destroy the Atlantic Alliance from within.
At the same time, the United States has been pushing Europe to build stronger military capabilities since the Alliance was born, based on a plea for "burden sharing."  One common sentiment, although often expressed with reserve, is that “it doesn’t matter where the forces come from, so long as they come.”  By rejoining NATO, Sarkozy may be able to strike a balance of confidences between what on the face appears to be double-think: convincing America of France’s commitment to Atlanticism, while concurrently pursuing greater European military autonomy. 

However, Soeren Kern points out that even if Sarkozy’s intentions are Atlanticist in nature, they will probably not outlast his term of presidency:
For most of the French ruling elite (the anti-American Left and the nationalist Right), the United States is considered to be the main problem in international affairs because of its reluctance to share its power. The only solution, in their view, is a French-led EU superstate that can counterbalance America on the global stage. And a unified EU foreign and defense policy that is completely independent of NATO (i.e., the United States) is essential to achieve equal status. Until then, anti-Americanism will continue to be the preferred means to accelerate the process of loosening the transatlantic link.
Related posts on Atlantic Review:
•    Europeans View China as the Biggest Threat to Global Security
•    Europe is a Threat to the United States

Europeans View China as Biggest Threat to Global Security

In April 2006, the Atlantic Review posted Poll: 45% of Germans consider U.S. more dangerous than Iran.
Perceptions have changed.
Spiegel International reports:
China has now overtaken the United States as the greatest perceived threat to global stability in the eyes of Europeans, according to the opinion poll commissioned by the Financial Times. The poll, carried out by the Harris agency between March 27 and April 8 and published on Tuesday, found that 35 percent of respondents in the five largest EU states see China as a bigger threat to world stability than any other state.

Moreover, the United States is also doing better in popularity contests: Atlantic Community noted: "For the first time since 2005, the number of people abroad that view the US as a positive force has increased slightly, to 35 percent."

Related posts in the Atlantic Review:

Europe is a Threat to the United States

Transatlantic Foreign Policy Attitudes and Threat Perceptions

America Might Not be the Greatest Country on Earth

Why is there so much Anti-Americanism? Lewis Black gives one explanation in a Broadway comedy show in 2004:
The most important part of travel, is when you come home. Because, that's when you see your country with new eyes. I was amazed to realize that we're - we're the only country that - that tells the rest of the world, on a nearly constant basis, that we're the greatest country on Earth. And that is a little f***in' obnoxious! And they know it's obnoxious. Because, if you were in an office, and there was someone there, who came in every day and said; "I'm the greatest fucker here! And you snivelling shits would die without me! Ahahahaha!" I can guarantee that by the end of the week, you'd have killed him! And eaten him, just to try to possess his power!

The Youtube video below includes the above quote and some funny comments about US obsession with health and about milk:

Or shall we chill out and ignore both the Europeans, who complain about US arrogance, and the Americans, who complain about Anti-Americanism in Western Europe? After all boasting about one's country might be considered pretty normal around the world, except in Western Europe. Many Western Europeans dislike nationalism and boasting and instead prefer to put down arrogant others. At least this is what one commenter suggested as previously mentioned:

I think anti-Americanism is some kind of weird, inverted nationalism for people who don't think nationalism is cool (think about it, what better way to believe in the superiority of your nation without being explicit about it?)

Related posts in the Atlantic Review:

America's Cultural Superiority

The Anti-Americans and the Manichaean Narcissists

Is it Anti-Americanism or just Disappointment and Sensitivity?

Holding America to a Higher Standard

Another reason for Anti-Americanism could be that the United States is held to a higher standard, because US presidents make bigger promises than any European head of state or government.

The mismatch between by the US rhetoric and policies invites harsh criticism. Take for instance this promise from President Bush's second inauguration speech in January 2005:

Today, America speaks anew to the peoples of the world: All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know: the United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you.

And then look at the US response to the uprising in Burma in autumn 2007. The Bush administration did not stand with the monks. The European governments were not any better, but they did not make big promises about supporting liberty.

Burma is pretty much vanished from the European and American mainstream media coverage. Oh, wait a second, AP just reports that "US First Lady Laura Bush has conferred an award honoring the women of military-ruled Myanmar in their determined battle to restore democracy and human rights in the Southeast Asian state." Awesome. The US has once again shown great leadership. I am sure this award will end tyranny nd bring liberty to Burma.