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Best Music Videos for the US Elections

I have tuned out of the Republican presidential debates. Too much pandering, too much silly campaign rhetoric. I wrote about their statements on Europe, for instance in Gingrich, Romney rely on Eurobashing to "define their America" and "Europe" is a Dirty Word in the United States. I do, however, tune into official and unoffical campaign music videos.

Here are my three favorites so far in this election cycle: The best music video for a presidential candidate (Rick Santorum), the best video against a presidential candidate (Newt Gingrich), and the most bizarre one from a (former) candidate (Herman Cain).

1. While I don't agree with Rick Santorum's political views, I consider this the best music video for a presidential candidate. It helps me to better understand why so many Americans like him and why his campaign is so successful at the moment. The music video "Game On" by the band First Love, praises Rick Santorum's stands on faith, abortion, and manufacturing:

Continue reading "Best Music Videos for the US Elections"

Like America, Germany Needs More Sanity, Less Hysteria

I would like to call for a "war on hysteria," if that would not be so hysterical in itself. Where are the German Jon Stewarts, who could restore some sanity over here? The whole debate in Germany about multiculturalism and Muslims, immigration and integration is full of hysteria. It's gotten so hysterical, that this debate now includes Halloween and nuclear energy.

Continue reading "Like America, Germany Needs More Sanity, Less Hysteria"

California: Today Gay Marriage, Tomorrow Meteors and Volcanoes

The California Supreme Court made a 4-3 decision this week that will legalize gay marriage in California, most likely effective within 30 days.  As reported by the New York Times:
This decision will give Americans the lived experience that ending exclusion from marriage helps families and harms no one,” said Evan Wolfson, executive director of Freedom to Marry, who noted that same-sex marriages were legal in Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, South Africa and Spain.
The timing of this action, coming only months before the US presidential elections in November, have led to speculation on whether or not it will hurt the Democratic nominee.  Alex Altman wrote an article in Time Magazine asking, “Will Gay Marriage Help the GOP?”:
California Republicans are hoping that history will prove instructive. After Massachusetts became the first state to codify marriage equality in 2003, the G.O.P. spent the ensuing general election wielding the issue as a potent weapon. Thirteen states passed ballot initiatives to ban same-sex marriage — including Ohio, the battleground that tipped the 2004 election in George W. Bush's favor. Opponents of gay marriage in California have generated more than 1 million signatures to place on November ballots an initiative amending the state's constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage.
Kai Stinchcombe, a PhD candidate in political science at Stanford University, and a very good friend of mine, created the popular Facebook group Gay Marriage Killed the Dinosaurs.  In his thoughtful analysis, Kai identifies 17 reasons gay marriage should remain illegal: Continue reading "California: Today Gay Marriage, Tomorrow Meteors and Volcanoes"

Huckabee: United States Does Integration Better than Europe

Mike Huckabee is a political rockstar in the United States.  Even atheist Democrats who disagree with many of his policies cannot help but be charmed by the former governor.  My friend and a fellow blogger Kevin (one such atheist Democrat) gives his take on this phenomenon at the blog Wyatt Gwyon:
Of the Republican candidates, Huckabee is the most straightforward in presentation and generally the most rigorous in his analyses… I certainly do not concur with the majority of the political positions that stereotypically come with his fundamentalist Christian system of belief, but I am clear on what he believes and can respect his convictions to those beliefs for their principled consistency. Huckabee is a profoundly known factor.
IMHO, style is what has buoyed Huckabee’s presidential bid.  It is not a coincidence that his campaign picked up momentum only a week after he became “Chuck Norris Approved” in a humorous commercial run  prior to him sweeping the Iowa primaries last week.

Huckabee has nonetheless been criticized for lacking a solid foreign policy platform.  This week, he dabbled on the issue of US-European relations by speculating who is better at cultural integration.  As reported by the National Review Online:
It is also difficult for us, with our culture of assimilation, to understand that life for European Muslims is different from life for American Muslims.  Muslims in Britain or the Netherlands or Germany are second-class citizens because those countries have more homogenous populations that don’t readily integrate outsiders.  Instead of melting pots, Europe has separate pots boiling over with alienation and despair. In some countries, like France, it is more a lack of economic integration, while in others, like Britain, it is more a lack of cultural integration, but whatever the reason, Europe is a much more fertile breeding ground for terror than the United States. Unintentionally, some of our closest allies are producing some of our clearest threats. 
I agree with Huckabee that Europe does a poorer job of integration than the US, and that this can breed violence.  However, I find it difficult to pin exactly why the US is a more successful 'melting pot'.  Perhaps one factor is upward mobility: I suspect an individual can transcend their parentage easier in the US than in most European countries, which in turn mitigates social and cultural stratification.

The Euro-American Religious Divide

Many Americans have criticized German politicians for using Anti-Americanism in their election campaigns. Now it seems that at least one US presidential candidate wants to try out Euro-Bashing. Roger Cohen writes in the International Herald Tribune:

Romney, a Republican candidate for the presidency and former Massachusetts governor, was dismissive of European societies "too busy or too 'enlightened' to venture inside and kneel in prayer." In so doing, he pointed to what has become the principal trans-Atlantic cultural divide. Europeans still take their Enlightenment seriously enough not to put it in quote marks. They have long found one of its most inspiring reflections in the first 16 words of the American Bill of Rights of 1791: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

More Mosques => New Atlanticism?

Viola Herms Drath writes about some kind of new Atlanticism in The Washington Times (via James Joyner in Outside the Beltway):

The dawn of a New Alanticism comes as a welcome surprise. After years of benign neglect, European leaders who are energetic and emancipated Atlanticists in Germany, France and England are ready to shoulder new responsibilities outside their borders. Based on their appraisal of terrorist threats and the Middle East quagmire as immediate danger to world peace and Western civilization, these newly elected politicians are shifting political gears. Activated by the number of mosques rising on their soils, failing integration policies and the radicalization of young Muslims, leaders in the three major European nations promise, at long last, new geostrategic horizons benefiting partners on both sides of the Atlantic: a New Atlanticism - reviving the spirit of the West.

I am skeptical whether there will be that much more transatlantic cooperation and less disagreements on crucial security issues, but I like the author's use of the term "emancipated Atlanticists," which gives a realistic understanding of recent changes.

Though, I strongly disagree with Viola Herms Drath's assessment that that the increase in mosques has "activated" this spirit of Atlanticism in Germany, France and Britain. Perhaps the author hopes that (radical) Islam will serve as the new enemy that unites the West as the Soviet Union has done in the past. It's not gonna happen. A rising number of mosques in Europe will not convince any European government to send troops to Iraq or support air strikes on Iran or promise any other "new geostrategic horizons."

Europeans can learn a lot from Americans about how to integrate people with diverse backgrounds and religions, but that has nothing to do with Atlanticism.

Related Atlantic Review posts on the Eurabia myth: International Conference about the Collapse of Europe

Germany Loves Tom Cruise

"The German Defence Ministry has dropped its concerns about Tom Cruise being a member of Scientology and decided to allow him to shoot scenes inside the Defense Ministry for his film about the plot to assassinate Hitler," writes Spiegel International.

When the Denfence Ministry rejected Tom Cruise's request in June, Time Magazine published an article by Andrew Purvis under the headline "Why Germany Hates Tom Cruise." For the sake of being fair and balance, Time Magazine should now run the headline "Why Germany Loves Tom Cruise."

It would be nice to have some shades of grey rather than this popular question in the US media: "Why do they hate us?" I sometimes get the impression, that whenever a foreigner does not love the US, he is suspected of hating the US.

Regarding the Tom Cruise controversy see Sonja's Atlantic Review article Scientology: Tom Cruise Banned from Filming in Berlin?, incl. the 38 comments from our readers.