Skip to content

Anti-Americanism and Anti-Semitism

Two months ago, the burning of an American flag along with a copy Anne Frank's diary (, has sent shockwaves across Germany. From the European Jewish Press:
More than 100 villagers had gathered on June 24 to celebrate the summer solstice in Pretzien, a village south of Magdeburg in the east German state of Saxony-Anhalt, with a dance and a bonfire. (...) According to the 'Tagesspiegel' newspaper, three local far-right extremists present in the crowd, aged 24, 27 and 28, threw both a US flag and 'Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl' onto the pyre with one man saying: "I commit Anne Frank to the fire." The scene was evocative of the infamous bonfires organised by the Nazis in 1933 in Berlin and across Germany to rid the Third Reich of "degenerate books".
This book burning was a singular incident in modern Germany and should not be used for exaggerations. Though in general there are strong links between Anti-Americanism and Anti-Semitism, argues U.S. Fulbright Alumnus Andrei S. Markovits, a political science professor at Ann Arbor and expert on German politics and European culture and soccer, in his book Amerika, dich haßt sich's besser. Antiamerikanismus und Antisemitismus in Europa ( The book cover shows a graffiti claiming that Presidential Candidate "Kerry is a Jew too." The book was published in October 2004 and is only available in German, but Dialog International has written a review in English.

Besides, two English working papers by Prof. Markovits can be downloaded as PDF files: "Twin brothers": European Anti-Semitism and Anti-Americanism and European Anti-Americanism (and Anti-Semitism): Ever Present Though Always Denied. I have read one of the working papers about a year ago and found his historical analysis and many arguments convincing, but some arguments about the strong ties between Anti-Semitism and Anti-Americanism not so much. Now, after the burning of the Anne Frank Diary along with the American flag, I will need to re-read the working paper or wait for Prof. Markovits' upcoming book Uncouth Nation: Why Europe Dislikes America (,, which will be available in the U.S. on December 15, 2006 and in Germany in February 2006. Prof. Markovits described his earlier book Amerika, dich haßt sich's besser as the basis for the upcoming book.
Following is a snyopsis of Uncouth Nation:
Continue reading "Anti-Americanism and Anti-Semitism"

Sidewalk SUVs and Freedom Fries

•  The Wall Street Journal writes about "Sidewalk SUVs": "Motorized scooters for the disabled are finding a lucrative new market: People just sick of walking." Related: SUVs undermine US foreign policy

•  Superfrenchie, an interesting blog about "French-bashing America", writes that the "U.S. Congress surrenders!" based on a report in the Washington Times that the congressional cafeterias do not list French Fries as "Freedom Fries" anymore. Superfrenchie opines: "I'm not sure something ever made the U.S. look as foolish, petty, bigoted and intolerant than renaming French fries to Freedom Fries. By an act of Congress no less!"
More shocking news: "Germany Faces French Fries Fiasco", writes Deutsche Welle: "Farmers' representatives recently announced that Germany's fabulous summer did horrible things to Teutonic tubers. There's less of them -- about 20 percent are missing."

Bush interview with German TV about Merkel's soul, transatlantic cooperation on Iran, Guantanamo, climate change

In an interview with the German talk show host Sabine Christiansen, President Bush stresses the need to pursue a common strategy to solve the Iran issue diplomatically and explains why Washington is not talking directly to the Iranians. He tried to calm down the wide-spread concern of another war in the Middle East, by assuring that "we're at the beginning of the diplomatic process, not the end of the diplomatic process."
Christiansen confronts him with the CIA rendition flights and the European perception that the Iraq war has made the world less safe. She also asks a few tough questions on Guantanamo and the US dependence on oil, but she does not follow up, when President Bush gives some surprising answers. In addition, President Bush impresses with comments on climate change and by knowing the price of gasoline in Germany and by stating that "we've got to change our habits when we're driving our cars." Let's see if his image improves in Germany.
Continue reading "Bush interview with German TV about Merkel's soul, transatlantic cooperation on Iran, Guantanamo, climate change"

"America is addicted to oil"

At his State of the Union Address, President Bush promised "to replace more than 75 percent of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025", because "America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world." Most experts and the NYT are skeptical:
President Richard M. Nixon promised in 1971 to make the United States self-sufficient in energy by 1980. President Jimmy Carter promised in 1979 that the nation would "never again use more foreign oil than we did in 1977." And Mr. Bush has called in each of his past four State of the Union addresses for a reduction in the dependence on foreign oil. Despite those promises in the past 35 years, United States dependence on oil imports is at a record level.
The good news is that OPEC got concerned by the president's speech. The US imports most of its oil from Canada, Mexico and Saudi Arabia. The European Union, however, is much more dependent on Middle East oil than the US is. A longer piece on energy dependence will be published in the Atlantic Review in the next few weeks. (Help is appreciated.)
President Bush also warned against the "false comfort of isolationism" and stressed his commitment to Iraq. Edit Copy has excellent press coverage of the State of the Union Address.

SUV drivers undermine US foreign policy

Fareed Zakaria describes in the Washington Post, how the high oil prices make the war on terrorism and the democratisation of the Middle East, Russia and Central Asia more difficult and strengthen anti-American governments in Latin America and Iran:

In almost every region, efforts to produce a more stable, peaceful and open world order are being compromised and complicated by high oil prices. And while America spends enormous time, money and effort dealing with the symptoms of this problem, we are actively fueling the cause. (...)
In 2004 China consumed 6.5 million barrels of oil per day. The United States consumed 20.4 million barrels, and demand is rising. That is because of strong growth, but also because American cars -- which guzzle the bulk of oil imports -- are much less efficient than they used to be. This is the only area of the U.S. economy in which we have become less energy-efficient than we were 20 years ago, and we are the only industrialized country to have slid backward in this way. There's one reason: SUVs. They made up 5 percent of the American fleet in 1990. They make up almost 54 percent today.