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If Only American Media Were This Pro-America (Updated with Poll Results)

John on March 29, 2007 at 11:22 pm

Stern magazine asked Germans who was more dangerous, the US or Iran. Germans said the US by 48% to 31%. The numbers were even worse for young Germans, with 57% of 18-29 year olds fearing the US over Iran.

I’ve asked a friend who is fluent in German to help me locate the complete poll. Until then, let me direct your attention to a most completely satisfying and gob-smackingly pro-American response written by SPIEGEL ONLINE’s Berlin bureau chief, Claus Christian Malzahn. Here’s a sample:

We’ve known just what they’re like for a long time. The 19th-century German author Karl May taught us about the American Wild West, and Karl Marx warned us about unbridled capitalism. Besides, we’ve all been there at least once — on vacation, of course. Be it in California or Florida (that’s where you get the best deals on rental cars, you know), we can see right through the Americans.

For us Germans, the Americans are either too fat or too obsessed with exercise, too prudish or too pornographic, too religious or too nihilistic. In terms of history and foreign policy, the Americans have either been too isolationist or too imperialistic. They simply go ahead and invade foreign countries (something we Germans, of course, would never do) and then abandon them, the way they did in Vietnam and will soon do in Iraq.

Worst of all, the Americans won the war in 1945. (Well, with German help, of course — from Einstein and his ilk.) There are some Germans who will never forgive the Americans for VE Day, when they defeated Hitler. After all, Nazism was just an accident, whereas Americans are inherently evil. Just look at President Bush, the man who, as some of SPIEGEL ONLINE’s readers steadfastly believe, “is worse than Hitler.” Now that gives us a chance to kill two birds with one stone. If Bush is the new Hitler, then we Germans have finally unloaded the Führer on to someone else. In fact, we won’t even have to posthumously revoke his German citizenship, as politicians in Lower Saxony recently proposed. No one can hold a candle to our talent for symbolism!

Anti-Americanism is the wonder drug of German politics. If no one believes what you’re saying, take a swing at the Yanks and you’ll be shooting your way back up to the top of the opinion polls in no time. And on the practical side, you can be the head of the Social Democratic Party and endear yourself to the party’s hardcore with a load of anti-American nonsense, and still get invited back to Washington — just look at Gerhard Schröder. In fact, you could, like leading German politicians in the debate over the planned American missile shield in Europe, be accused of having “an almost unbelievable lack of knowledge” by a former NATO general, and even that wouldn’t matter. It’s all about what you believe, not what you know.

Anti-Americanism is hypocrisy at its finest. You can spend your evening catching the latest episode of “24″ and then complain about Guantanamo the next morning. You can claim that the Americans have themselves to blame for terrorism, while at the same time calling for tougher restrictions on Muslim immigration to Germany. You can call the American president a mass murderer and book a flight to New York the next day. You can lament the average American’s supposed lack of culture and savvy and meanwhile send off for the documents for the Green Card lottery.

If only the American Media were this pro-America. There’s lots more, all of it good.

Update 3/30 9:40AM: My friend (known around here as Blondie) came through for me on the details of that Stern poll. The numbers were worked into an article, so rather than summarize her excellent summary, I’m just going to post the whole thing:

Well… it wasn’t in one nice results page, but they (Stern) did lay it out in article format. This is what I have:

Between March 22-23, 2007, 1,003 registered Germans were polled. This poll was taken to boost SPD Leader Kurt Beck’s (anti-USA) political platform, for the coming election in which he is running.

48% USA is a bigger threat to the world than Iran
31% Washington is more threatening than Tehran
72% Support the resistance offered by SPD (Social Democratic Party) Leader against the “US’s anti-missile missle”

the 18-29 year olds had stronger negative responses regarding the USA
57% USA is a bigger threat to the world than Iran (25% did not)
45% Washington is more threatening than Tehran (36% did not)

Broken into political parties:

48% USA worse than Iran
27% Iran worse

FDP (Liberal Party)
46% USA worse
33% Iran worse

Green Party
63 % USA worse
17% Iran worse

Linkspartei (translated “Left Party”)
72% USA worse
14% Iran worse

When asked about SPD Leader, Kurt Becks’ resistance policy against the anti-missile system:
72% agreed with Mr. Beck
20% did not

The new East Germany (encompasses the “old” East Germany, and some newly included areas) has higher anti-US percentages…

80% on average agree with Mr. Beck’s agenda across all political parties (I totaled it, and it actually averaged 79.9%)

27% of those polled, who did not belong to the SPD, would consider voting SPD (because of Mr. beck’s agenda), even though they did not agree with other aspects of the SPD

It was mentioned however, that if Mr. Beck’s political plan changed, those 27% would no longer vote SPD, because of wide-spread mistrust that the SPD would be able solve the problems of the country. (So basically this is Mr. Beck only platform right now).

The other parties are shooting his ideas full of holes, the citizens however, seem to be willing to listen so far.

Those article ended by saying this;

“What happens when Iran actually has the Bomb?

“Has Beck even considered for more than 30 seconds about what an anti-missile system does?”, asked Gedmin of Stern, who opened a worthy debate. “If the Germans think that America is a bigger threat than Iran, and if the Germans believe that the anti-missile system is a stupid or counterproductive idea, then they need to open up a debate here in Germany and answer these questions; a) What happens if Iran gets their hands on The Bomb? and b) What happens if America was to pull out of Europe completely?

Thanks, Blondie!

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