Friday, May 27, 2005

A sorry excuse for an ambassador

What an insulting load of tripe.
As older societies, we tend to think of ourselves as more experienced in the way societies evolve, and we tend to be skeptical of Americans who seem to think that if you believe hard enough, and you muster enough resources, you can change the world... In the last year or so, as we've engaged in discussions about the transformation of the Middle East and democracy, I have told my American friends that the region in this world that has seen the most transformation and change is Central and Eastern Europe--without shedding a drop of blood. So don't preach to us. And don't think transformative change will work according to mechanistic rules. This is very complicated. Changing the way people think often has to do with religious and cultural issues--we tend to think of them as long-term, and Americans think, Let's solve the problem in the next four years!
So says the German ambassador to the US, quoted in the New Yorker. Is this guy for real? As older and more experienced societies, we Europeans, who are so sophisticated, have managed, just in the last century, to kill tens of millions of innocent people (at home and abroad), to create and abet two of the most destructive ideologies ever known to man (Nazism and Communism) and without the intensive and extensive help of the Americans we would never have been able to beat these existential threats back.
And this unintentionally comic punk says "without shedding a drop of blood"? If I were German I would be appalled and outraged that my representative to the US was going around making such embarassing, condescending (and preachy, I might add) statements. And, mother of all ironies, apparently it's all those American officials with graduate degrees and years of experience "on the ground" that are supposed to be the naive ones. (Whilst the experienced Germans are running their country - and continent - into the ground.)
The Belgravia Dispatch has a thorough critique (and the full New Yorker quote; via Instapundit) and Davids Medienkritik underlines the absurdity of the statement with a few historical details and photographs.

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