German Trust in America – the Trend (#OAG 12b)

There has been some attempted pushback – including in the comments here – on the notion that Donald Trump has uniquely damaged German-American relations, particularly in relation to the views of the German public – for example:

Merkel chose a Munich beer hall as her venue to speak out and she was on the campaign trail for the elections to the Bundestag in October. She was speaking to a German audience which holds the United States in poor esteem. By the way, this has nothing to do with Trump. The percentage of Germans who trusted the US plunged from 76% to 34% during the first six years of the Barack Obama presidency. (On the other hand, sixty percent of Germans admire the ex-CIA whistle blower Edward Snowden as a heroic figure.)

As the poll history depicted above demonstrates, observers like M.K. Bhadrakumar are playing the deepest valley in recent pre-Trump American-German relations vs. Obama’s post-Bush, inaugural high.

The poll confirms the eye and ear test on German opinion regarding Mr. Trump. Consider the recent speech by Chancellor Merkel’s electoral opponent:

Though Deutsche Welle headlines the moment “Only in Germany,” I find it a bit reminiscent of Nancy Pelosi standing up for George W Bush vs. Hugo Chavez some years ago.

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4 comments on “German Trust in America – the Trend (#OAG 12b)

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  1. Touché, MacLeod.

    But let’s not forget Bhadrakumar’s overarching point–that geopolitical constraints will compel the German government to seek a close relationship with the dis-United States, regardless of the superficies of German public opinion’s disapproval of NSA overreach and Donald Trump.

    Disapprobation of Donald Trump is currently a Western fad, a kind of political fashion among the bohemian bourgeoisie, about as substantive as Beatlemania. Those sorts of voguish enthusiams don’t compete well with geopolitical necessities.

    • Congratulations on at least admitting when you, or your source, sbeen touched!

      As for the faddishness of disapprobation of Donald Trump, that plunge at the end of the opinion chart strikes me as a bit more like a total sudden collapse, or fall off a cliff, than the emergence of enthusiasm for Hula Hoops or nose-rings among some sector of the populace. That’s a general opinion poll, not a sales chart. The only time you see action like that in stock-trading, for example, is when the FBI arrests the CEO, or the company declares bankruptcy out of the blue… and the CEO is arrested.

      I think the Germans correctly understood the 2016 election as to have revealed something which previously only a few thoughtful observers had noted about the vulnerability of the American electoral system to unexpected outcomes. The system was revealed to be unreliable in the process of producing an unreliable leader running on a platform of decreased reliability. The possibility that his personal unreliability would help defeat the unreliable platform is only one of several.

      It’s a bit like a marriage after the discovery of an affair or occurrence of some other disruptive event. It was always a possibility, and there may be a home, children, and any number of other factors to consider before leaping to divorce, but, even if the marriage continues, with what may be called greater realism, it still won’t be or feel the same.

  2. Congratulations on at least admitting when you, or your source, sbeen touched!

    Thank you, CK. I blame my source–he fucked me.

    …that plunge at the end of the opinion chart strikes me as a bit more like a total sudden collapse, or fall off a cliff, than the emergence of enthusiasm for Hula Hoops or nose-rings…

    When sales of Hula Hoops or nose-rings or Beatles records undergo a total sudden collapse–or a total sudden increase–geopolitical realities remain unaffected. Phony Trumpmania will have the same non-effect. The faddish politics of baizuo don’t matter to the mountain of Kunlun.

    Another way of looking at the contretemps between Trump and das deutsche Volk is that it really doesn’t matter regardless of one’s analysis, since there isn’t anything going on in Europe at the present time that need worry us or them. So what if they strike the obligatory pose of baizuo vis a vis Trump? Europe is at peace–and the bogeyman Russia, with one-tenth the GDP of NATO-Europe (one-tenth!) isn’t really a threat.

    The other part of President Trump’s trip–the Middle Eastern part–seemed to highlight an improvement of relations with Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Israel, in a region where improved relations with our allies might actually make a difference, given that region’s continuing turmoil.

    Having said that, I think you do make an interesting point about the latent instability of the United States and the prospective effect of that instability on geopolitical arrangements.

    So long as we’re having recourse to the figure of relations between states as marriages, the United States themselves are like a marriage–and an abusive one at that. Long ago, one party to the marriage–let’s think of it as the wife–decided she couldn’t stand to be married to her husband anymore and she upped and left. Unfortunately for her, her husband tracked her down and beat her to a bloody pulp, until she agreed to come back. The couple hasn’t exactly lived happily ever after since and one might suppose that on that basis they never will.

  3. Speaking of George Friedman

    The party of Chancellor Angela Merkel no longer uses the word “friend” to describe the United States in its platform. But in fact, Merkel has blamed Trump for a rupture he has little to do with. At issue are the national interests of both countries. Germany needs for the European Union to be economically healthy enough to buy the exports on which its economy depends, but the United States, which has little leverage or stake in the European Union, sees its disintegration as a European problem.

    The divergence between the United States and Germany has been growing since 2008, and there is little Trump could have done to change things.

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Noted & Quoted


[C]limate scientists have a strange kind of faith: We will find a way to forestall radical warming, they say, because we must.

It is not easy to know how much to be reassured by that bleak certainty, and how much to wonder whether it is another form of delusion; for global warming to work as parable, of course, someone needs to survive to tell the story. The scientists know that to even meet the Paris goals, by 2050, carbon emissions from energy and industry, which are still rising, will have to fall by half each decade; emissions from land use (deforestation, cow farts, etc.) will have to zero out; and we will need to have invented technologies to extract, annually, twice as much carbon from the atmosphere as the entire planet’s plants now do. Nevertheless, by and large, the scientists have an enormous confidence in the ingenuity of humans — a confidence perhaps bolstered by their appreciation for climate change, which is, after all, a human invention, too. They point to the Apollo project, the hole in the ozone we patched in the 1980s, the passing of the fear of mutually assured destruction. Now we’ve found a way to engineer our own doomsday, and surely we will find a way to engineer our way out of it, one way or another. The planet is not used to being provoked like this, and climate systems designed to give feedback over centuries or millennia prevent us — even those who may be watching closely — from fully imagining the damage done already to the planet. But when we do truly see the world we’ve made, they say, we will also find a way to make it livable. For them, the alternative is simply unimaginable.

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They were concerned that any pre-election response could provoke an escalation from Putin. Moscow's meddling to that point was seen as deeply concerning but unlikely to materially affect the outcome of the election. Far more worrisome to the Obama team was the prospect of a cyber-assault on voting systems before and on Election Day. They also worried that any action they took would be perceived as political interference in an already volatile campaign. By August, Trump was predicting that the election would be rigged. Obama officials feared providing fuel to such claims, playing into Russia's efforts to discredit the outcome and potentially contaminating the expected Clinton triumph.

This, right here. This is where they choked. The American people had damned close to an absolute right to the information their government already had. The most fundamental act of citizenship is the right to cast an informed vote. The idea that the Obama administration withheld the fact that the Russians were ratfcking the election in order to help elect a vulgar talking yam is a terrible condemnation of the whole No Drama Obama philosophy. Would Donald Trump have raised hell if the White House released what it knew? Of course, he would have. But, as it was, the American people went to vote with only about half of the information they needed to assess his candidacy. This was a terrible decision.

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Changing views of U.S. presidents over past decade and a halfAs Pew Research Center’s global surveys from George W. Bush’s presidency illustrated, many of Bush’s key foreign policies were unpopular, and by the time he left office Bush was viewed negatively in most of the countries we polled. His successor, Obama, generally received more positive ratings throughout his White House tenure.Today, in many countries, ratings for President Trump look very similar to those for Bush at the end of his term. This pattern is especially clear in Western Europe. In the UK, France, Germany and Spain, the low levels of confidence in Trump are very similar to the poor ratings for Bush in 2008.

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State of the Discussion

CK MacLeod
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+ BTW, I recently upgraded some this and that on the back end of the blog, and it does seem to make comments post much faster [. . .]
Gutenberg: The Invention of the Printing Press, the Destruction of WordPress
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For WordPress self-hosted people, there is already a "restore legacy editor" plugin, even though Gutenberg hasn't been installed yet as the default.

Gutenberg: The Invention of the Printing Press, the Destruction of WordPress
CK MacLeod
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+ I thought you were on, not self-hosted WordPress. I can't find any info on and Gutenberg or Gutenbergerish editing, so I don't know [. . .]
Gutenberg: The Invention of the Printing Press, the Destruction of WordPress

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