scrutinising: Bush on and viewed in Germany

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The english post in the online edition of german Spiegel magazin of an interview of german BILD Zeitung with George W Bush shows me a person I didn’t know, and at some place I did not expect. While reading, these are my notes on the interview. (german version on bild.de)

germany does not like war

cite: “I’ve come to realize that the nature of the German people are such that war is very abhorrent, that Germany is a country now that […] just don’t like war.”

Right. Even as I am not a child of war, my parents started their life very inside the war (born in the 40s). So their life was defined not only by their parents but also by the great father war (“war is the father of everything”, a saying goes…). Well, that father actually left before they could grow up. Some might say he’s a coward sucker, but I’m glad about it. Some more items to say about GWB’s (George W Bush) quote, I keep’em short:

  • this war is one thing, the other issue is the “morality” of nazis attached to a whole country, including its children (a.k.a. every German who lives today). I’m sick of it, but I also am willing to and should take it into my personal consideration.
  • This stigma was known long before 9-11, long before the first gulf war, since the sixties at last. Suprising that some people still where surprised by our (election) decision…
  • I’m glad that my VOW (view of the world) seems closer to GWB’s than I exptected 🙂

values

These are the values of George W Bush as I find them in the text:
Quotes – in order of appearance:

  1. core beliefs: “my core beliefs — a belief that freedom is universal, or the belief that private markets work, a belief in ownership”
  2. personal integrity: “I want to be able to leave this office with my integrity intact.”
  3. free worshipping: “you should be able to worship freely”
  4. faith supports values: “I happen to believe, for me at least, faith is one way to make sure that my values stay intact”

Absolutely nothing against them! I happily agree. But….

There might be some kinda question about how to handle people who have different core values. On this level of values, do really all people on the earth share these values? And if not: where do we take right to convert others to our values? One might like to take a look at how religions try that.

solving the war on terror

The president suggests two ways, I quote:

  1. “One is to bring them to justice so they don’t harm people, which means we’ve got to be constantly on the offense, finding them where they hide and bringing them to justice.”
  2. “And secondly, is that the way to defeat their hateful ideology is by the spread of liberty.”

Well, what exactly is liberty? Is what we think really sellable to non-western people? Again, I tend to say right in the first instance, but when thinking about completely different people and values… there is currently no language to communicate our values and comparing (or even weighing) them to other values.

war on … what?

The term used most often by GWB is war on terror. But he also states as the first goal of the “enemy” that [quote] “They want to spread their ideology throughout — starting in the Middle East.” [end quote].

I come more and more to the conclusion that there is really no war. At least not the type of war that was the father for everything. (Get me: I don’t like that term at all. The mother of everything is love. And she’s (a) longer in the game, (b) stronger in the long run and (c) less painful for everyone involved). The type of war GWB is talking about is a different one. From my uneducated, non-academic point of view, these are the differences compared to classical war:

  • the goals are not shareable (it’s not about I want and and you want the same, let’s see who get’s it)
  • the involved entities are new (at least for me: there are no states, no borders, no frontiers to fight about)
  • instead, the goals are values and the right to execute/life them: the right of liberty on ‘our’ side, the right of condemnation on the ‘other’ side

But I don’t see any difference in the tactics and strategies to address this. All is about diplomacy (which is based on and grown up with classic war) and warfare.

To begin to change this, I use again GWB’s quote: “Any diplomatic solution requires agreement on the goal.” Well, his and my context are heavily different, but it’s a start:-)

learning from history

quote: “Our message there is, the Iranians have defied the world, and you’re now isolated.”

I’m concerned if this will work. Isn’t it the same strategy used against Iran that was used for Iraq (and many other evil states) before? Am I missing something here? Does pressure not create antipressure? Is isolation not the opposite of dialog (and thus of diplomacy)?

words…

That’s an intersting one. Two citations.

At the beginning: “We must understand words mean things to different people.”

Later: “I think that it’s very important for us to take his” [Iran’s president] “words very seriously. When people speak, it is important that we listen carefully to what they say and take them seriously.”

The first one I adopt directly for myself, thanx for that. But the second one is missing the interpretation for different people. Here, I think, GWB takes his interpretation of importance and applies it to everyone of us (western people). Even if I interpret the words of Iran’s president the same way as you, I neglect someone telling me what they shall mean for me… Please remind also the next paragraph after the second quote: I wholeheartedly agree seeing that the threat of the words to Israel is to be taken seriously. But what are the Israelian words? How do they sound in the ears of others?

Mr. President, liebe BILD, thank you very much!

PS: I think I definitely missed some items, so please come in and comment….