Last week, the New York Times ran a piece on the dire demographic problems facing Germany. The short version: Germans aren’t having enough kids, and as a result the economy is in trouble and there are all sorts of logistical problems—vacant buildings that need to be razed; houses that will never be sold, sewer systems which may not function properly because they’re too empty.
President Obama told a German audience today that the U.S. lags behind other countries because Americans don't speak enough foreign languages. It’s not the first time he’s expressed the sentiment: back in 2008, Obama said, “It's embarrassing when Europeans come over here, they all speak English, they speak French, they speak German. And then we go over to Europe and all we can say is merci beaucoup, right?"
President Barack Obama, speaking today in Berlin, cited German philosopher Immanuel Kant:
"For thousands of years, the people of this land have journeyed from tribe to principality to nation state to reformation and enlightenment. Renowned as the land of poets and thinkers, among them Immanuel Kant, who taught us that freedom is the unoriginated birthright of man and it belongs to him by force of his humanity."
Bjorn Lomborg claimed on John Stossel's television show last night that money isn't being spent well to combat "global warming":
"The Germans are spending about $110 billion on subsidies for these solar panels," said Lomborg. "The net effect of all those investments will be to postpone global warming by 37 hours by the end of the century."
"All those billions, for 37 hours delay?," asked Stossel.
The little island of Cyprus is not behaving as other European countries desire and this, according to Bloomberg, is irritating German Chancellor Angela Merkel who “told a closed-door meeting of legislators in Berlin today that she’s annoyed the Cypriot government hasn’t been in touch with the so-called troika of international creditors for days, according to a party official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the briefing was private. Cyprus’s decision to test Europe is unacceptable, she told them.”
In Germany for the Munich Security Conference, Vice President Joe Biden sounded relieved. "It’s a delight to be back in Germany," he said. "I -- the President, since I’m the Vice President, sends me mostly to Afghanistan and Iraq. It’s a pleasure to be back in Germany. And it’s a pleasure to see you again."
Despite the careful, intelligent research conducted by countless scholars in numerous disciplines, those 12 years remain in some essential way incomprehensible. How, we ask—without ever being able to provide a truly satisfying answer—could more or less ordinary human beings have done what they did to other human beings in an attempt to create a racial utopia?
Germany appeared over the past several months to have finally fallen in line behind European Union efforts to stiffen economic sanctions against Iran. But in late October a group of German parliamentarians dealt a blow to the campaign to isolate Iran’s rulers. Bundestag Members Bijan Djir-Sarai of the Free Democratic Party, Thomas Feist of the Christian Democrats and Angelika Graf of the Social Democratic Party traveled to Tehran for a five-day visit.