Germany Articles

Incendiary Correctness

Jan 18, 2016

"Suddenly there was a hand on my bottom .  .  ." was the rather atypical headline that ran in Germany's ordinarily conservative daily newspaper Die Welt on January 4. It described a riot-like series of sexual assaults and robberies carried out on New Year's Eve in the center of Cologne on the Domplatz, the plaza between the city's train station and its world-famous cathedral. The assailants were mostly described as Arab-looking. Thus far 120 victims have filed criminal complaints, two of them for rape. Descriptions of the assaults have appeared in newspapers across Germany. The stories are varied and shocking. ("They made a kind of wall around us," one of two high-school girls surrounded by a gang of youths

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Über Alles After All

Europe’s German future.
Feb 13, 2012

Last week Germany reclaimed its status as the leading power in Europe. In the two years since it became apparent that Greece was, essentially, bankrupt, there have been dozens of emergency meetings of the countries that use the common European currency, the euro. Most of the euro-using states believe that Germany—with a booming industrial economy, vast trade surpluses, a reputation for fiscal probity, and a history that makes it reluctant to reject the counsel of France—ought to cover the bill. Germany has long argued that Greece must become competitive again by selling off state assets and cutting government handouts.

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Helmut Schmidt, 1918-2015

Nov 23, 2015

On the death of the former West German chancellor Helmut Schmidt last week, The Scrapbook has two observations.

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Donald Trump and Radical Mosques, a Bizarre Controversy

11:19 AM, Nov 17, 2015

Give a man a reputation as an early riser, as the old saw goes, and he can sleep until noon everyday. The same phenomenon evidently applies to bad reputations as well. Brand Donald Trump a bigot, and suddenly every policy he endorses, no matter how innocuous or mainstream, becomes repugnant.

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Europe Gets Borders

Hungary’s Orbán cancels Merkel’s invitation.
Sep 28, 2015

Until mid-September, the half-million migrants who had been marching northwards into central Europe seemed like the Old World equivalent of Hurricane Sandy survivors. Families uprooted by the war in Syria were seeking safety, according to this view of things. It was sad to see little girls sleeping by the side of the road, but inspiring to see European volunteers, with their clipboards and their bags of snacks, their water bottles and Port-a-Potties, showing such compassion and logistical expertise. 

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Of Baguettes, Taxis, and Refugees

3:01 PM, Sep 22, 2015

Moody’s must have it in for France. Sure, its economy is moribund. Sure, its trade unions are among the most intransigent in the world. But surely the socialist government deserves some credit for one of the most significant reforms in 200 years.

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A Fistful of Forints

Victorino Matus, big spender.
Jul 27, 2015

Have you ever had two dinners in one night? I did, more than 20 years ago, in Budapest. My buddy Todd and I had gone backpacking through Europe, hitting 11 cities in 30 days. As students, we were careful not to overspend, staying at pensions and hostels and crashing at my former host family’s house in Germany. By the time we reached Budapest, our last stop, we’d saved more money than we’d anticipated.

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Kerry: It Would Be 'Presumptuous' to Go to Congress Before Going to UN

8:57 AM, Jul 19, 2015

Secretary of State John Kerry defended the Obama administration's decision to take the Iran deal to the United Nations before the U.S. Congress votes on it. Kerry made the remarks in an interview this morning on ABC News:

The ABC reporter, Jon Karl, asked, "But the bottom line, the UN is going to vote on this before Congress gets to vote on this?"

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The Consequences of Can Kicking

11:01 PM, Jul 17, 2015

Two big deals were signed this week, with one thing in common – can-kicking. The Eurozone countries, more precisely Germany, kicked the Greek debt can down the road for three years by lending the already over-indebted country another €86bn.

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Why the French Love the Greeks

Gleanings and observations.
3:16 PM, Jun 16, 2015

France needs Greece more than Greece needs France.

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Remember-a-Nazi Month

Gleanings and observations.
1:27 PM, May 01, 2015

April turns out to be “Remember-a-Nazi Month.” A 93-year-old Auschwitz guard, a former member of Adolf Hitler’s Waffen-SS unit, is on trial on 300,000 counts of accessory to murder. He says he “morally” shares the guilt for taking cash and belongings from the prisoners as they entered the camp, but is innocent of any criminal act.

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Germany Uber Alles -- Well, Not Alles

Gleanings and observations.
12:31 PM, Apr 07, 2015

The German chancellor bestrides Europe like a colossus. She sets economic policy for the 18-nation eurozone. She says “If the euro goes, Europe goes”, by which she means that the currency’s value favors German exports to her eurozone partners, and makes it more difficult for them to sell their olives, wine and cars in Germany.

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The Flag-Waving Greek Left

A collision between national sovereignty and the European Union in the birthplace of democracy
Feb 09, 2015

In Athens in mid-January, two weeks before the election that would make 40-year-old engineer Alexis Tsipras Greece’s new prime minister, a bunch of cleaning ladies explained to me why they planned to vote for his party, the Coalition of the Radical Left (Syriza, for its Greek acronym). We met where they had lived, at least part of the time, for the past 16 months: among tents on the sidewalk in front of the economics ministry in downtown Athens.

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Germany Gets Serious About Russia

5:57 PM, Jan 27, 2015

According to this Reuters headline, Germany is getting its game face on

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Angela Merkel Warned of Putin’s Intrigues Beyond Ukraine

12:35 PM, Dec 01, 2014

German chancellor Angela Merkel has cautioned that the adventurism of Russian president Vladimir Putin would not remain limited to Ukraine, or even to other countries bordering on Russia. Since Russia seized Crimea in February-March 2014, Putin’s provocative campaign has included imposition of phantom “governments” in two areas of eastern Ukraine, Luhansk and Donetsk, and harassment of the Baltic states, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, which are members of NATO.

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Berlin, 25 Years Later

As Germans celebrate reunification, they are reluctant to confront a Russia that is once again seeking to divide the continent
Nov 24, 2014


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Why Germany Must Spy on the Turks

12:15 PM, Oct 06, 2014

For over a year, Germans have expressed mounting outrage at revelations of American espionage in their country.

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War Crimes in Gaza?

By any historical standard, Israel’s air attacks were a model of restraint.
Aug 18, 2014

Condemnation of Israel for its conduct of Operation Protective Edge in Gaza continues unabated. The chief accusation, heard time and again, is that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have either been cavalier about civilian casualties or are intentionally inflicting them. Israel and its defenders, for their part, have been at pains to point out the great lengths the IDF has gone to avoid injuring civilians, while at the same time noting the innumerable ways in which Hamas has violated the laws of war. 

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Angst over Spying

Germany, Russia, and Snowden
Feb 24, 2014

Edward Snowden’s revelations about the foreign and domestic surveillance practices of the National Security Agency have inspired a great deal of anger around the world, but nowhere has the fury been stronger than in Germany. “Goodbye, Friends!” read the front page of Die Zeit last November, when it was disclosed that the NSA had monitored one of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phones. Der Spiegel, which breathlessly published a report last fall alleging the U.S.

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Obama on Limiting NSA: 'I Am One Figure, One Man'

11:13 AM, Jan 24, 2014

In a little noticed interview President Obama did with German media last weekend, he defended his positioning on the NSA by saying, "I am one figure, one man in this broader process."

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The Good German

4:46 PM, Nov 12, 2013

The death of Manfred Rommel last week, at 84, ended a life that might be taken as a metaphor for contemporary Germany.

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Germany Moves Left

Angela Merkel’s Pyrrhic victory
Oct 07, 2013


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Dog’s Breakfast

Christopher Caldwell waits for insight at breakfast
Sep 23, 2013

There is something futile about breakfast meetings. Breakfast ought to be where you dissipate the irrationality of dream-life and find your way back to a clear view of the things you care about in the waking world. Alcoholic memoirs are full of where-the-hell-am-I stories, some funny (“I seem to have woken up with this tattoo .  .  .”) and some terrifying (“I seem to have woken up with my hands caked in blood .  .  .”). They appeal to readers because every waking, even on the best of days, is a where-the-hell-am-I story.

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Germany's Alternative Ending

7:01 AM, Sep 21, 2013

"For the first time in this election I'm feeling nervous," one FDP member just confessed. And he should be. ZDF's final poll (Politbarometer) was released, and the race could not be tighter.

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The Missing Linke

6:28 AM, Sep 20, 2013

If you couldn't tell from all the red banners this was a far-left rally, you could probably tell by the smell. It was an earthy group consisting of various age groups and even more various hair dyes. They seem to like denim. And I think I've figured out how they managed to give their blue jeans that unwashed look.

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Beer and Loathing in Germany

7:25 AM, Sep 19, 2013

Wiesbaden, Germany
In the late 18th century, the Germans built a casino in the town of Wiesbaden. It was the first of its kind. But considering the wealth of the surrounding area, it flourished. In fact, the casino is where Dostoyevsky lost a hefty amount and, according to town historian Patrick Walz, the author never paid up. Wiesbaden is also where a Free Democrat rally took place Wednesday evening. The FDP is gambling on a large turnout of its middle- and upper-middle-class supporters here, hoping to remain in power for another four years and hoping to keep its seats in the Bundestag. The economy is humming along. Unemployment is low. Most Germans could say they're better off now than they were four years ago. So why does everyone seem so anxious?

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Classical Revival

Germany breaks from its past to embrace the past.
Sep 16, 2013


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Ze Germans Aren’t Coming

23 percent of German men say “zero” is the ideal family size.
10:44 AM, Aug 20, 2013

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.

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Monoglot Obama

2:38 PM, Jun 19, 2013

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?"

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In Germany, Obama Says U.S. Lags Behind By Not Teaching Youth 'Second and Third Language'

2:02 PM, Jun 19, 2013

At an event in Germany, President Obama said American youth lag behind their European counterparts because they are not taught "a second and third language." Via the pool report:

POTUS opened his remarks with "Guten Abend."

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