Monday, February 10, 2003

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HMMM....PERHAPS ERIC ALTERMAN IS WRONG: A week ago, Alterman wrote a cover story for the Nation that argued Europeans do not dislike Americans -- they dislike the Bushies. I usually disagree with Alterman, but I though it was a cogent piece. And this Richard Bernstein piece in the New York Times would seem to buttress the point.

But then we have this poll:

"A majority of Germans believe the United States is a nation of warmongers and only six percent think President Bush is interested in keeping the peace, according to a survey published Monday....

"The survey found 57 percent agreed with the statement: 'The United States is a nation of warmongers.' (my bold italics)....

"The survey of 1,843 Germans found 93 percent believed Bush was ready to go to war in pursuit of his interests, while 80 percent said the United States wanted war to boost its power."

The poll question specifically asked Germans what they thought of Americans, not just the Bushies. Furthermore, that figure is probably understated, since the question is so provocatively phrased it probably caused some respondents who share the sentiment to back down.

(Depressing) food for thought.

UPDATE: A German-speaking reader who was able to access the original Financial Times Deutschland story e-mails: "the original report... phrases the statement as 'Die USA sind ein Kriegstreiber', 'the USA are a warmonger', so I don't think the NYT translation is accurate." Other German readers, don't be afraid to help out here.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Another helpful German-speaker e-mails: "'Kriegstreiber' does not have the same emotional weight as 'warmonger', although it is probably the closest translation into a word that is actually used. A more literal translation would be 'conductor of war' or 'driver of war'. 'Monger' is a rather obscure term, surviving mainly in ironmonger and fishmonger, while 'Treiber' is very common, used among other things for software drivers. In other contexts, such as 'Haupttreiber' (prime mover), the connotation is completely positive."

posted by Dan on 02.10.03 at 11:12 AM