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  • The Yellow Peril: The German Media has a New Hate Object

    Posted on December 8th, 2010 Helian No comments

    Looking for Amity/Enmity Complex data points?  Look no further than the German mass media, where inspiring hatred of out-groups has acquired the status of an art form, then as now.  It’s odd, given the country’s history, but there you have it.  The hate object du jour varies from time to time, but the hate fetish itself remains.  Predictably, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, it was increasingly concentrated on the “one remaining superpower,” the United States.  In the last years of the Clinton and the first years of the Bush administrations, anti-US hate mongering in the German media reached a climax that, in a favorite phrase of Dr. Goebbels in his Diaries, would have “made your hair stand on end.”  Eventually, people on the other side of the Atlantic began to notice, and the editors of Der Spiegel and some of the other major “news” venues began to realize that they could not keep it up and still expect to win any more of those prestigious international prizes for “objectivity.”  The “hate index” has declined considerably since then, but they still occasionally throw out a few chunks of red meat to the more atavistic of their fellow citizens to keep them interested. 

    Lately, the trend has again been upwards, but with an interesting twist.  The US has acquired a co-bad guy:  China.  The citizens of the Middle Kingdom should be proud.  German hate is a testimony to China’s newly acquired power and status.  She recently co-starred with the US in a Spiegel rant about our “sins” at the Copenhagen climate conference.  It seems that, based on a careful parsing of the latest Wikileaks material, the US and China formed a “pact” to de-rail the conference, no doubt as part of their greater conspiracy to destroy the earth’s climate and eradicate mankind.  According to the byline of a Spiegel article charmingly titled, “USA and China were Brothers-in-Arms Against Europe,”

    It was a political catastrophe – it’s now clear how last year’s Copenhagen climate summit became such a spectacular failure. The recently revealed US State Department documents betray the fact that the USA and China were working hand in hand. The two biggest climate sinners derailed all the plans of the Europeans.

    The article is full of dark hints about the “revelations” in the Wikileaks documents.  For example,

    It was a visit that China’s rulers could be pleased about. Towards the end of May 2009, John Kerry, the powerful chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, had met with Vice-Premier Li Keqiang in Peking. Kerry told him that Washington “could understand China’s reluctance to accept binding goals at the UN climate conference in Copenhagen. And then, according to a dispatch of the US embassy in Peking, the American sketched a new basis for a meaningful cooperation between the US and China against climate change.

    and,

    The US diplomatic papers now document how close the contacts between the two biggest climate sinners in the world, the USA and China, were in the months before (the conference). They give weight to those voices that have long speculated about an alleged coalition between the old and new superpower.

    As anyone who takes an interest in climate negotiations will have noticed, all of this and, for that matter, the rest of the “revelations” in the article are old hat.  All of it was copiously reported at the time, for example, here, here, and here.  Read through these articles and you’ll notice that, at the time, Kerry was referring to his visit as another potential “Nixon to China visit,” and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who also visited China at the time, hailed the climate change negotiations as a potential “game changer” in US China relations.  Under the circumstances, it’s rather difficult to understand how Der Spiegel’s astute editors could have been “shocked, shocked,” to discover the “closeness” of the discussions between the US and China only after they had waded through the Wikileaks papers. 

    The article continues with some pious remarks about the virtue of the Europeans compared to the sinfulness of the Europeans in matters of climate.  Under the byline, “The USA and China can continue to blow smoke,” we read,

    Because the US signed the (Kyoto Protocol), but never ratified it, China and America can continue to blow smoke. The Europeans, on the other hand, must reduce their use of energy. That’s why they fought for a new treaty in the days before Copenhagen: at the very least, the USA, China and the other “threshold countries,” India and Brazil, should agree to firm goals for reducing (energy use).

    Good Christians will be reminded of Luke 18; 11-12,

    The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.

    As for my Chinese readers of a certain age, they will, no doubt, recognize a remarkable similarity between the Spiegel rants against their country and the slanders and innuendo in the dazibao (propaganda posters) that were so prominently visible during the heyday of the Great Cultural Revolution.  To them I can only say, if you really want to be a superpower, get used to it.

    It turns out, by the way, that the German’s are even more hypocritical than the Pharisee.  At least he actually did give alms to the poor.  When it comes to concrete results in reducing greenhouse emissions, however, they are the ones blowing smoke.  In the years between 2000 and 2007, they reduced their emissions per capita by 5%.  The “sinful” USA reduced its emissions by 5.5%.  Throw in the effect of reforestation (and it certainly should be thrown in, because it results in a real reduction in greenhouse gases) and the US reduction increases to 11%, bettering the German performance by better than a factor of two.  It would seem that the editors of Spiegel consider the striking of pious poses and signing of “worthless scraps of paper” of more importance in determining who is a “climate sinner” than actual performance.

    And what really did happen at Copenhagen?  What became of the “close relationship” between the US and China that “remained hidden” from the blinkered eyes of German journalists until they were happily enlightened by Wikileaks?  Evidently they count on both the short memory of their readers, and their inability to use Google.  In fact, the US and China began quarreling about climate change before Copenhagen, their disagreements became worse at the conference, became even more strident as the conference continued, and, according to other European observers who apparently don’t share the sharp eye of Spiegel’s editors for uncovering secret conspiracies, eventually wrecked chances of reaching an agreement.

    No matter as far as German editors are concerned.  When it comes to bashing their latest hate objects, the truth is of no concern.  If articles like this about Chinese women torturing animals, this, according to which China admits to being “climate sinner number 1,” and this, according to which China is “attacking” the West economically while its “paralyzed, weakened” victims look on are any indication, their latest hate object would be China.  Move over, USA, the new Yellow Peril has arrived.

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