Wednesday, May 18, 2005

What's Called "Freedom"?: Kleine-Brockhoff, die Zeit, and the "Bush Doctrine"

(With Update)

Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff of the German weekly die Zeit has published a long essay encouraging Germany's "red-green" coalition to rally to what Kleine-Brockhoff understands to be George W. Bush's foreign policy doctrine of "spreading freedom", and die Zeit has generously made the essay available in English. Especially in light of the influence exercised by die Zeit in German political debate, prima facie this has to be seen as a positive development for transatlantic understanding. But appearances can be deceiving. I suspect that the Kleine-Brockhoff essay might rather be the occasion for further transatlantic misunderstanding: a misunderstanding so profound that it is not perceived as such. The question is: "What's called 'Freedom'?". Marc Schulman of American Future has published a post on Kleine-Brockhoff and I've posted a long skeptical response in his comments section.

The link is here - and I suspect the debate will be over there.

And here is the link to the Kleine-Brockhoff essay in full. Kleine-Brockhoff is, incidentally, a defender of the "Bush lied!" thesis - he published a glowing review in the pages of die Zeit [link in German] of Joe Wilson's The Politics of Truth - though his current position seems to be that "Bush lied!"... for more or less a good cause.


The debate on the Kleine-Brockhoff piece has continued for a bit over on Marc Schulman's American Future. I think I may have been a touch unpleasant. Nonetheless, I hope the discussion has brought out some additional details that will be of interest. That link again is here.

And below are some clickable links to the background pieces involving die Zeit that I cite in my comments.

From Trans-Int:

"If You Don't Like The Patriot Act, You'll Love This"

"The Legend of the Squandered Sympathy"

From Medienkritik:

"New Low for German Weekly Zeit"
[Note: This concerns an article co-authored by Kleine-Brockhoff; scroll down for English]

"Stupid Texan Cowboy Beats Smart German Chancellor"