The World Hearts Germany

To lift something Elfmeter pointed out in comments to a previous post, page 11 of the BBC report on global attitudes:

Germany’s global image is the most positive of all countries evaluated in this survey. In 20 of the 22 tracking countries the most common view is that Germany’s influence in the world is “mainly positive,” while two countries view its influence as mainly negative. On average across all countries, a majority (56%) has a positive view of Germany’s influence in the world, while just 18 per cent have a negative view.

The most widespread positive views of Germany can be found among its European neighbours, including very large majorities in Italy (82%), Spain (77%), Portugal (76%), and France (74%). Significant numbers in Great Britain (62%) and Russia (61%) also have favourable views of Germany.

Impressive!  Here are a few stabs at explaining this.  First, a bounce from the 2006 World Cup.  Second, Germany is probably still getting props for actively opposing the invasion of Iraq — a position shared by majority of the world’s population.

A few longer-term factors come to mind, in no particular order.  First, Germany’s deeply integrated into the EU and no longer presents any military threat to anyone.  Second, Germany gives a pretty significant amount of foreign aid (this explains a lot of Japan’s popularity as well).  Third, the German diplomats I know personally tend to be smart, well-trained, and well-disciplined.  They are actually diplomatic.  They keep a low profile and talk about reconciliation, compromise, mutual interests, peaceful means, etc.  Fourth, German leaders are routinely seen on the international stage taking responsibility and sincerely apologizing for their country’s past misdeeds.  Fifth, Germans are renowned for being the least nationalistic large nation there is.  Sixth, aside from the beer-swilling package tourists, Germans abroad generally leave a good impression.  Some of the phrases I’ve heard: "diligent", "polite", "speak good English", "diplomatic", "don’t ask awkward questions", "seemed interested in our local culture", "ate the local food."

55 thoughts on “The World Hearts Germany

  1. > you don’t know what the “Ranch Keller” is, do you?

    A Burger joint in the Amerikanisches Viertel? Living in Plittersdorf for about 20 years I biked through that quarter quite often, but I didn’t know the place – it never occurred to me to apply for an American Embassy membership card, I didn’t even know that I could. Possibly a wasted opportunity, as I was a sucker for Howard Johnson’s Strawberry Sundaes then – that’s what I fed off, whenever I was in the states on my way down south. Then again, it was the time I fought valiant battles for our local “Autonomes Jugendzentrum”, so my comrades might have suspected unorthodoxy. Just kidding – our local DKP undercover agent, who tried to subvert our group semi-openly (semi-open was the DKP’s 80ies tactic) even had an American girlfriend. I didn’t fancy his tactics, but I certainly did fancy his girlfriend, who was most yummy, if I may say so. Anyway, some claim Bonn to be “half the size of a Chicago cemetery and twice as dead”, which certainly applies to Plittersdorf. So I moved eventually – hm…, now I’m into subversion – ponder that. Anyhoo, let the nattering classes unite…

  2. Marek,

    I’m pondering, especially about that American girl, who, unless you be shittin’ me, I knew or knew about, and if I knew her, she was, in truth, exquisite. After doing her European bohemian thing, she’s probably married now to a Wall St. banker and living in the Hamptons.

    If you ever come to Bonn, I will buy you a coffee at the Kiosk near the Niederdollendorf ferry, which you know well, I’m sure, and we will watch the Rhine flow and talk about how it was.

  3. That’s him, known as Reppi in his younger years. Seemingly, he is busy as a mover and shaker to finance his red fare peddling. Maybe he has photos left of the good old time. It’s rather unlikely that he will remember my name, as he was quite a busy subverter, while I was a fellow traveller of rather little enthusiasm. Then again, those methodical sods might have made lists. Don’t have visiting plans right know, but I’ll tell.

  4. Marek, The next time I am in that part of the city, and I am now and then because my friend and barber Paul Hollands is there, I will drop by the bookstore and might even buy a book. I’m surprised that he can run a business. The leading leftist bookstore in Bonn is Buchhandlung 46 on Kaiserstr. and that is where most students go. And most used book stores are shutting down, joining the general exodus to the Net.

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