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Thu Jul 4, 2013, 04:03 PM

Der Spiegel: (NSA) Spying Scandal Shakes Up German Campaign

I was asked by J.D.Priestly to post my reply in another thread as an OP. So this one's for you, JDP. JDP had bemoaned the fact that some posters apparently were unfamiliar with Germany's reaction to the NSA spying revelations. So of course, he/she was ridiculed for expecting DUers to familiarize themselves with same, as in "speak German." My post pointed out that English translations of German news sources,such as Der Spiegel, are availalble on line, and provided a link. Specifically, I noted,
I was in Berlin in the fall of 2008, after Obama's triumphant visit there, and before the election. They adored him. A cabdriver asked me if I was Canadian or American. When I replied, "American", he slowed down, turned and said "I hope you be voting Obama." I flipped my backpack around and showed him my honking big Obama button. He smiled, turned off his meter, and gave me a free ride to Tegel airport.

I keep close track of news from Germany, and can tell you there is massive disappointment with Obama's performance - opinions now rate him no better than Bush, and are more bitter, because he raised their hopes. Which is pretty much how I feel about Obama. Anyone who doesn't understand that or is surprised by that is really clueless about German history and current attitudes. Research East Germany and STASI, and educate yourselves. Many Germans still recall blanket surveillance under the communist Stasi secret police, and when news of Washington's covert spying program PRISM broke, the German newspaper headline of choice was "Yes we scan".

Start reading international news sources, instead of White House press releases. That is not directed at you, JD Priestley, but at the true believers still posting uncited, undocumented claims that Obama's popularity is still high in the EU.



Der Spiegel available online in English - here's the link

http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/spd-demands-investigation-of-nsa-head-as-spy-scandal-enters-campaign-a-909469.html

Letter from Berlin: Spying Scandal Shakes Up German Campaign

German Social Democrats are demanding that Berlin investigate top managers at the American intelligence agency NSA for alleged espionage. It's just the latest example of how the vast spying scandal is making waves in the German election campaign. . . .

Merkel, in other words, suddenly has an Achilles heel. Public opinion in Germany would seem to be one of overwhelming concern about the reach of US surveillance operations and most seem to have a great deal of sympathy for Edward Snowden. An unscientific online survey undertaken by SPIEGEL ONLINE this week found that almost 85 percent of those who responded are in favor of granting Snowden permission to stay in Germany. Other online surveys have arrived at similar numbers.

The SPD and other opposition parties have taken note and have not been shy this week about trying to take advantage. Gabriel said in his interview, for example, that his party continues to believe that intelligence services do not have the right to monitor everybody's communications.

"If that no longer applies in the Internet age, then we are destroying the values-based foundation of our society," he said. "And also the values that have bound the US together with Europe for decades. In this community of values, individual freedom and personal privacy are paramount. It is exactly this which differentiated us from the Communist Bloc."



The following are just some of the negative quotes published elsewhere in Der Spiegel and demonstrating that Germany's disenchantment with Obama is EU wide.
http://www.spiegel.de/fotostrecke/quote-gallery-europe-reacts-to-nsa-spying-fotostrecke-98595-6.html

Martin Schulz, president of the European Parliament, in an interview with broadcaster France 2.
"We need more precise information. But if it is true, it is a huge scandal. That would mean a huge burden for relations between the EU and the US. We now demand comprehensive information."
"I was always sure that dictatorships, some authoritarian systems, tried to listen ... but that measures like that are now practiced by an ally, by a friend, that is shocking, in the case that it is true."

German Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, in a June 30 statement to the media.
"If media reports are correct, then it is reminiscent of methods used by enemies during the Cold War. It defies belief that our friends in the US see the Europeans as their enemies. There has to finally be an immediate and comprehensive explanation from the US as to whether media reports about completely unacceptable surveillance measures of the US in the EU are true or not. Comprehensive spying on Europeans by Americans cannot be allowed."

Peer Steinbrück, the center-left Social Democratic Party's candidate for Chancellor, in an interview with SPIEGEL ONLINE on June 30.
"The government must clear up the facts as quickly as possible. If the accusations are confirmed, it would go far beyond legitimate security concerns. That would mean that friends and partners were spied on. That would be completely unacceptable."

Luxembourgian Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn on June 30.
"If these reports are true, then it is abhorrent. It would seem that the secret services have gotten out of control. The US should monitor their own secret services rather than their allies."
"The US justifies everything as being part of the fight against terrorism. But the EU and its diplomats are not terrorists. We need a guarantee from the very highest level that it stops immediately."

European Commissioner for Justice Viviane Reding, during a citizens' dialogue in Luxembourg on June 30.
"Partners do not spy on each other. We cannot negotiate over a big trans-Atlantic market if there is the slightest doubt that our partners are carrying out spying activities on the offices of our negotiators. The American authorities should eliminate such doubt swiftly."

REUTERS


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Reply Der Spiegel: (NSA) Spying Scandal Shakes Up German Campaign (Original post)
Divernan Jul 2013 OP
dixiegrrrrl Jul 2013 #1
leftstreet Jul 2013 #2
malaise Jul 2013 #3
JDPriestly Jul 2013 #5
malaise Jul 2013 #6
JDPriestly Jul 2013 #10
malaise Jul 2013 #19
mick063 Jul 2013 #7
malaise Jul 2013 #8
JDPriestly Jul 2013 #9
CakeGrrl Jul 2013 #11
JDPriestly Jul 2013 #13
malaise Jul 2013 #22
JDPriestly Jul 2013 #4
Melinda Jul 2013 #14
JDPriestly Jul 2013 #17
malaise Jul 2013 #20
OilemFirchen Jul 2013 #12
Rstrstx Jul 2013 #15
OilemFirchen Jul 2013 #16
muriel_volestrangler Jul 2013 #21
OilemFirchen Jul 2013 #23
muriel_volestrangler Jul 2013 #24
Divernan Jul 2013 #18

Response to Divernan (Original post)

Thu Jul 4, 2013, 04:11 PM

1. Bookmarking and rec.

We are blessed that we still have access to english language foreign news.
All one has to do is search for .."English language French ( whatever language) news" and many options appear.
It does not take too many readings to figure out which ones are rightwing and which ones are leftist.


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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Thu Jul 4, 2013, 04:12 PM

2. DURec

Thanks for posting this

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Thu Jul 4, 2013, 04:14 PM

3. I'm betting everything that every one of the big Westesn powers is spyin gon its citizens

France was exposed today. We know the Brits are doing it.

Bye Bye Angie!!!

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Response to malaise (Reply #3)

Thu Jul 4, 2013, 04:26 PM

5. The French government has brought criminal charges against Squarcini for illegallly

obtaining the pen register of someone. Squarcini was a member of the Sarkozy government.

The French have yet to decide whether obtaining pen registers is legal in this day of cell phones and modern technology.

Like us, like our government, the French are relying on legal decisions or laws that were decided before the era of cell phones and wide use of the internet.

Got this from Le Monde. Look up Squarcini.

Here is one of the articles.

http://www.lemonde.fr/societe/article/2013/06/19/affaire-des-fadettes-bernard-squarcini-renvoye-en-correctionnelle_3432606_3224.html

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #5)

Thu Jul 4, 2013, 04:31 PM

6. Thanks for the link

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Response to malaise (Reply #6)

Thu Jul 4, 2013, 11:53 PM

10. But France is still snooping on electronic communications. Shame on them.

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #10)

Fri Jul 5, 2013, 07:59 AM

19. I'd like to see the deals signed with European powers during the Bush regime

All of this spying is tied up to Bushco and yes Obama better do something about it.

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Response to malaise (Reply #3)

Thu Jul 4, 2013, 04:34 PM

7. Awesome

 

I guess if all governments do it, it is just peachy keen.

Or perhaps there is a sizeable group in those countries that despise this shit as well.

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Response to mick063 (Reply #7)

Thu Jul 4, 2013, 04:36 PM

8. Huh?

You think I support any spying?

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Response to malaise (Reply #3)

Thu Jul 4, 2013, 11:08 PM

9. I apologize. Here is the Le Monde article on France's spy network.

http://www.lemonde.fr/societe/article/2013/07/04/revelations-sur-le-big-brother-francais_3441973_3224.html

It's with charts so I am not going to copy it here. This is disgusting. Liberte, egalite, fraternite, for what?

He French celebrate the storming of the bastille on July 14. I imagine that is going to be as dreary when it comes to human rights as our July 4 is today.

I value my country. I read the Constitution and the papers of the Founding Fathers.

I hate to think what the men who placed their lives on the line to make us a free nation would think about this extreme surveillance scheme. It is an affront, an insult to the sacrifices that people have made for our country. It is very sad. It is sad for every nation that is snooping on its citizens.

Maybe Bolivia will go another route? I hope they do. How demeaning for the people of Bolivia that we prevented their president from following his planned air route home. And don't tell me it did not happen. I can read languages other than my own and I do.

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #9)

Fri Jul 5, 2013, 12:00 AM

11. Do you value an honest argument?

Where has ANYONE "rah-rahed" the concept of massive surveillance?

Do quote an example.

The binary, hyperbolic mentality here is a problem. If one doesn't sign onto Snowden's selfless act of heroism, one must be a Stasi police-state cheerleader.

Reasonable people are trying to get across that it is possible to believe there should be a dialogue on the level of surveillance that is/should be acceptable, while they can also believe that Snowden should be held accountable for his lawbreaking.

But that's probably lost on someone who labels fellow board members as "true believers".

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Response to CakeGrrl (Reply #11)

Fri Jul 5, 2013, 12:23 AM

13. I understand that point of view. When Manning was first arrested I had that point of view about him

I have worked at jobs in which I was supposed to keep secrets and I have to the best of my ability. (Not jobs like Manning's or Snowden's, not security agency jobs, but jobs in which I dealt with the private information of individuals or businesses or other government agencies.)

But I always said that I thought (and I still think) that the US has designated too much information as secret and that I think the motivation for much of the secrecy is saving face, not having to deal with the embarrassment that would result for some members of the government and bureaucracies if the secrets were known.

The secrets that Manning has revealed are very personal to all of us Americans. I sincerely believe that the constitutional issues involved extend far beyond merely the Fourth Amendment.

We are not free if we cannot communicate without the attentive fist of the government in our ears, without the shadow of the government hovering over our hands as we type and our mouths as we speak. And that is what this program does. It closes all our orifices. It violates us.

THIS PROGRAM IS A MASSIVE GANG RAPE. It should be put to an end by the very individuals who thought it up in the first place.

Normally I would agree with you, but the program is so horrendous and the government so overzealous in bringing Snowden to justice -- to the point of claiming that Morales had Snowden on board his plane and causing several European nations to refuse Morales' plane travel through their airspace and refueling rights in order to check the plane -- that it disgusts me. Snowden and Manning followed their consciences. And now Big Brother wants to rape them individually.

This steady, massive, overbearing intrusion into our privacy, I will say it again is one massive gang rape.

And it will culminate in a small clique taking over and controlling the government. Perhaps that has happened already.

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #9)

Fri Jul 5, 2013, 09:20 AM

22. It happened

This non-stop bullying of the planet has to stop.

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Thu Jul 4, 2013, 04:21 PM

4. Thank you Divernan.

Wonderful post. Americans have no idea.

I would class this NSA surveillance as the forerunner if not the actual realization of a coup by a small clique in the government. If you have the capacity to listen in on the phone calls of people, to systematically organize the pathways of their communications, link them to their friends, their enemies, their pastors, their doctors, their wives, their girlfriends, their children, you get a picture of their lives. You have a sinister control because at any point you can get that subpoena and listen in or, if you are technologically very savvy, just tap into the lines and get information to use for blackmail or intimidation.

This is so dangerous that I cannot believe that Americans do not understand it.

I explain here why this is such an emotional issue for me.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/10023161784

Here is part of what I wrote and I post this in support of Divernan's post.


The Germans and Austrians bore the brunt of most of the Cold War. They were on the edge. They lived with the Iron Curtain immediately to their East. The invasions of Hungary and Czechoslovakia and the struggle for freedom in Poland killed many dreams as well as some decent people.

I was on a vacation in a campground in Munich the day the Russians entered Czechoslovakia. I will never forget it. We had just been traveling in then Yugoslavia visiting with family. At one point we had stayed in a campsite, lovely place filled with olive trees. We made friends with a vacationing family from Czechoslovakia who had a teenaged son with them. They were so happy about the Prague Spring -- so excited about the future. We drove up to Munich and there we got the news of the Soviet invasion. I was so sad, and when I think of it, I still am.

This surveillance thing is no joke. It is serious. We think we are not the Soviets, and of course we aren't. But the problem is that we are human. We feel fear. We over-react.
The people in the NSA and our government are also human. They want to protect our nation. And because I know that their wish to protect is motivated by compassion and love most likely, I understand that. But the extent of the surveillance that they apparently have in place and the potential for abuse of the system in the future is too great. This system of surveillance is a greater threat in my view than anything it could prevent.

Freedom is a precious thing, as I learned that summer in the Munich campground.

The faces on the Czechs who were visiting Munich, some of them for the first time in the West, were utterly devastating. They were staying in tents, had their cars and all or some of their family with them and in one single day they had to decide whether to leave their whole life, the rest of their families, their jobs, their homes, their family heirlooms, their language, everything behind. In a matter of hours, they had to choose, the West and hopefully freedom or the East and Soviet repression, poverty and misery.

I assure you that if the DUers who are rah-rahing for this surveillance program had been with me at those campgrounds in the then Yugoslavia and then in Munich, Germany, they would be opposing this extreme surveillance and the exaggerated spying as I am.

Freedom is precious. Most of us Americans don't realize how precious it really is.

This excessive and secret surveillance will be abused. It will not make us freer or safer, although it make give us the illusion of safety for the moment maybe, but not in the long run.

It’s almost the Fourth of July. So I want to say thank you to the brave Americans who fought our revolution and gave us our Constitution. And thank you to all who have served and to the families of those who have died or been injured to keep us free.
Whatever difficulties and risks we face in the future: climate change, fuel and food shortages, greedy oligarchs, poverty, disease, let’s face them together as one nation undivided. It is unity that makes us strong. Surveillance inevitably divides. Stop it now.
Let's don't let down our many friends around the world who look to us for an example of how people who are as diverse as we are can live in harmony as a free society.
We have to do better. End the massive surveillance.

Thanks again, Divernan.

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #4)

Fri Jul 5, 2013, 12:30 AM

14. I have tears streaming down my face....

It's the 4th of July, and I've been sobbing like a baby all day. I too know refugees who have lived under oppressive regimes, I've heard horror stories from a few and combined with what I've earned over my lifetime (not to mention the story and writings of, for example, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn which are burned into my consciousness) and the lessons and engrained values from my childhood years - Oh, how proud we school children were to be free! Oh how we loved our country! Our flag!! - I Am Bereft. There are more personal reasons too, but too personal to share on DU these days.

I do not know recognize my country any longer, and my heart is broken. Land of the Free? Not so much.

Thank you for all you've posted and share on this issue, JD. From the bottom of my heart, you and others like you on DU are a huge support for this hurt and tired heart and countless others just like me. We appreciate you very much.

K&R for the OP as well.

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Response to Melinda (Reply #14)

Fri Jul 5, 2013, 01:09 AM

17. Take care. Thank you for sharing your strong convictions.

Freedom is everything.

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #4)

Fri Jul 5, 2013, 07:59 AM

20. Lovely post

Thank you

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Fri Jul 5, 2013, 12:03 AM

12. Sorry, but bullshit.

Enough blather about how you and other Perfect Progressives have the inside track on public sentiment. Your opinion is useless, and we are not fools:

In Germany, they still love Obama

Today, according to new Pew Research Center data not yet released in a report, 88% of Germans say they have confidence in Obama to do the right thing in world affairs. In stark contrast, just 14% had confidence in Bush during his last year in office. Across Europe, Obama has received more favorable reviews than Bush, but the gap between the two American leaders has been especially wide among Germans. And while Obama’s ratings have slipped a bit over time in countries such as Britain, Spain and Poland, they’ve remained relatively steady in Germany, with roughly nine-in-ten consistently expressing a positive view of Obama since he took office in 2009.

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Response to OilemFirchen (Reply #12)

Fri Jul 5, 2013, 12:31 AM

15. The poll is a couple of weeks old

I imagine his popularity there has taken a hit with this latest episode, but all of this stuff is still coming out, let's see what they think (or more importantly what we think) in a year or so.

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Response to Rstrstx (Reply #15)

Fri Jul 5, 2013, 12:45 AM

16. That's correct.

The article does make this observation:

And it’s worth noting that our survey was conducted before the recent revelations about the NSA’s surveillance programs, which according to some commentators, have generated strong opposition in Germany.


Of course, the next few lines offer a bit of clarity:

But previous disappointments didn’t put much of a dent in the president’s overall image. Germany remains one country where some vestiges of the old “Obamamania” from 2008 endure – even more so, than in the U.S.


I expect that his popularity in Germany has plunged to maybe 75% in the several weeks which followed. Maybe 70%. It's anyone's guess what the next poll will show, but it's probably not going to echo this, from the OP:

I keep close track of news from Germany, and can tell you there is massive disappointment with Obama's performance - opinions now rate him no better than Bush, and are more bitter, because he raised their hopes.


I concur, BTW, that waiting a while would be a capital idea. At least until this latest "scandal" draws its final breath. Perhaps our OP might agree?

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Response to OilemFirchen (Reply #12)

Fri Jul 5, 2013, 08:24 AM

21. New poll: German trust in the USA drops from 65% to 49%

Her comments come at the same time as a poll, published by ARD-DeutschlandTrend, showing only 49 percent of Germans consider the Americans trustworthy partners in the wake of the row - a low not seen since the presidency of George W. Bush - and down from a previous level of 65 percent.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/04/us-usa-security-obama-


According to the results of a phone poll conducted with 1,005 random respondents between July 1 and 3 by ARD public television, 49 percent of Germans saw the U.S. as a trustworthy partner, down from 65 percent before the disclosure of the spy claims. The survey noted that the results marked the lowest level since George W. Bush was president.

More than two thirds of the respondents said they feared that the government would be unable to protect them against the alleged telephone telecommunication and Internet message tapping by U.S. intelligence services, while 78 percent expected Chancellor Angela Merkel to take a determined stance against the online surveillance.

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/world/2013-07/05/c_132516013.htm


Ratings as a trusted partner for other countries, over time:



http://www.welt.de/politik/deutschland/article117727097/Deutsche-Buerger-finden-Datenueberwachung-okay.html

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #21)

Fri Jul 5, 2013, 11:11 AM

23. I think that reflects the general consensus.

The poll, of course, is about "trust in the USA" - not Obama's popularity. Without revisiting the Pew story, IIRC their numbers closely mirror the above.

And even at that, half of Germans are cool with the U.S. - even in the midst of this brouhaha. Frankly, I'm surprised it's that high.

Nonetheless, still not seeing this, from the OP, whose finger is on the pulse of the German public:

"I keep close track of news from Germany, and can tell you there is massive disappointment with Obama's performance - opinions now rate him no better than Bush, and are more bitter, because he raised their hopes. "

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Response to OilemFirchen (Reply #23)

Fri Jul 5, 2013, 11:54 AM

24. The view of a country from abroad is largely about the head of state or government

for "are they a trustworthy partner", and the historical rating for the USA is obviously tied mainly to the US president - the leap when Obama replaced Bush is the most notable feature.

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Response to Divernan (Original post)

Fri Jul 5, 2013, 07:43 AM

18. Obama/Berlin: 200,000 in 2008; 4,500 in 2013.

That's a clear drop of 97.5% in popularity if you go by the folks-vote-with-their-feet. And I'm sure a sample of 200,000 is a helluva lot larger than whatever group Pew sampled.
(On edit: just looked up size of Pew samples: "Due to their use of proven sampling techniques, the local vendors we work with can achieve nationally representative surveys by conducting face-to-face surveys with about 1,000 respondents." http://www.pewresearch.org/2011/12/13/ask-the-expert-3/)


http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/berlin-speech-200000-obama-2008-only-6000-today_736767.html

6,000 guests were "invited", as in here's-your-ticket, you-better-show-up to masses of civil servants. Even then, according to a pool reporter, only 4,500 of the "invited" actually showed up.

The stage for the president's speech is set up on the East side of the Brandenburg Gate, in the old East Berlin. The sun is pounding down and there are around 6,000 invited guests according to German authorities. There are bleachers set up either side of the square, with a big two storey riser facing the stage which has a row of bullet proof glass and 12 US, German and EU flags and the grand backdrop of the Gate. There is a large standing crowd between the bleachers.

Last time around, when Obama delivered a speech in Berlin in the 2008 presidential campaign, when he was still a senator, 200,000 folks came out to see him.
UPDATE: The pool reporter says only 4,500 were present for Obama's speech:
Crowd count at the Brandenburg Gate speech was 4,500 according to Elmar Jakobs


Obama's honeymoon with Germans has been over for some time. This next article, from June of 2012, i.e, predating the ultra Stasi program, PRISM, discusses that. The Pew studies distinguish between whether Germans like him personally, and if they approve of US actions.
Frustrations with Obama Mounting
http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/pew-survey-shows-germans-disillusioned-by-the-us-and-president-obama-a-838537.html

Germans were ecstatic when Barack Obama took over the keys to the White House from George W. Bush. Now, though, a new Pew Research Center survey shows that disillusionment with the US president is widespread in Germany and that Obama has not lived up to the high expectations Europeans had of him.

Moreover, there is grave German disappointment with Obama's handling of climate change. In 2009, the Pew Research Center asked Germans if they thought that the newly-elected president would get the US to take significant measures to control global climate change. At the time, 76 percent said he would. Now only 26 percent say he has. Only the French among Europeans had higher expectations. And only the French have been as disappointed.

Most notable, however, is the sizable gender gap in Germany on drone strikes. While 54 percent of German men approve of such activities, only 24 percent of women do. A male-female differential of that magnitude is rarely seen in public opinion.

Reality was unlikely to live up to these expectations. And it has not. The real global public opinion story as Obama heads into a re-election campaign may be just how long the Obama honeymoon with the Europeans, including the Germans, lasted. Nevertheless, this new survey suggests frustrations with Obama and the United States are mounting. And leaders in Berlin, Washington and elsewhere need to be cognizant of their implications, especially if the American people give Obama a second term.

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