German Word Of The Day: Bluff

In German, “Bluff” means to mislead by a display of strength or self-confidence when in fact their is no strength or self-confidence there. To display, I mean.


But there’s one problem with this weapon (real sanctions): It can only be used if all EU members agree. In the EU, sanctions need to be decided unanimously. This worked for levels one and two, because they were primarily symbolic acts that affected people close to Putin and imposed no real burden on the EU. But level three would be different, making it unlikely that the EU would agree on sanctions that would have a strong effect on Russia. Europe’s strongest weapon is actually a bluff.

“Clearly there will be economic sanctions if Putin sabotages the vote, but it’s unclear what would constitute sabotage.”

PS: Personally, I think there is only one person on Earth who could possibly stand up to this Putin person. And he’s not even a person himself

“The President Impersonator”

And this is the Spiegel we’re talking about here, folks.


Barack Obama wants to let the US Congress decide on whether to attack Syria or not, supposedly out of respect for “democracy and the constitution.” In reality he is doubtless shirking the responsibility of having to make an unpopular decision and endangering the credibility of world power America.

Barack Obama will den US-Kongress über Angriffe in Syrien entscheiden lassen, angeblich aus Respekt vor “Demokratie und Verfassung”. In Wahrheit drückt er sich wohl vor einer unpopulären Entscheidung und gefährdet so die Glaubwürdigkeit der Weltmacht Amerika.

Makes Sense To Me

“US Experts Want More Leadership from Germany”

There hasn’t been any leadership in the US for about five years now. Somebody ought to start doing  it one of these days.

Obama in Berlin

Germans aren’t the only ones with interests at stake in next month’s election. The US is watching too — and Washington is hoping that, once the campaign is history, Germany will show more leadership on global issues.

“I think the assumption Americans have is that Germany should always step up and take responsibility commensurate with its weight in the world.”

PS: There was yet another anomaly in the GCG (Gun Control Germany) yesterday.

Warum hört eigentlich keiner mehr auf Amerika?

How come nobody listens to America anymore?


Good question. Beats the hell out of me.

“We have been very clear to the Assad regime — but also to other players on the ground — that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. “That would change my calculus; that would change my equation.”

“Ich habe bis jetzt kein militärisches Eingreifen angeordnet, aber für uns ist eine rote Linie überschritten, wenn eine ganze Menge chemischer Waffen bewegt oder eingesetzt wird.”

PS: And speaking of changing your equation, sometimes a man’s got to do what a man’s got to do.

Bradley Manning

Germans Tired Of Being Cast As The Euro Zone’s Scapegoats

But once they take a nap and rest a little bit, they won’t be so tired anymore.


Sometimes Germany was too weak, sometimes too strong. Or, as Henry Kissinger, a former American secretary of state, put it, referring to Germany just after unification in 1871, it was “too big for Europe, but too small for the world”. Today, Mr Simms (Cambridge University) argues, “it sits uneasily at the heart of an EU that was conceived largely to constrain German power but which has served instead to increase it, and whose design flaws have unintentionally deprived many other Europeans of sovereignty.”

The question is whether Germany can use its power by unapologetically leading. Given Germany’s past, its political culture militates against even trying.

“It’s nice to go to a conference of ‘young leaders’, but you don’t want a conference of ‘junge Führer’.”

Is This Any Way For A World President To Act?

I mean lead.

Obama, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate, didn’t focus on creating a better world in his speech. Instead, he talked about a better America, one with more opportunities for immigrants, more rights for homosexuals and less social inequality. Today’s America is deeply divided, but all sides agree on one point: America’s well-being is more important than the world’s.

Barack Obama

Hey, leading from behind ain’t what it used to be. Wait a second. Yes it is.

Europe isn’t in a position to provide decisive leadership. And the US doesn’t want to anymore.

Die Lötzsche geht von Bord

Germany‘s Left Party was shocked or something yesterday by the surprise resignation of one of its top two fearless leaders, Gesine Loetszch.

I thought she’d never leave – but I’m going to miss her anyway. Really. She clearly said and did everything wrong you could possibly say and do (it must be hard being a communist who has to pretend not to be), but she still couldn’t get her leaky little Linke ship to sink. Sure, it’s run aground and all that and won’t be sailing anywhere ever again (not that it was ever going anywhere in the first place), but the damned thing just won’t go under.

I guess it’s time to bring in the demolition crew and scuttle this puppy for good.

Der Napoleon von der Saar, die schöne Kommunistin aus Berlin.

Pirouettes and Unpredictability

We Germans call the shots here in Europe, sort of.

It’s just that we don’t know what we’re going to be calling next.

“Anybody out there still think Germany is running Europe — or for that matter can or will dominate it in time?

The question fits the moment after the German refusal to vote in favor of allied military intervention in Libya, the government’s pullout from nuclear energy largely for reasons of emotion and domestic political calculation, and its willingness last week to put off possibly decisive steps to end Greece’s debt misery.

Over a period of just about three months, that is a lot of unpredictability and policy pirouettes for allies who might have thought German leadership, on the upside, would be rational, competent and closely bound to the West.”