Bush's America Likened to Roman Empire on German Public TV

by Christa Martin

"The US military has divided the globe into a power grid, leaving no part of our planet without a military base."
On Wednesday, August 27, an important German public TV station, the ZDF, aired a two-part show titled "Almightiness America-The World mastered by the USA." Following are excerpts from the first segment of the show, translated from German:

"Never before has a nation had more global power than the US at the beginning of the 21st century. Not even the Roman Empire is comparable with the humongous power of America today. The journalists Claus Kleber and Angela Andersen have been traveling to Thailand and North Korea; in their eyes these regions haven't been covered in the news recently. The reporters show how the administration uses this power without people realizing it. After 9-11 two years ago, the US mainly wants to achieve the highest possible standard of security-invulnerability. To achieve its goal, the government under Bush spends $1,000,000,000 each day. This is almost equal to the money all other countries in the world spend altogether on defense. The journalists asked people in Washington, New York and Boston which version of American History this expenditure is based on. The Heartland tells them how the American people deal with that challenge. They show that the American country is pretty evenly split in how it views Bush's policies."

"The US military has divided the globe into a power grid, leaving no part of our planet without a military base. the Pacific Command, stationed in Hawaii, controls 52% of the earth's surface-43 countries, 60% of the total world population. From Hawaii the Army, the Navy and the Air Force are coordinated from the South Pacific to the North pole. US troops practice in the jungle of Thailand asymmetrical warfare against Terrorists. At 38 degrees of latitude in Korea, the last watches of the Cold War are stationed; at present under the acute harassment of North Korean nuclear weapons. In both cases questions of multilateral and unilateral power are interpreted different, at least different from Europe."

"In Thailand the reporters have met a young lance-corporal of the leathernecks in Texas. They looked for and found his family in the sticks of Western Texas, the homeland of George Bush. Here Bush still has a majority of support, which he couldn't find in the Metropolis of the East and West Coast. People in Texas support Bush's hard, often one-way direction, with hardly any qualms up to now."

"In an interview with Professor Joseph Nye, of Harvard University, Nye advises against the rash use of military power, saying America's influence in the world is mainly based on sympathy and respect for democracy and constitutional legality. These 'soft power' attributes, he feels, could be eviscerated by Bush's politics. Senior Staff of the administration [Dr. Condoleezza Rice, General Robert R. Dierker, and others] comment on these criticisms and explain their crucial actions."

The film includes discussion about the future and the role of the US, which is deeply influencing Europe. A second show, aired on Wednesday, September 3rd, focused on the role the US has on Europe and how it struggles for its desired position.

To see the original reportage in German (without subtitles), click here. There can also be found the interview with Ms. Rice in English.

Christa Martin, a German university student of English and German language and linguistics, is an intern with the Baltimore Chronicle & Sentinel.

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This story was published on September 4, 2003.