Who Shapes America’s Opinion on Germany?

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (left) and U.S. President Joe Biden participate in a joint news conference in the East Room of the White House on February 7 in Washington, D.C.
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Who Shapes America’s Opinion on Germany?

As Germany’s relations with Russia are exposed, America is sitting idly by. Could it be that the American mood is swayed in a calculated strategy?

When German Chancellor Olaf Scholz visited the United States in February, Joe Biden made a revealing statement: “There is no issue of global importance where Germany and the United States are not working together strength-to-strength and applying and amplifying our efforts together.” Overall Germany enjoys a very positive reputation in America, despite the fact that the country appears to contradict and undermine America’s interests in the world. Why?

During Scholz’s February visit, Germany blocked meaningful sanctions against Russia and weapons exports to Ukraine. Der Spiegel and others reported that Scholz had apparently rejected an earlier invitation to Washington, D.C. Still the U.S. government courted Scholz during his visit. Despite Germany’s long-term economic relations with Russia, America is keen to sell Germany its most modern fighter jet (read “America’s Naive Trust in Germany” for more information).

While America has a generally positive view of Germany, the same can’t be said of Germany’s view of America. After the shooting in Uvalde, Texas, Germany’s Der Spiegel published the headlines “This Country Is Beyond Help!” and “The Americans Are Crazy!” It wrote, “Firearms are the leading cause of death for young people in the U.S.A. How can one be guided by a completely perverted concept of freedom?”

You would rarely see an American paper judge a neo-Nazi murder in Germany or Germany’s devious relations with Russia that harshly. Germany is far quicker to judge America for its faults than vice versa.

According to a 2018 survey by the Körber Foundation and Pew Research, 73 percent of Germans described relations with the U.S. as “somewhat bad” or “very bad,” but 70 percent of Americans said relations were “somewhat good” or “very good.” The survey was taken during the time of President Donald Trump and is not necessarily representative of today’s mood, but it shows the general tendency that recent examples confirm: America loves Germany, but Germany doesn’t feel the same.

Part of the reason Germany has such a good public image in America is because it has various institutions to ensure that its interests are understood.

In March, Germany was widely criticized for being an unreliable partner. The Hill published “A Tectonic Shift in German Foreign Policy Has Come When the World Needs It Most,” arguing that America needs more cooperation with Germany, not less. The authors admitted that Germany’s stance toward Russia has been questionable, writing: “The new German government faced a steep learning curve.” But they added that America and Germany “are truly indispensable partners.”

The authors are trying to appease those who have considered sanctioning Germany for its relations with Russia. This isn’t surprising if you consider who the authors represent. The two authors are the chief content officer and the president of the American Council on Germany (acg): Rob Fenstermacher and Steven E. Sokol. According to the Hill, “Both authors have more than 25 years of experience working to promote German-American relations.”

American Council on Germany was founded in 1952, just a few years after World War ii. It was established to strengthen German-American relations. The organization also closely cooperates with others that share its goals, such as Atlantik-Brücke e.V., Aspen Institute Germany and the German Marshall Fund of the United States. These organizations joined forces to host U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Berlin on January 20.

acg interacts with high-level politicians, explains Germany’s interests and hosts public events. If Germany does something controversial, acg mediates. It is one of a few institutions that is able to shape American policymakers’ and people’s opinion of Germany.

Like most organizations, the work of acg is defined by its sponsors, which include AT&T, basf, bmw, Daimler, Deutsche Bank, EY, Facebook, Goldman Sachs, Lufthansa, Pfizer, Siemens and Telekom.

Chairman and ceo of basf Corp. Michael Heinz was interviewed on May 27 by acg on why Russian gas imports are so important for the company. (He is also an acg board member.) He explained why a total gas embargo is inconceivable. While his argument appears flawless, his opinion differs from some independent economists who claim that a complete gas embargo would have not only saved the lives of Ukrainians, but also been manageable for the German economy. Leaders of basf have ridiculed these economists and made sure America understands its point of view.

Another example that came up in the interview was basf’s relationship with China. This is a controversial topic, but basf argues it away. Heinz tried to give the most positive view he could.

After shocking revelations about China’s reeducation camps appeared, Spiegel asked basf ceo Martin Brudermüller in an interview published on June 2, “What lessons does basf learn from the Russian experience for its dealings with China?” Brudermüller responded: “It is not expedient to equate Russia and China. The two countries have different systems and cultures, and China’s economic importance is much greater. In 2030, China will have a global market share of around 50 percent for chemical products. A global company like ours cannot do without half of the world market.”

This doesn’t give the impression that basf is willing to learn from its mistakes. China is known for its gross human rights violations. It threatens to invade Taiwan and is considered the United States’ main rival. But for as long as possible, basf wants to cooperate with the Asian giant. And it wants Americans to understand that Germany’s cooperation with China isn’t concerning.

This is just one of the many companies that sponsors American Council on Germany and influences America’s opinion on Germany. But the work of acg is much bigger.

‘Can Two Walk Together, Except They Be Agreed?’

The American Council on Germany has also helped organize various events under the theme “Wunderbar Together,” funded by the German Federal Foreign Office and implemented by the Goethe-Institut. In its first year, from October 2018 until the end of 2019, the United States hosted 1,000 events to celebrate “The Year of German-American Friendship.” The German government believes it is important to sponsor such cooperation, even if the U.S. doesn’t exert the same amount of effort to raise its image in the eyes of the German population.

“Germany is organizing a Year of Germany in the U.S.A., knowing that the United States and Germany are Wonderful Together—stronger than friends and partners,” Germany’s Foreign Office wrote. “Our friendship with the United States means a lot to us, and we know that many people in America see it the same way. That’s why the people stand this year in the focus of the German-American friendship.”

For decades, Germany has sought close ties with the U.S. Doing so would allow it to benefit from trade relations, the nuclear umbrella, U.S. military technology. Yet it has also been pursuing its own strategic goals. But consider this important biblical question: “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3).

Germany and America obviously have some major differences. Years before Russia invaded Ukraine, both Democrats and Republicans in America urged Germany to end its energy dependence on Russia and halt the building of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. In the end, the German government was able to sway the Democratic Party to allow its completion. The U.S. has also called on Germany to pay its fair share to nato. For too long, it got away with paying little more than half of what was due. President Trump called out Germany for not supporting Ukraine years before Russia invaded. In all these areas, Germany emboldened Russia and weakened the U.S. alliance without consequences. Now the U.S. is sending billions of dollars and high-tech weapons to Ukraine, while Germany stands idly by.

Germany is also enabling the rise of yet another conflict. Its economic relations with China has allowed the Asian giant to rise in prestige with a strengthened economy.

These are just a few of many examples where German interests have clashed with views in America. But very often Germany has been able to convince its American counterparts that everything is OK. Only Mr. Trump has successfully called out Germany’s hypocrisy.

Somehow organizations like the American Council on Germany are able to give all of this a positive spin, but we shouldn’t take its word for it. One could even argue that many of the current conflicts and the upcoming ones can be blamed on Germany, in part. The reason they aren’t is because of Germany’s cunningness.

The Lesson of History—and the Bible

Yet history shows how important it is to discern the goals of those who seek to sway your opinion. Adolf Hitler’s Nazi propaganda infamously swayed, not only the views of its own population, but even the views of many around the world. In 1944, Curt Riess detailed many examples of U.S. politicians and media who supported the causes the Nazis fought for. Riess concluded in his book The Nazis Go Underground that undercover Nazis would most certainly seek to exploit America’s vulnerability.

After the war ended, the U.S. helped rebuild Germany, it allowed it to have its own military, and it ended its denazification project after just a few short years. All these decisions were certainly made in close consultation with German leaders whom America thought it could trust. Incidentally basf’s parent company, IG Farben, was a key player in enabling Adolf Hitler’s war and receives a mention in Riess’s book revealing the Nazis’ underground plans. These plans can be compared to a vast root system that is connected but not visible on the surface.

Riess warned about this in 1944 based on the understanding he had on how underground movements work and how Nazi leaders planned to keep the movement going. But many decades have passed and people are much less concerned about Germany today. Yet a source more powerful than history warns that Germany is seeking to deceive America.

Could it be that the American mood is swayed toward a positive view on Germany—in a calculated strategy?

The Bible has a specific warning against trusting one’s “lovers.” “And Aholah played the harlot when she was mine; and she doted on her lovers, on the Assyrians her neighbours …. Wherefore I have delivered her into the hand of her lovers, into the hand of the Assyrians, upon whom she doted” (Ezekiel 23:5, 9). This warning is even more alarming if we understand its symbolism. Assyria has been one of the most powerful nations in history, and the migration of its people shows that its modern-day descendants are settled in Germany today. (Read “Is Germany in Bible Prophecy?”) God refers to Aholah as “mine,” revealing its identity as Israel—modern-day America and Britain, primarily. (Request a free copy of The United States and Britain in Prophecy, by Herbert W. Armstrong, for proof.)

The relationship described in Ezekiel perfectly matches what we see today. In “America’s Naive Trust in Germany,” Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote:

God has a strong view about cozying up to such “lovers”! It is a matter of trust. America has no trust in God for protection, so it is trusting another nation—in this case, one with a terrifying history! We have put human beings ahead of God. God condemns modern Israel—especially America, Britain and the Jewish state—because they have “forgotten me” (verse 35). That is a serious mistake these nations are going to regret.

But there is yet another level to the betrayal that is highlighted in Bible prophecy. This prophesied double cross will be executed by one man in particular. “And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand” (Daniel 8:23-25).

Notice the phrase: “by peace shall destroy many.” In “The Armies of Armageddon,” Mr. Flurry wrote: “This king comes acting like he wants peace, but he is lying! He will be a ruthless and violent man—preaching peace but practicing war!”

For more than a decade Mr. Flurry has proclaimed that the most likely man to fulfill this double cross is Germany’s former defense minister, Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg. The American Council on Germany lists him as a member and director with the title: H.E. Karl-Theodor von und zu Guttenberg. He is also a member of Atlantik-Brücke. (“Guttenberg: Mediator Between the U.S. and Europe” highlights more about Guttenberg’s effort to promote the trans-Atlantic cooperation.)

While certainly not every effort to strengthen U.S.-German cooperation is a dangerous trap, the Bible’s warning is clear: Germany and America’s relationship is about to lead to great catastrophe before both nations repent and walk not only in agreement with each other, but also with God. This coming double cross, the Bible’s call to repentance, and the wonderful news ahead are all explained in Isaiah’s End-Time Vision, by Gerald Flurry. Request a free copy today.