Hamburg Germany Day 1
Racism by any other name

The ugly americans

Day 2 in Hamburg was wonderful except for the visit to the US Consulate. No everytime I meet US diplomats abroad (one in Kenya, Ethiopia, and now in Hamburg) I am so appalled by their behavior that I seriously consider joining the diplomatic corps. Then I remember two things:
(1) I would be required to represent American foreign interest regardless of whether I agreed or disagreed with it personally.
(2) Due to security, I would end up so isolated from the very people in the country I would want to get to know.

But today, I really think that in spite of this it would be better for me to represent the US than the current people there. So here is what happened.

The group of Dylan, Carrie, Yolanda, Chris, Robbie, myself, and Christina and Petra our hosts went to the Consulate. We went throught heavy security, having to leave cameras, cell phones, and computers behind.

We are met by the Consul General as he drives up in his small detail of himself and secret service. He is very personable. We are given a quick tour of the consulate, which was built in 19th century and was former Nazi headquarters, before being sold to the US in the 1950s.

We are introduced to the Public Relations person as well. And then the ugly Americans opened their mouths:

  • Now, the group has been in Europe for only four days, yet we knew better the number of countries in the EU (25) + 2 more that will join in 2007. The Consul General got it wrong twice. How can you be a diplomat in Europe and not know the number of countries in the EU? And this person had not be stationed in Germany since last week.
  • The PR person  went into a rant about Anti-American sentiment and how "Germans forget that they have exploited for 40 years the American relationship to gain the credibility and trust of Europe.They have gotten everything a nation could want from a diplomacy perspective." At this point, Petra left the room.
  • The General Consul had not prepared for the meeting and did not answer many of the questions that we asked.

We as a group were so embarrassed and ashamed of our representatives. If the goal of the Consul is to promote transatlantic partnerships with Germany, I would have hated Americans after hearing the things they said. So I may have to rethink the whole diplomatic corps thing so that we have better Americans representing our country overseas.


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