: Konstantin Klein, a German correspondent, is leaving Washington after seven years and Papa Scott translates his valedictory post:
The USA to which I came in July 1996 was a completely different country than the USA that I am now leaving: well-off, self-satisfied, open, optimistic. It was the land of Bill Clinton and the Internet, sudden wealth, free of worries. Today on the other hand, my adopted countrymen find themselves being driven from one fear to the next (and many of them let themselves be driven), threatened, despised, isolated. Who is responsible for this change – everyone has his own their theory, I’m sure. I’ve been so close to the action that right now I don’t have an overview, I’m missing the big picture. But I already noticed in 1996/1997 how helpful it sometimes is to leave a country and to observe it from the outside.
Well, I wouldn’t quite agree with that portrait but, fine, it’s his.
What I ask is that he paint a corresponding picture of the Germany to which he is returning. Seven years ago, it was also optimistic and bubbly but today it is depressed and angry and isolating itself from its friend, America, and trying to figure out how the hell to restructure itself out of the economic mess in which it finds itself. So you could look at this another way: The world economy and the world situation — thanks to terrorism — are worse off than they were seven years ago and I’d wager that Germany is worse off by comparison today than America. But that is in the eye of the beholder.