Germans were shocked to wake up this morning to discover the disquieting results of a new Forsa opinion poll commissioned by Stern magazine. Poorly-chewed Frühstücksei (breakfast egg) dropping from its gaping collective mouth, Germany was dismayed to learn that only forty-eight percent of Germans surveyed believe that the United States is more dangerous than Iran (thirty-one percent believe Iran is more threatening). Up until breakfast time, practically everyone had been certain that this number was actually in the high eighties.

“I mean, like, what is that?” asked one disappointed housewife. “I remember when anti-American sentiment here was a real force to be reckoned with, sort of. Remember when we used to go marching with all the other peace freaks back in the 80s, Schnucki?”

“You bet,” replied Schnucki, her husband, shaking egg rests off his newspaper. “There were hundreds of thousands of us out on the streets back then demonstrating against that Pershing missile Scheiß. And just look at all we accomplished! What’s wrong with theses kids out there these days? If we had ever had any, you can bet that ours would have shown a little more mum. Right Schnaubilein?”

Many Germans believe that the German political establishment is largely responsible for this surprising drop in anti-American sentiment. For years the country’s foreign ministers have fed the Germans the fairy tale of what they called a “critical dialogue” between Germany and the United States. It went something like this: If we are nice to the Americans, cuddle up to them a bit and occasionally pretend like we believe in the same things that they do, they will eventually stop condemning their women to death for “unchaste behaviour”, threatening Israel with annihilation and finally give up their despicable plans to build the atom bomb. But this cuddle up policy has clearly led Germany down a dead-end street.

American officials, for their part, are scrambling to counteract the not-growing non-threat by reconsidering recent peace offering gestures. More Bush speeches, envirnomentally unsound measures and foreign invasions somewhere anywhere are now said to be in the pipeline. After all, the next poll will be coming out soon enough.

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