Der Spiegel Online’s Berlin bureau chief says it’s easier to believe in some things than in others:
(The Germans) believed that Jews should be placed into ghettos and concentration camps because they were the enemies of the people. Then they believed in the autobahn and that the Third Reich would ultimately be victorious. A few years later, they believed in the Deutsche mark. They believed that the Berlin Wall would be there forever and that their pensions were safe. They believed in recycling and environmental protection. They even believed in a German victory at the soccer World Cup.
Now they believe that the United States is a greater threat to world peace than Iran. This was the by-no-means-surprising result of a Forsa opinion poll commissioned by Stern magazine. Young Germans in particular — 57 percent of 18-to-29-year-olds, to be precise — said they considered the United States more dangerous than the religious regime in Iran.
It’s easy to believe in a dangerous America – you get to feel good about yourself, wallow in the warm embrace of self-proclaimed moral superiority and – the best thing of all – it’s popular and doesn’t require any particular action or sacrifice. Believing that Iran is a threat, well: That might require bestirring yourself. Doing something.
Taking a stand.