- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 11, 2005

‘Abominable’ reports

The new U.S. ambassador to Germany yesterday denounced as “abominable” American news coverage of Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath in New Orleans, which he said damaged the image of the United States abroad.

Ambassador William R. Timken, while not trying to excuse slow government action to rescue Katrina’s victims, said the television and newspaper criticism of those actions — coupled with the images that were broadcast around the world — had given foreign audiences a wrong impression of the United States.

Mr. Timken, addressing a group of visiting American journalists in Berlin, also rebuked the American news outlets for not paying enough attention to those who worked “nonstop” immediately after the disaster, our correspondent Nicholas Kralev reported.

Many news organizations published reports of murder, rape and mayhem in New Orleans that have not been substantiated.

The ambassador also discussed Germany’s aspiration to become a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, saying “it could” soon meet the requirements to join the United States, Britain, China, France and Russia.

Japan, the only country Washington publicly supports, has been ready for years, while Germany is “just arriving” at the necessary stage, he said.

Mr. Timken, a wealthy industrialist and political supporter of President Bush, said he is still struggling to understand the State Department bureaucracy after a little more than a month in Berlin.

Day for Germans

In Washington, Germany won praise for its historical contributions to the development of the United States, as German Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger and President Bush celebrated German-American Day.

“German-American friendship is not a mere policy goal,” the ambassador said as he commemorated the Oct. 6 holiday. “It reflects the close relationship between Germans and Americans, which is based on common values and interests and an American culture enriched by more than 40 million Americans of German descent.”

He recalled that Germans were among the first settlers at Jamestown in 1608 and cited architect Adolf Cluss, who designed many 19th-century buildings in Washington, and engineer Johann August Roebling, who built the Brooklyn Bridge.

Mr. Bush said, “German Americans have played an important role in establishing America as a land where liberty is protected for all of its citizens.”

Bible diplomacy

Evangelical Christians involved in foreign affairs find their diplomatic guidance in the Bible.

“Globalization started with Jesus, who said, ‘Go ye into all the world,’” Robert A. Seiple, a former U.S. ambassador-at-large for religious freedom, said at a recent forum on “Evangelicals and the New Global Mission.”

He said evangelicals, who are mostly engaged in foreign missionary work, tend to think internationally, our correspondentJulia Duinreports.

Allen Hertzke, a professor at the University of Oklahoma, cited a passage from the Book of Matthew, in which Jesus admonished his followers for failing to comfort the poor and imprisoned and praised those who helped “the least of these” in His name.

Paul Marshall of the Center for Religious Freedom noted that evangelicals are pushing the Bush administration to deal with issues like sex trafficking, religious persecution, the environment, AIDS in Africa, civil strive in Sudan and human rights in North Korea, he said.

One speaker questioned whether evangelicals are getting too much credit for helping shape Mr. Bush’s foreign policy.

“There’s a perception that evangelicals are the driving force behind President Bush,” said Deborah Fikes, a human rights activist from Mr. Bush’s childhood home of Midland, Texas. “He was there [on foreign policy issues] many years before he was president. Evangelicals have gotten more credit than is their due.”

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail jmorrison@washingtontimes.com.

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