Notes from the Algarve: I

Germans Laughing

(Remember: the name Algarve is derived from the old Arabic Al-Gharb, meaning “the west,” so to speak of “the Algarve” is to speak of “the the West.”)

We’ve been here a couple of days now, Herself and Youngest and I, on a brief southern getaway while Eldest holds down the fort and tends Dog back home. (Herself has now been a legal adult for two full weeks and took her own southern vacation with friends about a week ago.) Youngest has a friend along to compensate for Eldest’s absence.

We barely made it: we flew with SAS, and it wasn’t until the very morning of our flight that we learned our flight wasn’t canceled. Had our flight been just one day earlier—just 18 hours earlier—and we wouldn’t have made it.

I have no intention of writing long posts while we’re down here, and don’t have the equipment to do any audio, but there are things going on that I feel compelled to note.

Today, for example, Berlingske published the following editorial:

Berlingske Believes: European politicians should be held accountable for the EU’s gas dependence
Leader (Editorial),, Jul 21

It’s a signed editorial by Troels Heeger, set forth as Berlingske’s editorial opinion.

Because I want to keep this short, I’m going to share just two particular passages.

The first, from the middle of the piece:

In the hands of an unscrupulous expansionist like Vladimir Putin, energy supplies to Europe are first and foremost a weapon that shifting European heads of government and state, not least in Germany, despite numerous warnings from both the United States and independent experts have neglected to take seriously.

Putin has deftly revealed decades of European and especially German energy and security policy as both extremely naive and harmful. This is a monumental political failure that should lead to a consequential political settlement at the ballot box in Western democracies.

And the second, which is how it concludes:

Putin’s war has turned upside down accepted political truths. Europe needs a thorough political self-examination and extremely unsentimental placement of the political responsibility for decades of headless energy policy in leading EU countries such as France and Germany.

It gets uncomfortable. It’s going to be painful. But it is necessary.

Allow me to paraphrase: European energy policy has been stupid and reckless and the people responsible need to be held accountable.

Good luck with that, Berlingske.

As I’ve noted in previous posts, there was absolutely zero support for Donald Trump when he was urging Europe in general and Germany in particular not to get themselves dependent on Russian gas.

The featured image, that photo of sniggering Germans, is a screenshot from this video of Donald Trump at the UN back in September 2018, warning against the very thing Berlingske is finally acknowledged has actually happened.

They were all so smart, remember. Not dumb like people say. Not dumb like that dummy Trump.

With that in mind, let’s take another look at one of the Berlingske citations above: the part that says Germany and Europe were being naive and reckless “despite numerous warnings from both the United States and independent experts.”

That’s false. The warnings did not come “from the United States.” They came from one of its presidents, Donald J. Trump, who was mocked for issuing those warnings. Trump went so far as to impose sanctions on companies that were doing business with the Nord Stream pipeline from Russia in a desperate effort to save Europe from its own stupidity. His effort failed because his successor, the very smart and not dumb Joe Biden, almost immediately reversed those sanctions.

Berlingske knows all this. Berlingske reported on all of these events as they happened.

Quick: someone go back to 2018 and find the Berlingske editorial declaring that a wise Donald Trump had just made some very good points at the U.N. and that Europeans (but mostly Germans) should heed his words.

Good luck. The closest I could find was a Kristian Mouritzen news piece about that UN appearance, “So, Trump just gave an election speech at the UN headquarters of all places and was greeted with laughter.”

Mouritzen takes very little note of Trump’s criticism of Germany, saying only:

Germany was again heavily criticized for wanting a pipeline from Russia for the transport of natural gas. “The Germans will become dependent on Russia,” was the criticism from Trump, who in turn praised the Poles for wanting to get rid of Russian gas precisely with their port facilities by buying American liquefied gas.

Because it was a small thing, a stupid thing, said by a president everyone knew to be deranged and dangerous.

If Berlingske wants to begin assigning blame for the energy catastrophe we Europeans are living through right now, they could start with a good long look in the mirror.

I’m out of time: the pool and an icy-cold Super Bock are calling.

So let me just close by dropping a link to a Berlingske profile of TV2’s Jesper Steinmetz. It reveals a Steinmetz I wish we could all see more of on television and online: a man who readily actually acknowledges the two sides of the American divide and doesn’t operate on the standard “Democrats Good, Republicans Evil” template. A man who finds America preferable to Denmark in many ways. (But is still in love with Denmark.) And a man who admits freely that whenever he says anything positive or even merely sympathetic to the American right, he encounters tremendous pushback.

It makes me wonder, though: what happens to that thoughtful side of Steinmetz on the air? Is it all left on the cutting room floor? Don’t get me wrong: he’s certainly always been one of the least awful of Denmark’s US correspondents, and I can actually sit through most of his segments without throwing anything at the television, but the on-air Steinmetz is nowhere near as sympathetic to conservatives or conservatism as the man in this Berlingske profile.

In any case, he says a lot of interesting things about America and Americans, and Denmark and Danes, and I’ll have to come back to them all at some point when I’m not justthisclose to having an icy beer in a refreshing pool beneath a blazing sun.