The Future of Trans-Int

Posted by John Rosenthal

This post is, I am afraid, long overdue. As regular Trans-Int readers will already have inferred, the original ambitious plans for the "new" Trans-Int launched in Fall 2005 have had at least to be "postponed", viz. to some indefinite later date. This is due to a number of factors: technical difficulties at launch and subsequently not being the least important among them. 


Nonetheless, the original "guiding idea" of Trans-Int has largely confirmed its promise. Perhaps the best gauge of this is the extent to which "established" media have seen fit to draw upon material first published or brought into English here.


This has typically occurred without acknowledgment, though I would be amiss not to mention Diana West of the Washington Times and Caroline Glick of The Jerusalem Post as honorable exceptions to this unfortunate rule. Matthias Küntzel’s cover article on "Ahmadinejad’s Demons"  in the April 24th issue of The New Republic created considerable buzz. But regular Trans-Int readers will have recognized the piece as being largely based on Matthias’s article "Are 500,000 Keys to Paradise Enough?" — which was published on Trans-Int four months earlier. Only the New Republic editors were evidently not interested in all the details about Germany’s extensive and privileged economic relations with Iran that constituted indeed the main point of Matthias’s Trans-Int piece (as was reflected in its ironic subtitle "Germany ‘Confronts’ Ahmadinejad"). One can well ask oneself: "why not?" — especially since such economic relations provide obvious leverage, uniquely available to Germany, in an otherwise seemingly intractable situation.


Further evidence of "old" media heavies feeling free to benefit — without acknowledgment — from the work done by your humble servant is discussed in this recent entry on the World Politics Watch [WPW] blog. It is ironic that the episode concerns our old friend Thomas Friedman of the NYTimes, on whose linguistic limitations — I am talking about in foreign languages, not his command of English… – I have had occasion to remark before. Now, however, Friedman appears to read German. And I emphasize appears, since it is obviously from a translation of mine on WPW that Friedman is quoting in his December 20 column — without, however, bothering to inform his readers of this fact. As the WPW editors rightly suggest, such episodes are no reason to lose sleep. Indeed, they clearly show just who is able to provide original information — and who is not. In this sense and considering the long-run, they are in fact reason for optimism.


Regular readers will have noticed that as activity on Trans-Int has slowed down, I have — not coincidentally — been publishing more and more "Trans-Int-like" material in other venues. I will continue to use the Trans-Int "news" section to announce and, when possible, link to my articles and translations elsewhere. I will also continue to use it for occasional "spots": brief observations on European developments and short translated extracts from European sources. Until further notice, however, publication of the "Review" is suspended.


In one form or another, then, the "spirit" of Trans-Int lives on in 2007. Please check back shortly for announcement of a major new translation on World Politics Watch and for the first "spot" of the New Year.


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