“Oh, no!” thought even Maria. Hans is going in the wrong direction here. Jack quickly pulled out the dessert menu and waived for a waiter, hoping to change the subject of the conversation. Nancy was furious. All three Americans had had some degree of experience with, well, rather opinionated Germans.
“Don’t you Americans worry that those two wars are going bad, that they might be lost, like Vietnam?”, Hans asked concerned.
Nancy did not agree in the least. But again, she was very careful not to state her opinion. She reported directly to Hans, was new in the organization, and not familiar with the German side of the company. And besides, she was not at all comfortable with mixing business and politics.
Hans looked at her as if asking for her point of view. Nancy replied discreetly and in a serious tone: “Well, it’s a complex situation. Too complex for me to know what is best.”
The conversation went on like this for another half an hour. Hans probed other topics: health care reform, high crime rates and gun control legislation, control of the U.S.-Mexican border, the influence of money in American elections.
Each time he sensed that his American colleagues were not in the mood for discussing politics. Maybe because it was a Tuesday and not a Friday or a weekend, he thought. Eventually, they moved on to lighter topics like sports, weather and Chicago.
For Hans it was an enjoyable dinner, even if they didn’t get into a good debate about topics of real substance. Evelyn found the interaction between Hans and the Americans rather amusing, making only a few comments here and there.
The Americans are not amused. What is their impression of Hans?