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German Foreign Policy (DE/FR/EN)

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The Economy of Secession (II)

jeu, 05/10/2017 - 00:00
(Own report) - As can be seen in an analysis of the separatist movements in Catalonia, Lombardy and Flanders, the deliberate promotion of exclusive cooperation between German companies and prosperous areas in countries with impoverished regions has systematically facilitated the autonomist-secessionist movements in Western Europe. According to this study, Flanders, as well as Lombardy - two already economically prosperous regions - have been able to widen the gap between themselves and the impoverished regions of Belgium and Italy, also because they have played an important role in the expansion of the German economy, the strongest in the EU. Through an exclusive cooperation with the state Baden Württemberg, Catalonia and Lombardy have been able to expand their economic lead over more impoverished regions of Spain and Italy, which has spurred their respective regional elites to seek to halt their financial contributions for federal reallocations through greater autonomy or even secession. The consequences of deliberate cooperation - not with foreign nations - but only with prosperous regions, can be seen with Yugoslavia.

Austerity and Secession

lun, 02/10/2017 - 00:00
(Own report) - The escalating Catalan secessionist conflict is upsetting Spain, a country hard hit by Berlin's austerity dictate. Spain - occasionally praised in German media as a showcase for an alleged successful austerity policy - is still confronted with enormous social and economic problems, in spite of a modest economic growth. Unemployment and poverty remain at high levels. Crisis policies over the past few years have also increased the economic gap between Spain and the euro zone's centers of prosperity. One still cannot speak of debt reduction - the official objective of Germany's austerity policy within the EU. The poor economic situation, the high debt burden level and the distribution of federal and regional debts are fueling Catalonia's secessionist conflict.

Fresh Wind Down the Silk Road (I)

mer, 27/09/2017 - 00:00
(Own report) - To secure its influence in Central Asia in rivalry to Russia and China, Berlin is taking new initiatives toward Uzbekistan, the most populous country in the region. Among the five post-Soviet Central Asian countries, Uzbekistan has been Germany's key partner for the past 25 years, even hosting a Bundeswehr base over an extended period of time. Now the German government seeks to reinforce it position in Uzbekistan by expanding economic relations. Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, in office since one year, is initiating a neo-liberal policy in his country. At the same time, Russia's rise in influence in the economic and military sectors, alongside China's greatly enhanced economic advances has put Germany under pressure. If Germany does not want to lose ground in Central Asia, it must act quickly.

The Imperial Consensus

lun, 25/09/2017 - 00:00
(Own report) - With the Alternative for Germany (AfD), an extreme right wing party will enter the German Bundestag for the first time since the 1950s. With 13 percent of the vote, the AfD has successfully mobilized an extreme right-wing potential that, according to a sociological study, has always existed within the German population. All parties in the Bundestag openly repudiate the AfD. However, this only obscures the fact that the AfD's program, particularly on the important issues of foreign and military policy, show remarkable parallels to the political objectives of almost all other parties in the Bundestag. Like the CDU/CSU, FDP, SPD and the Greens, the AfD sees Germany as a global "policy-making power," whose armed forces should be massively upgraded and made more operational. Whereas, the mainstream parties in the Bundestag are relying on the EU as the instrument for German global policy, the AfD favors a national course for Germany exercising global power. This course would probably take effect should the EU disintegrate due to the growing internal dissentions or if more and more countries opt to exit.

With German Weapons

jeu, 21/09/2017 - 00:00
(Own report) - Berlin's long-standing support for the Kurdish Autonomous Region has helped lay the groundwork for the referendum on the secession of Iraq's Kurdish-speaking regions, scheduled to be held on Monday. For decades, the Barzani clan, which controls the regional government, has maintained good relations with leading German politicians of the CDU and CSU parties. Since 2005, Berlin has systematically sponsored the autonomous region - through economic aid and establishing German institutions. Most recently, Germany was even training and upgrading the Kurdish Peshmerga into a powerful military force - officially to strengthen an ally in the war against IS. However, today the Peshmerga could use its German weapons for the secession of its region, if necessary, imposing it by armed force. In plain sight of the Bundeswehr, and under cover of the war against the IS, the Peshmerga has been carrying out so-called ethnic cleansing in towns, previously outside the Kurdish Autonomous Region to secure the desired pro-Kurdish majority in the upcoming referendum. Up to now, Berlin has voiced no objections to the date of the secession referendum.

Foray into Down Under

lun, 18/09/2017 - 00:00
(Own report) - Leading EU functionaries, with the support of German business associations, are demanding that the EU free trade offensive be extended to Australia and New Zealand. Last week, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker announced the initiation of agreements to this effect. At the same time, Berlin and Brussels are pushing for the finalization of the Japan-EU Free Trade Agreement (JEFTA) - up against growing protest. Whereas, protectionist measures are designed to reduce China's influence in the EU's Eastern and Southeastern periphery, Berlin and Brussels are planning to reinforce their activities in the emerging People's Republic of China's neighborhood, by pursuing the US strategy of trade containment of China that Trump has abandoned.

Berlin Calls for a "One-Europe Policy"

lun, 11/09/2017 - 00:00
(Own report) - Berlin sees China's growing economic presence in the EU's eastern periphery as an increasing threat to German predominance over Eastern and Southeastern Europe. During his visit to Paris at the end of August, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel warned against the People's Republic's alleged "division of Europe." Beijing's cooperation with 16 Eastern and Southeastern European countries is threatening the EU's "unity" and must be stopped. China should follow a "one-Europe policy." German media and think tanks have been sharply criticizing Chinese economic activities in Eastern and Southeastern Europe since years. In a recent analysis, the Friedrich-Naumann Foundation (FDP) assailed the Czech government for signing a "declaration on the territorial integrity of the People's Republic of China" in view of comprehensive Chinese investments in that country. Beijing has reacted to these attacks by pointing to Germany's dominant status in the EU.

Talks in the Chancellery

mer, 06/09/2017 - 00:00
(Own report) - Chancellor Merkel will meet one of Venezuela's leading government opposition politicians today in the Chancellery. Julio Borges, who, according to reports, supported the 2002 putsch attempt in Caracas, will discuss the political development in Venezuela with the chancellor. Fierce power struggles are being waged in that country. The opposition, mainly composed of representatives of the traditional wealthy elites, has ties to Western powers und is also supported by Berlin. With its operational assistance, for example in advising Borges' Primero Justícia (Justice First) party in "political communication," the CDU-affiliated Konrad Adenauer Foundation has been playing a special role. Primero Justícia had also participated in the 2002-attempted putsch. Berlin is pursuing an approach similar to that used in other Latin American countries, wherein it regularly supports the traditional elites. This resembles the German authorities' interventions in the run-up to the putsch in Ukraine.

German-Russian Oil Cooperation

lun, 04/09/2017 - 00:00
(Own report) - The Russian petroleum company, Rosneft, is expanding its activities in Germany, thereby reducing Germany's dependence on the transatlantic oil industry. While public discussion is focused on ex-Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's candidacy for the chair of Rosneft's board of directors, the company has increased its share to 25 percent of Germany's crude oil imports, and has become the third largest oil processing enterprise in Germany. It has plans to further strengthen its position in the country, inspired by the close German-Russian natural gas cooperation, which provides Germany significant influence over Western Europe's supply of Russian gas. Achieving predominant influence over the EU's supply and a growing independence vis-à-vis the energy giants of the transatlantic era, facilitates Berlin's pursuit of an independent German-EU global policy.

The Tesla Shock

jeu, 31/08/2017 - 00:00
(Own report) - Decisive sectors of the German elite are holding onto diesel technology, causing the automobile industry to fall significantly behind its foreign competitors, according to US and British observers, who see the German automobile industry soon confronting a "Tesla shock." Whereas, the demand for US electric automobiles is rapidly growing, in the long run, the demand for German diesel models is significantly sinking. In fact, the German government has been shielding German companies from innovation pressure, by imposing their interests, even abroad. Berlin has not only applied the brakes to the introduction of the EU's CO2 emission limits, but also to China's setting electric automobile quotas, to reduce pollutant emissions. In the current diesel scandal, Berlin continues to maintain its policy course.

Blocking German Reparations

lun, 21/08/2017 - 00:00
(Own report) - Polish government politicians' demands for comprehensive reparations for the devastation caused by the German occupation during World War II, have been unanimously turned down in Berlin. A German government spokesperson explained that Poland has long since renounced reparations; German media point to payments Germany - under massive international pressure - was unable to avoid in the 1990s. Warsaw, on the other hand, has reiterated that payments, they have received so far are in no relation to the immense damage the German Reich had inflicted on Poland since September 1, 1939. During World War II, six million Poles were killed, and material damage was estimated a few years ago in the mid-range triple-digit billions. The most recent reparations dispute between Berlin and Warsaw is occurring at a time, when geostrategic tensions between the two countries are intensifying.

Struggle over the Arctic

ven, 18/08/2017 - 00:00
(Own report) - According to a German military officer, China's economic activities in Greenland and Iceland could cause future wars. If the People's Republic should "establish" itself in the Arctic - as a "great power alien to the region" - this would "instigate military conflicts," according to a recent semi-official publication. To prove his point, the author, a reserve officer of the Bundeswehr, refers to China's mining investments in Greenland and Beijing's alleged plans to settle systematically Chinese specialists in the region. The "ethnic form of influence" expressed in this plan and the People's Republic's commitment to protect the "sovereign rights of the indigenous population" constitute a "declaration of war on the West," the author writes. With regard to Iceland, the officer particularly criticizes the construction of a harbor in the Northeast of the island state, which is allegedly financed by a Chinese company. If the People's Republic is thus creating a "regional central hub" for raw materials extracted from the Arctic, it would be in "favorable geopolitical starting blocks" vis-à-vis the "European Atlantic states," the author explains, speaking already of a "gradual Chinese land grab" at the polar circle.

European Values (II)

jeu, 17/08/2017 - 00:00
(Own report) - A steadily increasing number of casualties in the North African desert and grave violations of international law are flanking the German government's efforts to cordon off the EU from African refugees. Berlin's attempts to seal the Libya-Niger border is forcing refugees to take routes that are more dangerous, causing increasing numbers of deaths in the Sahara. Since Italy and Libya's puppet government in Tripoli have begun to hamper maritime rescue operations off the Libyan coast, a rise in the number of casualties is also feared in the Mediterranean. At the same time, the German government is supporting the internment of refugees in Libyan detention camps, notorious for their brutal and even murderous treatment. "Humanitarian standards" need to be imposed on those camps, German Chancellor Angela Merkel says, and calls on the services of the United Nations' Organization for Migration (IOM) and the UNHCR. These activities combine to create a multiple anti-refugee system, including two rings of barriers along with a network of camps.

Arms Buildup Against China

ven, 28/07/2017 - 00:00
(Own report) - Berlin is expanding its military and arms industry cooperation with the People's Republic of China's East Asian rivals. A few days ago, the German and Japanese defense ministries signed an agreement to intensify their "cooperation in the defense technology sector." For years, the German arms industry has been seeking to enhance its standing on Tokyo's arms market, which is continuously expanding, primarily due to the power struggle with Beijing. Cooperation is also growing between the armed forces of Germany and Japan. The German Armed Forces Staff College in Hamburg recently concluded an agreement to this effect. Cooperation with the South Korean military is likewise being intensified. Seoul, one of the German arms industry's most important customers, has already placed South Korean warships at the disposal of the EU's operation in the war on piracy at the Horn of Africa.

Assisting Famine (II)

lun, 24/07/2017 - 00:00
(Own report) - Contrary to its announcements, Germany is continuing to furnish arms to Saudi Arabia - and is delivering patrol boats to the Saudi Coast Guard. Last week two patrol boats debarked from the Peene Shipyard in Wolgast headed for Saudi Arabia. They are part of a €1.5 billion deal, which includes the delivery of over 100 vessels to the country's coast guard and navy. The Lürssen Shipyard in Bremen is the main contractor. These ships are being delivered in spite of the worldwide criticism Riyadh is facing for its war against Yemen and its maritime blockade of Yemeni ports - provoking a devastating famine and aggravating a rampant epidemic of cholera. For its maritime blockade Saudi Arabia can rely on German patrol boats. According to a recent report published by the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), al Qaeda is benefiting from the war Saudi Arabia is waging in Yemen - also with German arms. The US ban to carry laptops on board certain passenger flights is allegedly connected to terrorist attacks planned by a reinvigorated al Qaeda in Yemen.

Non-Receivable

jeu, 20/07/2017 - 00:00
(Own report) - The compensation claims brought by descendants of victims of German colonial crimes in the former German South West Africa are threatened to fail, because the authorities in Berlin are obstructing the transfer of court documents. With their class action suit filed in a New York court, representatives of the Ovaherero and Nama peoples in today's Namibia are trying to win compensation for the crimes German colonialists perpetrated against their ancestors - particularly the crime of genocide. The Senator of Justice for the regional government of Berlin, Dirk Behrendt (Green Party), is refusing to transfer court documents his office has received from New York to the German foreign ministry - alleging that the lawsuit is inadmissible. This attempt to obstruct the lawsuit is only the latest in a series with which Berlin for decades has been attempting to silence descendants of the victims of German colonial and war crimes. Germany's main argument that, because Germany enjoys "state immunity" it cannot be sued by private individuals, has recently begun to unravel.

The Limits of the Dictates

mar, 18/07/2017 - 00:00
(Own report) - Berlin's austerity dictate, ruthlessly imposed on Athens, is suffering its first blowbacks, weakening German hegemony over the EU. The China Ocean Shipping Company's (COSCO) purchase of stakes in the Piraeus Port Authority, Athens had been forced to sell under pressure from Berlin and Brussels, is one example. COSCO, which had already acquired a small share in 2009, has been upgrading the port with investments in the three-digit millions. In the meantime, Piraeus has become Europe's eighth largest port and is among the top 40 worldwide. Greece, which economically has been completely ruined by the austerity dictates, is hoping for more Chinese investments - and is no longer willing to participate in the EU's routine official condemnation of China at the UN Human Rights Council. A similar development can be seen with Serbia. As part of its "Silk Road" initiative, China is planning to upgrade the rail line between Belgrade and Budapest. For the Serbian government, this offers hopes for a long term recovery. Brussels has now launched a probe into this project. According to experts, a policy based solely on austerity dictates and open pressure, as has been pursued by Berlin and the EU, can no longer be successful "in a multi-polar world."

Those Who Have, Shall Get

jeu, 13/07/2017 - 00:00
(Own report) - Through loans and government bonds, Germany is reaping a billion euros in profits from Greece's debt crisis. The German government has confirmed that profits from financial transactions with Greece have already reached €1.34 billion. German firms have also profited from the fact that, due to the crisis, Greece has been forced to sell government property. In a joint venture, just recently, a German investor bought the majority of shares of Greece's Thessaloniki Port Authority - in cooperation with a fabulously rich Greek oligarch. At the same time, the German discounter Lidl was able to increase its market shares in competition with its Greek supermarket rivals because growing poverty is forcing people to buy low-priced groceries. Mass emigration, particularly that of highly qualified Greeks, is generating little noticed profits. Many Greeks, whose expensive education was paid by Athens, now work in Germany - placing their skills, for which Germany has not paid a cent, at Germany's disposal.

Struggle for Influence in Africa

lun, 10/07/2017 - 00:00
(Own report) - Overshadowed by the dispute on free trade and the Paris Climate Agreement, the German government has found acceptance for its Africa policy initiatives at the G20 summit in Hamburg. The G20 states in Hamburg have backed the "Compact with Africa" initiative, Berlin seeks to use for gaining new influence on the African continent. The "Compact" includes measures enabling industrial nations, such as Germany, to set their preferred conditions for investments in individual African countries. The German government has chosen Tunisia, Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire as its partners. Whereas Tunisia already serves as a low-wage site for German enterprises, Côte d'Ivoire is still under decisive French influence, something Berlin would like to change with the help of its "Compact for Africa." In general, "Compact" is intended to help Germany intensify its economic influence in Africa, following all the failed attempts over the past few years. From the perspective of Germany's establishment, time is running out because China, the rival on the global stage, has already risen to become the most important economic partner for numerous African countries.

Germany's Contribution to the Bomb

mer, 05/07/2017 - 00:00
(Own report) - The modernization of nuclear weapons - already possessed by nine countries, and affecting Germany through "nuclear sharing" - is rapidly progressing, according to a current analysis of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). The overall number of nuclear weapons in the world has slightly decreased SIPRI notes. However, new US-bombs (B61-12), for example, are much more precise than their predecessor models. Experts warn that this development could lower the threshold for their possible use. The B61-12 bombs are likely to be stationed also at the German Air Base in Büchel in the hills of the Eifel. Germany's "nuclear sharing" status has already prompted discussions in the arms industry. Airbus has begun to design a successor model to the tornado jet fighter, which is currently certified for the B61. If this next generation jet fighter is to be certified also for the US bomb, all its construction details would have to be revealed to the USA, a prospect being met with misgivings in the Berlin establishment. It has recently been reported that the URENCO nuclear fuel company, which also has a plant in Gronau (North Rhine-Westphalia) has agreed to supply enriched uranium to a US power plant that produces tritium for US nuclear weapons.

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