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VIDEO-
COLUMN #12

Berlin: On Armed Alert

February/March 2020

Global Vaccine Rivalries

Berlin continues to reject Covid-19 vaccine patent waiver. Washington pursues geo-strategic objectives with its call to suspend patents.

BERLIN/BRUSSELS/WASHINGTON | | usa

BERLIN/BRUSSELS/WASHINGTON (Own report) - Berlin and the EU are blocking temporary suspension of Covid-19 vaccine patents, even after the US changed its position on the issue. Following the recent EU summit, Chancellor Angela Merkle und European Council President Charles Michel declared that they do not believe that waving patents would be the appropriate step for increased vaccine production. Berlin is particularly worried about BioNTech's mRNA patents. With its patents, the company is expected to significantly contribute to Germany as a biotechnological address. Thus, China should not get its hands on the patents, Chancellor Angela Merkle is quoted to have said. With its move to wave patents, the Biden administration is also taking the competition with China into account. Since India can no longer export vaccines, due to the pandemic's escalation in that country, poorer and emerging countries have been supplied almost exclusively by China and Russia - including with the licenses to produce their own vaccines. Patent waivers could break the Sino-Russian vaccine dominance. more…

"A Signal to China"

EU set to revive free-trade talks with India. Meager western Covid-19 aid sparks criticism in India of Hindu-nationalist's westward orientation.

BERLIN/NEW DELHI | | indien

BERLIN/NEW DELHI (Own report) - Despite the murderous escalation of the Covid-19 pandemic in India, the EU continues to refuse a vaccine patent waiver, pushing instead for a free-trade agreement with that country. The EU-India summit on Saturday is expected to decide on reviving respective negotiations with the intention of making India a business alternative to China. The EU's demands traditionally include the agrarian sector's deregulation, which provoked the current mass protests of Indian farmers. German business representatives urge caution against too strong of a focus on business with India: Efforts to expand this business have failed already in the past due to India's excessive red tape and poor infrastructure. Government measures have also repeatedly disregarded the interests of foreign investors, according to the Federation of German Industries (BDI). In view of the meager Western aid for combating the pandemic, demands are becoming louder among India's elite for repudiating the governing Hindu nationalists' pro-US orientation and calling for a return to non-alignment. more…

"Peace with Russia No Moral Obligation"

German foreign policy advisors insist on escalating confrontation with Russia: embargo, exclusion from SWIFT, military intimidation.

BERLIN/MOSCOW | | russische-foederation

BERLIN/MOSCOW (Own report) - German foreign policy makers and government advisors are calling for escalating western aggression against Russia. "We must hit Russia, there, where it really hurts," admonishes foreign policy expert Alexander Graf Lambsdorff of the Free Democratic Party of Germany (FDP). Experts at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) support military activities - such as "a military mission in the Black Sea" - as "foreign policy intimidation" of Moscow. Disconnecting Russia from the SWIFT global payment system should also be considered. According to EU Foreign Affairs Commissioner Josep Borrell, the EU must "be prepared for a long and hard period in our relations with Russia." German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer claims that Moscow is already engaged in "warfare in the middle of Europe." The Russian government, on the other hand, is beginning to defend itself against the EU's sanctions and other coercive measures. At the end of last week, Moscow imposed counter-sanctions on several EU politicians. The conflict is escalating. more…

Global Britain and the EU (II)

EU increases pressure on Great Britain in spite of post-Brexit trade deal. German government advisors see common foreign and military policy in jeopardy.

BERLIN/LONDON | | grossbritannien

BERLIN/LONDON (Own report) - Fierce attacks by politicians and media in Germany against Great Britain are flanking the ratification of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement. EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen threatens punitive measures, if London fails to scrupulously comply with the agreement. Punitive tariffs are being discussed in Brussels. Germany's main media outlets are fueling the old prejudice against Great Britain of the "perfidious Albion." German government advisors warn that the severely "strained" relations "limit" the urgently desired EU-UK foreign and military policy cooperation. "Trust" could be built through exchanges in "bilateral and minilateral formats," for instance in the "E3" framework (Germany, France, Great Britain) to lay "the foundation for long-term institutionalized cooperation." At the same time tensions are growing in the dispute over cooperation in the financial sector, threatening to deepen the rift between the two sides. more…

Lobbying in the Former Colony

In the tussle with China over influence, Germany uses Covid-19 aid in Papua New Guinea, a former German colony ("Kaiser-Wilhelms-Land").

BERLIN/PORT MORESBY |

BERLIN/PORT MORESBY (Own report) - In the tussle with China over influence, Germany is enhancing its position using aid in combating the Covid-19 pandemic in strategically located Papua New Guinea. The Johanniter-Unfall-Hilfe ("St. John Accident Assistance"), a partner in Germany's foreign policy, recently sent a group of doctors and nurses to that Oceanic country to support its health system, which is currently moaning under the increase in severe Covid 19 cases. This operation is among the efforts being undertaken by Germany and other western governments to counteract China's growing economic influence. The USA, for example, seeks to upgrade the Lombrum Naval Base on Papua New Guinea's island province of Manus. Papua New Guinea is strategically located at the maritime trade routes leading from Australia into the Pacific. Until the Second World War, the country's north had been a German colony. The German colonial power's activities have an impact even today. The German government is drawing on colonial traditions, such as the work of missionaries. more…

Locking Horns at the Black Sea

Defender Europe 21: Former Commanding General of the United States Army Europe, publishes Twelve-Step Program aimed at weakening Russia at the Black Sea.

BERLIN/WASHINGTON |

BERLIN/WASHINGTON (Own report) - Just in time for the beginning of the large-scale Defender Europe 21 maneuvers, a retired senior US general presented a Twelve-Step Program aimed at weakening Russia at the Black Sea. The Black Sea region is the focus of this year's Defender Europe exercise, with also German Bundeswehr participation. As former Commanding General of the United States Army Europe, Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges writes in a current strategy paper, NATO's attaining "sea control" of the Black Sea is not feasible given Russia's strength there. NATO should aim for making the Russian Black Sea Fleet "vulnerable." At present, some 28,000 soldiers from 21 NATO countries and from five countries affiliated with the alliance are practicing the deployment of large contingencies of forces to the Black Sea within the framework of Defender Europe 21. Last year the exercise was focused on the Baltic region, which is gaining geostrategic significance because of the growing tensions between the West and Russia. The exercise has escalated these tensions. The Black Sea region will be faced with a similar problem. more…

In the Spiral of Escalation (II)

EU and NATO support new US sanctions against Russia. More sanctions against Nord Stream 2 and Sputnik V not to be ruled out.

BERLIN/MOSCOW | | russische-foederation

BERLIN/MOSCOW (Own report) - Berlin-supported US sanctions along with calls for other sanctions by German politicians are accelerating the escalation spiral in the conflict between the West and Russia. Last week, the new punitive measures taken by the Biden administration target not only officials and organizations in Russia, but also the country's financial sector, prohibiting U.S. financial institutions from buying Russian government bonds beginning in mid-July. This measure is causing alarm within the German branch, because of Biden's threat to expand the sanctions. Representatives of companies point out that sanctions against Iran had initially targeted US enterprises, before Washington extraterritorially expanded them. Countermeasures are being discussed in Russia. US experts warn that measures against a "national economy like the Russian" could cause enormous "collateral damage." In Washington, not only devastating sanctions targeting Nord Stream 2 are already being demanded, even sanctions targeting the purchase of the Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine are being considered. more…

The Price for Closing Ranks

Political advisors in Berlin are calling for "closing ranks" behind the USA against China. In Washington, experts are playing out war scenarios against the People's Republic.

BERLIN/WASHINGTON/BEIJING | | china

BERLIN/WASHINGTON/BEIJING (Own report) - China's countermeasures to recent EU sanctions is spurring a debate over further punitive measures and the possibility of closing ranks behind the United States. The renunciation of the recently concluded investment agreement with the People's Republic of China, for example, is now in discussion. This agreement had been reached through considerable efforts, particularly by Berlin, because major German companies are dependent on business with China for their very existence. Volkswagen and Infineon, for example, generate around two-fifths of their revenues in China. Transatlantic-oriented political advisors are now demanding that Germany "wake up" and take up position against "China's economic might." An influential commentator calls for "closing ranks" with Washington and speculates on Berlin's stance in the case if a war between the United States and China. For years already, US experts have been contemplating such a war. Today however, they are no longer sure that the United States can win that war. more…