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VIDEO-KOLUMNE

War against China

There is a reflex in Europe that is detrimental to China. It is the downside of the respectful awe at China's vastness, its size, its culture, and statehood. By comparison, Europe appears tiny. The comparison mitigates the error of being incomparable. China is greater.

“An Atomic Bomb for the Capital Markets”

Russia’s suspension from the international banking payment system is reportedly off the table. Reason: Western states would suffer serious blowback.

BERLIN/MOSCOW/WASHINGTON | | russische-foederation

BERLIN/MOSCOW/WASHINGTON (Own report) – In the discussion on western sanctions against Russia, suspending the country from the international banking payment system SWIFT is off the table, according to a report. Even though recently it had been contemplated to exclude Russia from the international banking payment system in case of a military escalation of the Ukraine conflict, it is no longer considered a realistic option, government sources contend. The expected damage for the West would simply be too high. The EU states, including Germany, would, for example, no longer be able to pay for gas deliveries from Russia, a suspe’nsion of deliveries could be the consequence. In addition, Moscow and Beijing already have their own payment systems, which could quickly become competition for SWIFT, if Russia is suspended and this would jeopardize the West’s dominance over the international banking payment system. If the report is confirmed, it would be a serious setback for the West’s sanctions policy, which would lose its most effective financial weapon. Sanctions against Russian banks are now being considered as an alternative. more…

“Equal Right to Security”

In the runup to Baerbock's visit to Moscow, criticism is being voiced on the confrontational approach to Russia. OSCE Charter: Choice of alliance “not at the expense of the security of other states.”

BERLIN/MOSCOW | | russische-foederation

BERLIN/MOSCOW (Own report) – Prior to Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock's talks with her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, criticism was raised over Berlin and Washington's current confrontational approach to Russia. The West's policy toward Russia, which is “only based on deterrence,” has “been unsuccessful,” according to the political scientist Johannes Varwick in an article published by a leading German journal. Extensive negotiations with Moscow are indispensable. They should include the perspective of Ukraine’s “neutrality” (“Finlandization”). Contrary to claims by politicians and the media, Ukraine’s “free choice of alliance” is not the only applicable principle in international agreements regarding the country's possible NATO accession. Several OSCE documents oblige European states to choose their security arrangements, such as joining a military alliance, “not at the expense of the security of other states.” German media, on the other hand, are advocating a further escalation of the dangerous conflict. more…

Cold War in Mali

Berlin considers beefing up the Bundeswehr in Mali. Background: Bamako relies on military instructors from Russia.

BERLIN/BAMAKO | | mali

BERLIN/BAMAKO (Own report) – The chairwoman of the Defense Committee of the German Bundestag is raising the issue of arming the Bundeswehr soldiers with Boxer armored transport vehicles. “If that air becomes more leaded,” the “light and medium weight equipment,” currently at the Bundeswehr soldiers’ disposal may no longer suffice, according to Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann (FDP). Alternately, one must ask, whether the Bundeswehr’s withdrawal from Mali could provoke “large movements of refugees” or if the “Russians would broaden their presence” in the country, since Mali’s military government – like the government of the Central African Republic – is inviting military instructors from Russia into the country, possibly personnel from private military contractors. On the one hand, there is fear that once European troops withdraw, it could end up like the government in Afghanistan, and on the other, resentment is growing toward the European states’ neocolonialist policies, while Russia’s popularity is increasing. According to experts, “many Malians” are fed up with “sanctions and threats” from former colonial powers. more…

Single Leadership (II)

USA and Russia negotiate arms control – without the participation of Germany or the EU. US experts recommend avoiding two-front war against Russia and China.

BERLIN/WASHINGTON | | usarussische-foederation

BERLIN/WASHINGTON (Own report) – Without the participation of Germany and the EU, the USA and Russia open talks in Geneva on NATO activities in Eastern Europe and arms control measures. Moscow is insisting that NATO halt its eastward expansion and the military activities near Russia’s borders. Washington rejects this, but is prepared, for example, to scale back maneuvers in Eastern Europe. Berlin and Brussels are not involved. The “Normandy Format,” under which Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine have been unsuccessfully negotiating for seven years, has been currently put on ice. Western European powers are only included in the negotiation process within the NATO framework. The German government is engaging in frantic activities to exert more influence on the talks – so far also to no avail. According to experts, the United States could hardly win a war against both China and Russia. This is why Washington is interested in a certain degree of a relaxation of tensions on the European front. more…

In the Pacific Century

After the world's largest free trade agreement RCEP became effective on January 1, business representatives warn of serious losses for the German industry.

BERLIN/JAKARTA |

BERLIN/JAKARTA (Own report) – Germany and the EU are at risk of losing out in the world's most significant growth region, business representatives warn, regarding the world's largest free trade agreement RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership), which became effective on January 1, and is still hardly known in Germany. RCEP is a free trade agreement (FTA) between 15 countries of the Asia-Pacific region, which includes the world's second and third largest economies – China’s and Japan’s respectively. Together, the RCEP countries represent nearly a third of the global GDP. RCEP has the potential of consolidating international supply chains within its member countries, luring production sites away – also from Germany, for example – and to set globally important trade norms and industrial standards. The new free trade alliance is a structural consequence of the shift in the balance of forces from the Atlantic to the Pacific and of former colonies turning their backs on their former colonial powers. German business representatives are calling for swift action to prevent potential losses to the German industry. more…

Countering Russia in the Far North

Conflict with Russia reaches far north. German Bundeswehr upgrades its capacities for operations in the Norwegian Sea to keep Russian warships out of the Atlantic.

BERLIN/OSLO | | norwegen

BERLIN/OSLO (Own report) - The escalating conflict with Russia is reaching the far north, prompting the Bundeswehr to upgrade and exercise for operations in the Norwegian Sea, according to a recent analysis by the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP). As the analysis notes, particularly the sea passage between Greenland, Island and Great Britain ("GIUK Gap") is gaining importance. The Russian Navy must cross the "GIUK Gap" if it wants to enter the Atlantic. During the Cold War, the "GIUK Gap" was already considered highly important for preventing potential Soviet attacks on North American supplies to Europe or Soviet naval attacks on the United States. Iceland, located at the center of this maritime region, had "the geopolitical status of a sort of battlefield," noted former NATO Supreme Allied Commander James Stavridis. The Bundeswehr will be provided maritime reconnaissance aircraft and submarines worth billions of euros to operate in the "GIUK Gap." German and Dutch special forces are also jointly preparing for operations in the far north. more…

Europe's Power is Eroding

European Council on Foreign Relations' new "Power Atlas" shows: The global power potential of the West, particularly the EU, is steadily declining - with the exception of military power.

BERLIN |

BERLIN (Own report) - The global power potential of the EU and its member countries is eroding and cannot keep up with that of the United States and China, as confirmed by data in "Power Atlas," recently published by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR). Not only the German and the EU's relative economic power is systematically declining, Germany is also losing ground in terms of its share of major corporations with global influence. China is leading in every sector. In the high-tech sectors such as artificial intelligence, quantum computing, robotics and the like, the USA and China dominate. The EU, ECFR notes, "fails to keep pace." In the future, "geopolitics will be dominated by countries and firms" that excel in precisely these fields. Only in the military sector - in terms of the volume of military expenditures, the number of foreign military bases - are western powers, led by the United States far out front. The military could thus take on prime importance in the West's attempt to maintain its dwindling global dominance against China. more…

Weaponry for Ukraine

Berlin is under mounting pressure to authorize arms deliveries to Kiev. NATO countries have been systematically arming Ukraine for years.

BERLIN/KIEV | | ukraine

BERLIN/KIEV (Own report) - Pressure is mounting on the German government to authorize arms deliveries to Ukraine. This is prompted by the fact that Berlin vetoed the supply of US-made sniper rifles to Ukraine via the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA). The Ukrainian armed forces are already being upgraded by NATO and its member states. So far, the USA has provided military aid worth more than US $2.5 billion, including the delivery of hundreds of Javelin anti-tank missiles. Poland and the Czech Republic have delivered dozens of second-hand armored personnel carriers, Turkey is supplying Kiev with its infamous Bayraktar TB2 drones. Great Britain, in turn, has begun to upgrade Ukraine's naval forces and wants to help Ukraine acquire new warships and construct new naval bases. Via the NSPA, NATO will supply Kiev with an anti-drone system - with Berlin's explicit support. Kiev is demanding more and accuses Berlin of "blocking" further arms deliveries. more…