• The National Security Strategy

    Dispute over Germany's national security continues. German foreign ministry seeks close cooperation with the USA, Chancellery orients more on strategic sovereignty.

    BERLIN (Own report) – The dispute between the chancellery and the foreign ministry over Germany's future national security continues. According to reports, it is unlikely that Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock will be able to present and internationally publicize the strategy paper prior to the Munich Security Conference (Feb. 17-19) as was originally planned, due to disagreements on important issues, such as, whether Berlin's future National Security Council will be under the auspices of the Chancellery or the Foreign Ministry. As is reported the council should also ensure that “politically uncomfortable decisions” be implemented in the future “independently of opportunity costs.” How the security strategy will relate to two key US strategy documents, published last year, also remains unclear. The USA’s National Security Strategy and its National Defense Strategy characterize not Russia, but China as the primary adversary, against which even allied states should take action. Baerbock is fully in agreement with this, while Chancellor Scholz is more reticent. Read more

  • EU’s Strategic Sovereignty

    Berlin and Paris strive for greater EU sovereignty vis-à-vis the USA and embark on massive rearmament – due also to Germany's severe setbacks in its rivalry with Washington.

    PARIS/BERLIN (Own report) -Germany and France are seeking greater “European sovereignty” and aim to “strengthen the EU as a geopolitical actor,” according to a Franco-German declaration published yesterday in Paris on the occasion of the ceremonies marking the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Élysée Treaty. The declaration provides military support for Ukraine “for as long as it takes,” announces new armament projects, and a Franco-German exercise in the “Indo-Pacific.” This is also due to Germany's severe setbacks in its rivalry with the Unites States, including its growing military dependence and the threat of its deindustrialization due to the exodus of production sites to the USA. According to the French publicist Emmanuel Todd, the current global power struggle – “the third world war has begun” – is also “about Germany.” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz anticipates the emergence of a “multipolar world,” in which Germany and the EU are to assume leading roles as strong military powers. Read more

  • Battle tanks for the spring offensive

    Delivery of Leopard 2s to Ukraine remains uncertain. The battle tanks are needed for a spring offensive that could include attacks on Crimea.

    RAMSTEIN/BERLIN/WASHINGTON (Own report) – In the immediate run-up to the conference of arms suppliers held at the US Ramstein Air Base, the German government has remained silent on the possible delivery of Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine. Pressure to supply the battle tanks had again mounted yesterday. The U.S. has declined to provide M1 Abrams tanks, while demanding that Germany hand over Leopard 2s to Ukraine. According to US media reports, large numbers of battle tanks are needed for a Ukrainian spring offensive, currently being planned by Ukrainian and US military officials. The required arms supply should be decided in Ramstein. Washington is only willing to authorize more sustained shelling of Crimea, the report notes. Warnings that this could cross Russia's red lines, escalate the war and even trigger a nuclear attack are being dismissed. In the past, the West has repeatedly crossed Russia's red lines – with dramatic consequences. As the situation now stands, a possible nuclear attack would strike Europe, but not the USA. Read more

  • “Neighbors at heart”

    On visit to Ethiopia, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock sought to strengthen Germany’s waning influence in that country and drive a wedge between Addis Ababa and Moscow.

    BERLIN/ADDIS ABEBA (Own report) – The German government is renewing its attempt to consolidate its waning influence on the African continent. Together with her French counterpart, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock visited Ethiopia at the end of last week to pursue a rapprochement with that country. In alliance with other Western states, Berlin had openly opposed Addis Ababa during the war in northern Ethiopia and – following the conclusion of a peace agreement brokered by the African Union – is trying to restore its standing in Ethiopia's capital. Baerbock now declares Ethiopia “a neighbor at heart” that Germany considers “a friend, not a sales market.” These ludicrous statements are accompanied by the attempt to drive a wedge between Ethiopia and Russia, using a Ukrainian grain donation. Addis Ababa has, for years, not only been cooperating closely with Beijing, but has also significantly intensified its relations with Moscow during the war. Read more

  • On Crumbling Ground

    In Brazil, Berlin seeks to expand cooperation with Lula, to make up for its loss of influence in that country. Think tank discerns growing distance between EU und Latin America.

    BRASÍLIA/BERLIN (Own report) – Berlin reacted with relief, when the movement to overthrow the Brazilian government was crushed. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz affirms “we stand closely by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.” According to reports, Scholz is planning to visit the South American country soon. Berlin is seeking to use the changeover in the Brazilian presidency from Jair Messias Bolsonaro to Lula to bolster German influence in Brazil, which has been significantly declining over the past years. As a recent analysis of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) notes, the German government must face the fact that Berlin's and the EU's policy have led to serious friction, not only in Brazil, but also throughout Latin America, over the past few years. Its refusal to supply Covid-19 vaccines, while simultaneously campaigning against Chinese vaccines, for example, has not exactly aroused sympathy for the EU. The policy of sanctions against Russia is also rejected on the subcontinent. SWP explicitly warns, “common ground is crumbling.” Read more

  • “All this Talk” of Red Lines

    Demands to deliver battle tanks and fighter jets to Ukraine are raised in Berlin. Western military officials support Kiev’s plans to retake Crimea.

    BERLIN/KIEV (Own report) – Following the German government’s announcement to supply Ukraine with armored infantry fighting vehicles, more extensive demands to deliver battle tanks and jet fighters are being raised in Berlin. The Green parliamentarian Anton Hofreiter, declared that he “would like” to see “ a European initiative for the delivery of the Leopard 2. Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck does not rule out Leopard 2 deliveries to Kiev. Carlo Masala, Professor at the Bundeswehr University in Munich advocates providing Ukraine’s armed forces also with fighter jets, needed for a “counter-offensive.” Masala and others are pleading to ignore Russia’s red lines. The currently discussed counter-offensives include the attempt to militarily retake Crimea. This could be accomplished by August, according to a retired US General. Of course, this would mean that the West would have to supply Ukraine with even more arms, explains a former advisor to the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff. Plans to retake Crimea had already been signed into law in Kiev by presidential decree back in March 2021. If this plan would be carried out, hundreds of thousands of Russians could be expelled by force. Read more

  • Crime Scene Baltic Sea

    Nord Stream attacks: Pressure mounts on German government to disclose investigation findings. US media and European government officials doubt Russian involvement.

    BERLIN/MOSCOW (Own report) – Pressure is mounting on the German government to disclose preliminary findings of the investigation into the Nord Stream attack, since alleged Russian responsibility, widely suggested by Western politicians and media, is now being put into question by leading US media. They are also basing themselves on assessments made by European government officials, according to whom, there is no evidence indicating Russian perpetrators, since Moscow must have every interest in the pipeline's continued existence. German media recently quoted unnamed “individuals in the German government” as saying that Ukrainian or Polish involvement should at least be taken into consideration. As a possible reason for Western involvement, US media cite Russian speculations that European countries could again be compelled to purchase Russian pipeline gas in case of a probable serious gas shortage next winter. It is still unclear, why Swedish combat ships were in the vicinity of the crime scenes shortly before the attacks. Read more

  • Producers of Hunger (II)

    EU lifts obstacles to deliveries of Russian fertilizer to Africa after an eight-month blockade. The blockade already aggravated hunger on the continent.

    BRUSSELS (Own report) – Following an eight-month blockade, the EU lifts obstacles to supplying African countries with vital Russian fertilizers. According to UN data, the global grain harvest has already slumped by 2.4 percent this year due to the lack of fertilizers. It is expected to drop significantly more next year – up to 20 percent. The main reason is that due to EU sanctions, Russian fertilizers could no longer be delivered to African countries. Russia is one of the world's main fertilizer producers. The EU has continuously denied this publicly, but has now implicitly admitted its responsibility. The existing sanctions have already impeded fertilizer shipments to Africa, it was remarked prior to Thursday's decision to alter the sanctions regime. In the future, EU states are permitted to ease punitive measures against several Russian billionaires, if it facilitates supplies of Russian fertilizers reaching African countries. This was heavily resisted by Poland and the Baltic states, who prioritize the struggle against Russia to the struggle against hunger in Africa. Read more

  • “Bloc Politics” in Southeast Asia

    EU seeks to strengthen its position in Southeast Asia at first summit – at the expense of Russia and particularly China. Singapore increases military cooperation with Berlin.

    BRUSSELS/BERLIN/SINGAPORE (Own report) – At yesterday’s first summit with the Southeast Asian alliance ASEAN, the EU tried to strengthen its position in the power struggles with Russia and China. In Brussels yesterday, both sides agreed to increase future economic cooperation. This should facilitate companies from Germany and the EU to shift their supply chains from China to Southeast Asia. Experts, however, see only limited chances of success for this plan. In yesterday’s summit declaration, the EU was unsuccessful in its attempt to seriously damage ASEAN-China relations by mentioning Taiwan. The EU also failed to reach agreement on taking an explicit anti-Russia position. Regarding the war in Ukraine, several ASEAN member states still refuse to openly condemn Moscow. The West is primarily successful in Singapore, which is the only Southeast Asian state participating in the Russia sanctions and in Western maneuvers targeting China – also together with Germany’s Bundeswehr. Singapore is one of the German arms industry’s most important customers. Read more

  • Unrest in Kosovo

    EU Foreign Affairs Commissioner calls for immediate end to unrest in Kosovo. They attest to the EU's utter failure in the region that was illegally seceded from Yugoslavia 23 years ago.

    BELGRADE/BRUSSELS/BERLIN (Own report) – EU Foreign Affairs Commissioner Josep Borrell is calling for an immediate end to the unrest in Kosovo. "This situation has to end," Borrell demanded yesterday in view of the protests that erupted last weekend because of the deployment of Albanian-speaking police, including special forces, in Serb-speaking northern Kosovo, which included the erection of blockades of various roads. A vehicle of the EU’s EULEX mission in Kosovo came also under attack. Serbia's President Aleksandar Vučić called for the deployment of Serbian repressive forces in northern Kosovo – for the protection of the Serbian-speaking minority. Kosovo's President Vjosa Osmani accused Vučić of harboring a 1990s "mentality,” which, at the time, had led to "war" and the "killing of 150,000 civilians." Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti admonished Serbia, calling it a pro-Asian state – presumably a negative counterpart to a "pro-American" Kosovo. More than 23 years after Kosovo was separated from Yugoslavia through the illegal war of aggression, the EU’s efforts to build up the impoverished region has proven an utter failure. Read more