The End of US Domination at the Persian Gulf (III)
China gains new influence at the Persian Gulf with its successful mediation in the Saudi-Iranian conflict. Decline of US domination could also weaken Germany's position in the region.
RIYADH/TEHRAN/BEIJING (Own report) – With China gaining influence at the Persian Gulf through its successful mediation in the conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran is not only calling into question US domination, but also Germany's position in that region. Beijing has achieved initial success in bringing about rapprochement between Riyadh and Tehran. Both are now intending to resume diplomatic relations and are negotiating far-reaching cooperation. It they succeed, US efforts at establishing a sort of Arab NATO against Iran, are about to fail. For decades, the Federal Republic of Germany has also been benefitting from US domination in the Middle East, as it could always procure crude oil and natural gas from the region, whenever needed and engage in profitable business deals. Most recently, a former Siemens CEO temporarily served as economic advisor to Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, the actual ruler of the country. It is uncertain whether the receptiveness to Berlin's interests in the Middle East will continue despite the loss of U.S. influence. The close alliance between Saudi Arabia and the United States has been in a crisis for some time. Read more
On the Side of War (II)
China and Russia negotiate an end to the war in Ukraine. West rejects attempt at solutions, because of its efforts to defend global domination.
MOSCOW/BEIJING/BERLIN (Own report) – Politicians around the world had widely diverging reactions to the talks that just ended in Moscow between the presidents of China and Russia and their negotiations on ending of the war in Ukrainian. Officials of the Ukrainian government indicate openness toward talks with Beijing. Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva called the reports on the meeting “good news,” and will follow up on the negotiations next week in China. Negative reactions are coming from the West, including from Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, who alleges that Beijing’s initiative in pursuit of peace talks is utterly inadequate. This is in response to the fact that in Moscow, Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin have not only explored possibilities for terminating the war in Ukraine, but have also initiated an expansion of their cooperation, which puts into question the prevailing Western global domination. Due to the fact that particularly China has “both the intent” as well as the power to “reshape the international order,” the National Security Strategy of the United States calls for Washington to “outcompete” the People’s Republic of China. Read more
Strategy for a Decisive Decade (II)
The German Foreign Ministry presents its draft strategy for escalation of the power struggle against China, planing Taiwan’s integration and economic coercion measures – such as boycotts of entire regions.
BERLIN/BEIJING (Own report) – In the midst of a power struggle against Russia, the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs under Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock is preparing another escalation in the power struggle against China. This has been confirmed by excerpts from the draft of a new German strategy toward China currently circulating in media reports. According to these, the foreign ministry is pushing for steps, intended (officially) to merely prevent dependence on the People's Republic of China, but aimed, in fact, at reducing German industry’s business with China. It also provides for the option of imposing import bans if desired on products from entire regions, for example from Xinjiang or Hong Kong. The paper simultaneously calls for steps to be taken in relationship to Taiwan that would be likely to test Beijing’s red lines. Moreover, the foreign ministry is making cooperation with China dependent on the extent that Beijing submits to German foreign policy and ceases all cooperation with Russia – a hint also in the direction of India or South Africa, showing what they too can expect in terms of cooperation with Germany. The consequences of an escalation of the conflict with China would considerably exceed those of the economic warfare waged against Russia. Read more
Strategy for a Decisive Decade
Conflict escalates between the German Foreign Ministry and Chancellery over Germany’s new China strategy: Baerbock opts for aggressive political attacks. Washington sabotages Germany’s business relations with China.
BERLIN/BEIJING/WASHINGTON (Own report) – While Germany’s new China strategy is being drafted, the dispute between the German foreign ministry and the chancellery is escalating over the intensity of the confrontation policy toward Beijing. Chancellor Olaf Scholz is pushing for maintaining a certain degree of economic cooperation despite the growing rivalry with the People’s Republic – in the interests of important branches of the German industry, which depend on China as a sales market and a research and development site. Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock is pushing for aggressive political attacks against Beijing – under the pretext of fighting for human rights. She does not even hesitate to publicly attack the chancellor, himself, while abroad. At the same, time, the USA is intensifying pressure in Berlin to scale back its economic cooperation with Beijing, interfering directly in concrete German-Chinese business deals. US President Biden sees a “decisive decade” ahead in the competition with China. In this context Berlin announced a new China strategy for the first quarter of 2023. Read more
The Dialectics of the China Business
In the runup to Scholz’s visit to China, the dispute over Chinese investments in Germany persists. With continued growth, China’s industry could outpace its German competitors.
HAMBURG/BEIJING (Own report) – In the runup to German Chancellor Scholz’s visit to China this week, the dispute over Chinese investments in Germany persists. The Chinese shipping company COSCO’s acquisition of a stake in a terminal in the port of Hamburg, agreed upon last year, was approved last week only with certain restrictions. Federal ministers from the FDP and Greens had done their best to prevent it. The dispute must be seen in the context of the contradictions in Germany’s economic development. While numerous German companies, and even entire industrial branches, continue to profit massively from their close cooperation with the People’s Republic, the intense cooperation is, in turn, also strengthening Chinese industry – at the expense of their German competitors. COSCO, for example, with a global market share of eleven percent of container shipping, has already bypassed Hamburg’s Hapag-Lloyd shipping company and threatens to outpace it in the long run. A recent study by the Berlin-based MERICS think tank illustrates similar developments pertaining to German automotive companies’ involvement with China. Read more
Playing with Fire (III)
German Bundestag delegation on visit to Taiwan seeks to promote its “independence,” declaring the island – part of China under international law – a “nation.” Washington maximizes pressure on Beijing.
BERLIN/TAIPEI (Own report) – With its visit to Taiwan, a German Bundestag delegation seeks to promote its “independence,” thus threatening to exacerbate tensions over the island. Over the weekend, leader of the delegation, Peter Heidt (FDP), declared the visit serves to support “Taiwan as a nation.” German parliamentarians are thereby violating the globally recognized One-China-Principle, which had also been confirmed by the UN General Assembly already decades ago. In case a peaceful reunification with Taiwan is rendered impossible – for example by a formal secession of the island or its official recognition as a separate state – China reserves the right to intervene militarily. Berlin’s offensive, which is in line with similar statements by Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock for example, disregards the majority of the Taiwanese population’s wish not to challenge the highly sensitive status quo. The USA is arming Taiwan – with the same weapons systems it had provided Ukraine before Russia’s intervention, for the case that a provocation, such as the one by Berlin, incites Beijing to take military action. Read more
Playing with Fire
The Bundestag delegation’s visit to Taiwan exacerbates the conflict with China. The West attempts to pit Taiwan against Beijing – even in strategic military terms.
BERLIN/TAIPEI/BEIJING (Own report) – A several-day visit to Taiwan by a Bundestag delegation is provoking new tensions between Germany and China. The six-member delegation of politicians – with a representative from each of the parties in the Bundestag – has also met with President Tsai Ing-wen. An expansion of future relations is planned. The conflict between Berlin and Beijing over the Taiwan policy is not based on the relations as such, which have existed since the 1950s and are in some respects considered close. The conflict revolves more around the western nations’ efforts to politically enhance Taiwan’s clout, to develop it into a counter-model to the People’s Republic of China in the West’s power struggle against China. In addition, the United States, in particular, aims to significantly weaponize Taiwan, to strategically use it militarily against China – as one of the so-called First Island Chain. In the context of plans to pit Taipei against Beijing, the seemingly harmless parliamentary visits – for example Nancy Pelosi’s recent visit to Taipei – play an important role. Read more
The West’s Limited Narratives
Berlin-based think tank warns against trying to internationally isolate China. In Africa, Asia and Latin America, Beijing is appreciated as cooperation partner and quite popular.
BEIJING/BERLIN (Own report) – A Berlin-based think tank, specialized on China, warns against trying to internationally isolate the People’s Republic, as with Russia. Attitudes towards China diverged widely from “mainstream narratives” in the western world, according to a study by the Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS). It is of major importance to understand how “actors outside the usual grouping of rich, liberal market economies” view the shifting global dynamics, and how they think about Europe. In fact, the Western public’s extremely negative perception of China is generally not shared outside the West. On the contrary, sometimes the People’s Republic enjoys an even greater popularity than the United States. Non-western elites usually appreciate Beijing, because it does not lecture governments in Africa, Asia and Latin America and because the Chinese market and Chinese investments offer huge opportunities. If the EU does not want to fall behind Beijing, it must take vigorous action, according to MERICS. Read more
Entry into Decline
Berlin plans coercive measures to downscale German business activities in China. The reason: German investments in China, the market of the future, are increasing more than ever.
BEIJING/BERLIN (Own report) – The German government is planning coercive measures to downscale German companies’ business activities in China. According to reports, the German Ministry of Economics is not only preparing to severely restrict the usual government guarantees for foreign business ventures for business in the People’s Republic. Introducing compulsory notification for investments in China is also in discussion – with the possibility of rejection. Similar measures in the USA serve as a model. Berlin is reacting to the fact that it has not yet succeeded in downscaling business activities in China. According to a recent study, German investments in – as well as exports from – the People’s Republic have reached all-time highs in the first half of 2022. This has resulted from German companies not discontinuing, but rather “localizing” their activities in China, to make them crisis-proof. The People’s Republic is considered an indispensable market of the future. The coercive measures being pursued by Berlin, particularly by the Green-led ministries, are likely to drive German industry into decline. Read more
Strategic Rethinking in Berlin (II)
CDU-affiliated Konrad Adenauer Foundation proposes an expansion of German military activities in the Asian-Pacific Realm. Power struggle against China threatens to dangerously escalate.
BEIJING/BERLIN/BRUSSELS (Own report) – The CDU-affiliated Konrad Adenauer Foundation proposes that Germany expand its military activities in the Asian-Pacific realm. Admittedly, the Bundeswehr already has much on its plate with the reinforcement of “NATO’s European pillar,” involving the preparation of “three combat-ready divisions with eight to ten combat brigades.” But the Bundeswehr could additionally orient itself toward “a significant permanent military engagement in the Indo-Pacific,” for example with the dispatchment of German warships, “on a rotating or a permanent basis.” The “more frequent and substantial participation“ of German troops “in military exercises in the Indo-Pacific” should contribute particularly toward “improving the interoperability and exchange of information,” according to a strategy paper just published by the foundation. The document also names activities to be undertaken by the EU in cooperation with the riparian countries of the South China Sea – with the objective that “these form a counterweight to China.” Because the intensified confrontation with China could lead to hefty upheavals, the paper advises that this must be “explained to the German public.” Read more