• Producers of Hunger

    Berlin ignores UN warning that Western policy of sanctions leads to fertilizer shortages and subsequently to a dramatic aggravation of the global food crisis.

    BERLIN/NEW YORK (Own report) – The German government ignores UN warnings that the Western policy of sanctions could lead to dramatic fertilizer shortages and soon escalate the global food crisis. Sanctions against the Russian financial and transport sectors could massively obstruct fertilizer exports. Prior to the war, Russia and Belarus produced nearly 20 percent of all global fertilizers. In addition, the cost of fertilizer production has spiked sharply worldwide due to the dramatically skyrocketing gas prices provoked by the policy of embargoes. The number of factories forced to shut down production is also growing in Europe. Whereas European farmers must face escalating costs but, if necessary, can cover their needs through expensive foreign purchases, this option is non-existent in poorer countries, for example on the African continent. In those countries, food production could slump by more than one fifth, solely due to fertilizer shortages. On Tuesday, UN Secretary General António Guterres has again warned of the consequences. Berlin doesn’t feel concerned and maintains the sanctions. Read more

  • “Prepared to take the Lead”

    Influential German daily offers constructive assessment of Berlin’s growing claims to “German leadership” in Europe and “European leadership” in the world.

    BERLIN (Own report) – One of the most influential German dailies is offering a sort of constructive assessment of the German government’s repeated claims to leadership at EU and global levels. These claims to leadership are not new. Already more than ten years ago, the chairman of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group, Volker Kauder, had spoken of a "Zeitenwende” (historical turning point) and openly declared that Berlin must "lead Europe into a new era." For several months, a growing number of Berlin’s top politicians – including federal minsters – have again been forging ahead and declaring, like Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, “we are prepared to take the lead.” To implement the claim to leadership, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is calling for the introduction of decision-making by majority rule in EU foreign policy. This will hardly work, according to the conservative Frankfurter Allgemeinen Zeitung: Some EU states have already balked at implementing less stringent decisions on the redistribution of refugees within the Union. Recently, Berlin has all too often limited itself to “demanding allegiance.” If it seeks success in the future, it must proceed in a “cooperative” manner. Read more

  • The West against the Rest (II)

    In her State of the Union Address, EU-Commission President Ursula von der Leyen orients the West toward the formation of blocks. Non-Western alliances (BRICS, SCO) are gaining support.

    BRUSSELS/SAMARKAND (Own report) – In its power struggle against Russia and China, the EU is aiming at the formation of a global bloc, seeking to comprehensively expand the Western bloc and to move against foreign powers’ “Trojan horses” at home, according to yesterday’s State of the Union Address by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. The transatlantic bloc, which includes some Asia-Pacific nations, will thus be given the positively connotated label of “democracies.” It is to include as many African and Latin American nations as possible and juxtaposed with a non-western bloc, which will be given the negatively connotated label “autocracies.” While the EU is fostering the formation of a bloc, in the non-Western “rest” of the world – i.e., three quarters of all nations – new alliances are forming, seeking a multipolar international order. Besides Russia and China, these include India Brazil and South Africa. Diverse countries such as Argentina, the United Arab Emirates and Indonesia are seeking to join BRICS or SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization). Read more

  • “We are a Leading Power”

    German defense minister Lambrecht declares Germany a “leading military power.” National Security Strategy to ensure clout. Lambrecht plans annual “National Security Day.”

    BERLIN (Own report) – "Germany's size, its geographical situation, its economic power — in short, its clout — makes us a leading power,” declared German Minister of Defense Christine Lambrecht. As Lambrecht affirmed yesterday in a speech to the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP), Germany is "a leading power ... also in the military sphere." In the future, the Bundeswehr must play “a more important role in our political thinking and action.” In her speech Lambrecht focused on the new National Security Strategy that the government plans to adopt still this year. The strategy, being drafted under the auspices of the foreign ministry, reflects on a national level the EU’s “Strategic Compass” – a sort of military doctrine – and NATO’s new Strategic Concept. Since the Strategy’s implementation will entail considerable costs, it is necessary to win broad public acceptance – for example by introducing a “National Security Day.” The ambitious plans are in stark contrast to the failure of German military missions over the past few years. Read more

  • The Ally‘s Instability

    Experts predict “political instability” in the USA and new transatlantic tensions, while in the power struggle against Moscow, Berlin is more dependent on Washington than ever before.

    BERLIN/WASHINGTON (Own report) – German foreign policy experts warn of new tensions in the transatlantic alliance and point to the looming decline of the United States. That society is becoming more and more divided, according to the recent issue of the leading German periodical on foreign policy (“Internationale Politik”). Whereas the Republicans are increasingly successful in advancing their “right-wing conservative agenda” with the help of the Supreme Court, the Democrats can hardly push through their agenda “despite congressional majorities.” If the Republicans win in the November midterm elections and in the presidential elections in two years, “political instability” or even “constitutional crises” are “realistic scenarios”, Internationale Politik predicts. This could also affect foreign policy. Germany’s most important global ally would thus be threatened with internal upheavals – at a time, when the escalating power struggle against Moscow is driving Berlin more than ever before into political and economic dependency on Washington. Read more

  • The Next Trade War

    In the EU, threats are made to unleash a trade war against Great Britain over the Northern Ireland protocol dispute. The self-inflicted damage would add to the damage already provoked by anti-Russia sanctions.

    BERLIN/BRUSSELS/LONDON (Own report) – The EU may be at the threshold of its next trade war, according to remarks pertaining to today’s appointment of Liz Truss as the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. It is caused by the dispute between Brussels and London over the Northern Ireland protocol, which, becoming effective in the aftermath of Brexit, imposes the establishment of a customs border between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, obligating London to comply with single market regulations in Northern Ireland. Given the fact that, until now, the EU has only been willing to allow minor corrections to the protocol, even though it is provoking serious tensions in Northern Ireland, the British government is preparing to institute changes unilaterally. It has been reported that Truss could suspend parts of the protocol soon after taking office. Such a move could provoke a “trade war” between the EU and Great Britain, Katarina Barley (SPD), Vice President of the EU Parliament, was quoted to have said. The damage that would ensue from that trade war, would add to the severe damage inflicted on the economies of Germany and the EU from their sanctions on Russia. In addition, because of the power struggle with Beijing, there is also a danger of a slump in business with China. 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

  • Battle Over Mali (II)

    In Berlin the debate over the future of the Mali mission escalates. The mission is considered a failure, however Moscow’s growing influence in Bamako should be weakened.

    BAMAKO/BERLIN (Own report) – In Berlin, the debate about a possible Bundeswehr withdrawal from Mali is escalating. Alongside the dispute about German troop transports and an apparently unauthorized use of a military camp by a private, service contractor engaged by the Bundeswehr, the conflict is mainly focused on Mali’s growing military cooperation with Russia. In addition to the presence of a growing number of Russian soldiers and private military contractors, Moscow is also increasing its arms deliveries to Bamako. The West’s efforts to repel Russia’s influence in Mali has long since included the UN’s MINUSMA operation, which the western powers seek to have investigate the suspected massacre of civilians. Massacres, such as these, have been carried out for years. They remained unsolved, as long as the EU was in charge of training Malian soldiers. The West’s attempts to instrumentalize human rights, to fight Russian influence in Mali, is leading to a conflict over the new MINUSMA mandate. In Berlin, demands for withdrawal are growing to the same degree as the opposite demands not abandon Mali to Russia. Read more

  • Battle Over Mali (I)

    Conflict over Germany’s Bundeswehr deployment in Mali continues. Bamako criticizes highhandedness of the West, particularly of France, including acts of espionage and subversion.

    BAMAKO/BERLIN (Own report) – The conflict between Mali and Germany continues over the Bundeswehr’s deployment in that West African country. Differences over the German soldiers’ arrival and departure were resolved last week. Once Berlin consented to comply with the new troop transport regulations, the rotation of the Bundeswehr contingent in Mali – which had been scheduled since some time – was accomplished last Thursday. However, the conflict over Mali’s military cooperation with Russia continues. Bamako is also taking action against unauthorized operations on its territory by foreign powers. It reproaches France of having carried out this year alone dozens of unauthorized aerial operations in Mali, some aimed at espionage and subversion. Mali’s government is therefore requesting a special session of the UN Security Council. Bamako is also taking action against a private contractor of the German Bundeswehr, for allegedly having operated a military camp at the airport of Mali’s capital without the appropriate authorization. All this must be seen in the context of Bamako’s fears of a West-inspired coup. Read more