"A More United Front against Russia"
USA: Discord in preparation of Defender Europe 22. NATO reinforces its position against Russia at the Black Sea. Turkey emerges as unreliable ally.
BERLIN/WASHINGTON/MOSCOW (Own report) - In the USA, discord accompanies preparations for the Defender 22 large-scale exercise. The Pentagon wants to focus the maneuver on military modernization at home. This is why - contrary to the initial plans - it seeks to reduce the number of troops to be transited across the Atlantic to Europe and in the direction of Russia. This has provoked anger in the US Congress. The German Bundeswehr on the other hand, would like participation similar to the 2020 and 2021 war exercises. Independent of this, at the end of last week NATO's defense ministers initiated new measures for reinforcing the war alliance's position in its power struggle with Russia - particularly in the Black Sea region. The Black Sea is of major importance to Russia, on the one hand, for the defense of its southern flank and, on the other, for its naval power projection into the Mediterranean and on to the Middle East. NATO is setting its sights on both. However, its consistency is beginning to show cracks: Turkey is considered an unreliable ally. Read more
The Dwindling Eurocentric Perspective
The crisis over western diplomats' interference in Turkey's domestic affairs has been settled. Ankara's orientation on the EU is waning due to the EU's decline.
BERLIN/ANKARA (Own report) - The Turkish government stepped back from a threat to expel ten Western ambassadors, including the one from Germany. As President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan noted, the ambassadors have vowed to comply with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, and to "cease interference in Turkey's domestic affairs." Earlier, an appeal for the immediate release the jailed businessman and foundation activist Osman Kavala by the ten ambassadors had sparked a diplomatic crisis. Kavala has obviously been imprisoned on political grounds. Thus, his case offers western states an occasion to politically intervene with Ankara - in other words, to do something, they, themselves, would not tolerate, as, for example, in the case of jailed WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Germany, in particular, is striving to mitigate conflicts with Turkey - for strategic reasons. Experts, however, expect disputes with Ankara to continue because it clearly perceives the West's decline and, has begun to reorient itself toward Asia. Read more
Refugees Dying in No Man's Land
Push-backs of refugees will be discussed at the EU summit, which begins today. Fourteen member states are demanding EU funds to build meters high razor wire fences at EU's external borders.
BERLIN/BRUSSELS (Own report) - In violation of international law, the expansion of pushbacks at the EU's external borders and the construction of several meters high razor wire border installations are on the agenda of the EU summit, which begins today. Recent investigations provided video evidence that, on the one hand, the pushbacks at EU's external borders, which have been documented and criticized for years, have actually been implemented by regular police units with funding from Brussels. On the other hand, 14 EU members, including Poland and the Baltic states are demanding subventions for the fortification of their borders. Because Poland is illegally denying entry to refugees and is prohibiting access to the border area by aid organizations through declaring a state of emergency, at least seven refugees so far have died in the no man's land between Poland and Belarus. German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer praised Poland's prevention of refugees at the country's eastern border and suggested joint border patrols to prevent refugees from entering Germany. Read more
The Business Foundation of German Industry (II)
The geostrategic competition between the USA and China could lead to a decoupling of German companies from the Chinese or the US market, a recent analysis predicts.
BERLIN/GÜTERSLOH (Own report) - In case of further escalation of the power struggle between the USA and China, German business circles go so far as to consider breaking up companies into different regional units or taking even more drastic steps, according to a comprehensive analysis elaborated by the Bertelsmann Foundation in cooperation with the Federation of German Industries (BDI). The analysis outlines five scenarios for the development of this US American-Chinese conflict, two of which - more cooperative ones - are deemed unlikely. A third scenario envisions the continuation of the status quo, while another two anticipate a further escalation of tensions. This would lead to clearly delineated blocs, a dramatic military buildup and an eventual erosion of the EU between the USA and China, its disintegration and possibly even its economic collapse. Some companies could feel compelled to completely decouple from the Chinese market and not ruling out withdrawal from the US, or even from the "European home market." Initial signs of a new orientation can already be discerned in current corporate decisions. Read more
The Business Foundation of German Industry (I)
German Think Tank outlines scenarios for possible developments in the geostrategic competition between the USA and China and their respective impact on the German economy.
BERLIN/GÜTERSLOH (Own report) - Germany's influential Bertelsmann Foundation has published a comprehensive analysis of the impact the geostrategic competition between the USA and China has on Germany's economy. German companies are essentially dependent on profitable business relations with both countries to avoid jeopardizing their position in the global economy. At the same time, German businessmen fear that they may have to choose sides due to the escalating rivalry between Washington and Beijing. The Bertelsmann Foundation outlines five scenarios for the development of this conflict and presents possible responses from the side of German businesses. The analysis has been elaborated over a longer period of time in cooperation with the Federation of German Industries (BDI), drawing on assessments and strategic considerations of various segments of the German economy. The authors conclude that more cooperative scenarios of the US-Chinese conflict do not "currently seem to align with the internal logic of the systems involved." German companies could be forced to take drastic steps. Read more
A 'Toxic Cocktail' for the EU's Natural Gas Supply
Transatlantic circles again speculate on applying sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. US LNG producers reduce their supplies to Europe.
BERLIN/WASHINGTON/MOSCOW (Own report) - Statements by US officials and a trip to Europe by a US special envoy renew speculations on possible sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Russia has been accused of deliberately driving up the gas price in Europe and of exploiting the current supply difficulties within the EU for political ends. Experts largely disagree: Whereas natural gas prices have skyrocketed, due to the rapidly rising demand in East Asia and the EU Commission's pricing policy, Moscow has fully honored all contractual supply obligations. Gazprom has even increased its exports to Germany by 33 percent, compared to the same period last year, while US supplies of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Europe have decreased by 15 percent. US energy companies can get higher prices in Asia. According to the US ambassador to Ukraine, Russia might have "geopolitical considerations" for delaying the expansion of gas exports to Europe. In that case new sanctions are envisaged. Read more
"This is Our Backyard!"
At its Western Balkans Summit the EU woos the non-member nations of Southeastern Europe with lip service. Russia and also China, the major vaccine supplier, are gaining influence in the region.
BERLIN/BRUSSELS (Own report) - Paying lip service to alleged enlargement plans, the EU is seeking to shield the six non-member countries in Southeast Europe from Russian, Chinese and Turkish influence. The EU reconfirms its commitment to the "enlargement process" - i.e. the admission of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Albania and Kosovo, which had seceded from Serbia in violation of international law, into the EU - according to a declaration adopted yesterday by the EU leaders in Brdo pri Kranju, Slovenia. Experts are not taking this statement seriously. To promote closer ties to the EU, the leaders also announced billions of euros in support of infrastructure projects and to provide the region with larger amounts of Covid-19 vaccines. So far, China has supplied more vaccine than the EU and is even building a vaccine plant in Serbia. Latvia's prime minister more blatantly calls for eliminating the influence of such countries as Russia and China in Southeast Europe "This is our backyard." Read more
Russia in Military Format
Bundeswehr placed orders for high-resolution maps of Russia. EU calls for more sanctions. German think tank promotes "change in Russia", YouTube deletes RT DE.
BERLIN/MOSCOW (Own report) - The German Bundeswehr has commissioned the "fabrication and delivery" of high-resolution maps of Russia - vector maps in military format, according to a report. Germany is part of a cooperation network, wherein 32 countries - grouped around a NATO core - "share photos and maps with one another." This procurement of militarily applicable maps comes at a time when tensions between the West and Russia continue to escalate. Most recently, the EU threatened new sanctions. According to the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP), new investments must be made, not only "in the defense capacities within the NATO and the EU frameworks." "Change in Russia" must also be promoted through Intensive contacts within the Russian society. At the same time, the US company, Google, and its video platform YouTube has deleted RT DE - the German language edition of the Russian international broadcaster "Russia Today." This move is akin to measures the DGAP had proposed to accompany a more aggressive German foreign policy. Read more