• Strategy of Tension

    Commentary by Hans-Rüdiger Minow

    “Ruin Russia,” Germany’s foreign ministry’s declaration of intent has, in just a few months, proven to be what it had always been from the very beginning: an unrealistic utterance of an aggressive impulse anticipating Germany’s failure in the history of German-Russian diplomacy, even in German-Russian relations in general. Already others in Germany’s foreign ministry had sought to “ruin Russia.” It is not permissible to mention their names in this context, because they were – and are – nothing more than the embodiments of an economy-based megalomania, riding on anti-Slavic racism. Millions had fallen victim to it in eastern and southeastern Europe. German troops stood at the gates of Leningrad, seeking to starve out the city; they ravaged in Warsaw; and slaughtered in Pančevo – but they were forced to retreat. 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

  • Strategic Rethinking in Berlin (I)

    CDU-affiliated Konrad Adenauer Foundation outlines options to escalate confrontation with China, but does not rule out “considerable damage” to German industry.

    BEIJING/BERLIN/BRUSSELS (Own report) – Berlin is considering an intensification of its confrontational policy toward the People's Republic of China. This is apparent in a strategy paper recently presented by the CDU-affiliated Konrad Adenauer Foundation. The proposals in the paper include an intensified interference in the domestic affairs of China, “public campaigns,” accusing Beijing of “disinformation and propaganda,” as well as attempts in Africa to alienate China, as a cooperation partner. At the same time, the “resilience” of the domestic population must be strengthened – for example, with “a strategic media and information policy in Germany and the EU.” To weaken the People’s Republic’s position in the global economy, the CDU’s foundation suggests that the globally anchored WTO be replaced by a new alliance merging the G7 with the OECD (“WTO of the West”). The foundation points out, however, that Chinese resistance and massive damage to German enterprises are to be expected – at a time when Germany’s economy is already beginning to suffer heavily under the war of sanctions against Russia. Read more

  • After us the Deluge (II)

    Europe, which, in late 2021, had sought to halt natural gas projects in Africa, to save the climate, is now facilitating them to gain independence from Russian gas and to be able to intensify the fight against Moscow.

    BERLIN/DAKAR (Own report) – The intensified use of African countries as a source of natural gas for Europe is meeting growing criticism on the African continent. This is resulting from decisions, taken last year by a group of prosperous industrialized nations during the Climate Conference in Glasgow (COP26), which foresaw halting funding of oil and gas extraction abroad. This, on the other hand, would mean that it would be more difficult for Africa to use natural gas as a source of energy. Today, 600 million people in Africa still have no access to electricity. Natural gas is considered a suitable source of energy for rectifying this, with the least possible impact on climate. Now, however, European countries have executed an about face and are insisting on natural gas supplies from African countries – to free themselves of their dependency on Russian gas and to reinforce their boycott against Moscow. Sharp criticism is being raised by numerous African states. A former top UN representative accused this European approach of being “paternalist” and hypocritical.” In their quest for liquefied natural gas (LNG), European countries continue to buy up deliveries away from southern Asia’s poorer countries. Read more

  • Power Shifts in Latin America

    Germany and the EU risk loss of influence in Latin America. US reputation already in eclipse. Experts speak of a post-American Latin America.

    BRASÍLIA/WASHINGTON/BERLIN (Own report) – Germany and the EU are at risk of losing even more influence, according to economic data and a recent analysis published by the Berlin-based German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP). “Despite its long presence in the region,” the EU is already “losing ground in terms of trade and investments,” the SWP writes. There has been a considerable shift of power in Latin America itself. Whereas the reputation of the United States has been in eclipse over the past few years and decades because of its indifference toward large parts of the region, China’s influence has skyrocketed, US experts explain. This enables various Latin American countries to pursue a more independent foreign policy. Argentina, for example, has just recently reiterated that it seeks to join the BRICS alliance, which, in turn, aims to facilitate the progress of emerging countries – even against the resistance of western powers. The shifts of power became evident in the dispute over the recent Summit of the Americas. Read more

  • Germany as Leading Power

    German Chancellor Olaf Scholz wants the EU to play a “geopolitical role.” SPD chairman sees Germany as “leading power.”

    BERLIN/BRUSSELS (Own report) – The EU should play a “geopolitical role” and therefore “close ranks” and step up its militarization, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz demands in an op-ed published in the Frankfurter Allgemeinen Zeitung. He promises “concrete proposals” in the next few months and is already demanding the abolition of the right to veto on foreign policy issues, which enables smaller states to protect their vital interests against the pressure of the powerful member states. A similar view was recently expressed by SPD Chair Lars Klingbeil. “After nearly 80 years” of alleged “restraint,” Germany should claim “the role of a leading power,” the SPD-Chair demanded. This would “require tough decisions by Berlin.” Klingbeil also called for massive rearmament of the Bundeswehr. Scholz and Klingbeil are worried because the developing and emerging countries are refusing, to a growing extent, to follow the old West and are pursuing their own independent policy. The call to engage in “geopolitical” activities in the future comes at a time of rapidly growing poverty in the EU. Read more

  • Facing the Stress Test

    Military personnel and scholars call for using the Ukraine war to weaken Russia – despite the threat of impoverishing broad segments of the population if natural gas supplies are cut off.

    BERLIN/WASHINGTON (Own report) – German military personnel and scholars are speaking out in opposition to a negotiated settlement of the war in Ukraine and in favor of an increased arms build-up against Russia and China, as well as for preparations for a dramatic natural gas shortage. Referring to the heavy losses inflicted upon Russian troops during the war, they write in their appeal, “the current Russian weakness offers policy options to the West, whose disregard ... would be negligence.” The delivery of heavy weaponry to Ukraine and the increased militarization of NATO's eastern flank are aimed at intensifying military pressure on Russia. The appeal was published as preparations are being stepped up for a possible halt of Russian natural gas supplies to Europe. If this happens, German economic output could drop by one-eighth. jeopardizing over five million jobs, according to an analysis by the Bavarian Industry Association (vbw). While German Economics Minister Robert Habeck predicts a “stress test” for the German population, experts in the US are beginning to call for scaling down sanctions, because they are inflicting heavy damage on Europe. Read more

  • After us the Deluge

    Countries in southern Asia and other developing and emerging countries face a serious energy crisis, as Europe buys up the liquefied natural gas in its power struggle against Russia.

    BERLIN/ISLAMABAD (Own report) – The European scramble for liquified natural gas (LNG) threatens to cause a breakdown in the energy supplies of numerous countries in southern Asia and other regions of the world, according to reports from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Thailand and various other countries. Pakistan, for example, can no longer purchase LNG from the spot market, because “every single molecule that was available in our region” has been purchased by Europe, Pakistan’s Petroleum Minister, Musadik Malik said. His government has long since been forced to ration electricity, reduce business hours and, at times, even curtail supplies to some of its industries. The export industry, which had recently been expanding, is now facing serious setbacks. The same holds true for Bangladesh, where – due to LNG shortage – its population must cope with power cuts and its industry with painful production losses. Similar reports are coming out of Thailand and other countries. This is caused by the fact that European states – seeking to deprive Moscow of the revenues from its gas sales – are buying up LNG at the expense of poorer nations. Read more

  • The Lithium Gap

    Germany depends on China for Lithium supply, a vital raw material for the energy transition. In Bolivia, a Russian rather than a German company, may obtain access to Lithium.

    BERLIN (Own report) – Germany and the EU depend on Chinese companies for access to Lithium, one of the most important raw materials for the energy transition. Chinese companies dominate the global lithium sector – not only in mining, but also in processing and battery production. For the US to catch up to China in the lithium sector, it could take decades and at least US $175 billion in investments, according to estimates. The required investment would be no less for Germany and the EU. This is all the more significant, because experts are predicting a serious shortage of lithium in the years to come. Chinese producers would be at an advantage over their European competitors in the production of electric cars, whose batteries consume the bulk of the lithium being mined globally. Experts already expect that, in the foreseeable future, Chinese electric car manufacturers will conquer the cheaper segment of the European market, which European car manufacturers neglect. One of Germany’s flagship sectors would thus come under pressure on the domestic market. Read more

  • The Summits’ Results

    Experts skeptical concerning results of recent major western summits. By contrast, BRICS alliance with Russia and China expected to gain ground.

    BERLIN/WASHINGTON/MOSCOW (Own report) – Experts are skeptical concerning the widely praised results of the western summits (EU, G7, NATO) that took place over the past ten days. The EU summit has produced an astounding result – granting Ukraine and Moldova candidate status, they note. However, how real the prospects may be for Ukraine, should be cast in serious doubts, given the fact that the EU continues to renege on its accession promises to the non-EU countries of Southeastern Europe. Concerning NATO’s announcement to massively militarize its eastern flank, they wonder where the resources should come from. Arming Ukraine, as the sole focus, should be abandoned in favor of negotiations with Moscow. Observers also note that, with its 600 Billon Dollar infrastructure initiative, the G7 summit has produced a “pipedream” with questionable substance. According to experts, the BRICS states are currently more successful: More countries seek to join their alliance. The West may well “lose” the current power struggle. Read more