The World Order and Its Profiteers
Chancellor Scholz has initiated the purchase of fracking gas in Argentina. Fracking triggers many earthquakes in the region. Argentina seeks to get rid of Western dominance.
BUENOS AIRES/BERLIN (Own Report) – The German government seeks to purchase larger quantities of fracked gas from Argentina. This is one result of the three-day South American trip from which Chancellor Olaf Scholz returns Tuesday. The gas will be imported in liquefied form and will help replace Russian natural gas completely. It will be produced from the Vaca Muerta (“Dead Cow”) shale formation in western Argentina, where the German company Wintershall Dea is also active. Residents of the region have complained for years about serious environmental damage and that hundreds of earthquakes have been recorded since fracking began. While Berlin wants to stock up on gas there, Buenos Aires is taking new steps to shake off its outdated Western dominance. For example, it has applied for membership in the BRICS alliance, arguing that the current “world order” was “demonstrably created by and for the benefit of a few.” Argentina categorically rejects recent Western demands to supply Ukraine with Russian-made weapons in its stockpile. Read more
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