Naval Powers in the Mediterranean

Ankara protests German forces' boarding of Turkish vessel. Italian admiral: The West has lost its pre-eminence in the Mediterranean.

BERLIN/ANKARA | | tuerkei

BERLIN/ANKARA (Own report) - The Western powers, including Germany and the EU, are in danger of losing their pre-eminence in the Mediterranean, Admiral Luigi Binelli Mantelli, former Chief of the Defense Staff of Italy declared. According to Binelli Mantelii, Russia has become "the pre-eminent naval power in the Mediterranean," and Turkey, in particular, is rapidly gaining influence. Together, Moscow and Ankara are in the process of superseding the "traditional" Western peacekeeping powers. The statement is being published at a time when Turkey has snubbed the navy of a leading EU power, for the second time. During the night from Sunday to Monday, a German boarding team seeking to inspect a Turkish cargo vessel en route to Libya, suspecting a possible breach of the UN arms embargo, had to abandon its inspection due to Ankara's intervention. Already in June, Turkey had averted a similar French naval operation. Unaccustomed to defiance, the EU finds itself powerless to halt the rise of its Turkish rival. more…

The EU's Strategic Autonomy

EU defense ministers will discuss steps towards a greater "strategic autonomy" - via PESCO and the "Strategic Compass."

BERLIN/BRUSSELS |

BERLIN/BRUSSELS (Own report) - In their video conference set for tomorrow, the EU defense ministers will focus on new steps towards a "strategic autonomy." One topic will be PESCO's "strategic review." PESCO is a project launched in early 2018, to enhance the EU's autonomy in the armament industry and military sectors. At the beginning of the month, following several years of dispute over the question of third countries' PESCO participation, an agreement came into effect. This will now be allowed, however only within tight limitations that are disadvantageous to the US arms industry. Apart from this, experts attest to PESCO's serious deficiencies. The EU foreign ministers' meeting tomorrow will also focus on the German plan to establish a "Strategic Compass" for the Union, aimed at finding a common denominator for the member states' conflicting interests. German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer is casting doubt on whether the EU can achieve "strategic autonomy" within the foreseeable future. more…

The Fairy Tale of Equality in Europe

German economic researchers predict a growing gap between the eurozone's rich North and its impoverishing South.

BERLIN |

BERLIN (Own report) - The socio-economic gap between the rich North and the impoverishing South of the Eurozone will continue to grow, according to a recent study by the business-oriented Cologne Institute for Economic Research (IW). The gap within the eurozone had already significantly grown between 2009 and 2018, with the economy of the North having grown by 37.2 percent, while by only 14.6 percent in the South. This development will continue over the next 25 years, the IW predicts. The IW notes a certain catch-up effect in Eastern Europe, which, however, will not lead to their catching up to the West, due to the desolate starting point following the deindustrialization of the 1990s. The region's basically unaltered function as an extended workbench, particularly for the German export industry, does not provide for a perspective of independent growth. Observers expect that the corona crisis will additionally widen the gap between the North and the South. German trade surplus and Berlin's austerity dictates are the real reasons for this inequality. more…

Powerless in the South Caucasus

Berlin's attempt to gain influence in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict failed. Moscow monitors the ceasefire.

BERLIN/MOSCOW | | russische-foederationarmenienaserbaidschan

BERLIN/MOSCOW (Own report) - Foreign policy experts consider the ceasefire in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to be a success for Russia and a strategic defeat for the West. The mediation of a cease-fire was a "spectacular diplomatic move" by Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to the Carnegie Moscow Center. "The West" has "once again yielded the floor to Putin," criticizes the government-financed Deutsche Welle. In fact, Moscow has once again successfully ended an armed conflict in close cooperation with Ankara - like previously, for example, in Syria. The OSCE's "Minsk Group" (USA, France and Russia), which had dealt with the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, has failed, just as Berlin and the EU's attempts failed to end that war. Russian troops will now monitor the ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh. Russian armed forces are deployed in all three South Caucasian countries - for the first time since the early 1990s. more…

The Bundeswehr's Next Area of Operation

The German Government plans to increase military operations in the "Indo-Pacific" in the strategic competition with China.

BERLIN/CANBERRA | | australienchina

BERLIN/CANBERRA (Own report) - The German government plans to send a frigate for patrol in the Indian Ocean and to deploy German naval officers on Australian warships, announced German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer on the occasion of her talks with her Australian counterpart. A training expedition of the frigate "Hamburg" to the Indian Ocean was originally planned for this year but had to be cancelled due to the pandemic. According to Kramp-Karrenbauer, the Indo-Pacific has become an arena of "global challenges" and "Germany needs to mark its position in the region." At the same time, Kramp-Karrenbauer is quoted saying that Germany wants to maintain business with China, which is currently helping the German industry through the Corona crisis. According to an article in the foreign policy magazine "Internationale Politik," Germany should rearm Taiwan's armed forces and conduct joint military exercises with them. This would amount to a profound breach in relations with Beijing. more…

Go Down with the USA

Germany's foreign Policy and the US Presidential Elections. Commentary by Hans-Rüdiger Minow

Little more can be said about the course of the US presidential elections and Germany's foreign policy reaction. All that has been said about the incumbent US president, his nightly intention to stop counting the votes, his self-proclamation as winner, and the upcoming battle in US courts because of alleged electoral fraud - all that is innocuous, because it does not correspond to the actual developments. It reduces the extent of abuse inflicted on the ideals of bourgeois democracy in the purported homeland of its reign, as if all this is just a rude interlude, a perilous performance, which can still avert the end of the drama in the next act, with a better kind of protagonist, with another script and a German prompter. However, it is too late for that. more…

A Difficult Ally (II)

Berlin is calling on Washington to take joint action against Beijing by taking German interests into account.

BERLIN/WASHINGTON | | usachina

BERLIN/WASHINGTON (Own report) - Berlin is calling on the incoming administration in Washington to take carefully concerted action against Beijing by taking Germany's particular interests into account. "Americans and Europeans" have many common demands on the People's Republic of China, particularly those concerning trade and investments in China, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas declared, and side by side, they must raise them now. A "Transatlantic Working Group" could coordinate a transatlantic policy toward China, which should, for example, include the US vice president, relevant EU representatives and foreign, defense and other ministers of EU member states, according to a proposal drawn up under the co-authorship of German diplomat Wolfgang Ischinger. High significance is attached to the competition for global technological leadership. At the same time, Berlin is rejecting some of the US aggressions, including the plans to decouple China from the West: "We do not support every stance and every advance by the government in Washington," the German Defense Minister declared. more…

Lithium and the Putsch

Berlin is again seeking access to the world's largest lithium deposits located in Bolivia - after having supported the putschists.

BERLIN/LA PAZ |

BERLIN/LA PAZ (Own report) - Following the presidential elections in Bolivia, the German government and business circles hope to have direct access to what are presumably the world's largest lithium reserves. Already at the end of 2018, the German company, ACI Systems had concluded a joint venture with the state-owned Bolivian YLB to extract lithium in the Salar de Uyuni, the world's largest salt lake, situated in Bolivia's highlands. Lithium is indispensable for the production of batteries, such as those used in electric cars and is of particular importance for Germany's automotive industry. However, during the major upheavals, in early November of last year, the German-Bolivian joint venture was put on ice. It has not been revived since the November 10, 2019 putsch in La Paz, despite the German government's support for the putschist regime. Following the putschists' unambiguous electoral defeat, Berlin is hoping to obtain concessions from Luis Arce, the winner of the elections - even though the German government had approved of the violent overthrow of his fellow party member Evo Morales in 2019. more…

A Difficult Ally (I)

In view of the US presidential elections, Berlin is calling for alignment of interests with the USA. Think tanks have been working on this for months.

BERLIN/WASHINGTON | | usa

BERLIN/WASHINGTON (Own report) - For the aftermath of the US presidential elections, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is calling for a "new beginning in the transatlantic partnership." However, "partnership" should not equate "blind allegiance," Maas declared. "Distinct perspectives" of "Europe" and the USA should be recognized and foreign policy "closer coordinated." For months, several influential foreign policy think tanks on both sides of the Atlantic have been exploring options for coordinating transatlantic interests, with the aim of overcoming the fierce controversies of the past four years and to "move closer together," in view of the escalating crises and conflicts, as former Foreign Minister and current Chairman of the Atlantik-Brücke, Sigmar Gabriel, explained. According to the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), one of the reasons why the United States would remain "a difficult ally" - even with a possible President Joe Biden - is the growing inequality and massive polarization within the United States. more…

In the Second Wave

In the battle against the Covid-19 pandemic, politicians and businessmen speak of defeat in China's favor in the "competition of the systems."

BERLIN | | china

BERLIN (Own report) - Under the pressure of the Covid-19 pandemic's second wave, politicians and business representatives in Berlin concede defeat in the "competition of the systems" in China's favor. "In the fight against the pandemic, Europeans and Americans have not made a good impression so far," noted CSU General Secretary Markus Blume. It is becoming evident "that, in fighting the crisis, the Chinese system was superior to western systems," acknowledged Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser. US media refer to a new "divide" between the transatlantic West, on the one hand, and East and Southeast Asia on the other. Whereas infection rates have remained rather low, for example, in Japan, South Korea and Singapore for quite some time, even tending to zero in China, they are again surging in Europe and North America. Germany's former President Horst Köhler reported back in February that Europe's haphazard handling of the pandemic has provoked "amazement" in African countries. Recent surveys show that the EU's fight against the pandemic is also viewed as a failure in East Asia and is tarnishing the image of the mighty West. more…