MUNICH | | usa

MUNICH (Own report) - At the Munich Security Conference last weekend, the power struggle between Berlin and Washington openly escalated to an unprecedented level. US Vice President Mike Pence reiterated his ultimatum that Berlin and the EU immediately renounce their political and economic projects, which are not fully in accord with US policy, pertaining particularly to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline and the Iran nuclear deal. German Chancellor Angela Merkel rejected the US demands. In view of the dispute with Washington, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas declared at the Security Conference that "Europe" faces the "crucial question" whether it will be "the subject or the object of global policy in the future." It must, therefore, "transform geo-economic capital into geopolitical capital" to become "a cornerstone of the international order" and "develop its own geopolitical identity." Maas is expressing his demands, at a time, when the EU's Iran policy is about to fall apart and the European power base needed for Berlin's ambitions is crumbling. more…

Five Eyes

BERLIN/WASHINGTON/BEIJING | | chinausa

BERLIN/WASHINGTON/BEIJING (Own report) - In the dispute over boycotting the Chinese Huawei corporation, the German government is considering joining a campaign of the "Five Eyes" intelligence-sharing network, it was reported in Canada and Australia. According to the media, intelligence chiefs of the five English-speaking "Five Eyes" countries launched a boycott campaign last July under US leadership. The campaign seeks not only to put pressure on the governments of Five Eyes members Great Britain and Canada, which - for economic reasons - have initially been reluctant to boycott Huawei, but also to increase the pressure on the Germany and Japan. Experts in Australia speculate that, in return for its participation in the boycott, Berlin could become an accepted FIVE Eyes member, something Germany's Federal Intelligence Service (BND) has been striving to do for years. To "maintain their own technology competence," EU companies should develop 5G, according to Berlin. German managers, however, are up in arms, fearing falling far behind and never catching up with China. more…

BERLIN/WASHINGTON/BEIJING | | usachina

BERLIN/WASHINGTON/BEIJING (Own report) - Strong criticism is coming from Germany's business community, as the German government prepares to exclude the Chinese company Huawei Technologies from the development of Germany's 5G network. According to media reports, the government tender for the 5G will be formulated in such a way that Huawei cannot apply. This is based on allegations of espionage by US intelligence services, for which, not a single piece of evidence has been presented anywhere in the world. The Trump administration is seeking to shut Huawei and other Chinese high-tech companies out of the US market, to drive them bankrupt. The US is calling on its allies to join; and in mid-December, a US delegation visited Germany's foreign ministry to apply pressure. This aggression is aimed at halting China’s ascendance. Protest is being raised from Germany's business community: Huawei is leading in 5G technology and a functioning 5G network is imperative for using state-of-the-art technologies of the future. Managers warn that excluding Huawei would mean higher costs and a painful setback in Germany's 5G development. more…

BERLIN/WASHINGTON/BEIJING | | usachina

BERLIN/WASHINGTON/BEIJING (Own report) - With the USA escalating its measures against Huawei Technologies, Berlin is faced with deciding whether to continue its cooperation with that Chinese telecommunications company. Until now, the competent German administrations have been considering cooperating with Huawei for the development of the important 5G mobile communications standards. With its experience, the Chinese company could reliably set up the German network rather quickly and at favorable costs. For German business, it is of utmost importance not to fall behind even further in the development of future state-of-the art technologies. Washington, however, is pushing for the Chinese company to be excluded. The Trump administration - without any evidence, according to experts - is accusing it of having close ties to the Chinese government and intelligence agencies. Washington is indeed seeking to damage Huawei seriously - the world’s largest network provider and second largest smartphone producer - to halt China’s ascendance. Berlin must decide whether it wants to join that battle against Huawei in the economic war against Beijing. more…

BERLIN/WASHINGTON | | usa

BERLIN/WASHINGTON (Own report) - Europe may be facing a new round in an arms buildup with intermediate range nuclear missiles. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the United States has issued Moscow an ultimatum. If Russia does not cease its alleged violations of the INF Treaty within 60 days, Washington will withdraw from the treaty. Credible evidence for those alleged violations is as absent today, as sound proof of the alleged Iraqi weapons of mass destruction were in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. The western debate is still ignoring solid Russian evidence that the USA is violating the INF Treaty with the installation of NATO's missile defense systems in Romania and Poland. Yesterday, NATO foreign ministers blamed Russia for the abrogation of the treaty. Berlin seeks to avoid the installation of US medium-range missiles in Europe, because they would restrict the EU's planned military autonomy. Government advisors are suggesting other armament measures against Russia. more…

BERLIN/TEHRAN | | iranusa

BERLIN/TEHRAN (Own report) - New US sanctions against Iran have come into effect, without the slightest sign of success for the opposition to the US Middle East policy that had been so loudly proclaimed by Berlin and the EU. Berlin had affirmed, it would do everything in its power to secure for EU companies - particularly German - business deals with Iran, thereby safeguard the nuclear agreement while strengthening the standing of German/EU industry in Iran. The latter has completely failed. German business representatives are warning of the "danger" that German business with Iran "could come to a complete halt." If this development continues, China - which during the first round of sanctions, had already become Iran's main trading partner - could further enhance its position in Iran, particularly due to continued oil purchases from Tehran. Contrary to its announcement, the Trump administration did not succeed in entirely cutting off Iranian oil exports. Today, Iran is selling more oil than during the previous round of sanctions. more…

BERLIN/BEIJING/WASHINGTON | | usachina

BERLIN/BEIJING/WASHINGTON (Own report) - Leading German business circles are calling for diminishing economic dependence on China. Even though that country is a "dynamic market" - German companies' largest trading partner and their third largest investment site - it is in a "system rivalry" with the West, according to a recent paper published by the Federation of German Industries (BDI). The BDI is underlining the importance "of minimizing existing dependency" on the People's Republic of China, as Washington is stepping up its economic war against Beijing. German businesses fear that the Trump administration could impose sanctions - like those in the case of Iran - and are, therefore, calling for a gradual withdrawal from China. At a business conference, currently taking place in Jakarta, German business representatives and the Minster of the Economy, Peter Altmaier, are pursuing their search for alternative sites in Southeast Asia. Meanwhile, a prominent US general has predicted that the United States could possibly be at war with China within 15 years. more…

BERLIN/WASHINGTON | | usa

BERLIN/WASHINGTON (Own report) - German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has once again reaffirmed that the German government insists on continuing with the highly controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. Despite persistent pressure from Washington, there will be no interference in the construction of the pipeline - which has long since begun - reiterated Maas at this years annual UN General Assembly in New York. At the same time, US efforts to promote the sale of US liquefied gas to Germany are stagnating. If the liquefied gas would be priced closer to the currently much cheaper pipeline gas, it could certainly be considered, according to the Uniper company (formerly EON). Uniper is currently contemplating the construction of a liquefied gas terminal in Wilhelmshaven. However, it would not even have one-fifth of the import capacity of Nord Stream 2. Plans for constructing a terminal in Brunsbüttel, which currently have the best chances of implementation, envisage the importation of only half as much LNG - primarily to fuel ships and trucks. more…

WASHINGTON/BERLIN | | usa

WASHINGTON/BERLIN (Own report) - German soldiers will soon participate in maneuvers in the Pacific and will be on hand as observers on patrols in the South China Sea, according to announcements by the US Navy and the French Minister of Defense, Florence Parly. At a top-level conference in Singapore last weekend, Parly declared that Paris will dispatch warships to the South China Sea in the next few days and will also navigate through the territorial waters of Islands China claims as its territory. According to Parly, German military observers will embark on these ships. At the same time, German soldiers are preparing their participation in the US led RIMPAC 2018 maneuver, taking place mainly near Hawaii. RIMPAC is the world's largest international maritime exercise. During RIMPAC 2016 German soldiers trained in "liberating" an island, which, according to the scenario, was held by the "Draco" militia. "Draco" is the Latin term for "dragon" - a symbol for China. more…

BERLIN/WASHINGTON | | iranusa

BERLIN/WASHINGTON (Own report) - German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas ended his first official visit to Washington yesterday, without reaching a compromise in the transatlantic dispute over policy on Iran. "We're pursuing two completely different paths," Maas declared following his talks with his counterpart Mike Pompeo and the National Security Advisor John Bolton. The EU remains unified in their policy approach, which is diametrically opposed to that of the Trump administration. Berlin's attempts to achieve an independent German-EU policy on Iran opposing Washington's is particularly applauded by Germany's strategists in the establishment's foreign policy sectors. Recommendations of submission to the Trump administration's threats to use force against Teheran, so as not to jeopardize German companies' highly profitable business relations with the US, are coming from business circles. Meanwhile, foreign policy experts recommend developing the euro into an alternative global reserve currency. This could reduce the USA's potential to apply pressure on Germany's economy. more…