NEW DELHI/BERLIN | | indien

NEW DELHI/BERLIN (Own report) - The first German-Indian Government Consultations, which opens today, will be used by Berlin to promote the creation of an alliance in opposition to an emerging China. The German ambassador to New Delhi considers this meeting "a milestone in the cooperation between the two countries." It should strengthen the existing "strategic partnership" between Germany and India. Until now, Berlin has only held government consultations with governments in Europe and Israel. Economic relations will be a prominent focus during these talks. Berlin's relevant business policy organizations are promoting business relations with India, because they promise record-breaking profits. In fact, company relations with India are intended to underpin Berlin's efforts to gain influence, aimed at instrumentalizing traditional Indian-Chinese rivalry, to have this Asian counter-power hamper China's emergence. Therefore, the German government is promoting India's arms buildup. The German chancellor seeks to win New Delhi over as a customer of the Eurofighter. India is supposed to buy more than 120 of these jet fighters for twelve billion US dollars. The EU supports German cooperation plans, seeking, itself, to soon finalize a free trade agreement with India - after having recently signed a declaration on joint Indian Ocean naval activities. more…

BERLIN |

BERLIN german-foreign-policy.com documents excerpts from the new German Defense Policy Guidelines. more…

BERLIN |

BERLIN (Own report) - The German Minister of Defense is preparing public opinion to accept new Bundeswehr combat missions. Thomas de Maizière explained that there are great "expectations" placed on the German armed forces, far surpassing those that Germany has "so far known" and "accepted." The Minister announced, "we could be concretely called upon" for interventions in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia or Sudan. De Maizière's announcements received wide-ranging acceptance by the opposition. There is the particular possibility of German soldiers being involved in a war in Sudan, says the Bundestag's Green Party Whip, Juergen Trittin, signaling a positive disposition toward expanding military intervention to that country. The defense minister considers that war is simply "an element of foreign policy." This corresponds to the new Defense Policy Guidelines, recently published by de Maizière, in which future German military interventions will not only be fully unrestricted geographically but also in their military objectives, with all government institutions being placed on the premise of security policy. The national interests of the Federal Republic of Germany are explicitly named as the ultimate authoritative criteria determining whether to go to war. more…

KABUL/BERLIN | | afghanistan

KABUL/BERLIN (Own report) - Anti-NATO Protests are continuing, following the killing of demonstrators outside of the German army base in Taloqan, Afghanistan. Yesterday, several hundred demonstrators again took to the streets to express their outrage over a nighttime NATO raid. At least 14 demonstrators were shot to death on Wednesday. The Bundeswehr does not rule out a new escalation. The growing number of civilians being killed by NATO forces during military actions has provoked these protests. According to a study by Afghan human rights activists, the number of NATO's civilian casualties has grown to over 500, while the protest movement against the Western occupiers has become stronger. The recent escalation has been provoked by a war strategy that for years has been tolerating civilian casualties. This has also been the case for the Bundeswehr: the German military has taken part in the establishment of hit lists, in night raids and in the preparation for air raids that regularly kill civilians. more…

BERLIN/MADRID |

BERLIN/MADRID (Own report) - A Spanish government advisor has sharply criticized German dictate in the Euro crisis. In a recent press article, José Ignacio Torreblanca, director of the Madrid office of the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), declared that some states, "led by Germany" are using the crisis to impose their economic model on other sovereign EU members. If this continues, the European Union will end up being, in the eyes of many Europeans, what the International Monetary Fund was for many Asian and Latin American countries in the 1980s and 1990s: a tool for the imposition of socially devastating economic measures, risking the "end of Europe." The German chancellor's demand, yesterday, that Greece and other Southern European countries significantly raise their retirement ages, serves as a confirmation of Torreblanca's criticism. The expert in Madrid expressed the suspicion that in light of its booming business, particularly with China, the south of Europe is seen as a hindrance to economic growth, that Berlin is no longer against throwing overboard. Torreblanca warns against a "new Germany," whose elites are in the process of losing their previous interest in Europe. more…

KAMPALA/BERLIN/WASHINGTON | | uganda

KAMPALA/BERLIN/WASHINGTON (Own report) - Berlin has been following Uganda's current wave of protests with a certain amount of concern. Considered a loyal ally of the West, the Ugandan government has been providing sizable troop contingents to defend Somalia's pro-western "government" and is helping to train Somali soldiers. Currently, the government is confronted with a growing protest movement caused, in part, by the dramatic increases in the costs of living. Observers are not excluding a development similar to that in Tunisia, which forced a pro-western government to resign. In official statements, the German foreign ministry is cautiously distancing itself from President Yoweri Museveni, who yesterday was sworn in again as a result of controversial elections. Museveni's plan to punish homosexuality with draconian sanctions, including the death penalty, has also aroused discord. Because of this plan, the German development ministry has frozen millions of Euros destined for Ugandan projects. Observers note that particularly prominent US-American Evangelist Christians have played a key role in establishing this law - some of whom are also quite influential in Germany. Berlin is consistently ignoring the role of these Western ideological prompters for homophobic outrages in Uganda. more…

BERLIN | | china

BERLIN (Own report) - In the debate about Europe's possible forthcoming global decline, German government advisors are insisting that Germany and the EU take action. At present, most experts assume that Europe's global influence will be "measurably waning" in the future but this prognosis is based on the assumption that current trends of development will continue. This is uncertain, because no one can exclude unexpected developments. The authors of a recent article in the foreign policy periodical "Internationale Politik" point out that possible distribution conflicts could lead to "a civil war" in China thereby bringing the People's Republic's emergence to a halt. Domestic conflicts in China, systematically supported by the West, could possibly reverse Europe's decline, according to German government institutions. In any case, the authors of the article in "Internationale Politik" predict that Germany and the EU will also have the capacity to be among the global players in a multi-polar world. It all depends on their "willingness" to "exhaust" their capabilities, which must include coordinated and unified action and the enhancement of Europe's militarization. more…

BERLIN/WASHINGTON |

BERLIN/WASHINGTON (Own report) - Following celebrations of Osama bin Laden's targeted assassination, jurists are harshly criticizing extra-judicial executions carried out by the western military. According to Professor Kai Ambos, a specialist in international law, extra-judicial executions, even those of terrorists, are characteristic for tyrannical regimes. In his recent statement, Ambos writes that extra-judicial executions also entail grave consequences for domestic conditions of the countries carrying out these executions. This criticism pertains to the German government because of not only the chancellor and foreign minister's explicit approval of bin Laden's liquidation, but also because, as the German defense ministry confirmed already last year, German government ministries sanction, in certain cases, targeted assassinations without due process of law. Berlin also uncritically accepts the extra-judicial execution of German citizens in Pakistan. After all, German soldiers are involved in targeted killings, through their support of US death squads. Since some time, government advisers have cautioned that participating in the so-called war on terror, Germany is functioning "at the borderline of rule of law." This could be diplomatic circumlocution for a lawless situation. more…

BERLIN/HAMBURG |

BERLIN/HAMBURG (Own report) - German think tanks are diagnosing the beginnings of the decline of Europe and the USA's global policy. Europe "remains the world's largest economic area," but is suffering a "creeping loss of economic significance," according to a recent analysis of the government-financed German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA). "It is apparent that the United States has lost its hegemon status" due to the rise of new global actors, e.g. India, Brazil and above all China. "Despite NATO," the "west club" is losing its ability to lead and govern. In light of the West's loss of influence, emerging countries, such as Turkey, Venezuela or Iran "no longer want to be taken in tow." The GIGA's diagnosis is confirmed by economic analyses. According to a study by the major HSBC bank, the center gravity of the global economy will have significantly shifted by 2050. In 40 years, the economies of today's emerging nations will exceed the currently predominating western economies and even represent two-thirds of the 30 countries with the world's strongest economies. Particularly European countries will slide down the scale, losing significant influence. The HSBC bases its analysis on the continuation of current development trends. However, the prognosis of the loss of the West's influence cannot be maintained with certainty in cases of unexpected major upheavals, such as wars. more…