BERLIN/MOSCOW | | russische-foederation

BERLIN/MOSCOW (Own report) - Hefty debates have ignited around Germany's policy toward Russia. On the heels of an incident between two high-ranking personalities in the foreign policy establishment over Germany's strategy toward Moscow, the tension has been heightened by last weekend's official snub of the Russian government by the German Chancellor. Immediately afterwards, she expressed her support for expanding economic cooperation. To try to resolve the differences within Berlin's establishment, the SPD-affiliated Friedrich Ebert Foundation has just published a paper with four scenarios for future policy toward Russia, intended to make it easier to explore the various options and their potentials. The scenarios range from intensive cooperation, in the aftermath of regime change in Moscow; to a simple hegemonic motivated cooperation in the aftermath of a partial collapse of the Euro zone; to German-Russian arrangements on the mutual control of Central Asia and Southeast Europe in the aftermath of the USA's "transfer of its focus to the Pacific." A readjustment of the German policy toward Russia is not out of the question in the aftermath of the upcoming German parliamentary elections. more…

BERLIN |

BERLIN (Own report) - Berlin's key think tank for military policy has organized a strategy conference for today and tomorrow, with leading organs of German mass media participating. Talks by Germany's defense, foreign and finance ministers are on the agenda of this conference organized by the Federal College for Security Studies (BAKS). It will be broadcast live by the state-financed "Deutsche Welle." Safeguarding the supply of natural resources to Germany and the expansion of the German "leadership" in Europe will be among the topics discussed, as well as "special forces missions," "drone warfare," "targeted killings" and the "networking" of government and private sectors for the global implementation of "German interests." The list of speakers has been established accordingly and will include the director of the Munich Security Conference, Wolfgang Ischinger, and board chairman of the Commerzbank, Klaus-Peter Müller. Müller is considered the initiator of the "Celler Trialog," which is taking place since 2007 between the political establishment, the military and industry. The Trialog is calling for an intensification of cooperation between the German military and the economic sector. more…

BERLIN/WASHINGTON | | usa

BERLIN/WASHINGTON (Own report) - With their current plans to establish a Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement, Berlin and Washington are forging ahead with the establishment of an anti-Chinese economic block. This was one of the subjects the German Chancellor discussed with the US President today. In the struggle against the economic crisis, this is considered an appropriate means for enhancing trade between the European Union and the United States - to the advantage of the Western countries and at the expense of non-Western countries. It also helps Western countries to achieve supplementary advantages in the global competition for their national economies. According to Berlin's German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), this will be a component of a system of several free trade agreements, allowing the development of "a new bi-polar trade policy constellation." It allows the West to "accelerate its trade policy confrontation with Peking." more…

TEHERAN/BERLIN | | iran

TEHERAN/BERLIN (Own report) - In the aftermath of Iran's presidential elections, German foreign policy specialists and government advisors are pushing for a new round in the power struggle with Teheran. Even before votes were cast, German specialists were calling for using the personnel change to launch a new round in the dispute over Iran's nuclear program. The conditions are now considered unusually favorable. The winner of the elections, Hassan Rohani is "in favor of compromises in the nuclear dispute and a normalization of relations with the USA." Whereas some experts on Iran are pleading for using cooperation programs, "killing Teheran with kindness" - others are still in favor of pursuing confrontation approaches. For example, one of Chancellor Helmut Kohl's former advisors proposes that the more than 3,000 members of the People's Mujahedin of Iran, trapped in Iraq, be taken from that country. In the past, the West had considered them as a possible core for a subversive military insurgent movement in Iran. The EU should also address the Iranian people directly - for example, using internet PR campaigns or through the recently founded "European Endowment for Democracy," which has the task of strengthening subversive forces against undesirable regimes. more…

DAMASCUS/BERLIN | | syrien

DAMASCUS/BERLIN (Own report) - Leading up to talks between the German chancellor and the US president, the German Foreign Ministry reiterated its continuous support for the insurgents in Syria. Germany - unlike the USA, Great Britain and France - will not be furnishing weapons to the insurgent militias. Still, at the next summit conference, Germany will seek a "concentrated exchange on what can responsibly be done to help the Syrian opposition in this difficult situation," explains a spokesperson for the foreign ministry. Until now, Berlin's efforts have been mainly oriented toward political support for the insurgents and the implementation of measures to strengthen ties between the isolated opposition in exile with the militias operating locally. The foreign ministry has been deploying the services of relief organizations and providing medical treatment for wounded militiamen in Bundeswehr hospitals, organized with the support of exiled regime opponents. As shown by the huge stashes of weapons discovered by government troops after retaking the small town of Al Qusayr, a large amount of the insurgents' weapons were smuggled into Syria by ship - through the German Navy's area of operations off the coast of Lebanon. more…

ISLAMABAD/BERLIN | | pakistan

ISLAMABAD/BERLIN (Own report) - On the weekend, the German Foreign Minister held talks in the Pakistani capital, to prepare for the withdrawal of Western troops from Afghanistan. Berlin is seeking to intensify the "strategic dialogue;" it had initiated last year with Islamabad, explained Guido Westerwelle. In return, the new Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has promised to play a "constructive role" in Afghanistan. Various cooperation projects underpin the "strategic dialogue," which the German government wants to use to apply the necessary pressure on Islamabad - also in relationship to Afghanistan. Germany would like to promote not only economic cooperation but cooperation between both countries' military forces as well. Berlin has also promised new arms deliveries to Pakistan. German government advisors are now warning against Pakistan's plans to resolve its civil war with the Pakistani Taliban through negotiations. This could only complicate the situation for pro-Western forces in Afghanistan. Therefore, negotiations should be refused. more…

RIGA/VILNIUS/BERLIN | | lettlandlitauen

RIGA/VILNIUS/BERLIN (Own report) - Latvia has requested to be admitted into the Euro zone - to the great joy of German businesses. The Latvian government has confirmed its intention to introduce the Euro already early next year. Only one third of the Latvian population is in favor of this project. But German businesses - following the positive experience with Estonia's introduction of the Euro - fully approve of this step, hoping to profit from lower costs and new location related advantages, according to the German-Baltic Chamber of Commerce (AHK Baltikum). The Lithuanian government also seeks to introduce the Euro - in early 2015. Even though the majority of the Lithuanian population opposes, the establishment in Vilnius pledges economic allegiance to the German chancellor. Asked about the growing criticism of German austerity dictates, the Lithuanian prime minster said: "I fully agree with Chancellor Merkel's policy." Recently, Latvia and Lithuania carried out austerity programs similar to those in the southern European countries - with the social consequences. Both rank among the top four countries on the list of EU members with the largest number of residents "at risk of poverty and social exclusion." more…

BERLIN/KIEV/MOSCOW | | ukraine

BERLIN/KIEV/MOSCOW (Own report) - The struggle between Berlin and Brussels, on the one side, and Moscow, on the other, for the predominating influence in the Ukraine is growing sharper. Since the end of 2012, the German RWE company has been systematically expanding its natural gas deliveries to this East European country. Its objective is to break Kiev's dependence on Russian natural gas, by reversing the flow in the pipelines already in place, to deliver large quantities of the gas from the West. However, these efforts - also being supported by the German EU Energy Commissioner, Günter Oettinger - are not advancing rapidly enough. According to reports, pro-western circles in the Ukraine are complaining that Slovakia - without whose pipelines, a breakthrough would hardly be possible - is opposing the project. Brussels, therefore, should exert pressure on that country, because time is running out. The Ukrainian government signed a memorandum last week, which is considered an important step toward its integration in the Russian-dominated EurAsian Economic Community, about to be established. In Berlin, Ukrainian participation in this community is perceived as incompatible with Kiev's integration into EU structures. This conflict, which in principle, has been going on for twenty years, is being fueled by this new accentuation. more…

BERLIN/DEN HAAG | | niederlande

BERLIN/DEN HAAG german-foreign-policy.com documents excerpts from the Declaration of Intent on which the Foreign Ministers of Germany and the Netherlands agreed on 28 May 2013. more…

BERLIN/THE HAGUE/WARSAW | | niederlandepolen

BERLIN/THE HAGUE/WARSAW (Own report) - The German Bundeswehr has announced the formation of a permanent military unit of foreigners under German command. Beginning in January 2014, approx. 2,100 soldiers from the Netherlands will be integrated into the "Rapid Reaction Force Division" as a result of a declaration of intent signed in Berlin last week by the defense ministers of both countries. Three dozen projects for closer cooperation between the two armed forces are planned. A second, similar declaration of intent, stipulating closer naval cooperation was also signed between the defense ministers of Germany and Poland. This cooperation includes combat missions. Specialists in military policy have been calling for intensifying military cooperation to increase the Bundeswehr's military clout. Berlin would be well advised to seek cooperation particularly with the smaller countries, because they, it is said, unlike France or Great Britain, are more pliable allies due to their lesser power potentials. more…