TOKYO/BERLIN | | japanchina

TOKYO/BERLIN (Own report) - German government advisors are calling for the enhancement of NATO's cooperation with Japan. In view of the current Sino-Japanese dispute over the Diaoyu Islands (Japanese: Senkaku Islands), government advisors warn that "crises" in the East China Sea could "get out of control." A "counterweight to China's growing military capacities" will, in the future, become necessary and should be built in cooperation with the West's allies - including Japan, Australia and Singapore. Since some time, the Bundeswehr has in fact been enhancing its cooperation with Japan. According to the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), "integrative" measures should simultaneously be promoted in East Asia, especially "a new Sino-Japanese dialogue and effective mechanisms for crisis reduction." As the German think tank recently explained, the EU or individual European countries could offer to serve as "mediators" and build a reputation as "independent actors in the region" - "between the USA and China." Berlin and Brussels could thereby pursue their own geostrategic policy also in East Asia. more…

BERLIN/BEIJING | | china

BERLIN/BEIJING (Own report) - The debate about possible military confrontations between the West and the People's Republic of China is continuing in Berlin. Some experts believe that Western efforts "to contain and retard China's emergence" will not be limited to "strengthening regional allies" in East and Southeast Asia, according to a recent publication by the CSU-affiliated Hanns Seidel Foundation. The United States could possibly become "embroiled in a direct hegemonic conflict with China over the Asia Pacific region," which "most likely would include military involvement." Germany is also increasingly participating in the arming and training of the West's allies in Eastern and Southeastern Asia. An "intensification of the security competition" in the Pacific region can, in any case, be expected, even if it does not escalate into war, one political scientist at the Bundeswehr University in Munich reaffirms. Last June, the Federal College for Security Studies, the German government's central military policy think tank, examined China's arms buildup and discussed military conflict scenarios involving China. more…

BERLIN |

BERLIN (Own report) - About 50 - some of them top-ranking - representatives of Berlin's foreign policy establishment are calling for more German "leadership" in global politics. This is the conclusion drawn by a year-long project to work out the basic features of future German foreign policy, with the participation of the head of the foreign ministry's Policy Planning Staff. The document contends that, because the United States is showing signs of weakening, Germany, currently a "policy shaping power in waiting," should develop stronger global activities to become a leading power. This does not merely mean taking on "troublemaker" countries - such as Iran and Venezuela - but also finding the appropriate means for handling emerging countries, not unconditionally prepared to surrender to the Western leadership. This could also be achieved with the assistance of cooperative techniques - patterned along the lines of Bonn's Ostpolitik during the 1970s - ("transformation through convergence"). The members of the project take it for granted that German global policy must also dispose of military means - "including combat missions." These results are included in a paper jointly published by the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) and the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF). more…

BERLIN |

BERLIN (Own report) - The leadership of the German Trade Union Federation (DGB) is promoting the adoption of the German government's military doctrine by the trade unions. The most recent expression of this development is the DGB's scheduled "Peace and Security Policy Workshop," to be held in Berlin next week. Invited speakers will almost exclusively be supporters of the German government's military policy, including a representative of the "Military Technology and Jobs Working Group," functioning under the auspices of the presidium of the Industrial Union of Metalworkers (IG Metall). In the past, this caucus has repeatedly issued calls for the reorientation of the Bundeswehr into a global intervention army and supported the expansion of German arms exports. Employees of official military policy advisory bodies are also on the list of speakers. Strong protest against the event has developed. Critics are openly calling this a "slap in the face of the peace and anti-war movement." more…

BERLIN/BERGEN/MUNSTER |

BERLIN/BERGEN/MUNSTER (Own report) - The Bundeswehr is preparing prospective general staff officers for the invasion of foreign countries and the repression of civil unrest. Scenarios to this effect formed the basis of an informational training exercise for the military's future commanders that ended last week. The large-scale maneuver, which involved a total of 3,500 soldiers and 700 ground and aerial vehicles - carried out in the close vicinity of the former Nazi Bergen-Belsen concentration camp - also exercised combat against insurgents in congested urban areas. Various surveillance drones and elite units specialized in "covert operations" as well as those specialized in psychological warfare were also in action. They trained using live ammunition. According to the German military, the exercise took the "reality" of past warfare into consideration, while anticipating "foreseeable challenges of the future." more…

SOBIBÓR |

SOBIBÓR german-foreign-policy.com documents a memorandum published by the German civil society organization "Train of Commemoration" on the occasion of the October 14, 1943 rebellion in the German death camp Sobibor. more…

SOBIBÓR/THE HAGUE/BERLIN |

SOBIBÓR/THE HAGUE/BERLIN (Own report) - The German government received unambiguous international criticism at yesterday's ceremonies commemorating the victims of the Nazi Sobibór extermination camp in today's Poland. The ceremonies commemorated the more than 200,000 who had been murdered, including 20,000 German Jews. The German Foreign Ministry had claimed that there had been no German "prisoners" in Sobibór, thereby making a German financial contribution to the construction of its new museum obsolete. Because of its negationist attempts, the German government was embarrassed in the presence of the diplomatic corps, brought in from Warsaw, and high-ranking government representatives from Israel, Slovakia, Poland and the Netherlands. Berlin must also contribute to the costs of the commemoration, because its own citizens had been murdered in Sobibór, declared Poland's Vice Minister of Culture, Piotr Zuchowski. Like Zuchowski, the government representative from the Netherlands also criticized the German government's attitude. more…

BERLIN/BEIJING | | china

BERLIN/BEIJING (Own report) - German business circles are observing an appreciable regression in German exports to Asia with apprehension. Exports to that continent had been booming for years, recently nurturing hopes that German export profits could be stabilized, in spite of the slump in sales to crisis-ridden Euro zone countries. Now, these exports have clearly slumped during the first semester of 2013 and made only a moderate comeback since. This is also true for Germany's main Asian trading partner - China. Specialists are pointing out that the slump in exports to China is related to a reorientation of the People's Republic's economic policy and that a new export boom, comparable to the past few years, can no longer be expected. It is, however, expected that China will upgrade its industry to higher technological standards, thereby becoming Germany's rival - even in sectors that had been particularly important for the German economy, for example the automotive industry. Experts are demanding that the German government undertake precautionary measures. more…

BERLIN/TEHERAN | | iran

BERLIN/TEHERAN (Own report) - German foreign policy makers are playing a prominent role in the rapprochement between the West and Iran. As Jürgen Todenhöfer (CDU), a former member of the Bundestag, explains, he conveyed Teheran's negotiating proposal for solving the nuclear dispute to Washington already in the spring of 2010. At the time, the Iranian government had proposed that the German Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, serve as mediator. Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and her German deputy, Helga Schmid, are playing key roles in the current talks on Iran's nuclear program. Prior to her EU position in Brussels, Schmid had made a career in the German Foreign Ministry as chief of staff for Foreign Minister Joseph Fischer. Iran's President Hassan Rohani, in return, is promoting Germany's prominent role in his country's EU policy. Berlin welcomes the new rapprochement between the West and Iran. German Middle East experts point out that, if this rapprochement should be successful, it would also lead to far-reaching geo-strategic shifts, initially affecting Syria. more…

BERLIN |

BERLIN (Own report) - Berlin has launched a new offensive to consolidate its predominance over the EU and strengthen its geopolitical position. On the occasion of this year's national holiday, last week, German President Joachim Gauck claimed that more and more "voices" in Germany and abroad are demanding that his country should play "a stronger role in Europe and the world." Germany is "not an island" and should not "belittle" itself in the future, after all, it is the "fourth largest economic power in the world." As his source of inspiration, he also named the Polish foreign minister, who had called for "German leadership" already in late 2011, and a prominent transatlantic publicist, who had recently called on Berlin to act "more resolutely" in the EU following the elections. Gauck's offensive had been carefully prepared in the foreign policy establishment. Whereas sectors of the elite in other EU countries condone German "leadership," large majorities of the populations in the southern EU countries are criticizing German predominance. The intra-European power struggles are continuing. Already a few months ago, Luxemburg's Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker had warned that he can see similarities to the period leading up to WW I. more…