WASHINGTON/BERLIN | | usa

WASHINGTON/BERLIN (Own report) - An expert at Berlin's Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) is warning against an expansion of German-European military missions. "The analysis of interventions over the past twenty years" has led to "sobering insights into the limitations" of foreign military operations, according to a current position paper published by the SWP. This even applies to those military operations having the official objective of preventing massacres. In Libya, for example, "the risk of mass violence" is, by all means, "considered to be higher today, than before the intervention" in 2011. The SWP's expert writes that in the USA "politicians and scholars" are "to a growing extent, agreeing that military interventions are an ineffective and extremely expensive instrument." In fact, US experts are drawing a devastating conclusion about Washington's intervention policy. One political scientist, taking the example of Syria, found that a military mission to that country, when seen in light of the experiences of Afghanistan, Iraq or Libya, would "make a bad situation much worse." Regardless of such warnings, Berlin continues to adamantly pursue its expansion of German-European military missions - for the time being, particularly in Africa. more…

BERLIN/KIEV/BERN | | ukraineschweiz

BERLIN/KIEV/BERN (Own report) - In the aftermath of the Western-oriented putsch in Kiev, German politicians are preparing German public opinion for the disastrous deterioration of the Ukraine economic situation. Even though it was most recently suggested that the country could only expect a thriving development by linking up to the EU, it is now - truthfully - being announced that Ukraine is practically bankrupt. The CDU European parliamentarian, Elmar Brok, predicts "difficult times" ahead: "It has never rained gold coins, except in fairy tales." In fact back in the fall, experts had already indicated that, because of its out-dated industry, the Ukraine would have to expect dramatic economic slumps if it signs the EU Association Agreements - unemployment and poverty would dramatically rise. In a position paper, the Berlin-based German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) is now proposing the introduction of a special status in EU ties for the Ukraine as well as other countries, such as Turkey. This sort of EU "second ring" would also permit the economic integration of such countries as Switzerland, which politically resists joining the EU. The SWP contends that these plans could also be used for Catalonia, should it secede from Spain and Scotland, from Britain. more…

KIEV/BERLIN | | ukraine

KIEV/BERLIN (Own report) - Yesterday, the day after the German Chancellor held deliberations with two leaders of the Ukrainian opposition, protests in Kiev escalated into bloody confrontations. Demonstrators, unconditionally sponsored by Germany and other western countries for months, began, over the past few days, to arm themselves with firearms and ammunition. Two police officers were shot to death during yesterday's uprising. This escalation into a bloody confrontation followed on the heels of government compliance with a fundamental demand of the demonstrators, just as it seemed that a de-escalation was about to begin - to the tactical disadvantage of the "German's man" in Kiev, Vitali Klitschko, who has been calling for the president to resign. Klitschko, who flew to Berlin Monday, to discuss the next steps, threatened an even more bloody escalation and declared, that he does not "rule out the use of force in the evacuation of the Maidan." One of the organizations he is relying on is explicitly named after Nazi collaborators, who had carried out mass-murder of Soviet Jews. Escalation strategies, such as those currently implemented in Kiev, are not alien to German foreign policy. more…

TBILISI/BERLIN | | aserbaidschanarmeniengeorgienrussische-foederation

TBILISI/BERLIN (Own report) - Eclipsed by the power struggle over the Ukraine, Berlin is pushing to speed up the signing of two other EU Association Agreements. The agreements to permanently associate Georgia and Moldova to the EU should be signed in due form no later than August and should be implemented as soon as possible. The agreement with Georgia is considered particularly important, because it will firmly anchor the EU in the strategically important South Caucasus, thereby weakening Russia's position in a highly sensitive region: Georgia can exert its influence on the hot spots in Russia's North Caucasus and secondly, strategically important gas pipelines transit this region. It is even conceivable that progress being made in the nuclear negotiations will permit an Iranian natural gas supply to Europe through the South Caucasus pipelines. The Berlin/Brussels association offensive is accompanied by a massive derogatory campaign against Russia and President Vladimir Putin, supplementing the German European campaign for the Ukraine's EU association. more…

BERLIN/MOSCOW | | russische-foederation

BERLIN/MOSCOW (Own report) - The derogatory German campaign against Russia and its President Vladimir Putin has persisted even after the Olympic Games have opened. The campaign is not only aimed at mobilizing German public opinion; it seeks to also further incite the emerging Russian middle strata against their government. These middle strata are gaining in strength and are seen as a potential leverage for Western influence in Moscow since the 2011 and 2012 mass demonstrations against the current President Vladimir Putin. German government advisors are proposing that Berlin establish new channels of influence through contacts to oppositional milieus of these middle strata. The German government is not only exploiting liberal but also national chauvinist circles of the opposition - just as it does in the Ukraine, where it also relies on the fascist milieu's potential for protest. A Russian opposition leader, who is popular in Berlin, refers to natives of the Caucasus as "cockroaches" and recommends the pistol as the means for dealing with them. He is praised as an "anti-corruption expert" in German media reports on the Sochi Olympic Games. more…

NAYPYIDAW/BERLIN |

NAYPYIDAW/BERLIN (Own report) - With his current visit to Myanmar, German President Gauck is bolstering the Western geostrategic standing in its power struggle with China. Gauck, who arrived for talks on Sunday, will officially inaugurate the Goethe Institute and a German business field office. His visit to this Southeast Asian country will last until Wednesday. The West seeks, with its activities in Myanmar, to enhance its control over China's access to raw materials. These activities date back to secret negotiations held in the shadows of the 2008 cyclone disaster. As a result of these negotiations, Myanmar has tolerated Western influence activities in exchange for investments. Whereas Western politicians - currently also including Gauck - declare that Myanmar is right on track to become a democracy, the military still, in fact, holds the power, which for years has been massively criticized by human rights organizations. According to a recent analysis, the Myanmar military has consolidated its control particularly over the country's economy. This could be a certain guarantee for remaining in power, while cooperating with the West. more…

BERLIN/ANKARA | | tuerkei

BERLIN/ANKARA (Own report) - The German government has sought to reach new agreements on strategies involving Syria and Ukraine in several meetings with the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Turkey. Chancellor Merkel and Foreign Minster Steinmeier met with Prime Minister Erdoğan yesterday. Steinmeier had already received his counterpart Davutoğlu at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday. Because of rivalry with Moscow over influence on Kiev, one of the topics of discussion in Berlin is Ankara's possible "financial contributions" to the Ukraine. Turkey is holding talks with Iran on the war in Syria, obviously designed to complement the "P5+1" negotiations with Iran - which include Germany. Ankara is also intensifying its cooperation with the autonomous government of Kurdish Northern Iraq. Should Syria disintegrate, it could expedite the territorial reorganization of the region, particularly of the Kurdish speaking territories. To secure its influence on Turkey's foreign policy, Berlin had initiated a "strategic dialogue" with Ankara last year, which should now be put to the test in relationship to the Ukraine and Syria. more…

BERLIN |

BERLIN (Own report) - In the few months leading up to the one-hundredth anniversary of the beginning of World War I, a new debate, over who was responsible for starting the war, is gaining momentum in Germany. As relevant publications - such as the bestseller, "The Sleepwalkers" by the historian Christopher Clark - show, "a shift in paradigm has taken place" in scholarship, according to a recent press article: "The German Empire was not 'responsible' for World War I." The debate strongly contradicts the recognition that, even though Berlin did not bear it alone, it bore the primary responsibility for the bloody escalation of the 1914 July Crisis. This insight, which was derived particularly from the analyses of the historian Fritz Fischer in the 1960s, is now being massively contested. Historians are strongly criticizing remarks, such as those by Christopher Clark, who, working closely with government-affiliated academic institutions, is denying German responsibility for the war. According to Clark, "the Serbs" are supposedly a priori "the bad guys" of the pre war era, while he openly displays his preference for the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The denial of Germany's main culpability for the war is "balm on the soul of educated social sectors, grown more self-confident" at a time when Berlin's political power is again on the rise. more…