BERLIN/TASHKENT | | usbekistan

BERLIN/TASHKENT (Own report) - To secure its influence in Central Asia in rivalry to Russia and China, Berlin is taking new initiatives toward Uzbekistan, the most populous country in the region. Among the five post-Soviet Central Asian countries, Uzbekistan has been Germany's key partner for the past 25 years, even hosting a Bundeswehr base over an extended period of time. Now the German government seeks to reinforce it position in Uzbekistan by expanding economic relations. Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, in office since one year, is initiating a neo-liberal policy in his country. At the same time, Russia's rise in influence in the economic and military sectors, alongside China's greatly enhanced economic advances has put Germany under pressure. If Germany does not want to lose ground in Central Asia, it must act quickly. more…

BERLIN |

BERLIN (Own report) - With the Alternative for Germany (AfD), an extreme right wing party will enter the German Bundestag for the first time since the 1950s. With 13 percent of the vote, the AfD has successfully mobilized an extreme right-wing potential that, according to a sociological study, has always existed within the German population. All parties in the Bundestag openly repudiate the AfD. However, this only obscures the fact that the AfD's program, particularly on the important issues of foreign and military policy, show remarkable parallels to the political objectives of almost all other parties in the Bundestag. Like the CDU/CSU, FDP, SPD and the Greens, the AfD sees Germany as a global "policy-making power," whose armed forces should be massively upgraded and made more operational. Whereas, the mainstream parties in the Bundestag are relying on the EU as the instrument for German global policy, the AfD favors a national course for Germany exercising global power. This course would probably take effect should the EU disintegrate due to the growing internal dissentions or if more and more countries opt to exit. more…

BERLIN/ERBIL | | irak

BERLIN/ERBIL (Own report) - Berlin's long-standing support for the Kurdish Autonomous Region has helped lay the groundwork for the referendum on the secession of Iraq's Kurdish-speaking regions, scheduled to be held on Monday. For decades, the Barzani clan, which controls the regional government, has maintained good relations with leading German politicians of the CDU and CSU parties. Since 2005, Berlin has systematically sponsored the autonomous region - through economic aid and establishing German institutions. Most recently, Germany was even training and upgrading the Kurdish Peshmerga into a powerful military force - officially to strengthen an ally in the war against IS. However, today the Peshmerga could use its German weapons for the secession of its region, if necessary, imposing it by armed force. In plain sight of the Bundeswehr, and under cover of the war against the IS, the Peshmerga has been carrying out so-called ethnic cleansing in towns, previously outside the Kurdish Autonomous Region to secure the desired pro-Kurdish majority in the upcoming referendum. Up to now, Berlin has voiced no objections to the date of the secession referendum. more…

BERLIN/BRUSSELS | | australienchina

BERLIN/BRUSSELS (Own report) - Leading EU functionaries, with the support of German business associations, are demanding that the EU free trade offensive be extended to Australia and New Zealand. Last week, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker announced the initiation of agreements to this effect. At the same time, Berlin and Brussels are pushing for the finalization of the Japan-EU Free Trade Agreement (JEFTA) - up against growing protest. Whereas, protectionist measures are designed to reduce China's influence in the EU's Eastern and Southeastern periphery, Berlin and Brussels are planning to reinforce their activities in the emerging People's Republic of China's neighborhood, by pursuing the US strategy of trade containment of China that Trump has abandoned. more…

Hans-Rüdiger Minow | AACHEN | | polen
(Hans-Rüdiger Minow)

AACHEN german-foreign-policy.com spoke with Hans-Rüdiger Minow about Polish demands for reparations for the mass crimes committed by the Nazis. Minow is the Spokesperson for the Board of Directors of the "Train of Commemoration." On behalf of the "Train of Commemoration," he had advised Polish and other Eastern European victims' organizations, which had convened in Warsaw in 2010 to quantify their reparations claims. There was a reconstruction of the revenues collected by the German Reich from mass deportations with the "Reichsbahn" railway to forced labor and extermination camps, including Auschwitz. Transport by rail, for the benefit of Berlin's state treasury, had affected three to six million people in Poland. The Federal Republic of Germany owes repayment of these revenues. more…

BERLIN/BEIJING | | china

BERLIN/BEIJING (Own report) - Berlin sees China's growing economic presence in the EU's eastern periphery as an increasing threat to German predominance over Eastern and Southeastern Europe. During his visit to Paris at the end of August, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel warned against the People's Republic's alleged "division of Europe." Beijing's cooperation with 16 Eastern and Southeastern European countries is threatening the EU's "unity" and must be stopped. China should follow a "one-Europe policy." German media and think tanks have been sharply criticizing Chinese economic activities in Eastern and Southeastern Europe since years. In a recent analysis, the Friedrich-Naumann Foundation (FDP) assailed the Czech government for signing a "declaration on the territorial integrity of the People's Republic of China" in view of comprehensive Chinese investments in that country. Beijing has reacted to these attacks by pointing to Germany's dominant status in the EU. more…

BERLIN/CARACAS | | venezuela

BERLIN/CARACAS (Own report) - Chancellor Merkel will meet one of Venezuela's leading government opposition politicians today in the Chancellery. Julio Borges, who, according to reports, supported the 2002 putsch attempt in Caracas, will discuss the political development in Venezuela with the chancellor. Fierce power struggles are being waged in that country. The opposition, mainly composed of representatives of the traditional wealthy elites, has ties to Western powers und is also supported by Berlin. With its operational assistance, for example in advising Borges' Primero Justícia (Justice First) party in "political communication," the CDU-affiliated Konrad Adenauer Foundation has been playing a special role. Primero Justícia had also participated in the 2002-attempted putsch. Berlin is pursuing an approach similar to that used in other Latin American countries, wherein it regularly supports the traditional elites. This resembles the German authorities' interventions in the run-up to the putsch in Ukraine. more…

BERLIN/MOSCOW | | russische-foederation

BERLIN/MOSCOW (Own report) - The Russian petroleum company, Rosneft, is expanding its activities in Germany, thereby reducing Germany's dependence on the transatlantic oil industry. While public discussion is focused on ex-Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's candidacy for the chair of Rosneft's board of directors, the company has increased its share to 25 percent of Germany's crude oil imports, and has become the third largest oil processing enterprise in Germany. It has plans to further strengthen its position in the country, inspired by the close German-Russian natural gas cooperation, which provides Germany significant influence over Western Europe's supply of Russian gas. Achieving predominant influence over the EU's supply and a growing independence vis-à-vis the energy giants of the transatlantic era, facilitates Berlin's pursuit of an independent German-EU global policy. more…