The Group of Eight (G8) summits have traditionally been seen more for their vanity than substance, and the one that opens today (June 17) in Lough Erne, Northern Ireland, will not be an exception. The members of this privileged club—the United States, United Kingdom, France, Canada, Germany, Japan, Italy and Russia—see no particular need to overcome their differences in managing the world’s slow-burning crises, from the economic slowdown to Syria. Besides the photo-ops, the main content of these tightly scripted get-togethers is supposed to be generated in the back rooms, and the most private of those is this time reserved for the meeting between US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin, which should have happened a year ago, had Putin not opted to skip the May 2012 G8 summit in Camp David. The key figures in the Obama administration have far outdone their Russian counterparts in preparing an agenda for this tete-a-tete but succeeded only in downplaying the criticism of Putin’s persecution of political dissent, while no breakthrough in arms control is in the making (Kommersant-FM, June 14). Expectations that Russia could show some flexibility on Syria are arrested by the long-postponed announcement in Washington on providing military aid to the rebels. And what little understanding there was on issues looming over the wider Middle East is shattered by Putin’s statement that he has “no doubt that Iran is compliant with the rules” in executing its nuclear program (Gazeta.ru, Moscow echo, June 14; Forbes.ru, June 12). Continue reading
Despite massive spending on Western weapons, the Arab monarchies of the Persian Gulf are “unable to secure themselves from any external threat” — meaning Iran — and are running up huge public and foreign debt, a Gulf think tank says.
Omar al-Shehabi, director of the Gulf Center for Development Policies in Kuwait, said that even though the defense expenditure of the six Gulf Cooperation Council states is the highest in the world, exceeding the combined military spending of Israel and Britain, they still have to “rely on Western countries to provide military protection and security.” Continue reading
It looks as if we’ve moved from “years away from war” to months away, or even weeks. As mentioned in previous submissions, the Assad regime is not going to give up easy and is going to bring down the entire Middle East with him should he realize he has only moments left of being in power. The entire region is at a critical boiling point.
President Barack Obama’s decision to send some light weapons to Syrian rebels may be too little and too late to thwart a regime offensive to retake Aleppo, the nation’s largest city and commercial capital.
Regime forces supported by fighters from the Iranian-backed Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah have moved north after defeating rebels in al-Qusair, a setback that triggered concern in Washington that Iran and its Lebanese ally are tipping the balance in favor of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad.
“Arming the Syrian rebels is unlikely to tip the balance in their favor,” said Shadi Hamid, director of research at the Brookings Institution’s Doha Center. “It might have made a difference a year ago, but, today, the Assad regime — particularly after re-taking Qusair — has the advantage.” Continue reading
Multinational military exercise ‘Eager Lion’ has been launched in Jordan amid condemnation from neighboring Syria and its ally Russia. The US brings Patriot missile batteries to the Syrian border, which could remain deployed afterwards.
The exercises will last for 12 days, bringing together about 8,000 personnel from 19 countries, mostly Arabic, but also including the US and Europe. The maneuvers will also involve some 3,000 Jordanian and 500 British troops. Continue reading
Twenty years after UK personnel first deployed to Bosnia as part of the United Nations Protection Force, some 85 soldiers from Number 1 Company (No 1 Coy), The 1st Battalion Irish Guards, travelled to the country to rehearse their potential call-up as one of the intermediate reserve units of the European Military Force (EUFOR).
Restructured in 2012 as a result of improving security in the region, EUFOR’s primary role is to build the capacity of the Bosnian armed forces. Continue reading
As the United States pivots away from the Western world to face the burgeoning Pacific Rim, what wisdom can it carry over from its former stomping grounds to the new cockpit of geopolitics? Perhaps Washington can take a page out of Leopold Kohr’s book. The obscure Austrian philosopher once popularized the slogan “Small is Beautiful” — which has clearly never caught on in the States. Yet his theories on the importance of size in international relations might help Washington manage its decidedly outsized geopolitical challenges in Asia. That’s because, following Kohr’s quantitative logic, New Asia shows some remarkable resemblance to Old Europe.
Which is strange, I’ll admit. In demographics as in economics, Europe is the incredible shrinking continent. Asia, on the other hand, is the geopolitical equivalent of a magic beanstalk. Continue reading
Three of the world’s nuclear powers — China, India and Pakistan — have increased their arsenals over the past year, while the other five have cut their strength or kept it stable, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said Monday.
China now has 250 nuclear warheads against 240 in 2012, while Pakistan has increased its warheads by about 10 to between 100 and 120 and India has also added roughly 10 for a total of 90 to 110, SIPRI said in its annual report. Continue reading
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande want to install a government for the Eurozone. This could change the EU’s structure, according to the press in both countries, but only if the leaders’ understanding is sustainable.
Angela Merkel and François Hollande have made up. The “Franco-German contribution,” announced on May 30, shows that the German Chancellor now supports the French President’s proposals concerning the governance of the Eurozone. French financial daily Les Echos notes that: Continue reading
Central bankers, anywhere in the world, are a cautious lot. They prefer slow and steady over the dramatic gesture. And they rarely go public with criticisms of other central banks.
But the economic stagnation of the major developed nations has driven central banks in the United States, Japan, Britain and the European Union to take increasingly aggressive action. Because governments are not taking steps to revive economies, like increasing spending or cutting taxes, the traditional concern of central bankers that economic growth will cause too much inflation has been supplanted by the fear that growth is not fast enough to prevent deflation, or falling prices. Continue reading
According to Dr. Mordechai Kedar, European softening, together with demographics, is leading to ‘abysmal’ change. Dr. Avika Libman: Riots start with preachers demanding Muslim state
The murder of a soldier in London, the stabbing of a soldier in Paris and the violent outbreak in Sweden – Europe’s alarm clock has been ringing once again over the past week. The negative birthrate compared to the increase in Muslims, the heavy unemployment and the social-religious isolation of European immigrants are all back on the agenda. Continue reading
As the article points out, look for a European army on the horizon. Spending cuts, the economic crisis and a need for security are the drivers behind the politics that will make the United States of Europe and its European army happen. As much as its European neighbors might not like Germany much at the moment, they look towards its leadership as an economic powerhouse that runs Europe, as well as its umbrella protectorate. In the next chapter of world history, all roads are leading to Berlin. Some might agree, some might not, and some might even scoff at the idea. However, in the end, today’s jokes are tomorrow’s reality. Global Geopolitics has been following this for some time now and its trend is well documented here for you, the reader, to see and come to your own conclusions.
Germany and the Netherlands form a joint task force.
A brigade of Dutch paratroopers will be integrated into a new German division of rapid reaction forces, German newspaper Rheinische Post reported on May 22. The 11th Airmobile Brigade—a mobile force of 4,500 troops that is equipped with light vehicles, mortars and anti-aircraft systems—will join 8,600 German soldiers to form the new division under German command.
With paratroopers and special forces, as well as combat and transport helicopters, the group is designed to respond quickly to new threats and help evacuate endangered German and Dutch citizens. Until now, only Britain and America had a similar type of military structure. Continue reading
THE security forces are virtually powerless to stop atrocities like the Woolwich murder, a former MI6 chief admitted.
Amid growing fears of copycat attacks and rising community tensions, Richard Barrett said preventing such terror attacks was “incredibly hard”.
“I think it is incredibly hard to stop,” he said. “When does a person who expresses radical views, who joins a radical group, flip over to be a violent extremist? To find the signals, the red flags as it were, I think is enormously hard. Continue reading