President Vladimir Putin ordered an urgent drill to test the combat readiness of armed forces across western Russia on Wednesday, news agencies reported, flexing Moscow’s military muscle amid tension with the West over Ukraine.
“In accordance with an order from the president of the Russian Federation, forces of the Western Military District were put on alert at 1400 (1000 GMT) today,” Interfax quoted Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu as saying.
Putin has ordered several such surprise drills in various parts of Russia since he returned to the presidency in 2012, saying the military must be kept on its toes, but the geopolitical overtones could hardly have been clearer this time. Continue reading
JERUSALEM — Three hundred kilometers by high-speed rail between the cities of Eilat and Ashdod, connecting the Red Sea coast to the Mediterranean: They call it the “Red-Med” Project.
Financed by Beijing and launched from Jerusalem, China has revealed its strategy for “West Asia” — the term that the China Shipping Container Lines company uses to delineate the area of operations between Hormuz, Suez and Haifa.
The use of the term West Asia rather than Middle East is no accident — this gives precedence to the size of the economic link with China rather than the ever troublesome geopolitics of the region. Continue reading
If you want the real deal on the Ukraine, here it is. Berlin is going all in. There are no such thing as sporatic uprisings where college kids empty the university classrooms to go out, demonstrate with wooden picket signs, or throw bottles and stones at police officers in riot gear. These are 99.9% of the time well thought out and methodically planned in advance, such as the Occupy Wall Street (see also here) thugs.
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. Continue reading
Captain Arthur Conolly, a British officer of the Sixth Bengal Native Light Cavalry, coined the concept of the ‘Great Game’ in the 1830s. Later, the English writer Rudyard Kipling immortalized the concept in his 1901 novel Kim. In basic terms, the Great Game was simply a struggle for power, territorial control, and political dominance between the Russian and British Empires in Central Asia in the nineteenth century. This competition of manoeuvring and intrigue between the two empires came to an end in 1907, when both nations were forced to focus their resources on more serious threats. The British had to gear up and contain the rise of an assertive Germany in Europe, and the Russians were locked in a fierce struggle with the Japanese in Manchuria. Continue reading
What happens when a superpower dies? What happens when the geopolitical order that has stabilized the world for several decades crumbles?
We are all about to learn firsthand. Continue reading
Another indication of the decline of America’s economic and geopolitical influence
China overtook the United States in 2013 to become the world’s biggest trading nation, ending many decades of American trade dominance, according to data released by the two countries.
China’s total exports and imports of goods for 2013 hit $4.16 trillion. The U.S. hasn’t yet released its final figures for the year, but its trade of goods for the first 11 months totaled $3.5 trillion, which puts it considerably behind Beijing. Continue reading
European Central Bank head Mario Draghi says Japanese-style stagnation possible amid high unemployment and falling inflation
The European Central Bank sent the euro tumbling on world markets after it warned that the 18-member currency zone may need further support to prevent a Japanese-style period of stagnation.
The ECB president, Mario Draghi, said persistently high unemployment, falling inflation and difficult lending conditions were harming the recovery, and the ECB stood ready to use all the tools available to maintain confidence and growth. Continue reading
Germany’s effort to making a show of military force in Africa are aimed not just at crisis resolution in conflict areas but also at promoting and marketing German weaponry. However, this effort is not independent from the French rivalry factor.
When Germany achieved reunification in the 1990s, it began trying to play a more active role in the international arena. Germany’s interest in Africa has grown in recent years, in line with the continent’s increasing geo-economic and geopolitical importance. Germany’s participation in the international peace force in Afghanistan and the gradual German intervention in the crises in the Middle East and the Horn of Africa were signals of the transformation of German foreign policy. In the same way, it may be said that with the changes that came with the Arab Spring, German moves to assume a larger role in North Africa have gained speed. On this point, answers need to be found for some basic questions such as “what are the repercussions of Germany’s interest in Africa”, “how are the transformations in the Arab world affecting Germany’s policies in Africa?”, and “what impact will this interest have on relations with other countries such as France?” Continue reading
BERLIN (Own report) – With the appointment of a foreign minister, who is under heavy criticism for his stance on human rights, the new German government is preparing a global policy offensive. According to the CDU/SPD Coalition Agreement, the government is more determined than ever to help “shape international policy” and play “a strong autonomous role.” Counting on the EU, to couple more tightly its “civilian and military instruments” to intervene globally, the German government will promote EU foreign and military policy at the summit in Brussels later this week. Designated Foreign Minster, Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SPD), has been actively involved in Berlin’s geopolitical climb since he became the Chancellery’s coordinator of the German intelligence services in 1998. In 2001, he became Chief of Staff of the Federal Chancellery and played a central role in the German/US-American coordination in the “War on Terror,” which had initially consisted of the abduction and torture of terror suspects. For this, Steinmeier has been repeatedly under criticism – without effect. He will once again preside over the foreign ministry. Continue reading
If Ukraine is to still join the EU, expect it to after the cold winter subsides. This way, Russia can no longer blackmail the Ukranian leadership via energy supplies by shutting off the gas lines as it did a few years back — which also was a statement to Europe as it, too, was affected.
Every decent revolution produces an iconic scene. The 1989 Tiananmen protests had tank man; during Germany’s reunification it was a segment of the Berlin Wall swaying back and forth like a wiggly tooth before finally collapsing; in Baghdad in 2003, it was the slow-motion toppling of the giant statue of Saddam Hussein. On Sunday, the budding revolution in Ukraine got its iconic scene, when, amid protests of roughly 500,000 in Kiev’s Independence Square, angry marchers felled a Vladimir Lenin statue then slugged it to pieces with sledgehammers.
The protesters are upset with President Viktor Yanukovich, and specifically his November 29 decision to reject a free-trade deal with the EU. The decision was seen not only as a rejection of Europe, but an embrace of Russia. Many Ukrainians worry that Yanukovich, despite repeated denials, has struck a deal with Vladimir Putin to form a customs union with Russia.
Whatever the outcome, events in Ukraine highlight three important geopolitical realities, each of which is also prophetically significant. Continue reading
Collapse of talks a blow to European balance of power as Kremlin sanctions trump historic trade deal
Twenty years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ukraine is slipping back under Kremlin control. Ukraine’s shock decision to opt for Vladimir Putin’s Russia and pull out of EU talks on the eve of an historic deal is a dramatic upset to the European balance of power. It is the first major defeat for the EU in its eastward march since the fall of Communism. While the region’s geopolitics remain fluid, the upset may prove as fateful as the move by the Kossack chief Bohdan Khmelnytsky to turn his back on the West and accept Tsarist suzerainty in the 1640s.
“Ukraine’s government suddenly bowed deeply to the Kremlin. The politics of brutal pressure evidently work,” said Karl Bildt, Sweden’s Foreign Minister. Continue reading
Every day it becomes increasingly clear that Germany is using economic warfare as a means to subjugate EU members and force them into being vassal states. It’s also clear that all EU members aren’t on board and won’t tow the German line, therefore we are likely to see in the future a breakup of the EU because it was never going to work in the first place, yet it was by design that this was to happen. As a result, look for an inner-core of Europe consisting of ten nations to be formed and in a union around the German center. The manufactured chaos will allow for German political influence coupled with its economic tenacity during hard times to lead the way while the remaining members latch on to its leadership and give it power.
To preempt a complete and 100% breakdown or revolt against its imperial hegemony as the article suggests, Europe’s powerhouse is likely to shift cheap labor outward towards the peripheral countries to keep their economies just above water and the citizenry obliviously content. The EU’s answer to the EU’s problems is always centered around one goal: More Europe, as every crisis proves to be an opportunity for more regulation and centralization. The United States of Europe is coming, and it will resemble iron mixed with clay.
BERLIN (Own report) – German government advisors support the establishment of new integrationist procedures to pre-empt future resistance to German predominance over the EU. “A major redistribution of power” is currently taking place in Europe, with France and Great Britain falling clearly behind Germany, according to a recent declaration of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP). In Southern Europe, there are already massive protests against the German government’s dictates. These have not yet had major consequences, but timely preventive measures should be taken to pre-empt the establishment of a “countervailing power.” The SWP’s suggestions support various initiatives from within Berlin’s establishment aimed at consolidating German domination over the EU and pushing the next German government toward a more offensive global policy. The German president, for example, called in this year’s National Holiday speech for a more offensive German approach to global politics, and the SWP pleads for Berlin to assume a more decisive “leadership.” Whereas German predomination over the EU is today taken for granted, a shift is perceived in relations to the most important global rival – the United States. Continue reading