Establish Facts

KIEV/BERLIN (Own report) – After a jetliner was shot down over Eastern Ukraine, influential German foreign policy experts have begun calling for a military intervention, which may include German Bundeswehr units. “A Blue Helmet mission under the umbrella of the United Nations” should now be taken into consideration, declared Andreas Schockenhoff, Co-Chair of the CDU/CSU Group in the Bundestag. “Germany may also be asked” to contribute troops. For the Chairman of the Bundestag’s Defense Commission, Hans-Peter Bartels (SPD), a Blue Helmet mission is also “conceivable.” It is yet unclear, who bears responsibility for downing the jetliner. This is not an essential question for him, as past experience with Western interventions have shown: The EU and the USA must politically establish the facts. The war against Yugoslavia was justified with a massacre. Substantial doubts about central aspects of this massacre still persist. The sniper killings on Kiev’s Maidan Square on February 20 have never been elucidated, once they served as legitimation for overthrowing the government of President Yanukovych. Suspicions persist that sectors of today’s governing Maidan opposition may have played decisive roles in these murders; however that is of no interest to the West. On the contrary, there have never been political consequences for a US warship’s downing of an Iranian airliner in 1988. Continue reading

BRICS nations could rival US in global influence

The rise of the BRICS countries–Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa–may challenge the world order and lead to the end of US domination.

The five countries set up the New Development Bank during a recent summit in Brazil, which offers an alternative to the US-led International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

The five countries participating in the economic cooperation forum are likely to deepen their cooperation in various fields, which may rival the dominance of the United States and G7 countries in the world.

The BRICS countries will also increase their sway if they can improve their governance, considering the fact that they account for 42% of the global population and their GDP and trade volume each make up for about 20% of the world’s total. Continue reading

The Alliance of the Threatened

BERLIN/WASHINGTON/MOSCOW (Own report) – The EU and USA have expanded their sanctions against Russia and – in addition to individuals – have now also placed important Russian companies on their lists. Washington has restricted dealings, for example, with Rosneft and the Gazprombank. Brussels has announced the possibility of preventing EU companies from doing business with Russian companies and is planning to list them by the end of July. German business circles are protesting. They have already suffered billions in losses. Experts are warning that, with its sanctions against Russia, the West may experience, in the economic arena, an overreach similar to that experienced by the US in the military arena with its war on Iraq. With the power of the West obviously waning, it has already become noticeable that even close allies are defecting. Observers explain this with the Crimea conflict: NATO countries had been unable to retain the Crimea within the reign of its allied Ukrainian government; therefore it seems that an alliance with NATO countries would no longer be a reliable assurance against ones enemies. Defections can be noticed in Asia and Latin America, not least of all because of the recent founding of the BRICS development bank, rivaling the US-dominated World Bank. Russia and China are among the founders of this bank. Continue reading

The Bear Is Loose

“The bear is loose!” President Obama has been saying, whenever he leaves the White House to visit Starbucks, or sandwich shops, or burger joints, or BBQ shacks, or neighborhood diners, in his increasingly rote and pathetic attempts to “connect” with “real people.” Obama, we have been told, is frustrated, “restless,” bored with the responsibilities and chores of office. He thinks of himself as the bear—intimidating, wild, untamed, roving—escaping his den. But he is flattering himself. Obama is not the bear. He is the cub: aimless, naïve, self-interested, self-indulgent, irresponsible, irresolute. The bear is in Moscow.

One can trace a line from any global hotspot to Russia and its authoritarian ruler. Iran? Russia has assisted its nuclear program for decades. Syria? Russia is Bashar Assad’s arms dealer. Iraq? Russia is sending men and materiel to the central government. Afghanistan? Putin muscled nearby Kyrgyzstan into closing our air base there, crucial for transport, resupply, and reconnaissance in the war against the Taliban. The contretemps between the United States and Germany is the result of Edward Snowden’s breach of national security. Where is Snowden? In Russia, where he has just asked to have his visa renewed. I wonder if Vladimir Putin will say yes. Continue reading

All aboard: China’s railway dream

At Asia’s biggest rail cargo base in Chengdu in south-west China, the cranes are hard at work, swinging containers from trucks onto a freight train. The containers are filled with computers, clothes, even cars.

Until last year, all of it would have first gone more than 1,000 miles east to Shanghai and then to Europe by sea. Continue reading

‘Worst crisis in US-German relations since WW II’

Klaus Scharioth, Berlin’s former ambassador to the US, tells DW why Germany’s expulsion of the top CIA official was right and why the current crisis is the biggest challenge yet for transatlantic ties.

Klaus Scharioth served as Germany’s ambassador to Washington from 2006 to 2011. He is currently dean of the Mercator College for International Affairs in Germany and professor of practice at Tuft University’s Fletcher School in the US.

DW: Berlin’s decision to publicly ask the head of the CIA in Germany leave the country is unprecedented in German-American relations and has triggered a major debate. Was the move justified or overblown?

I think it was a measured response. I believe there had to be a response because what happened is really an espionage overreach which you don’t have among friends. And therefore I believe the response was measured. Continue reading

Angela Merkel ‘does not want to complete full term as German chancellor’

You have not anchored Germany to a unified Europe…You have anchored Europe to a newly unified and dominant Germany! In the end my friends, you will find it will not work.

- Margaret Thatcher

With America on the way out and committing national suicide… say hello to The Fourth Reich and the world’s next superpower.

 

Chancellor Angela Merkel is considering quitting ahead of the 2017 elections and is interested in UN Secretary-General or President of the European Council roles, Spiegel reports

Angela Merkel does not want to complete her full term as German chancellor and is planning to resign before elections due in 2017, according to reports.

The German leader is aiming to become the first chancellor to leave of her own accord since 1949, and is interested in a new role as United Nations Secretary-General, or President of the European Council, Spiegel magazine reported.

Continue reading

German Spy Caper Will Shake World

Fresh revelations of ongoing United States’ spying on Germany’s leadership have left the German leaders and people furious. It is at the point of becoming a game-changing event in German-U.S. relations.

In an article titled “The German-American Breakup,” the Los Angeles Times wrote, “[W]ith the fresh revelation that the cia recruited an intelligence official as a spy, and the possibility of a second spy in the Defense Ministry, the fury is reaching a tipping point. U.S. Ambassador John B. Emerson was called on the carpet by the German Foreign Office on July 4 about the first incident. On Thursday, Germany ordered the cia station chief in Berlin to leave” (July 10; emphasis added throughout).

This is the type of embarrassing diplomatic reprisal reserved for rogue regimes like Iran and North Korea—not for the world’s supposed superpower. Continue reading

NATO’s Rasmussen: ‘Active Role’ for Germany ‘Decisive for Europe’s Future’

In an interview, outgoing NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen discusses Germany’s postwar tradition of pacificism and his belief the country is now ready, and indeed has the responsibility, to take on a greater role in global affairs.

SPIEGEL: Twenty-five years after reunification and almost seven decades after the end of World War II, has Germany become a country just like every other in terms of security policy?

Rasmussen: Germany is a normal country today, with the kinds of rights and duties other countries have. That’s why Germany should play an important role in foreign and security policy, be it in the EU, NATO or in international politics.

SPIEGEL: So he spoke directly to your heart when German President Joachim Gauck recently called for a more active German foreign policy, military means included?

Rasmussen: I don’t want to interfere with a domestic German debate. But I do very much agree with the position expressed by the German president. I welcome this debate. And not only as NATO secretary general, but also as the former prime minister of Denmark, the small neighbor country once occupied by Germany. Germany needs this debate. I can understand Germany being very cautious when it comes to international military deployments because of its past. But the time has come in Germany for this debate. Europe is ready for it, too. The goal should be to develop a common understanding for how Germany’s new role might look. Continue reading

Using Double Talk (II)

BERLIN/BEIJING (Own report) – On the occasion of the German chancellor’s visit to China, Berlin’s China experts are predicting tangible “turbulences” in German-Chinese relations. Chancellor Merkel is, above all, using her visit to the People’s Republic to seek new business opportunities for German industry. However, growing tensions between the USA and China could soon be expected, according to a recent statement by the director of Berlin’s Mercator Institute for China Studies. Germany and the EU will have to more clearly choose sides than has previously been the case. Government advisors are also proposing that relationships in the field of security policy with member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) be enhanced. This would strengthen the German-EU position in China’s direct vicinity and could possibly be combined with cautious naval expeditions. Comprehensive arms deliveries are flanking these plans for a closer military cooperation. Three East and Southeast Asian countries are among the top-ten customers of German military hardware. They are among those countries, Washington is seeking to pit against China. Continue reading

Germany gives green light to European banking union

Germany’s cabinet has approved draft laws that effectively give the go-ahead to Europe’s plans for banking union – its main confidence-building response to the financial sector crisis.

With the laws, Germany is pressing ahead of EU requirements in protecting German taxpayers from having to foot the bill when a bank gets into trouble. Instead, in a process dubbed a “bail-in”, creditors and owners will have to take losses from 2015, a year before EU rules take effect. Continue reading

Global firms becoming keen on using yuan

The use of the renminbi in trade settlements increased sharply this year, according to HSBC’s annual renminbi survey.

The survey which began last year covered eleven countries, four of which were added this year. All seven markets surveyed in both years posted increases, the largest of which were in Germany, Hong Kong and the U.S.

Of the German companies profiled, 23 percent are using the renminbi to settle trades, up from 9 percent last year, while usage in Hong Kong rose to 58 percent from 50 percent and to 17 percent from 9 percent in the U.S.

Usage of the renminbi among French companies – a new addition to this year’s list – was high at 26 percent.

Prospects for next year are bright as nearly 60 percent of global companies plan to increase their cross border activity with China over the next 12 months. Currently, 22 percent of companies globally trade in renminbi. Continue reading

Germany weighs how to hit back in US spying row

Berlin (AFP) – Germany debated retaliatory measures against the United States on Tuesday after the discovery of an alleged double agent stoked still smouldering public anger over the NSA scandal.

The case of a German intelligence operative suspected of spying for Washington drew a fierce response from Berlin, where indignation against one of its closest allies has run high since reports last year that the US National Security Agency (NSA) tapped Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone.

Merkel fumed over the latest allegations on a visit to China, saying on Monday that if they proved to be true it “would be for me a clear contradiction as to what I consider to be trusting cooperation between agencies and partners.” Continue reading

‘Dragonfly’ virus strikes U.S. power plants

WASHINGTON – U.S. and European energy companies have become the target of a “Dragonfly” virus out of Eastern Europe that goes after energy grids, major electricity generation firms, petroleum pipelines operators and energy industrial equipment providers.

Unearthed by the cyber security firm Symantec, Dragonfly has been in operation since at least 2011. Its malware software allows its operators to not only monitor in real time, but also disrupt and even sabotage wind turbines, gas pipelines and power plants – all with the click of a computer mouse.

The attacks have disrupted industrial control system equipment providers by installing the malware during downloaded updates for computers running the ICS equipment. Continue reading

The Elite Wants More

BERLIN (Own report) – The CDU and Green party-affiliated foundations have been holding conferences with prominent experts to continue Germany’s campaign by elite circles to promote a more aggressive German global policy. Ultimately, a “public discussion of the security policy’s soft and hard factors” must take place, insisted the head of the Policy Department of the German Defense Ministry, Monday at a conference held by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation. At the Heinrich Boell Foundation, just shortly before, the audience was told that “a ‘pacifist Sonderweg’” (special path) cannot “be permitted.” Germany must finally “come out of the comfort zone.” According to the reader published by the Heinrich Boell Foundation, it must be “accepted that it may become necessary to take action outside the current international legal framework.” The reader calls for the creation of a “national security bureau” within the chancellery, patterned after the US-American “National Security Council,” and to significantly “upgrade” the “equipment of Germany’s intelligence services.” Decisions on foreign military missions should, thereby, be structurally facilitated. Continue reading