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
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
TOKYO/BEIJING (Reuters) – Japan on Tuesday vowed to make a stern protest to China after a regional Chinese newspaper printed a map of the country with mushroom clouds hovering over the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and accused the Japanese of wanting war again.
The neighbours have a long history of tense relations. Beijing bristles at Japan’s inability to properly atone for its invasion of China before and during World War Two, and its occupation of large parts of the country.
The newspaper, the weekly Chongqing Youth News from the southwestern city of Chongqing, printed the picture in its latest edition, Chinese media reported, though it appeared later to have been removed from the paper’s website version. Continue reading
TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan is poised for a historic shift in its defense policy by ending a ban that has kept the military from fighting abroad since World War Two, a major step away from post-war pacifism and a big political victory for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
The change will significantly widen Japan’s military options by ending the ban on exercising “collective self-defense”, or aiding a friendly country under attack. It will also relax limits on activities in U.N.-led peace-keeping operations and “grey zone” incidents short of full-scale war, according to a draft government proposal made available to reporters. Continue reading
If you were still no sure about which side to take over Edward Snowden, this might help you take one. The amount of damage he has caused and lives he put at risk is enormous.
The intelligence community isn’t used to explaining itself in public, but over the past few months, with much prodding by Congress and the press, it has taken some small, tentative steps. Last week, I spent an hour with General Keith B. Alexander, who retired in March after eight years as the director of the N.S.A. The forces pushing for omnivorous data collection are larger than any one person, but General Alexander’s role has been significant. We met on Wednesday morning, in the conference room of a public-relations firm in the Flatiron District. He is a tall man with a firm handshake and steady eyes who speaks rapidly and directly.
Here are excerpts from the interview.
In January, President Obama claimed that the N.S.A. bulk-metadata program has disrupted fifty-four terrorist plots. Senator Patrick Leahy said the real number is zero. There’s a big difference between fifty-four and zero. Continue reading
Long-range ballistic, cruise missiles launched
Russia’s armed forces conducted a “massive” nuclear forces exercise on Thursday simulating NATO and U.S. nuclear attacks and involving several long-range ballistic and cruise missile firings.
The exercises were monitored by Russian President Vladimir Putin and coincided with May 9 anniversary celebrations marking the victory in World War II. Continue reading
Simferopol (Undefined) (AFP) – Several dozen Russian planes including what appeared to be strategic bombers and fighter jets have been spotted in the sky above the Moscow-controlled peninsula of Crimea, witnesses and experts said.
According to Russian media, President Vladimir Putin is poised to visit Crimea on Friday after overseeing the main military parade on Red Square when Russia celebrates its victory over Nazi Germany in World War II.
A local aviation expert told AFP on Sunday that he had sighted a number of planes over the peninsula’s main city of Simferopol on Saturday, including supersonic heavy strategic bombers and heavy military transport aircraft. Continue reading
Today’s Germany emerged in 1990 when the formerly communist East Germany was incorporated into the Federal Republic. Nearly half a century of disunion had left an economic and social divide in the country that took more than two decades to mend — and some imbalances remain. Historically, however, the more pertinent geographical divide in Germany has been between its north and south.
This Nord-Süd-Gefälle actually mended an economic divide that had previously been to the advantage of the north. Trade centers like Bremen and Hamburg, as well as Berlin, have since imitated the south’s focus on high technology and employed more workers in services.
Competition between the highly autonomous Länder and Germany’s big cities stems from its long division into different sovereign states. Prussia, which had come to occupy virtually the whole of the North European Plain during the Napoleonic Wars, including today’s northern and western Poland as well as Russia’s Kaliningrad province, was by far the most powerful. Its prime minister, Otto von Bismarck, forged an empire out of the many German kingdoms and principalities in 1871. Continue reading
Russia’s border with Europe is the bloodiest place in the world. Caught between the major powers of the West and the might of Russia, the region has seen some of the worst conflicts in history.
During World War II, roughly 17 million soldiers lost their lives in battles on the Eastern front. By way of comparison, in the West, fewer than four million soldiers died—including D-Day, the Battle of the Bulge and all the other battles we hear about more often. And these figures don’t include the huge number of civilians who lost their lives in the Battle of Stalingrad or the Siege of Leningrad, and other horrific clashes.
The numbers for World War i are also appalling; rough estimates indicate that 5 million soldiers lost their lives fighting on the Eastern front.
Conflicts between Europe and Russia are bloody and frequent. This history gives the context necessary to appreciate what is happening in Ukraine, and how Europe will react.
MOSCOW, April 18 (RIA Novosti) – Russia will build more than 150 military facilities on the Iturup and Kunashir islands, part of the Kuril chain disputed by Japan, a senior military commander told reporters Friday.
“All decisions on the construction of military stations on the Iturup and Kunashir islands have been made and approved,” said Col. Gen. Sergei Suvorkin, the head of Russia’s Eastern Military District.
“All essential facilities, more than 150, will be built before 2016,” he added. Continue reading
While it may be hard to prove the book’s claims are correct, it would also be difficult to say that the EU is not a German project leading towards a United States of Europe. Every time the EU economy sinks, Germany gets richer and the only EU solution, as prescribed by the unelected German-led Troika, is pushing and forcing member states into further integration.
THE ‘fascist’ EU was inspired and designed by the NAZIS and is proof Hitler won the Second World War, an outrageous new book is claiming.
‘The EU: The Truth About The Fourth Reich – How Hitler Won The Second World War’ argues the single currency, the free market and even the phrase “United States of Europe” were all dreamt up by high ranking Nazis, including the Fuhrer himself.
It also claims the only country which benefits from the EU is Germany – just as Hitler planned.
A spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats – which its leader Nick Clegg describes as the “party of in” when it comes to the EU – dismissed the authors of the book as “peddling outlandish myths”.
The book, co-written by Daniel J Beddowes and Falvio Cipollini, says: “What is the EU for? Who really benefits? And the answer is of course Germany. Continue reading
In the new concluding chapter to his classic The Tragedy of Great Power Politics, John Mearsheimer argues: “There is already substantial evidence that countries like India, Japan, and Russia, as well as smaller powers like Singapore, South Korea, and Vietnam, are worried about China’s ascendancy and are looking for ways to contain it. In the end, they will join an American-led balancing coalition to check China’s rise, much the way Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and eventually China, joined forces with the United States during the Cold War to contain the Soviet Union.”
This is at odds with most analyses which postulate that Asia is not ripe for a NATO style containment block against China. For instance, in summing up the conventional wisdom on the subject, the Council on Foreign Relations’ Stewart Patrick opined last summer that: “Despite its strategic ‘rebalancing’ toward Asia, the United States is unlikely to sponsor a collective defense organization for the Asia-Pacific, for at least three reasons: insufficient solidarity among diverse regional partners, fear of alienating China, and the perceived advantages of bilateral and ad-hoc security arrangements.”
An amazing cache of files shows that J Edgar Hoover’s FBI took claims of Hitler’s survival seriously and a team was assigned to exploring scores of tip offs.
The astonishing documents detail how an Argentinean fugitive claimed he helped Hitler, two women and other Germans disembark from a submarine in the South American country approximately two and half weeks after the fall of Berlin in April 1945.
Hitler and his companions then went by horse pack to the foothills of the southern Andes, and the plan was for the 50-strong group to move in with German families in villages in the area.
Council on Foreign Relations compares Germany’s hardline stance with US policy towards Britain at the end of the Second World War
The eurozone debt crisis is deepening and threatens to re-erupt on a larger scale when the liquidity cycle turns, a leading panel of economists warned in a clash of views with German officials in Berlin.
“Debts above 130pc of GDP for Italy and 170pc for Greece are a recipe for disaster once we go into the next downturn,” said Professor Charles Wyplosz, from Geneva University.
“Today’s politicians believe the crisis is over and don’t want to hear any more about it, but they have not tackled the core issues of fiscal union and public debt,” he said, speaking at Euromoney’s annual Germany conference.
The head of U.S. Pacific Command believes America does not possess the capacity to conduct amphibious assaults in the wake of a crisis, as it did during World War II.
“We have had a good return of our Marines back to the Asia-Pacific, particularly as the activities in the Middle East wind down in Afghanistan. … But the reality is, is that to get Marines around effectively, they require all types of lift. They require the big amphibious ships, but they also require connectors (meaning landing craft and other amphibious vehicles). The lift is the enabler that makes that happen, so we wouldn’t be able to [successfully carry out a contested amphibious assault without additional resources],” Adm. Locklear said, Stars and Stripes reported.