Theodor Fontane, the master of German realist fiction, published his first novel, Before the Storm, in 1876. Set during the winter of 1812–13, in and around Berlin, it explores the decisive historical moment when Prussia changed sides—breaking out of its forced alliance with France in order to side with Russia in the anti-Napoleonic war. Yet the dialectic of the moment was such that Germans could join in the rout of the French while nonetheless embracing aspects of the French revolutionary legacy. Thus near the conclusion of the novel, the Prussian General von Bamme, commenting on social changes around him, a reduction in traditional structures of hierarchy, speculates, “And where does all this come from? From over yonder, borne on the west wind. I can make nothing of these windbags of Frenchmen, but in all the rubbish they talk there is none the less a pinch of wisdom. Nothing much is going to come of their Fraternity, nor of their Liberty: but there is something to be said for what they have put between them. For what, after all, does it mean but: a man is a man.”Mensch ist mensch. Continue reading
Pentagon to boost U.S. weapons under nuclear posture review
Russia is aggressively building up its nuclear forces and is expected to deploy a total force of 8,000 warheads by 2026 along with modernizing deep underground bunkers, according to Pentagon officials.
The 8,000 warheads will include both large strategic warheads and thousands of new low-yield and very low-yield warheads to circumvent arms treaty limits and support Moscow’s new doctrine of using nuclear arms early in any conflict.
In addition to expanding its warheads, Russia also is fortifying underground facilities for command and control during a nuclear conflict. Continue reading
This shadow play is a heady vortex, churning with power projections, spheres of influence, security and commerce
The New Silk Roads, known as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), will weave and interconnect six major economic corridors. At 12,000 kilometers, the Eurasia Land Bridge Economic Corridor is a rail network from eastern China to western Europe via Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus.
Then there is the China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor, while the China-Central Asia-West Asia Economic Corridor runs from Xinjiang to Istanbul. Nine new road links in the Greater Mekong help make up the China-Indochina Peninsula Economic Corridor. Continue reading
The EU is now developing strict rules for carrying cash when traveling to non-European countries and returning to Europe. The revision of the First Cash Control Regulation from 2005, which stipulated that EU citizens should register cash in excess of € 10,000 when leaving the EU or when returning to the customs authorities have to, is what is under review. They want to lower the number and include gold, gemstones, and cash debit cards. Continue reading
BERLIN/BRUSSELS(Own report) – The German government has announced that the EU Military Union will be officially launched this Monday, with the European Council formally adopting 17 projects aimed at creating joint EU military structures. Germany is in charge of the establishment of a European Medical Command, considered an indispensable element of future EU military operations, alongside the European Air Transport Command, which has existed since 2010. Berlin is also establishing logistical structures that would facilitate rapid interventions. The German Bundeswehr is also active in both fields within the NATO framework. The operational preparation for future military missions is influenced by a fierce power struggle between Germany and France. According to the German ministry of defense, the military union is not only aimed at reaching more “independence” from the United States, but also at advancing EU “integration,” which is difficult to achieve with civilian means. Continue reading
MUNICH/BERLIN(Own report) – The organizers of the Munich Security Conference (MSC), one of the world’s most important military policy conferences, are urging that the EU’s transformation into a war alliance be accelerated. The European Union of states should be able to take on “missions,” similar to the 2011 military operation against Libya, at any time, according to a recent report by the Munich Security Conference, the McKinsey management consulting firm and the elite Hertie School of Governance. Not only drastic increases in the military budgets are being demanded of the EU members, but, above all, investments in modern military equipment. The authors of the report not only emphasize the harmonization of European weapon system standards but are also demanding that EU-states invest more in research, and to a growing extent, involve universities, branches of civilian industries and so-called start-up enterprises. According to the MSC Chairman, the German diplomat Wolfgang Ischinger, these are “essential” decisions, because it is “unsustainable” for the EU to continue to rely on US “protection.”
The maiden operational launch of Iran’s Soumar Kh-55 cruise missile was apparently entrusted to Yemen’s Houthis against a UAE target. Has it been given to Hizballah, another Iranian proxy?
Yemen’s Houthi rebels last week showed on their TV channel video footage of Iran’s most highly advanced Soumar.Kh-55 cruise missile, which can carry a nuclear warhead. They claimed to have fired it at the unfinished Abu Dhabi power plant on Dec.3. The United Arab Emirates refuted this claim, saying that any missile reaching their air space would have been intercepted by advanced Emirati air defenses. Continue reading
The Danish Central Bank has come out to warn that there is another financial crisis ahead. The central bank identified several indicators that point to growing risks from its analysis perspective. It is recommending that the banks in Denmark begin to raise their capital risk buffer. Continue reading
BERLIN(Own report) – Germany and the three remaining major West European EU member countries should formulate a joint foreign policy and implement it even without an EU-wide consensus, demands Norbert Röttgen, former Chair of the Committee of Foreign Affairs in the German Bundestag. Such an approach would be inevitable, because a foreign policy consensus in the EU is impossible “within the foreseeable future,” although rapid and resolute activity is needed to reach an “equal footing with the USA and Russia.” Experts are proposing, as an alternative, the introduction of foreign policy decisions being taken at majority votes. This would mean that EU countries – against the will of their respective governments – could, for example, be forced into serious conflicts with third countries. Reflecting major shifts in the global political fabric, these proposals have become elements of an intense debate within Berlin’s political establishment. The German Federal Intelligence Service (BND) is warning against the escalation of conflicts, for example, with China, and the military does not rule out the possibility of Berlin’s loss of power, through the potential disintegration of the EU.
The European Union has moved one step closer to the creation of an EU Army – the same EU Army that definitely wasn’t going to happen in the run up to the referendum.
Federica Mogherini, EU Foreign Affairs and Security Policy chief, as well as Vice-President of the Commission, said:
“In the coming months there will be the chance to launch even more cooperative projects. We will continue to work at full speed and full determination on the European defence more broadly. The new capability development plan will point to the sectors we need to invest in.
Former Kremlin Foreign Policy Advisor Sergey Karaganov stated that the world is living in a new Cold War, which is worse than the previous one. “Nowadays the risk of war is much greater than in the past. One of the reasons is that there is no system of agreements, no hot lines and no channels for consultation between the defense ministries. We have prevented a war in Europe by disrupting plans to involve Ukraine into Western alliances. If Ukraine had become a member of NATO, a war would have become unavoidable,” said Karaganov.
He further stated that Russia and China are the “main providers of security” in the world today, explaining that China is providing economic security, while Russia is providing military-strategic security. According to Karaganov, Europe is becoming increasingly focused on itself, while America is destabilizing the world. He then added that multipolarity that Russia had vigorously promoted in order to destroy the unipolar American system is no longer a goal in itself. “Now it is just a transitional period in the history of international relations,” said Karaganov.
Following are excerpts from Karaganov’s interview:
Russia And China Are The Main Providers Of Security In The World Today
After weeks of tottering on the edge, Germany this week fell into full-blown political crisis.
On Sunday, the Free Democrats pulled out of discussions to form a coalition government. This caused the four-party negotiations to collapse.
Germany is in uncharted waters politically. This situation is unprecedented. The nation hasn’t experienced this much ambiguity and political instability since the Weimar years of the 1920s.
Der Spiegel wrote this week that this “is an unprecedented moment of uncertainty for a country that prizes stability and predictability above all else.” It is also reported that it is “difficult to overstate the impact of the collapsed talks.” Continue reading
Merkel faces the worst crisis of her career and many behind the curtain are starting to wonder if she will even survive. The German Federal President Steinmeier could not actually order new elections immediately. The procedure in this regard is quite complicated in Germany. The earliest possible alternative would be to hold new elections come the spring of 2018. It is likely that the AFD is likely to gather even greater support from new elections. Nonetheless, the CDU will continue to support Merkel at least right now. However, the CDU has been severely weakened by the election and if we do not see new elections until the spring, there is a distinct possibility that Merkel’s support even within the CDU could collapse if they see the AfD will win even greater support. Continue reading
Reuters, Nov 21, 2017 (emphasis added): Russia finds 1,000-times normal level of radioactive isotope after nuclear accident claims — Russia’s meteorological service said on Tuesday it had measured pollution of a radioactive isotope at nearly 1,000 times normal levels in the Ural mountains, the first official Russian data supporting reports that an accident had taken place… Russian state weather service Roshydromet said in a statement it had found “extremely high pollution” of ruthenium 106 in samples from two meteorological stations in the southern Ural mountains region in late September and early October… Continue reading
President Donald Trump is jockeying to end the Iran nuclear deal once and for all, and Iran wants to make us pay.
Add this to North Korea’s constant threats, naval clashes in the South China Sea, and the recent Saudi Purge, and it can be tempting to stuff your money in your mattress or invest in commodities like gold and silver. Continue reading