Sectoral Dialogue

BERLIN (Own report) – The German government is firmly committed to promoting the German arms industry. According to a “strategy paper” recently adopted by the cabinet, the government is planning to “increase investments” in the development of “defense-related technologies.” It also wants to step up “political support” for German arms companies’ business activities, which – if necessary – could be extended to “third countries” non-members of the EU or NATO, and could explicitly include the export of combat hardware. Bilateral agreements should also be concluded with “partner countries” to enhance the “opportunities for German companies” in “large-scale foreign [arms] procurement projects,” according to the paper. These measures comply with the demands of German arms manufacturers, who, for quite some time, have been in “dialogue” with government representatives. One of the results of the “dialogue,” announced by Vice-Chancellor and Minister for the Economy Sigmar Gabriel (SPD) is the government’s support of defense contractors “to obtain access to the evolving markets of civilian security technologies” as well as, in their “cooperation efforts with developing and threshold countries.”

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The Reluctant Giant: Why Germany Shuns Its Global Role

The world admires Germany and would like to see more active engagement from the country. But Germans themselves are reluctant and Chancellor Merkel has steered clear of taking on more global responsibility. Berlin should rethink its role in the world.

When a German reads current travel guides about Germany, written by foreigners clearly enamored of the country, he feels noticeably better afterwards. The travel guides praise Germany as a colorful, high-energy, beautiful country, a European power center in every possible way, a miracle world of culture and technology, inventive and with an entrepreneurial spirit, “truly … a 21st-century country.” Continue reading

Inside Japan’s invisible army

The country’s constitution bans it from having a traditional standing army. But its so-called Self Defense Force is one of the world’s most sophisticated armed bodies.

FORTUNE — On paper, Japan is a pacifist nation. It ranks 6th on the Global Peace Index, a list tabulated by peace activists at Vision of Humanity. Japan’s constitution makes illegal a traditional standing army. But a recently published defense white paper shows the extent to which the country has one of the most well-equipped “invisible” armies in the world.

Japan’s armed forces are euphemistically dubbed the “Self Defense Force” (SDF) — officially it’s an extension of the police. Continue reading

While Continuing to Back Damascus, Moscow Tries to Carry on with Ankara

Syria itself is a proxy country for the Soviet Union against the Western powers. If it can control countries in the Middle East, it can control the world’s oil flow. While not all of the world’s oil comes from the Middle East, it is taking advantage of the Western world’s naïveté in thinking it has to depend mostly on these countries for supplies, not its own vast reserves of domestic energy such as shale in Colorado or in Canada. Arms exporting, as noted within the article plays a huge role as well. Russia is ranked number four in the world under this category, and second in terms of export value. Nevertheless, here is The Jamestown Foundation on the strategic importance of both Syria and Turkey according to Russia:

Russia has been an unwavering supporter of President Bashar al-Assad and one of the prime suppliers of weapons to the Syrian military. Moreover, Russia and China have used their veto power in the UN Security Council to prevent sanctions and an arms embargo against Damascus. The Russian authorities reacted angrily to the plane’s interception. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs accused the Turks of endangering the lives of the passengers, of not allowing Russian diplomats to meet the reported 17 Russian passport-holders on board while the plane was searched, and demanded explanations (Interfax, October 11). Continue reading