BERLIN/CANBERRA (Own report) – To reinforce its position in the Pacific region, Berlin is initiating a regular dialogue with Australia at foreign and defense ministerial levels. Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier are participating in the first “German-Australian 2+2 Dialogue” held today in Berlin. The meeting, which will be repeated at regular intervals, is one of the measures initiated in early 2013 to enhance cooperation between Berlin and Canberra, in light of the shift of global policy priority from the Atlantic to the Pacific. In view of its growing economic and political importance, Washington considers China to be its main rival of the future. Therefore US President George W. Bush (2002) and US Foreign Minister Hillary Clinton (2011) explicitly declared this to be “America’s Pacific Century,” and Washington has begun redeploying its military forces closer to the People’s Republic of China. Explicitly claiming to “help shape the global order,” Berlin also feels obliged to reinforce its position in that region.
BERLIN (Own report) – Bundeswehr circles are calling for German military activities to be extended in the Indian Ocean. According to an analysis by three political scientists at the Bundeswehr University in Munich, the ocean linking Eastern Africa, Southeast Asia and Australia is the most important sea for global trade. It will replace the Atlantic, to become the most important “Ocean of the 21st Century.” Germany, therefore, must become more active – militarily as well, beginning, for example, with joint maneuvers with the bordering countries. Until now, Germany only has a permanent presence in Djibouti, in the western Indian Ocean, which is seen as insufficient. This plea for opening a parallel theater of conflict alongside the power struggle with Russia, dovetails with existing German activities, for example, the reinforced arms buildup of the East and Southeast Asian rivals of the People’s Republic of China. As has now been confirmed in the new Arms Exports Report, published in the middle of this week, Germany’s arms export policies have already begun to focus on East and Southeast Asia. Four countries from these regions are among the top ten customers of German military hardware, but only two NATO member countries.