The Sanctions Debate

BERLIN/MOSCOW (Own report) – In the prelude to Chancellor Merkel’s visit to Russia, German business associations and foreign policy experts are urging that the policy of sanctions be ended. They argue that sanctions practically have become ineffective, since Russia’s economy has withstood these trade restrictions and is now even recovering. The boycott has also damaged the EU’s image and that of the USA in Russia and, even though intended to weaken, it has helped to stabilize the Russian government. Moreover, Russian orders, that German businesses had once expected, were increasingly going to competitors, for example in China – and are ultimately lost. However, German economists still see Russia as a lucrative market. According to an analysis by the Bertelsmann Foundation and Munich’s ifo Institute, a free-trade agreement between the EU and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), congregated around Russia, would generate a growth of 45 billion euros. Government advisors recommend that the sanctions policy be gradually ended. This would not eliminate the prospect that Moscow, at any time, could be forced to its knees with an arms race. Continue reading

The New Silk Road (I)

And Germany will do it. When push comes to shove, it has historically sided with Russia and other axis powers. China should be no exception. In a time when America is suiciding itself off the world stage, it’s a matter of survival for its allies as they seek more stable and consistent alliances.

 

BEIJING/BERLIN (Own report) – With tensions rising between China and western powers, the German chancellor is using her current visit in Beijing to enhance Sino-German economic cooperation. German investments in the People’s Republic of China had increased to around 60 billion Euros in 2014 – tendency still rising – surpassed only by investments in the USA and a few EU countries. Business representatives are campaigning in favor of stronger German participation in a Chinese trillion-dollar project. This project named the “New Silk Road,” is aimed at bolstering ties between Eastern Asia and Europe. The project, also on the agenda of today’s German-Chinese government consultations, has two components, overland and maritime transport routes. Trade by train from Chongqing to Duisburg and by ship through the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean will be enhanced. While German companies hope for lucrative business deals, strategists warn that the New Silk Road could enhance Beijing’s global influence – and ultimately break the western powers’ global dominance.

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War by Other Means

MOSCOW/BERLIN (Own report) – Prominent German foreign policymakers are proposing that a “double strategy” be applied in the West’s power struggle with Russia. According to Wolfgang Ischinger, Chairman of the Munich Security Conference, the West should continue to demonstrate a “position of strength.” However, because, at this time, Moscow obviously cannot be subdued by a policy of pure confrontation, a new phase of engaging Russia should be initiated. Talks on EU cooperation with the newly established Eurasian Economic Union could be envisaged. Such a cooperation would return the rivalry “between Russia and the West to the economic field, from that of the military,” according to experts. Last week, Chancellor Angela Merkel had already floated such an option. At the same time, aggression against Russia continues. A US rating agency has just downgraded Russia to “junk level.” Additional measures are in discussion.

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Out of Control

KIEV/BERLIN (Own report) – Accompanied by protest demonstrations, Kiev’s Prime Minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, will have talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel today, Thursday, on expanding German support to Ukraine. Yatsenyuk is pursuing an arms buildup by all possible means. Observers assume that Kiev is preparing a new offensive in Ukraine’s civil war. It was reported that several NATO countries are involved in arming the country’s military. The German government confirmed back in September that it had satisfactorily complied with Ukraine’s requests including “defensive equipment”. Even trans-Atlantic supporters of Kiev’s February 2014 putsch, are now warning that a considerable rise in the influence of fascist militias and certain oligarchs is threatening to establish an uncontrollable warlord system. Prime Minister Yatsenyuk’s party has particularly taken the lead in supporting right-wing extremist battalions. Yesterday, Yatsenyuk was ceremoniously received by German President Joachim Gauck.

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Partner Nation Russia

From a historical perspective, the last two times Germany and Russia went down this road of ‘partnership’, and eventually non-aggression pacts, it led to two world wars.

HANNOVER (Own report) – The German Chancellor and the Russian President attended yesterday’s opening of the annual Hannover Industry Trade Fair. This year, Russia was the fair’s chosen “partner nation,” a move to help promote German-Russian economic relations. The German Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations announced a German-Russian economic summit to be held today. Since the SPD/Green coalition government encouraged the economic cooperation ten years ago, the trade volume has grown from 15.1 billion Euros in 1998 to more than 80 billion in 2012 – to Germany’s advantage. Germany is ensuring its access to energy resources from Russia’s huge deposits, while also tapping into the lucrative market for the German export-oriented industry. The German industry needs this market, since its sales to the southern Euro zone are tapering off, due to the economic crisis. Berlin is also seeking to boost this cooperation because of China’s growing influence in Russia. Moscow and Beijing are not only planning to expand their bilateral economic relations, they are also increasing their political and military cooperation – at the expense of Western hegemony, as seen from the German perspective. Continue reading