The Foam of German Diplomacy

THESSALONIKI/BERLIN/FLORENCE (Own report) – When the German foreign minister appeared in the synagogue in Thessaloniki (Greece), he was met with strong protest from prominent members of the Jewish community. In his speech at the synagogue on December 4, (published by the German Foreign Ministry) Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SPD) praised “our German hands to be used in the life of your community” – after Jewish life was eradicated under the Nazis. In his historical reflections, the German foreign minister alluded to the more than 50,000 Jewish Greeks, who, in 1943, had been forced to buy “Reichsbahn” tickets to Auschwitz, where they were murdered upon arrival. He did not utter a single word about the German receipts (89 million Euros) from those trips taking them to their death, or about Berlin’s refusal to pay its debts. Neither did Steinmeier mention the reimbursement of the several million Euros in racist “ransoms” as the Jewish community demands. Prominent Jewish Greeks were outraged because Berlin’s foreign policy is obviously undermining the legal claims of Nazi victims with moralist avowals and non-committal monetary hand-outs. Protests were also raised against Steinmeier’s being offered “honorary membership” in Thessaloniki’s synagogue. Steinmeier made similar appearances in relationship to Italian victims of Nazi mass crimes. Continue reading

Germany snubs own intelligence agency for Saudi criticism

Berlin: The German government issued an unusual public rebuke to its own foreign intelligence service over a blunt memo saying that Saudi Arabia was playing an increasingly destabilising role in the Middle East.

The intelligence agency’s memo risked playing havoc with Berlin’s efforts to show solidarity with France in its military campaign against the Islamic State and to push forward the tentative talks on how to end the Syrian civil war. The Bundestag, the lower house of the German Parliament, is due to vote Friday on whether to send reconnaissance planes, midair fuelling capacity and a frigate to the Middle East to support the French efforts. Continue reading

Germany to launch new military strategy

Defense Minister says German armed forces will act under new strategy from 2016, marking a formal end to its post-WWII pacifist policy.

Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen announced in Berlin on Tuesday that Germany, which has been traditionally hesitant in taking part in international military operations mainly because of its Nazi past, would act “without any taboos”. Continue reading

NATO’s Rasmussen: ‘Active Role’ for Germany ‘Decisive for Europe’s Future’

In an interview, outgoing NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen discusses Germany’s postwar tradition of pacificism and his belief the country is now ready, and indeed has the responsibility, to take on a greater role in global affairs.

SPIEGEL: Twenty-five years after reunification and almost seven decades after the end of World War II, has Germany become a country just like every other in terms of security policy?

Rasmussen: Germany is a normal country today, with the kinds of rights and duties other countries have. That’s why Germany should play an important role in foreign and security policy, be it in the EU, NATO or in international politics.

SPIEGEL: So he spoke directly to your heart when German President Joachim Gauck recently called for a more active German foreign policy, military means included?

Rasmussen: I don’t want to interfere with a domestic German debate. But I do very much agree with the position expressed by the German president. I welcome this debate. And not only as NATO secretary general, but also as the former prime minister of Denmark, the small neighbor country once occupied by Germany. Germany needs this debate. I can understand Germany being very cautious when it comes to international military deployments because of its past. But the time has come in Germany for this debate. Europe is ready for it, too. The goal should be to develop a common understanding for how Germany’s new role might look. Continue reading

German cabinet adopts new Africa strategy

BERLIN, May 21 (Xinhua) — The German cabinet has adopted a new Africa strategy, showing willingness for a greater German involvement in Africa, German media N-TV reported on Wednesday.

In the new Africa policy, Germany’s ruling coalition government expressed willingness to help prevent armed conflicts on the continent at an early stage in the future.

In addition to training missions, which would help African countries solve crisis more independently, Germany said it was also ready to send more troops to Africa if necessary. Continue reading

Germany and France’s interest in Africa

Germany’s effort to making a show of military force in Africa are aimed not just at crisis resolution in conflict areas but also at promoting and marketing German weaponry. However, this effort is not independent from the French rivalry factor.

When Germany achieved reunification in the 1990s, it began trying to play a more active role in the international arena. Germany’s interest in Africa has grown in recent years, in line with the continent’s increasing geo-economic and geopolitical importance. Germany’s participation in the international peace force in Afghanistan and the gradual German intervention in the crises in the Middle East and the Horn of Africa were signals of the transformation of German foreign policy. In the same way, it may be said that with the changes that came with the Arab Spring, German moves to assume a larger role in North Africa have gained speed. On this point, answers need to be found for some basic questions such as “what are the repercussions of Germany’s interest in Africa”, “how are the transformations in the Arab world affecting Germany’s policies in Africa?”, and “what impact will this interest have on relations with other countries such as France?” Continue reading

German Global Policy and its Minister

BERLIN (Own report) – With the appointment of a foreign minister, who is under heavy criticism for his stance on human rights, the new German government is preparing a global policy offensive. According to the CDU/SPD Coalition Agreement, the government is more determined than ever to help “shape international policy” and play “a strong autonomous role.” Counting on the EU, to couple more tightly its “civilian and military instruments” to intervene globally, the German government will promote EU foreign and military policy at the summit in Brussels later this week. Designated Foreign Minster, Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SPD), has been actively involved in Berlin’s geopolitical climb since he became the Chancellery’s coordinator of the German intelligence services in 1998. In 2001, he became Chief of Staff of the Federal Chancellery and played a central role in the German/US-American coordination in the “War on Terror,” which had initially consisted of the abduction and torture of terror suspects. For this, Steinmeier has been repeatedly under criticism – without effect. He will once again preside over the foreign ministry. Continue reading

German Think Tanks Call for Consolidation of Europe’s National Defense Industries

One way or another, the emerging Fourth Reich will gain its European Army and United States of Europe. Consolidation, be it through economics, law, culture or defense industries, is just one step towards that goal. At the moment, it may not seem likely, as creating a European Army at one stroke is not feasible. However, as America continues to suicide itself, Germany cannot rely upon it or NATO much longer and military reorganization is now vital for Europe’s security. This is especially so since America is backing away from the Middle East and is also within closer proximity to a hostile Iran which openly welcomes a third world war so it can hasten the return of the Mahdi, and continues to increase its hegemony over the region. Germany recognizes this and will continue to use its ‘soft power’ to achieve its mid-term objectives.

BRUSSELS — A paper on German foreign and security policy prepared by two leading think tanks calls for a consolidation of national defense industries to ensure that Europe’s defense industry stays competitive in the long term.

The paper, “New Power New Responsibility: Elements of a German Foreign and Security Policy for a Changing World,” was presented here Oct. 30 by the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP) and the German Marshall Fund of the United States. It drew on expertise from working groups made up of government officials, parliament officials, think tanks and nongovernmental organizations such as Amnesty International.

“Germany is one of the few countries in the EU and NATO not to have a national security strategy or something similar. This means that there is no guidance to partners on what the country aspires to,” said Markus Kaim, a project leader from the SWP. “This project tries to fill that gap,” he said. Continue reading