BERLIN (Own report) – Non-governmental organizations are warning that criticism of Berlin’s policies may be repressed by financial pressure applied to organizations critical of the government. The Federal Finance Court has deprived Attac of its public service status. Members of the government coalition parties are demanding that this be also applied to other organizations. The German section of Transparency International warns that this ruling could seriously “restrict” the spectrum of opinions. At the same time, the German government has raised suspicion that student protests for better climate protection are influenced by foreign powers. The French President is calling for the creation of an EU “Agency for the Protection of Democracies” to prevent alleged foreign “manipulations.” Pressure on critics of the government is being intensified at a time when, Berlin and the EU are intensifying their struggles to have leading positions in world policy-making. Historically, the fact that attempts to suppress domestic criticism are made in times, such as these, is nothing new.
MUNICH (Own report) – At the Munich Security Conference last weekend, the power struggle between Berlin and Washington openly escalated to an unprecedented level. US Vice President Mike Pence reiterated his ultimatum that Berlin and the EU immediately renounce their political and economic projects, which are not fully in accord with US policy, pertaining particularly to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline and the Iran nuclear deal. German Chancellor Angela Merkel rejected the US demands. In view of the dispute with Washington, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas declared at the Security Conference that “Europe” faces the “crucial question” whether it will be “the subject or the object of global policy in the future.” It must, therefore, “transform geo-economic capital into geopolitical capital” to become “a cornerstone of the international order” and “develop its own geopolitical identity.” Maas is expressing his demands, at a time, when the EU’s Iran policy is about to fall apart and the European power base needed for Berlin’s ambitions is crumbling.
BERLIN (Own report) – The program of the Berlin Security Conference, which ended yesterday, included discussions on new steps toward creating an “army of the Europeans,” concerns over the possible erosion of the West’s “margin in defense capabilities” vis à vis Russia and China, as well as the role of artificial intelligence in future wars. Unlike the Munich Security Conference, this conference is not oriented on foreign policy but specifically on military policy and the arms industry, with more than a thousand military and business representatives, state officials, and politicians participating. Germany’s Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen used the platform to launch a debate on steps toward limiting parliamentary reservations concerning an “army of the Europeans.” In the future, “Europe may have to provide for its own security, perhaps even completely independently” from US support, according to experts. This calls for rapidly enhancement of the use of artificial intelligence in warfare and a “European narrative” to legitimize EU wars.
The editor in chief of Europe’s largest newsmagazine has written America’s obituary—quite literally. The title of Klaus Brinkbäumer’s new book is An Obituary for America: The End of a Friendship and the Future of the West.
In it, the Der Spiegel editor in chief reaches two surprising conclusions: America is dead, and Germany should be happy about it.
Spiegel Online published an article adapted from Brinkbäumer’s book under the title “Thank You, Donald! What Trump Means for Germany’s Future.”
The U.S., writes Brinkbäumer, is no longer a reliable partner. Therefore “we must emancipate ourselves.” Continue reading
The German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen was being touted as a possible successor to Merkel. She has spoken at the Munich Security Conference stating that there must be “the common will to actually use the military weight when circumstances require it.” Leyen has come out saying that Germany should no longer hide behind its history, but must accept that soldiers must fight for the security of the nation and the freedom of the people. Leyen’s French colleague, Florence Parly, has also called for closer European military cooperation. Continue reading
Thousands of Israeli, American soldiers to take part in biennial ‘Juniper Cobra’ drill, amid escalating Israel-Iran tensions
The Israeli military on Thursday began its final preparations for a major air defense exercise with the United States, which is set to kick off at the beginning of next month, the army said.
While the Juniper Cobra exercise, which was first held in 2001, is scheduled every two years, it comes at a time of growing tension between Israel and Iran and the Iranian proxy Hezbollah. This year’s exercise simulates a massive ballistic missile attack against Israel and is also meant to improve ties between the two armies. Continue reading
MUNICH(Own report) – The Munich Security Conference, which ended yesterday, was marked by appeals for “Europe” to be more willing to go to war and have a resolute EU “global projection of power.” In addition to a significant arms buildup, the EU needs a “common desire to actually use its military weight,” German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen admonished. German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel warned that Europe’s future “projection of power” cannot “do without” military force. Currently, this is not yet possible without the involvement of NATO or US armed forces; however, cooperation with Washington should be “on a par” and “not as deputies.” In the foreseeable future, the EU will be able to buildup its arms to such an extent that it will no longer need US support. Gabriel branded Russia and China – current “rivals” to the Western “system” – as “autocracies.”
IRAN has vowed to destroy Tel Aviv if Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu carries out his recent threats to launch military action against the Islamic republic as simmering tensions in the Middle East reach boiling point.
Angry exchanges between the two countries have intensified recently with the bitter Syrian war spilling over into a wider proxy fight and Iran’s role in the ongoing Yemen conflict enraging Israel and the West.
And Mr Netanyahu ramped up the rhetoric at last weekend’s Munich Security Conference when he accused Iran of seeking to dominate the region with aggression and terror. Continue reading
RUSSIA and Europe are moving closer to all-out war, a shocking new report has warned.
The report said the erosion of arms control agreements, deployment of additional weapons and tensions over military exercises have increased the risk of an inadvertent armed clash.
The annual Munich Security Report, this year entitled ‘To The Brink – And Back?’ also cited growing pressure on nuclear disarmament treaties and ongoing security concerns in eastern and central Europe as cause for concern. 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.”
United States President Donald Trump was correct in his assessment that the North Atlantic Alliance is outdated, Associate Professor in International Politics at the Universiteit Antwerpen Tom Sauer asserted, saying that the bloc should be replaced by a new security organization that will encompass countries in Europe and Asia.
“NATO should be transformed or even be replaced by a new Eurasian-Atlantic collective security organization that includes Russia. That will also be in the interest of Ukraine and the Baltic states,” the analyst wrote for the National Interest. Continue reading
Bundeswehr officials expect a more active and a more lethal role for Germany in the Middle East.
German military leaders are preparing to take on a more active role in the fight against the Islamic State in the Middle East. This news emerges following the February 17–19 Munich Security Conference. Spiegel Online reported on February 20 that German diplomats and military officers left the conference feeling that some major challenges ahead of them go far beyond merely increasing the nation’s military budget. The feeling was that Germany must get ready to fire shots.
German generals expect future missions to include air strikes against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq and possibly an increased deployment of the Bundeswehr in Afghanistan. Spiegel Online quoted a German military general who attended the conference as saying, “[United States President Donald] Trump doesn’t only want more money from us but he also wants us to finally fire shots” (Trumpet translation throughout). Although former President Barack Obama had previously insisted on a more active NATO involvement, the quoted general believes that the tone is sharper now and that Germany must prepare to pull the trigger. Continue reading
Even a modest boost to German defense spending means radical changes to the world order.
Germany will boost the size of its military to nearly 200,000, hiring an additional 20,000 soldiers by 2024, Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen announced on February 21.
Germany had already announced plans to increase its army to 193,000 by 2023, so this is merely an incremental increase compared to earlier plans. However, it does confirm the radical change in direction for Germany. Its army had shrunk to a low of 166,500 last June and has only just begun turning around. Now, each new announcement about the German military is an increase. Continue reading
Europe doing more means Germany doing more.
United States Defense Secretary Jim Mattis gave European nations a blunt ultimatum a meeting of NATO defense ministers on Wednesday: Spend more, or lose U.S. support.
“No longer can the American taxpayer carry a disproportionate share of the defense of Western values,” he said. “Americans cannot care more for your children’s future security than you do.”
“America will meet its responsibilities, but if your nations do not want to see America moderate its commitment to this alliance, each of your capitals needs to show support for our common defense,” he warned. Continue reading