“A Time to Make Friends” (II)

BERLIN (Own report) – With last weekend’s arson attack on a refugee home, the bombing attempt on a supporter of refugees and the siege of a refugee hostel by a hostile mob of locals, Germany’s recent wave of racist violence has taken on a new quality. It is only fortunate that no one was murdered in these recent attacks. At the same time, attacks on refugee housing are becoming dramatically more frequent. Already during the first half of 2015, the number of attacks has reached that of the entire year of 2014. For years, observers have been warning that initiatives against refugee hostels are firmly taking root locally and are increasing their abilities to mobilize. The political establishment and the media have regularly provided legitimization to the anti-refugee campaign, using racist clichés, for example, in the debate around the SPD politician Thilo Sarrazin’s publications or with their derogatory insinuations about migrants. Last winter, the campaign against refugees was mobilizing tens of thousands for the “Pegida” street demonstrations. Moreover, in spite of the escalation of anti-refugee violence, the slander continues.

Continue reading

How Vladimir Putin is building alliances around the world

As the Russian president visits his EU ally Viktor Orban, prime minister of Hungary, we look at other leaders around the world who have embraced the divisive Vladimir Putin

Venezuela

Caracas is a major buyer of Russian weapons and has recognised breakaway pro-Russian territories such as Abkhazia and South Ossetia in Georgia.

Moscow reciprocates by investing billions of dollars in Venezuelan oil projects.

Vladimir Putin once even gave Hugo Chavez a puppy. Continue reading

Integration Rivalry with Moscow

KIEV/BERLIN (Own report) – Because the German government-backed attempt to overthrow the government in Kiev has not taken place, foreign policy experts in Berlin are now discussing cautious changes of course in Germany’s policy toward the Ukraine. Retrospective analyses are now admitting that, had the Ukraine signed the EU Association Agreement, serious economic and social damage would have been inflicted on that country. The foreign policy establishment continues to assert that Berlin should bring the Ukraine into its sphere of hegemonic influence. This therefore places Berlin in an “integration rivalry with Moscow.” To integrate the Ukraine, new proposals call for either bypassing elite circles by fostering contacts to “civil society” or by compelling integration with targeted economic interventions. In any case, the rightwing extremist Svoboda Party has been able to enhance its position within the protest movement during the recent demonstrations. It could benefit from the cooperation also with German diplomats during the agitation against the current Ukrainian government. Continue reading