All posts filed under: Germany

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The Exceptional Nation…

a satire by Terje M BERLIN,December 17, 1954 The struggle for power in the ruling elites continues unabated after the official loser in the elections for Chancellor last month refuses to concede. Speculations abound about a ‘constitutional coup’, where the Party representatives will overrule the people’s suggestions. Eva Braun (42) suffered a setback in her quest to be the first female Chancellor, after her loss to Hermann Goering (61), the former minister for aviation, last month. People close to her have stated their displeasure at the result, and have more than hinted that they would seek to overturn the result. Her campaign was severly impacted by the exposure of several scandals. Leaked documents showed her hobnobbing with leading industrialist for support and funding, reminiscent of her husband’s infamous speech to a similar assembly of industrialists and bankers in 1932, before he got elected. Her husband is widely regarded as a controversial Chancellor with a difficult legacy. Even so, the couple are known for their long-standing charitable activities. The former Chancellor’s kindness to animals is legendary, …

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Détente Now: A New Call for Peace, Security, and Cooperation

by Gilbert Doctorow, Ute Finckh-Krämer, Ludger Volmer, Rolf Ekéus and Noam Chomsky Civic and religious leaders in Germany are spearheading a new initiative to avoid war between Russia and the West. A transatlantic appeal for a new policy of détente with Russia has been launched. The declaration’s authors invite the general public to join leading political figures and social activists who have publicly rallied to support the call. The initiative was born in Berlin several months ago in the days of deepest gloom engendered by confrontation with Russia over Ukraine, the Baltic countries, and Syria, with major war exercises held around Russia’s borders and bellicose language from both sides that suggested imminent hot war. As German Minister of Foreign Affairs Frank Walter Steinmeier (SPD) said in an interview with Bild newspaper on October 8, present times are more dangerous even than during the Cold War that ended in 1990: Previously, the world was divided, but Moscow and Washington knew each other’s red lines and respected them. In a world with many regional conflicts and dwindling influence of the great powers, the world becomes more …

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The euro is breaking up Europe

by Erhard Crome, via Lexit Network Review of Stefan Hinsch and Wilhelm Langthaler, Europa zerbricht am Euro. Unter deutscher Vorherrschaft in die Krise (‘The euro is breaking up Europe. Into crisis under German sway’). Promedia Verlag, Vienna, 2016, 204 pp. Although the title refers to Europe, this work is essentially about the European Union, its crisis and the probable unhappy outcome, the “collapse of a historic project”. The volume contains profound analyses of the economic and monetary processes that led to this situation but also valuable historical, political and sociological exposés which make the background and the general context easily comprehensible. The authors’ fundamental finding is that in the EU we have an ‘imperfect monetary union’. As long as each EU Member State had its own separate currency, the others, though under pressure from Germany’s exporting power, the deutschmark and the interest policy of the Bundesbank, could ease that pressure by means of monetary adjustments, devaluations and interest-rate changes and could avail themselves of compensatory mechanisms. With the irrevocable fixing of euro exchange rates for …

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Did Germany Just Blink?

by Don Quijones, for WOLF STREET A most unusual thing happened in Europe this week. In a rare climb down, Angela Merkel’s government decided not to push the European Commission to impose a punitive fine on Portugal and Spain for their persistent failure to comply with their budget deficit targets, leading one Eurogroup minister to declare that the euro zone’s Stability Pact is “dead.” Of Europe’s 27 commissioners, only four voted in favor of applying the fines; the other 23 voted against. According to El País, the deciding factor in the decision was an impromptu phone call from German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble to some of the more conservative commissioners, giving them the green light to forego the fine. The U-turn offers Spanish and Portuguese taxpayers a brief but welcome respite from Troika-enforced fauxterity. As we previously pointed out, if the Commission had imposed the fine, it would not have been paid by the politicians who failed to play by the rules agreed upon in Brussels; it would have been paid by the citizenry who …

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The Encirclement of China is Well Underway: France Prepares to Lead EU Missions in the South China Sea

by Asia-Pacific Research The naval encirclement of China is well underway. It was started over a decade ago by the United States with the re-militarization of Japan and the tightening of Washington’s military partnerships with countries like Australia and South Korea. The same is true about the missile shield being erected in South Korea, which targets China, Russia, and North Korea. The excerpts that will follow are taken from a 14 July 2016 article written by Yo-Jung Chen, a Japanese-educated naturalized French diplomat that immigrated to France from Taiwan. The retired French diplomat wrote the article in The Diplomat seeking to justify the deployment of the French military into the South China Sea. Coming from a retired French diplomat who was stationed in Asia, the article offers some interesting insights. Aside from his post as the deputy consul of the French Consulate-General in San Francisco, Yo-Jung’s Chinese background helped qualify him as the press attaché for the French Embassy in China and deputy consul at the French Embassy in Singapore. Yo-Jung Chen misleadingly identifies “Chinese aggression” as …

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German militarism on display at NATO summit

by Johannes Stern, via WSWS At the 2014 Munich Security Conference, German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier declared that Germany was “too big merely to comment on world affairs from the side-lines,” and that “Germany must be ready for earlier, more decisive and more substantive engagement in the foreign and security policy sphere.” Last weekend’s NATO summit in Warsaw revealed the aggressiveness with which the German government has been pursuing this goal in the subsequent two years. In a statement prior to the summit, German chancellor Angela Merkel provided an overview of German imperialism’s plans for rearmament and war. Along with a massive increase to the defence budget, the chancellor announced stepped-up engagement of the German army and NATO in Iraq, Syria, Libya, the Mediterranean Sea, Afghanistan, and eastern Europe. Merkel praised these additional interventions, declaring, “The Bundeswehr’s whole posture now reflects Germany’s global responsibility.” At the end of her statement, to the applause of parliamentary deputies, she declared “a warm thank you to the soldiers…who are serving in many of these deployments and thus guarantee …

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Merkel Rearms Germany

by Johannes Stern, for WSWS On the eve of this weekend’s NATO summit in Warsaw, Chancellor Angela Merkel (Christian Democratic Union, CDU) delivered a government statement to the Bundestag (parliament) demanding the acceleration of German re-armament. In addition to expanding the military budget by almost two billion euros in the next year, and “more than an additional 2.5 billion euros” after 2018, Merkel announced that the Bundeswehr (Armed Forces) would engage more actively alongside NATO in Iraq, Syria, Libya, the Mediterranean and Afghanistan. At the heart of the chancellor’s speech was a justification for war preparations against Russia, which NATO plans to announce in Warsaw. Right at the start, Merkel praised the so-called “Readiness Action Plan,” which NATO had already adopted in 2014 at its last summit in Wales. In particular, Merkel praised the “nine NATO rapid intervention forces, deployable throughout the alliance territory, the so-called Very High Readiness Joint Task Force, and the building up of Force Integration Units in our Eastern NATO partners.” Germany is making “a substantial contribution to these measures,” said …

EU army

The European War Union

We’re reposting, in full, a June 28, 2016 report on the newly announced plans for the formation of an EU army (with “employable high-readiness forces” and “standing maritime forces”) by the German Foreign Policy, a group that monitors and analyzes foreign policy developments in Germany and the EU.   The report focuses on “A Strong Europe in a World of Uncertainties,” the joint position paper by Germany’s Frank-Walter Steinmeier and France’s Jean-Marc Ayrault.   The publication of their joint position paper came after previous press reports of plans for the merging of German and Dutch forces, as well as those of the Czech Republic. Together with his French counterpart, the German foreign minister has announced the EU’s transformation to become a “political union” and its resolute militarization for global military operations.  In a joint position paper, Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SPD) and Jean-Marc Ayrault (PS) are calling for the EU’s comprehensive military buildup, based on a division of labor, to enable future global military operations.  Following the Brexit, the EU should, step-by-step, become an “independent” and “global” actor.  …

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Collapsing Constructions: Reflections on British Exit

by Wolgang Streeck, via VersoVerso This essay was first published in Die Zeit on 30 June. Translated by David Fernbach. We shall have to wait and see whether German “Europeans” will learn anything from the outcome of the British referendum. There is not much hope of this. In their first reactions, they claimed that the land of Shakespeare and Adam Smith, Newton and Hobbes, Händel and Marx had never really belonged to Europe — unlike ourselves of course. It is obvious here to anyone not caught up in the German fog that similar votes would have had similar results in a whole series of countries: Denmark, Netherlands, Austria, Hungary and Italy, not to mention France. The European Union as we know it, the institutional framework of “European integration” as Germans imagined it, is experiencing its Götterdämmerung. And anyone who does not believe this risks being buried by its collapsing constructions. Will the German political class understand that it might have decisively accelerated the collapse of its Brussels cloud-cuckoo land? British public opinion followed with amazement and dread how …

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How the EU pushed France to ‘reforms’ of labour law

by Corporate Europe Observatory The current struggle in France over labour law reforms is not just between the Government and trade unions – a European battle is waged. The attacks on social rights stem in no small part from the web of EU-rules dubbed ‘economic governance’, invented to impose austerity policies on member states. Strikes and actions across France against reforms of the country’s labour protections, known as the El Khomri Law, demonstrate the immense unpopularity of the measures proposed by the French Government. Chiefly among them, to give preference to local agreements on wages and working conditions, when the conditions in those agreements are less favourable than the national norm inscribed in national law. This is an open attempt to undermine collective bargaining and roll back the influence of trade unions. Ultimately, the French Government has formal responsibility for the weakening of labour protection. But there is no denying that the European Union is playing an important and perhaps decisive role in the attacks on labour rights. What we see is the EU throwing …

German's logic

How “German logic” turns into irrationality

by Dimitris Konstantakopoulos, Katehon I remember the talk I had with the German Ambassador in Athens and Mr. Tsipras in February 2013, during a reception at the Russian Embassy.  I was speaking with the Ambassador, when Tsipras, then leader of the opposition, as he finished his private discussion with the Russian ambassador, saw us talking and approached.  I was in a rather jovial mood, so I decided, out of a sudden inner impulse, to make a joke, which was not in reality so much a joke.  As Tsipras joined our company, I said “you will destroy Europe”. The way I put it, not looking specifically to any of my interlocutors, it was not clear  whom I was really addressing.  They both jumped on their feet asking me: “Who?” (will destroy Europe).  “Both”, I answered them.  “You will revolt”, I said looking to Tsipras and then, turning to the German ambassador, I added, “and you will suppress him”. Fifteen years ago I interviewed Karl Lamers about German strategy towards Europe and the world.  He is supposed …

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German Intelligence Service to Become Branch of CIA

by Eric Zuesse According to a news report in the June 7th German Economic News (Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten, or DWN) headlined “Merkel entmachtet BND: USA kontrollieren Spionage in Deutschland” or “Merkel Ousts BND: US to Control German Espionage,” a new law will soon be passed in the German parliament and be approved by Chancellor Angela Merkel, which will make Germany’s version of the CIA, the Bundesnachrichtendienstes (BND), nothing more than a branch of the CIA. The BND is to be subordinated to the CIA to such an extreme degree that even U.S. corporate espionage against German companies will become part of that  nominally German operation. The independent capacities of the BND will become emasculated, no longer operational, under the new law. “In practice, this means that the US intelligence services [NSA] will be allowed to continue to listen in on every company and every individual in Germany.” That includes the Chancellor herself, whose phone-conversations were previously embarrassingly revealed to have been listened-in upon by the NSA.  Now it’ll be legal. This appears to be part of the West’s buildup toward a global war.  …

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I am not Greek! But is Schäuble a German?

by Dimitris Konstantakopoulos, via DDP I usually work more than ten hours a day and most of the weekends. I am often happy with what I do and I don’t want to complain, as it is very rare for people to be doing what they really want to do. Still, I criticize myself for not being able to master my life and enjoy it more. But now I am in deep confusion. Recently some European politicians and parties have been returning to the argument that Greeks are lazy and that Europeans should immediately put a stop to the money they are paying to help us. Of course I don’t believe those conspiracy theorists who keep telling us that Goldman Sachs and other institutions of the same kind orchestrated a financial attack on Greece in 2009-10, after first launching a preliminary “communication” attack against Greeks, portraying them as lazy, disorganized and corrupt. These conspiracy theorists say this massive “communication” attack served no other purpose than to justify what they afterwards did to Greece. They are even …

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Soros-Obama-Merkel-Erdogan Win Control of Europe

by Eric Zuesse On Friday, March 18th, a combined effort by George Soros, Barack Obama, Angela Merkel, and Tayyip Erdogan, has arranged to get the EU to abandon previously sacrosanct fundamental human rights of refugees, and to transfer $6B+ to Turkey, in return for placing the refugee burden onto Turkey and getting Turkey to cooperate so as to assist the breakup of Syria, which will enable a gas-pipeline and an oil-pipeline to be built through Syria to enable Qatar’s gas and Saudi Arabia’s oil to be pipelined through Syria into the EU, so as to replace Russian oil and gas, which now fuel the EU. Here, in my rush translations from the original German-language reports at German Economic News (Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten) are the key reports and headlines: Turkey deal: Germany could take majority of refugees [Translated by Eric Zuesse from] German Economic News  |  Published:18:03:16 02:56 Clock The most important consequence of the EU summit is not in the official statement. A plan long discussed, now finalizing: Germany takes the majority of refugees from Turkey, and oil and gas pipelines will …

Pepole attend the 2016 IIF G20 Conference at the financial district of Pudong in Shanghai, China, February 25, 2016. REUTERS/Aly Song

It’s now or never: G20 finance ministers argue in Shanghai while Europe is being shattered by the refugee question

by Heiner Flassbeck Replacing the G7 or G8 by the G20 was actually a good idea. But as often happens, the way in which the change was realised destroyed anything good about it. It is clear from the communiqué that the G 20 Finance Ministers (or, more correctly, their Secretaries of State) have worked out that there is serious disagreement over the desired direction of global economic policy (see here). Unfortunately, the text also proves that the Europeans steadfastly continue to adhere to their counterproductive policies. No one seems capable of stopping them. Remarkably, the ordinary German citizen is not allowed to learn any of this. The Frankfurter Allgemeine (FAZ) wrote, before the meeting even started, that Germany (read: Schäuble) is warning the other countries against further debt deficits and that both the IMF and the Chinese hosts consider his point of view to be correct. In fact, it is absolutely wrong, but that does not matter if one serves the greater cause of marginalising the left and crippling the much-needed state.  If one reads …