Sunday, February 3. 2013
The Munich Security Conference is creating quite some buzz on Twitter this year. #MSC2013 is trending at the moment in Germany, which is unusual for a foreign policy topic and is probably a first for a conference. I have retweeted some statements from participants and responded to a few on NATO, transatlantic relations, Iran, Syria and international economics.
Continue reading "Munich Security Conference 2013"
Thursday, August 18. 2011
Posted by Joerg Wolf in German Politics on Thursday, August 18. 2011
"Germany has become a key arms supplier in the Middle East despite stringent export controls that have inhibited weapons sales in the past," writes UPI (via SeidlersSiPo) in a good summary of recent sales. In the current conflict in Libya, weapons manufactured by German defense companies are being used by both sides:
Continue reading "Shame on us: Germany Boosts Arms Sales to Mideast"
Saturday, April 2. 2011
Posted by Joerg Wolf in Transatlantic Relations on Saturday, April 2. 2011
Never has Germany been more isolated, wrote Former Foreign Minister Fischer regarding Berlin's position on Libya. The Merkel-Westerwelle government alienates our Western allies with its dealings with Iran as well. Apparently, Germany's foreign and economic ministries agreed to let India pay 9 billion euro to Iran via Germany's central bank.
The United States had pressured India's central bank to end previous business transactions with Iran via an Asian bank. Now Germany's government appears to be undermining these sanctions. India gets about 15 percent of its crude oil imports from Iran. Sources in German: Handelsblatt and Zeit. In English: New York Times.
According to Spiegel International the stands in connection to the release of two German journalists from Iran.
Are Germany and India new best buddies? Both abstained in the UN Security Council on Libya.
Dialog International writes about "The Westerwelle Doctrine", which "would seem to dictate that Germany will seek out different international partners depending on how the domestic winds are blowing. Germany is happy to align with the US and Great Britain, as long as it doesn't require the use of force or the commitment of resources. Otherwise it will join with Russia, Brazil or India."
Atlantic-community.org wonders how Germany can repair the damage to its international reputation and convince voters of the right course at the same time. Foreign policy makers and experts in Germany and around the world criticize Germany's position on Libya. However the majority of Germans seem to approve it. Any ideas?
UPDATE (April 5, 2011): AP: "A plan for India to funnel oil payments to Iran through Germany's central bank at a time when Tehran faces international sanctions has been scrapped, a German government official said Tuesday."
Tuesday, January 11. 2011
Posted by Joerg Wolf in US Foreign Policy on Tuesday, January 11. 2011
Secretary Clinton said on Monday that Iran's ability to produce a nuclear weapon has been delayed by sanctions.
The timing of this statement is a bit awkward and insensitive considering the plane crash in Iran the day before, which resulted in the death of at least 77 people. After all, "Aircraft accidents are not uncommon in Iran, where international sanctions have prevented the country from buying new aircraft parts from the West" (FP).
Anyway, this is good news from Israel via the NY Times:
Thursday, May 28. 2009
Posted by Editors in US Foreign Policy on Thursday, May 28. 2009
"We had ping pong diplomacy with China, and now we may soon engage in soccer diplomacy with Iran. Reports out of Tehran indicate that the US Soccer Federation has inquired about the possibility of holding a friendly with Iran sometime in October and November," writes Democracyarsenal.
America's next ambassador to Germany might come from the Board of Directors of the US Soccer Foundation... Germans are certainly going to support soccer diplomacy with Iran.
Atlantic Review has written about Soccer in German-American Relations. Also see these posts about the world cup in Germany to understand the importance of soccer to world peace: Germany's National Holiday and the "Summer's Tale" Documentary, U.S. Soccer Captain Praises Party Atmosphere in Germany and State Department Uses the World Cup to Improve U.S. Image.
Saturday, November 29. 2008
Posted by Joerg Wolf in Transatlantic Relations on Saturday, November 29. 2008
"NATO's 60th anniversary summit in France and Germany in April, 2009 may well offer Europeans their first reality check on the 44th president," write Michael F. Harsch and Calin Trenkov-Wermuth in the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) feature on PostGlobal (via German Joys):
Germany's Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier recently stated that he does not believe the Obama administration will make any unrealistic demands once it comes into office. Steinmeier is likely to be disappointed. The first item on Obama's wish list will most likely be greater European burden-sharing in Afghanistan. The danger of a NATO failure in Afghanistan is real, and this issue will dominate the NATO summit's agenda.
Second item on the wish list is Iran:
Okay, those are the usual speculations about Obama's wish list. The third point on China was new to me. Harsch and Trenkov-Wermuth expect Obama to
Well, should not the US also take a tougher stance on China? Sarkozy, who currently holds the EU presidency, just got "tough" by announcing that he will have a chat with the Dalai Lama in Poland. This was enough for the Chinese to cancel a summit with the EU.
The US seems to be very dependent on China in the current financial crisis, so I am not sure if Obama will put pressure on the Chinese over the Iran's nuclear program.
Finally, the authors believe that US policy on Russia and Eastern Europe won't change much under Obama:
That's pretty stupid. In my humble opinion, journalists, think tankers and politicians should not use the phrase "tougher stance," which the authors used to describe policy advice for dealing with Iran and China. This phrase is so vague. It's meaningless. You want to be really tough, then boycott Chinese and Russian goods. Anybody ready to do that?
Friday, October 10. 2008
Next week the German parliament will vote on the extension of the ISAF mandate. There seems to be a broad majority in favor of increasing the German contribution by 1000 troops to 4500 for the next 14 months.
However, contrary to frequent demands by NATO allies, Germany is not joining the fight against the Taliban in southern Afghanistan. And the new mandate will not ease the restrictions on military operations either.
This makes the troop increase a waste of effort, says Ahmed Rashid, the acclaimed Pakistani journalist and bestselling author of "Taliban" and "Descent Into Chaos." Mr. Rashid calls upon Germany to be much more active militarily and politically. The Bundeswehr does not have to go to southern Afghanistan, but it must do much more in the North.
Ahmed Rashid gave a very thoughtful, passionate and captivating keynote speech at the Heinrich Boell Foundation's conference on "Values and Interests in Foreign Policy." Watch the video below:
Germany is not the only country that has to change course drastically and overcome its deep aversion to risk taking. The United States has to leave its comfort zone and enter new territory by talking to Iran about Afghanistan in order to win this regional conflict. This is what Ahmed Rashid told my atlantic-community.org colleague David Lebhar after the keynote speech. You can watch the interview over at Atlantic Community: "How the US and Germany Can Win in Afghanistan.
Saturday, June 7. 2008
Editor's note by Nanne: The following entry was written by Migeru, an editor of the progressive community blog 'The European Tribune'. It is a scenario on the chances for European action on Iraq, based upon the principles of 'human rights' and 'riding the wave'.
As a recent post by Jörg revealed, there may be renewed interest in a European policy on Iraq. Beyond the current lack of any coordinated policy and the expectation that a European policy should consist of helping out America, a broad range of options exists.
This shortened version of Migeru's European Tribune diary is a first step in exploring some of those options.
Continue reading "What can be expected of Europe in Iraq?"
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