Tag Archives: Germany

How Berlin Forgot the Crimes of the Soviets, by Bill Bonner

It’s interesting, and telling, the different treatment meted out to the historical crimes of Hitler’s Nazis versus the Soviet Union’s Communists. From Bill Bonner at bonnerandpartmers.com:

Berlin is the testicle of the West. When I want the West to scream, I squeeze on Berlin.

– Nikita Khrushchev

BERLIN – “You’d think they would have learned something. They lived with communism for 45 years. They should know what it’s like.”

We are in Berlin at a business conference. A friend was explaining why progress in human affairs comes so slowly… if at all.

Fakey Capital Structure

We will come back to that in a minute. But first, we note that the mill is still grinding away. That is, despite all the bluff and blather about what a great economy we have, interest rates are rising… undermining the whole fakey capital structure.

We remind readers that the whole thing – including some $250 trillion worth of debt worldwide – rests on artificially low interest rates. If rates continue to rise, it is sure to fall down.

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Merkel’s End Could Spark EU Breakdown, by Tom Luongo

It’s hard to see how the EU won’t fracture if the true hand on the wheel, Angela Merkel, was to lose her position as Chancellor of Germany. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:

The pieces have been moving into place for months now.  German Chancellor Angela Merkel has seen her power within German political circles wane for more than a year.  Italy’s opposition to the European Union’s budget rules is stiffening.

Bond yields are beginning to not just rise, but blow out uncontrollably.

The Fed keeps raising rates to arrest inflation not supported by increased wages.

Brexit talks are at a standstill.

Last week Merkel suffered what could easily be her most important political defeat over the past two years.  She lost a parliamentary vote for her candidate in an internal vote of her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party.

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Germany: Anti-Immigration Party Surges in Popularity, by Soeren Kern

Many Germans are deciding they’re tired of diversity and cultural enrichment. From Soeren Kern at gatestoneinstitute.org:

  • The AfD’s opponents, who often brand the party as “far right” or “extremist,” claim that the party’s alleged ties to neo-Nazi groups pose an existential threat to Germany’s constitutional order. The AfD’s supporters counter that Germany’s politically correct establishment, afraid of losing its power and influence, is attempting to outlaw a legitimate party that has pledged to put the interests of German citizens first.
  • “Migration is the mother of all problems.” — German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer.
  • “Extremism cannot be combated with exclusion, but with looking at the facts. Those who want to reach concerned citizens must themselves get out of the ideological trenches.” — Oswald Metzger inTichys Einblick, a prominent German blog.
Pictured: A march of silence, organized by the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, in memory of victims of violent crimes perpetrated by migrants, on September 1, 2018 in Chemnitz, Germany. (Photo by Jens Schlueter/Getty Images)

The murder of a German citizen by two failed asylum seekers in Chemnitz, and the attempted cover-up by German police, has contributed to a surge in support for the anti-immigration party Alternative for Germany (AfD), which, according to a new poll, has overtaken the Social Democratic Party (SDP) to become the second-strongest political force in Germany.

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Is Trump Pushing Germany and Russia Together? by Tom Luongo

Is Trump’s long game the dissolution of NATO? From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:

Vladimir Putin’s charm tour of Germany and Austria last weekend is a significant sign of change to come.

To the U.S. and European press Putin is only a step or two away from Hitler reincarnated (thanks chiefly to Bill Browder).  It serves the purpose of maintaining the post WWII institutional order.

But, Putin is always nothing but relentlessly patient in his diplomatic efforts, even when European leaders, like Merkel, treat him and Russia poorly.  She is, after all, the leading mouthpiece and political ally of The Davos Crowd that believes they run the world.

The conduct of his Foreign Ministry under Sergei Lavrov always strikes the perfect balance between bluntness and diplo-speak. 

So, color me surprised when I see the official photos of his meeting with Merkel carefully framed to paint him in a positive light.

putin-merkel-summit

Summit?  This isn’t a Summit? Just a friendly chat.

Putin in light blues and grays, Merkel in green, the fountain in the background, leaning in looking directly at each other and a simple Sunday morning chat.

If I didn’t know better I’d be expecting them to share photos of their grandkids, well, Putin’s grandkids anyway.

Optics are important and this image captures what both parties wanted to convey.  This meeting is the beginning of a shift in the relationship between Germany and Russia for the better.

And the question is why?

The obvious answer is necessity brought about by pressure being placed on both countries by Donald Trump through sanctions and tariffs and their shared interests represented by the Nordstream  2 pipeline.

But, this meeting went far deeper than that, especially since Merkel’s Foriegn Minister Heiko Maas boldly proclaimed that Europe needs an alternative to the SWIFT system of international electronic payments so as to keep global trade alive while the U.S. further weaponizes the U.S. dollar.

The U.S. just seized another $5 billion of Russian ‘oligarch’ money using Credit Suisse as its enforcement arm.

Again, the question is why?

To continue reading: Is Trump Pushing Germany and Russia Together?

Defections from Pax Americana Coming Louder and Faster, by Tom Luongo

The American empire is slipping away. From Tom Luongo at strategic-culture.org:

It seems everyday I wake up and see another instance of defections coming from US allies over the behavior of some corner of the Trump Administration.

Over the weekend Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte hit back strongly at US Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Affairs Randall Schriver who told Duterte to “think very carefully” about acquiring a Russian submarine.

Now if you know anything about Duterte he rarely thinks very carefully before opening his mouth. And this time was no different. He rightly told Schriver publicly to get stuffed and make his case why the Philippines shouldn’t pursue its best interests.

Moreover, as always, Duterte invited Schriver to a face-to-face meeting over this.

The US is applying the same pressure to India over buying S-400 missile defense systems from Russia. Turkey’s troubles with the US are all over the news with Pastor Brunson the public reason but it is Turkey’s working closely with Russia on important energy projects like the massive Turkish Stream pipeline, nuclear power plants as well as committing India’s sin of choosing the S-400 over the US Patriot system.

A Patriot system, by the way, that has been proven in recent months by the Syrian Army to be very ineffective. Meanwhile Iran unveiled its first homegrown fighter jet in a clear act of independence which will not be tolerated.

What started as small moments of defiance a few years ago are turning into full-throated shouts of opposition as the US pushes its leverage in financial markets to step on the necks of anyone who doesn’t toe the line.

And Trump feeds off this by casting everyone as a leach who has been sucking off the US’s breast for decades. It doesn’t matter the issue, to Trump US economic fragility is a hammer and every trade and military partner a nail to be bashed over the head to pay their way.

What we are seeing is the culmination of a long-term plan by global elites to tighten the financial noose around the world through overlapping trade and tariff structures and weaponizing the dollar’s position at the center of global financial interdependence.

To continue reading: Defections from Pax Americana Coming Louder and Faster

From Baltic Sea to Black Sea, Russia aims for a win-win, by Pepe Escobar

Vladimir Putin is trying to make friends and strategic alliances. From Pepe Escobar at atimes.com:

A major summit featuring Germany, Russia, France and Turkey is on the way – call it an expanded Eurovision

When Russian President Vladimir Putin, fresh from his star turn at the wedding of Austrian Prime Minister Karin Kneissl, showed up at the 18th century Meseberg Palace north of Berlin on Saturday afternoon for a face-to-face with German chancellor Angela Merkel, that was a surprise of sorts; the meeting had been announced only a few days earlier.

They talked for three hours over a multi-course menu; the Iran nuclear deal; the endless stalemate in Ukraine; the humanitarian angle in Syria; the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. 

Angela Merkel is not part of The Sanctioned supergroup – thus not in the same league as multi-instrumentalists Putin, Xi, Rouhani and Erdogan. She’s been only tariffed by solo act Trump, not sanctioned. She’s no Suzi Quatro, not to mention Joan Jett, although she might entertain rompin’ across I hate myself /for loving you when facing Putin. She’s more like a staid back-up singer from Estonia at the Eurovision song contest.    

So no wonder that when the real surprise surfaced at Meseberg, it bore a vague resemblance to a remixed Eurovision song contest.

As confirmed to Asia Times by diplomatic sources, a top summit featuring Germany, Russia, France and Turkey is on the way. Call it an expanded Eurovision – with Turkey included due to (wobbling) NATO membership.

Ostensibly, the summit would be on Syria – according to the Kremlin. That does not cut it – as Syria is already being discussed in detail in Astana by Russia, Iran and Turkey.

Yet as The Sanctioned and The Tariffed share the stage, what they do embody is defiance of solo act Trump. The idea for the one-off top billing came from the Robert Plant-esque Sanctioned member Erdogan, even with a date attached – September 7. An ever cautious Merkel only went as far as admitting the summit “could make sense – this must be well-prepared, so there is no date yet.” 

The fact is multinational sherpas are already working on it. In parallel, the finance ministers of Turkey and France not only agreed to confront sanctions on Turkey, but to come up with further bilateral economic cooperation. Sun King Macron is dying for his star turn at The Tariffed to go platinum.

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Bad NATO! Bad NATO! Stay After School, by Eric Margolis

The contradictions in Trump’s policies towards Europe and NATO were on full display at that organization’s summit. From Eric Margolis at lewrockwell.com:

President Donald Trump says most summit meetings are a waste of time.  He’s so right.  Most meetings of every kind are a waste of time and energy.

The president was certainly right about last week’s NATO summit in Brussels.  At least, he livened it up by openly blasting his NATO allies once again for not spending enough on their military forces.  But Trump’s real purpose was to show the world that he was boss of all he surveyed.

Doing his best bull in a china shop routine, Trump lectured and scolded the heads of NATO on live TV.  They took the verbal thrashing like truant schoolboys.  NATO’s secretary general, former Norwegian prime minister Jens Stoltenberg, who was put into office by the US, muttered a few lame excuses.  Trump supporters in the US were delighted to see the snotty, godless Europeans given a good dressing down.

It did not help when it was revealed that Germany, the bulwark of NATO, had only a handful of front-line fighters in service.  Another report claimed most of its main battle tanks were out of service due to budget cuts.

The president made the very important statement that he regarded Russia’s Vladimir Putin as a ‘competitor’ and not an ‘enemy.’  This view is widely held in Europe and the rest of the world.

But then Trump negated this sensible view by claiming Germany is ‘totally controlled’ by and ‘captive to’ nearby Russia because Germany now buys up to 70% of its oil and gas from them.

In fact, many Germans believe precisely the contrary: that Germany is Washington’s vassal state and still under American domination seven decades after World War II.

They cite US control of Germany’s intelligence agencies, foreign and defense policies, relations with Israel, and sending troops to support the ongoing US occupation of Afghanistan.

Over 37 active US bases and installations are spread across northern Germany and Bavaria.  Some 35,000 US troops remain in Germany, down from the Cold War total of over 300,000.  Important German air bases form the core of the US ability to project power into Eastern Europe and the Mideast.  The US quietly stores nuclear weapons in Germany.

To continue reading: Bad NATO! Bad NATO! Stay After School