US-Soldaten in Afghanistan

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25.10.2017

"Are Trump’s Generals in Over Their Heads?"

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/10/25/donald-trump-john-allen-kelly-generals-military-215740

Viele Kritiker von US-Präsident Trump sind Mark Perry zufolge der Ansicht, dass die von Trump in die Regierung berufenen US-Generäle eine insgesamt positive Rolle spielen und sogar zwischen Trump und einem völligen Absturz ins "Chaos" ständen. Einige Militärexperten betrachteten die politische Rolle früherer militärischer Entscheidungsträger allerdings mit zunehmender Sorge. "The deep discomfort with having generals in powerful policymaking positions roiled the military from the moment that retired Flynn and Allen took center stage at the Republican and Democratic conventions. It roils it still. Retired Admiral Michael Mullen, who remains one of the most respected J.C.S. chairmen in our history, dissected this controversy most recently during an address he gave on October 6 at the U.S. Naval Institute. 'I have been in too many countries globally where the generals, if you will, gave great comfort to their citizens,' Mullen said. 'That is not the United States of America.' Thankfully, very few in the military disagree with him, even if the positions that serving and retired military officers can and should fill has been stretched – perhaps to the breaking point."

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13.10.2017

"Trump asks Congress to fix Iran deal’s flaws"

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/10/13/trump-iran-nuclear-deal-decertification-sanctions-243734

Wie von vielen Beobachtern erwartet hat US-Präsident Trump in einer Rede am Freitag die "Dezertifizierung" des Atomabkommens mit dem Iran angekündigt. Nahal Toosi und Louis Nelson berichten, dass der US-Kongress nun entscheiden müsse, ob er tatsächlich neue Sanktionen verhängt, die das Abkommen endgültig zum Scheitern bringen könnten. "Although Republicans, along with some Democrats, opposed the deal in 2015, two years later some are wary of taking any step that could wreck it. Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.), the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, indicated this week that the deal should stay in place but that the U.S. must 'enforce the hell out of it.' Even some of the most hard-line anti-Iran members of Congress, such as Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), have said they don’t think sanctions should be reimposed yet."

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12.10.2017

"America's shadow war in Africa"

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/10/12/niger-shadow-war-africa-243695

Der Tod von vier US-Soldaten in Niger habe ein Licht auf den öffentlich bisher kaum diskutierten "Schattenkrieg" des US-Militärs gegen radikalislamische Gruppen in Subsahara-Afrika geworfen, berichten Wesley Morgan und Bryan Bender. "A central focus of the mission is the vast desert nation of Niger, nearly twice the size of Texas, which has been a magnet for jihadists of many stripes, including those recruited locally and so-called foreign fighters drawn from North Africa, the Middle East and beyond. In June, the official number of U.S. troops supporting Niger’s military as it fights the militant groups was 645, up from 575 in December 2016. But now it's at least 800, according to the Pentagon. Many of the troops are Green Berets, Navy SEALs and Marine Raiders, but officials said the reinforcements have mostly been Air Force personnel who are there to manage a surge in surveillance flights by unmanned drones and manned spy planes."

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09.10.2017

"Emmanuel Macron’s long war"

http://www.politico.eu/article/macron-terrorism-borders-long-war/

Das politische Erbe des französischen Präsidenten wird nach Überzeugung von Nicholas Vinocur davon geprägt werden, ob Emmanuel Macron der Gefahr des radikalislamischen Terrorismus ohne ein Abgleiten in den Autoritarismus entgegentreten kann. "Macron’s solution, which even advisers admit is flawed, was to introduce a new anti-terrorism bill that reproduces most of the important features of the state of emergency. Passed into law on Tuesday, it has been the subject of some of the sharpest debate between MPs since Macron took power. It’s easy to understand why: The law expands police powers considerably, and permanently, ensuring the continuation of practices that both Amnesty and Human Rights Watch have denounced as discriminatory against France’s Muslim population. (...) If a major attack comes on Macron’s watch, citizens would demand more forceful action against terror. Yet the state of emergency would have defeated its own purpose, and the only judicial weapon left in the president’s arsenal would be to declare a 'state of siege' — which hasn’t been invoked since the Algerian War — or martial law. On the other hand, to allow the state of emergency to lapse amid constant threats would expose the president to accusations of being weak and naïve."

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01.10.2017

"Should Rex Tillerson Resign?"

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/10/01/should-rex-tillerson-resign-215664

Nachdem US-Präsident Trump die Bemühungen seines Außenministers um direkte Verhandlungen mit Nordkorea auf Twitter als "Zeitverschwendung" abgetan hat, fragen Aaron David Miller und Richard Sokolsky, ob Rex Tillerson nach dieser beispiellosen "Demütigung" nicht besser zurücktreten sollte. Die Probleme des US-Außenministeriums unter Präsident Trump würde allerdings auch Tillersons Nachfolger nicht lösen können, so die Meinung der beiden Autoren. "Even if they’re playing good cop-bad cop, this is a shocker: Donald Trump is basically announcing that any negotiations with North Korea are worthless. This not only undercut Tillerson personally, but also undermines U.S. interests and the secretary of state’s sensible decision to talk to the North Korean regime. To make matters worse, all of this is occurring while Tillerson is in Beijing to prepare for the president’s trip to China next month — so the president kneecapped his own top diplomat in front of America’s chief rival in Asia. (...) But it’s magical thinking to believe that Tillerson’s successor could fundamentally alter the downward trajectory of the State Department or do much more to fix the world’s problems. As long as Donald Trump is president, more likely than not, the Department of State is going to remain closed for the season."

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09.09.2017

"Trump review leans toward proposing mini-nuke"

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/09/09/trump-reviews-mini-nuke-242513

Im Weißen Haus gewinnt Bryan Bender zufolge die Überlegung an Zustimmung, dem Pentagon die Anschaffung kleiner Atombomben zu erlauben, die weniger Schaden anrichten würden und deshalb taktisch eingesetzt werden könnten. "Approval of such weapons — whether designed to be delivered by missile, aircraft or special forces — would mark a major reversal from the Obama administration, which sought to limit reliance on nuclear arms and prohibited any new weapons or military capabilities. And critics say it would only make the actual use of atomic arms more likely. (...) new support for adding a more modern version is likely to set off a fierce debate in Congress, which would ultimately have to fund it, and raises questions about whether it would require a resumption of explosive nuclear tests after a 25-year moratorium and how other nuclear powers might respond. The Senate is expected to debate the issue of new nuclear options next week when it takes up the National Defense Authorization Act."

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31.08.2017

"I Was a Mercenary. Trust Me: Erik Prince’s Plan Is Garbage."

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/08/31/i-was-a-mercenary-trust-me-erik-princes-plan-is-garbage
-215563

Der ehemalige Söldner Sean McFate hält nichts von der Idee, den Krieg in Afghanistan zu "privatisieren" und anstelle weiterer US-Soldaten Sicherheitsunternehmen zu entsenden. "For years, I worked as a private military contractor in Africa and elsewhere. I built armies for clients, dealt with warlords, conducted strategic reconnaissance, worked with armed groups in the Sahara, transacted arms deals in Eastern Europe and even helped prevent a genocide in Central Africa. I use fiction to reveal the secretive world of mercenaries. It’s worse than people think. Mercenaries are back, a dangerous trend occurring in the shadows. Their very lack of accountability is their main selling point; they offer plausible deniability and brute force to those too weak or squeamish to wage war. (...) This trend may one day alter international relations: When anyone can rent a military, then super-rich and large corporations can become a new kind of superpower. Worse, mercenaries can start and elongate conflicts for profit, breeding endless war."

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31.08.2017

"Preventing disaster in Donbas"

http://www.politico.eu/article/preventing-disaster-donbas-ukraine-sebastian-kurz-oped/

Sebastian Kurz warnt, dass neue Kämpfe im Osten der Ukraine Giftmülllager oder Industrie- und Chemieanlagen treffen und ökologische Katastrophen auslösen könnten. Beide Seiten sollten sich demnach darauf einigen, diese Standorte zu "sicheren Zonen" zu erklären. Dies sollte auch für Anlagen zur Versorgung der Bevölkerung mit Wasser und Strom gelten, so Kurz. "All parties in the conflict need to put aside politics and focus on the fate of the people in this devastated region. That is why Austria’s chairmanship of the OSCE is calling for a disaster risk reduction initiative for eastern Ukraine. The 'Trilateral Contact Group' (Ukraine, Russia, OSCE) has taken up this approach and will discuss it in its upcoming meetings. Evidence-based policies need to be made urgently to prevent a disaster from literally poisoning the people of the Donbas region who have suffered so much already. To make peace in eastern Ukraine, the parties need to stop shooting. A good place to start would be around critical infrastructure."

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26.08.2017

"How North Korea Shocked the Nuclear Experts"

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/08/26/north-korea-nuclear-tests-shock-experts-215533?lo=ap_f1

Der offenbar unaufhaltsame Aufstieg Nordkoreas zur Atommacht komme für viele internationale Experten durchaus überraschend, stellen Nicholas L. Miller und Vipin Narang fest. Akademischen Theorien über die Entstehung nationaler Atomwaffenprogramme zufolge ist Nordkorea demnach kein aussichtsreicher Kandidat gewesen. "The question is more than an academic exercise. Scholarly theories about nuclear proliferation give us important insights into why and how states acquire nuclear weapons, and help policymakers build the tools to stop states from doing so. So if our theories are wrong or incomplete, then our policy prescriptions are likely to be off base as well. To put it simply: understanding why North Korea managed to acquire nuclear weapons is necessary to help ensure other countries can’t follow the same playbook. To appreciate why North Korea’s achievement was so surprising, we need to understand what experts believed — and how the Kim regime proved them wrong. A handful of big theories have driven the expert debate on nonproliferation in recent years."

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15.08.2017

"The problem isn’t Putin, it’s Russia"

http://www.politico.eu/article/vladimir-putin-russia-values-problem-for-united-states/

Die USA sollten nach Ansicht von Thomas Graham, früheres Mitglied im Nationalen Sicherheitsrat der Vereinigten Staaten im Weißen Haus, die "harte Wahrheit" anerkennen, dass Russland sich auch ohne Wladimir Putin nicht plötzlich in eine liberale Demokratie verwandeln würde. Angesichts der globalen Probleme sollte deshalb eine ausgeglichenere Beziehung mit Moskau angestrebt werden, so Graham. "Washington has no choice but to deal with Russia as it is, raising the question: How to manage relations with a large, powerful country that is crucial to any enduring security arrangement in Europe but espouses alien values and competes for influence in other strategically critical regions? (...) A better option would be to engage with Moscow pragmatically and focus on managing the geopolitical rivalry to reduce to a minimum the risk of a full-blown conflict. The U.S. should relentlessly defend its vital interests, but be prepared to find compromises on other issues as long as they don’t jeopardize its core principles. This would entail insisting on the full restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, for example, but signaling the willingness to pursue alternatives to Ukraine’s eventual membership in NATO, given Russia’s adamant opposition."

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12.08.2017

"What Trump needs to know about North Korea’s history"

http://www.politico.eu/article/what-trump-needs-to-know-about-north-koreas-history/

Die aktuelle Krise auf der koreanischen Halbinsel ist nach Überzeugung von Sheila Miyoshi Jager, Historikerin und Ostasienexpertin am Oberlin College, nur mit Blick auf die Entstehung Nord- und Südkoreas während des Koreakrieges zu verstehen. "Not all experts on North Korea see unification as the Kim regime’s primary goal, but it is one that the North Koreans themselves have consistently given as their principal objective. What the regime wants, and has always wanted, is a peace treaty with the United States — a grand bargain that would lead to the eventual withdrawal of U.S. troops from the Korean peninsula, and that could be seen as a real step toward that objective. (...) The 'final victory' in North Korean propaganda means the same thing today that it meant when Kim Il Sung used it in the late 1940s: unification into a single Korea."

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11.08.2017

"The Madman and the Bomb"

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/08/11/donald-trump-nuclear-weapons-richard-nixon-215478

Die aggressive Rhetorik des US-Präsidenten in der Nordkoreakrise lässt einige Beobachter hoffen, dass Donald Trump im Ernstfall der Zugriff zum Atomkoffer entzogen werden könnte. 1974 habe es zum Ende der Amtszeit Richard Nixons einen möglichen Präzedenzfall gegeben, schreibt Garrett M. Graff. "There’s also, perhaps, an even easier solution: Simply apply the same rule to presidential launch authority that the nation applies to nuclear procedures at all other level and turn the 'football' into a 'No Lone Zone.' Given the reality that any nuclear strike today would likely include plenty of time to plot revenge, it seems well worth discussing whether our nuclear command system should include a second voice, either from the vice president, the secretary of defense or a congressional leader. 'If you decide for whatever reason that you don’t want Congress involved, that you don’t want the body that is supposed to have sole authority over warmaking have a say in the war that matters most, well at least have it be two monarchs—have it be the chairman of the Joint Chiefs who has to weigh in as well,' [Joe Cirincione, who runs the Ploughshares Fund, which advocates the elimination of nuclear weapons,] says. 'There should be an institutional barrier to an insane president launching nuclear war.'"

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04.08.2017

"Call for 'military Schengen' to get troops moving"

http://www.politico.eu/article/call-for-military-border-schengen-to-get-troops-moving-nato-eu-defense-min
isters/

Die niederländische Regierung hat vorgeschlagen, ein "militärisches Schengen-Gebiet" zu schaffen, um Truppen und militärisches Gerät innerhalb der EU im Ernstfall schneller als bisher transportieren zu können. "NATO leaders insist they have addressed the most problematic obstacles to cross-border operations, but nonetheless welcomed the Dutch proposal as a way to raise political pressure and create a sense of urgency around further improving the 'interoperability' of allied countries. Officials say the obstacles are only apparent during peacetime exercises and planning, and that during a real military emergency, NATO’s supreme allied commander for Europe — based in Mons, Belgium — would simply warn allies and deploy as needed. But officials also said NATO’s deterrence mission requires the alliance to constantly demonstrate its capabilities in peacetime and those capabilities are still encumbered. Moving U.S. forces to Poland from Germany, for example, requires a five-day notice period, American officials said."

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24.07.2017

"Why It’s Hard to Take Democrats Seriously on Russia"

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/07/24/why-its-hard-to-take-democrats-seriously-on-russia-2154
15

James Kirchick erklärt, warum viele Republikaner die lautstarke Empörung der Demokraten über Wladimir Putin nicht teilen. "(...) as much as Democrats may be correct in their diagnosis of Republican debasement, they are wholly lacking in self-awareness as to their own record regarding Russia. This helps explain why conservatives have so much trouble taking liberal outrage about Russia seriously: Most of the people lecturing them for being 'Putin’s pawns' spent the better part of the past eight years blindly supporting a Democratic president, Barack Obama, whose default mode with Moscow was fecklessness. To Republicans, these latter-day Democratic Cold Warriors sound like partisan hysterics, a perception that’s not entirely wrong. (...) Democrats’ lack of introspection about their past policy failures, along with their amateurish, newfound zeal for opposing Russia, hurts the wider effort to convince the American public that Russian meddling in our democracy is a serious issue."

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11.07.2017

"Angela Merkel’s neighborly plan for Africa"

http://www.politico.eu/article/angela-merkels-neighborly-plan-for-africa/

Janosch Delcker erläutert den Plan von Bundeskanzlerin Merkel, mit Hilfe eines umfassenden Investitionsprogramms für Afrika die Zahl der Migranten nach Europa langfristig zu reduzieren. Einige Experten und Politiker bezweifeln allerdings die Erfolgsaussichten der Strategie. "The political message to her electorate aside, migration experts doubt Merkel’s strategy will prove successful in preventing people from coming. 'The narrative is: More investment will lead to jobs being created and then people stay in their home countries,' said Barbara Sennholz-Weinhardt of the anti-poverty NGO Oxfam. 'However, it is wrong to see private investment and development cooperation as a way to contain migration.' (...) [Uwe Kekeritz, a German member of parliament and the Green party’s spokesperson on development policy,] called it 'naïve' to assume that living conditions will automatically improve in African countries if private investment is boosted, adding: 'The past has shown us that big investment often leads to ecological catastrophes, which then, in turn, lead to humanitarian catastrophes.' In addition, he said, it will be largely the wealthier countries in Africa that will profit from the initiative, while many of the 34 countries in Africa that the U.N. considers 'least developed countries' (LDC) could go away empty-handed."

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27.06.2017

"The U.N. Is Giving up on Trump"

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/06/27/united-nations-donald-trump-antonio-guterres-china-2153
15

Die UN-Führung um Generalsekretär Guterres habe die Hoffnung aufgegeben, mit US-Präsident Trump zusammenarbeiten zu können, schreibt Richard Gowan. Nun könnte "Plan B" aktiviert werden: eine engere Kooperation mit China. "This does not mean that Guterres is actively planning to facilitate a Chinese takeover of the U.N. For now, he is largely hinting at the possibility of Beijing filling America’s geostrategic vacuum in an attempt to coax the U.S. back into line. He is unlikely to get much of a hearing from Trump — the two have met only once in person — but he has some access to more mainstream Republican figures in Congress through Haley. By talking obliquely about the future of U.S. power, the secretary-general is signaling that he grasps Washington’s geopolitical concerns, and is not just a well-meaning humanitarian. (...) If Guterres draws closer China, Trump will doubtless claim that this proves the U.N. has had an anti-American agenda all along. But the administration should listen carefully to what the secretary-general is saying. He wants to keep U.S. power alive at the U.N. But if that proves impossible, he has to have a Plan B for Beijing."

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22.06.2017

"Why the West treats China with kid gloves"

http://www.politico.eu/article/china-europe-trade-why-the-west-treats-with-kid-gloves/

Europas weitgehender Verzicht auf deutliche Kritik an der Menschenrechtssituation in China sei kein Zufall, schreibt Diego Torres. Peking habe auf ein spanisches Gerichtsurteil zum angeblichen Genozid in Tibet im Jahr 2013 mit harten diplomatischen Gegenmaßnahmen reagiert. "Behind the scenes, Beijing froze all high-level meetings with Spanish representatives, including a state visit by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, according to two sources in the foreign and economy ministries. 'They put us in the fridge for a while,' said a Spanish official who was working in Beijing at the time. (...) the way the case was handled by Madrid reveals a global trend that has been condemned by human rights organizations worldwide and which is being felt on the ground by Chinese activists who risk their lives by speaking up against their government’s abuses. As China’s power continues to grow, more and more countries are shying away from criticizing Beijing for fear of economic retaliation."

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08.06.2017

"Comey blasts White House for 'lies, plain and simple'"

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/06/08/james-comey-trump-russia-testimony-239294

Mit der Anhörung des früheren FBI-Chefs James Comey vor dem US-Senat ist die Kontroverse um die angeblichen Russlandverbindungen des US-Präsidenten in die nächste Runde gegangen. Politico berichtet, dass Comey bei der Anhörung dem Weißen Haus Verleumdung und Lügen vorgeworfen habe. Zugleich habe er allerdings angegeben, dass Donald Trump nicht direkt um einen Stopp der FBI-Ermittlungen gebeten habe. "'The administration then chose to defame me and more importantly the FBI, by saying the organization was poorly led,' the ex-FBI chief said. 'Those were lies, plain and simple.' The direct accusation was an extraordinary moment in the Russia scandal that has engulfed Trump’s presidency. (...) Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr directly asked Comey, 'Did any individual working for this administration, including the Justice Department, ask you to stop the Russian investigation?' Comey replied 'no,' but he also said he took Trump’s pressure-filled words on the Russia probe as 'a direction.'"

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06.06.2017

"Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Tackle Islam or face civil war"

http://www.politico.eu/article/ayaan-hirsi-ali-tackle-islam-or-face-civil-war/

Cynthia Kroet mit einem aktuellen Porträt der prominenten Islamkritikerin Ayaan Hirsi Ali, die seit Jahren fordert, dass der Westen der Bedrohung durch den politischen Islam entschiedener entgegen treten müsse. "Hirsi Ali believes that an antidote to the infiltration of political Islam in the Western world is a strong civil society that educates people about the threat it poses. She is also positive about changes happening in the Middle East, where protests and the rise of young people who don’t want sharia, have brought about changes in some countries. 'Ultimately that is where the solution lies, to isolate and marginalize the radicalized,' she says. 'The way to marginalize them is to get as many people as possible to stand against them and to stand against the idea of sharia.'"

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04.06.2017

"A Noun, a Verb and Vladimir Putin"

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/06/04/a-noun-a-verb-and-vladimir-putin-215224

Die US-Demokraten täten sich mit ihrer "Obsession" über angebliche Russlandverbindungen Donald Trumps keinen politischen Gefallen, meint Matt Latimer, früherer Redenschreiber von Präsident George W. Bush. Die tatsächlichen Ursachen ihrer Wahlniederlage im November würden ignoriert, was eine Wiederwahl des Präsidenten im Jahr 2020 wahrscheinlicher mache. "Trump, meanwhile, is trying to regain his message on border security, tax cuts, Obamacare repeal and telling off Europeans to their faces. You know, the kind of politically incorrect, occasionally rude things that actually ended up helping him win the election. A few weeks ago, a sociologist at Columbia University flatly predicted that Trump will be reelected in 2020. In an even crueler blow to the Democrats, an ABC poll released in April found that Trump would beat Hillary Clinton in the popular vote if there were a hypothetical rematch. (...) Of course, if the Democrats do get their wish, and Trump is forced out early, then they get President Mike Pence — who has a pleasant demeanor, is an even more reliably conservative Republican than his boss and, last time I checked, does not have a secret Russian passport."

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26.05.2017

"Trump's right about Germany"

http://www.politico.com/agenda/story/2017/05/26/trump-right-about-germany-trade-000445

US-Präsident Trump hat Deutschland zuletzt besonders wegen der hohen deutschen Export-Überschüsse kritisiert. Auf dem diplomatischen Parket haben die Äußerungen Trumps zwar Irritationen ausgelöst, viele amerikanische Wirtschaftsexperten halten die Kritik Danny Vinik zufolge allerdings für überfällig. "Will Trump’s blunt language have a stronger effect? Economists are skeptical. After all, Trump in targeting German carmakers is missing the true problems with German economic policies and by focusing on German tariffs, he is getting basic facts wrong about European trade policy. In addition, his broader protectionist stance on trade has not engendered much goodwill with European leaders and the fate of the U.S.-EU trade deal, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, remains unknown. None of this gives Merkel, who is up for reelection later this year, any reason to change course."

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21.05.2017

"Why Poland doesn’t want refugees"

http://www.politico.eu/article/politics-nationalism-and-religion-explain-why-poland-doesnt-want-refugees/

Jan Cienski erläutert, warum sich Polen einer EU-weiten Verteilung von Flüchtlingen und Asylbewerbern bis heute energisch widersetzt. "Opinion polls show that about three-quarters of Poles are against accepting refugees from Africa and the Middle East. (...) Poland is one of the most homogenous countries in Europe — overwhelmingly Polish and Roman Catholic. That wasn’t the case until the Second World War. (...) The blood-drenched harrowing of the war, followed by post-war border shifts and ethnic cleansing, created a racially pure Poland for the first time in history — fulfilling the dreams of earlier generations of extreme nationalists. Despite being in the EU, there’s little appetite in Poland to create a West-European style multi-ethnic society. That creates a conundrum for the opposition, which wants to stake out a more strongly pro-EU position than the government in a bid to appeal to the country’s more liberal urban electorate, but doesn’t want to offend traditionalists."

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16.05.2017

"Republicans may be reaching their breaking point with Trump"

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/05/16/trump-comey-republicans-congress-scandals-238479

Ein von vielen Gegnern Donald Trumps gefordertes Amtsenthebungsverfahren wäre nur mit Unterstützung der Republikaner möglich, die in beiden Häusern des Kongresses eine Mehrheit haben. Sollte sich der neue Vorwurf einer versuchten Einflussnahme auf Ermittlungen des FBI bestätigen, wäre dies Politico zufolge möglicherweise auch für einige republikanische Abgeordnete ein Skandal zu viel. "Within hours of Tuesday's report by The New York Times, there was a distinct shift among congressional Republicans, who until now have mostly resisted criticizing Trump, let alone demanding the president be held to account for all he says or does. (...) In private, top Republicans fear that this latest Trump controversy — coming just a week after he fired Comey, and only one day after it was revealed that the president revealed highly classified intelligence information during a meeting with Russian officials — will overwhelm everything they are trying to do legislatively. Health care, tax reform, building up the Pentagon — all of it is potentially threatened by the latest furor. And if Republicans are paralyzed and can’t pass anything despite control of the White House and Congress, how can they justify their majorities when they go before voters next year?"

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15.05.2017

"Why I’m Rooting for the Hardliner in Iran’s Elections"

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/05/15/iran-elections-hardliner-ibrahim-raisi-215137

Elliott Abrams hält den amtierenden Präsidenten Irans keineswegs für "moderat" und hofft deshalb, dass bei den Präsidentschaftswahlen am Freitag der konservative Herausforderer Ibrahim Raisi gewinnen wird. "Consider both Iran’s foreign and domestic policies during Rouhani’s five years in office. On the domestic side, there has been zero improvement on human rights. (...) Rouhani is no more 'moderate' on foreign policy. During his years in office, Iran has become ever more aggressive in the Middle East. (...) he is either in favor of these aggressive moves or powerless to stop them. Either he is not a 'moderate' in reality, or he is a façade the regime has put in place to suggest a moderation that does not in reality exist. (...) Ebrahim Raisi is the true face of the Islamic Republic, while Rouhani is a façade. Rouhani has shown himself powerless to effect any change in the regime’s conduct and his only role is to mislead the West into thinking 'moderates' are in charge. We are far better off, as we were when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was president, when there are no illusions about Iran’s regime and the men who lead it."

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09.05.2017

"Is This a Constitutional Crisis?"

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/05/09/comey-trump-firing-is-this-a-constitutional-crisis-2151
18?lo=ap_a1

Politico hat mehrere US-Verfassungsrechtler nach der Legalität der plötzlichen Entlassung von FBI-Direktor Comey befragt. Während sich viele Experten abwartend äußern, spricht David Cole von der ACLU offen von einer Verfassungskrise. Elizabeth Price Foley von der Florida International University hält den Vorgang dagegen für völlig legitim: "The FBI director, like all other officers of the executive branch, is an at will employee, which means he can be fired at any time, at the sole discretion of the president. When the deputy attorney general concluded that Director Comey usurped the role of the Department of Justice in his decision not to recommend prosecution of Hillary Clinton, President Trump made the only legally correct call, to fire the director. The country deserves an FBI director who respects his limited role as an investigator, and whose reputation is not sullied by inappropriately political behavior. If there is any ongoing FBI investigation into any of Trump's associates, this investigation can and will continue unabated. This is far from a constitutional crisis - it is a confirmation that the Constitution is working exactly as it should."

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06.05.2017

"Trump Wants a New Afghan Surge. That’s a Terrible Idea."

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/05/06/trump-wants-a-new-afghan-surge-thats-a-terrible-idea-21
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Das Weiße Haus erwägt Berichten zufolge, die amerikanische Beteiligung am Krieg in Afghanistan mit zusätzlichen Truppen zu verstärken. Douglas Wissing, der den Einsatz lange als Kriegsberichterstatter begleitet hat, lehnt eine derartige Eskalation ab, da der Krieg für die USA militärisch nicht zu gewinnen sei. "U.S. soldiers on the ground in Afghanistan are increasingly frustrated with a lousy mission in a benighted country riven with tribal feuds and opium wars. In Hopeless but Optimistic, my second book on the Afghan conflict, I tell tale after tale of American soldiers out on dangerous missions with no overall strategy; no end game in sight; just endless, life-crushing war. (...) While no one in Washington power circles is yet willing to officially say it, there is nothing the U.S. can do now to change the inevitable course of events. All that can happen is good money is thrown after bad; more lives destroyed after so many have been ravaged. It is time to accept the obvious: The war in Afghanistan is unwinnable. It is time for the U.S. to withdraw its troops, and let the Afghans sort out their own problems."

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01.05.2017

"Can Trump Make Mideast Peace Without Gaza?"

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/05/01/donald-trump-mideast-peace-gaza-215089

Grant Rumley rät US-Präsident Trump, den Fehler seiner Amtsvorgänger zu vermeiden und die Hamas nicht kategorisch vom Friedensprozess in Nahost auszuschließen. Der "terroristische Ministaat" an der Grenze Israels könne nicht einfach ignoriert werden. "The Bush and Obama administrations chose to support negotiations strictly between Israel and Abbas’s West Bank-based Palestinian leadership. Both administrations preferred to leave Gaza as some unsolvable Pandora’s Box, doomed to perennial conflict with Israel while under Hamas’ rule. Yet this is fatally flawed logic. Any feasible peace agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians will require serious concessions from both sides. And no Palestinian leader sitting in the West Bank can compromise on the most sensitive issues in Palestinian politics – the status of Jerusalem, refugees, borders, etc. – while a rival party controls half the territory of a future Palestinian state. The very real fear for Abbas is that were his compromises to become public, Hamas would easily be able to rally public sentiment (and possibly action) against him and his Fatah party."

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24.04.2017

"Obama’s hidden Iran deal giveaway"

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/04/24/obama-iran-nuclear-deal-prisoner-release-236966

Josh Meyer wirft dem ehemaligen US-Präsidenten Obama vor, dem Iran in den geheimen Verhandlungen über das Atomabkommen bislang unbekannte Zugeständnisse gemacht zu haben. Dabei habe das Weiße Haus auch das eigene Justizministerium vor den Kopf gestoßen. "When President Barack Obama announced the 'one-time gesture' of releasing Iranian-born prisoners who 'were not charged with terrorism or any violent offenses' last year, his administration presented the move as a modest trade-off for the greater good of the Iran nuclear agreement and Tehran’s pledge to free five Americans. (...) In reality, some of them were accused by Obama’s own Justice Department of posing threats to national security. (...) The saga of how the Obama administration threw a monkey wrench into its own Justice Department-led counterproliferation effort continues to play out almost entirely out of public view, largely because of the highly secretive nature of the cases and the negotiations that affected them. That may be about to change, as the Trump administration and both chambers of Congress have pledged to crack down on Tehran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs."

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21.04.2017

"Macron’s plan to win over … Germany"

http://www.politico.eu/article/emmanuel-macron-plan-win-germany-france-election-2017/

Nicholas Vinocur und Florian Eder schreiben, dass Emmanuel Macron, der am Sonntag die erste Runde der französischen Präsidentschaftswahlen für sich entschieden hat, als gewählter Präsident besonderen Wert auf die Beziehungen zu Deutschland legen würde. "(...) if he succeeds, Macron will have written the first page in a new chapter of EU history. It’s one in which Paris and Berlin will have no choice but to work more closely together, now that Britain will no longer be around to act as a buffer between the bloc’s twin pillars. 'Emmanuel is convinced that the French electorate is profoundly pro-European, despite what the populists would like us to believe,' said Sylvie Goulard, an MEP who advises Macron on EU affairs. 'Marine Le Pen and Jean-Luc Mélenchon want a confrontation with Germany, but they are not living in reality … Ours is the responsible choice.'"

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10.04.2017

"Europe’s Balkan blindspot"

http://www.politico.eu/article/europe-balkan-blindspot-serbia-aleksandar-vucic/

Nach Jahren relativer Ruhe habe sich der Balkan aufgrund politischer Instabilität, territorialer Streitigkeiten und ethnischer Konflikte wieder zu einem sicherheitspolitischen Krisenherd in Europa entwickelt, schreibt Matthew Karnitschnig. "'If we leave them alone — Bosnia-Herzegovina, Republika Srpska, Macedonia, Albania, all those countries — we will have war again,' European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said he told U.S. Vice President Mike Pence last month. Yet it’s a country not on Juncker’s list that could create the biggest headache for the EU: Serbia. (...) 'As stability is given priority over democracy, Balkan strongmen have become even stronger, less accountable, and more contemptuous of democratic standards,' Milan Nič, a senior fellow at Germany’s DGAP think tank wrote in a recent analysis about the region. 'The result of this new paradox — with countries moving closer to the EU but further away from democracy and the rule of law — is growing dissatisfaction among citizens, accompanied by a loss of trust in the EU and further alienation from domestic politics.'"

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