US-Soldaten in Afghanistan



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"Trump’s Mideast Plan Is Poised to Fall Apart"

Zev Chafets erwartet ein baldiges Scheitern des Nahost-Friedensplans der US-Regierung, da selbst Israels Premierminister Netanjahu nicht daran denke, die für ihn unangenehmen Teile des Plans umzusetzen. "Like the Palestinian leaders, Israeli Jews on the far right hate the deal. They oppose a Palestinian state as a matter of ideology and principle. They fear that the American plan might actually work. This hard core is not politically numerous, but it is influential among Likud voters that Netanyahu relies on. They aim to convince the public that the deal is poisonous, and that Donald Trump is an enemy in disguise. Netanyahu has stood up for Trump, but he is clearly distancing himself from the plan. Last week he told a right-wing newspaper that if the Palestinians fulfill the conditions of the Trump plan, 'then they will have an entity that President Trump defines as a state.' That dismissive language was a first salvo. A few days later, Minister of Energy Yuval Steinitz, was more explicit. 'We didn’t announce that we’re adopting the Trump plan,' he said, 'just parts of it.'"

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"U.S. Troop Cuts in Germany Would Be a Disastrous Mistake"

Ein Abzug von US-Truppen aus Deutschland würde dem Konzept des "Westens" einen weiteren schweren Schlag versetzen, meint Andreas Kluth. Noch sei allerdings offen, ob Trumps Drohung tatsächlich umgesetzt werden wird. "As with other bluster emanating from the White House under President Donald Trump, this threatened drawdown may never happen. One reason is that it would simply be too stupid from a strategic and logistical perspective, as American experts such as Ben Hodges, a former commander of the U.S. Army in Europe, have pointed out. That’s because the Americans are there not only to deter Russian aggression, which they could also do from Poland — whose prime minister immediately put up his hand to accommodate any surplus U.S. troops. The 'Amis,' as Germans call the the American forces, also use Germany as their hub for missions in the Middle East and Africa. GIs flying to or from Iraq and Afghanistan, for example, pass through Ramstein, the biggest U.S. airbase on foreign soil. If wounded, they get treated at nearby Landstuhl. Some veterans of the ever-turbulent U.S.-German relationship are therefore rolling their eyes. It’s possible that Trump is just having another tantrum about German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who recently said she wouldn’t attend a G7 summit Trump was planning to host, and whom Trump seems to scorn as his symbolic nemesis."

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"The Price of Covid Freedom May Be Eternal Spying"

Andy Mukherjee fürchtet, dass die teilweise Aufgabe der Privatsphäre, die im Zuge der Bekämpfung der Corona-Pandemie weithin akzeptiert wird, die Gesellschaft in vielen Ländern lange nach der Krise prägen könnte. "It hasn’t gone unnoticed that enthusiastic adapters of such software are in East Asia where, as MIT Sloan School of Management professor Yasheng Huang and others note, 'a collectivist spirit may encourage civic-minded embrace of and a more willing compliance with governments’ infection control.' But while cultural differences can help explain the beginning, the end game may be more universal: power and profit. Safely restarting economies will require governments to restore trust in people mingling in factories, offices, cafes and trains. It can supposedly be done with data more granular than what can be obtained from cellphone networks. Hence states want access to phones, with or without informed consent. Turning the clock back will be hard, if not impossible. (…) Just as the Sept. 11 attacks irrevocably shrank personal freedoms as security-at-all-costs became a policy driver, Covid-19 will erode privacy in the name of public health. (…) The bottom line: Where they exist, robust institutions could still offer resistance. In most other places, the individual’s autonomy has already become a virus casualty."

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"Why Germany Will Never Be Europe’s Leader"

In der Coronakrise ist nach Ansicht von Andreas Kluth erneut deutlich geworden, dass Deutschland in Europa nie die Rolle der "gütigen Hegemonialmacht" spielen wird, die andere EU-Länder von Berlin erwarten. Dieses Missverständnis könne das EU-Projekt letztlich zum Scheitern bringen. "The Covid-19 pandemic is (…) a tragic rerun of last decade’s euro crisis. Back then, it was above all the Greeks who were angry at the tightwad Germans, even drawing Hitler mustaches on posters of Chancellor Angela Merkel. Today, it’s primarily Italians and Spaniards who are livid. The Germans, for their part, are once again nonplussed about why others are so upset. This mutual miscommunication is a potential time bomb that could one day blow up the European project. It reflects both a design flaw in the EU and a deficit in German political consciousness. That’s because the EU is an inchoate bloc. To keep working, it needs a benign leader, or hegemon. And only one country is economically and politically (though not militarily) powerful enough to play that role. In Germany itself, this 'hegemony debate' began in 2012 with an essay by a German professor, Christoph Schoenberger. In international relations, a hegemon isn’t a power that dominates others with brute force. Instead, it’s a country that uses its power to preserve a larger system, even at a cost to its more narrowly defined national interests — by being a lender of last resort, for example. (…) The problem is that the country’s public is dead set against this role. (…) This week I gave Schoenberger a call, to hear his thoughts eight years after he launched the hegemony debate. What’s changed since 2012, he told me, is that today the tensions are greater and the resources scarcer, so that somebody must lead: 'Either the Germans do it, or nobody does it, and then the structure collapses.'"

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"Oil's Collapse Is a Geopolitical Reset In Disguise"

In diesem Artikel aus einer Bloomberg-Serie zu den langfristigen Folgen der Coronakrise wendet sich Meghan L. O'Sullivan den Turbulenzen auf den Ölmärkten zu, die ihrer Ansicht nach zu einem "geopolitischen Reset" führen könnten. "As history has shown, a big change in energy markets often precipitates a big change in geopolitics. For instance, the shift from coal to oil catapulted Middle Eastern countries to strategic significance. And the recent technology-driven boom in shale oil elevated the United States to net oil exporter status, changing its outlook on the importance of oil in global affairs. We now face a disruption of such proportions that it, too, will reorder some power relationships. (…) Foreign policy makers and leading thinkers do need to consider how the global order will change in response to the coronavirus. As John Ikenberry pointed out elsewhere, history suggests that initial moves toward isolation could be followed by global efforts to re-create needed institutions. But a U.S. failure to address the more immediate challenges stemming from the Covid-19 oil market collapse will not bode well for any larger effort to remake the world order."

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"Meticulous and Orderly, Germany Can Handle a Pandemic"

Nach Ansicht von Andreas Kluth ist bereits jetzt absehbar, dass Deutschland die Coronakrise im Vergleich zu anderen Ländern relativ gut bewältigen wird. "That’s because this pandemic won’t end with a made-for-television big bang. It’ll be managed patiently into remission, for a long time and through many setbacks, with sobriety, incrementalism and nuance. And, at the risk of stereotyping, these just happen to be traits characteristic of modern Germany generally, and Merkel in particular. (…) Germany also benefited from its federal structure, and in particular the decentralized architecture of its health care system. In that sense, it’s the opposite of centralized France, and of federal but dysfunctional America. (…) By reacting to the outbreak early, Germany also bought itself time to build on other 'preexisting' strengths. Even before Covid-19 struck, it had far more beds in intensive care units than most other countries. (…) Yet another preexisting advantage, on the socioeconomic side, is a century-old labor law that prevents abrupt layoffs and lets employees get paid even when their work temporarily dries up. (…) In part that’s because all German politicians, and citizens, seem to have sworn a secret oath to defer to experts. (…) The flip side of Germany’s 'small-steps' politics is order, reliability and dispassionate competence. It’s not exactly a recipe for vibrancy in good times. But it keeps more people safe when things are bad."

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"The Virus Should Wake Up the West"

Die Coronakrise habe offengelegt, dass kritische Institutionen im Westen im Gegensatz zu öffentlichen Sektoren in Asien nicht länger in der Lage seien, ihre wesentliche Aufgabe, den Schutz der Bevölkerung, angemessen zu erfüllen, stellen John Micklethwait und Adrian Wooldridge fest. "The West’s governmental advantage is now questionable: Simply ask yourself whether you would feel safer today in New York and London or in Singapore and Seoul? Asia is catching up with the West, and in some smaller countries has overtaken it, in large part because Confucian Asia in particular has taken government seriously over the past few decades while the West has allowed it to ossify. The public sector in the West is decades behind its private sector in terms of efficiency and dynamism. (…) Instead, in so far as it’s done anything, the West has turned to what might be described as big-government nationalism, typified by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and U.S. President Donald Trump; reform has taken a backseat to rage. In continental Europe, there has been no change: The European Union has survived both the euro crisis and then Brexit without any serious attempt at self-improvement. Will the Covid-19 crisis be the spur? At first glance, the omens are not good."

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"China Concealed Extent of Virus Outbreak, U.S. Intelligence Says"

Die US-Geheimdienste haben dem Weißen einen vertraulichen Bericht vorgelegt, demzufolge China alles getan habe, um das Ausmaß des Corona-Ausbruchs zu vertuschen, berichten Nick Wadhams und Jennifer Jacobs. Chinesischen Zahlen zum Stand der Pandemie könnten bis heute nicht getraut werden. China hat die Vorwürfe zurückgewiesen. "The officials asked not to be identified because the report is secret, and they declined to detail its contents. But the thrust, they said, is that China’s public reporting on cases and deaths is intentionally incomplete. Two of the officials said the report concludes that China’s numbers are fake. (…) The U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion is an attempt to divert attention from surging deaths in the U.S. and other Western countries, Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of China’s state-run Global Times, said on his account on Chinese social media platform Weibo. There was no way for serious data faking to occur in today’s China, especially for an incident that has drawn such widespread attention, Hu said. He said China managed to curtail the death toll in Hubei, the province where the virus first emerged late last year, by sending medical workers and equipment there from other parts of the country."

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"The Oil Price War Is Turning Into a Debt War"

Mit dem absichtlich herbeigeführten Preissturz auf dem Ölmarkt habe Saudi-Arabien einen neuen "Öl-Krieg" begonnen, schreibt David Fickling. Vor wenigen Tagen habe Riad noch erfolglos versucht, Russland zur Kooperation bei der Regulierung der Ölproduktion zu bewegen. "While previously Saudi Arabia hoped to maintain its position and revenues in the oil market by encouraging cooperation between major players, it’s now betting that its best prospect is to do the opposite: Engage in a game of chicken with Moscow and the U.S. independent oil industry, and count on being the last player standing. (…) Riyadh’s race-to-the-bottom strategy only worked in 1985 because it was the lowest-cost producer. Now, its bloated budget means that it’s one of the highest-cost and shakiest players. It remains embroiled in a costly and brutal military quagmire in Yemen, and on Friday arrested senior royals on the grounds they were plotting a coup."

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"How Fast Can a Virus Destroy a Supply Chain?"

Der Ausbruch des Coronavirus stellt Tyler Cowen zufolge auch eine ernste Bedrohung für die Weltwirtschaft dar. Der Grund: Globalisierte Lieferketten seien sowohl effizient als auch fragil. "The global supply chain, already under pressure from President Donald Trump’s trade war, now faces further strain from the coronavirus. And while cross-national supply chains are more robust than they may appear, if they fail they will do so suddenly and without much warning. (…) So far the best bet is that current international supply chains will hold, for the most part, and deliver the goods. But the chance that they will not is rising sharply, as both the trade war and the coronavirus strengthen the hand of those who advocate for more dismantling of international trade networks. And if that dismantling does occur, it is likely to snap into place suddenly — with neither market prices nor advance warning offering much protection. The more people start to believe that long, complex cross-national supply chains are risky, the more fragile they will turn out to be."

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"The EU Can’t Widen and Deepen at the Same Time"

Andreas Kluth hält eine weitere Vertiefung der EU-Integration angesichts der geplanten Beitrittsverhandlungen mit Nordmazedonien und Albanien für schwierig. Frankreich habe dies erkannt und Vorbehalte gegen eine EU-Erweiterung nach bisherigem Muster angemeldet. "Each previous round of enlargement thus introduced new fractures into the EU, some between north and south, others between east and west. Macron is hardly alone in observing that European integration stalled long ago, and that 'widening' had something to do with that. In foreign and defense policy, any member state can veto any decision, thus assuring European irrelevance and impotence on the world stage. Bigger ideas like a European army are nothing more than pipe dreams. In the euro area, neither banking nor fiscal union has been completed, thus leaving the currency union prone to another crisis. (…) On balance, it’s still better to open talks with Tirana and Skopje than to reject them. But the EU must simultaneously confront the bigger dilemma of stalled integration. For that, it has to broach a taboo and talk about a multi-speed Europe."

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"Libya Explains Why Turkey Has No Friends"

Die türkische Intervention in Libyen ist nach Ansicht von Kori Schake nur die jüngste von vielen außenpolitischen Initiativen der vergangenen zehn Jahre, die die Türkei regional immer weiter isoliert hätten. "It is hard to credit now, but there was a time, only a decade ago, when Turkey described its foreign policy doctrine as one of 'zero problems with our neighbors.' But since then, Ankara has burned its boats with Israel over the Gaza Freedom Flotilla; angered Egypt by bitterly criticizing Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi’s military coup and supporting the Muslim Brotherhood; broken with Syria by assisting anti-Assad rebels (and more recently, invading the country’s northeast, there to forcibly repatriate refugees); and antagonized Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates by siding with Qatar against their embargo. Now, Turkey is providing direct military assistance to the government of Libya, while the UAE and Egypt — along with Russia — back the rebel army of General Khalifa Haftar. After the failure of cease-fire talks sponsored by Turkey and Russia, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan promised to teach Haftar 'a lesson.' If anything, Turkey’s foreign policy now seems designed to aggravate problems with all of its neighbors."

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"Libya’s Endless War Is What Happens If the U.S. Won’t Lead"

Der andauernde Konflikt in Libyen zeigt nach Ansicht von Leonid Bershidsky, wie eine Welt ohne den globalen Führungsanspruch der USA aussehen würde. Kein anderer Staat sei heute in der Lage, die Konfliktparteien in Libyen zu einem Kompromiss zu zwingen. "This is the kind of deadlock which, in the old days of a sole-superpower world, the U.S. could have broken — for better or for worse — by weighing in for one of the sides. The U.S. has a small military presence in Libya, acting occasionally against terrorist groups there. Libya, the country with Africa’s biggest oil reserves, is important for oil-price stability, a key U.S. geopolitical interest, and for the fight against the spread of Islamist terror. Haftar is a dual U.S. and Libyan citizen; he’s someone the U.S. could talk to. President Donald Trump, however, has refused to play by the old Pax Americana rules. (…) The absence of a dominant power capable of altering the balance of forces on the ground makes the Libya conference in Berlin, planned for Jan. 19, a difficult undertaking. Even the persuasive skills of German Chancellor Angela Merkel may not be enough to break the deadlock in a way that will please the Libyan rivals."

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"Slovakia Shows That Hate Speech Is Bad, Banning It Is Worse"

Der aktuelle slowakische Wahlkampf demonstriere anschaulich, welche Folgen ein umfassendes Verbot sogenannter "Hassreden" haben könne, schreibt Leonid Bershidsky. "Three months before Slovakia’s national election, Robert Fico, the nation’s former three-term prime minister and current leader of the ruling party, has been charged with hate speech, an offense that can potentially land him in prison for five years. Though what he said is certainly reprehensible, the case shows why censoring political speech, as many European countries routinely do, isn’t a great idea. (…) Fico’s case, coming as it does in the heat of an election campaign, shows the potential for hate speech laws to be abused for political ends (…). Speech, even disgusting speech, shouldn’t be a crime unless it calls directly for violence. Fico should be allowed to fight on free of harassment. If he loses, it’ll be a sign that European values are alive in Slovakia. If he wins, it’ll be as clear a sign of more nationalist trouble in Eastern Europe — and a signal for moderate forces to organize more effectively."

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"Germany Won’t Enlist in Macron’s European Army"


Die Reaktion des deutschen Außenministers auf die NATO-Kritik des französischen Präsidenten zeigt nach Ansicht von Leonid Bershidsky, dass Deutschland eine französische Führungsrolle in der europäischen Sicherheitspolitik nicht so ohne weiteres akzeptieren wolle. Berlin selbst lehne diese Rolle ebenfalls ab und sehe sich eher als Vermittler. "Germany doesn’t have France’s military ambitions. It’s a low defense spender because higher expenditure is politically unpopular. The Bundeswehr’s combat readiness is constantly in question, and there’s all the weight of history on the shoulders of German leaders. So German politicians see their function in maintaining European security differently than Macron does, even if they, too, refer to 'leadership.' (…) Being a mediator, though, is not the same as being a leader. An unambitious, compromise-minded Germany won’t compete with Macron’s cocky France, but it’ll be a drag on Macron’s security strategizing, getting in the way as he tries to provoke the U.S. with talk of strategic autonomy or flirt with Russia. It’ll provide the reliably boring alternative, and that’s probably for the best: Any machine in which Macron designs the sporty engine needs German-made brakes."

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"How Russia Could Force a Nuclear War in the Baltics"

Russland verfolge im Baltikum eine gefährliche Atomstrategie, die im Konfliktfall leicht zu einem Atomkrieg führen könnte, meint Hal Brands. Die beste Antwort der NATO wäre seiner Ansicht nach eine deutliche Stärkung der konventionellen Verteidigungsstrukturen des Bündnisses vor Ort. "The root of NATO’s nuclear dilemma in the Baltics is that the forces it currently has stationed there cannot put up a credible defense. Yet as earlier studies have noted, the U.S. and its allies could make a Russian campaign far harder and costlier — with a much-diminished chance of rapid success — by deploying an enhanced NATO force of seven to eight brigade combat teams, some 30,000 troops. (…) Russia couldn’t claim credibly that such troops posed any real offensive threat to its territory. But the force would be large and robust enough that Russian troops couldn’t destroy it in a flash or bypass it at the outset of a conflict. It would therefore obviate many of the nuclear escalation dynamics by making far less likely a situation in which NATO must escalate to avoid a crippling defeat in the Baltics, or one in which Russia can escalate to protect its early victories there."

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"Ukraine Peace Talks Get Some Help From Putin"

Leonid Bershidsky schreibt, dass der ukrainische Präsident Zelenskiy vor neuen Verhandlungen über die Zukunft der Ost-Ukraine auf jeden Fall den Eindruck einer Kapitulation vor Russland vermeiden wolle. Moskau gebe ihm offensichtlich genug Zeit für die Überzeugungsarbeit, um die Erfolgsaussichten der Gespräche zu erhöhen. "It’s clear (...) that Putin doesn’t want the peace process to lapse; he’s had, and skipped, plenty of opportunities to say that a summit makes no sense, as he’d done in previous years. Putin is tired of the status quo and the European economic sanctions that come with it. It’s a good moment for moving forward. The U.S. is distracted by its political scandals, the leaders of France and Germany want the Ukraine matter out of the way, and Zelenskiy is eager to keep his electoral promise to end the war. Putin, an experienced negotiator, also knows red lines can be fudged during actual talks. (...) What’s important for Putin is to make sure Kremlin-friendly forces prevail in the eastern Ukraine election. That would give him enough leverage in a reunited Ukraine to give up the people’s republics. That outcome can be assured by finding a balance between giving Zelenskiy enough control to pacify the domestic opposition but not enough to take the pro-Russian leaders out of the running."

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"Africa May Have 90% of the World’s Poor in Next 10 Years, World Bank Says"

Einer Untersuchung der Weltbank zufolge könnten sich in zehn Jahren bis zu 90 Prozent der ärmsten Menschen weltweit in Afrika konzentrieren. "Africa could be home to 90 Prozent% of the world’s poor by 2030 as governments across the continent have little fiscal space to invest in poverty-reduction programs and economic growth remains sluggish, the World Bank said. That’s up from 55% in 2015 and it will happen unless drastic action is taken, the lender said in its biannual Africa Pulse report released Wednesday, in which it also cut growth forecasts for the region’s key economies. The rate of poverty reduction in Africa 'slowed substantially' after the collapse in commodity prices that started in 2014, resulting in negative gross domestic product growth on a per capita basis, according to the report. 'As countries in other regions continue to make progress in poverty reduction, forecasts suggest that poverty will soon become a predominantly African phenomenon.'"

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"Why Germany Is Ignoring Its Own Russian Spy Scandal"

Seit dem mysteriösen Mord an einem Tschetschenen in Berlin gibt es Spekulationen über eine mögliche Verwicklung des russischen Geheimdiensts. Leonid Bershidsky stellt fest, dass die Bundesregierung bisher abwartend reagiere, obwohl die britische Regierung angesichts einer ähnlichen Informationslage im Fall Skripal mit Anschuldigungen gegen Russland an die Öffentlichkeit getreten sei. "Why? Possibly because Chancellor Angela Merkel doesn’t need a public spat with Russia right now, something former British Prime Minister Theresa May likely welcomed last spring. May was then in the midst of largely unsuccessful Brexit negotiations, and used the Skripal case to appeal to the U.K.’s alliances with European countries and the U.S., and to unite Britons around something, namely outrage about the insolent Russian action on their soil. Merkel was quick to back May then, and she’s no Putinversteher (a pejorative meaning roughly 'Putin Understander'). But, as a mediator in Ukrainian-Russian talks on eastern Ukraine, she’s helping arrange a summit on the issue that could bring the first signs of progress since 2015. In addition, Russia is about three-quarters done building the NordStream 2 natural gas pipeline to northern Germany, which her government is trying to protect from possible U.S. sanctions. A diplomatic flare-up with Russia would put her in a hard-to-defend position if Washington steps up pressure on the controversial project."

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"Israel Has Little to Fear from Iran"

In diesem Interview erklärt der frühere Forschungs- und Entwicklungschef der israelischen Armee, Isaac Ben-Israel, warum die Bedrohung Israels durch den Iran nicht überschätzt werden sollte. Dies gelte sowohl für das iranische Militär als auch für den Raketenbeschuss aus Gaza und Libanon sowie für Terroranschläge. "The last time Iran fought a war, in the early ‘80s, it couldn’t even beat Iraq, and it hasn’t gotten any better. The Iranian air force belongs in a museum, not on a battlefield. Its navy can’t even control the Straits of Hormuz. As a conventional force, it poses no serious threat to Israel. (...) The great majority of the rockets in Lebanon are unguided, like those that Hamas and Islamic Jihad fire from Gaza. Iron Dome is very good at shooting down rockets like that. In the 2014 war, for example, 4,500 unguided rockets were fired from Gaza. How many Israeli civilians were killed? Zero. (...) The fact is, Iran hasn’t carried out more than one or two direct acts of terror against Israel in the past 20 years. Iran also supplies and supports Hamas and Islamic jihad, which actually do foment and carry out attacks. They are painful but not game changing. Israel suffers 10 to 15 deaths a year from Palestinian terrorism. By comparison, every year more than 50 Israeli men commit suicide because they are distraught over divorce court verdicts. It may sound cold, but strategic assessments require a sense of proportion."

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"The World Turns, America Sleeps"

Tyler Cowen beklagt, dass die Protestbewegung in Hong Kong in den USA von vielen nur mit kühlem Interesse wahrgenommen wird. "Sadly, the most likely hypothesis is that Americans and many others around the world simply do not care so much anymore about international struggles for liberty. (...) Instead, Americans are preoccupied with fighting each other over political correctness, gun violence, Trump and the Democratic candidates for president. To be sure, those issues deserve plenty of attention. But they are soaking up far too much emotional energy, distracting attention from the all-important struggles for liberty around the world."

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"The Hormuz Crisis Shows U.S. Alliances Are Weak"

Das Zögern Frankreichs und Deutschlands, einer von den USA angeführten Koalition zur Sicherung der Straße von Hormus beizutreten, bestätigt nach Ansicht von Leonid Bershidsky den geschwächten Zustand des transatlantischen Bündnisses. "There’s little doubt that the U.S. is capable of securing the Strait of Hormuz without any help at all from Europe. But its difficulty in getting such help shows the hollowness at the heart of the transatlantic alliance. Years of U.S. foreign policy misadventures have made key NATO allies too cautious to get involved even when the U.S. isn’t proposing an all-out war on some distant country but merely an operation to secure a major shipping route from an adversary that is unlikely to take on a broad Western coalition. Even so, it’s probably for the best that the U.S. decided to wade in. Had it kept out, the Europeans could have spent weeks and weeks discussing a joint operation of their own without deciding on anything."

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"Germany Should Just Drop NATO’s 2% Spending Goal"

Auch Leonid Bershidsky empfiehlt Deutschland, sich von der Debatte über das Zwei-Prozent-Ziel der Nato zu verabschieden. Experten wie Anthony Cordesman vom Center for Strategic and International Studies hätten erklärt, warum der starre Fokus auf diese Zahl von wichtigen strategischen und Bündnisfragen eher ablenke. "Most of the arguments are familiar. NATO Europe already outspends Russia, considered its biggest strategic threat, by a factor of 4.5 in 2019, and it’s not clear why more effective deterrence should be linked to more expenditure. After all, NATO Europe and Canada are already spending at Cold War levels. Despite paying out more than 2% of its economic output for defense purposes, the U.K., for example, has smaller military forces – with fewer personnel, main battle tanks and warships -- than in 1989, and Cordesman calls them 'a hollow army.' (...) Cordesman argues that, instead of focusing on the percentages, NATO – and the U.S. government – should shift focus from percentages to adequately funding certain NATO-wide strategic priorities, such as cyber defenses, forward deterrence, the interoperability of national forces, and the modernization of both conventional and nuclear forces. NATO’s centralized budget of is already focused on these goals – but it’s only about $1.8 billion this year, and much bigger national defense budgets aren’t coordinated in the same way. Instead of trying to bully its allies into spending more cash, the U.S. should lead in promoting such coordination – something that the EU is trying to do instead."

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"Europe Misses a Chance by Freezing Out Turkey"

Leonid Bershidsky meint, dass die EU mit ihrer Reaktion auf die türkischen Gasbohrungen vor Zypern eine strategische Chance verpasse. "Freezing out Turkey and waiting for Erdogan to go is the natural, knee-jerk reaction to the Turkish leader’s refusal to behave like an ally. That approach, however, lumps together all sorts of different issues (...) under the blanket notion of Turkey as a renegade ex-partner. It’s simplistic and not particularly useful. Some modern leaders, including, most notably Erdogan, Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump, subscribe to the idea that the modern world isn’t so much about long-term alliances as about sovereign interests and specific transactions in which these interests come into play. Europe has already dealt with Erdogan on that basis, signing a crucial migrant-return deal in 2016. In exchange for some EU cash, Turkey helped stop a refugee crisis that threatened to blow up for a number of European leaders. That can be a model for future interactions, including in the Cyprus gas dispute."

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"Trump Aides Pick Sanctions to Punish Turkey for Russian Missiles"

Das Weiße Haus hat nach dem Beginn der Lieferung russischer S400-Raketen in die Türkei offenbar bereits ein Sanktionspaket gegen Ankara zusammengestellt. "President Donald Trump’s team has settled on a sanctions package to punish Turkey for receiving parts of a Russian missile defense system and plans to announce it in the coming days, said people familiar with the matter. The administration chose one of three sets of actions devised to inflict varying degrees of pain under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, the people said, without identifying which set had been chosen. The plan needs Trump’s approval. One of the people said the intention is to announce the sanctions late next week. The administration wants to wait until after Monday’s anniversary of a 2016 coup attempt against Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to avoid fueling further speculation that the U.S. was responsible for the uprising, as Erdogan’s loyalists have claimed."

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"Putin’s Wrong, But So Are Liberals"

Russlands Präsident Putin hat mit seiner Anmerkung, dass der Liberalismus heute überholt sei, in europäischen Medien heftige Reaktionen ausgelöst. Pankaj Mishra hält Putins Einschätzung für falsch, empfiehlt dessen liberalen Kritikern aber auch, ihren "reflexiven fanatischen Glauben an Marktmechanismen" zu überdenken. "It should not be forgotten that the shock therapy of free markets administered to Russia during the 1990s caused widespread venality, chaos and mass suffering there, eventually boosting Putin to power. (...) In fact, the two liberalisms — one offering genuine human freedom, the other entrapping humans in impersonal and often ruthless market mechanisms — were always fundamentally in conflict. Still, they managed for a long time to coexist uneasily because the West’s expanding capitalist societies seemed capable of gradually extending social rights and economic benefits to all their citizens. That unique capacity is today endangered by grotesque levels of oligarchic power and domestic inequality, as well as formidable challenges from economic powers such as China that the capitalist West had once dominated and exploited. In other words, modern history is no longer on the side of Western liberalism."

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"Why 'Maximum Pressure' on Iran Could Backfire"

David Fickling erinnert daran, dass es für den Iran relativ leicht wäre, die Öltransporte durch die Straße von Hormus effektiv zu behindern. Eine Blockade sei lange unwahrscheinlich gewesen, da auch Teheran die Öltransporte benötigt habe. Diese "Ausfallsicherung" werde seit der Verhängung der neuen US-Sanktionen allerdings zunehmend wirkungsloser. "When sanctions were first re-imposed by the U.S. last year, Washington initially issued a series of waivers that kept the crude flowing. Since these lapsed at the start of May, Asian importers have turned off the spigots altogether to avoid running afoul of the U.S. government: The 225,000 barrels a day shipped during May was the lowest volume in Bloomberg-compiled figures dating back to 2015. (...) With barely any Iranian oil flowing anyway, the further economic pain Tehran would suffer from disrupting traffic through the Strait would be trivial. At this point, the key factor preventing Tehran from striking back harder is primarily its desire to win the game of public perception. (...) The more likely outcome is further attempts by Tehran to push the boundaries of the JCPOA, said Shanahan, such as Iran’s announcement last week that it would exceed a cap on its stockpiles of low-grade uranium. Such actions can create new facts on the ground that can be traded away in any future negotiation with Washington, so as to ensure the resulting agreement is substantially the same as the one the Trump administration pulled out of."

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"China’s Social Credit System Is More Kafka Than Orwell"

David Fickling hält die Furcht vor dem chinesischen Programm zur Massenüberwachung der Bevölkerung zumindest bislang für übertrieben. Das Sozialkredit-System erweise sich in der Praxis als weitgehend "unorganisiert" und "unbedrohlich". "That’s not to downplay the alarming potential of big data in the hands of an authoritarian government with few scruples or legal restrictions on interfering with citizens’ lives. In Xinjiang, Beijing is busy creating a genuinely Orwellian public surveillance and re-education system to control its minority Uighur population – but it doesn't need social credit scores to do that. It’s telling that, a year before the 2020 target date for the program and after five years in development, government credit systems like Osmanthus still aren't getting the desired results. (...) At worst, China's social-credit system will simply reproduce the problems of the existing system, complete with all the chaos and corruption it was designed to stamp out. That, rather than imagined new forms of injustice, is what China’s citizens should be most concerned about."

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"Russia's Power Grid Is an Easy Target for U.S. Hacking"

Leonid Bershidsky meint, dass die US-Dienste mit den jüngsten Informationslecks über Hacker-Angriffe auf das russische Stromnetz Moskau die eigene Verwundbarkeit vor Augen führen wollen. Hacker-Angriffe gegen Russland müssten dabei nicht einmal vom Weißen Haus genehmigt werden, so die implizite Warnung. "The Russian grid is particularly vulnerable for several reasons. First, it’s vast. Russian Grids PJSC runs 2.35 million kilometers of transmission lines and 507,000 substations. Second, it’s in the process of an ambitious digital transformation. (...) As my colleague David Fickling has pointed out, making a grid 'smart' creates new avenues of attack, and big technology rollouts can be messy and increase the risks. In the case of Russia, the problem is exacerbated by the Western origin of three quarters of all the equipment and pretty much all of the software. (...) It’s one thing for the Russians to know the U.S. is working to infiltrate their country’s infrastructure, but quite another to be aware that intrusions and attacks don’t require White House approval and can happen routinely and without much ado. The U.S. officials are effectively telling Russian President Vladimir Putin not to remonstrate with Trump in case of attack – the U.S. president  may not even know what’s happening, and it’ll be perfectly legal."

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"Finland’s Plan to Prevent Russian Aggression"

Eli Lake hat sich mit dem finnischen Präsidenten Sauli Niinisto über die finnische Sicherheitspolitik gegenüber Russland unterhalten. "(...) when I asked Niinisto about Russian President Vladimir Putin, he was tight-lipped. By way of an answer he offered 'an old bit of Finnish wisdom.' 'A Cossack takes everything that is loose,' he said. 'You have to be very clear and not let things become loose.' When it comes to Russia, Finland lets its actions do the talking. (...) Niinisto does not seek to provoke Russia. At the same time, he has pursued a foreign policy aligned with the West. When Russia invaded Ukraine in 2014, his government reduced contact with and sanctioned Russia, in keeping with wider European Union policy. Finnish government officials say that it would not allow Russia to use its land, airspace or sea for an invasion of its Baltic neighbors. (...) That said, Niinisto did not think a Russian invasion of Finland or its Baltic neighbors was likely. 'If Russia and NATO had a war, it would be World War III,' he said. 'I don’t believe Russians would attack Finland or the Baltics separately. If it’s an armed conflict, it will put the world on fire.'"

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Informationsportal Krieg und Frieden

Wo gibt es Kriege und Gewaltkonflikte? Und wo herrscht am längsten Frieden? Welches Land gibt am meisten für Rüstung aus? liefert wichtige Daten und Fakten zu Krieg und Frieden.

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Innerstaatliche Konflikte

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