US-Soldaten in Afghanistan

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07.07.2020

"Merkel looks east as ties fray between Germany and U.S."

https://www.politico.com/news/2020/07/07/germany-china-trade-coronavirus-us-351922

Angesichts der Spannungen zwischen Deutschland und den USA bemühe sich die Bundesregierung um bessere wirtschaftliche Beziehungen zu China, berichtet Matthew Karnitschnig. "While China has come under criticism across much of the Western world, in particular in the U.S. and U.K., for not being more transparent about the origins of the coronavirus outbreak and, more recently, for its suspension of democratic norms in Hong Kong, the German government has been more cautious in its response. Asked during a press conference last week whether she would support the kind of sanctions against China under consideration in the U.S., Merkel evaded the question. 'The ties to China are important,' Merkel stressed, adding 'they are of strategic importance.' In fact, it’s difficult to overstate the importance of China as an export market for German goods, especially cars and machinery. Since Merkel took over as chancellor in 2005, German exports to China have risen fivefold to just under €100 billion last year. While some economists argue that Chinese demand for German capital goods is waning as its economy matures, the country remains a pillar of Berlin’s economic strategy and a key driver of growth."

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06.07.2020

"Putin, the Potemkin president"

https://www.politico.eu/article/putin-the-potemkin-president/

Zur Durchsetzung seiner Verfassungsreform habe Präsident Putin zu "verzweifelten" Maßnahmen gegriffen, schreibt Leonid Ragozin. Putins politische Legitimität sei dabei untergraben worden. "For the past 20 years, Putin has successfully maintained the appearance of a genuinely popular, majoritarian leader. Yes, the Kremlin subdued all major television channels, clamped down on protest movements and rigged elections to be able to show more convincing levels of support. But all of that happened with the apparent, tacit consent of a majority of Russians, as reflected in regular surveys by fairly trustworthy pollsters. This time, things are different. It's far from clear today whether a majority of Russians truly supported Putin's amendments. And more importantly, most Russians genuinely don't know where the majority stands. Even by Russia's own very lax standards, the vote didn't remotely resemble a procedure that reflected the will of the people. (…) These flagrant breaches did not go unnoticed, and highlighted a new reality to many of his supporters: that of his increasingly questionable legitimacy. For many Russians, this vote may be the point they started to question whether Putin is really as popular, and as inevitable, as he claims to be. (…) if Putin chooses to run again, it looks increasingly likely he will come across as a usurper — not only among the sizeable and vocal anti-Putin minority, but also among those who currently make up his core base."

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30.06.2020

"Russians squeeze U.S. troops in Syria amid uproar over Trump’s dealings with Moscow"

https://www.politico.com/news/2020/06/30/russians-us-troops-syria-uproar-trump-345584

Die Debatte über angebliche russische Kopfgeldzahlungen für getötete US-Soldaten in Afghanistan habe erhebliche Meinungsunterschiede in der US-Regierung über den Umgang mit Russland offengelegt, berichten Lara Seligman und Betsy Woodruff Swan. Dies betreffe auch den Osten Syriens, wo russische und US-Soldaten zuletzt des Öfteren aufeinandergetroffen seien. "Clashes between Russian and U.S. forces in Syria have rarely turned violent, with one notable exception. In a bloody four-hour battle in 2018, American commandos killed 200-300 pro-Syrian government forces, including Russian mercenaries from the Wagner Group. Recently, however, American military leaders in Syria are facing increasingly frequent brushes with Russian troops, according to two U.S. officials and one former U.S. official. Russia is deploying its forces closer and closer to U.S. positions in the Deir Ezzor region of eastern Syria, and the two militaries interact multiple times a week, if not daily, compared to roughly monthly last year, the people said. So far, the two sides have been able to defuse these incidents without violence, said one U.S. military officer. But one of the U.S. officials said Russia and its Syrian and Iranian partners are trying to pressure the U.S. out of Syria altogether. (…) The encroachments in Syria fit into a broader pattern of Russian attempts to test the U.S. commitment to remaining in the broader Middle East. National security experts say the Russian bounty program in Afghanistan is part of that effort."

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26.06.2020

"Pompeo says US ready to team up on China, but EU eyes a post-Trump world"

https://www.politico.eu/article/pompeo-says-us-ready-to-team-up-on-china-but-eu-eyes-a-post-trump-world/

Trotz der neuen China-Skepsis in den europäischen Hauptstädten sollte die US-Regierung in dieser Frage vor den Präsidentschaftswahlen im November keine engere Kooperation mit der EU erwarten, schreibt David M. Herszenhorn. "At the start of Trump's presidency, EU leaders harbored hopes that the combative president would team up with them to address an array of issues with China, particularly related to trade disputes, on which Beijing had long refused to give any ground. Instead, Trump lumped the EU, and especially Germany, together with China as trade rivals who had taken advantage of the U.S., and even slapped punitive tariffs on EU steel and aluminum products that prompted swift retaliation from Brussels. (…) Given the deep lack of trust, it seems unlikely that much progress will be made discussing China or anything else between now and the November election in the U.S. EU leaders at the moment are intensely focused on debating their new long-term budget and a European Commission proposal for an ambitious economic recovery fund."

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11.06.2020

"Is Assad About to Fall?"

https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/06/11/assad-syria-collapse-313276

Die syrische Regierung stecke derzeit in einer tiefen Krise, schreibt Charles Lister vom Middle East Institute. Die US-Regierung sollte die Gelegenheit seiner Ansicht nach nutzen, um einen neuen Anlauf zur Durchsetzung politischer Veränderungen in Syrien zu unternehmen. "Assad may have crushed the opposition to his dictatorial rule in 60 percent of the country, but in 2020, every single root cause of the 2011 uprising is not just still in place, but has worsened. Challenges to the regime’s prosperity, credibility or survival remain in place in every corner of the country. For the first time in nearly a decade, the millions of Syrians who outwardly support Assad or who have remained quietly loyal to his rule have begun to share whispers of their own exasperation. For most, life in 2020 is a great deal worse than life at the peak of nationwide armed conflict in 2014-15. In holding on to power, Assad has effectively — and purposely — destroyed his own nation and economy. (…) If [America] uses its remaining levers to exploit Assad’s newly vulnerable position within an energized diplomatic effort, in concert with our many allies in Europe, the Middle East and elsewhere, it has a chance to usher in real and long-overdue changes to a country that could otherwise become a global tinderbox."

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03.06.2020

"Trump’s relationship with Europe goes from bad to nothingness"

https://www.politico.com/news/2020/06/03/donald-trump-europe-strategy-300074

Neue Spannungen und die Nichtbesetzung wichtiger diplomatischer Posten hätten dazu geführt, dass die Beziehungen der US-Regierung zu den europäischen Verbündeten auf ein neues Tief gesunken seien, schreibt David M. Herszenhorn. In Europa hoffe man nun mehr denn je auf einen Machtwechsel im Weißen Haus. "After German Chancellor Angela Merkel demurred from attending the in-person G-7 summit later this month, citing the continuing health risk of the coronavirus, Trump lashed out, deriding the club of economic powers 'outdated' — just as he branded NATO 'obsolete' at the start of his term. (…) Max Bergmann, a senior fellow and expert on transatlantic relations at the Center for American Progress, a Washington think tank known for its liberal views, said there was no mistaking the Europeans' message. 'The indication from Merkel that she is not going to attend the G-whatever Trump is proposing,' Bergmann said. 'That’s really her saying: 'We’ll either see you on the other side of the election or, hopefully, we won’t see you at all.'' Trump began his tenure in the White House with the most important diplomatic posts in Europe held by fill-ins. That is again the case, with the envoy to Belgium working double duty as the the acting representative to the EU, and, as of Tuesday, the deputy chief of mission running the embassy in Berlin. Neither job is expected to get a permanent replacement before next year."

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30.05.2020

"Why Ditching the WHO Will Backfire on Trump"

http://https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/05/30/pulling-out-of-the-who-wont-help-trump-290610

Der Politikwissenschaftler John A. Tures erwartet angesichts der Erfahrungen früherer US-Administrationen, dass die Entscheidung Donald Trumps, die Beziehungen der USA zur WHO vollständig abzubrechen, nicht die beabsichtigten Folgen haben wird. "When President Donald Trump announced Friday that the United States is cutting ties with the World Health Organization, he relied on an old strategy from the American presidential playbook: attempting to score political points at home by loudly withdrawing from an international body or treaty. The problem? This strategy doesn’t always last: Presidents — or their successors — learn the shortcomings of such noisy departures from world organizations and agreements, realizing that the bluster was often not worth the price. Sometimes, the United States later rejoins the same institution it once left, often quietly, once the folly of abandonment is apparent. (…) Freezing WHO funds may please some in Trump’s base, but even members of his own administration question the wisdom of such a move. And backing out of the WHO will only highlight Trump’s own missteps in the spread of Covid-19. Should the U.S. seek international cooperation on a cure, a vaccine and an attempt to stop a second wave of the disease, it should stay engaged and involved with the WHO. History exposes presidents who take flight from multilateralism; eventually their problems come home to roost."

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29.05.2020

"European defense hopes live to fight another day (just)"

https://www.politico.eu/article/european-defense-hopes-live-to-fight-another-day-just-budget-eu-coronavir
us-recovery-plan-mff/

Zwei Verteidigungsprojekte gehören Jacopo Barigazzi zufolge zu den "Opfern" des neuen EU-Haushalts der Europäischen Kommission. Das letzte Wort über die Kürzungen sei allerdings noch nicht gesprochen. "EU officials and diplomats see boosting defense capability as crucial to the bloc's efforts to play a greater geopolitical role. But in the European Commission's new plan for a seven-year EU budget, revamped to take account of the coronavirus crisis, two major defense projects have been earmarked for less funding than they were allocated two years ago. Nevertheless, both programs are still in the budget, and the plan would provide them with more cash overall than some proposals that have circulated during protracted discussions over the 2018 blueprint. Moreover, the Commission's proposal is only a starting point for intense and complex negotiations between the EU's 27 member countries over the €1.1 trillion budget plan and €750 billion recovery fund, meaning the final numbers could be quite different from those proposed this week. France, for one, has signaled it will fight hard to raise defense-related spending."

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27.05.2020

"How Israel and the Arab world are making peace without a peace deal"

https://www.politico.eu/article/how-israel-and-the-arab-world-are-making-peace-without-a-peace-deal/

Aaron David Miller stellt fest, dass Israels Annäherung an andere Staaten der arabischen Welt auch ohne eine Lösung des Palästinenserkonflikts voranschreite. So sei vor kurzem ein Flugzeug der Vereinigten Arabischen Emirate mit Covid-19-Hilfsgütern für die Palästinenser in Israel gelandet. "As unprecedented as the flight was, it really shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise. For the past five years, contacts between Israel and the Gulf states — especially Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain — have been booming. The examples of what amounts to a Great Thaw in an otherwise frozen political landscape are plentiful (…) Even more stunning, this putative détente is taking place on the watch of a right-wing Israeli prime minister who doesn’t even feign interest in a two-state solution and is doing everything he can to ensure one never emerges by keeping large parts of West Bank and all of Jerusalem. Contrary to the warnings from diplomats, analysts and peaceniks who predicted Israel would become a pariah if it didn’t settle up with the Palestinians, Israel seems to be making more progress toward normalization with Arab regimes without a credible peace process than with one."

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12.05.2020

"What Afghanistan Can Teach Us About Fighting Coronavirus"

https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/05/12/what-afghanistan-can-teach-us-about-fighting-coronaviru
s-249402

Nach Ansicht von Pat Basu und Jason Dempsey hält der Afghanistan-Krieg der USA einige Lehren für die Bekämpfung der Corona-Pandemie bereit. "(…) it is the failures of our strategy in Afghanistan that offer the most valuable lessons for our handling of the pandemic. Acknowledging and acting upon these lessons will be necessary to minimize the damage from this pandemic and put America on a quicker path to recovery. The analogy of wartime mobilization is appropriate only if we also galvanize the nation behind a clear understanding of the threat and the means to defeat it. (…) Ultimately, in either a counterinsurgency effort or in the midst of a pandemic, it is important to stay focused on the main effort and not get distracted by supporting goals and short-term metrics. In the case of Afghanistan, America focused the vast majority of its efforts on either directly fighting the Taliban, or training Afghan security forces. Yet both efforts were doomed to failure so long as the central Afghan government was perceived not to represent the interests of the Afghan people. (…) We are unfortunately replicating this kind of misplaced effort by presenting a false choice between the economy and public health. They are intrinsically linked. We can pour trillions of dollars into propping up businesses, but these businesses will ultimately fail if people either continue to fall ill or are so afraid of falling ill that they keep their dollars at home. A healthy and vibrant economy is a goal shared by all Americans, but it is a goal that can be achieved only by adequately controlling this pandemic."

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09.05.2020

"No, the Covid Fight Isn’t Like WWII — And That’s Bad News"

https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/05/09/covid-world-war-ii-245252

In den USA wird der Kampf gegen den Coronavirus derzeit gerne mit den Bemühungen der amerikanischen Gesellschaft im Zweiten Weltkrieg verglichen. Nach Ansicht von Jeff Greenfield führen diese Überlegungen angesichts der heutigen Krisenumstände leider ins Leere. "(…) if you look more closely at the real experience of World War II, and why it turned out the way it did, the comparison is disheartening at best, and — if you’re inclined toward pessimism — genuinely worrisome. For reasons ranging from the nature of the enemy to historical timing to political will, we are in a much bleaker place today than our forebears were when that war that ended 75 years ago. And the economic lesson may be exactly backward. (…) The contrast between the public energy of wartime America and today’s nation in lockdown, with shuttered schools, theaters, restaurants, shops, and offices — could not be more striking. True, we have other ways of connecting, and thanks to online video chats, some are now closer to their far-flung relatives than before. But that’s far from the sense of collective spirit that animated society during WWII — or, for that matter, after more recent crises like 9/11. In fact it’s almost the opposite: Togetherness is impossible, even banned, and an already atomized America has retreated to tiny family and friend groups, cut off from even basic expressions of community life like church, or parades, or voting in person. At the most basic level, the war has pulled us apart."

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08.05.2020

"Experts Knew a Pandemic Was Coming. Here’s What They’re Worried About Next."

https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/05/07/experts-knew-pandemic-was-coming-what-they-fear-next-23
8686

Viele Experten habe die Corona-Pandemie nicht überrascht, schreibt Garrett M. Graff. In den Szenarien der Katastrophenforscher gebe es neun weitere Bedrohungen, die auf die Welt zukommen könnten. Dabei sei besorgniserregend, dass wichtige gesellschaftliche und wirtschaftliche Abläufe bereits von einer relativ milden Pandemie ins Chaos gestürzt worden seien. "Beyond other pandemics, which appear regularly every decade or two, there are eight other major threats (and one wild card) that scientists and national security officials worry about currently that are real, identifiable and stand a chance that is more likely than not of occurring — at some scale, ranging from mild to catastrophic — in the next five to 50 years. (…) Then of course there’s the most frightening scenario emergency planners could face this year: several of the above. As FEMA preps for a hurricane season made all the more complex by the Covid outbreak, it faces the entirely foreseeable (even likely) possibility of confronting three or more large-scale disasters unfolding simultaneously this summer and fall: Wildfires out West, hurricanes in the Atlantic, and Covid-19 anywhere and everywhere. Add in the always-real possibility of, say, an earthquake (Kaniewski’s maxim, informed by his years working in FEMA, is simply, 'It's always earthquake season.') a string of powerful tornadoes, or a geopolitical event like a cyberattack, as Phoenix says, 'You get the exponential growth of awful.'"

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03.05.2020

"The World Order Is Dead. Here’s How to Build a New One for a Post-Coronavirus Era."

https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/05/03/the-post-coronavirus-world-order-230042

Auch Edward Fishman vom Atlantic Council hält das Ende der bisherigen Weltordnung mit der Coronakrise für unwiderruflich gekommen. Die USA sollten seiner Ansicht nach bereits jetzt mit der Planung einer neuen Ordnung beginnen und sich dabei an historischen Lehren orientieren. "Consider the lessons of America’s last two major attempts to build international orders — in 1919 after World War I and in 1945 following World War II. The post-1919 order was marked by the Great Depression, the rise of totalitarian regimes and eventually a conflagration even more devastating than World War I. By contrast, the post-1945 order led to more than seven decades of peace and prosperity, in which violent deaths plummeted and world gross domestic product expanded at least eightyfold. How can America avoid the errors of post-1919 and emulate the successes of post-1945? Three primary factors distinguish the two projects. First, U.S. leaders should plan for the new order right now, as the crisis is ongoing. (…) The second way U.S. leaders can learn from the past is to avoid the blame game. (…). Finally, the new order should be grounded in domestic consensus. (…) What exactly could this new world order, one that actually tackles the problems of the 21st century, look like? At the heart of every international order is a trade-off between breadth and ambition: as membership widens, goals must narrow. So we should imagine a two-level system. At the global level, the new order should focus squarely on collective-action problems — including climate change, cybersecurity and pandemics — that will imperil our world in the coming era as much as nuclear weapons did in the passing one."

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29.04.2020

"Beijing doubles down in EU propaganda battle"

https://www.politico.eu/article/beijing-doubles-down-in-eu-propaganda-battle/

Trotz der europäischen Kritik an der chinesischen "Propagandaschlacht" in der Coronakrise kann Politico kein Einlenken Pekings erkennen. China betrachte Europa nach Ansicht einiger Experten als Schwachpunkt des Westens. "China is pushing ahead with a propaganda campaign critical of Western democracies and their handling of the coronavirus, even after protests from Paris and a high-profile diplomatic dispute between Beijing and the EU over Chinese disinformation. (…) the tension over Chinese propaganda efforts has also highlighted a dilemma faced by European leaders — while they may be vexed by Beijing's attempts to influence their own citizens, they are also heavily dependent on China for masks and other medical supplies to fight the pandemic, and will also need China's economic muscle to help pull the Continent out of a deep recession. 'China considers Europe the soft belly of the West,' said Antoine Bondaz, a research fellow at the Paris-based Foundation for Strategic Research think tank who is focused on China. 'In their logic, there is the West, and in it the U.S. that will oppose China for structural and ideological reasons, and their European allies that need to be neutral in case of conflict between China and the U.S.'"

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16.04.2020

"Coronavirus ends China's honeymoon in Africa"

https://www.politico.com/news/2020/04/16/coronavirus-china-africa-191444

Die Corona-Pandemie habe die sorgfältig gepflegten Beziehungen Chinas zu Afrika erschüttert, schreibt Simon Marks. "China has spent untold billions in Africa since its emergence as a global power, investing in its natural resources, underwriting massive infrastructure projects and wooing its leaders. (…) But that decadeslong quest for influence in Africa was gravely challenged last week when a group of disgruntled African ambassadors in Beijing wrote to Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Yi to complain that citizens from Togo, Nigeria and Benin living in Guangzhou, southern China, were evicted from their homes and made to undergo obligatory testing for Covid-19. (…) While nobody expects China to lose its place as Africa’s biggest bilateral lender and trade partner, analysts and African diplomats say there is a distinct possibility of lasting damage. Reluctance from China to endorse a G-20 decision to suspend Africa’s debt payments until the end of the year has exacerbated the sense of frustration, they said."

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08.04.2020

"How Europe failed the coronavirus test"

https://www.politico.com/news/2020/04/08/how-europe-failed-the-coronavirus-test-174199

David M. Herszenhorn und Sarah Wheaton sehen im Vorgehen der europäischen Institutionen in den Wochen vor dem Ausbruch der Corona-Pandemie ein Versagen. "They could have known. They should have prepared. They didn’t listen. Europe, in early April, remains the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic — where the outbreak, uncontrolled, morphed into catastrophe. Nearly 50,000 dead. More than 600,000 infected. And the devastation is far from over. (…) How Europe once again ended up as a killing field of infectious disease, as it did with plague in the 1300s and influenza a century ago, is less a blame game of individual finger-pointing than a story of collective complacency, and of dangerous overconfidence. Politicians seeking to prevent public panic reassured themselves into inaction — failing to build rapid testing capacity or to stockpile medical supplies over the two months following the virus’ emergence in China."

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07.04.2020

"Berlin lets mask slip on feelings for Trump’s America"

https://www.politico.com/news/2020/04/06/germany-trump-america-170905

Der Streit um eine Lieferung von Atemschutzmasken aus Bangkok habe das Ansehen der USA in den Augen vieler Deutscher weiter sinken lassen, berichten Matthew Karnitschnig und Judith Mischke aus Berlin. "If Germans didn’t trust President Donald Trump before the coronavirus outbreak, the crisis has convinced them that his unyielding 'America First' instinct puts other countries and their citizens at risk. That such accusations should emanate from Berlin, a city the U.S. saved from Soviet domination during the Berlin Airlift, underscores the depth of distrust for the American president. (…) Not only is there no evidence that the U.S. confiscated the masks in Thailand (where Washington has no jurisdiction), so far there’s no proof that the shipment in question even ended up in the U.S. American officials told POLITICO they have no information about any mask shipment bound for Germany from Bangkok that was then redirected to the U.S. They point out that with virtually every country in the world facing a shortage of protective gear, the competition for masks and other equipment is intense. American states and cities have also been competing with one another for supplies, including ventilators, a process New York Governor Andrew Cuomo compared to 'being on eBay.'"

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18.03.2020

"China is winning the coronavirus propaganda war"

https://www.politico.eu/article/coronavirus-china-winning-propaganda-war/

Die Corona-Pandemie werde von einem "Propagandakrieg" begleitet, den China aktuell mit deutlichem Vorsprung gewinne, meint Matthew Karnitschnig. Von öffentlichkeitswirksam durchgeführten Hilfslieferungen Pekings profitierten auch europäische Länder wie Belgien und Italien. "Over the past few days, China has sent planeloads of masks, teams of doctors and even ventilators around the world to help battle the crisis. Chinese billionaire Jack Ma donated one million masks and hundreds of thousands of testing kits to the U.S., with the first load arriving in Seattle on Monday. (…) A shipment of 300,000 masks, sent by Chinese charities founded by Ma and his Alibaba empire, arrived in Belgium this week. Chinese state news agency Xinhua published a photograph of one of the containers draped with the slogan 'Unity makes strength' in French, Flemish and Chinese. Though the saying serves as the national motto of both Haiti and Bulgaria, it would appear the Chinese were taking a swipe at a lack of solidarity on display in Europe in recent weeks. Italy, by far the hardest hit country in Europe so far, has struggled to get supplies and assistance from its EU partners, for example. (…) Likely sensing the shift in the PR tide, China has become bolder in recent days in trying to rewrite history, claiming without any evidence that the virus originated not in China, but in the U.S. 'More evidence suggests that the virus was not originated at the seafood market in Wuhan at all, not to mention the so called 'made in China,'' Lin, the Chinese ambassador, tweeted on Monday, as if to prove the maxim that truth is the first casualty of war. Trouble is, with the U.S. facing its own credibility issues in recent years, China's false narrative threatens to spread as quickly as the coronavirus."

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16.03.2020

"Coronavirus could break the EU"

https://www.politico.eu/article/coronavirus-covid19-public-health-crisis-could-break-the-eu-european-unio
n/

Die Corona-Pandemie könnte die EU noch härter treffen als die Finanzkrise von 2008, die Flüchtlingskrise von 2015 und der Brexit, schreibt Dalibor Rohac vom American Enterprise Institute. Dass die EU auch diesen Schlag übersteht, sei angesichts der finanzpolitischen Reaktion der Europäischen Zentralbank (EZB) keineswegs ausgemacht. "The EU’s response (…) has been pitifully weak. According to [the eurozone’s top central banker, Christine Lagarde’s] statement last week, there are 'no material signs of strains in the money markets or liquidity shortages' and any policy response to the developments should be primarily fiscal — and therefore national. That is irresponsible. (…) If there is one lesson from the Great Depression, it is that when international leadership fails, it is replaced by the destructive, non-cooperative behavior of national governments. When the U.S. failed to provide liquidity to the global financial system and imposed the Smoot-Hawley tariff instead of keeping its markets open, competitive devaluations and tariff hikes ensued. The EU’s leaders and the European Central Bank’s president in particular face a similar choice today. Either they move boldly to help the periphery, or the periphery is going to help itself in whatever way it can — even if it means the unraveling of the eurozone and the EU."

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26.02.2020

"In search of allies, EU turns to Africa"

https://www.politico.eu/article/in-search-of-allies-eu-turns-to-africa-trade-african-union/

In den vergangenen vier Jahren habe die EU Afrika vom Rand in das neue Zentrum ihrer außenpolitischen Bemühungen gerückt, berichtet Politico. "With the EU both feeling betrayed by Britain and the U.S. and menaced by Russia and China, von der Leyen’s 'geopolitical Commission' looks to its giant next-door neighbor for new friends, new economic opportunities and better ways to contain security threats — especially from uncontrolled migration. (…) With the EU’s treasured multilateral order under increasing threat, (…) as well as a pressing need for allies to address new policy challenges like fighting climate change, the EU’s intensified focus on Africa represents a significant turnabout. (…) A senior European diplomat from a non-EU country said von der Leyen had few options where to direct her geopolitical aspirations. 'I think in some ways the European Commission, when it looked at the world, had nowhere else to go. I don’t think von der Leyen, when she looked at the U.S., Russia, China or Latin America, will have been very tempted. Africa is basically all Europe has left as a partner.'"

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24.02.2020

"Assange fight draws in Trump's new intel chief"

https://www.politico.com/news/2020/02/24/assange-grenell-intelligence-117244

Die Anwälte von Julian Assange wollen im Auslieferungsverfahren Natasha Bertrand zufolge Beweise dafür vorlegen, dass die US-Regierung bei ihrer Verfolgung des WikiLeaks-Gründers politische Ziele verfolgt. "At the heart of the Assange team’s argument is an ABC News report from last April alleging that, while serving as Trump’s ambassador to Germany, Grenell told Assange’s Ecuadorean hosts that the U.S. government would not pursue the death penalty for Assange if Ecuador allowed British officials to enter its embassy in London and arrest him. Assange’s legal team will claim that Grenell’s role was more extensive than previously known, and that it corrupted the extradition process early on. The suggestion will be that the U.S. was so desperate to get Assange in its custody that American officials, via Grenell, agreed in advance to take a particular sentence off the table before even allowing a trial and sentencing to play out. The WikiLeaks founder’s attorneys are also expected to present evidence that they believe shows Trump explicitly tasked Grenell with making the offer, thereby politicizing the process."

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22.02.2020

"The Pentagon Is Sitting on a Chunk of Valuable Airwaves. Why?"

https://www.politico.com/news/agenda/2020/02/22/pentagon-airwaves-midband-106240

Der Ausbau der 5G-Netze in den USA könnte durch die Tatsache behindert werden, dass das Pentagon einen beträchtlichen Teil des Funkspektrums kontrolliert. John Hendel und Bryan Bender berichten über den Streit über den Zugang zu den Frequenzbereichen. "(…) as 5G moves quickly from a sales pitch to a business reality, a significant battle is erupting between wireless carriers, which want the government to free up the Pentagon’s share of the mid-band airwaves for commercial use, and Pentagon generals, who warn of national-security risks if they lose control. (…) with China racing to exploit its lead, the lack of mid-band open to American companies is raising a bigger worry for U.S. competitiveness: Even if the Pentagon finds a way to free up some of the territory, China’s growing head start may mean it’s already too late. (…) One thing that may ultimately force the Pentagon’s hand is the growing realization that the military needs a secure 5G wireless network, too — and if overseas companies end up crowding all those mid-band frequencies it wants to use, its options in the field will be very limited. Giving up, or at least sharing, some of its spectrum holdings with American companies may be the only way it can avoid having to rely on a Chinese-run network for some of its global operations."

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19.02.2020

"Radio Free Europe returns to fight fake news"

https://www.politico.eu/article/radio-free-europe-returns-to-fight-fake-news/

Die Rundfunkanstalt "Radio Free Europe" will künftig auch in Ungarn aktiv werden, um dort im Auftrag der US-Regierung "Fake News" zu bekämpfen. "Watchdog groups and journalists over the past few years have raised concerns about the media environment in Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary, while American officials say they are worried about the spread of Russian disinformation in the region. Last year, U.S.-based think tank Freedom House ranked Hungary as 'partly free' for the first time since the fall of communism. Founded in 1950, Radio Free Europe currently operates in 26 languages. With a budget of $124 million in 2019, it reaches an estimated 37.6 million people per week. While its new iteration in the three EU countries is digital-only and relies on small teams, Radio Free Europe's Cold War legacy means it is still a well-known brand across the region."

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15.02.2020

"Why the Presidency Can’t Just Go Back to 'Normal' After Trump"

https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/02/15/why-presidency-cant-go-back-normal-trump-115362

US-Präsident Trump habe in seiner bisherigen Amtszeit vermeintlich stabile Normen und Traditionen der amerikanischen Politik möglicherweise nachhaltig zerstört, meint Joshua Zeitz. "Many of these 'presidential norms and traditions' that Trump has left by the wayside aren’t timeless at all; they’re actually quite new. They grew up alongside and in reaction to the expansion of both the federal state and the presidency — a process that began in the early 20th century but gained steam from the 1930s onward. With the growth of what Arthur Schlesinger Jr. called the 'imperial presidency,' each occupant of the Oval Office has left his imprimatur on the development of what we think of as normative presidential conduct. That means that whatever impact Trump has might not be so easy to undo. Take, for example, three cherished institutions — White House news briefings, independent courts, nonpartisan law enforcement agencies and a nonpartisan civil service. Their foundations are more young and shaky than you might think, and once altered, they may not be easily restored."

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04.02.2020

"Macron seeks to reassure Poland on Russia, but sticks to his Moscow policy"

https://www.politico.eu/article/emmanuel-macron-poland-russia-moscow-policy/

Frankreichs Präsident Macron sei auch in Polen nicht von seiner neuen Annäherungsstrategie gegenüber Russland abgewichen, berichtet Rym Momtaz. "The French president tried to thread that needle during a two-day visit to Warsaw, where he was cautious about criticizing the government on backsliding on democracy, was keen to enlist Poland as a military ally, but also stressed the need keep Russian President Vladimir Putin onside. (…) Macron (…) highlighted Russia's importance to the Continent and stressed that his outreach to Moscow has made concrete gains in calming the crisis in Ukraine through the Minsk and Normandy processes. (…) At a dinner later that evening, which POLITICO attended on the condition of not publishing direct quotes, Macron listened intently, jotting down notes on a pad, as some of Poland’s most famous Soviet-era democracy activists voiced their disagreement with his Russia policy, denounced Poland's ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party’s actions as assaults on rule of law, civil and minority rights, and pleaded for more support from the EU. But even in that intimate setting, hearing his Polish interlocutors repeatedly bring up the trauma of the Soviet years, and the continued threat they feel from Russia, Macron didn't back down. He reiterated much of the reasoning he has offered in public speeches and interviews for his Russia policy."

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28.01.2020

"The Real Goal of Trump’s Middle East Plan"

https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/01/28/the-re3al-goal-of-trumps-middle-east-plan-108125

Robert Malley und Aaron David Miller erläutern zwei politische Kalkulationen, die ihrer Ansicht nach bei der Präsentation des Nahost-Friedenplans durch US-Präsident Trump eine wichtige Rolle gespielt haben. "The mundane reasons, first. It’s hard not to see in the timing an effort by Trump to help Netanyahu in Israel’s elections six weeks from now, and, more than that, an effort by Trump to help Trump – to shore up support from evangelicals and conservative Republicans as he heads into his re-election campaign. (...) when Palestinian indignation at a plan that runs roughshod over their aspirations is not matched by any concrete action, when Arab states react in muted tones to a proposal that negates any Muslim claim to Jerusalem’s holy sites, when European governments at best mouth well-worn support for an increasingly illusory two-state solution, the lesson the Trump administration will learn is that it can get away with what it does as long as it has the boldness to do it. Impunity will breed an encore. (…) The Trump administration’s strategy is unfolding before our eyes, the sum total of every new step it takes. It reflects the Trump team’s conviction that power unexercised is power wasted, that power ought to be used to break up the ways of the past, and that past presidents spent far too much time fretting about how America’s rivals would react to our actions when America’s rivals ought to worry about how America will react to theirs."

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21.01.2020

"Why Communist Romania’s Endgame Has Lessons for Iran"

https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/01/21/iran-crisis-romania-lessons-101513

Christian Oliver erkennt Parallelen zwischen der Revolution in Rumänien und einer möglichen Zukunft des Regimes im Iran. Auch in Teheran könnte sich demnach ein mafiöser Sicherheitsapparat im Fall einer Krise entschließen, die politische Führungsriege als "Sündenbock" fallen zu lassen, um die eigenen Pfründe zu sichern. "Just like Romania during the 1980s, Iran has fallen hostage to a sprawling, mafialike security apparatus, which has found ways to get rich while the rest of the economy cracks. That makes it uncomfortable to be the face of the regime, particularly when you are 80 years old and there is already talk of succession. The leader is the obvious fall guy for security apparatchiks and oligarchs who want to hang on to their illicit cash cows. (…) Like the Securitate in 1989, the Guard will now have seen the writing on the wall. Street protests are spreading across broad social and ethnic groups in Iran and the economic damage of sanctions is so intense that even the paramilitary force must be feeling the pinch. The nightmare for the Revolutionary Guard is that the whole edifice crumbles and it is robbed of its revenue streams."

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18.01.2020

"Borrell suggests EU military mission to protect cease-fire in Libya"

https://www.politico.eu/article/josep-borrell-suggests-eu-military-mission-to-protect-cease-fire-in-libya
/

Der neue EU-Außenbeauftragte Josep Borrell hält einen europäischen Militäreinsatz zur Aufrechterhaltung eines vereinbarten Waffenstillstands in Libyen für denkbar. "The EU should consider sending troops to Libya to enforce a cease-fire in the North African country, the blocs's foreign policy chief said. 'If there is a cease-fire in Libya, then the EU must be prepared to help implement and monitor this cease-fire — possibly also with soldiers, for example as part of an EU mission,' Josep Borrell told German weekly Spiegel in an interview published Friday. 'Or take the arms embargo,' he added. 'We Europeans have been entrusted by the United Nations to enforce it. In reality, the arms embargo is ineffective. Nobody controls anything there.'"

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12.01.2020

"The Middle Eastern Problem Soleimani Figured Out"

https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/01/12/iran-middle-eastern-problem-soleimani-figured-out-09735
0

Hassan Hassan meint, dass der politische Stellenwert des durch einen US-Drohnenangriff getöteten Generals Soleimani nur im Kontext der großen Bedeutung nichtstaatlicher Milizen im Nahen Osten verstanden werden kann. "Since his killing in a U.S. drone strike last week, experts have been rushing to explain just why Soleimani mattered so much to Iran’s ambitions — and what consequences his death really holds for the region. One simple way to think about it: He was the one man who had mastered the new landscape of the Middle East. (…) The growth in these new difficult-to-control forces has been staggering: Today, the total number of Sunni Islamist militants is estimated to be nearly four times what it was on September 11, 2001; there are 50,000 to 85,000 militants in Syria and Iraq alone. And that figure doesn’t count the significant number of Shia, Kurdish and other groups that dominate sectors of Iraq and Syria. As a result, the modern Middle East is a constantly shifting balance between the formal regimes in capitals like Tehran, Damascus and Riyadh, and the militia groups and local forces that actually control much of the land."

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09.01.2020

"Charles Michel admits: EU’s not in the Middle East ‘game’"

https://www.politico.eu/article/charles-michel-admits-eus-not-in-the-middle-east-game-iran/

Der aktuelle Präsident des Europäischen Rates, Charles Michel, hat mit seinen jüngsten Äußerungen zum Nahen Osten nach Ansicht von Jacopo Barigazzi implizit eingestanden, dass die EU bei der Lösung der aktuellen Krisen in der Region praktisch keine Rolle spiele. "The EU is out of the game. European Council President Charles Michel appeared to admit as much anyway, in a series of comments on Thursday about the recent crisis in the Middle East in which he insisted the EU would seize a bigger role on the world stage. He just didn't say how. (…) despite Michel's proactive instincts, the EU has seemed flatfooted in recent days, as on Wednesday when the presidents of Russia and Turkey declared a cease-fire in Libya, even as EU leaders were engaged in a series of meetings with Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj in Brussels that yielded no concrete results. The civil war in Libya is especially dangerous for the EU. Libya has Africa's largest oil reserves, and it is the point of origin for many migrants seeking to cross the Mediterranean and reach Europe."

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