BERLIN/LONDON/EDINBURGH – Berlin’s foreign policy is in support of Scottish nationalists, preparing to hold a second referendum to secede from the United Kingdom. Last week, Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of the Scottish regional government and chairperson of the Scottish National Party (SNP), was received in the German capital for confidential talks with representatives of the German foreign policy establishment, including with Michael Roth (SPD), Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Officially, the meetings were focused on the Brexit, bitterly opposed by Sturgeon and the Scottish nationalists. However, Sturgeon was, in fact, also pleading for support for her secessionist project and to bring Scotland, as an independent country into the EU.
About three years ago, German government representatives had already been in support of this plan.
However, a reliable Scottish majority, needed for this project, is nowhere in sight.
A Second Secession Referendum
Scotland’s regional government under First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is relentlessly pursuing its campaign for a second secession referendum. Prior to the referendum on September 18, 2014, Scottish nationalists, including Sturgeon, had repeatedly that the population’s decision at the ballot box should be valid for one generation. However, when a clear majority of 55.3 percent voted in favor of remaining in the UK, Sturgeon immediately declared that, by no means, would she content herself with that outcome, and would eventually seek a new vote. The occasion presented itself with the Brexit referendum on June 23, 2016, when a majority of 51.9 percent in the UK voted to leave the EU, while a clear majority of 62 percent in Scotland voted to remain. This discrepancy was an opportunity for Sturgeon – whose regional government has so far only rudimentarily implemented its election promises concerning the social and health sectors – to not only reiterate her idea of a second referendum, but to directly link the perspective of Scotland’s secession with that of remaining in the EU.
Representatives of Germany’s governing parties and ministries took this occasion to openly applaud the Scottish nationalists’ secessionist efforts and thus promote the disintegration of an officially allied country. Already on June 26, 2016, Gunther Krichbaum (CDU), Chairman of the Bundestag’s Committee for the Affairs of the European Union declared that he expected that a new referendum on Scotland’s secession would be “successful” and that the country would remain within the EU. (German Foreign Policy, 9/23)
GERMANY SUPPORTS MORE INTERVENTIONS
The German government seeks to expand civilian-military interventions abroad, to obtain a more favorable position in the global struggle for spheres of influence. To meet the challenge in the context of the “great-power rivalry between the United States, Russia and China,” the EU military missions must be combined with “civilian assistance,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) declared recently. This “networked approach” should become “a hub” for EU-policy and lead to the creation of a “crisis prevention center” in Berlin. The plan is particularly to train police officers and other “rule-of-law experts” to be deployed in countries, where “German interests” appear threatened by “outside influence.” “Legitimate partners,” such as the governments of Mali or Afghanistan or opposition forces, as in Syria, could be “strengthened,” explains the German Foreign Ministry. (German Foreign Policy, 9/21)
GERMANY LEADS MULTINATIONAL NAVAL EXERCISE
ROSTOCK/COPENHAGEN – Under German command, numerous NATO member countries and close allies are participating in a naval exercise – that ends on Thursday – for the control of Baltic maritime routes.
The Bundeswehr provides, by far, the largest contingent in this year’s “Northern Coasts” naval exercise (September 3 to 19), taking place in the context of the escalating conflict between western countries and Russia. Due to this conflict, not only Eastern Europe, but the Baltic Sea, as well, has been gaining strategic importance. This is comparable to the Baltic Sea’s importance during the Cold War. Germany is participating in NATO’s remilitarization of the Baltic Sea, seeking to assume a regional leadership role and enhance its standing within NATO. The new Maritime Forces Staff, DEU MARFOR, based in the naval headquarters being set up in Rostock, also serves this purpose. In the future, it will be able to provide command for NATO, as well as EU wars.
Northern Coasts 2019
Around 3,000 troops from 18 nations are currently participating in the “Northern Coasts 2019” naval exercise lasting more than two weeks and extending from the straits connecting the Baltic Sea to the North Sea between the Danish and Swedish coasts up to the Bornholm island. It, thus, includes the narrowest and shallowest sections of the Baltic Sea’s maritime routes. It is already a challenge for larger ships to maneuver in the Baltic Sea. In this environment, the multinational forces are training joint operations with 47 vessels, a submarine, seven aircraft and five helicopters. With 1,300 troops, the Bundeswehr, alone, accounts for nearly half of the soldiers and thus the largest proportion of personnel in the exercise. German forces provide seven ships, the submarine and one of the seven aircraft. In addition, mine clearance divers from the Naval Force Protection Battalion in Eckernförde are deployed and play a leading role in mine-warfare. Ashore, German soldiers are active in the logistics command and provide specialists for electronic warfare operations. This year, the multinational personnel and equipment are under the command of German Rear Admiral Stephan Haisch.(German Foreign Policy, 9/16)
BANKING AFTER BREXIT
Brexit will reduce by one third the EU’s share of global capital markets and will shift relations within the EU in France’s favor, as was revealed in a recent study on the impact the UK’s departure will have on the Union’s financial sector. Brexit will therefore reduce the EU’s share of global capital market activities to 14 percent – around one third the size of the US and roughly the same as China. France will become number one among the EU-27 – a bit ahead of Germany. The shrinkage can also be attributed to the fact that the EU was unable to induce major banks and other financial institutions, on a large scale, to relocate from London onto the continent. Brussels has tried to use strict regulations, stipulating that financial transactions within the EU may only be conducted by legally independent entities within an EU country. However, the financial sector has limited its relocation onto the continent to only the bare essentials. The anticipated banking boom, for example, in Frankfurt, is not materializing. (German Foreign Policy, 9/19)
MIDEAST SLIDING INTO MAJOR WAR
The Middle East appears to be sliding into a war and it may even have already started. It is a new kind of war, a 21st century conflict for which there is no formal declaration of war, no clear fronts and a wide variety of battlefields. There are attacks the provenance of which may never be known, and while some of the fighting is conventional in nature, much of it is not and involves drones in the air and viruses in cyberspace.
More than anything, it is a confusing war, in which nobody really has control, not even those who are ostensibly leading it .
AMERICA WILL NEVER TOLERATE IRAN’S ANTI-SEMITIC HATE – TRUMP
At UN, Trump calls on Mideast nations to fully normalize ties with Israel. Addressing world leaders, US president says sanctions against Iran will be tightened, not lifted, until it changes behavior and ends ‘fanatical quest’ for nukes.
Speaking before the United Nations General Assembly, the US president accused Tehran of trafficking in “monstrous anti-Semitism” and engaging in a “fanatical quest” to obtain nuclear weapons. Trump said the rogue regime’s aggression had created newfound regional alliances to counter the Iranian threat. “Thankfully, there is a growing recognition in the wider Middle East that the countries of the region share common interest in battling extremism and unleashing economic opportunity,” Trump said. “That is why it’s so important to have full normalized relations between Israel and its neighbors.”
In a highly anticipated address before the international community — as tensions with Iran intensified after it allegedly attacked two Saudi oil facilities — Trump insisted that he would maintain his “maximum pressure campaign” against Tehran. . . . Iran, he said, was on a “fanatical quest for nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them.” The world, Trump continued, “must never allow this to happen.”
. . . “For 40 years, the world has listened to Iran’s rulers as they lash out on everyone else for the problems they alone have created,” he said. (https://www.timesofisrael.com/at-un-trump-calls-on-mideast-nations-to-fully-normalize-ties-with-)
HOW HAMAS LEADERS FOOL PALESTINIANS
“Frustrated Palestinian youths are committing suicide because of poverty, while the sons of the leaders are holding birthday parties!” — Hussein Qatoush, on Facebook
The problem . . . is when your father is a senior terrorist leader who devotes himself to inciting against Israel and Jews and encouraging other young Palestinians to sacrifice their lives in the war against Israel. Hamad, like the rest of the Hamas leaders, would never send his own son to attack soldiers at the border with Israel.
It is time for the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip to revolt against the leaders who are keeping them chained in poverty and sending them to their deaths.
It is also time for the international community to wake up to the fact that it is wealthy Hamas leaders, and not Israel, who are responsible for the humanitarian and economic disaster that is known as the Gaza Strip. (Bassam Tawil, Gatestone, 9/25)
THE GREAT WAR OF OUR TIME
“So how did our initial victory in Afghanistan – in only months – turn into the longest war in American history? It happened because at some point our goal shifted from ensuring that al Qai’da would not again be able to use Afghanistan as a launching pad for attacks against the homeland to something else. The mission changed to trying to permanently alter Afghan politics and society. It was an impossible task to turn Afghanistan’s tribal society and culture into a liberal democracy. It was an impossible task to convince the Taliban that it should operate inside the Afghan political system rather than outside of it. Perhaps we should have walked away from Afghanistan after forcing al-Qa’ida from the country, and we would have told all Afghans, including the Taliban, ‘If you let al-Qa’ida return, so will we.” (“The Great War of our time”, by Michael Morell, former Deputy CIA Director, 2015, page 74).
TO THE POINT
- If you’re tired of the usual entertainment provided by TV and even streaming, check out the continuing saga of Brexit, courtesy of Sky News (on “Watch Free” or on the web). The parliamentary debates are entertaining, to say the least.
- Surely, the investigation of Donald Trump over his Ukrainian call should be focused on Joe Biden. His son is now being paid $50,000 a MONTH by a Ukrainian gas company in a job for which he’s not qualified. When an investigation began looking into this by a Ukrainian prosecutor Biden brought pressure to bear to stop it, threatening an end to US aid. Corruption, anyone? (It’s even worse when you consider that the Democrats are supposed to be the party of the working man.)
- Former French President Jacques Chirac died today. He was the French leader who finally admitted French complicity in the Holocaust, that the French themselves put French Jews on trains taking them to concentration camps.
- New South Wales has become the latest Australian state to liberalize abortion laws. It doesn’t make any sense. Australia needs more people. Refugees and other immigrants threaten the Australian way of life. Australians need to reproduce more.
- Somebody has stolen the “Amigo” from our local Aldi. An amigo is a self-driving vehicle with a shopping cart attached. They can hardly drive it down the street. What possible use can the thief have for this? Meanwhile, customers with disabilities are struggling to get around as best they can. Apparently, a replacement amigo costs about $2,000.