Second „Arab“ Spring: a trend towards new nationalism and secularism

Meanwhile, in the face of militant protests in Algeria, Tunisia, Sudan. Lebanon, Iraq and Iran some observers are now talking about a continuation of the Arab Spring of 2011, whose fermentation is far from over. But in the case of Iran you have to see this again separately, because it is not an Arab country. However, social causes and an inefficient system, as well as unfulfilled expectations, are also the trigger for the protests that have just picked up speed with US sanctions.

The FAZ notes in an editorial that in the case of Iraq and Lebanon we are witnessing the emergence of a new Arab nationalism calling into question pan-Arabism, Islamism and sectarian ethnic denominations. The movements are predominantly non-denominational, non-sectarian, mixed-ethnic, united in a new Arab nationalism, which calls for a good, non-corrupt and efficient national unity government that does not play the population against each other by sectarian denominations and ethnic groups to fill its own pockets. It was also significant that before it came to these militant protests in Lebanon and Iraq, the electoral list of the nationalist Islamist Muktadar El-Sadr was interdenominational, multi-ethnic and even included communists and atheists and thus could serve as a model. Although Mukatadr’s electoral alliance is involved in the current Mahdi government, whose removal the demonstrators demand, it has meanwhile distanced itself from Mahdi.

However, one must see that Saudi Arabia and Iran continue to try to further the schism and sectarian fighting between Sunnis and Shiites, as well as the established power elites of these countries, who for quite some time have been doing very well with this divide-and-impera policy, but the drastically worsening economic situation, poor governance, which can not solve the most basic tasks of garbage disposal, social welfare, education, job creation, and infrastructure, has promoted a rethinking of the population, the emergence of a new nationalism and the demand for a clean, efficient, well governing, promoted non-corrupt interdenominational unity government. Whether this new nationalism produces an authoritarian form of a strong man or a charismatic Democrat is still open.

In the case of predominantly Shiite, non-Arab Iran, where proportional systems such as Iraq and LIbanon play no role, other factors come up. The last major protest movement, the Green Revolution was still supporting reform mullahs, also was a movement that aimed at reforming the existing regime, not its overthrow. It was defeated and Ahmadinejad became again president of Iran, which led to a broad frustration. For the time being, this dissatisfaction could be dampened by the election of Rouhanni, who by means of the nuclear deal brought perspectives and hopes for an end to the sanctions, a reintegration of Iran into the world community, and an economic upswing. But it did not happen, not even before Trump’s termination of the nuclear deal. The sanctions exacerbate Iran’s mismanagent, but with increasing numbers of the population, this is also attributed to the corrupt, inefficient system of Iranian theocracy and increasingly directed against the system itself which invests billions in foreign policy adventures and armament in the Shiite crescent of Lebanon, to Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

Suzanne Maloney describes the situation in Iran in an artcle fort he Brookings Institution „Iranian protesters strike at the heart of the regime’s revolutionary legitimacy“ (Tuesday, November 19, 2019 ):

The demonstrations echo the unrest that convulsed Iran in late 2017 and early 2018, although this latest round appears to be more widespread and more violent. The Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” strategy has surely contributed to Tehran’s fiscal predicament. However, Iran’s turmoil is not driven by U.S. policies, nor is it merely some circumstantial spasm. The protests are the latest salvo in the Iranian struggle for accountable government that stretches back more than a century. And the fury and desperation of the Iranians on the streets this week strikes at the heart of the legitimacy of the revolutionary system. (…)

Rarely have these demonstrations threatened the viability of the Islamic Republic, whose security forces have overwhelming capabilities to manage or repress discrete demonstrations. And so far these latest episodes have remained quite modest by historical standards — at least an order of magnitude smaller than the million-plus Iranians who came to the streets in 2009, after the contested reelection of hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Even then, the regime managed to rebound.

The durability of the Islamic Republic is perhaps the most important legacy of 1979 revolution. None of the extraordinary developments within or around Iran over the course of the past 40 years has managed to significantly alter it — not the considerable evolution of Iranian society, nor the country’s steady reengagement with the world, nor the incremental reforms advanced by various factions within the establishment. In many respects, the structure of power in the Islamic Republic seems even more firmly embedded today than it was at any point since its precarious creation.

In many respects, the structure of power in the Islamic Republic seems even more firmly embedded today than it was at any point since its precarious creation.

The staying power of Iran’s post-revolutionary system lends itself to a certain fatalism; if war, internal upheaval, regional turmoil, natural disasters, crippling economic sanctions, and near-constant infighting among the political establishment have failed to weaken theocratic authority, perhaps any hope for change is simply futile. Not long ago, this perception prompted some younger Iranians to disengage from politics. A reporter who interviewed young Iranians in 2005 found “an overwhelming picture of a generation lost, disaffected and stained by longing.”

WHAT HAS CHANGED

Nearly 15 years later, however, Iran’s “lost generation” is now approaching the age of the revolution itself, and the absence of a promising political or economic horizon has become painfully acute — and not simply for elites, but for the larger population of Iran’s post-revolutionary youth. These Iranians have benefited from the revolution’s dramatic expansion of educational opportunities and broader social welfare infrastructure. That legacy and the regime’s populist promises have shaped their expectations for a better life and sense of political entitlement to a functioning, responsive government.

After 40 years, Iran’s political zeitgeist has moved from revolution to reform to repudiation.

The 2015 nuclear deal only supersized those aspirations. Tehran’s narrative around the agreement stoked expectations of monumental economic opportunities and perhaps even more than that. “This will bring hope to our life,” an Iranian man commented in the midst of the jubilant celebrations that greeted the deal’s conclusion. “Now we will be able to live normally like the rest of the world,” another remarked. It was not to be. Even before Washington withdrew from the nuclear agreement in May 2018 and began reimposing sanctions, Iranian frustrations with the slow pace of the deal’s peace dividend fed a broader sense of disenchantment — not simply with an individual policy, official, or institution, but rather with the entire political establishment and the ruling system. After 40 years, Iran’s political zeitgeist has moved from revolution to reform to repudiation.

Those frustrations began to manifest in a higher pace and intensity of instability. The Iran Human Rights Documentation Center recorded more than 1,200 labor actions related to non-payment of wages between January 2017 and November 2018. The apex came in the final days of 2017 and early 2018, when what apparently began as a provincial political stunt quickly flared into a spasm of furious demonstrations. Within 48 hours, protests were convulsing in at least 80 cities, and the refrains of the demonstrators had catapulted from economic grievances to explicit denunciations of the system and the entirety of its leadership.

That episode, like the current one, highlights the dangers posed by the pervasive frustration and alienation. It is clear from Tehran’s reaction to the latest eruption of protests that the leadership is unnerved, and for good reasons: the rapid progression from mundane, localized demands to radical rejection of the system as a whole; the transmission and coordination of protests via social media rather than mediated through the more manageable traditional press; the engagement of the government’s core constituency, the rising middle class; and the near-instantaneous dispersion from local to national. These factors expose the profound vulnerability of the Islamic Republic at a time when U.S. sanctions are severely limiting resources that might enable Tehran to address or preempt the sources of dissatisfaction.

WHAT NEXT?

Economic grievances have served as the backdrop for each of Iran’s prior periods of political ferment during the past century. In each of Iran’s most significant turning points over the past 150 years — the Tobacco Revolt, the Constitutional Revolution, the oil nationalization crisis, the 1979 revolution — financial pressures intensified and expedited the political challenge to the status quo.

Tehran today is facing an epic, interconnected set of crises: the crisis of unmet expectations, which feeds a crisis of legitimacy for a system whose waning ideological legitimacy has been supplanted by reliance on a more prosaic emphasis on state performance and living standards. Iran’s predicament is exacerbated by the uncertainties surrounding leadership succession, both with respect to the position of the supreme leader, who marked his 80th birthday earlier this year, and the legions of senior officials from the same generation who helped shape the post-revolutionary state from its inception.

To overcome its internal liabilities, the Islamic Republic can rely on a time-tested playbook of repression and cooptation. But each collision between a furious citizenry and an inflexible structure of power leaves fissures in the system. Eventually, as happened 40 years ago in Iran, even the most well-fortified regime will shatter. „

The protests, which are also part of a youth bulge, are increasingly directed against the regime itself, no longer hope for reforms such as in the Green Revolution or on Reformajatollahs such as Khatami or Rouhani. This grand narrative is played out from the point of view of the protesters. Likewise, according to FAZ new surveys show that a large number of young people in the Greater Middle East now reject the role of religion in politics, are adopting an increasingly skeptical position on religion and advocating separation of politics and state, so that we face not only the rise of a new nationalism but also of a corresponding new modern secularism. However, in the event of a military attack by the USA on Iran , the question will be if this new nationalism and secularism will use the opportunity to topple the Islamist regime or if the new nationalists will unite with the Islamist regime to protect the fatherland as it was during the Iraq-Iran war in the 80s. Same with a military attack by Israel. Or would the new nationalists even split over this issue?

Nevertheless, with all too hopeful expectations for the next „Arab“ spring, one should not forget that the Iranian theocracy and the elites in the other Arab countries still have an enormous repressive apparatus , militas and supporters on their side. It is also unclear whether the protests produce a more organized, powerful form that is not so anarchic and spontanious, even though the protests have now spread from the regional level to the national level. One should not forget what euphoric hopes at the time existed for the Arab Spring in Syria and Libya in the beginning and how it ended.

A former diplomat wrote:

„I do not see the trend! And I consult surveys with the utmost skepticism, which you also share. The secular-nationalist tendency was always there, but in my estimation unfolds effect in a small urban milieu at most. Just as Western socialism. „

I am also a bit more skeptical about the polls than the FAZ is. But the polls are not only about urban youth, but also rural youth, especially as there is more urbanization now in the Greater Middle East. But you have to see that there are still 40 -50% of young people interviewed who have no problem with Islam or an important role for it in politics, especially since urbanization often means that the urban population does not automatically think modern-day, but rather highly conservative and religious parts of the rural population flood the cities and the bazaars and mosques can become recruiting material for Islamists.

Daniel Pipes thinks that Islamism has already passed its peak in the Middle East and now, as in case of Pan-Arabism, tendencies to splits and fragmentation can be observed. Alexander Rahr and the Indian General Asthana see a large united Islamist bloc as Samuel Huntington, but I think this is more wishful thinking and are constructions of Russian and Indian propaganda. But in my opinion, the Muslim Brotherhood has not yet passed its zenith and the Islamic State or other Islamists can quite recruit supporters among the Muslim population of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kashmir India and Bangladesh, although I do not believe, like General Asthana, in a pan-Sunnite Califate in the making that ignores the differences between the Taliban, IS and other Islamists and their rivalry in favor of the nightmare painting of pansunnitic cooperation and conspiracy against India which is more anti-Pakistani propaganda.

Conversely, I believe that in the case of Iraq, Iran and Lebanon, the Islamists are weakened. To this end, the Islamic State has also triggered a fundamental debate in the Muslim states on the relationship between religion and politics, which is more fundamental than the IS. There are rather mixed trends and forces, the results of these struggles and discussions are still open. And the new nationalism and new secularism is there a counter-tendency that is just emerging, but this does not automatically lead to their final victory if there are any endings in history at all and if one sees history not more like Trotsky, Mao, and Taoism that one contradiction gives birth to the next, and the dynamic of history is more of a permanent revolution of existing conditions, though in the meantime it will produce a main tendency and a stable system, but because of its inherent antagonisms it also does not last forever-be it the Soviet Union, the Third Reich, or the post-war order which is now in transition to a new world order.

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Zweiter „arabischer“ Frühling: Trend zu neuem Nationalismus und Säkularismus

Inzwischen ist angesichts der militanten Proteste in Algerien, Tunesien, Sudan. Libanon, Irak und Iran nun die Rede von einer Fortsetzung des arabischen Frühlings 2011, dessen Gärung noch lange nicht abgeschlossen sei. Doch im Falle des Irans muss man dies nochmals seperat sehen, da es kein arabisches Land ist. Dennoch sind auch hier soziale Ursachen und ein ineffizientes System wie auch uneingelöste Erwartungen Auslöser der Proteste, die durch die US-Sanktionen erst so richtig Fahrt aufgenommen haben.

Die FAZ vermerkt in einem Leitartikel, dass wir im Falles des Iraks und des Libanon Zeuge des Entstehens eines arabischen Nationalismus werden, der den Panarabismus, Islamismus und das konfessionelle und ethnische Proporzsystem infrage stellt. Die Bewegungen seien überwiegend überkonfessionell, gemischt-ethnisch, vereinigt in einem neuen arabischen Nationalismus, der eine gute , nicht korrupte und effiziente nationale Einheitsregierung fordere, die die Bevölkerung nicht nach Konfessionen und Ethnien gegeneinander ausspiele, um sich jeweils selbst die Taschen zu füllen. Bezeichnend war auch schon, dass bevor es zu diesen militanten Protesten im Libanon und im Irak kam, die Wahlliste des nationaistischen Islamisten Muktadar El-Sadr überkonfessionell, multiethnisch war und auch sogar Kommunisten und Atheisten einschloss und somit als Model dienen könnte. Mukatadrs Wahlbündnis ist zwar an der jetzigen Regierung Mahdi beteiligt, dessen Absetzung die Demonstranten fordern, ist aber inzwischen auch schon auf Distanz gegangen.

Dennoch muss man sehen, dass Saudiarabien und Iran weiterhin versuchen das Schimsa zwischen Sunniten und Schiiten weiter zu fördern, wie auch die etablierten Machteliten dieser Länder, die mit dieser Divide et impera-Politik eine Zeitlang ganz gut gefahren sind, doch die sich drastisch verschlechternde Wirtschaftssituation, die schlechte Regierungsführung, die elementarste Aufgaben von Müllbeseitigung, Sozialstaat, Bildung, Arbeitsplatzschaffung bis Infrastruktur nicht zu lösen imstande ist, haben ein Umdenken innerhalb der Bevölkerung gefördert, die die Herausbildung eines neuen Nationalismus und die Forderung nach einer sauberen, effizienten, gut regierenden, nicht korrupten überkonfessionellen Einheitsregierung befördert. Ob dieser neue Nationalismus eine autoritäre Form eines starken Mannes oder aber eines charismatischen Demokraten annehmen wird, ist noch offen.

Im Falle des dominant schiitischen , nichtarabischen Irans, in denen Proporzsysteme wie im Irak und Libanon keine Rolle spielen, kommen andere Faktoren hizu. Die letzte grosse Protestbewegung, die Grüne Revolution unterstützte noch Reformmullahs, war aslo eine Bewegung, die auf eine Reform des bestehenden Regimes, nicht aber dessen Sturz abzielte. Sie wurde niedergeschlagen und Ahmadinehdschad wieder Präsdient des Irans, was zu einer breiten Frustration führte. Diese Unzufriedenheit konnte vorerst noch durch die Wahl von Rouhanni gedämpft werden, der mittels des Atomdeals ein Ende der Sanktionen perspektivisch als Erwartung brachte, eine Wiederiengliederung des Irans in die Weltgemeinschaft, sowie einen Wirtschaftsaufschwung. Doch so kam es nicht, auch schon nicht vor Trumps Kündigung des Atomdeals.Zwar verschärfen die Sanktionen die missliche wirtschaftliche Lage Irans enorm, doch bei zunehmenden Teilen der Bevölkerung wird dies auch auf das korruptte, ineffiziente Sytsme der iranischen Theokratie zurückgeführt und richtet sich zunehmend gegen das System selbst, das Milliardengelder trotz Sanktionen in außenpolitische Abenteuer und Aufrüstung im schitischen Halbmond von Libanon, bis Syrien, Irak und Yemen steckt.

Suzanne Maloney von der Brookings Institution beschreibt die Lage im Iran in ihrem Beiitrag „Iranian protesters strike at the heart of the regime’s revolutionary legitimacy“ (Tuesday, November 19, 2019 ) derfolgt:

„The demonstrations echo the unrest that convulsed Iran in late 2017 and early 2018, although this latest round appears to be more widespread and more violent. The Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” strategy has surely contributed to Tehran’s fiscal predicament. However, Iran’s turmoil is not driven by U.S. policies, nor is it merely some circumstantial spasm. The protests are the latest salvo in the Iranian struggle for accountable government that stretches back more than a century. And the fury and desperation of the Iranians on the streets this week strikes at the heart of the legitimacy of the revolutionary system. (…)

Rarely have these demonstrations threatened the viability of the Islamic Republic, whose security forces have overwhelming capabilities to manage or repress discrete demonstrations. And so far these latest episodes have remained quite modest by historical standards — at least an order of magnitude smaller than the million-plus Iranians who came to the streets in 2009, after the contested reelection of hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Even then, the regime managed to rebound.

The durability of the Islamic Republic is perhaps the most important legacy of 1979 revolution. None of the extraordinary developments within or around Iran over the course of the past 40 years has managed to significantly alter it — not the considerable evolution of Iranian society, nor the country’s steady reengagement with the world, nor the incremental reforms advanced by various factions within the establishment. In many respects, the structure of power in the Islamic Republic seems even more firmly embedded today than it was at any point since its precarious creation.

In many respects, the structure of power in the Islamic Republic seems even more firmly embedded today than it was at any point since its precarious creation.

The staying power of Iran’s post-revolutionary system lends itself to a certain fatalism; if war, internal upheaval, regional turmoil, natural disasters, crippling economic sanctions, and near-constant infighting among the political establishment have failed to weaken theocratic authority, perhaps any hope for change is simply futile. Not long ago, this perception prompted some younger Iranians to disengage from politics. A reporter who interviewed young Iranians in 2005 found “an overwhelming picture of a generation lost, disaffected and stained by longing.”

WHAT HAS CHANGED

Nearly 15 years later, however, Iran’s “lost generation” is now approaching the age of the revolution itself, and the absence of a promising political or economic horizon has become painfully acute — and not simply for elites, but for the larger population of Iran’s post-revolutionary youth. These Iranians have benefited from the revolution’s dramatic expansion of educational opportunities and broader social welfare infrastructure. That legacy and the regime’s populist promises have shaped their expectations for a better life and sense of political entitlement to a functioning, responsive government.

After 40 years, Iran’s political zeitgeist has moved from revolution to reform to repudiation.

The 2015 nuclear deal only supersized those aspirations. Tehran’s narrative around the agreement stoked expectations of monumental economic opportunities and perhaps even more than that. “This will bring hope to our life,” an Iranian man commented in the midst of the jubilant celebrations that greeted the deal’s conclusion. “Now we will be able to live normally like the rest of the world,” another remarked. It was not to be. Even before Washington withdrew from the nuclear agreement in May 2018 and began reimposing sanctions, Iranian frustrations with the slow pace of the deal’s peace dividend fed a broader sense of disenchantment — not simply with an individual policy, official, or institution, but rather with the entire political establishment and the ruling system. After 40 years, Iran’s political zeitgeist has moved from revolution to reform to repudiation.

Those frustrations began to manifest in a higher pace and intensity of instability. The Iran Human Rights Documentation Center recorded more than 1,200 labor actions related to non-payment of wages between January 2017 and November 2018. The apex came in the final days of 2017 and early 2018, when what apparently began as a provincial political stunt quickly flared into a spasm of furious demonstrations. Within 48 hours, protests were convulsing in at least 80 cities, and the refrains of the demonstrators had catapulted from economic grievances to explicit denunciations of the system and the entirety of its leadership.

That episode, like the current one, highlights the dangers posed by the pervasive frustration and alienation. It is clear from Tehran’s reaction to the latest eruption of protests that the leadership is unnerved, and for good reasons: the rapid progression from mundane, localized demands to radical rejection of the system as a whole; the transmission and coordination of protests via social media rather than mediated through the more manageable traditional press; the engagement of the government’s core constituency, the rising middle class; and the near-instantaneous dispersion from local to national. These factors expose the profound vulnerability of the Islamic Republic at a time when U.S. sanctions are severely limiting resources that might enable Tehran to address or preempt the sources of dissatisfaction.

WHAT NEXT?

Economic grievances have served as the backdrop for each of Iran’s prior periods of political ferment during the past century. In each of Iran’s most significant turning points over the past 150 years — the Tobacco Revolt, the Constitutional Revolution, the oil nationalization crisis, the 1979 revolution — financial pressures intensified and expedited the political challenge to the status quo.

Tehran today is facing an epic, interconnected set of crises: the crisis of unmet expectations, which feeds a crisis of legitimacy for a system whose waning ideological legitimacy has been supplanted by reliance on a more prosaic emphasis on state performance and living standards. Iran’s predicament is exacerbated by the uncertainties surrounding leadership succession, both with respect to the position of the supreme leader, who marked his 80th birthday earlier this year, and the legions of senior officials from the same generation who helped shape the post-revolutionary state from its inception.

To overcome its internal liabilities, the Islamic Republic can rely a time-tested playbook of repression and cooptation. But each collision between a furious citizenry and an inflexible structure of power leaves fissures in the system. Eventually, as happened 40 years ago in Iran, even the most well-fortified regime will shatter. „




Die Proteste, die auch Teil einer youth buldge sind, richten sich zunehmend gegen das Regime selbst, hoffen nicht mehr auf Reformen wie etwa noch bei der Grünen Revolution oder auf Reformajatollahs wie Khatami oder Rouhani. Dieser Grand Narrative ist aus Sicht der Protestierenden ausgespielt. Ebenso zeigen laut FAZ Umfragen, dass inzwische ein Großteil der Jugendlichen die Rolle der Religion in der Plitik ablehnt, selbst zur Religion eine zunehmende skeptische Position einnimmt und für eine Trennung von Politik und Staat eintritt, so dass nicht uur ein neuer Nationalsimsu, sondern auch ein damiteinhergehender moderner Säkularismus gestärkt wird. Im Falle eines militärischen Angriffs der USA auf den Iran wird sich jedoch die Frage stellen, ob dieser neue Nationalismus und Säkularismus die Gelegenheit nutzen wird, das islamistische Regime zu stürzen, oder ob sich die neuen Nationalisten mit dem islamistischen Regime zusammenschließen werden, um das Vaterland zu schützen, wie sie es während des Irak-Iran-Krieges in den 80er Jahren taten. Gleiches gilt für einen militärischen Angriff Israels. Oder würden sich die neuen Nationalisten über diese Frage sogar spalten?

Dennoch sollte man bei nun wieder allzu euphorischen Hoffnungen auf den nächsten „arabischen“Frühling nicht vergessen, dass die iranische Theokratie un die Eliten in den anderen arabischen Ländern noch einen enormen Repressionsapperat auf ihren Seiten hat, auch im Irak die bisher etablierten Kräfte noch auf etliche Unterstützer , Milizen und Teile des Sicherheitsapperats zurückgreifen können, es auch unklar ist, ob die Proteste eine organisiertere, schlagkräftigere Form hervorbringen, die nicht so anarchisch und spoantaneistisch ist, auch wenn sich die Proteste inzwischen von regionaler Ebene schon auf nationale Ebene ausgeweitet haeb. Man sollte nicht vergessen, welche euphorische Hoffnungen damals anfangs zum arabischen Frühling in Syrien und Lybien bestanden und wie es endete.

Ein ehemalger Diplomat schrieb noch dazu:

„Ich sehe den Trend nicht! Und Umfragen konsultiere ich mit allergrößter Skepsis, die Sie ja auch teilen.Die säkular-nationalistische Tendenz war immer da, entfaltet meiner Einschätzung nach aber allenfalls in einem kleinen urbanen Milieu noch Wirkung. Ebenso wie der Sozialismus westlicher Prägung.“

Den Umfragen stehe ich auch etwas skeptischer gegenüber als dies die FAZ tut.Aber die Umfragen beziehen sich nicht nur auf urbane Jugendliche,sondern auch ländliche Jugendliche,zumal es auch im Greater Middle East weitere Urbanisierung gibt.Doch muss man sehen, dass immer noch 40-50% der befragtenm Jugendlichen kein Problem mit dem Islam und einer wichtigen Rolle in der Politik haben, zumal auch Urbanisierung oft auch bedeutet, dass die Stadtbevölkerung nicht automatisch moderner denkt, sondern sehr wertekonservative und religiöse Teile der Landbevölkerung die Städte fluten und um die Basare und Moscheen Rekrutierungsmaterial für Islamisten werden können.

Daniel Pipes ist der Ansicht ist,dass der Islamismus seinen Höhepunkt schon überschritten hat im Nahen Osten und nun wie beim Panarabismus Spaltungstendenzen und Fragmentierungen festzustellen sind.Das sieht er anders als Dr. Alexander Rahr und der indische General Asthana,die ein großen islamischen Block kommen sehen,was ich wiederum für Wunschkonstrukte russischer und indischer Propaganda sehe.Richtig daran ist,dass die Muslimbrüder meiner Ansicht nach noch nicht ihren Zenith überschritten haben und der Islamische Staat durchaus Anhänger in Afghanistan,Pakistan,Kaschmir bei der muslimischen Bevölkerung Indiens und Bangladesch gewinnen könnte,wenngleich ich nicht wie General Asthana in einem zwischen den Islamisten übergreifenden Califate in the making glaube,der die Unterschiede zwischen Taliban,IS und anderen Islamisten und deren Konkurrenzverhältnisse ignoriert zugunsten dem Albtraumgemälde einer pansunnitischen Kooperation und Verschwörung gegen Indien und dies mehr als antipakistanische Propaganda konstruiert.

Umgekehrt glaube ich aber,dass im Falle Irak,Irans und Libanons die Islamisten geschwächt sind.Dazu hat der Islamische Staat auch eine Grundsatzdebatte in den muslimischen Staaten ausgelöst über das Verhältnis zwischen Religion und Politik,die fundamentaler als der IS ist,von dem sich ja Islamisten bisher noch gut abgrenzen wollten.Es sind eher gemischte Trends und Kräfte,wobei die Ergebnisse dieser Auseinandersetzingen noch offen sind.Und der neue Nationalismus und neue Säkularismus ist da eine Gegentendenz, die gerade am Entstehen ist,was aber nicht automatisch zu deren Endsieg führen muss, insofern es überhaupt Endsiege in der Geschichte gibt und man es nicht eher wie Trotzki, Mao und der Daoismus hält, dass der eine Widerspruch den nächsten gebiert und die Dynamik der Geschichte eher eine permanente Revolution der bestehenden Verhältnisse ist, bei denen es zwar zwischenzeitlich eine Haupttendenz und ein stabiles System gibt, das aber aufgrund der ihm innewohnenden Widerprüche auch nicht ewig besteht–sei es nun die Sowjetuinin, das 3. Reich oder die Nachkriegsorndung.

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Germany, Hong Kong, Singapore – As housing shortages become a catalyst for political dissatisfaction

Author: Dr. Wolfgang Sachsenroeder

With the rental price brake/ cap in Berlin, decades of controversial debates about affordable housing and rents in Germany have for the first time conspired to make a political decision.

Rental and luxury refurbishment of existing real estate, gentrification of prime city center locations and suburban districts suddenly awakening from the slumber of their sleeping beauty have always excited the mind. Squatting and the evacuation by often huge police forces made headlines, violence and counter-violence have often enough by far exceeded the legally acceptable maximum, but the use of force with more or less clear anarchist undertones was limited to certain districts and milieus. At least in Germany angry residents became more likely to participate in clearly defined projects, such as Stuttgart 21 or city highway projects, and the like. The outbreaks of violence at the Hamburg G20 summit in 2017, on the other hand, were a first major issue for politicians whose work is still far from over. For the first time, they refuted Lenin’s mockery of the fact that the Germans first disassembled a platform ticket before storming a train station. Just as there are no longer any platform tickets, you will be able to count on the state of piety and peacefulness of the German Michel only conditionally, even if Pegida and similar demonstrations often quietly sanded.

If the Berlin rent-price brake, as many experts predict, will not alleviate the housing shortage in Berlin, but rather increase it, the question arises as to the potential for protest and its possible sustainability. The media is likely to increase their potential by absorbing depressing stories of retirees who can no longer afford their increased rent but who are struggling to move from their usual neighborhood to cheaper locations. Naturally, solidarity comes primarily from the neighborhood, less from the expensive top locations. But the theme is also ideal for politicization, for peaceful demonstrations, but also for out-of-control orgy with danger to life for the police officers deployed.

The more and more often appearing posters that housing is a human right, whether it is a socialist dream or not, raises the question of how far housing shortages can or may be a catalyst for political dissatisfaction, protest or violence. A look over the borders may provide some clues.

For example, comparing the housing situation in Hong Kong and Singapore, part of the violence that is now raging in Hong Kong’s fifth month becomes more understandable. Housing had always been in short supply in the British Crown Colony until its return to China in 1997, as a steady flow of refugees from the socialist shortages in the People’s Republic seeped into prosperous Hong Kong. Housing was not a joint task of urban policy, but a terrific speculative bubble and created the largest assets in the real estate sector. Housing is therefore one of the root causes of dissatisfaction for today’s predominantly youthful protesters. For a tiny shared room, repeatedly described as a „cell“, an average of 7,000 Hong Kong dollars are required, about € 800, whole apartments are therefore prohibitively expensive for the majority of 7.4 million inhabitants. The demonstrations, which were initially directed against a law on the extraditation of criminals to China, caused the housing issue a massive accelerator of fire and in part also developed in a direction that goes against the existing political restrictions in the Hong Kong Special Economic Zone and in the West as a fight for democracy and freedom are interpreted, but only a part of the problem situation.

In contrast to Hong Kong, Singapore’s housing supply is downright socialist in the most positive sense. The ownership rate is a whopping 91%, most of it in housing blocks of the Housing & Development Board (HDB), a parastatal society that can safely be called charitable. The houses are assembled serially from prefabricated parts, but are not comparable with the DDR-Plattenbau, which should have been a model in the early 1960s, and of high quality. The offer is so diverse and affordable with first-time grants that young couples can move into their own home at the wedding. With the high level of ownership and entry-level prices, Singapore’s housing supply has been an ingenious political move by the founding fathers of Lee Kuan Yew, who has become a major factor in the social stability of the city-state, which otherwise bears many similarities with Hong Kong. The basic capitalist structure, which is also flourishing unhindered in the segment of luxury real estate, has been joined by a socio-political correction in housing construction, leaving considerably less room for protest potential than in Hong Kong.

An international comparison of property quotas may also be interesting for Germany. In Europe, we came in second with 51.4%, but bottomed out ahead of rich Switzerland with 41.3% (Statista 2017). The leader is just the less affluent Romania with 96.8%, which was probably due to the direct conversion of socialist housing into the property of the tenants was possible. But Switzerland is of particular interest in a very different perspective. Despite a constant increase in single-households and second homes, there has been an astonishing vacancy of real estate in recent years, according to the Neue Zürcher Zeitung of October 24, 63,000 rental apartments and 12,000 uninhabited condominiums and single-family homes. As a result, apartment rents are expected to fall by 0.6% this year and by another 0.9% in 2020. In Munich, Stuttgart or Berlin, no one is likely to dream of falling rents, even if the Berlin Senate is thinking of forcibly lowering rents in favor of tenants.

The comparisons seem to indicate that there is a connection between a satisfactory policy for citizens with sufficient public services and livelihood and, on the other hand, their neglect with the result of dissatisfaction and increasing conflict potential. To this end, former CIA analyst Martin Gurri published in December 2018 a book with rather worrying theses, „The Revolt of the Public and the Crisis of Authority in the New Millennium“. At the center of his analysis is the public revolution through the Internet and social media, which has virtually marginalized the monopoly of political and economic elites. Simultaneously, the possibilities for self-organization and mobilization of citizens‘ initiatives with the widest range of motivation and political thrust were made possible and immediately multiplied. While print media and television are becoming less and less consumed and taken seriously, especially in the younger generation, the potential for disinformation and the influence of largely uncontrollable interest groups is growing at the same time. It becomes more confusing, complex and at the same time menacingly irrational. The protest movements in Hong Kong, Chile, France, Indonesia and many other hot spots indicate that governance in many countries is not only problematic, but could become an unsolvable task. Even in affluent countries, governments are increasingly caught up in the expectations they have fueled in the election campaigns and then implement them little or too slowly. Housing policy, if it bypasses the needs of easily networked groups, can become a catalyst with the force of an accelerator. Hopefully not in times of rental price brake/ cap (Mietendeckel) in German cities.

Veröffentlicht unter Allgemein | Kommentare deaktiviert für Germany, Hong Kong, Singapore – As housing shortages become a catalyst for political dissatisfaction

Deutschland, Hongkong, Singapur-Wie Wohnungsknappheit ein Katalysator für politische Unzufriedenheit wird

Wie Wohnungsknappheit ein Katalysator für politische Unzufriedenheit wird

Autor: Dr. Wolfgang Sachsenröder

Mit der Mietpreisbremse in Berlin sind Jahrzehnte kontroverser Debatten über bezahlbaren Wohnraum und Wuchermieten in Deutschland zum ersten Mal zu einer politischen Entscheidung geronnen.

Entmietung und Luxussanierungen von Bestandsimmobilien, Gentrifizierung bester Innenstadtlagen und plötzlich aus dem Dornröschenschlaf erwachender Vorstadtbezirke haben immer wieder die Gemüter erregt. Hausbesetzungen und die Räumung durch oft riesige Polizeiaufgebote machten Schlagzeilen, Gewalt und Gegengewalt haben oft genug das rechtsstaatlich noch akzeptable Höchstmaß bei weitem überschritten, allerdings blieb die Gewaltanwendung mit mehr oder weniger deutlich anarchistischen Untertönen auf bestimmte Bezirke und Milieus begrenzt. Wenigstens in Deutschland beteiligten sich zu Wutbürgern mutierte Anwohner eher an klar definierbaren Projekten, beispielsweise Stuttgart 21 oder Stadtautobahnprojekten und dergleichen. Die Gewaltausbrüche beim Hamburger G20-Gipfel 2017 waren dagegen ein erstes größeres Menetekel für die Politik, mit dessen Aufarbeitung die Justiz noch längst nicht fertig ist. Sie widerlegten vielleicht zum ersten Mal den Hohn Lenins, daß die Deutschen erst eine Bahnsteigkarte lösen bevor sie einen Bahnhof stürmen. So wie es längst keine Bahnsteigkarten mehr gibt, wird man auch mit der Staatsfrommheit und Friedfertigkeit des deutschen Michel nur noch bedingt rechnen können, auch wenn Pegida und ähnliche Demonstrationen oft leise versanden.

Falls die Berliner Mietpreisbremse, wie viele Experten prophezeien, die Wohnungsknappheit in Berlin nicht lindern, sondern eher verstärken wird, stellt sich die Frage nach dem Protestpotenzial und seiner eventuellen Nachhaltigkeit. Die Medien verstärken wahrscheinlich das Potenzial, wenn sie bedrückende Geschichten von Rentnern aufnehmen, die sich ihre gestiegene Miete nicht mehr leisten, aber aus ihrem gewohnten Kiez nur schwer in billigere Lagen umziehen können. Solidarität kommt naturgemäß vorwiegend aus der Nachbarschaft, weniger aus den teuren Spitzenlagen. Aber das Thema eignet sich auch hervorragend für eine Politisierung, für friedliche Demonstrationen, aber auch für aus dem Ruder laufende Gewaltorgien mit Lebensgefahr für die eingesetzten Polizeibeamten.

Die nun immer öfter auftauchenden Plakate, daß Wohnen ein Menschenrecht sei, ob das nun ein sozialistischer Traum ist oder nicht, werfen die Frage auf, wie weit Wohnungsknappheit ein Katalysator für politische Unzufriedenheit, Protest oder Gewalt werden kann oder bereits ist. Ein Blick über die Grenzen mag dabei einige Anhaltspunkte liefern.

Wenn man etwa die Wohnungssituation in Hongkong und Singapur vergleicht, wird ein Teil der nun schon im 5. Monat in Hongkong tobenden Gewaltexzesse verständlicher. Wohnraum war in der britischen Kronkolonie bis zur Rückgabe an China 1997 schon immer knapp, weil ein stetiger Flüchtlingsstrom aus der sozialistischen Knappheit in der Volksrepublik ins prosperierende Hongkong sickerte. Der Wohnungsbau war keine Gemeinschaftsaufgabe der Stadtpolitik, sondern eine grandiose Spekulationsblase und schuf die größten Vermögen im Immobiliensektor. Für die überwiegend jugendlichen Demonstranten von heute ist die Wohnungsfrage deshalb eine der Grundursachen der Unzufriedenheit. Für ein winziges WG-Zimmer, immer wieder als „Zelle“ beschrieben, werden im Durchschnitt 7000 Hongkong-Dollar verlangt, etwa € 800, ganze Wohnungen sind für einen Großteil der 7,4 Millionen Einwohner entsprechend unerschwinglich. Die am Anfang gegen ein Gesetz zur Auslieferung von Straftätern an China gerichteten Demonstrationen bekamen durch die Wohnungsfrage einen massiven Brandbeschleuniger und entwickelten sich zum Teil auch in eine Richtung, die gegen die weiter bestehenden politischen Restriktionen in der Sonderwirtschaftszone Hongkong gehen und im Westen gern als Kampf für Demokratie und Freiheit interpretiert werden, aber damit nur einen Teil der Problemlage erfassen.

Im Gegensatz zu Hongkong ist die Wohnungsversorgung in Singapur geradezu sozialistisch im positivsten Sinn. Die Eigentumsquote beträgt satte 91 %, der Großteil davon in Wohnblocks des „Housing & Development Board“ (HDB), einer halbstaatlichen Gesellschaft, die man getrost als gemeinnützig bezeichnen kann. Die Häuser werden seriell aus vorgefertigten Teilen zusammengesetzt, sind aber mit dem DDR-Plattenbau, der am Anfang in den 1960er Jahren Vorbild gewesen sein soll, nicht zu vergleichen und von hoher Qualität. Das Angebot ist so vielfältig und mit Zuschüssen für Ersterwerber so erschwinglich, daß junge Paare gleich bei der Hochzeit ins eigene Heim einziehen können. Mit der hohen Eigentumsquote und den Einstiegspreisen ist die Wohnungsversorgung in Singapur ein geradezu genialer politischer Schachzug der Gründerväter um Lee Kuan Yew gewesen, der zu einem ganz wichtigen Faktor der sozialen Stabilität des Stadtstaates geworden ist, der ansonsten viele Ähnlichkeiten mit Hongkong hat. Der kapitalistischen Grundstruktur, die auch im Segment der Luxusimmobilien ungehindert floriert, ist eine sozialpolitische Korrektur im Wohnungsbau angegliedert worden, die erheblich weniger Raum für Protestpotenziale lässt als in Hongkong.

Ein internationaler Vergleich der Eigentumsquoten ist vielleicht auch für Deutschland interessant. In Europa liegen wir mit 51,4% auf dem vorletzten Platz, aber noch vor der reichen Schweiz mit 41,3% (Statista 2017) als Schlusslicht. Spitzenreiter ist ausgerechnet das weniger wohlhabende Rumänien mit 96,8%, was vermutlich durch die direkte Umwandlung der sozialistischen Wohnungen in das Eigentum der Mieter möglich war. Aber die Schweiz ist in einer ganz anderen Sicht von besonderem Interesse. Trotz einer ständigen Zunahme von Single-Haushalten und Zweitwohnsitzen hat sich in den letzten Jahren ein erstaunlicher Leerstand von Immobilien ergeben, laut der Neuen Zürcher Zeitung vom 24. Oktober 63.000 Mietwohnungen und 12.000 unbewohnte Eigentumswohnungen und Einfamilienhäuser. Daraus ergibt sich, daß die Wohnungsmieten in diesem Jahr um 0,6 % sinken, 2020 voraussichtlich um weitere 0,9%. In München, Stuttgart oder Berlin dürfte niemand von sinkenden Mieten träumen, auch wenn der Berliner Senat daran denkt, als überhöht eingeschätzte Mieten zugunsten der Mieter zwangsweise zu senken.

Die Vergleiche scheinen dafür zu sprechen, daß es einen Zusammenhang gibt zwischen einer für die Bürger zufriedenstellenden Politik mit ausreichender Daseinsvorsorge und Existenzsicherung und auf der anderen Seite deren Vernachlässigung mit der Folge von Unzufriedenheiten und steigendem Konfliktpotenzial. Dazu hat der frühere CIA-Analyst Martin Gurri im Dezember 2018 ein Buch mit ziemlich beunruhigenden Thesen veröffentlicht, „The Revolt of the Public and the Crisis of Authority in the New Millennium”. Im Zentrum seiner Analysen steht die Revolution der Öffentlichkeit durch Internet und soziale Medien, durch die das Meinungsmonopol der politischen und wirtschaftlichen Eliten praktisch marginalisiert wurde. Gleichzeitung seien die Möglichkeiten zur Selbstorganisation und Mobilisierung von Bürgerinitiativen mit der allergrößten Bandbreite von Motivation und politischer Stoßrichtung ermöglicht und sogleich multipliziert worden. Während Printmedien und Fernsehen besonders in der jungen Generation immer weniger konsumiert und ernst genommen werden, wächst gleichzeitig das Desinformationspotenzial und der Einfluss weitgehend unkontrollierbarer Interessengruppen. Es wird unübersichtlicher, komplexer und gleichzeitig in bedrohlicher Weise irrational. Die Protestbewegungen in Hongkong, Chile, Frankreich, Indonesien und vielen anderen Brennpunkten deuten an, daß die Regierbarkeit in zahlreichen Ländern nicht nur problematisch wird, sondern eine unlösbare Aufgabe werden könnte. Auch in wohlhabenden Ländern werden Regierungen zunehmend von den Erwartungen eingeholt, die sie in den Wahlkämpfen geschürt haben und dann kaum oder zu langsam implementieren. Die Wohnungspolitik, wenn sie an den Bedürfnissen leicht vernetzbarer Gruppen vorbeigeht, kann ein Katalysator mit der Wucht eines Brandbeschleunigers werden. Hoffentlich nicht in Zeiten der Mietendeckel in deutschen Städten.

Veröffentlicht unter Allgemein | Kommentare deaktiviert für Deutschland, Hongkong, Singapur-Wie Wohnungsknappheit ein Katalysator für politische Unzufriedenheit wird

Hong Kong – between Sino-American Trade War and Human Rights Act

While it is still unclear how the Sino-American trade war will continue, an article by the East Asia Forum is now appearing arguing that Trump will lose the trade war and the impact on China is limited. First, the growing importance of domestic consumption in China It is also pointed out that exports are not so large in terms of GNP and that the trade war would cost only 1/2% economic growth, which would be sustainable and would not cause any political or social unrest. No economic or financial crisis, no mass labor could be expected to be the breeding ground for social unrest. Yesterday, the Chinese Communist Party has raised its growth statistics by 2.8%, which is again surprising and probably unbelievable.

You have to be careful at the East Asia Forum, as this is a pro-Chinese organization that often likes to disseminate purposive CP propaganda such as the recent announcement that India would join the RECP, creating the largest free trade center in the world, but India then decided not to join. Although most US companies do not want to leave China, Elon Musk is now even building a giant Tesla factory in Shanghai, China’s economy is still growing at 6%, 35% of US companies in China are producing „in China, for China“, but also 65% of US companies in China are exporting, especially to the US, which is why they are victims of punitive tariffs. However, from a Chinese perspective, this will not lead to mass emigration of US companies and more likely cost Trump’s electorate and US consumers $ 1,000 a year more, which is why the CP China hopes that voters will reciprocate and will not vote for Trump For example, Yan Liang, Associate Professor of Economics at Willamette University, Oregon writes on the East Asia Forum website:

„The trade war is based on an overestimation of the damages it will inflict on China. China’s economy is no longer heavily dependent on trade, as it was just 10 years ago. In 2008, China’s net trade surplus accounted for 8.3 per cent of GDP. By 2018, that figure was only about 1.3 per cent.

China’s household consumption share of GDP has grown rapidly, though it is still quite low at around 40 per cent (compared to 68 per cent in the United States). The average growth rate of private consumption was 8 per cent between 2000 and 2018, compared to just 2.2 per cent for the United States.

Since 2015, consumption has contributed to over 60 per cent of China’s GDP growth, while net exports have contributed to less than 10 per cent. Given China’s demographic changes, urbanisation and the growth of the digital economy, it is likely that, as Martin Wolf argues, ‘over the next decade a mass consumer society will emerge in China’.

Declining exports to the United States will at most shed half a percentage point of growth from China’s GDP. More importantly, the Chinese government has enough policy space to bolster domestic demand and offset the negative impacts of trade, given its relatively low debt-to-GDP ratio of 50 per cent.

The Trump administration also overestimates the impacts of the trade war on foreign investment in China. Despite outcries over companies moving away from China, such claims are simply not borne out in data. In a US–China Business Council survey, 97 per cent of US businesses in China stated that they are profitable. 87 per cent had not relocated or had no plan to relocate their activities. Some companies which moved from China to countries like Vietnam soon found themselves facing skilled labour shortages or limited infrastructure and had to move back to China.

Export-oriented investors may consider leaving China due to heightened export costs as a result of the US tariff hike. But market-oriented investors produce and sell in China to avoid tariffs. Around 35 per cent of US companies are adopting the ‘in China, for China’ strategy, including Tesla and Microsoft. There is simply no evidence that companies are leaving China in droves.

Meanwhile the Trump administration’s departure from multilateral globalism has involved attacking several trading partners. It has distanced itself from strategic allies, even calling Germany and Canada national threats for sending their steel to the United States. The United States also backed out from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, giving China more room to ally with important trading partners. Even though China’s exports to the United States dropped by 8 per cent in the first half of 2019, its overall exports inched up by 0.1 per cent.

The trade war even undermines Trump’s own economic and political bases of domestic support as tariffs on imports are a tax paid by US importers and consumers. It is estimated that Trump’s tariffs on Chinese imports will cost US households on average US$1000 annually.“

Nevertheless, China is undergoing a structural change that is trying to replace the export-oriented growth model with more domestic consumption:

„Since 2011, the Chinese leadership has publicly stated that China’s long-running growth strategy can no longer be sustained. Instead, one wants to move away from the extreme dependence on exports, away from an export model based on labor-intensive cheap mass production of mass products, away from decades of growing consumption at the expense of consumption, which has been channeled mainly into state-owned enterprises.

Because this model has reached its limits. The markets for cheap Chinese products in the US and Europe are largely saturated. Even China’s huge reservoir of labor is slowly exhausted, the population is aging rapidly, and the masses of unskilled manual workers are becoming less and less needed, and wages are rising.

Especially where China’s industry wants to go: in the high-tech, high value-added sectors that need a highly skilled workforce. The private enterprise sector has grown rapidly and China now has significant overcapacity in some industries. For example, in the construction industry, although the cities are still a single construction site. China’s rapidly growing middle class is demanding what the Chinese economy can only offer inadequately: high-quality consumer goods of all kinds. And services. If the Chinese leadership wants to prevent their money-making citizens from shopping or moving abroad, they have to change course. And she does.

Recently, through massive cuts in taxes and social security contributions. By the end of 2019, the tax and duty burden will be reduced by two trillion yuan (about 265 billion euros). That is more than 2 percent of the economic output assumed for this year. VAT on industrial products has already been cut. The social security contributions for companies should decrease noticeably in the coming months. The infrastructure development continues, albeit less massively than before. Meanwhile, all major cities are connected by railways, on which high-speed trains run every hour. They are now being built in China and can compete with Japanese and European designs.

The banking sector is a problem child. Public institutions mainly lent to state-owned companies and kept as far away from private ones as possible. Household and corporate private debts have nevertheless exploded, thanks largely to the expansion of the shadow banking sector. More recently, the government has urged all banks in the country to lend more to private individuals on terms that are as favorable as state-owned enterprises.

At the same time, the Chinese economy is being restructured. The expansion of the internal market and private consumption will be promoted, shifting the focus of industry to highly productive and capital-intensive production. The service sector is growing rapidly. State-owned enterprises still play the main role, but meanwhile the Chinese government is using all means to promote private enterprise, and it is even pursuing policies in favor of the rapidly growing number of small and medium-sized enterprises. However, with the more often announced reform of state-owned enterprises, it is not far off. As before, competition between state and private companies is far from fair, and the lion’s share of public sector investment is still flowing. „

https://www.freitag.de/autoren/der-freitag/alle-macht-dem-binnenmarkt

Even though China’s economy is gradually becoming less dependent on exports, the US trade dispute is mounting. Imports and exports sank, but the trade balance surplus increased. Remarkable, however, is that the East Asia Forum only substantiates its claims of China’s alleged insignificant export dependency with the help of the net trade surplus indicator and that the trade war can only cost 1/2% of economic growth, but avoids export dependency figures and the number and share of employees in the export sector. Especially since China is only in the beginning to switch to domestic consumption and the importance of export is only gradually reduced.

The article of the East Asia Forum tends to be a somewhat glossed representation, despite it all a certain has a core of truth. According to World Bank statistics, China’s export share was 2.49% in 1970, rising exponentially to a peak of 36.04% in the following decades, and has now fallen to around 20% by 2018. In contrast, according to statistics published by the EU Commission in 2019, Germany achieved an export quota of 38.2%, the eurozone countries an average of 34.7%, the EU of the 28 member states 32. 8% and the US only 7.8%. China’s export dependency has sunk, but still far above that of the US, almost triple.

Meanwhile the protests in Hongkong are continuing. The German media perception of the protests in Hong Kong changed in the last week. Although the WELT has given Joshua Wong its own column in its newspaper and the Springer Corporation and BILD portraits the Hong Kong protests as a struggle between the free and non-free world, so China, other images and news dominated in other media. At first, the protests were portrayed as a broad movement of the Hong Kong majority, but then you got the impression that they were just a few radical students. It also gave the impression that many Germans, because of the violence, the Molotov cocktails and the image of the oppositional archers, tacitly demanded an end to violence or a crackdown by Beijing. The impression was that the Hong Kong opposition had lost a lot of sympathy in Germany, especially since the impression emerges that the goals are not realistic, the fight lead to nowhere and became increasingly destructive. Meanwhile, the Hong Kong court has declared the ban against face veils as unconstitutional, Beijing now pointed out its right to interpret the Hong Kong constitution, threatened to cancel the 1 country 2 systems status and now considered in the meantime that the district elections might not take place.

Yesterday, some people seemed to want to counter the bad image of the Hongkong protests in the public media and there was very favorable coverage of the ZDF-Heute Journal for the Hong Kong opposition. A portrait of a Hong Kong artist and member of the opposition, who is peaceful and fighting with the weapons of art, but understand his fellows and their militancy. Today, local elections are held in Hong Kong and will be followed by other reports. What fuels the Hong Kong opposition is now the Hong Kong Human Rights Act of the United States, which was passed by the US Senate and by bipartisan support in the House of Representatives with only one vote against it. The agreement means that Hong Kong will lose its preferential treatment in the US from trading or at least check its status in the event of human rights violations or a violation of the principle of 1 country, 2 systems or the rule of law. The CPC responded aggressively and threatened to take countermeasures if the Human Rights Act were to be empowered. China experts are now divided on the question of whether the CP China will now suppress the uprisings or not, whether Hong Kong was so important that she was afraid of it or would sacrifice it, including 1 country 2 Systme finally establish the rule of the CPC in Hongkong. However, it is up to Trump to sign the Human Rights Act so that it can enter into force, but so far there has been no response.

A Chinese friend commented:

„Would it not be a false assumption that the goal of Trump’s trade war is the decline of the Chinese economy and the Chinese regime? I know many Chinese dissidents have this assumption, which I think is completely wrong and self-contemptuous. The Chinese economy is strong, especially in the last 20 years, also strengthened by technological leap and innovation (if only in the baby phase), and the potential to continue to grow is there too. There are still so many countries in the world that support China economically and politically for good reason. And the Chinese leadership is taking full advantage of capitalism and free trade to play off western countries against each other and harness the developing world. Everything that has been going on for a year and a half is just the beginning. As the increasing attention for the freedom fighters of HK in the German media is also the beginning. „

Trump’s goal is for US hard power, the US economy, and the US military to remain No.1 . He does not plan the decline of China, but his goal is also far more ambitious than just concluding a small trade agreement that will save him over the next election. He wants a pax americana under his America first conditions and the question is whether Xi Jinping will be ready for it and whether he will make so many tactical concessions, but that may not exceed a certain extent. On the other hand, it is very likely that Trump’s policy will be quite ineffective, indeed it will harm the US economy more, he will drive other countries more into the arms of Beijing. even China’s own innovations, internal market orientation and its overdue structural change are more likely to be catalyzed. Then he would be in front of a pile of rubble like Bush jr. after Iraq war and financial crisis.

But if he is re-elected, he will escalate the Sino-American conflict if Xi does not agree with his America first-pax americana, and I think even a Sino-American war based on the model of Offshore Controll is conceivable. In the final assessment, we differ as much as I do from most other China experts who believe in the myth of the peaceful businessman who just wants a better deal. Offshore control of TX Hammes, however, is the logical continuation of the commercial war by military means of a naval blockade and strangulation of China´s economy, which remains below a nuclear war and wants to force the Communist Party to give in, insofar as the trade war as a civilian means should not be sufficient. Here neither the Trump or TX Hammes want the overthrow of the Communist Party of China or Xi Jinping as goal. Trump relies on strong men, but they just should not be as strong as he is.

Veröffentlicht unter Allgemein | Kommentare deaktiviert für Hong Kong – between Sino-American Trade War and Human Rights Act

Hongkong – zwischen sinomamerikanischen Handelskrieg und Human Rights Act

Während noch unklar ist, wie der sinoamerikanische Handelskrieg weitergehen wird, erscheint nun ein Artikel des East Asia Forum,der dahingehend argumentiert,dass Trump den Handelskrieg verlieren wird und die Auswirkungen auf China begrenzt sind.Zum einen wird auf die zunehmende Bedeutung des Binnenkonsums in China hingewiesen,dann auch,dass die Exporte gemessen am BSP nicht so gross sind und der Handelskrieg nur 1/2% Wirtschaftswachstum kosten würde,was verkraftbar sei,zudem auch keine politischen oder sozialen Unruhen auslösen würde.Also keine Wirtschafts- oder Finanzkrise,keine Massenarbeitslisigkeit sei zu erwarten,die Nährboden für soziale Unruhen sein könnte. Gestern hat die KP China die Wachstumsstatistik um 2,8% angehoben,was doch wieder überrascht und wohl nicht glaubhaft ist.

Beim East Asia Forum muss man aufpassen, da dies eine prochinesische Organisation ist,die desöfteren auch gerne zweckoptimistische KPpropaganda verbreitet wie zuletzt die Meldung,dass Indien dem RECP beitreten würde,womit die grösste Freihandelszome der Welt entstehe,Indien dann aber beschloss,nicht beizutreten. Zwar wollen die meisten US-Firmen China nicht verlassen, Elon Musk baut jetzt sogar eine riesige Teslafabrik in Shanghai,wächst Chinas Wirtschaft immer noch um die 6%, produzieren 35% der US-Firmen „in China,für China“,aber eben auch 65%der US-Firmen in China für den Export-vor allem in die USA, weswegen sie Opfer der Strafzölle sind.Dies wird aber aus chinesischer Sicht nicht zu einer massenhaften Auswanderung von US-Firmen führen und eher Trumps Wählerschaft und die US-Konsumenten 1000 $jährlich mehr kosten,weswegen die KP China wohl hofft,dass sich die Wähler revanchieren und Trump nicht mehr wählen werden. So schreibt Yan Liang,  Associate Professor of Economics at Willamette University, Oregon auf der Website des East Asia Forums:.

„The trade war is based on an overestimation of the damages it will inflict on China. China’s economy is no longer heavily dependent on trade, as it was just 10 years ago. In 2008, China’s net trade surplus accounted for 8.3 per cent of GDP. By 2018, that figure was only about 1.3 per cent.

China’s household consumption share of GDP has grown rapidly, though it is still quite low at around 40 per cent (compared to 68 per cent in the United States). The average growth rate of private consumption was 8 per cent between 2000 and 2018, compared to just 2.2 per cent for the United States.

Since 2015, consumption has contributed to over 60 per cent of China’s GDP growth, while net exports have contributed to less than 10 per cent. Given China’s demographic changes, urbanisation and the growth of the digital economy, it is likely that, as Martin Wolf argues, ‘over the next decade a mass consumer society will emerge in China’.

Declining exports to the United States will at most shed half a percentage point of growth from China’s GDP. More importantly, the Chinese government has enough policy space to bolster domestic demand and offset the negative impacts of trade, given its relatively low debt-to-GDP ratio of 50 per cent.

The Trump administration also overestimates the impacts of the trade war on foreign investment in China. Despite outcries over companies moving away from China, such claims are simply not borne out in data. In a US–China Business Council survey, 97 per cent of US businesses in China stated that they are profitable. 87 per cent had not relocated or had no plan to relocate their activities. Some companies which moved from China to countries like Vietnam soon found themselves facing skilled labour shortages or limited infrastructure and had to move back to China.

Export-oriented investors may consider leaving China due to heightened export costs as a result of the US tariff hike. But market-oriented investors produce and sell in China to avoid tariffs. Around 35 per cent of US companies are adopting the ‘in China, for China’ strategy, including Tesla and Microsoft. There is simply no evidence that companies are leaving China in droves.

Meanwhile the Trump administration’s departure from multilateral globalism has involved attacking several trading partners. It has distanced itself from strategic allies, even calling Germany and Canada national threats for sending their steel to the United States. The United States also backed out from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, giving China more room to ally with important trading partners. Even though China’s exports to the United States dropped by 8 per cent in the first half of 2019, its overall exports inched up by 0.1 per cent.

The trade war even undermines Trump’s own economic and political bases of domestic support as tariffs on imports are a tax paid by US importers and consumers. It is estimated that Trump’s tariffs on Chinese imports will cost US households on average US$1000 annually.“

Was dennoch richtig ist: China befindet sich in einem Strukturwandel, der versucht das exportorientierte Wachstumsmodell durch mehr Binnenkonsum zu ersetzen:

„Seit 2011 erklärt die chinesische Führung öffentlich, dass Chinas lange so erfolgreiche Wachstumsstrategie nicht länger fortgesetzt werden könne. Stattdessen will man weg von der extremen Exportabhängigkeit, weg von einem Exportmodell, das auf arbeitsintensiver Billigstproduktion von Massenartikeln beruht, weg von den jahrzehntelang zu Lasten des Konsums wachsenden Investitionen, die vor allem in die Staatsunternehmen gelenkt wurden.

Denn dieses Modell ist an seine Grenzen gekommen. Die Märkte für chinesische Billigprodukte in den USA und Europa sind weithin gesättigt. Selbst Chinas riesiges Reservoir an Arbeitskräften ist langsam erschöpft, die Bevölkerung altert rasch, Massen von unqualifizierten manuellen Arbeitern werden immer weniger benötigt, die Löhne steigen.

Vor allem dort, wo Chinas Industrie hinwill: in den Hightech-Sektoren mit hoher Wertschöpfung, die hochqualifizierte Arbeitskräfte brauchen. Der private Unternehmenssektor ist rasant gewachsen, inzwischen hat China deutliche Überkapazitäten in einigen Industriezweigen. Zum Beispiel im Baugewerbe, obwohl die Städte nach wie vor eine einzige Baustelle sind. Chinas rasch wachsende Mittelklasse verlangt, was die chinesische Wirtschaft bislang nur unzureichend bieten kann: qualitativ hochwertige Konsumgüter aller Art. Und Dienstleistungen. Will die chinesische Führung vermeiden, dass ihre zu Geld gekommenen Bürger im Ausland einkaufen oder abwandern, muss sie umsteuern. Und das tut sie.

In jüngster Zeit mittels massiver Senkungen von Steuern und Sozialabgaben. Bis Ende 2019 soll die Steuer- und Abgabenlast um zwei Billionen Yuan (etwa 265 Milliarden Euro) gesenkt werden. Das sind mehr als 2 Prozent der für dieses Jahr angenommenen Wirtschaftsleistung. Die Mehrwertsteuer für Industrieprodukte wurde bereits gesenkt. Die Sozialabgaben für Unternehmen sollen in den nächsten Monaten spürbar sinken. Der Ausbau der Infrastruktur geht weiter, wenn auch weniger massiv als zuvor. Inzwischen sind alle Großstädte durch Eisenbahnen verbunden, auf denen Hochgeschwindigkeitszüge im Stundentakt verkehren. Die werden inzwischen in China gebaut und können mit den japanischen und europäischen Mustern durchaus mithalten.

Der Bankensektor ist ein Sorgenkind. Öffentliche Institute vergaben Kredite vor allem an Staatsfirmen und hielten sich von solchen an Private möglichst fern. Die Privatschulden von Haushalten und Unternehmen sind dennoch explodiert, vor allem dank der Expansion des Schattenbanksektors. In jüngster Zeit drängt die Regierung alle Banken im Lande dazu, mehr Kredite an Private zu vergeben, zu ähnlich günstigen Bedingungen, wie sie Staatsunternehmen bekommen.

Gleichzeitig wird die chinesische Wirtschaft umstrukturiert. Die Expansion des Binnenmarkts und des Privatkonsums wird gefördert, die Schwerpunkte der Industrie auf hochproduktive und kapitalintensive Produktion verlagert. Der Dienstleistungssektor wächst rasant. Die Staatsunternehmen spielen noch immer die Hauptrolle, aber inzwischen fördert die chinesische Regierung private Unternehmen mit allen Mitteln, sie betreibt sogar Politik zugunsten der rasch wachsenden Zahl von Klein- und Mittelbetrieben. Mit der öfter verkündeten Reform der Staatsunternehmen ist es jedoch noch nicht weit her. Nach wie vor ist die Konkurrenz zwischen Staats- und Privatunternehmen alles andere als fair, nach wie vor fließt der Löwenanteil der Investitionen in den Staatssektor.“

https://www.freitag.de/autoren/der-freitag/alle-macht-dem-binnenmarkt

Auch wenn Chinas Wirtschaft allmählich weniger vom Export abhängt, setzt der Handelsstreit mit den USA ihr zu. Ein- und Ausfuhren sanken, der Bilanzüberschuss aber stieg. Auffällig bliebt aber, dass das East Asia Forum seine Behauptungen von der unbedeutenden Exportabhängigkeit Chinas nur mit Hilfe des Indikators Nettohandelsüberschuss untermauert und dass der Handelskrieg nur 1/2 % des Wirtschaftswachstum kosten könne, aber Zahlen zur Exportabhängigkeit und der Zahl und des Anteils der Beschäftigten vermieden werden. Zumal China erst im Beginn ist auf Binnenkonsum umzuschalten und die Bedeutung des Exports auch nur graduell abnehmen wird.Also auch eine tendenziell etwas geschönte Darstellung, die trotz allem einen gewissen Wahrheitskern hat.Der Exportanteil Chinas lag laut Weltbankstatistik 1970 bei 2,49%, stieg in den Folgejahrzehnten exponential bis 2006 auf einen Höchstwert von 36,04% und ist nun bis 2018 auf ca. 20% zurückgegangen. Demgegenüber erreichte Deutschland eine Exportquote laut Statistik der EU-Kommission 2019 eine Exportquote von 38.2% , die Eurozoneländer im Durchschnitt 34.7%, die EU der 28 Mitgliedsstaaten 32. 8% und die USA nur 7, 8 %. Chinas Exportabhängigkeit ist also gesunken, doch immer noch weit über dem der USA, ja fast das Dreifache.

Inzwischen gehen die Proteste in Hongkong weiter. Die deutschen Medienwahrnehmung der Proteste in Hongkong änderte sich in der letzten Woche . Hat die Welt Joshua Wong zwar eine eigenen Kolumne in ihrer Zeitung eingeräumt und portratitiert der Springerkonzern und BILD die Hongkonger Proteste als Kampf zwischen der freien und unfreien Welt, also China, so dominierten in anderen Medien aber andere Bilder und Nachrichten. Wurden sie anfangs noch als breite Bewegung der Hongkonger Mehrheit dargestellt,so bekam man nun den Eindruck, dass es sich nur noch um ein paar radikale Studenten handele. Auch gewann man den Eindruck, dass viele Deutsche aufgrund der Gewalttätigkeiten, der Molotowcocktails und des Bildes von dem oppositionellen Bogenschützen stillschweigend ein Ende der Gewalt,sei es auch durch ein Durchgreifen Pekings herbeisehnten. Man gewann den Eindruck die Hongkonger Opposition hatte einiges an Sympathien in Deutschland verloren, zumal auch der Eindruck entsteht,dass die Ziele nicht realistisch sind,der Kampf nirgendwo hinführt und zunehmend destruktiver wird.Inzwischen hat das Hongkonger Gericht das Vermummungsverbot als verfassungswidrig erklärt, Peking jetzt auf seine Deutungshoheit der Hongkonger Verfassung hingewiesen,die Aberkennung 1 Land 2 Systeme in Aussicht gestellt und nun wurde zwischenzeitlich auch überlegt,die Bezirkswahlen nicht stattfinden zu lassen.


Gestern schien man in den öffentlich-rechtlichen Medien etwas entgegensteuern zu wollen und gab es sehr günstige Berichterstattung des ZDF-Heute Journals für die Hongkonger Opposition.Verständnis für diese und Portrait eines Hongkonger Künstleroppositionellen, der friedlich ist und mit den Waffen der Kunst kämpft, aber seine Mitkombatanten und deren Militanz verstehen kann. Heute sind Kommunalwahlen in Hongkong und werden weitere Berichte folgen.Was die Hongkonger Opposition befeuert, ist nun der Hongkong Human Rights Act der USA, der vom US-Senat durchgewinkt und im Repräsentantenhaus parteiübergreifend mit nur einer Gegenstimme verabschiedet wurde. Dieser sieht vor, Hongkong die Vorzugbehandlung in den USA auch beim Handel zu entziehen oder zumindestens dessen Status zu überprüfen, sollte es zu Menschenrechtsverletzungen oder einer Verletzung des Prinzips 1 Land, 2 Systeme oder gegen das rule of law kommen. Die KP China reagierte darauf aggressiv und drohte mit Gegenmassnahmen, sollte der Human Rights Act angewandt werden. Chinaexperten sind nun in der Frage gespalten, ob die KP China nun die Aufstände niederschlagen werde oder nicht, ob ihr Hongkong so wichtig sei, dass sie davor zurückschrecke oder aber dieses samt 1 Land 2 Systme auch quasi opfern würde, um ihre Herrschaft endgültig auch über die Sonderverwaltungszone herzustellen.Dennoch liegt es an Trump, ob er den Human Rights Act unterschreiben wird, damit dieser in Kraft treten kann, doch bisher gab es seinerseits noch keine Reaktionen.

Ein chinesischer Bekannter kommentierte noch:

„Wäre es nicht eine falsche Annahme, dass das Ziel von Trumps Handelskrieg der Niedergang der chinesischen Wirtschaft und des chinesischen Regimes ist. Ich weiß, viele chinesische Dissidenten haben diese Annahme, was ich für völlig falsch und selbst geringschätzend halte. Die chinesische Wirtschaft ist stark, vor allem in den letzten 20 Jahren, auch durch technologischen Sprung und Innovation (wenn nur noch in der Babyphase) erstarkt, und das Potenzial weiter zu wachsen ist auch da. Es gibt in der Welt noch so viele Länder, die wirtschaftlich und politisch zu China halten, aus ihrem guten Grund. Und die chinesische Führung nutzt in vollem Umfang die Vorteile von Kapitalismus und freien Handel aus, um die westlichen Länder gegeneinander auszuspielen und die Entwicklungsländer einzuspannen. Alles was sich seit anderthalb Jahren abspielt, ist nur der Anfang. Sowie die zunehmende Aufmerksamkeit für die Freiheitskämpfer von HK in der deutschen Medien auch der Anfang ist .“

Trumps Ziel ist , dass die US- hard power, die US-Wirtschaft und das US-Militär, für Trump die USA No.1 bleiben. Den Niedergang Chinas plant er nicht, aber sein Ziel ist auch wesentlich ambitionierter als nur einen kleinen Handelsvertrag abzuschliessen, der ihn püber die nächsten Wahlen rettet. Er will eine pax anericana unter seinen America first-Bedingungen und die Frage ist, ob Xi Jinping hierzu bereit sein wird und ob er soviel taktische Zugeständnisse machen wird, die aber ein gewisses Maß auch nicht überschreiten darf. Sehr wahrscheinlich ist hingegen,dass Trumps Politik recht wirkungslos bleiben, ja er eher der US-Wirtschaft schaden wird, er andere Staaten vermehrt in die Arme Pekings treiben wird. sogar Chinas eigenständige Innovationen, Binnenmarktsorientierung sowie dessen überfälligen Strukturwandel eher katalysieren wird. Dann stünde er vor einem Scherbenhaufen wie Bush jr. nach Irakkrieg und Finanzkrise.

Aber sollte er wiedergewählt werden,wird er den sinoamerikanischen Konflikt noch eskalieren, falls Xi nicht seiner America first-pax americana zustimmt und ich halte selbst einen sinoamerikanischen Krieg nach dem Modell der Offshore Controll für denkbar. In letzter Einschätzung unterscheiden wir uns wie ich mich auch von dem meisten anderen Chinaexperten,da sie an den Mythos vom friedfertigen Geschäftsmann glauben,der nur einen besseren Deal haben will. Offshore Controll von TX Hammes ist jedoch die logische Fortführung des Handelskrieges mit militärischen Mitteln einer Seeblockade und Strangulierung seiner Wirtschaft, die unterhalb eines Atomkriegs bleiben und die KP China zum Einlenken zwingen soll, insofern der Handelskrieg als ziviles Mittel dazu nicht ausreichen sollte. Hierbei ist weder bei Trump noch bei TX Hammes der Sturz der KP Chinas oder Xi Jinpings das Ziel.Trump setzt auf starke Männer, sie dürfen nur nicht so stark wie er sein.

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What We’ve Learnt About Globalization

Author: Andrey Kortunov

Ph.D. in History, Director General of the Russian International Affairs Council, RIAC member

Speaking notes during the Beijing Forum 2019

As noted by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, “Man came silently into the world“. This observation made by the great 19th Century French philosopher and theologian could be referring to globalization. And indeed, globalization came into the world silently, and we don’t truly know when exactly that happened. Some attribute its beginning to the end of the 20th century, while others connect it with the creation of global governance institutions after World War II. Some believe that the foundation of globalization was laid during the Industrial Revolution of the 18th–19th centuries; others push the origins of the global world back to the Age of Discovery in the 15th–16th centuries.

Current international discourse on globalization began more than 30 years ago. Politically, such discussion is possible mostly thanks to the end of the Cold War and the world recovering from being split into two opposing and mutually isolated systems. The most crucial technological incentive for such discourse was the emergence of the global Internet and the information and communication revolution. Economically, today’s discussions about globalization often trace back to the end of the 20th century, particularly the sharp increase in world trade and investment, the global downward trend in tariffs and other trade restrictions, as well as the successful implementation of regional integration projects (EU, ASEAN and others).

My remarks will focus on how our views on globalization have changed over the past three decades. Have our hopes from thirty years ago come true? Have we advanced in understanding the driving forces of globalization and its internal logic? Have there been significant shifts in our assessments of the positive and negative aspects of globalization, its main achievements and inevitable side effects? Have we, in 2019, revised fundamental ideas driving globalization that seemed to be unshakable axioms back in 1989?

My answers to these questions, obviously subjective and undoubtedly vulnerable to criticism, can be summarized in six short sections.

1. Resolution or Evolution?

Three decades ago, most observers, including myself, believed that globalization would result in a fast and radical restructuring of the system of international institutions, legal norms, and foreign policy practices of individual states. However, globalization has not yet led to a revolution of the world order. The security institutions of the previous era (UN, NATO), as well as development institutions (IBRD, IMF, WTO), showed a high degree of sustainability, confining themselves only to cosmetic repairs of their priorities, procedures and operation principles.

Neither the rapid collapse of the Soviet Union, nor the rapid rise of international terrorism, nor the global financial crisis of 2008–2009 entailed global changes of a revolutionary nature. After 30 years, the extent to which the world system can be managed has decreased instead of increased. The gap keeps growing between the objective degree of humankind’s unity and how aware the world’s leaders, political elite and societies are of that unity.

2. Mutual Benefit or Factor for Polarization?

In the 1990s, it was widely perceived that “a rising tide lifts all boats”, meaning the benefits of globalization will somehow be available to everyone. In some sense, the fact that today the average human being lives better, brighter, and longer than three decades ago reinforced this view. But the benefits were hardly distributed equally; globalization has divided the world into winners and losers. Moreover, the dividing line between the two does not always lie between “successful” and “unsuccessful” states. More often it lies within such countries themselves: between certain social, age and professional groups, between large urban agglomerations and countryside areas, between rich and poor regions. That is between those who “fit in” to the new way of life and those who simply fell behind.

The inevitable result of socio-economic polarization is political polarization, which is the rise of weak governments, incapable of taking unpopular and perhaps difficult decisions. Note that it would be incorrect to perceive growing socio-economic inequality as an inevitable consequence of globalization alone: it is sufficient to mention how Scandinavian countries confidently fit into the globalization trend while maintaining one of the lowest Gini indexes in the world. Referring to globalization as the root cause of all problems very often hides the reluctance of leaders (as well as experts) to admit their own mistakes and shortcomings.

3. Permanency or Discreteness?

One of the notions of globalization, popular at the end of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st century, was its perception as a relatively linear, permanent, and continuous process. It was assumed that over time, the pace of globalization would only increase, and the resistance to globalization would weaken and decline. However, the second decade of the 21st century with Donald Trump taking office as President of the USA and the beginning of Britain’s withdrawal from the EU demonstrated that globalization could be hindered, slowed down, and in some areas and for some countries, even reversed.

This slowdown is linked to the resistance of various parties who lost touch with new technological and economic structures and the features of such structures. For example, one of the outcomes of the Fourth Industrial Revolution could be the large-scale displacement of workers from the production process, a sharp reduction in labour requirements of developed countries and, as a consequence, an equally drastic reduction of international migration flows. That means that the supply of labour from the developing world will increase, but the demand for it from the developed world will decline rapidly. The development of „new energy“ (renewable sources and shale hydrocarbons) will sooner or later bring down international trade of oil and gas, one of the main pillars of world trade in general. Discussions on the “reversibility” of globalization that seemed unthinkable twenty years ago have begun. Meanwhile, terms like “globalization crisis”, “de-globalization” and even “the post-global world” are gaining momentum.

4. Synchronization or Asynchrony?

Since the beginning of the 1990s, research on globalization was focused on its financial and economic dimensions. By the end of the 20th century, it was perceived as a complex process that affects all aspects of human life. It was assumed that financial and economic globalization would inevitably push social, cultural and political globalization, just as a locomotive pulls rail cars. Perhaps humans would somehow manage to synchronize its dynamics in all the above-mentioned spheres by ensuring they interact with each other and generate a cumulative effect, accelerating the process as a whole.

It became clear that certain areas of human activity demonstrated a level of “resistance” to globalization. Therefore, at the moment, it is impossible to synchronize its processes. The growing gap between the economy and politics proved to be especially evident and dangerous for the phenomenon: the economy requires strategic, systemic, global, continental and multilateral decisions, while politics entail tactical, opportunistic, local and one-sided priorities. Moreover, “identity politics” prevail over the “politics of interests” increasingly. This further widens the gap between the way the economic and political domains react to globalization and related events.

5. Universalism or Pluralism?

The global triumph of political and economic liberalism was accompanied by the rise in interest in the phenomenon of globalization. During the 1990s, “liberal globalization” and “globalized liberalism” were perceived as inextricably linked concepts, if not as synonyms. That entails that the accelerators of globalization, as well as one of its inevitable results, should have been the final victory of liberal economic and political models on a global scale. Any non-liberal development models were interpreted in this context as manifestations of archaic nature, symptoms of inconsistent and incomplete modernization, impeding their successful integration into the new global world.

Today, such causal relationships look much less convincing than three decades ago. Political and economic liberalism are undergoing tough times; their fundamental principles are being questioned even in the so-called historical West, while alternative socio-political and economic models are demonstrating sustainability and, in some cases, high efficiency. This raises the question about combining the universal character of globalization with the continuing pluralism of national development paths. This new task was hardly discussed ten or fifteen years ago.

6. Core or Periphery?

In the late 1980s – early 1990s, it was assumed that the “waves” of globalization would spread mainly from the economic, political and technological core of the modern world (the aggregate West) to its periphery. Large “semi-peripheral” countries — such as Russia, China, India, Brazil and others, should have become transmission mechanisms. Moreover, experts predicted that when moving away from the core closer to the periphery, the resistance to globalization would increase, generating conflicts, trade wars, growth of isolationism and nationalism. These impulses of de-globalization, though, would weaken the closer they get to the global core.

History shows that, in many cases, the “waves” of globalization are moving the opposite direction — from the periphery to the core. The aggregate West is trying to fence itself off the periphery by implementing restrictions on migration, sliding back into protectionism, repatriating previously abandoned industries and allowing the rise of nationalism. The United States, perceived by the majority as the undisputed leader and primary driver of globalization, remains at the very lowest end in almost all of its dimensions. This applies to world trade activity, with the United States lagging behind China. Although the aggregate West as a whole currently surpasses the aggregate non-West in its involvement in globalization processes, the question of who will become the main driver of these processes in the future remains open.

Interim Results

What does all this mean for our perception of globalization? Perhaps none of the above sections is sufficient to conclude that the process reached its peak at the beginning of the century and is now in decline. Likewise, Trump’s Administration taking office in the United States was not necessarily the turning point in globalization trends. DHL’s latest annual Global Connectedness Index concluded that such processes have gained momentum and remained stable, despite some fluctuations. The Index assessed the dynamics of globalization according to four critical criteria: shares of trade, capital, information, and people flows crossing national borders.

The phenomenon turned out to be much more complex, more controversial and less predictable than it had seemed before. Moreover, the world is only at the very beginning of the age of globalization. Currently, roughly 20% of economic output across the globe is exported, while only 17–19% of tourists cross their countries’ borders. On average, transnational corporations produce only 9% of their products outside their country of origin, while roughly 7% of phone call minutes are international and only 3% of people live outside the countries they were born. Numerous academics and journalists who expressed ideas such as “the world has become borderless”, “distance is dead” and “the world is flat”, seem to be reflecting what the future might hold, rather than what the world looks like today.

Nevertheless, it is essential to prepare for the future today. Perhaps the main lesson of the last thirty years is that market mechanisms alone can not be a universal solution to economic and political issues: neither at the level of individual elements of the global social system (states) nor at the level of the system as a whole. Increasing the manageability of the system in the age of globalization is more relevant than ever before in the history of humankind. Accordingly, there remains a need for comprehensive interdisciplinary research, revealing the features of the phenomenon of globalization at a new stage of its development.

https://russiancouncil.ru/en/analytics-and-comments/analytics/what-we-ve-learnt-about-globalization/

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Is Macron or NATO „braindead“?

When Macron got elected with his new movement „Le Marche“, he became at the beginning the new hope for Europe as it was the first time that not an anti-European populist movement won the election, but a pro-European populist movement. An election victory of Marie Le Pen´s Front National would have meant that she would retreat from NATO, the Euro and maybe the EU. It would have been the end of the German-French axis and with the Brexit the end of the EU. Worst case: She could have made an alliance with Russia and maybe China, an Eurasian axis that would have put Germany and Poland in a sandwich position. Worst case: A nuclear-armed and militarily strong France and Russia could start even a war against Germany and Poland if Trump and GB were not the deterrence against them anymore. Therefore many Europeans were relieved when Macron became president.

While Germany´s Chancellor Merkel hadn´t started any European initiative for a decade and other Europeans neither, Macron very early launched an European initiative. It included further EU integration, a common foreign policy, a common security policy and closer military cooperation, a financial initiative that wanted to establish an European finance minister, a common financial fund and an EU budget and a financial union. As he was a former banker at Rothschild and connected to the French financial capital and German finance minister Scholz has as his adviser the former chief of Goldmann Sachs Germany, he thought that this was easy to achieve.

Most Europeans stared at Merkel as they hoped that Germany would welcome this initiative. However, Macron got no reaction from Germany at the beginning, but even a lot of criticism. Especially his ideas of the financial union were rejected by the German government as it feared that Germany would be the paymaster for the Southern countries and that Macron´s financial plans were de facto a transfer union which would push German voters to the right-winged AfD as they didn´t want to give their money to the PIGS states. Germany feared that the Southalliance within the Euro group which is lead by France let Germany become a bankrupt state.

While Merkel hesitated, her potential successors Annegreth Kramp-Karrenbauer and Friedrich Merz like other opposition parties with the exception of the AfD criticized Merkel for not responding to Macron´s European initiative. However, at the anniversary of the Elysee treaty, Merkel and Macron signed the Aachen treaty and were promoting closer cooperation between France and Germany.

A central aspect of this treaty was the closer military cooperation and a mutual defense promise if one country got attacked by a third power. However it remained unclear if this included the nuclear deterrence by French Force de frappe for Germany that would be an alternative to the US nuclear umbrella for Germany like French defense minister Michèle Alliot-Marie had already offered before, but her offer was rejected at that time.

Macron also tried to Europeanize the French foreign policy. While earlier meetings between China and France were mostly bilateral, Macron invited Merkel and Juncker to his meeting with Xi Jinping in France. The signal was that France alone had no chance against China and ist New Silkroad, but that it would unite with Germany and the EU to balance growing Chinese power and influence.

Now Macron shocked Germany and parts oft he EU with his veto against the further enlargement tot he Balkans states when he was vetoing the opening of accession talks with North Macedonia, even though it had changed its name to comply with EU demands and presented the EU a six-page paper for a new model of EU enlargement:

„France unveils new model EU enlargement

By Andrew Rettman

Brussels, 16. Nov, 18:05

Western Balkan countries should still become EU members, but via a new, step-by-step method, France has said.

The „gradual association“ idea was the basis for a „reformed approach to the [EU] accession process“, set out in an informal, six-page paper circulated to EU diplomats by France on Friday (15 November) and seen by EUobserver.

EU enlargement currently works by opening accession negotiations with candidate countries, which cover 35 separate areas or „chapters“ of European law.

Once candidates agree to make the necessary reforms, they are admitted as full members and have access to European programmes, such as science grants, and to tens of billions of euros a year in EU subsidies.

But in the new French model, they would make the reforms in a seven-step process, gaining access to selected EU programmes and funds along the way, before arriving at „full“ membership.

The seven steps are: (i) rule of law and fundamental rights; (ii) education and research; (iii) employment and social affairs; (iv) financial affairs; (v) the single market, agriculture, and fish; (vi) foreign affairs; and (vii) „others“.

If candidates graduated step one, they could gain entry to Eurojust, the EU judicial cooperation club in The Hague, for instance, France said.

Step two could see them win access to the so-called Horizon 2020 science programme and let Balkan universities take part in the Erasmus student exchange scheme, the French paper added .

Step four could see them join the EU banking union, while step five would „make candidate countries eligible for structural funds“ – the multi-billion euro subsidies.

„Completion of negotiations corresponding to each step taken by the country would open the possibility to participate in corresponding EU programmes, to be associated to certain relevant sectoral policies, and, where appropriate, to benefit from certain targeted funding,“ the French paper said.

The „final objective remains full and entire accession“, it added.

EU affairs ministers will hold initial talks on the French ideas in Brussels on Tuesday.

They would have to agree to any changes by unanimity.

But if things went well, then the European Commission ought to flesh out the ideas in legal documents by January 2020, France noted.

And that might mean the EU reforms could still be put in place, or, at least, agreed in principle, in time for a summit with Western Balkan leaders in Zagreb in May.

Veto shocker

The new proposals came after French president Emmanuel Macron caused shock last month by vetoing the opening of accession talks with North Macedonia, even though it had changed its name to comply with EU demands.

It prompted concern that France intended to halt EU expansion in the Western Balkans.

It also prompted German and US warnings on potential instability or in a spike in Chinese and Russian influence in the region.

But the French paper „reaffirmed“ the EU’s „unequivocal support for the European perspective of Western Balkan countries“.

Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia „belonged to Europe by their history, their culture, and their geography,“ France said.

It did not mention Turkey, which is an official EU candidate, but whose talks were de facto suspended three years ago after a failed coup in Ankara led to mass-scale repression.

Any EU reforms could also affect Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine, which aspire to join one day.

The French paper justified Macron’s veto by saying the past 20 years of EU intervention in the Western Balkans had yielded „too slow“ progress and „insufficient benefits“ for its people.

But the step-by-step method, and its acceleration of EU subsidies, would bring „concrete benefits“, it said.

And those, in turn, would „stem the migratory movements [out of the Western Balkans to Europe] which pose difficulties for both sides“ and „reduce unfavourable external influence [from China and Russia],“ it added.

New rigour

France also warned that Western Balkan backsliding on democracy or rule of law would come at a price, however.

It called for „rigorous conditions“ and „reversibility“ of EU benefits if things went awry.

„Criteria for passage from one step to another will be precisely defined, allowing for verification of their effective and lasting … implementation,“ France noted.

The criteria on the rule of law step could be taken from the „justice scoreboard“, while the financial affairs one could be based on the „European semester“, France said, referring to two existing EU checklists on member states‘ judicial and fiscal compliance.

The Council of Europe in Strasbourg, a European human rights watchdog, could also furnish criteria on constitutional probity and on anti-money laundering compliance, France noted.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, a wealthy nations‘ club in Paris, and the World Bank in Washington could supply additional benchmarks, it said.

But „specific governance“ on enlargement steps would be in the hands of the EU commission and member states, who would „regularly follow … progress made“ and „examine“ candidates‘ performance, France said.

https://euobserver.com/enlargement/146624

European observers ask themselves if Macron´s new model is because France has not that much stakes in the Balkan, therefore not national interest in it as it before pushed the membership of Rumania or if Macron´s new model originates from the bad experiences of EU enlargement with the East European states and the membership of Greece in the Euro.

However, it was not the last shock as Macron in an interview with the Economist declared the „brain death of NATO. The timing of this statement was perfect: US Secretary of State Pompeo just visited the celebrations of the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and held a speech at the Körber Foundation promoting the importance of freedom and the transatlantic relations and the German goverment was pleased to have a member of the Trump goverment that countered the statements of Trump about NATO. It remains unclear if it was just a reaction to the former NATO policy, Trump´s questioning of NATO and his anti-EU policy, the US withdrawal from the Middle East or the rejection of Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer´s proposal for an UN-mandated security zone in Syria with the participitation of NATO or EU, even German military:

French President Emmanuel Macron warned fellow European countries that NATO is dying, citing a lack of coordination and U.S. unpredictability under President Donald Trump, comments that were welcomed in Moscow.

In an interview with The Economist published Thursday, Macron expressed doubt about U.S.-led NATO’s security maxim that an attack on one ally is an attack on all, which has underpinned transatlantic ties since the alliance’s 1949 foundation.

„What we are currently experiencing is the brain death of NATO,“ Macron told the British weekly. Asked whether he still believed in the Article Five collective defense guarantee of NATO’s treaty, Macron answered: „I don’t know,“ although he said the United States would remain an ally.

While France has traditionally had an ambivalent role in NATO, taking no part in its strategic military planning from 1966 to 2009 despite being a founding member, Macron’s comments — a month before NATO’s Dec. 4 summit in London — were unexpected.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said he was overreacting.

„The French president has found rather drastic words to express his views. This is not how I see the state of cooperation at NATO,“ she told a news conference in Berlin alongside NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.

In the interview, Macron also reiterated his support for opening dialogue between European Union member states and Russia, saying it would be a “huge mistake” to do otherwise. Ties between Moscow and Europe have been fraught since 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine.

The French president laid out three potential options for Russia’s development: Russia could re-establish itself as a superpower, develop itself within the Eurasian sphere or establish a balanced cooperation with Europe.

While he told The Economist he is working to refresh France’s relations with Russia, he admitted that it could take up to 10 years to restore dialogue with Moscow.

Reuters contributed reporting to this article.

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/11/08/russia-lauds-macrons-golden-words-about-natos-brain-death-a68094

In Russia, Macron’s comments were hailed by some as an accurate depiction of NATO’s state.

„Golden words … an exact definition of the current state of NATO,“ Maria Zakharova, the spokeswoman of Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, wrote on her Facebook page.

The Kremlin, meanwhile, had a more neutral reaction to his comments.

„Whether NATO is alive or dead, and which of this alliance’s body parts are in a coma, are not for us to decide. We are not pathologists,“ Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Friday.

Macron´s comments  are welcomed by Moscow, however the commentator of the Moscow Times thinks that Macron has very similar views with Russia, but that he won´t realize his grand visions in the European Union.

„Macron is ‚Ours‘ — but Does Russia Need Him?

Russian observers are struck by how closely Macron’s views on European security and world order coincide with those of Putin.

By Vladimir Frolov

Nov. 14, 2019

In a sort of bizarre political relay race, French President Emmanuel Macron has taken the baton from Presidents Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump to become the main destabilizing force in Europe and the destroyer of the Western world order. 

Last week, Macron gave an interview with the British weekly The Economist that had experts all aflutter over his remark that “what we are currently experiencing is the brain death of NATO.” 

According to famed French political scientist Bruno Tetre, this marks an escalation in the rhetoric of the French leader, who told a close circle of associates two weeks ago that “NATO will cease to exist in five years.” What’s more, even as NATO prepares to celebrate the 70th anniversary of its founding at a summit in London on Dec. 3-4, Macron publicly voiced doubts as to the effectiveness of the security guarantees found in Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, saying “I don’t know what Article 5 will mean tomorrow.”

And one week before that, Macron vetoed the decision of the European Council to start negotiations with Albania and Northern Macedonia on joining the European Union,  single-handedly putting a halt to the process of EU expansion that had continued unabated for the past 25 years. Macron’s interview with The Economist, along with his keynote address at a meeting of French ambassadors, provides the fullest picture of his strategic vision for the geopolitical roles of Europe, France and, oddly enough, Russia, in the modern world.

Agent of change

Macron focused on the need for Europe to achieve “geopolitical autonomy” in the face of deepening global competition with the U.S., China and “the growing strength of authoritarian powers in the European neighborhood” — meaning Russia and Turkey. 

The French leader wants the European Union to be more unified and effective in its functioning. He considers it a “political project” possessing “a single sovereignty,” and not a constantly expanding “unified market of local sovereignties.”

Macron has a keen sense of the shifts occurring in the global geopolitical landscape. He wants to lead the changes happening in Europe by “disrupting” the status-quo and acting as an “agent of change” to ensure France’s leadership amidst new conditions.

The French president sees the main shift as the United States’ strategic return to isolationist and mercantilist policies of “national populism” — a trend that began under Barack Obama, peaked under Donald Trump, and that Macron expects will continue no matter who is elected president in 2020. 

He speaks with a certain admiration for Trump and Putin as leaders who pursue only the national interests of the countries in “their region” without advancing a global agenda for all mankind – and would like to do the same on behalf of Europe. He cites the turmoil surrounding Brexit and the political stagnation in Germany to justify his intellectual claim to EU leadership. This return to “Gaullism” applies not only to France, but also to the entire European Union – but it remains unclear whether other EU countries are willing to pay for it.

Russian observers, meanwhile, are struck by how closely Macron’s views on European security and world order coincide with those that Putin has espoused ever since his speech at the Munich Security Conference in February 2007.

Macron as Putin

Macron shares many of Putin’s views concerning U.S. policy in Europe and the Middle East. He, like Putin, blames Europe’s migration problem on the misguided U.S. policy of “regime change” during the “Arab Spring.” 

Macron contends that the push for “regime change” during the “Arab Spring” “went against the will of the people, the source of sovereignty.” This matches the Kremlin’s main narrative — namely, that all revolutions have their roots in “outside sources.” 

Macron shows solidarity with Putin’s feeling of being offended by Western actions after the end of the Cold War. The French president argues that NATO was created to counter the threat posed by the Warsaw Pact – despite the fact that the former was established in 1949 and the latter only took shape in 1955. He stated that NATO continues to view the containment of Russia as its primary strategic objective and has expanded right up to Russia’s borders, leaving that country without a “security zone” and “violating the terms of the deal reached in 1990.” And, he said, “when NATO got as far as Ukraine, Putin decided to stop that expansion.” 

Macron also said that Putin considers the EU as a vassal of the U.S., and EU expansion as a Trojan Horse for the expansion of NATO. The French leader essentially parrots Putin’s words — perhaps the result of his confidential conversations with the Russian president in St. Petersburg in May 2018 and at Fort de Brégançon in August 2019 — and leaves no doubt that he believes this view is justified and worthy of consideration.

The French leader essentially recognizes Russia’s right to veto actions of the West in a “zone of privileged interests” in the post-Soviet space, thereby denying the post-Soviet states the right to their own political identities. 

This is like a dream come true for Russia’s foreign policy efforts of the past five years. If Putin was still working in foreign intelligence, he could have unhesitatingly written a report after Macron’s recent comments claiming success in “communicating ideas to the president of France that were advantageous to Russia — understandings that then became the foundation of that country’s foreign policy strategy.” 

Macron’s call for strengthening “Europe’s strategic autonomy” and overcoming its security dependence on the U.S. also plays into Russia’s long-term interests. Moscow has been trying to decouple Europe from the U.S. ever since the Cold War. Now, Trump’s mercantilist policies are making it a reality. Trump is essentially telling Europe, “You must pay us more to ensure your security, including by buying everything American-made.” Macron says that France did not sign up for this. He is looking to step in if Washington voluntarily abdicates its role as the “provider of European security.”

Macron emphasizes that without first achieving “military sovereignty,” Europe cannot achieve economic or technological sovereignty. He also sees NATO as playing no role whatsoever in the issues of greatest importance to France: the Middle East, the terrorist threat in Africa and migration flows in the Mediterranean. In effect, Macron proposes replacing the U.S. as Europe’s security guarantor against Russia with Russia as the guarantor of Europe’s security against threats from the South.

Moscow is not yet sold

Of course, Macron’s thoughts about Russia’s geopolitical choice and his analysis of Russian policy are somewhat naïve. It is an oversimplification to conclude, as Macron does, that Russia could not be an independent center of power over the long term due to its excessive military spending and the growing number of conflicts in which Moscow would have to become involved. In reality, Russia has a very diverse range of opportunities: It avoids excessive obligations and, since 2016, its military spending in real terms has fallen to the acceptable level of less than 3% of GDP.

From his observation that Putin is seated farther and farther from Xi Jinping at each year’s Belt and Road Summit, Macron has concluded for some reason that Putin finds the “Eurasian project” unacceptable because China already dominates in the region and Russia can hope for nothing more than to become a “vassal of Beijing.” That is a subtle observation, but it is hardly useful for understanding Russia’s strategic rapprochement with China. 

It is apparently difficult for Macron to imagine that Russia’s ruling elite see rapprochement with Europe as a greater threat to their ability to retain power than an unspoken and unequal alliance with China. Macron sees Moscow’s current anti-European, conservative discourse as a “necessary reaction” without understanding its usefulness for the ruling elite. Emphasizing Russia’s “European character” enables Macron to semantically avoid the taint of “colonial discourse” characteristic of other Western leaders, but it gives him no influence over Russian politics.

Russia would in theory benefit from playing along with Macron and working with him to squeeze the U.S. out of Europe, strengthening Europe as a center of power independent of the U.S., and strengthening Europe’s military and technological sovereignty from the United States and China. 

Three things stand in the way, however. First, the Kremlin is skeptical of Macron himself, whom it views as a political lightweight who cannot back up his eloquent words with actions. Secondly Russia believes it would gain less from a stronger EU that Macron seeks and more from the EU’s further weakening or even disintegration (eliminating a strategic threat). And third, there is a new consideration: China. Macron and others would present any rapprochement between Russia and Europe as Moscow’s “cunning ruse” to withdraw from its alliance with Beijing. That could put Russia in an uncomfortable position with its strategic neighbor.

Moscow will also exercise restraint in its dealings with Macron in the knowledge that his ideas will most likely find no support from other European allies, primarily Germany and the Eastern European countries — despite Macron’s claims that he “works with Viktor Orban.” German Chancellor Angela Merkel has already stated that she does not agree with Macron’s “broad generalizations” about the brain death of NATO.

Of course, Macron is “ours,” but is that enough for Russia’s policies to triumph in Europe?

A Russian version of this article was earlier published in Republic.

https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/11/14/macron-is-ours-but-does-russia-need-him-a68156

Macron sees three options for Russia: Become a superpower again, create an Eurasia with China or establish EU-Russian cooperation as an alternative model. Therefore he proposes a New East Policy with Russia, a security zone for Russia and an European security architecture. The rapprochement with Russia should also lead to a new NATO policy that sees the dangers not in Russia and the East, but in the South, the Greater Middle East and Africa, migration and Islamism. Chirac, Sarkozy and Macron already tried to get acceptance for their idea of a Mediterranean union in the EU, now in NATO.

NATO General Secretary Stoltenberg already declared that no European military could replace the USA and NATO and that this was dangerous talk. In the coming NATO meeting Macron wants a fundamental debate about the meaning of NATO and its orientation against Russia which he would like to replace by a new policy and detente with Russia. However, some NATO members see the danger that Macron´s statements and policy could be an invitation for Putin to test out the defense promise of NATO article 5 and weaken Europe and NATO. However, whether Macron will leave NATO like De Gaulle did, is questionable.


Macron now thinks about the Russian moratorium. This won´t be accepted by the rest of NATO member states. Germany’s foreign minister Heiko Maas is incorrect if he says that Macron would split NATO over this question as the NATO member states seem to be pretty united about this issue. However, I hope that Macron will change the attitude of NATO gradually and a compromise will be reached which could also have the result of a new initiative of NATO membership countries towards a new policy towards Russia-The second important point Macron makes is that he wants more resources for the South, Africa and the Greater Middle East. Germany is now thinking about sending special forces to Africa which are combatants like the French as the German military to date is sending military advisers. However, this will be the hottest NATO meeting since a long time. However it won´t be the end of NATO and Macron won´t leave the organisaztion.

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Iran and the second Arab Spring

It is noteworthy that we are experiencing a sort of a second Arab Spring from Algeria, Sudan, Lebanon, Iraq and Iran without anyone calling it that way, whereby the Iran-Iraq-Lebanon axis is also seen in the light of the Shiite Crescent and the US-Iran conflict. Although there are social causes and in the case of Iran, the US sanctions that lead to the unrest, but the Iranian leadership and its allies see it as riots produced by the CIA and Hezbollah actively tries to suppress the protests in Lebanon as forces from outside. Iran is polarizing itself. But these are so far spontaneous rebellions, uncoordinated, without leadership, which can still easily be defeated. This plays into the hands of the hardliners.

Only the following options remain: The US is starving Iran like they did by the sanctions against Iraq in the 90s (Madeleine Albright: We have Saddam in the box), which would possibly cause a reaction by the Iranian leadership – drone attacks ala Saudi Arabia or other actions are conceivable. Second option: the Trump administration and Israel are arming the Iranian opposition, which in the perspective promises a new Syria, or the hardliners are getting their way and try to get nuclear weapons, which then again puts the option of a military strike and, if necessary, a war on the agenda. If Khameini doesn´t surrender, which seems rather unlikely, I see only these options. But possible that the hardliners are also offensive and hope for a kind of military liberation strike.

On top of that, with the USA recognizing settlements in the West Bank, the PLO now has no choice but to move on to militant or even terrorist struggles, or to accept Hamas or even more radical forces in the West Bank to seize power. Meanwhile, the Middle East Forum of Daniel Pipes is attempting to promote this policy through its Israel Victory project, and soon a panel on this and Turkey’s role in NATO is planned in Congress, including the exclusion of Turkey from NATO. The Trump Erdogan meeting does not make such a development very likely at the moment.

So while Russia is trying to restore stability in Syria, the surrounding states are increasingly disintegrating. Russia could also not have the power to act as a regulatory authority for the entire area. Dr. Kortunov from RIAC has judged Russia’s ability to be rather pessimistic, while the faction around Karaganov sees Russia as a supplier for international security. Like the US, the Russians in the Greater Middle East will also reach their limits.

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Iran und der zweite arabische Frühling

Beachtlich auch,dass wir auch von Algerien,Sudan,Libanon,Irak und Iran einen zweiten arabischen Frühling erleben ohne dass es jemand so benennt.Wobei man die Achse Iran-Irak und Libanon auch im Lichte des schiitischen Halbmonds und des US Iran-Konflikts sehen muss.Es sind zwar soziale Ursachen und im Falle des Irans die US Sanktionen,die zu den Unruhen führen,aber die iranische Führung sieht da auch eine Anleitung durch die CIA,sei es etwa,dass die Hisbollah die Proteste im Libanon als von außen gesteuert aktiv bekämpft.Im Iran polarisiert es sich.Aber das sind bisher spontaneistische Aufstände,unkoordiniert,ohne Führung,die noch leicht niedergeschlagen werden können.Das spielt den Hardlinern in die Hände.

Bleiben eigentlich nur folgende Optionen.Die USA hungern den Iran aus ala Iraksanktionen in den 90ern (Madeleine Albright: We have Saddam in the box),was die iranische Führung jedenfalls nicht unbeantwrtet lassen dürfte–dann sind solche Drohnenanschläge ala Saudiarabien oder andere Aktionen denkbar, die Trumpadministration und Israel bewaffnen die iranische Opposition,was perspektivisch ein neues Syrien erwarten lässt oder aber die Hardliner setzen sich durch und versuchen doch noch an Atomwaffen zu kommen,was dann wieder die Option eines Militärschlags und gegebenenfalls eines Kriegs auf die Tagesordnung setzt.Insofern Khameini nicht noch eingelenkt,was eher unwahrscheinlich erscheint, sehe ich nur diese Optionen.Möglich aber,dass die Hardliner auch offensiv werden und auf eine Art Befreiungsschlag hoffen.

Hinzu kommt nun mit der Anerkennung der Siedlungen im Westjordanland durch die USA,dass nun auch die PLO wieder vor die Wahl gestellt wird,zu militanten oder gar terroristischen Kämpfen überzugehen oder aber einen Sieg der Hamas oder noch radikalere Kräfte im Westjordanland in Kauf zu nehmen mit allen absehbaren Folgen.Währenddessen versucht das Middle East Forum von Daniel Pipes diese Politik mit seinem Israel Victory-Projekt zu fördern, demnächst ist ein Panel dazu und der Rolle der Türkei in der NATO im Kongreß geplant, das auch auf den Ausschluss der Türkei aus der NATO abzielt. Wobei das Trump-Erdogantreffen eine solche Entwicklung nicht sehr wahrscheinlich macht.

Während also Russland versucht in Syrien wieder für Stabilität zu sorgen, desintegrieren die umherliegenden Staaten zunehmends. Russland dürfte da auch nicht die Macht haben, für das gesamte Gebiet als Ordnungsmacht aufzutreten. Dr. Kortunov von RIAC hat ja die Fähigkeit Russlands dazu eher pessimistisch beurteilt, während die Fraktion um Karaganov ja Russland als supplier for international security kommen sieht.Wie die USA werden auch die Russen im Greater Middle East auf ihre Grenzen stossen.

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Multivectorness in the post-Soviet space is a thing of the past

November 18, 2019 07:57


Interesting interview with Lukyanov, the editor-in-chief of the journal Russia in Global Affairs at „Eurasia. Expert“ . The EAEU failed in the economic perspective, No bridge states Belarussia and Ukraine, no multivectoral policy. NATO and the EU won´t expand anymore, we have won. Concentrate on the Russian speaking people of other nations. What about the Baltic gap? Michael O Hannon just wrote a book The Senkaku Paradox about it. Is it just for world peace or a Russification and the idea of a geopolitical system based on Russian speaking people as the core and „using their potential“. Russia first? Here the English translation:

In 2019, the Eurasian Economic Union will celebrate its 5th anniversary. During this period, the association entered into trade agreements with a number of Eastern partners. At the same time, the „integration of integrations“ with the European Union ended without starting, the pretext for which was the Ukrainian crisis. Against this background, the concept of a “bridge” between Russia and the West has gained popularity in the EAEU countries. Recently, Minsk has been particularly active in the role of mediator between Moscow and Brussels, as well as in the implementation of a “multi-vector” policy. In an interview with Eurasia.Expert, the editor-in-chief of the journal Russia in Global Affairs, the chairman of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, Fedor Lukyanov, analyzed the strategic prospects of the Eurasian Union, assessed the possibility of its expansion, and explained how relevant the concepts of “bridge” and “multi-vector policy are” „For the allies of Russia.

– Fedor Alexandrovich, in 2019 marks 5 years since the creation of the Eurasian Union. How do you assess the intermediate results of the development of integration and its strategic prospects?

– Eurasian integration, it seems to me, doesn’t have what is called “benchmarking” in business. There are no tasks that must be completed by a certain date. More precisely, they certainly exist: there is an idea of ​​the long-term perspective and the desirable direction of development, but since everyone is a realist, everyone understands that the project is very unusual for this space. Well, let’s say, even the fact that many somehow ignore that for the first time Russia participates in the territory of the former Soviet Union, in Eurasia, in a project with countries that are objectively much smaller and less powerful, with less potential, but at the same time decisions are taken by consensus. That is, Russia cannot carry out any of its ideas without convincing the others of its correctness. This is a new phenomenon for us, we are not very used to it, and it is very good, because in the modern world we generally see that the dictatorship is no longer working.

Eurasian integration is hard. There are a lot of obstacles. Political, economic, cultural, in the sense that the culture of different countries works differently, and it turns out that often the clash of bureaucracies does not generate a synergy of efficiency, but vice versa. That is, you can sit down and criticize from and to. But this should not overshadow the main thing: the project lives on, which initially not everyone was sure of, because there have been many attempts to launch some kind of associations in the territory of the former Soviet Union since 1992, but none of this has advanced much, even with all respect for the CSTO. This union, of course, is free and clearly breaking up into different groups of relations between different countries. In this regard, the EAEU is distinguished by the fact that although it is slowly and with difficulties, it is moving towards the creation of a single institution, a single system that will live its own dynamics.

– 2019 set new contours for the expansion of the Eurasian Union. The study of the possible entry of Uzbekistan into the EAEU has begun. What new connection will Uzbekistan bring to the integration association?

– As you correctly formulated here, the work has begun. And the work will be quite complicated, because, firstly, Uzbekistan itself is just opening up to the world – under the previous president Karimov, the development of the country was based on the philosophy of closure and conservation of potential that was there. Under President Mirziyoyev, a completely different model was chosen, proceeding from the fact that the potential can be preserved for a long time, but at some point it needs to be built up. And Uzbekistan, as we see, has changed its style of behavior very sharply, is actively joining international relations. Since the EAEU is the most significant integration association in the region, interest is natural. Moreover, there is counter interest on both sides.

Uzbekistan is perhaps the only country in Central Asia today that has serious industrial potential: it needs to be developed, updated, but, nevertheless, it has been preserved.

Other countries in the region cannot boast of this. Plus, it is traditionally a country of serious state culture. Again, the age is much older than many neighboring countries. And Uzbekistan, if it joined the EAEU, could certainly take advantage of this single market and coordinate economic efforts, and so on.

The Eurasian Economic Union also has unconditional interest, because Uzbekistan is a large country. If I’m not mistaken, if I join, it will be the second largest country after Russia [the population of Russia is estimated at 144 million people, Uzbekistan – 32 million people, Kazakhstan – 18 million people, Belarus – 9 million people, Kyrgyzstan – 6 million people, Armenia – 3 million people. – approx. „EE“]. This is a large market, it is a powerful reservoir of labor, and it is different, including quite qualified. Of course, in this regard, the complementarity of the EAEU and Uzbekistan is obvious.

Naturally, these reasons stimulate interest in rapprochement, but they inevitably make rapprochement very difficult, because joining such associations is always a bargain for conditions. Each country, even relatively weak, nevertheless, must protect some of its industries, somewhere to make concessions, and somewhere not, and this is a long process.

Therefore, if it begins – and the chances of it are quite high, political signals say that the topic is being seriously considered – it will take a couple of years, because Uzbekistan will not enter anyway just to join.

The entry of Uzbekistan, if it happens, will be a very serious border for the EAEU, because it will mean the transition of a certain, so to speak, expected border. As it is customary to philistinely say, „Well, it’s clear that the satellites of Russia are joining it, because they have nowhere to go.“ Uzbekistan is not a satellite of Russia, and vice versa, it has always fundamentally raised the question that „we are separate.“ Therefore, if Uzbekistan is inclined to this, it will be a very serious achievement, which opens up opportunities for further expansion, which is also not problem-free, and, of course, lasting, but nonetheless. Tajikistan, say, left alone in this region, will probably think about it.

– This year, special attention is focused on the talks between Belarus and Russia on “deepening integration”. In what scenarios can Russian-Belarusian relations develop, and is there an alternative to the development of the Union State?

– The Union State is not going anywhere, because both sides are interested in it as a marker of special relations. Another question than this marker, this shell will be filled. Here the main debate is just going on, the main bargaining. But if you do not go into details, the scheme is as follows: Russia does not infringe in any way and does not pretend to political sovereignty and independence of Belarus. This, thank God, is the lesson that has been learned, it seems to me, that in the 21st century to conquer countries, forcing them to live by their own rules … nothing good comes of it.

Even the European Union, despite the fact that it is a very successful, competently and thoughtfully structured association, is facing growing problems, as many countries are starting to feel the disadvantages of integration no less than the pluses.

Moreover, when it comes to countries that are very sensitive to the issue of their own independence – these are, as a rule, young countries – you absolutely must not try to infringe on this in any way. Therefore, politically, all the talk that they are supposedly swallowed is, in my opinion, complete nonsense.

Economically – is another matter. The Belarusian economy is very strongly connected with the Russian one. She is very dependent on her, gets many benefits from this bunch. Something she has to give up, but this is a very old and natural conglomeration. And now, as I understand it, there is a very substantive bidding on what conditions it will be a single economic complex.

That is, the Union State as a brand for a long time primarily had a political flair. Now it is a matter of not just pedaling it politically, but economically – filling it with real content so that it is economically practically one space. It is clear that all this is going on rather painfully, but what you agree on will continue to live, and Belarus understands this very well.

– Belarus and other allies of Russia focus on the importance of a multi-vector policy and equilibrium in cooperation with both the EAEU and the EU. What hinders the dialogue between the two integration associations, and are Russia’s allies really capable of acting as a “bridge” between Moscow and Brussels?

– Moscow-Brussels bridges are not needed. This is a beautiful metaphor, but it does not mean anything. Moscow and Brussels have a long history of relations, it is different, but somehow they always managed to do without intermediaries, bridges and other things. Now, unlike the 20th century, when binding rigid alliances were considered the main form of unification, NATO was considered to be a model type of organization of allies, but now even with all its might, NATO is experiencing serious problems. Countries do not want to be tied hand and foot, focusing on only one group of partners. In today’s interdependent world, it is necessary to be able to build relationships that are multi-vector. This, of course, applies to all partners and neighbors of Russia.

There were different periods in Russia. There were periods when we were incredibly painfully perceived by any attempts by certain countries to establish ties with the EU, NATO, and so on. Now this still remains: this is a very strong inertia related to how the USSR disappeared and how the Cold War ended, but, in my opinion, now it is gradually leaving.

There comes an understanding that Russia does not need a monopoly in neighboring countries. Russia needs a guarantee that its interests will be taken into account. This is painful and takes a long time, but the trend, it seems to me, is obvious.

In this regard, neighboring countries seem to have more opportunities. At the same time, we must admit that they are not added, for another reason: the side that has always been a magnet and was interested in attracting those with Russia to its side … now this magnet, this attraction has greatly weakened – just by internal reasons. The EU, let’s say, is not at all up to the point; there is no question of expansion. Plus, the tragic situation around Ukraine led to a rather painful and difficult, but sobering, because the same Western alliances – both the EU and NATO – were ready to absorb new countries only if it cost them nothing, if all It went by itself. As soon as it turned out that under certain conditions it is necessary to pay a heavy price, up to the threat of war, [it turned out that] the question is being removed because it is not worth it in the eyes of the United States or the European Union.

Opportunities to maneuver, vary your politics and try to play on the contradictions of external patrons decreased, because the positions of the “big players” changed. Therefore, multi-vector as a desire to use all the possibilities will continue, but multi-vector as a life credo, which we have observed for many years in Ukraine, is leaving because there are no opportunities, there are no objects to which it can be directed.

– Along with the development of economic integration in the Eurasian space, new risks are forming. In a recent article, Secretary of the Security Council of Russia Nikolai Patrushev emphasized that „the West has consistently pursued a policy towards the destruction of a single humanitarian space with regard to the CIS and the CSTO.“ What exactly is this expressed in and how does Russia plan to respond to these threats?

– I think that the destruction of a single humanitarian space is, unfortunately, an objective process, because we lived in one state, and now there are many of these states and each of them is building its own national identity. To consider that all this is someone’s intrigues is a simplification. This, unfortunately, is an objective process. There is nothing joyful for us in this, but it happens.

Another thing is that Russian culture, the Russian language, Russia as a factor continue to be a very powerful element of attraction in these countries, even those that are not oriented to Russia, like Azerbaijan or Uzbekistan until recently. This is a very powerful groundwork, it must be maintained and developed – not in the sense that we should impose our culture, but in the fact that the Russian language should not be the language that we oblige them to speak. It should be a language that opens a window for them into the world – it is Russian, not English, Turkish or any other.

This is a very difficult task, but, I repeat, the backlog is very powerful – after all, centuries of joint history. The example of Ukraine showed: five years of the most aggressive anti-Russian policy – consistent and focused on cutting off all ties – and as a result of three-quarters of the votes, a completely different type of person, Russian-speaking by birth, wins. This potential must be used.

https://eurasia.expert/lukyanov-mnogovektornost-na-postsovetskom-prostranstve-ukhodit-v-proshloe/

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Eurasia – an economic space from Lisbon to Vladivostok and European security

Author: Walter Schwimmer, President of International Institute for Social and Economic Studies; Secretary General, Council of Europe (1999-2004). Vienna, 4 November 2019.

The fall of the Berlin wall opened many previously closed doors. But aren’t there also new obstacles and barriers to use these allegedly open doors? Are there new curtains and walls behind these doors? Are declarations like that of Minsk from February 12, 2015 just empty words, or will the leaders go to implement what they said: Leaders remain committed to the vision of a joint humanitarian and economic space from the Atlantic to the Pacific?

Countries east of the Union, in Eastern Europe as well as in Central Asia created the Eurasian Economic Union. Getting these countries used to integration and supranational standards, EAEU and EU could be natural free trade partners. The sanctions against Russia and the countersanctions may be seen as an obstacle. But the free trade and the humanitarian space from Lisbon to Vladivostok are strategic and visionary goals. Getting rid of the sanctions regime by creating a climate of confidence and mutual efforts to solve the problems that led to the sanctions should also be a strategic goal. Dialogue on this item is urgently needed. European Union has 27 (28?) commissioners. Why not to mandate one of them with the relations with the Eurasian Economic Union and for security in the wider European space?

The visionary goal could be a Euro-Eurasian partnership, two Unions united for the common good of their citizens, for prosperity, stability and peace.

There is also the pressing need for European security architecture. This continent has seen so many wars that devastated often nearly the whole continent, like the 30 years’ war, the Napoleonic wars, WWI and finally the culmination in the horrors of the WWII.  “Never again” is a common reaction to the bloody history. But how to realize this wish of the European people? In ancient times, and not only, many followed the Latin adage “Si vis pacem para bellum”, “If you want peace, prepare for war”. I am quite sure that this advice never worked. Good neighborhood, early warning systems, exchange of military information and above all inclusive security architecture may serve the goal of lasting peace better than arming. Again, we may find again conflicting messages. I learned on one day that the European Commission presented its plan to strengthen the military industry, so following the old concept, the same day I read that Jean-Claude Juncker thinks that there is no European security architecture without Russia which looks like the new model.

Again, the policy of President Trump who sees everything as a business – if the Europeans want security through the NATO umbrella, ok, we provide them with, but they have to pay for it – offers a chance to Europe. No, thank you, Mr. President, the Europeans NATO members stand loyal to the alliance, but instead of paying more for it, we are creating our own Pan-European security system built on confidence, good neighborhood and the belief in the common home of Europe. If somebody would be interested in a new Cold War, maybe we can not hinder it, but this time outside and without Europe, please.

In my book “The European Dream” I quote the historian Wolfgang Schmale who suggested “that a ‘myth deficit’ may prove fatal to the European project”. Should we leave myths only to the nationalistic, chauvinist, whatever country “first”, “No-to-Europe” scene?  We neither live in the golden age nor in an epoch of disasters. But to be honest, 72 years after the end of WWII and 60 years after the Treaty of Rome, we have to admit that the situation is closer to the golden age than to the opposite. Of course, the “better” Europe will always be ahead of us.

But with Vaclav Havel I believe that “without dreaming of a better Europe we shall never build a better Europe”.  The better Europe and Eurasia will certainly no be built by falling back to nationalistic divides, to failed ideas of the supremacy of some nations over the others, to protectionism, to hatred, stereotypes and ethnic prejudices. A vision of a future without these ugly attitudes shall prevail. We all know the famous question, whether a glass is half full or half empty. Applied to our theme, I would like to ask, whether neighbors are potential friends or potential enemies. Together with the optimist for whom the glass is half full, I choose the optimistic or visionary view of neighbors and declare them potential friends.

Veröffentlicht unter Allgemein | Kommentare deaktiviert für Eurasia – an economic space from Lisbon to Vladivostok and European security

What has Eurasianism to do with the Eurasian Economic Union?

What has Eurasianism to do with the Eurasian Economic Union?

_ Jurij C. Kofner, editor-in-chief, analytical media “Eurasian Studies”. Munich, 18 November 2019.

When talking about the various influences on Russia’s foreign policy and on the creation of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), Western journalists and professional kremlinologists generally mention the philosophy or ideology of Eurasianism.

Eurasianism is a school of thought that was incepted by a group of Russian white emigre intellectuals almost a hundred years ago during the inter-war period in Europe. It is a complex system of ideas, which since then has produced various theoretical renderings. Yet, in its key message it affirms a cultural communality of the peoples of northern Eurasia and the existence of the Eurasian civilization, which is distinct from Europe and Asia.

However, most often the Western perception of the sway of Eurasianist theory over contemporary Eurasian integration is riddled with overestimation, misinterpretation and a general anti-Russian bias[1],[2].

First of all, most Western analysts overestimate the influence that Eurasianism allegedly has on Russian president Vladimir Putin, on Moscow’s foreign policy and on its involvement behind the EAEU. Secondly, both intentionally and unintentionally Eurasianism has often received negative reviews by Western scholars and reporters, who draw similarities with European right-wing ideologies such as Italian fascism. Thirdly, this distorted view fits perfectly into the construed narrative of “a neo-imperialist Russian hegemon that coerces its neighbors and collaborates with European populist nationalists in order to build its own post-Soviet empire and undermine Western liberal order”.

Together, these arguments have become part of the overall agenda to discredit the Eurasian Economic Union as a liberal integration project and to dissuade European leaders from contemplating cooperation with it in form of a common economic space “from Lisbon to Vladivostok”.

In the following article I would like to show that Eurasianism in its attitudes is no more “radical” than pan-Europeanism, formulated by Coudenhove-Kalergi[3] and the other founding fathers of the modern European Union[4]. Modern Eurasianist theory is, in fact, conservative, but not nationalist, aimed at socially oriented market economics, and affirms equal international cooperation based on the supremacy of national sovereignty.

Pragmatic Eurasianism

At this point it should be noted that nowadays there actually are two intellectually dominant versions of Eurasianism: Firstly, that of so called “classical Eurasianist” ideology incepted in the 1920’s and 1930’s and modern “pragmatic Eurasianism”, which forms the true basis for post-Soviet integration.

It can be argued that two out of three heads of state, which stood behind the EAEU’s inception, namely Russia’s president Vladimir Putin and Kazakhstan’s former president Nursultan Nazarbayev, are well acquainted with classical Eurasianism, since they referred to it several times in their speeches and political program articles[5][6].

However, the classical version has had only a very indirect influence on the processes of modern Eurasian integration. Not Russian philosophical doctrine, but the pragmatic interests of the EAEU’s member states and European integration theory have formed the wording of the EAEU Treaty and the logic of building institutions of Eurasian integration.

Two of the most noteworthy proponents of pragmatic Eurasianism are Nursultan Nazarbayev himself[7] and the chief economist of the Eurasian Fund for Stabilization and Development Evgeny Vinokurov.[8]

Of course, the post-Soviet space has its own specifics and it is necessary to adapt Western integration theory and approaches to the given conditions. Firstly, the EAEU ought to be seen not as a new project, but rather as re-integration attempt, where the newly independent states of a former unitary authoritarian empire, i.e. USSR, are trying to reunite in a new format and on new principles[9]. Secondly, another important feature of Eurasian integration is the large weight of the former Russian metropolis in the Eurasian Economic Union, making up 87% of its GDP, 85% of its territory and 80% of its population.

At the current initial stage of modern Eurasian integration, the emphasis is placed on economic feasibility and mutual benefit, at least in all official documents and intentions. Of course, as with any regional integration project, there are political issues between member states. But even here, the key principle of cooperation is put on compromise and pragmatism, not on abstract dogma.

Oriental Europe

Classical Eurasianism affirms the existence of a distinct Eurasian civilization approximately on the territory of the former Russian Empire and the former Soviet Union. Yet, this argument has its weaknesses. Both skepticism of the post-Soviet states towards political re-integration, as well as the weakness of this civilizational argument, are the reasons why it is almost not used in the official rhetoric of modern Eurasian integration.

It can be argued that the cultural borders of the Eurasian civilization to the east and to the south of the post-Soviet space, i.e. towards China, Iran and the Arab world are relatively clearly outlined due to the presence of mountain ranges and deserts, i.e. natural geo-climatic barriers. However, on the western edge of the post-Soviet space, in the so-called „Russian plain“, i.e. where modern Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova are located, this boundary with Europe is rather blurry. Moving from west to east along this plain, the differences between peoples and cultures from Central along Eastern Europe and further along the western part of Russia change only slightly and more or less smoothly at each step. The absence of any significant geographical barriers and the blurriness of the civilizational “fault line” between Europe and northern Eurasia in the Russian plain also could explain why Belarus so often became an unfortunate “corridor” for European invasions into Russia and why the territory modern Ukraine was and is so often torn by civil war with the participation of external forces.

For this reason, perhaps it would be better to rethink the classical concept of a distinct Eurasian civilization, although its elements certainly exist, in favor of the image of a broader “Euro-Eurasian” civilization.

Or, we might assume that the Eurasian civilization, which the classical Eurasianists wrote about, is an “Oriental variety” of the global Western super-civilization. This thought was shared by both the Russian philosopher Alexander Zinoviev[10] and the founder of the pan-European movement Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi[11].

If modern Europe grew out of the evolution of Western Rome, then northern Eurasia might be considered a descendant and successor of Eastern Rome – Byzantium. And if Belarusians, Russians and Armenians more or less are directly connected with the Byzantine cultural heritage – through Christian Orthodoxy, then the Muslim and Buddhist peoples of the post-Soviet space are connected indirectly through their Europeanization, which occurred under the influence of Russia during the periods of the Russian Empire, the USSR and in modern times. At the same time, the steppe nomad and Asian elements in the cultures of most of the peoples of the post-Soviet space once again emphasize the Eurasian character of this “Byzantine” (East Roman) branch of the global Western super-civilization[12].

This could form the cultural argument towards the notion that the only way out of the closed cycle of confrontation between Russia and Europe can only be the creation of a common economic space from Lisbon to Vladivostok, i.e. between the EU and the EAEU.

In addition, this scenario is further supported by German and Austrian research that clearly shows the potential economic benefits that the EU and the EAEU could gain from the synergy of their factors of production[13].

Europeans, sure. But Eurasians?

As said above, the weakness of the civilizational approach to justify modern Eurasian integration lies in the difficulty of clearly and unequivocally defining the western borders of the Eurasian civilization.

But this is not the only problem. Even if one agrees with the assertion that a distinct civilization exists in the post-Soviet space, even if it is “Euro-Eurasian” and an Oriental variety of the Western super-civilization, then still the larger part of the population of the post-Soviet countries are not aware of this fact. Unlike Europe, where the self-identification of “we are all Europeans” is in many respects the indisputable subject of modern European integration, in the CIS countries and in the EAEU, the identity of “we are all Eurasians” has not been fully developed yet. Therefore the category of a “Eurasian” identity cannot yet serve as the political subject of modern Eurasian integration.

So far, among the peoples of the post-Soviet space, self-identification dominates either with Europe or with its own ethnic group or nation[14].

This does not mean that the category of “Eurasians” does not exist at all. Potentials for its final formation certainly exist. Already, many representatives of the intelligentsia from Brest to Tashkent are in all seriousness calling themselves Eurasians. The history of civilizations and the evolution of cultures does not stop in the 21st century and the longer the Eurasian Economic Union will exist and successfully work, the wider will be the proportion of people who are likely to consider themselves to be Eurasians.

Synthesis as an advantage

However, the blurring of the western borders of the Eurasian civilization and the lack of the category of “Eurasians” as a historical and political subject of modern Eurasian integration are not only a problem, but also a competitive advantage – no matter how contradictory this may sound.

On the one hand, the EAEU itself is trying to provide the prerequisites in order to become an independent and competitive pole in the world market. Moreover, as mentioned above, as the EAEU strengthens and its importance for the economic development of its member states rises, the number of people wishing to call themselves Eurasians will gradually increase.

The desire to develop such a Eurasian pole (subject) in the economic, political, and, retrospectively, in the historical dimension, should certainly be welcomed and supported.

However, at the same time, one should condemn attempts to artificially construe an ostensibly independent or even isolated “Eurasian civilization” by trying to dig up every implausible justification. The worst version of such attempts to exaggerate the Eurasian “otherness” is the concept of a “Fortress Eurasia”.

On the contrary, Eurasia is often called a crossroads of cultures and civilizations. It is a wide and open space, where for centuries people have been resettling and uniting, and where not only goods, but also ideas were exchanged along the Silk Road(s). This spatial openness, this synthesis of the ideas and principles of West and East is depicted on the EAEU logo and is a unique feature. Neither Europe, nor Africa, nor Asia, nor North America, nor even South America, where European, African and Native American peoples mixed and intermingled, can boast of such a rich history of interaction of such a large number of peoples, cultures and civilizations as Eurasia, in particular – northern Eurasia, i.e. the post-Soviet space.

In this regard, it would be foolish not to take advantage of this unique advantage in the further construction of the Eurasian integration project. The key expression of this idea is the concept of a “Greater Eurasia” or “Greater Eurasian Partnership”, which implies the creation of a complex network of free trade zones, the integration of regional integration projects and the connection of continental transport corridors throughout the wider Eurasian continent. The result would be the creation of a common space „from Lisbon to Shanghai“. The main goal would be to promote economic prosperity and the development of the welfare of the national economies through different formats and degrees of economic integration of the mainland[15].

At the same time, one should not think that this Eurasian spatial openness for the perception and transmission of external impulses is evidence that wider Eurasia in general and the EAEU in particular are only an empty object for fertilization by external forces. Rather, spatial openness is one of the attributes of the Eurasian subject.

Mixed economy

Previous reflections lead us to the question of the economic model in modern Eurasianism.

Here, first of all, it ought to be stated that, in contrast to Europe, the economies of most of the post-Soviet countries are characterized by a market economy structure with significant government involvement.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, in Russia, Belarus and other post-Soviet countries a dispute has arisen and is actively going on between supporters of the Western school of liberal capitalism, on the one hand, and a national view in favor of economic statism, on the other.

Unfortunately, too often these liberal and statist economists have been guided not by empirical observations, but by their own dogmas, which either do not meet the criteria of scientificness or are true “in principle”, but only under conditions typical for developed OECD countries.

On this background, the economic school of modern Eurasianism complies with the above-stated principle of pragmatism. The pragmatic approach in the Eurasianist political economy is expressed in three aspects: firstly, that Eurasian economic policy should be based solely on the results of empirical research and on a scientific approach.

Secondly, that it has to take into account the conditions of post-Soviet reality in the socio-economic, legal and political dimensions. For example, certain principles developed as part of the EU monetary policy can be viewed as universally applicable. At the same time, one cannot blindly copy the monetary policy of the EU and the eurozone to apply it in the Eurasian Economic Union due to the many differences between them: higher inflation rates, volatility of exchange rates, a less effective monetary transmission mechanism, etc[16].

Thirdly, the Eurasianist political economy combines the principles of economic competitiveness and social justice. Normally, such a balance is ensured by a good combination of market liberalization with government regulation and social transfer. This aspect, of course, is still more related to the national economic policies of the EAEU member states rather than to the integration agenda as a whole. This is primarily due to the fact that such important areas of economic regulation as industrial and fiscal policy were only partially transferred to the supranational level.

On the one hand, the history of the world economy and most economic studies show that a liberal market economy is more efficient than a planned economy. Moreover, the experience of countries such as Germany and that of Scandinavia shows that only liberal market economies are productive enough as to accumulate the necessary surplus of wealth, which then can be redistributed among the citizens in the form of a high level of social security. In Europe, this model of a socially oriented market economy has worked quite successfully for the past 70 years[17].

On the other hand, in most countries with a Soviet heritage we notice the prevalence of a developing nature of legal and civil institutions, a dominant position of the public sector and a raw material orientation of exports. In such conditions, moreover, in the context of catching up with technological competition, the preservation of an important role of the public sector and of state development programs seems appropriate[18]. It is this combination of market and statist principles that the classical Eurasianists already proposed in their program manifestos for the time “after the Communist regime”[19],[20],[21]

Eurasia of Nations

One of the fundamental theses of classical Eurasianism is a call for the preservation and development of the cultural identity of each of the peoples of the world. At the same time, this slogan has nothing to do with some kind of separatist provincialism or narrow-national chauvinism. Simply put, according to the “formula” developed as part of the civilizational approach of the classical Eurasianists[22]: a certain group of (sub-) ethnic groups is part of a certain peoples (nation) and a certain number of peoples (nations) make up a specific civilization (union, i,e. regional integration bloc). Like the Russian “matryoshka” doll. For example, the Bavarians are part of the German peoples, which are the core population of the Federal Republic of Germany, which, in turn, is part of European civilization and the European Union. Another example: the Tatars are part of the multi-ethnic Russian peoples forming the Russian Federation, one of the EAEU member states.

In Eurasianism, ethnic or local patriotism does neither contradict national patriotism nor wider civilizational patriotism. On the contrary, as part of one civilization, patriotisms of different levels complement each other.

Out of this call for the preservation and development of cultural identities, as well as from this thesis of “multi-level patriotisms”, modern Eurasianism derives two approaches to regional integration.

At the national level, Eurasianists would prefer a federal structure in those countries where their multi-ethnic nature is evident. That is why most of the pro-EAEU political forces in Ukraine on the eve and during the Maidan protests in 2014 continuously called for the federalization of the country[23]. Potentially, if this federalization would have been realized, then the intra-Ukrainian civil war might have been prevented and the Ukrainian state might have preserved the territories that it had then lost.

At the supranational level, the Eurasianist approach to regional integration presupposes the primacy of the principles of the supremacy of national sovereignty and of non-interference in the internal affairs of states. According to the Eurasianists, it is the states that guarantee the preservation and development of the cultural identity of the peoples that form them, which implies the principle of the inadmissibility of interference by external and supranational forces in the historically established specificities of their political and social structures.

In this regard, modern integration processes within the framework of the Eurasian Economic Union are characterized by another important feature, apart from the two that have been mentioned at the beginning of the article (the re-integration nature and economic “domination” of Russia): a rather weak supranational component and the predominant role of intergovernmental modes of decision making[24]. In the EAEU administrative hierarchy, the supranational EEC Board is at the lowest level, below three intergovernmental bodies (the EEC Council, the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council and the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council), where each member state has an equal vote and decisions are made by consensus.

On the one hand, many experts rightly see this as a weakness that slows down integration and limits its effectiveness. On the other hand, this property can, again, be presented as a competitive advantage and attractive feature of the EAEU compared with other integration projects, for example, with the EU. As a researcher at the University of Cambridge, David Lane, writes: the Eurasian Union horizontally creates democratic conditions between its member states, whereas the European Union from above imposes “democratization” at its discretion within states[25].

Along with this, the Eurasian Economic Union has not yet been assigned supranational competencies on humanitarian and cultural cooperation. Many politicians and representatives of the intelligentsia of the member states oppose the addition of such powers to the agenda of exclusively economic integration within the EAEU, since they equate cultural cooperation with the politicization of integration processes in favor of Moscow’s alleged „hegemonic ambitions”.

However, such suspicion could be erroneous. Adding elements of cultural cooperation to economic integration does not necessarily lead to political unification.

Firstly, research shows that humanitarian cooperation successfully complements economic integration, increasing its effectiveness. For example: to complete the creation a single labor market it is necessary to cooperate in the field of education and in order to conduct a Union-wide industrial policy it is essential to cooperate in the scientific and technical sphere[26].

Secondly, as already mentioned above, it is extremely important not to force the emergence of a general Eurasian patriotism. For the citizens of the member states, self-identification with the concept of “being Eurasian” has to occur voluntarily and gradually based on the success of the Eurasian integration project.

The EAEU’s role is not so much in political unification of the post-Soviet space or imposition of a Eurasian civilizational community, but as a tool for the preservation and development of the cultural identities of each of the Eurasian peoples and member-states individually. And of course, this does not contradict the above stated principle of „multi-level patriotism“.

It is in this light that the Eurasian Economic Union can offer an attractive alternative to the European project, where the trends of Americanization, open border policies, multiculturalism, deconstruction of European nation states and cultures prevail.

In 2013 Russian president Vladimir Putin expressed this exact notion rather nicely in a famous speech held at the Valdai think-tank:

“We can see how many of the Euro-Atlantic countries are actually rejecting their roots, including the Christian values that constitute the basis of Western civilization. They are denying moral principles and all traditional identities: national, cultural, religious and even sexual. […] In Europe and some other countries so-called multiculturalism is in many respects a transplanted, artificial model that is now being questioned, for understandable reasons. This is because it is based on paying for the colonial past. It is no accident that today European politicians and public figures are increasingly talking about the failures of multiculturalism, and that they are not able to integrate foreign languages or foreign cultural elements into their societies. […] The future Eurasian Economic Union, which we have declared and which we have discussed extensively as of late, is not just a collection of mutually beneficial agreements. The Eurasian Union is a project for maintaining the identity of nations in the historical Eurasian space in a new century and in a new world. […] I want to stress that Eurasian integration will also be built on the principle of diversity. This is a union where everyone maintains their identity, their distinctive character and their political independence”[27].

In this sense, the EAEU could formally proclaim the slogan of building a “Eurasia of Nations” as a futuristic eastern echo to Charles de Gaulle’s concept of a “Europe of Nations”.

Geographic determinism

As already said, the culturological outline of the borders of the Eurasian civilization, proposed in classical Eurasianism, has its weaknesses. Against this background, the geographic determinism, which is embedded in classical Eurasian theory turned out to be much more stable and successful in framing the borders of northern Eurasia.

The main figures of the classical Eurasian movement, such as Peter Savitsky, Nicolas Trubetskoy and George Vernadsky, clearly showed in their works: firstly, that there are clear geographical and climatic features that contribute to the internal unity and shape the external borders of the northern Eurasian space, i.e. the historical territory of the former Russian Empire and the former Soviet Union [28],[29],[30].

Secondly, that economic integration is the only reliable way to compensate and overcome the negative aspects of the geographical and climatic features of the northern Eurasian space.

It is this geographical determinism that is another unique feature of Eurasian integration. Contemporary research on this topic is being developed by the former chief economist of the Eurasian Development Bank (EDB) and now the chief economist of the Russian Sberbank, Yaroslav Lisovolik.

There is an unprecedented distance of Greater Eurasia’s hinterland/heartland, where most of the EAEU’s territory lies, from the global ocean and accordingly from international markets. Four out of five of the EAEU’s member states are landlocked: Kazakhstan is the largest landlocked country in the world. Belarus is the largest landlocked country in Europe. Kyrgyzstan, apart from being landlocked, is among the countries with one of the highest levels of elevation above sea level in the world. Armenia is the only country of Western Asia without access to a sizeable water space.

In view of the higher transportation costs faced by landlocked economies they are less competitive, as imports and exports are more expensive. According to research by the World Bank, landlocked countries have on average 30 per cent lower trade turnover than countries with access to the sea; continentality reduces a country’s growth rate by 1.5 per cent as compared to coastal countries. Here, the founding of the Eurasian Economic Union can be seen as an answer to this geographic problem, since the EAEU performs a crucial role of improving the access of its members to international markets via reducing customs duties and non-tariff barriers, as well as by advancing connectivity in transportation through the formation of a common transportation space.

Golden mean

As has probably become noticeable throughout this article that the central “spirit” of classical and pragmatic Eurasianism is the dialectical approach, i.e. the desire in all phenomena, and especially in its normative part, to find a synthesis and a middle ground between opposing principles: West and East, private economy and the state, ethnic, national and civilizational patriotisms, etc.

The dialectical approach is a fairly simple and understandable rule on how to approach problem solving in all spheres of life and social development. In the desire to find balance in everything there is a certain intuitive truth, like the eastern philosophy of „yin and yang.“

At the same time the approach of finding a golden mean excludes extremes from both sides. In this sense it is opposed to populism which by definition tries to give glaring and simple answers do complex problems of the society.

Summary

So far, the classical Eurasianist theory has had little influence on Russian foreign policy. Despite some rather superficial references by the EAEU’s high-level policy makers, it is rarely used in the official rhetoric on modern Eurasian integration. Classical Eurasianism focuses on culturological, historiosophical and civilizational aspects of the northern Eurasia. However, as so far, exactly these aspects were of little relevance to contemporary integration in the post-Soviet space.

Firstly, the classical Eurasianist civilizational approach is flawed by the fact that the original myth of “Eurasia” has not yet developed, that a supranational self-identification of being “Eurasian” is just beginning, and that it is difficult to determine the border between European and Eurasian civilizations proper. For example, the European Union’s self-branding often refers to the famous ancient Greek myth about „Europa“, a young Phoenician princess that was kidnapped by the Zeus in the form of a white bull, which subsequently gave the name to the continent. “Eurasia” has no comparable myth. It is actually possible that the term was first used by the German explorer Alexander von Humboldt.

Secondly, there is an internal consensus between the EAEU heads of state not to create a political union. No significant cooperation in the cultural dimension is envisaged as well. The EAEU Treaty signed in 2014 puts forward a pragmatic and purely economic integration agenda which mirrors the national interests of the Union’s member states and is based on the logic of Western integration theory, mainly the concepts of cooperative hegemony and liberal intergovernmentalism. At least in its intentions, the EAEU declares the supremacy of national sovereignty and democratic relations between member states.

In the future we might see high-level policymakers appeal more frequently to the ideas of the classical Eurasianists, such as: spatial openness of northern Eurasia; mixed or even socially oriented market economy; the preservation of cultural identities and multi-level patriotisms; geographical determinism of the development of Eurasia; and a dialectical non-populist approach.

However, these concepts are far from the negative interpretation currently given to them by Western scholars and journalists. Only the notion about “the preservation of cultural identities” might be deemed problematic in the contemporary Western discourse.

In conclusion: The modern EAEU is defined by pragmatic Eurasianism. We might see a stronger appeal to some classical Eurasianist concepts in the future. Yet even they are not so different from the ideas that set the foundations of the modern European Union.


[1] E.g. Claude Forthomme (2019. The Deadly Ideology Driving Putin: Eurasianism. // https://impakter.com/deadly-ideology-putin-eurasianism/

[2] E.g. Andreas Umland (2018).

Post-Soviet Neo-Eurasianism, the Putin System, and the Contemporary European Extreme Right. // https://foreignpolicyblogs.com/2018/09/28/post-soviet-neo-eurasianism-the-putin-system-and-the-contemporary-european-extreme-right/

[3] Richard N. Coudenhove-Kalergi (1923). Pan-Europa. (In German). // http://greater-europe.org/archives/4652

[4] European Commission (2012). The founding fathers of the EU. // http://europa.rs/images/publikacije/osnivaci_EU_en.pdf

[5] E.g. Vladimir Putin (2014). Eurasianism is especially significant for Russia. (In Russian). // http://eurasian-studies.org/archives/12766

[6] E.g. International news agency “RIA Novosti” (2015). Nazarbayev: Eurasianism is a unifying idea for all residents of Kazakhstan. (In Russian). // https://ria.ru/20150311/1051931691.html

[7] E.g. Nursultan Nazarbayev (2011). Eurasian Union: from idea to future history. (In Russian). // https://iz.ru/news/504908

[8] Evgeny Vinokurov (2013). Pragmatic Eurasianism. // https://eng.globalaffairs.ru/number/Pragmatic-Eurasianism–16050

[9] Alexander Libman, Evgeny Vinokurov (2012). Holding-Together Regionalism: Twenty Years of Post-Soviet Integration.

[10] Alexander Zinoviev (2003). The ideology of the party of the future.

[11] Richard N. Coudenhove-Kalergi (1923). Pan-Europa. (In German). // http://greater-europe.org/archives/4652

[12] This notion is also outlined in the book by the British intellectual and Eurasianist Henry Norman Spalding: Henry N. Spalding (1928). Russia in Resurrection. A summary of the views and of the aims of a new Party in Russia.

[13] Felbermayr, Aichele, Gröschl. (2016). Free trade from Lisbon to Vladivostok: who benefits, who losses from a Eurasian trade agreement? (In German). ifo Forschungsberichte No. 79. // https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/167439/1/ifo-Forschungsberichte-79.pdf

[14] Eurasian Development Bank (2017).  Integration Barometer. // https://eabr.org/en/analytics/integration-research/cii-reports/edb-integration-barometer-2017-/

[15] International Discussion Club “Valdai” (2019). To the Great Ocean: a chronicle of a turn to the East. (In Russian). // http://ru.valdaiclub.com/files/28988/

[16] Eurasian Development Bank (2017). Monetary Policy of EAEU Member States: Current Status and Coordination Prospects. // https://eabr.org/upload/iblock/3c1/edb_centre_2017_analytical_summary_report_42_eng.pdf

[17] ifo Institute (2019). 70 years of social market economy – what future has our economic system?  (In German). // https://www.ifo.de/DocDL/sd-2019-11-2019-06-13_9.pdf

[18] Oliver Falck (2019). Do we need an active European industrial policy? (In German). // https://www.ifo.de/DocDL/sd-2019-10-falck-european-industriepolitik-2019-05-23.pdf

[19] Eurasian Organization (1932). Eurasianism: declaration, wording, theses. (In Russian). // http://eurasian-studies.org/archives/9108

[20] Peter Savitsky (1926). On the Question of the Economic Doctrine of Eurasianism. (In Russian). // http://eurasian-studies.org/archives/9763

[21] Svyatoskalv Malevsky-Malevich (1972). USSR today and tomorrow.

[22] In the writings of the classical Eurasianists, this formula is found in the form of the concept on the “symphonic personality”. E.g. Eurasian Publishing House (1926). Eurasianism. The experience of systematic presentation. (In Russian).

[23] Yuri Georgievsky (2015). On the activities of Ukrainian Eurasianists in Ukraine before the Russian Spring. // http://eurasian-movement.ru/archives/14597

[24] Yuri Kofner (2019). Pragmatic Eurasianism. Four approaches for better understanding the Eurasian Economic Union. // http://neweasterneurope.eu/2019/03/15/pragmatic-eurasianism-four-approaches-for-better-understanding-the-eurasian-economic-union%EF%BB%BF/

[25] David Lane (2017). Going Forward: The Eurasian Economic Union, The European Union And The Others. // http://greater-europe.org/archives/3110

[26] Evgeny Vinokurov (2018). Introduction to the Eurasian Economic Union.

[27] Administration of the President of the Russian Federation (2013). Meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club. // http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/19243

[28] E.g.: Peter Savitsky  (1933). Geographical and geopolitical foundations of Eurasianism. (In Russian). // http://eurasian-studies.org/archives/8015  

[29] Peter Savitsky (1921). Continent-Ocean: Russia and the world market. In: Exodus to the East. Premonitions and accomplishments. The statement of the Eurasianists. Book 1. (In Russian). // http://eurasian-studies.org/archives/11157

[30] A brief listing of these geographical and climatic features can be found here: Yuri Kofner (2017). The National Identity of Russia in the 21st Century. // http://greater-europe.org/archives/3374

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The solution to the global food and ecological crisis: artificial meat from Silicon Valley?


Here we want to discuss the Youtube video „Eat animals“ (Tiere essen ) by David Precht on the world food crisis. Not the usual veggie day morals, but the solution of meat consumption by means of the artificial meat from Silicon Valley. In this area now flow more investments than in artificial intelligence and it could be the solution to the world food crisis and the eco-crisis, which is why such investment has such a priority in Silicon Valley. Although if you think of Silicon Valley you are thinking of digitization, quantum computers, microchips, the Internet of Things, Industry 4.0, autonomous driving, artificial intelligence and computer algorithms, but nanotechnology, and biotechnology are leading the way, as evidenced in the writings of Ray Kurzweil and his book „Singularity“ that envisions a posthuman fusion of man with machine and biotechnology and genetic engineering. A lot of science fiction, and a lot of spinning, a lot is being tested, but the main investments of the Silicon Valley are going into the technology of the artificial meat, and that is already feasible and is already produced, albeit not yet in mass production.


According to Precht, the cost of an artificial meat burger has dropped from initially 330 000 euros in 5 years to 80 euros and will soon be available soon for 1-2 euros and thus mass compatible and thus the challenge for natural meat. Of course, first of all it would be necessary to check whether the eschatological world salvation promises of David Precht are technologically and economically correct or whether Precht does not make himself the uncritical advocate of the Californian ideology and the PR promoter of the Silicon Valley. Elon Musk also invests in many projects, of which Space X and Tesla are successful, but already the Hyperloop and other projects are on weak legs. Investment volume does not say anything about the success of such investments. Scientific history is paved with bad investments. It is quite possible that the scientifically, technologically and economically less well-educated philosopher and humanities scientist Precht got an overdose of Californian ideology. Likewise, the question remains whether artificial meat would prevail against cultural resistance.

A friend wrote in response:

„I think that way is the wrong way, because all these things lack the essential element that I would like to call „souled nature“or „soulful nature“. After all, all these retort creations are not beneficial to our health, as we already experience with GMO food, the frequency of these creations does not correspond to ours. Since most people have „no antenna“ for such a thing, we are running in the wrong direction like the lemmings.

Imho there is only one way: a radical global reduction of birth rates. For this, the UN would have to raise the bell as a voice and control authority. But since, in such questions, our Asians, Latinos, and Africans have the majority in voting procedures, that is, our representatives of the unrestrained „child blessing,“ it requires greater persuasion and effort from the „awakened“ industrialized nations.
But perhaps the problem is also regulated by nature itself, because with our growing misconduct. it is already measurable our life expectancy is reduced, a steadily rising repair medicine obscures that a little, and sperm fertility has been steadily decreasing for 2 decades according to the research report.“

But it is actually natural meat, which is bred from natural meat. Soulful nature sounds religious, even a little bit pantheistic, has probably the idea that what has no soul, can not be healthy either. Apart from the question of whether there is a soul and nature, man or an animal or even plants have a soul, apart from whether or not one believes in the more panthesistic idea of a „soulful/souled nature“, it would make sense to first research whether the artificial meat is harmless to humans. Before it comes to production and use, it should first be explored whether it has harmful effects on the human organism. Especially since it also depends on the production process, such as whether growth hormones or other growth-promoting substances are added with already have known effects.

Nevertheless, one should address such innovations and sometimes even further think about their possible consequences.

Although meat consumption in Germany is increasingly questioned and 10% of the population are now vegetarians, this is marginal on a global scale, with meat consumption rising as a result of the population explosion, as well as billions of Indians, Chinese and Africans eating more and more meat. Once India was a veggie nation with the Dall dish in particular, but it has become a carnivore nation today, the largest beef exporter despite sacred cows and meat consumption will continue to grow. And China and Taiwan are no longer the rice nations they were so eager to idealize themselves, though they ate anything that had more than 2 legs, as well as there was cannibalism during the Cultural Revolution in Guangxi and elsewhere (Jung Chang: Mao), not because of famine and there are also dog restaurants in Beijing, although the northern Chinese want to attribute these culinary excesses rather to the southern Chinese. At least one is criticized by the Chinese, if you order more vegetarian food or rice to the extent, why you order this „poor people food“, which also shows that here the meat consumption is more related to status issues.


Before trying to compensate for the global protein supply of humanity by insect food, there is now an innovation: artificial meat. Invitro meat. No science fiction: Meat that is already bred from meat cells today and in the future in mass production in silos, by means of 3d printers or what still exists .No genetic engineering, but in the broadest sense reproduction technology. It does not breed a whole chicken, but only the chicken thigh, does not fatten a whole goose but only breeds the goose liver, etc. No science fiction, but is already done and the prices fall rapidly. No more factory farming, no more destruction of the rainforests and deforestation, no more waste that pollutes the groundwater, no more cruelty to animals and no more animal transports, no chick shredding, no more vegetarianism and veganism as the only way out, no more ecological disaster and the organic farmers, the bio farmers are no longer the good guys. While vegetarians and vegans criticize this because the change is happening technologically and from the outside and not from the inside by a change in consciousness and thinking, David Precht sees here rather the problem that the companies have the patents on the manufacturing processes and monopolize the production chain as Montesano monopolizes seed.

Exciting social debates and conflicts will be the result: Quasi-religious and moral vegetarians, vegans, regional and organic farmers, and conventional agriculture business and factory animal farmers then would unite against „artificial meat“ for very different reasons, but in the consensus that you want nothing „artificial“, but only „natural“. But the artificial meat producers will then argue that their product is not artificial, but meat from natural meat cells, so very natural, even without chemistry and no genetic engineering, especially just without cruelty against animals, the waste and contamination of groundwater, without deforestation, that artificial meat will prevent the food and ecological disaster. It will be exciting to see how the established parties position themselves, especially the CDU / CSU wich is obedient to the established agricultural lobby and the Greens, whose members often are vegetarians and vegans, but they also could also face problems with animal rights activists. The AfD is likely to be against artificial, un-German meat, which damages the peasantry, its sacred soil, and the previous business model.


We live in a time of new disruptive technologies and disruptive social changes. New means and technologies of production will be tried out, much will be tested after the try and error procedure, and the social forces will be rearranged and restructure themselves. The result is open and is currently being attempted to be understood and adapted, with some hoping for a 1970s Germany or going back further in history, while others want to rush forward a futuristic future, to a supposed new modernity of progress The latter is not the case in Germany, the energy transition and digitization threatens to fail and you talk more about flying taxis and e-scooters, but not about the really crucial issues. For example, artificial meat.

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Interview mit General a.D. Wittmann zur AfD in der Bundeswehr:“Aber der wichtigste Grund ist die Verharmlosung der Verbrechen des Nationalsozialismus“

Global Review wollte ein Interview mit General a.D. Wittmann führen, dessen Offenen Brief gegen die AfD-Infiltration der Bundeswehr wir schon veröffentlicht hatten. Aus Zeitgründen konnte General a.D. Wittmann unsere Fragen nicht beantworten und hat uns den Nachdruck eines Inteviews genehmigt, das von der Neuen Berliner Presse mit ihm gehalten und an zahlreiche Regionalzeitungen verbreitet wurde. Hier das Interview und danach nochmals die Interviewfragen, die wir gestellt hatten. Vielleicht werden diese durch den Nachdruck des Interviews teilweise beantwortet.

Herr Wittmann, warum halten Sie es für unzulässig, dass Soldaten sich der AfD anschließen?

Wittmann Ich halte es nicht für unzulässig, aber persönlich könnte ich diese Partei nie wählen – allein schon wegen ihres Führungspersonals. Aber der wichtigste Grund ist die Verharmlosung der Verbrechen des Nationalsozialismus. Ich verweise nur auf den Ausspruch von AfD-Chef Alexander Gauland von Hitler und NS-Zeit als „ein Vogelschiss“ in 1000 Jahren erfolgreicher deutscher Geschichte. Das schlägt allem ins Gesicht, was wir in der Bundeswehr an politischer Bildung, Erinnerungskultur und Traditionsrichtlinien pflegen.

Unterwandert die AfD die Bundeswehr?

Wittmann Der CDU-Politiker Friedrich Merz hat jedenfalls nicht ganz unrecht mit seiner Sorge, dass Bundeswehr und Polizei tendenziell an die AfD verloren gehen könnten. Es gibt Anzeichen dafür, dass diese Partei sehr bewusst versucht, Soldaten in die AfD hineinzuziehen.

Welche Anzeichen?

Wittmann In Hannover kandidiert nun der ehemalige Luftwaffen-General Joachim Wundrak als AfD-Kandidat für das Amt des Oberbürgermeisters. Der erste Drei-Sterne-General, der sich öffentlich zu dieser Partei bekannt hat. Es gibt  Berichte, wonach unter den rund 35 000 AfD-Mitgliedern  circa 2000 Berufssoldaten sind – wobei solche Schätzungen nicht überprüfbar sind. Und dann hat die AfD im Bundestag vor Kurzem ein Strategiepapier zur „Streitkraft Bundeswehr“ vorgelegt: Das liest sich zunächst sehr glatt, enthält aber eine Menge sehr problematischer Einzelheiten. Das alles kann man schon Unterwanderung nennen.

Was ist problematisch an dem Strategiepapier?

Wittmann Es enthält einerseits viel Selbstverständliches, es nennt unstrittige Defizite beim Namen. Aber es gibt auch sehr rückwärtsgewandte Passagen. Zum Beispiel die Forderung, die deutsche Armee müsse in der Lage sein, das deutsche Staatsgebiet 20 Tage lang autonom zu verteidigen, wofür ein deutscher Generalstab zu bilden sei. Das lehne ich ab.

In dem Papier fällt ja vor allem die Sprache auf, zum Beispiel die Formulierung, jeder einzelne Soldat müsse zum „unerbittlichen Kampf im Gefecht“ befähigt und motiviert werden.

Wittmann Natürlich muss die Bundeswehr tapfer kämpfen, das ist ja Teil des Diensteids. Aber diese Formulierung, vor allem das Wort „unerbittlich“, erinnert mich an Nazi-Durchhaltebefehle: Es wird Rücksichtslosigkeit eingefordert. Da sehe ich einen Widerspruch zu den Wertvorstellungen der Bundeswehr und auch zum Kriegsvölkerrecht.

Es gibt nun Streit um den Kommandeur Innere Führung, Generalmajor Reinhardt Zudrop. Er soll in einer internen Dienstversammlung gegenüber Untergebenen die AfD als nicht wählbar für Soldaten erklärt haben. Die AfD wittert einen Skandal und fordert seine Suspendierung.

Wittmann Jeder Staatsbürger und damit jeder Soldat hat natürlich das Recht, die Partei zu wählen, die er will. Deswegen gibt es im Dienstrecht die Vorschrift zur Zurückhaltung der Vorgesetzten. Ob dagegen verstoßen wurde, wird nun geprüft. Ich halte es aber grundsätzlich für angemessen, dass man in der Bundeswehr auch sagt, dass man diese Partei nicht wählt und warum – und dass man sich  vor allem auch kritisch mit ihren   Vorstellungen  über die künftige Bundeswehr auseinandersetzt.

Was sollte mit Zudrop geschehen, wenn er tatsächlich das Neutralitätsgebot verletzt hat?

Wittmann Wenn der Kommandeur tatsächlich über das Ziel hinausgeschossen sein sollte, sind ja mehrere Konsequenzen denkbar; auch eine Belehrung oder Ermahnung zum Beispiel. Ich warne vor einer Dramatisierung nach dem Motto: Der General muss weg. Damit wäre die Forderung der AfD erfüllt – und das würde ich für sehr schwerwiegend halten.

Warum ist die AfD attraktiv für Militärangehörige?

Wittmann Die Bundeswehr ist natürlich Abbild der Gesellschaft. Wenn in der Bevölkerung zehn bis 15 Prozent die AfD wählen – warum sollte  das in der Truppe ganz  anders sein?  Zudem ist es soziologisch altbekannt, dass uniformierte Männerbünde wie Bundeswehr oder Polizei eine gewisse Anziehungskraft auf Leute mit Vorliebe für autoritäre Strukturen ausüben. Damit dennoch nicht die Falschen kommen, haben wir sorgfältige Überprüfungen durch den Militärischen Abschirmdienst und klare Konsequenzen bei extremistischen Vorkommnissen.

Im Osten wirbt die AfD für sich mit dem Argument, den Enttäuschten eine Stimme zu geben. Gilt das auch für die Bundeswehr?

Wittmann Es gibt dort natürlich Enttäuschungen über die Defizite und die Langsamkeit, mit der diese  behoben werden: Das Zwei-Prozent-Ziel wird bestritten, Beschaffung und Instandhaltung sind strukturell ineffizient – in der öffentlichen Wahrnehmung: Die U-Boote tauchen nicht, die Panzer fahren nicht, die Flugzeuge fliegen nicht. Zum anderen gibt es Defizite in unserer Diskussion über Sicherheitspolitik; zu wenig Rückhalt im Parlament und zu wenig öffentliches Interesse.

Wie könnte man dem begegnen?

Wittmann Ich werbe zum Beispiel für eine jährliche Grundsatzdebatte  im Bundestag über die Sicherheitspolitik. Bislang ist das allenfalls bei den Mandatsverlängerungen Routine-Thema.

Helfen Freifahrtkarten für Soldaten bei der Bahn?

Wittmann Es mag symbolisch erscheinen, aber wenn damit die Bundeswehr  in der Öffentlichkeit wieder etwas sichtbarer ist und die Soldaten sich  stärker gewürdigt fühlen, ist das sicher nicht schlecht.

Mit General a.D. Klaus Wittmann sprachen Guido Bohsem
und Ellen Hasenkamp

https://www.lr-online.de/nachrichten/politik/interview-mit-klaus-wittmann-_kann-man-schon-unterwanderung-nennen_-39642917.html

Global Review: General Wittmann, Sie haben einen offenen Brief an den ehemaligen 3 -Sternegeneral Wundrak geschrieben, in dem Sie dessen Mitgliedschaft in der und Kandidatur für die  AfD kritisieren. Inzwischen sollen über 20% der Bundeswehrangehörigen AfD wählen, viele Bundeswehrler Mitglied sein,aber was hat Sie konkret bewogen zum jetzigen Zeitpunkt zu agieren? Dass bisher nur niedere Ränge wie Junge oder Pazderski das Problem waren oder dass  nun ein hochrangiger Militär übergelaufen ist? Sehen Sie da wie die ehemalige Verteidigungsministerin von der Leyen ein Haltungsproblem in der Truppe?

Global Review: Wie schätzen Sie denn die AfD selbst ein? Ist dies eine rechtsradikale Partei, eine NPD light, eine parteigewordene Harzburger Front zwischen Nationalkonservativen und Rechtsradikalen? Oder nur eine weitere konservative Partei oder nur eine Protestpartei?

Global Review: Womit erklären Sie sich die AfD-Zugehörigkeit von so vielen Bundeswehrangehörigen? Ist es das Geschichtsbild, das vielzitierte Haltungsproblem und die Hoffnung auf die Rückkehr zu einem Militärstaat nach preußiischen Vorbild und einer Großmachtrolle für Deutschland in der Welt oder mehr die Unzufriedenheit über die kaputtgesparte und desolate Bundeswehr?Sind weitere Erosionserscheinungen in der Truppe wahrscheinlich?

Global Review: Für wie gefährlich halten Sie die Forderung der AfD nach einem „Aufstand der Generäle“? Sind Szenarien wie der Kappputsch oder der Ludendorf/Hitlerputsch zu erwarten, vielleicht auch noch in Verbindung mit rechtsradikalen Massenaufmärschen und -demos vor dem Kanzeleramt oder Bundestag, wie Höcke, Gauland und Meuthen dies gerne würden?

Global Review: Sie haben in ihrem offenen Brief auf das Soldatengesetz verwiesen. Die AfD hat nun den Spieß umgedreht und im Zusammenhang mit dem Chef der Inneren Führung Zudrop, der vor der AfD warnt ebenso auf das Soldatengesetz und die Neutralität von Militärangehörigen hingewiesen. Wie verhält sich das und welche Institution ist zuständig Verletzungen des Soladatengesetzes festzustellen und zu ahnden? Könnte die AfD Klage gegen General Zudrop einreichen und Recht bekommen? Gibt es da Präzedenzfälle oder wäre dies einer?

Global Review: In Ihrem offenen Brief halten Sie viele AfD-Forderungen unter Punkt 3 wie die Wiedereinführung der Wehrpflicht, der Einsatz des Militärs im Inneren, Militärgerichte. u.ä. für entweder illusorisch oder aber für verfassungsmäßig bedenklich. Welcher Staat und welche Rolle des Militärs schwebt der AfD nach Ihrer Meinung nach vor, wenn man das AfD-Programm realisieren würde?

Global Review: Welche Reaktionen gab es auf Ihren offenen Brief von Politik, Medien, Militär im aktiven und nicht mehr aktiven Dienst, bei den Offizieren und an der Basis? Ist das überblickbar? Sind Sie ein Rufer in der Wüste oder warum sind bisher nicht andere offene Briefe gefolgt und hat es keine massenwirksame Diskussion in den Medien darum gegeben?

Global Review: Die Bundeswehr, das britische und das US-Militär hat Pläne in seinen Schubladen wonach bei Klimakatastrophen das Militär der zentrale Krisenmanager wird. Sei es nun in Bezug Katastrophenschutz, sei es in Bezug auf der  Garantie der inneren Ordnung, sei es in der Sicherung der nötigen Infrastrukturen und Bedrohungen im Ausland. Ist unter solch einem Szenario auch eine Art Ökoputsch des Militärs denkbar, weil die politischen und zivilen Stellen nicht ausgerüstet und vorbereitet sind auf solche Szenarien?

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Die Lösung der Welternährungs- und Ökokrise: Kunstfleisch aus dem Silicon Valley?

Anbei ein Youtubevideo von David Precht über die Welternährungskrise. Nicht die übliche Veggieday-Moral, sondern die Lösung des Fleischkonsums mittels des Kunstfleischs aus dem Silicon Valley.In dieses Gebiet fliessen inzwischen mehr Investitionen als in Künstliche Intelligenz und es könnte die Lösung der Welternährungskrise und der Ökokrise sein, weswegen dies eine derartige Priorität im Silicon Valley hat. Mag man zwar bei Silicon Valley an Digitialsierung, Quantencomputer, Mikrochips, Internet of Things, Industrie 4.0, autonomes Fahren, Künstliche Intelligenz, Computeralgorithmen denken, so ist doch die Nano- und Biotechnologie da auch ganz führend, was sich auch in Schriften von Ray Kurzweil und seinem Buch „Singularity“ zeigt, das ein posthuanes Verschmelzen des Menschen mit Maschine und Bio- und Gentechnologie als Vision hat. Viel Science Fiction, viel auch Spinnerei, hier wird gerade viel ausgetestet, aber die Hauptinvestitionen des Sillicon Valley gehen in die Technologie des Kunstfleisches hinein und das ist jetzt schon machbar und wird auch hergestellt, wenngleich noch nicht in Massenproduktion.

Laut Precht sind die Kosten für einen Kunstfleischburger von anfangs 330 000 Euro in 5 Jahren auf 80 Euro zurückgegangen und werde dieser auch schon bald für 1-2 Euro verfügbar und damit massenkompatibel und damit zur Herausforderung für das natürliche Fleisch. Natürlich wäre erst einmal nachzuprüfen, ob die eschastologischen Welterlösungs- und Heilsversprechungen David Prechts technologisch und ökonomisch so stimmen oder ob Precht sich hier nicht zum unkritischen Fürsprecher der kalifornischen Idelogie und der PR-Promotion des Silicon Valley macht. Elon Musk investiert ja auch in viele Projekte, von denen Space X und Tesla efolgreich sind, aber schon der Hyperloop und andere Projekte auf schwachen Beinen stehen. Investitionsvolumen sagen ja noch nichts über die Erfolgsträchtigkeit selbiger Investitionen aus. Die Wissenschaftsgeschichte ist gepflastert mit Fehlinvestitionen. Gut möglich, dass der naturwissenschaftlich, technologisch und ökonomisch weniger versierte Philosoph und Geisteswissenschaftler Precht da eine Überdosis Californian Ideology abbekommen hat. Ebenso bleibt die Frage, ob sich Kunstfleisch auch gegen kulturelle Widerstände durchsetzen würde. So schrieb mir auch ein befreundeter Bekannter als Reaktion:

„Ich halte solche Wege für Irrwege, weil all diesen Dingen das wesentliche Element fehlt, das ich mal als „beseelte Natur“ bezeichnen möchte. Letzten Endes sind all diese Retortenschöpfungen unserer Gesundheit unzuträglich, wie wir jetzt schon mit der GMO Nahrung erleben, die Frequenz dieser Schöpfungen korrespondiert nicht mit der unsrigen. Da die meisten Menschen für so etwas „keine Antenne“ haben, rennen wir wie die Lemminge in die falsche Richtung.

M.E. gibt es nur einen Weg: den einer radikalen weltumspannende Verringerung der Geburtenraten. Dazu müsste sich mal die UN aufraffen als Sprachrohr und Steuerungsauthorität. Da dort aber in solchen Fragen unsere Asiaten, Latinos und Afrikaner die Mehrheit in Abstimmungsprozeduren haben, also unsere Vertreter des ungebremsten „Kindersegens“, bedarf es größerer Überzeugungsarbeit und Kraftanstrengungen der „aufgewachten“ Industrienationen.
Aber vielleicht regelt sich das Problem auch durch die Natur selbst, denn mit unseren wachsenden Fehlverhalten geht bereits messbar unsere Lebenserwartung zurück, eine stetig steigende Reparaturmedizin verschleiert das noch ein wenig, und die Fertilität der Spermien nimmt seit 2 Jahrzehnten laut den Forschungsberichten stetig ab.“

Kunstfleisch hört sich erst einmal gruselig an.Aber es ist eigentlich natürliches Fleisch,das aus natürlichem Fleisch gezüchtet wird. Beseelte Natur hört sich religiös, ja etwas pantheistisch an, hat wohl die Vorstellung,was keine Seele hat,kann auch nicht gesund sein. Abgesehen von der Frage,ob es eine Seele gibt und die Natur, der Mensch oder ein Tier oder gar Pflanzen eine Seele haben , abgesehen davon, ob man nun an die mehr panthesistische Vorstellung einer „besselten Natur“ glaubt oder nicht. wäre es natürlich sinnvoll erst einmal zu erforschen,ob das Kunstfleisch für den Menschen unbedenklich ist. Bevor es zur Produktion und zum Einsatz kommt, wäre erst einmal zu erforschen, ob es schädliche Auswirkungen auf den menschlichen Organismus hat. Zumal es wohl auch auf die Produktionsverfahren ankommt, etwa ob Wachstumshormone oder andere zellvermehrende und wachstumsfördernde Substanzen beigegeben werden, die schon bekannte Auswirkungen haben.

Dennoch sollte man solche Innovationen thematisieren und auch mal weiter auf ihre möglichen Folgen durchdenken.

Mögen zwar in Deutschland immer mehr auf Fleisch verzichten, 10% der Bevölkerung inzwischen Vegetarier sein, so ist dies global betrachtet marginal, zudem der Fleischkonsum infolge der Bevölkerungsexplosion steigen wird, wie auch Milliarden Inder, Chinesen und Afrikaner immer mehr Fleisch essen. War Indien einmal eine Veggie- Nation, bei der es vor allem das Linsengericht Dall gab, so ist es heute eine Fleischfressernation geworden , der größte Rindfleischexporteur trotz heiligen Kühen und wird dies weiter zunehmend werden. Und China und Taiwan sind auch nicht mehr die Reisessernationen, als die sie so gerne idealisert wurden, obgleich da alles gegessen wurde, was mehr als 2 Beine hatte, sowie es auch Kannibalismus während der Kulturrevolution in Guangxi und andernorts gegeben haben soll ( Jung Chang: Mao) , nicht etwa wegen Hungersnot und es in Peking auch Hundelokale gab, obgleich die Nordchinesen diese kulinarischen Exzesse eher den Südchinesen andichten wollen. Zumindestens wird man von Chinesen, wenn man mehr Vegetarisches oder Reis ordert dahingehend kritisiert, warum man dieses „Arme-Leute-Essen“bestelle , was auch zeigt,dass hier der Fleischkonsum eher auch mit Statusfragen zusammenhängt.

Bevor man nun versucht die globale Proteinversorgung der Menschheit mittels Insektennahrung zu kompensieren, gibt es nun neuerdings eine Innovation: Kunstfleisch. Invitrofleisch. Keine Science Fiction: Fleisch,das heute schon aus Fleischzellen gezüchtet wird und in Zukunft in Massenproduktion in Silos, mittels 3d druckern oder was es noch gibt.. Keine Gentechnik, im weitesten Sinne Reproduktionstechnik. Man züchtet kein ganzes Huhn,sondern nur den Hühnerschenkel, mästet keine ganze Gans sondern züchtet nur die Gänseleber,etc. Keine Sciencefiction,sondern wird schon gemacht und die Preise fallen rapide.Keine Massentierhaltung mehr,keine Abrodung der Regenwälder mehr, keine Gülle, die das Grundwasser verseucht, keine Tierquälerei und Tiertransporte mehr, kein Kükenschreddern, kein Vegetariertum und Veganertum mehr als einziger Ausweg, keine Ökokatastrophe mehr und die Biobauern sind auch nicht mehr die Guten. Während Vegetarier und Veganer dies kritisieren, da der Wandel technologisch und von außen und nicht von innen durch eine Änderung des Bewusstseins und des Denkens erfolge, sieht David Precht hier eher das Problem, dass die Firmen die Patente auf die Herstellungsverfahren haben und Monopole wie bei Montesano bei dem Saatgut die Folge sein könnten.

Spannende gesellschaftliche Debatten und Konflikte tun sich dann auf: Quaisreligiöse- und moralische Vegetarier, Veganer, Regional- und Biobauern und konventionelle Landwirtschaft und Massentierhalter gegen „künstliches Fleisch“ aus ganz unterschiedlichen Gründen, aber im Konsens, dass man nichts „Künstliches“ wolle, sondern nur „Natürliches“. Doch die Kunstfleischproduzenten werden dann argumentieren, dass ihr Produkt nichts Künstliches ist, sondern Fleisch aus natürlichen Fleischzellen, also sehr natürlich, auch ohne Chemie und keine Gentechnik, zumal eben die ganze Tierquälerei, die Gülle und Verseuchung des Grundwassers, die Abrodung der Wälder und Regenwälder,ja eben die Ernährungs- und ökologische Katastrophe verhindere. Es wird spannend sein, wie sich dann die etablierte Parteien dazu positionieren, vor allem die der etablierten Landwirtschaftslobby hörige CDU/CSU und die von Vegetariern und Veganern durchtränkten Grünen, die aber auch Probleme mit Tierschützern bekommen könnten. Die AfD dürfte gegen künstliches, undeutsches Fleisch sein, das den Bauernstand, seine Scholle und bisheriges Geschäfftsmodell schädigt.

Wir leben in einer Zeit der neuen Technologien und damit einhergehenden gesellschaftlichen Umbrüche. Neue Produktionsweisen werden ausprobiert, viel auch nach dem Try und Errorverfahren ausgetestet und die gesellschaftlichen Kräfte werden sich neu sortieren. Das Ergebnis ist offen und wird gerade versucht zu verstehen und sich darauf einzustellen, wobei die einen noch auf eine BRD der 70er Jahre hoffen oder weiter in die Geschichte zurückgehen wollen, während andere zukunftsverliebt und futuristisch zu einer vermeintlichen neuen Moderne des Fortschritts voranstürmen wollen, wobei letzteres in Deutschland nicht so der Fall ist, die Energiewende und Digitalisierung droht zu scheitern und man mehr über Flugtaxis und E-Roller spricht, denn über wirklich zukunftsentscheidende Fragen. Zum Beispiel eben das Kunstfleisch.Deswegen der Verweis auf den hervorragenden Vortrag von Daniel Precht, den man weiterverbreiten sollte

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Trump, the Impeachment and the Civil War


It looks like the Democrats will fail with their impeachment against Trump, as they have only second-rate witnesses and the Senate Republicans will vote for Trump. I saw the House of Representatives‘ intelligence committee hearing yesterday, and there was no real smoking gun. Still, it is a novelty that a US president is threatening to mobilize his armed supporters, militias, and the Alt-Right, and that there is even talk about the possibility of civil war. Reminds of an armed US – SA and the bleak warnings of Robert Kagan about Trump „How fascism came to the USA“. It would also be interesting to see where the US military would stand in such a case or whether it would split and whether we would see a constellation like in the Weimar Republic when Seeckt declared „troop does not shoot at troop“ or something similar. But it shows the ruthlessness of Trump and the increasingly radicalized US right. Wild West.High Noon.And it remains unclear how Trump would react in the event of an election defeat, whether he then does not recognize it, will speak of conspiracy and electoral fraud and does not want to leave the White House. Let’s hope that it does not come to this worst case scenario, because then the US would be paralyzed and this would be an invitation for Putin and Xi to challenge the US geopolitically or perhaps even the USA would like to fight wildly to compensate for the internal crisis by a foreign policy crisis and rally around the flag.

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Trump, das Impeachment und der Bürgerkrieg

Es sieht so aus,dass die Demokraten mit ihrem Impeachment gegen Trump scheitern werden,da sie nur zweitklassige Zeugen haben und die Republikaner im Senat recht geschlossen für Trump stimmen werden.Ich habe mir gestern einmal die Anhörung des Geheimdienstausschusses des Repräsentantenhauses angesehen und da fehlte die wirkliche smoking gun. Dennoch ist es ein Novum,dass ein US-Präsident mit der Mobilisierung seiner bewaffneten Anhänger, Milizen und der Alt-Right droht und überhaupt von der Möglichkeit eines Bürgerkriegs gesprochen wird. Erinnert an eine bewaffnete US-SA und die düstersten Warnungen Robert Kagans vor Trump „How fascism came to the USA“. Es wäre auch mal interessant,wo das US-Militär in einem solchen Falle stehen würde oder ob dann auch dieses gespalten würde und sich ala Weimarer Republik dann ein Seektsches „Truppe schießt nicht auf Truppe“ oder anderes ergeben würde. Es zeigt aber die Verwilderung der Sitten in den USA durch Trump and die sich zunehmend radikalisierende US-Rechte. Wilder Westen.High Noon.Und es bleibt auch offen, wie Trump im Falle einer Wahlniederlage reagieren würde, ob er diese dann nicht anerkennt, von Verschwörung und Wahlbetrug sprechen wird und das Weiße Haus nicht räumen will.Hoffen wir, dass es nicht zu diesem worst case kommt, denn dann wären die USA paralysiert und wäre dies geradezu eine Einladung für Putin und Xi die USA geopolitisch herauszufordern oder aber würden die USA vielleicht auch selbst blindwütig umherschlagen, um die innere Krise durch eine außenpolitische Krise und Rally around the flag zu kompensieren.

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Hong Kong: Increasing violence and rumors about a Trump Xi deal



In Hong Kong, the protests continue as usual, only with increasing violence. A protester was shot and protesters poured gasoline over a man. The last few days there are repeatedly reports that it will soon come to a Sino-American trade agreement. Then again and again denials from the White House. Of the 5 claims of the Hong Kong opposition, one has already been met-the repeal of the Extradition law.3 other demands – investigation of police violence, amnesty, refusal to call the protests riots.wouldn´t be the fundamental problem for Carrie Lam and the CP China. The tipping point is the demand for free elections (puxuan) and what that means. Here, the 1997 compromise is called into question and this could mean a new political system. What Joshua Wong said in Berlin was a declaration of intent to integrate the Hong Kong movement on a long-term and large scale into the global movement against the CP China that is just beginning to emerge. He wants to make Hong Kong the new front city Berlin in Asia for a new Cold War between the West and China. Yes, Joshua Wong intends an international anti-CP front, breaking with the Hong Kong local patriotism, which prefers to limit this to Hong Kong. But the question is also how far Joshua Wong’s position is majority opinion within the movement. That might be more heterogeneous than It seems in the pseudo onity of the 5 demands.Carrie Lam and Beijing will try to split the movement about this issue.

Optimists believe in a solution based on the model of the Wukan uprising in China. The population of the Chinese village of Wukan was dissatisfied with the city government, protested, stormed the government buildings and replaced the mayor with its own people’s candidate. Strangely, this was accepted by the Communist Party of China. Provincial Governor Wang Yang, unlike Bo Xilai, was even admitted to the Politburo, as one would have thought that would be a stigma of loss of control from the point of view of the CPChina. How the situation developed afterwards  in Wukan, you do not know. The last report I about it saw that the CP had tried to make the new mayor a member of the party and to corrupt it. The CPC showed enormous flexibility. Nevertheless, I believe that this has happened at a local level and would it have been more widespread, for example at provincial or national level, the CP China would have suppressed the riot with violence. At the same time, Carrie Lam and the CP China could allow new elections under the 1997 consensus, perhaps with a few alibi candidates from the protest movement But it is not even sure if that will happen or if they do not intend to sit out and then suppress the oppositin by force. An oppositionist wrote to me : „

Yes, I also heard of Wukan, it was also a bit violent, the villagers also formed a vigilant militia, the village was closed both inside and out. The closeness and combat readiness of the inhabitants have brought about the partial successes. But as you have guessed, and also in the case of Hong Kong, you should never have illusions in the CP. I think they have managed to corrupt the Wukan’s new leadership and incorporate it as a political force. One of the active fighters Zhuang Liehong went into exile to the USA and became an important assistant to Guo Wengui, as far as I know. Conclusion: if you mess with KP, you have to be mentally and strategically well prepared and certain narrow-mindedness is definitely one of them. Because it is not a parent-child relationship, as many would like to imagine. „

It was interesting to see  the illusion that many Chinawatchers had in Wukan’s case. It was fantasized that this could become the future model for the CPC in dealing with riots and Wang Yang in the Politburo could become a new Chinese Gorbachev. I thought that was squeaky nonsense. Wukan remains the exception to the rule, was a village and Wang Yang is not a Chinese Gorbachev. Beyond this the tendency of zhe püolitzicalsystem in China now goes to the one-man rule and digital totalitarianism.

The current violence in Hong Kong plays two cards in the hands of the CP: International sympathizers are more likely to expect a peaceful German revolution, which had the battle cry: no violence. In addition, in the special case of Germany, you have to realize that the postwar Germans are mostly very pacifist, at macimum only accept peaceful protests (with the exception of left and right radicals) and even Lenin said that if Germans want to make a revolution and occupy a train station, they would first buy a platform ticket. Only In France and other European countries, people tend to have a different relationship with protests and violence.

Secondly, it provides Lam and the CPC with an ideal pretext to suppress the movement. I also guess the CP China will try to infiltrate the Hongkong mopposition movement by some agent provocateurs to catalyze the violence. But first it remains the  task of movement to de-escalate the conflict and go back to peaceful forms of action like in June, maybe even going on strikes. Of course, it sounds a bit arrogant, if one writes remote diagnosis and comments on the Hong Kong protests. Firstly, I know even from demos and movements, that it is not so easy to stop violence, especially since the Hong Kong police is also quite violent. Nevertheless, there are limits. If someone is ooured over with petrol and lit, here are clearly the limits of protest and counter violence. In addition, the symbolic effect reminds me  of the self-immolation of the Falungong members at Tiananmen Square. That was propagandistic water on the mills of the CP.

One should also keep an eye on whether or not an agreement can be reached in the trade dispute between Xi and Trump. Perhaps Xi is still holding back in Hong Kong, as he does not want to burden the trade negotiations any further. However, whether the deal will ever come to fruition it at best, would be a ceasefire before the US elections, but would only delay the Sino-American conflict and its further escalation. I guess Trump does not care about the Hong Kong protests, human rights and democracy, especially since he sees authoritarian leaders like Xi as his equals. Unlike most Democrats and Republicans.  Trump`s goal is to get a deal with Xi, that degrades China in the medium term economically and militarily to the No.2. Hard to imagine that Xi will accept this.


It is possible, however, in the short term with the perspective of the upcoming US elections, that a limited trade agreement might be reached which Trump can sell as a success. Then he would not care about Hongkong. The question is how far the US demands go and second, whether Xi is willing to give Trump this election gift willing -maybe in return for Trump’s noninterfrence, if Xi oppresses the Hong Kong protest movement-much like the Kurds. And he could then point to the violence and stability and calm and order. Some Chinese oppositionists are now talking about making Hongkong the Waterloo and Staklingrad for the CPC. Waterloo, Stalingrad-historically different – be it the balance of power and the international constellations., Similar to Joshgua Wong´s  Berlin comparisons.In Berlin stood US, British and British troops and then the entire NATO in the background, as well as the West at that time was still unified. But some Fortune, like Fritz the Great, and fighting spirit like the Zionists could do well to the Hong Kong and Chinese opposition, who, like David, are fighting Goliath and hoping that they can delay the conflict until it expands to China and the Sino- American conflict continues to worsen. But it is questionable whether the Communist Party will continue to watch such a possible scenario and development for so long.

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Hongkong: Zunehmende Gewalt und Gerüchte über einen Trump-Xi-Deal

In Hongkong gehen die Proteste wie gehabt weiter, nur mit zunehmender Gewalt.Ein Angeschossener und ein mit Benzin Übergossener.Die letzten Tage dazu immer wieder Berichte,dass es bald zu einem sinoamerikanischen Handelsabkommen komme.Dann immer wieder Dementis aus dem Weissen Haus. Von den 5 Forderungen der Hongkonger Opposition wurde eine schon erfüllt-die Rücknahme des Sicherheitsgesetzes.3 weitere Forderungen sind problemlos-Untersuchung der Polizeigewalt, Amnestie, Verzicht darauf die Proteste Krawalle zu nennen. Darauf könnte die Regierung von Carrie Lam noch eingehen. Knackpunkt sind aber die Forderung nach freie Wahlen (puxuan) und was das bedeutet.Hier wird der 1997 er Kompromiss infrage gestellt und es läuft auf ein neues politisches System raus. Was Joshua Wong in Berlin gesagt hat, war eine Absichtsbekundung, die Hongkonger Bewegung langfristig und in großen Umfang in die weltweite 反共Bewegung zu integrieren, die gerade am Entstehen ist. Er will Hongkong zur neuen Frontstadt Berlin eines neuen KaltenKriegs zwischen dem Westen und China machen. Ja,Joshua Wong beabsichtigt eine internationale Anti-KP-Front, bricht damit mit dem Hongkonger Lokalpatriotismus,der das lieber auf Hongkong begrenzt sieht.Aber die Frage ist auch,inwieweit Joshua Wongs Position Mehrheitsmeinung innerhalb der Bewegung ist.Die dürfte doch heterogener sein als die Scheineinigkeit von den 5 Forderungen suggeriert.Ich schätze,dass Carrie Lam und Peking hier versuchen werden zu spalten.

Optimisten glauben an eine Lösung nach dem Modell des Aufstandes in Wukan in China.Die Bevölkerung des chinesischen Dorfs Wukan war unzufrieden mit der Stadtregierung,protestierte,stürmte die Regierungsgebäude und ersetzte den Bürgermeister mit einem eigenen Volkskandidaten.Erstaunlicherweise akzeptierte dies die KP China. Der Provinzgouverneur Wang Yang wurde anders als Bo Xilai sogar ins Politbüro aufgenommen, hätte man doch meinen können, dass das ein Makel des Kontrollverlust aus Sicht der KP China ist.Wie es weiter in Wukan ging,weiss man nicht.Den letzten Bericht den ich darüber sah,sprach davon,dass die KP China versucht habe den neuen Bürgermeister zum Parteimitglied zu machen und zu korrumpieren.Die KP China zeigte da eine enorme Flexibilität.Dennoch glaube ich,dass dies auf lokaler Ebene geschah und hätte sich dies im größeren Rahmen,etwa auf Kreis-, Provinzebene oder gar nationaler Ebene abgespielt,sie wohl mit Repression geantwortet hätte.Auch fraglich ob man das auf Hongkong übertragen kann.Bestenfalls dürfte Carrie Lam und die KP China Neuwahlen unter dem 1997er Konsens erlauben,vielleicht mit ein paar Alibikandidaten der Protestbewegung.Aber nicht einmal sicher,ob das geschehen wird oder sie das nicht auszusitzen und dann niederzuschlagen gedenkt.Ein Oppositioneller schrieb mir dazu noch: „

Ja, von Wukan habe ich auch gehört, es war auch ein wenig gewaltsam, die Dorfbewohner haben auch eine Bürgerwehr gebildet, das Dorf wurde sowohl von innen als auch von außen gesperrt. Die Geschlossenheit und Kampfbereitschaft der Bewohner haben die Teilerfolge zustande gebracht. Aber wie du geahnt hast, und auch im Falle von Hongkong einschätzst, sollte man nie Illusion machen bei der KP. Ich glaube, die haben es geschafft, die neue Führung der Wukan zu korrumpieren und als politische Kraft einzuverleiben. Einer der aktiven Kämpfer von damals Zhuang Liehong, ist ins Exil nach USA gegangen und wurde ein wichtiger Helfer von Guo Wengui, soweit ich weiß. Fazit: wenn man sich mit KP anlegt, muss man mental und strategisch gut gewappnet sein und gewisse Engstirnigkeit gehört auf jedenfall auch dazu. Denn es ist keine Eltern-Kinder Beziehung, wie viele sich gern einbilden möchten.“

Interessant war welche Illusionen viele Chinawatcher im Falle Wukans hatten.Da wurde phantasiert,dass das das zukünftige Modell für die KP China im Umgang mit Unruhen werden könnte und Wang Yang im Politbüro ein neuer chinesischer Gorbatschow werden könne.Ich hielt das für quadrierten Blödsinn.Wukan bleibt die Ausnahme von der Regel,war zumal ein Dorf und Wang Yang ist kein Girbatschow.Zudem geht die Tendenz jetzt zur 1-Mannherrschaft und digitalen Totalitarismus.

Die momentanen Gewalttätigkeiten in Hongkong  spielen der KP zweierlei in die Hände: Internationale Sympathisanten erwarten eher eine deutsche friedliche Revolution,die ja als Schlachtruf hatte:Keine Gewalt. Hinzu kommt im speziellen Falle Deutschlands,dass die Nachkriegsdeutschen mehrheitlich sehr pazifistischen sind,nur und maximal friedliche Proteste akzeptieren(mit Ausnahme von Links-und Rechtsradikalen) und schon Lenin meinte,wenn Deutsche eine Revolution machen und den Bahnhof besetzen wollen,sie sich erst eine Bahnsteigkarte kaufen würden.In Frankreich und anderen europäischen Ländern hat man da tendenziell ein anderes Verhältnis zu Protesten und Gewalt.


Zweitens liefert es Lam und der KP einen idealen Vorwand die Bewegung zu unterdrücken.Ich schätze auch die KP China wird versuchen einige agent provocateur in die Bewegung zu schleusen,um die Gewalttätigkeiten zu katalysieren.Aber zuerst bleibt es dessen ungesehen Aufgabe der Bewegung zu deeskalieren und wieder mehr zu friedlichen Aktionsformen wie im Juni ,ja vielleicht auch mal Streiks überzugehen. Es hört sich natürlich etwas arrogant und überheblich an, wenn man hier Ferndiagnosen über die Hongkonger Proteste anstellt.Zum einen kenne ich selbst von Demos und Bewegungen,dass es nicht so leicht ist Gewalttätigkeiten zu unterbinden,zumal ja auch die Hongkonger Polizei recht gewalttätig vorgeht.Dennoch gibt es Grenzen.Wenn jemand mit Benzin übergossen und angezündet wird,sind hier klar die Grenzen zu Rangeleien und Gegengewalt überschritten.Zudem erinnert mich das von der symbolischen Wirkung etwas an die Selbstverbrennung der Falungongmitglieder am Platz des Himmlischen Friedens.Das war ja propagandistisch Wasser auf die Mühlen der KP.

Im Auge behalten sollte man auch ob es im Handelsstreit zwischen Xi und Trump noch zu einer Einigung kommt.Möglicherweise hält sich Xi in Hongkong noch zurück,da er die Handelsverhandlungen nicht weiter belasten will.Fraglich aber,ob es überhaupt zu dem Deal kommt,der bestenfalls ein Waffenstillstand vor den US-Wwahlen sein würde, aber den sinoamerikanischen Konflikt und seine weitere Eskalationm nur verzögern würde. Trump schätze ich so ein,dass ihm die Hongkonger Proteste,Menschenrechte und Demokratie egal sind,zumal er autoritäre Führer wie Xi als seinesgleichen sieht.Anders als die meisten Demokraten und Republikaner.Ziel Trumps ist es mit Xi einen Deal zu bekommen,der China mittelfristig wirtschaftlich und militärisch zur No.2 degradieren soll.Ich kann mir nicht vorstellen,dass Xi darauf eingeht.


Möglich ist aber kurzfristig mit Blick auf die kommenden US Wahlen ein begrenztes Handelsabkommen,das Trump als Erfolg verkaufen kann.Dann wäre ihm auch Hongkong egal.Die Frage ist aber wie weit die US-Forderungen gehen und zum zweiten,ob Xi Trump dieses Wahlgeschenk zu geben bereit ist-vielleicht als Gegengeschenk für Trumps Stilhalten,wenn Xi die Hongkonger Protestbewegung unterdrückt-ganz wie bei den Kurden.Und er könnte dann auf die Gewalt verweisen und auf Stabilität und Ruhe und Ordnung. Einige chinesischen Oppositionelle sprechen nun davon, dass man der KP China in Hongkong ein Waterloo und Staklingrad bereiten solle. Waterloo,Stalingrad-historisch etwas andere Kräfteverhältnisse und internationale Konstellationen.,ähnlich wie der Berlinvergleich Joshua Wiongs.In Berlin standen US,frz.und britische Truppen und dann noch die gesamte NATO im Hintergrund, wie auch der Westen zu dieser Zeit noch geeint war..Aber etwas Fortune wie beim Fritz den Grossen und Kampfeswillen wie die Zionisten könnte der Hongkonger und chineischen Opposition gut tun, die ja wie David gegen Goliath kämpft und darauf hofft, dass sie den Konflikt so lange heruauszögern kann, bis es ein Überspringen nach China gibt und der sinmoamerikanische Konflikt sich weiter zuspitzt. Fraglich aber, ob die KP China noch solange zuschauen wird..

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