Massenbach-Letter: NEWS 30.09.16

Massenbach-Letter. News

· NATO’s Southern flank Security threats and the Alliance’s role after the Warsaw Summit

· Papstreise nach Georgien und Aserbaidschan | Details of Pope Francis‘ visit to Georgia and Azerbaijan

· Nick Butler, FT: Who lost Azerbaijan?

· The Atlantic: Clinton vs. Trump

· What Trump and Clinton Said (and Didn’t Say) About the Middle East

· The Balkans: Still the Powder Keg of Europe?

Massenbach*Papstreise nach Georgien und Aserbaidschan | Details of Pope Francis‘ visit to Georgia and Azerbaijan

…..Am Freitag dann geht der Papst selbst wieder hinaus in die weite Welt, sein Reiseziel sind dieses Mal die Kaukasusländer Georgien und Azerbaijan. Es ist die Fortsetzung seiner Armenienreise im Juni. Im Rahmen der Reise trifft Franziskus neben Vertretern aus Politik und Gesellschaft unter anderem den orthodoxen Patriarchen Ilia II. von Georgien, Vertreter der Assyrisch-Chaldäischen Kirche und begegnet auch Muslimen bei einem interreligiösen Treffen. Am Sonntag kehrt Franziskus zurück nach Rom.

Der Vatikanische Pressesaal hat Einzelheiten der bevorstehenden Visite vorgestellt; sie wird Franziskus 16. Auslandsreise sein.

Es soll vor allem um drei Themen gehen: um Frieden, um Ökumene und um den interreligiösen Dialog. Das machte der neue Vatikansprecher Greg Burke vor den beim Vatikan akkreditierten Journalisten deutlich. „Natürlich wird es eine Friedensreise, der Papst hat eine Botschaft der Versöhnung für die ganze Region im Gepäck. Zum ersten Mal wird eine Delegation der orthodoxen Kirche an der Messfeier des Heiligen Vaters teilnehmen. Und auch der orthodoxe Patriarch wird am Flughafen sein, wenn der Papst eintrifft.“

Georgien ist eines der christlichsten Länder: Der Apostel Andreas soll hier missioniert haben, und schon 337 wurde das Christentum Staatsreligion. Die georgisch-orthodoxe Kirche und eine eigene Sprache mit eigener Schrift, die in den Klöstern auch über Jahrhunderte der Fremdherrschaft bewahrt wurde, sind auch heute noch identitätsstiftend. Umso mehr liegt dem Papst an einem guten Auskommen mit der traditionell konservativen orthodoxen Kirche des Landes. Ein Teil des Klerus hat vor der Päpstlichen Nuntiatur in Tiflis gegen den Besuch von Franziskus demonstriert.

Wichtig wird der Besuch des Papstes in der assyrisch-chaldäischen Gemeinde in Tiflis am Freitagabend. 13 Bischöfe aus dem Irak reisen zu diesem Termin eigens an. „Der Papst will eine geistliche Begegnung mit dieser Pfarrei von etwa dreihundert Menschen, darum sind keine Reden vorgesehen. Es wird auf aramäisch gesungen und gebetet werden, und der Papst will ein Gebet für den Frieden in Syrien und im Irak sprechen.“

Am Sonntag fliegt der Gast aus dem Vatikan weiter nach Baku, der Hauptstadt von Aserbaidschan – und spätestens ab diesem Moment kann man kaum noch von einer Pastoralreise sprechen, denn es gibt nur sehr wenige Katholiken im Land des Aseris: eine einzige Pfarrei in Baku, und außerhalb ein paar Niederlassungen der Mutter-Teresa-Schwestern.

In Baku wird der Papst eine Moschee besuchen und den Scheich der Muslime des Kaukasus treffen. Ob er dann auch eine Friedensbotschaft für den Zwist zu Nagorny-Karabach lancieren wird, wollte Greg Burke einem russischen Reporter bei der Pressekonferenz nicht verraten. „Es steht mir nicht zu, vorwegzunehmen, was der Papst sagen wird. Man weiß, dass der Heilige Stuhl sich gemeinhin nicht in solche Konflikte einmischt, aber warten wir’s ab.“

Zehn Ansprachen, davon zwei Predigten und ein Gebet, wird Franziskus im Kaukasus sprechen – auf Italienisch, ausnahmslos. Beim Rückflug von Baku nach Rom plant er, wie bei ihm mittlerweile üblich, wieder eine „Fliegende Pressekonferenz“.

Im Gefolge des Papstes befinden sich u.a. sein argentinischer Landsmann, Kardinal Leonardo Sandri von der Ostkirchenkongregation, und der vatikanische Ökumene-Verantwortliche, der Schweizer Kardinal Kurt Koch.

http://de.radiovaticana.va/news/2016/09/25/wochenvorschau_papstreise_georgien_und_aserbaidschan/1260515

http://de.radiovaticana.va/news/2016/09/26/was_den_papst_im_kaukasus_erwartet/1260723

Details of Pope Francis‘ visit to Georgia and Azerbaijan

The Pope is scheduled to leave the Vatican on Friday morning, headed for the Georgian capital Tbilisi. His first encounter there will be with the president, with government authorities and representatives of civil society gathered at the imposing presidential palace. From there he goes on to meet the country’s Orthodox leader Patriarch Elia, who was also on hand for Pope John Paul II’s visit to the newly independent nation back in 1999.

The final event on Friday will be a visit to the Syro-Chaldean church of St Simon the Tanner, one of three different rites making up the small Catholic community in the former Soviet nation. The pope will join Syro-Chaldean bishops from around the world there to pray for peace in Syria and Iraq.

Pope Francis begins the following day with Mass at a stadium in Tbilisi named after one of Georgia’s most famous footballers. Significantly, a delegation from the Orthodox Patriarchate will also be present at the Mass, a sign of growing friendship despite the many doctrinal difficulties that continue to divide leaders of the two Churches.

In the afternoon, the Pope will meet with priests, religious and seminarians at one of the two Catholic parishes in the capital, before greeting several hundred disabled and vulnerable people being cared for by members of the Camilian order. The Pope’s final event in Georgia will be a visit to the patriarchal cathedral in the nearby ancient city of Mtshketa, listed as one of UNESCO’s world heritage sites.

On the final day of the trip, Pope Francis flies from Tbilisi to Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan where he’ll celebrate Mass for the tiny Catholic community at the only parish church run by the Salesian order. In the afternoon he’ll make a courtesy visit to the president and meet the region’s Muslim leader, Sheik Allashukur Pashazade, before taking part in an interfaith encounter with representatives of all the other religious communities in the country.

http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2016/09/26/details_of_pope_francis_visit_to_georgia_and_azerbaijan/1260800

Nick Butler, FT: Who lost Azerbaijan?

For a few years in the 1990s, Azerbaijan looked like one of the world’s lucky countries. Freed from Soviet dominance, rich in resources, especially oil and gas, and immune to the radical and extremist Muslim fundamentalism that was spreading from Saudi Arabia and other parts of the Middle East, the country seemed to have a lot going for it. Twenty years later the situation has deteriorated badly and looks likely to get worse. Economic success is being destroyed by rampant corruption. Constitutional changes this autumn will entrench the power of President Ilham Aliyev, who rules Azerbaijan as if it were a family estate. What went wrong and what can be done?

Azerbaijan is one of the places where the global oil industry began. The world’s first basic refinery – then called a paraffin factory – was opened in 1823. The first oil field was drilled in 1846. Neft Dashiary, the first offshore field in the world, came onstream in 1951 in the shallow area of the Caspian Sea.

Travelling to the capital Baku for the first time in 1991, I remember thinking that very little seemed to have changed in 100 years and more. By international standards the oil wells that dominated the approach from the airport to the city were primitive. Think of the pictures of Texas in the late 19th century. Pools of oil were everywhere along the route – a hugely dangerous hazard. The air was thick and unhealthy. The state of the Azeri oil industry was the product of Russian neglect. With oil resources to be developed in west Siberia the Russians saw no need to devote assets or skills to any activity in Azerbaijan.

From the mid 1990s, all that changed. International funds came in on a grand scale. The development of the triplex of oil fields in Azerbaijan’s sector of the Caspian Sea – Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli – pushed up production to more than 1m barrels a day by 2010. At the high point, over 800,000 barrels a day of oil were being exported through purpose-built infrastructure, including the 1,100 mile line from Baku to Ceyhan on the Turkish coast. Regional tensions with Iran and even Armenia were managed if not solved. Russia had its own challenges and the government in Baku was careful to avoid provoking Moscow. Azerbaijan created its own state oil company, Socar, and its own sovereign wealth fund. For a brief period the country became a model of what a successful, oil-rich, moderate Muslim state could look like.

But progress has not been sustained. The fall in the oil price hurts in Baku, as in so many oil-producing regions. That drop combined with the fear that taxes will be increased has led to a decrease in new investment. At the same time, the attractive prospects in the deeper waters of the Caspian Sea remain unexplored because of the unresolved dispute about offshore borders between neighbouring states. Oil production has fallen and will do so further. Natural gas finds will help meet local needs but output from the second phase of the largest gas project, Shah Deniz, will come onstream at a time when the international gas market is saturated and further price falls seem inevitable.

All those factors pose serious challenges but Azerbaijan’s real problem is corruption and the increasingly authoritarian nature of Mr Aliyev’s regime. Arbitrary arrest is common and freedom of speech is not extended to those critical of the regime. Every so often in response to international criticism a process of reform is initiated, only to run into the sand. The latest appointee, Natig Amirov, the new presidential adviser on economic reform, has called in McKinsey to produce a long-term economic plan. It will be interesting to read what it says about the problems of corruption. The reality is that neither international advisers or local ministers can get very far if so many of the corruption trails lead back to the presidential palace.

What went wrong – or, as they say in the US, who lost Azerbaijan? American neglect must take a lot of the blame. In the 1990s the US state department strongly promoted the idea of a Caspian corridor – the active promotion of open society and market values through the region from Turkey eastwards. The aims included the protection of the area’s independence from the always looming presence of the Russians to the north, as well as the desire to open new trades to an area of the world with a very substantive resource base that holds some of the most promising and under explored structures outside Opec.

Weariness after two lost wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the absence of substantive support from an inward-looking EU eroded those ambitions. Countries such as Azerbaijan, which had minimal experience of anything other than authoritarian rule, were allowed to slip backwards. The patience required to build institutional structures and new nations ran out.

What can be done? Some believe hard times will force the Azeris into a process of genuine reform. I hope they are right. The more likely outcome is a fight for control of whatever income is available and a creeping vulnerability to the risk of conflict and intervention from Moscow, led by those who have never accepted the redrawing of the boundaries after 1991. The only thing likely to sway Mr Aliyev is hard pressure from the US administration. The level of criticism in Washington of specific abuses of human rights including the imprisonment of journalists and the show trials of other critics has risen in recent weeks. So far the criticism has been ignored.

The most effective intervention now would be a clear and unequivocal statement from Washington or Brussels or both that Central Asia is an area of strategic concern, backed up by a full-scale engagement to crack down on corruption and human rights abuse, case by case. The rule of law must be restored.

The fact that military intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan has failed is not a reason for giving up completely. Sending in ground troops is not the only answer; nor is sending in drones. It is time to look beyond military solutions. The better alternative is to pursue the slow, often thankless work of engagement, building local institutions, insisting on the rule of law and helping local groups who want to build a real society. This is not easy but a glance around the map – from Ukraine to Syria to Libya to Venezuela – shows how quickly neglect can allow local problems to fester.

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From our Russian news desk: see attachments.

– ISIS

– Syria

– Cease Fire

Terrorism

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CSIS

U.S. Wars in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen: What Are The Endstates?

August 15, 2016 … Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Yemen—as well as continuing its “longest war” in Afghanistan. All five of these wars now involve ISIS to some degree …

Neither Trump nor Clinton have seriously addressed U.S. policy for any of these five wars, and the Obama Administration has not publically stated its grand strategy for any conflict.

For the first time in its national history, the United States may get through a Presidential campaign amidst multiple wars without seriously debating or discussing where any of its wars are going, or what their longer-term impact will be … This lack of attention to America’s wars is dangerous in the case of all its wars, but it is particularly dangerous in the case of Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Yemen.

The United States is supporting a very different mix of forces in each country in different ways with what seems to be one narrow goal: denying ISIS the ability to control territory or the ability to establish some form of government and sanctuary …

In each case, the United States may be succeeding to the point where it is tipping the balance enough to achieve the narrow strategic goal of “defeating” ISIS to the point where ISIS no longer controls major cities or blocs of territory. Moreover, the United States may largely achieve this goal before a new President comes to office and can put his or her national security team fully in place. This may well be a “victory” in a narrow sense, and no one can deny that ISIS’s ability to control population centers, blocs of territory, and sanctuaries for fundraising, training terrorists and fighters, and for carrying out its indoctrination efforts made it a far more serious threat.

There is no prospect in any such war, however, that the United States will win a near term victory in either the broader strategic sense of fully defeating ISIS, or in the grand strategic sense of ending a war with a stable and desirable outcome.

Once again, the United States does not seem to be learning from its past. The real test of victory is never tactical success or even ending a war on favorable military terms, it is what comes next …

The problems of what comes next in the wars the United States is now fighting also goes far beyond ISIS. The issue is simplest in Libya. Defeating ISIS may or may not ease the tensions between Libya’s two de facto governments in its west and its East. They have cooperated to some degree in fighting ISIS. It may or may not ease the internal tensions within each area that have sharply reduced Libya’s petroleum exports and income. Other tribal and regional fighting may or may not emerge as more serious problems. What is clear is that these divisions and low-level civil war have made Qaddafi’s terrible legacy in terms of poor governance and failed economic development even worse.

Libya will need a decade of rebuilding and reform to produce true stability and raise its per capita income and income distribution to acceptable levels. This requires both stable internal politics and leadership, and serious international aid …

Once again, the civil dimension both in war and post-conflict is critical to any form of lasting successful outcome. Some form of “nation-building” is even more difficult than winning actual conflict, but is no less necessary. No real grand strategy is possible without it, and Libya faces critical challenges …

https://www.csis.org/analysis/us-wars-iraq-syria-libya-and-yemen-what-are-endstates

Foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq: The day after

13 September 2016 …Lowy Institute Analysis … argue that an increasing number of foreign fighters are likely to leave Syria and Iraq in the coming months and years, especially after the collapse of Islamic State’s caliphate, exacerbating the terrorist threat faced by the international community … highlight both the scale and nature of the long-term security threat that the foreign fighter cohort will pose, and ways in which the international community can ameliorate the threat …

http://www.lowyinstitute.org/publications/foreign-fighters-syria-and-iraq-day-after

EU-ISS

Strategic communications – East and South

29 July 2016 Emanating from Russia in the east and the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)/Daesh in the south, the EU has been increasingly hit by destabilising messages amounting – in different forms and to different degrees – to coherent hostile ‘strategic communications’ campaigns, or the processes of infusing communications activities with an agenda or plan to impact the behaviour of a target audience.

Russia and ISIL have engaged in aggressive messaging and deceptive media campaigns, albeit with distinct narratives, targets and audiences. This Report analyses the ‘what’ and the ‘how’: the respective narratives of each actor, their specificities, their similarities and their differences.

The analysis also draws attention to strategic communications efforts undertaken by the EU, which are vectored into defensive (react and respond) and offensive (probe and push) dimensions. This understanding of the present context finally allows for an evaluation of what actions can be taken to enhance the effectiveness of the EU’s own strategic communications …

CONTENTS …STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE EAST … NATO’s strategic communications … Strategic communications from the south … EU strategic communications: where from, what next? …

If the rationale for (and the logic of) coordinating strategic communications at the EU level is to be further and efficiently implemented, especially in the Union’s external action and in line with the EU institutions’ declared priorities, a number of issues may have to be addressed.

To start with, any credible strategic communications effort – in both its defensive and offensive dimensions – needs to be built on research and analysis dissecting the problem(s), the audience(s), and the message(s), and has to be planned and implemented accordingly. All this requires adequate resources, in terms of funding as well as staff. However, this is not primarily or necessarily a matter of numbers …

In terms of method and style, the EU’s communications have often been faceless, anonymous, technocratic, unemotional, and reliant upon the expectation (or rather assumption) that facts will speak for themselves.

This has started to change, with a greater emphasis on story-telling and the use of ‘real people’. Perceptions are no less important, and they can be shaped – as the examples of Russia and ISIL confirm. Re-shaping false perceptions and responding to outright lies or hoaxes does not require entering into a messy or dishonest contest with hostile opponents …

All these suggestions are meant to rationalise and optimise the Union’s overall external strategic communications. Yet they do not rule out more targeted approaches to specific situations. In fact, this is already happening in the east and the south, to some extent in the Western Balkans, and Central Asia should probably be included soon too.

On the basis of the analysis presented here, it is also advisable to differentiate EU responses to hostile strategic communications campaigns. In this regard, the following points are worth considering: In the case of Russia, the call for more common action (also via NATO) came relatively soon, driven by the realisation of the scale of the challenge and the need to join forces and resources …

Finally, counter-radicalisation cannot be achieved through strategic communications alone (nor military action or law enforcement, for that matter). The grievances that generated violent radicalism in the first place, both inside and outside the EU, will also have to be addressed, or at least some concrete efforts to that end will have to be seen and acknowledged by the wider public.

http://www.iss.europa.eu/publications/detail/article/strategic-communications-east-and-south/

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Policy= res publica

Freudenberg-Pilster* Vatikan Initiativen und Kongresse. Frauen in der Kirche: „Ein bisschen Phantasie“

Es braucht Phantasie

Zu diesen Herausforderungen gehört sicher, welchen Platz genau eine in vielerlei Hinsicht von Männern dominierte Kirche den Frauen zuzugestehen gedenkt. „Ein bisschen Phantasie“ brauche es da, sagt Ladaria Ferrer. „Wir wissen doch, dass sich die Welt ändert und dass auch wir uns ändern müssen. Die Kirche muss eine Art und Weise finden, in allen Bereichen präsenter zu werden, und in dieser Hinsicht kann die Präsenz der Frau entscheidend sein.“

Ladaria Ferrer war in den achtziger und neunziger Jahren acht Jahre lang Vizerektor der Päpstlichen Universität Gregoriana in Rom; er hat an den Jesuitenuniversitäten Comillas (in Spanien) und Sankt Georgen (bei Frankfurt) studiert. „In allen theologischen Fakultäten gibt es heute Frauen – so etwas war vor fünfzig Jahren noch nicht vorstellbar. In anderen Bereichen sind Frauen allerdings immer sehr präsent gewesen, ich denke da an das Gesundheits- und Schulwesen. Jetzt aber gibt es sie auch an diesem Ort der theologischen Reflektion, und das ist keine zweitrangige Sache…“

http://de.radiovaticana.va/news/2016/09/27/frauen_in_der_kirche_„ein_bisschen_phantasie“/1260922

****************************************************************************************************************** Politics: From Vision to Action

Barandat* NATO’s Southern flank Security threats and the Alliance’s role after the Warsaw Summit

Die NATO muss sich dringend mit einer Reihe von Herausforderungen und Bedrohungen befassen, die nicht nur aus dem Osten, sondern auch aus dem Süden kommen. Was kann die Allianz bezüglich Terrorabwehr, Stabilisierung, maritimer Sicherheit und Grenzkontrolle tun? Alessandro Marrone, Senior Fellow am International Affairs Institute in Rom, ist überzeugt, die NATO sollte eine entscheidende Rolle spielen, um diese Themen anzugehen. Strategischer Dialog und Defence Capacity Building sind laut Marrone dabei die Schlüsselinstrumente.

NATO urgently needs to address a range of security challenges and threats that originate not only from the east but also from the south. The Warsaw Summit has brought relevant decisions in this regard, and more can be done in terms of counter-terrorism, stabilisation, defence capacity building, maritime security, and border control. There should also be developed a more strategic dialogue within NATO as well as with partners regarding the crisis affecting security in the Euro-Mediterranean region.

https://www.baks.bund.de/sites/baks010/files/working_paper_2016_22.pdf

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Middle East

What Trump and Clinton Said (and Didn’t Say) About the Middle East

With a few exceptions, the candidates focused more on debating the past than offering ideas and prescriptions for today’s Middle East challenges.

Apart from the rants, attacks, and insults, when it came to Middle East issues, last night’s debate was like an old and broken record — rehashing disputes over the Iraq war (2003), the withdrawal of troops from that country (2011), and the Iran nuclear deal (2015). As important as clarity on those issues may be, there was regrettably little discussion of pressing issues the next president is sure to face on Inauguration Day.

These include:

Syria. The most glaring foreign policy lacuna in the debate was the almost complete omission of the world’s most pressing strategic cum humanitarian challenge. With Russian and Syrian bombs falling on civilians in Aleppo, the candidates offered no hint that they would ditch what one could call President Obama’s policy of "strategic indifference" and implement a more robust approach — one designed to create strategic balance on the ground in order to compel the Moscow-Tehran-Damascus axis to negotiate a political resolution.

The Islamic State. In terms of the fight against IS, both candidates replayed stock lines from stump speeches. Overall, Hillary Clinton’s paragraph on defeating the group was much more detailed than Donald Trump’s; it included support for Kurdish and Arab allies, a focus on targeting IS leadership, and a sequence of action (liberate Mosul by the end of 2016, then focus on squeezing the group in Raqqa), all done with enhanced U.S. air support but not ground forces. For his part, Trump did not go far beyond a commitment to massive military action against IS, falling back on his critique that the Obama administration permitted the group’s rise by precipitously withdrawing U.S. forces from Iraq and mishandling Libya. Neither candidate, however, addressed what most experts believe to be the most serious challenge — what to do the day after liberating IS-held territory so that it does not become the base for the next iteration of radical Sunni jihadists.

Iran. Clinton and Trump spent considerable time jousting over the wisdom of the Iran nuclear accord, including Trump’s remark that Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu remains displeased with the deal. However, the Republican candidate offered no specific alternative to the existing agreement, and the Democratic candidate offered no detailed suggestions to push back against Tehran’s success in taking advantage of the deal to extend Iranian influence throughout the region.

Allies. About seventy-five minutes into the debate, Clinton made an overlooked but important reference to strengthening alliances in the Middle East as part of the strategy to confront common adversaries. And later, she made a welcome, straight-into-the-camera pledge about fulfilling commitments to U.S. allies around the globe. Yet, with specific reference to the Middle East, neither candidate followed up with details on how to pursue what is sure to be a major policy theme differentiating them from President Obama’s perceived focus on reaching out to adversaries more than strengthening partnerships with allies.

Missed Opportunities. Interestingly, neither candidate took the opportunity to score points on certain popular Middle East policy themes. Clinton, for example, could have distanced herself from Obama by mentioning her support for the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), which would lift Saudi Arabia’s diplomatic immunity for charges of complicity in the September 11 attacks. The president has vetoed the legislation, but she has backed it. For his part, Trump did not repeat his promise to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, long a staple of Republican presidential aspirants. More broadly, he did not critique Clinton for her role in an administration that Republicans and other critics view as cool and distant toward Israel, though reaching the bilateral $38 billion Memorandum of Understanding on military assistance earlier this month may have insulated her from that line of attack.

Of course, national security — and within it, the Middle East — was just one of several themes addressed last night. The candidates will have further opportunity to tackle the agenda ahead, rather than rehash differences over the past, when they square off in their next two debates.

Robert Satloff is the executive director of The Washington Institute.

( http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/what-trump-and-clinton-said-and-didnt-say-about-the-middle-east?utm_term=Read%20this%20article%20on%20our%20website.&utm_campaign=What%20Trump%20and%20Clinton%20Said%20%28and%20Didn%27t%20Say%29%20About%20the%20Middle%20East%20%28Satloff%20%7C%20Policy%20Alert%29&utm_content=email&utm_source=Act-On+Software&utm_medium=email&cm_mmc=Act-On%20Software-_-email-_-What%20Trump%20and%20Clinton%20Said%20%28and%20Didn%27t%20Say%29%20About%20the%20Middle%20East%20%28Satloff%20%7C%20Policy%20Alert%29-_-Read%20this%20article%20on%20our%20website. )

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*Massenbach’s Recommendation*

Politics Daily

Liar, Liar:Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton had a lot to say during Monday’s 90-minute debate, but not all of it was accurate. NPR fact-checked their statements here.

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What Trump Missed: Immigration, Obamacare, the Clinton Foundation, and Benghazi—some of Trump’s strongest talking points—were absent from Monday night’s debate. That’s on Trump, Byron York argues, for not “taking matters into his own hands.” (Washington Examiner)

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Gallup – Research in September 2016

Election 2016

22 Hours Ago

Few Have High Hopes for Clinton or Trump Presidency

Americans are no more likely to say Hillary Clinton (33%) and Donald Trump (25%) would be a "great" or "good" president than they were in May.

Election 2016

Sep 23, 2016

As Debate Looms, Voters Still Distrust Clinton and Trump

About a third of U.S. voters describe Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump as "honest and trustworthy," changed little from May and among the worst-rated of 11 attributes for each candidate.

Education

Sep 22, 2016

HBCU Students Favor Limits on Press Freedoms

Students at historically black colleges are much more likely than college students nationally to favor steps that would limit freedom of the press, such as denying reporters access to covering campus protests.

Election 2016

Sep 22, 2016

Number of Americans Closely Following Politics Spikes

In the U.S., 39% say they follow national politics "very closely," up from 31% in 2015. Americans‘ attention to national politics spikes in presidential election years across most partisan and age groups.

Election 2016

Sep 22, 2016

More Americans Say Presidents Should Release Medical Info

More Americans now than in 2004 say a president should release all medical information that might affect his or her ability to serve. Donald Trump is more likely than Hillary Clinton to be considered "healthy enough."

Politics

Sep 21, 2016

Americans’ Trust in Political Leaders, Public at New Lows

Americans‘ trust in the political leaders who represent them, and in the people themselves to make decisions under the nation’s democratic system, has fallen to new lows in Gallup’s trends.

Politics

Sep 21, 2016

Americans Continue to Want Political Leaders to Compromise

A majority of Americans continue to believe that political leaders in Washington should compromise in order to get things done, while less than half as many say leaders should stick to their beliefs.

Economy

Sep 20, 2016

U.S. Economic Confidence Index Stable at -9

Gallup’s U.S. Economic Confidence Index was generally stable for the week ending Sept. 18, coming in at -9 compared with -12 the week before. Confidence remains higher than its levels in midspring and early summer of this year.

World

Sep 20, 2016

Billions Worldwide Help Others in Need

Billions of people worldwide are giving back to their communities, according to a Gallup report. This giving most often comes in the form of helping a stranger in need (44%) rather than donating money (27%) or volunteering time (20%).

Election 2016

Sep 19, 2016

"Email" Dominates What Americans Have Heard About Clinton

Politics

Sep 19, 2016

Americans Still More Trusting in Local Over State Government

Politics

Sep 19, 2016

Americans’ Confidence in Government Takes Positive Turn

World

Sep 19, 2016

Africans Name Job Creation as Top Priority for Governments

Politics

Sep 16, 2016

Approval of Congress Inches Up to 20% in September

Economy

Sep 16, 2016

Economy Remains Top Problem in U.S. as Debate Nears

Healthcare

Sep 15, 2016

Americans’ Satisfaction With Healthcare System Edges Down

Election 2016

Sep 15, 2016

GOP Losing Ground as Better Party to Handle Foreign Threats

Politics

Sep 14, 2016

Americans’ Trust in Mass Media Sinks to New Low

World

Sep 14, 2016

Confidence High in Myanmar After Historic Election

Workplace

Sep 13, 2016

U.S. Workers Still Worry Most About Benefits Cuts

Economy

Sep 13, 2016

U.S. Economic Confidence Index Stable at -12

Election 2016

Sep 12, 2016

Popular Presidents Factor Little in Non-Incumbent Elections

Politics

Sep 9, 2016

About Six in 10 Confident in Accuracy of U.S. Vote Count

Politics

Sep 9, 2016

More Favor Major Government Role in Assisting Minorities

World

Sep 8, 2016

Lebanese Leadership Approval Ratings Remain Low Amid Impasse

Politics

Sep 8, 2016

More Americans Negative Than Positive About ACA

Election 2016

Sep 7, 2016

Clinton, Trump Favorable Ratings Remain Deflated

Economy

Sep 7, 2016

U.S. Job Creation Index Holds Steady at Post-Recession High

Economy

Sep 6, 2016

U.S. Economic Confidence Up in August as DNC Rally Persists

Economy

Sep 6, 2016

U.S. Spending Returns to More Typical Levels in August

Well-Being

Sep 2, 2016

Standard of Living Ratings Rise During Obama Presidency

Economy

Sep 1, 2016

U.S. Gallup Good Jobs Rate 46.5% in August

Well-Being

Sep 1, 2016

Americans’ Health Assessments Worsen During Obama Years

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Geopolitical Futures: The Balkans: Still the Powder Keg of Europe?

Sept. 22, 2016 As external powers jockey for influence, instability is still rife in the divided region.

Summary

The Balkan Peninsula is at the intersection of crises in Eurasia. Russia, Turkey, the European Union and the United States all have stakes in the region’s stability. But their national interests diverge. In times of crisis, the Balkans’ internal problems tend to pull in outside powers.

· If the rest of Eurasia lookssimilar to how it looked before WWII, the Balkans look similar to how they looked prior to WWI.

· The various rivalries in the region are still quite active, and the hatred between the Serbs, Croats, Bosniaks and Kosovars keeps tension high in the region.

· Economically, the Balkan region is by far the least developed and most strained of any region in Europe. High unemployment rates coupled with the region’s dependency on exports contribute to rising social problems.

· Outside powers’ influence is nothing new to the Balkans. Foreign countries have used trade and investment to establish their influence in the region, which, in turn, brings new vulnerabilities to Balkan countries.

· The resolution of the current Balkan crisis depends on the way these countries decide to act – and they all have very little room to maneuver considering the complexity of their problems.

Introduction

Russia is under severe economic strain and faces a strategic challenge in Ukraine, but a bear is often most dangerous when it is cornered. Turkey is a power on the rise. The EU’s credibility is shot. Western European countries have serious domestic economic problems that make them apathetic to the concerns of the rest of Europe. At the center of this is Germany, which is sitting on an export bubble and trying to hold the EU together through sheer force. Muslim migrants continue to pour in from the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia. Nationalism is rising. And the U.S. is trying to extricate itself from conflicts in Eurasia.

There is a part of Europe that sits directly at the intersection of all of these dynamics: the Balkans. The Balkans are often lost in the shuffle when people consider the current state of European geopolitics. But the Balkan region has always had a way of dragging outside powers into its own instability – and right now the Balkans seem to be a powder keg waiting to blow.

Bosnian-Serb supporters of right wing opposition parties wave flags during a protest on May 14, 2016 in Banja Luka. Thousands of opponents and supporters of Republika Srpska leader Milorad Dodik faced each other at simultaneous gatherings, accusing each other of corruption and treason. ELVIS BARUKCIC/AFP/Getty Images

The Balkan countries suffer disproportionately from the slowdown in Europe’s economy. Identity is still hotly contested in multiple ways: national, ethnic, religious and tribal. There is a substantial Muslim population in the Balkans susceptible to all sorts of transnational cross-currents, and the region’s poor, isolated, unemployed young people make for potentially fertile recruiting ground for radical groups. New states are still being created here, and not with universal understanding or approval. The post-Yugoslavia Balkans are already unstable, but the forces fighting around and through these countries could exacerbate the situation and turn garden variety instability into a crisis that would affect the interests of multiple regional powers.

Stigma

The 20th century began and ended with European wars. World War I was a global conflict, but its immediate cause was competition in the Balkans. A Serbian group called the Black Hand assassinated the heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and through various alliance structures the Continent was soon engulfed in war.

The end of the century was punctuated by smaller conflicts resulting from the disintegration of Yugoslavia. These included the Ten-Day War in Slovenia, the Croatian War of Independence, the Bosnian War and finally the Kosovo War, in which NATO and the United States participated. Europe likes to think it put its demons to rest after World War II, that the EU is the manifestation of peace coming uniformly to the Continent, and that war is gone from Europe once and for all. This is a noble delusion, made no less delusional by its nobility.

The Balkans are often explained away as not really being part of Europe. Europe cares a lot about the stigmas that come with assigning categories. Tell a Slovak they are Eastern European and they’ll tell you absolutely not – they are Central European. Tell a Romanian they are southern European and they will pull you aside and explain all the reasons such a label shouldn’t apply to Romania.

Romania, Bulgaria and Greece from a purely geographic point of view are part of the Balkans. None of these countries wish to be seen that way, and for the most part, when the term “the Balkans” is used, people talk about the western Balkans – the countries that used to make up Yugoslavia. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the verb “Balkanize” has come to mean “to divide (a region or body) into smaller mutually hostile states or groups.”


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History

Despite the stigma, the Balkans are very much a part of Europe. The Balkan Peninsula is sandwiched between four seas: the Black Sea, the Mediterranean, the Adriatic and the Aegean. It comprises Greece, Bulgaria and the western Balkans – Albania and the countries of former Yugoslavia. Historically, the Balkans were strategic to dominant powers, considering their location, which provides access to several waterways while part of the European borderlands. Before the region’s nations attempted to draw their own borders, the Balkans were the meeting place for three major empires: the Ottoman, the Russian and the Austro-Hungarian.


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Before the late 19th century, the Ottoman Empire dominated most of Eastern Europe, the Balkans included. As the Ottomans started their retreat in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, both Russia and the Western powers became interested in gaining influence in the region, concerned with potential instability following the Ottoman Empire’s disintegration. The Balkan League, formed with Russian support in 1912, started a war against the Ottomans to drive them away from Eastern Europe. This war was followed by another, in which Bulgaria started to grab territory. Serbia came out on top in both of these wars.

Russia became dependent on Serbia as a buffer against the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Serbian nationalism grew (supported by Russia) while the Austro-Hungarian Empire started to feel threatened by a potentially expansionist Serbia. These forces built the momentum for the start of World War I, which began with the killing of the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo in June 1914 by Gavrilo Princip, a member of the Black Hand.

After WWI ended in 1918, Yugoslavia was formed, first as the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes and then as the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. It grouped the southern provinces of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the formerly independent Kingdom of Serbia. The western Balkan nations were locked together first into a kingdom and then, following the end of the WWII, into a federation until the end of the Cold War. The accumulation of tension between the various ethnic groups, Yugoslavia’s economic problems during most of the 1980s and rising nationalism throughout the provinces fueled the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s. The wars ultimately triggered NATO intervention against the Serb-led Yugoslav forces. The Balkan wars of the 1990s were the first time after the end of the Cold War that Western forces intervened to secure Europe.

After the wars, new borders were drawn in the Balkans and new states were formed. But a common feature for all the states is multiethnicity. NATO and the EU are both involved in securing the region and supporting conflict management processes while helping to build up civil society. However, the transition is ongoing and the Western powers are not the only ones building up their influence in the area: Russia and Turkey are also key players, each for its own national interest.

The Situation Today: Economics and Politics

The current challenges facing the Balkans need to be understood on two levels to see how the stability of the region and of the Eurasian landmass are connected. The first level is the internal issues of the Balkan countries. The second is outside powers’ stakes in the region.

Before tackling the various rivalries and hatreds that animate the politics of this region, we should note that economically, the Balkan Peninsula is by far the least developed of any region in Europe. These are all small countries with small economies that did what the rest of Europe did during the heady 1990s and 2000s – they grew by exports. In 2015, exports accounted for 48 percent of Serbia’s GDP, 49 percent of Croatia’s GDP, 49 percent of Macedonia’s GDP and 43 percent of Montenegro’s GDP. Exports made up 32 percent of Bosnia’s GDP and 27 percent of Albania’s GDP in 2014, the most recent data available.


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The problems that the rest of the world’s exporters are facing hurt the Balkans more because of their small size and limited options for trading partners. Germany is sitting on an export bubble, but bought itself time first by exporting to China, then to the U.K. and the U.S. But now, even Germany’s economy is vulnerable and German imports of goods from the Balkans are decreasing. Italy is also facing economic challenges. All of this puts pressure on the Balkans and has eroded both the EU’s reputation and the incentive for many Balkan countries to listen to what the EU wants, as membership has become either unattainable or undesirable.

Meanwhile, unemployment rates in the western Balkans are by and large some of the highest in all of Europe. Bosnia and Kosovo both put Greece’s 23.5 percent unemployment rate to shame, Macedonia and Serbia are in the same neighborhood, and Croatia is doing the “best” with 13.2 percent unemployment. Youth unemployment is even worse, at well over 50 percent in some countries. Albania has the lowest with 29.2 percent youth unemployment.


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The economies of the Balkans aren’t doing well, there aren’t enough jobs, and the youth are being disproportionately hammered. We’ve seen what a similar cocktail of economic issues has given rise to in the Middle East. This kind of economic duress breeds resentment, hopelessness and eventually conflict.

That resentment often spills over into the political arena. Kosovo declared independence in 2008, but Serbia still doesn’t recognize Kosovo’s sovereignty. Bosnian Serbs want independence in the form of an independent Republika Srpska. There has recently been unrest and tension over a referendum on establishing their national day on Jan. 9, celebrating the 1992 date when Republika Srpska declared independence, thus indirectly invalidating the Dayton Agreement of 1995. The agreement established the Bosnia and Herzegovina federation.


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Tension remains high between the Croats and the Serbs; a recent article in a Serbian newspaper described relations between the two countries as having entered a period of “cold war,” after Serbia protested Croatian rehabilitation of heroes that Serbia considers war criminals. Macedonia witnessed widespread protests in April that threatened to destabilize the country, which is now heading into a fraught and tense election cycle.

Islam in the Balkans

On top of the economic and political issues, there is the issue of religion, which is more contested in the Balkans than in any other part of Europe. Muslims represent 96 percent of Kosovo, 58 percent of Albania, 50 percent of Bosnia, 30-35 percent of Macedonia and 20 percent of Montenegro, with smaller minorities in Serbia (3.1 percent) and Croatia (1.47 percent). All told there are about 17 million Muslims living in the Balkans. Many are secular, considering the region’s history of communism.


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The revival of Muslim religious space in the Balkans continues to take place in two broad ways. First is the top-down state-driven official Islam designed to further national security interests. Second is the rediscovery of religion at the societal level. Thus, Islam exists both at the political level as an identity marker and in the form of personal religiosity around informal social networks.

Government-sponsored “official Islam” remains the dominant form of Islam. This is maintained through religious hierarchies, endowments, educational entities and civil society organizations – all tied to the state. However, other forms of Islam increasingly have arisen because of the quest of the believers after the reopening of religious space aided by growth of communications technology. Political Islam seeks to promote indigenous Islam and sees the latter as subversive foreign impulses.

This has led to a division between local traditional moderate Islam and foreign radical Salafi Islam. The former is seen as highly compatible with European values while the latter as antithetical. However, foreign expressions of Islam are also divided into competing trends: Salafism (either through Saudi-sponsored institutions or driven by informal networks tied to individual preachers and militant ideologues) and Turkish forms of Islam (either sponsored through official state institutions or through the Gülen movement). Both forms have their own further subdivisions pushing competing interpretations.

Against this backdrop, there have been reports of increasing radicalization in some Balkan countries in recent years. Islamic State for example has been explicit about its desire to recruit from Bosnia, even threatening to kill a senior Islamic cleric in the country in February. Various small scale attacks in Bosnia over the last year or two bear out this trend. It is also not just the Islamic State. Other groups, some funded by the Saudis or Qataris, provoke tensions with ethnic Serbs in Bosnia. Hundreds of radicalized Bosniaks have joined the Islamic State fight in Syria; others can pass into the European Union via Croatia.

Bosnia is also not the only problem here. Macedonia claimed in early September that IS recruiters have had a presence in Kosovo for at least the last two years. Various Balkan countries have cracked down on potential recruits and have tried to stop the radicalization, but the success of these efforts is so far unclear. Macedonia and Turkey cooperated in September to arrest suspected Islamic militants who had moved to Turkey in order to plan attacks in Macedonia. This is perhaps not yet a serious problem, but it has all the hallmarks of an area where militancy could flourish: struggling economies, disillusioned youth, inter-religious conflict, easy access to weapons and various other forms of smuggling and trafficking, and terrain that lends itself to covert places to hide and plan.

Together, the three dynamics of poor economic performance, political conflict and the potential for Islamist militancy make a usually unstable part of Europe even more off-balance. By themselves these challenges would present serious concerns. But these developments are not taking place in a vacuum, and competition between foreign powers in the Balkans adds another set of variables that does not bode well for the region’s near-term future.

Pawns of Other Powers

This year has been busy for Balkan leaders, who have intensified visits with the U.S., EU (and EU representative countries Germany or France), Russia and Turkey. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev will visit Belgrade in October. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden visited in August. German Minister of State for Europe Michael Roth visited on Sept. 12. Russian President Vladimir Putin spent a weekend in Slovenia in late July, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan paid a state visit to Croatia in late April. Everyone seems to be looking to intensify their presence and influence in the Balkans.

The EU and the U.S. have two major interests in the region: to avoid any kind of conflict and to diminish Russian influence. NATO is still involved in peacekeeping operations in Kosovo, having dedicated troops to similar operations in Bosnia as well. The EU and U.S. have been involved in the peacekeeping and state-building process in the Balkans and thus have been involved in the region’s politics since the end of the 1990s. Both have granted funds for institutional buildup. The EU has been the largest donor in the region, and most of the countries in the western Balkans have applied to join. While Montenegro, Macedonia and Serbia are unlikely to become members soon, they benefit from the EU financial assistance programs as they negotiate accession. Between 2014 and 2020, the EU has allocated about $2.75 billion under the pre-accession program. These funds are to help the countries build their socio-economic infrastructure, encompassing various sectors from governance to agriculture, education, regional cooperation and the environment.

Russia has also participated in peacekeeping, with troops in Kosovo and Bosnia, and maintains close relations with its historical allies in the region, which are all part of the Slavic Eastern Orthodox community. Russia wants to keep the region as a buffer zone, opposing Western influence. Russia is against the idea of building integrated infrastructure for the region, for the simple reason that such infrastructure will connect the region to the West and to NATO countries. Russia needs to prevent the development of military infrastructure that would facilitate movement of Western troops in the region and to the Mediterranean and the Black seas. Since the Ukraine crisis, NATO has expanded its multinational response force, creating a chain of outposts called “force integration units,” which could act like command units and respond to security threats along the alliance’s eastern border, including in Romania and Bulgaria. In response, Russia has maintained a special center for emergency situations in Niš in southern Serbia and has been organizing joint counterterrorism military exercises with the Serbian army since 2014.

Russia has also expanded its influence in the Balkans by investing in strategic economic sectors, from energy to transportation, tourism and financial markets. In 2008, Gazprom bought a majority stake in Serbian oil company Naftna Industrija Srbije, and Lukoil owns a majority stake in Beopetrol. Russia’s Sberbank and Moscow Bank entered Serbia and Montenegro, while state-run Russian Railways has been upgrading a 350-kilometer (220-mile) stretch of track in Serbia. The Kremlin has also sealed energy deals with Republika Srpska and awarded it a $300 million loan through a private investment fund. Russia is the most important investor in Republika Srpska, after Sberbank bought Austrian Volksbank operations in the region and Zarubrežnjeft invested $700 million to acquire the oil refinery in Brod.

In Montenegro, Russian investment makes up more than 30 percent of total foreign investment, while no individual Western European country accounts for more than 5 percent. Russian money went to almost all sectors of the economy, including tourism, the metals industry and real estate. Russia maintains good relations with Bulgarian business moguls and has increased investment in Macedonia since 2013. However, considering Russia’s current economic problems, its influence will likely stall, which is why Russia sees its position threatened. Meanwhile, Montenegro recently received an invitation to become a NATO member and Serbia is courting the Europeans and the Americans for more investment.

Turkey’s interest is primarily in maintaining its influence in the Black Sea. At the same time, Turkey maintains close relations with Muslim communities in the former Ottoman Empire for political reasons and through economic activity. In this sense, Turkey has special relations with Bulgaria, which has a large Turkish minority that has some influence in both Turkish and Bulgarian elections, and with Bosnia and Herzegovina, as a few million Turkish citizens claim Bosnian roots, after the large migration of Bosniaks to Turkey in the 17th century. While Turkey doesn’t invest as much as Russia and the West do, most of the funds and initiatives coming from Turkey go to highly symbolic projects, meant to revive cultural links based on the country’s imperial heritage, the Ottoman Empire. But Turkey must maneuver carefully, considering its relationship with Russia. This is why Turkey does not rival the West and Russia in the Balkans, but only seeks to maintain relations with the countries in the region, while keeping a fairly neutral stance toward the other powers interested in the region.

Conclusion

While much of Eurasia looks similar to the way it looked on the eve of the World War II, the Balkans look like they looked on the eve of the World War I. Political borders do not coincide with ethnic boundaries – but this would not be possible, considering the ethnic geography of the region. Several nation-states are still building up their institutional framework, while Kosovo is not recognized by all the countries in the region. Some of the states are members of the EU, some of NATO and some are in accession talks with one or the other. All countries in the western Balkans fear a potential increase in militancy, and they are all facing socio-economic problems.

Balkan politics have historically enabled foreign powers to boost their influence through financial and political support for local governments to avoid instability, which is what foreign powers fear most. With the Russian economy declining, the EU with its own problems, the U.S. looking to avoid any involvement in a potential conflict and Turkey with limited room to maneuver, the Balkan nations need to find solutions to their problems. While they can’t ignore foreign influence, the fragile state of their societies, as well as their location in the European borderlands, make the balancing strategy the best strategy they have. This means that governments in the western Balkans can access financial assistance and political support from multiple external powers. But as the usual creditors encounter economic problems and geopolitical rivalries grow, local regional disputes may intensify. This means the nuanced competition between foreign powers and regional actors could turn into a real conflict. The way these countries will manage their economies and societal demands is key to how things will evolve in the region.

https://geopoliticalfutures.com/the-balkans-still-the-powder-keg-of-europe/

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see our letter on:

*Herausgegeben von Udo von Massenbach, Bärbel Freudenberg-Pilster, Joerg Barandat*

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UdovonMassenbachMailJoergBarandat

09-16 NATO’s Southern flank Security threats and the Alliance’s role after the Warsaw Summit working_paper_2016_22.pdf

09-26-16 npr staff_Fact Check And Analysis Of The First Presidential Debate With Donald Trump A.pdf

09-28-16 ISIS- Syria-Cease Fire – для Машенбаха 28 сентября .docx

Massenbach-Letter: NEWS 23.09.16

Massenbach-Letter. News

· Kemp:La Nina forecast downgraded

· The lithium supply battle starts to heat up

· Russia: Siberian spring

· Carnegie Moscow: Russia’s Militant Anti-Atheism

· Kinderehen in Deutschland.

· Joerg Barandat Blog: WATERINTAKE 4/2016

· Frankreich wählt HK416 von Heckler&Koch als neues Sturmgewehr

Massenbach*Carnegie Moscow: Russia’s Militant Anti-Atheism

Public expression of atheism can now get a Russian citizen punished by the state. The jailing of a young blogger in Yekaterinburg is symptomatic of a culture of intolerance in which church and state work hand in hand.

In contemporary Russia, expressing anti-religious views is now the equivalent of what was called “anti-Soviet activities” twenty-five years ago.

Alarming evidence of this new reality came with the news on September 2 that Ruslan Sokolovsky, a twenty-two-year-old video blogger from Yekaterinburg, had been given a two-month prison sentence for playing Pokémon Go in an Orthodox church and putting out vocally anti-religious videos. Sokolovsky was accused of extremism and “offending the feelings of believers” (an article that was recently added to the Criminal Code and used to imprison members of the punk rock music group Pussy Riot).

The press secretary of the regional Interior Ministry directorate, Valery Gorelykh, had jumped the gun and, without waiting for the court ruling, had declared indignantly that people who play Pokémon Go in “holy places” should go to prison for five years and not three.

By punishing the young blogger, the Russian state moved one step toward being an ideological theocracy. It was striking out at a young man who was abiding by his constitutional rights to freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom to not have a religion, as well as by the principle of the separation of church and state. In May this year the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, had already made clear his sentiments toward the constitutionally protected concept of human rights when he condemned what he called the “heresy” of some human rights.

The “feelings of believers” are now privileged in Russia, but not the feelings of atheists, who might be offended, for example, when regional administrations demand that government employees contribute money “voluntarily” for the construction of churches. This is just one example of how the church and the state now unite in joyful harmony—in violation of the Constitution.

The establishment of the Russian Orthodox Church is gradually taking on the functions of the state, and the security arm of the state is protecting the Orthodox establishment. Long ago in world history, church law was inseparable from secular law. The Kirov district court in Yekaterinburg, which arrested Sokolovsky, effectively returned Russia to the Middle Ages by using secular law as church law.

As a result of this case, Pokémons have unwittingly become a litmus test for freedom in Russia and turned into symbols of anti-state activities.

In contrast to the Orthodox Church, in July this year the Grand Choral Synagogue in St. Petersburg awarded a successful Pokémon hunter a bottle of kosher wine. The synagogue is a holy place, too, correct? But no one was insulted and no one was arrested.

Apparently, the vengeful Old Testament god of the Jews is more merciful than the god worshipped in the harmonious Russian Orthodox Church. This has nothing to do with insulting anyone’s feelings. This is a sign of whether a particular religious establishment lives in the modern world or in the Middle Ages.

An arrest like this was possible because, since June 2012, Russia has passed more than 30 laws that expand the authority of law enforcement bodies and restrict the rights of the civil society. But the main point here is that an atmosphere of intolerance has been cultivated in Russia in recent years in which politicians can be assassinated and young people who stand up for their personal values can be jailed. A culture of denouncing others to the state has not yet returned fully in Russia, but it inevitably will, because it has become an instrument of state policy, the way it was for many decades of the country’s history.

Denunciations are rewarded and exploited by the state. When the Anti-Maidan Movement wrote a denouncement of an independent polling organization, the Levada Center, the Ministry of Justice acquiesced and conducted a probe into the center—which has now been declared a “foreign agent” under new legislation. The blogger Sokolovsky was arrested after a journalist from the Ura.ru online portal proposed an investigation as to whether his activities violated the feelings of believers. The Ura.ru journalist was not just doing his job; he was snitching.

There is a clear message in Sokolovsky’s story: if you openly express atheist views, you can now end up in jail. Sokolovsky is defenseless before the church-and-state behemoth. The Russian Orthodox establishment has mostly kept silent, although priests in Yekaterinburg have offered to teach the video blogger about the errors of his ways. The political class is also silent—it is deathly afraid of people such as Sokolovsky, imagining each of them to be the personification of the revolutionary Maidan phenomenon.

The most that the young blogger can be thankful for is that one church official, Vladimir Legoida, speaking on behalf of the Moscow Patriarchate, explained that the Russian Orthodox Church “is not out for blood.”

This article originally appeared in Russian in Gazeta.

http://carnegie.ru/commentary/2016/09/12/russia-s-militant-anti-atheism/j5b6?mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiT0RKak9XUTNPRFV5TWpOaSIsInQiOiJRMXJvNTFvMXpqWTVDSGxtUm9XTWdGOUhVekpWMG5oMDVoU2NlUGl6V0JBQnFiU3hMWW5hc2ZGOU1tREVidjVKdlBVbmJiQkNjbjhoelo1b1Y4ZVwvMklQXC9RNTBtZmxWNk5zYzRJWW15RzBFPSJ9

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From our Russian news desk:see attachments.

· A Journey Through Shari’a Law: Justifying Jihad and Punishment

· New Syria Ceasefire: Same Old Story – Who are the terrorists?

· After Brexit: An Uncertain New Reality – Brexit and Russian Integration

· A Subtle Approach: Lavrov and Kerry’s Agreement

· Defence

· Germany

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Policy= res publica

Freudenberg-Pilster* Kinderehen in Deutschland.

Union will Jugendämter zu Anzeigen zwingen

Datum: 24.09.2016 11:39 Uhr

Jugendämter sollen verpflichtet werden, Kinderehen anzuzeigen, sobald sie von ihnen Kenntnis haben. Das fordert eine Sprecherin der Unionsfraktion. Kinderehen in Deutschland sollen so schneller aufgehoben werden können.

Junge vollverschleierte Bräute in Afghanistan

Bisher werden im Ausland geschlossene Kinderehen in Deutschland dann nicht anerkannt, wenn ein Partner jünger als 14 Jahre ist.

Berlin. Um wirksamer gegen Kinderehen in Deutschland vorzugehen, sollen nach dem Willen der Union die Jugendämter derlei Ehen vor Gericht bringen. „Wir wollen erreichen, dass künftig die Jugendämter dazu verpflichtet werden, als Antragsteller Kinderehen vor Gericht zu bringen, sobald sie davon Kenntnis haben“, sagte die rechtspolitische Sprecherin der Unionsfraktion, Elisabeth Winkelmeier-Becker (CDU), der „Rheinischen Post“ vom Samstag.

„Das Gesetz muss so eindeutig gestaltet sein, dass derlei Ehen schnell aufgehoben werden können“, sagte sie. Das Aufhebungsverfahren zum Beenden der Ehe dürfe nicht davon abhängen, dass einer der Ehepartner selbst vor Gericht ziehe, sagte die CDU-Expertin. „Meist sind die in die Ehe gedrängten jungen Frauen betroffen. Ihnen ist das nicht zuzumuten“, sagte Winkelmeier-Becker. Daher solle auf die Jugendämter zurückgegriffen werden.

Ausnahmen oder einen Ermessensspielraum der Richter solle es bei der Entscheidung vor Gericht nur dann geben, wenn die Ehefrau schon nahe an der Volljährigkeit sei. „Wir haben einen ambitionierten Zeitplan und wollen im November ein entsprechendes Gesetz in den Bundestag einbringen. Das sollte möglichst schon ab Januar in Kraft treten“, sagte Winkelmeier-Becker.

Anfang September hatte erstmals eine Bund-Länder-Arbeitsgruppe zu Kinderehen getagt. Sie berät darüber, inwiefern die Vorschriften zur Ehemündigkeit im deutschen Recht geändert werden sollen. Außerdem soll die konkrete Praxis der Anerkennung von Auslandsehen mit minderjährigen Partnern thematisiert werden. Dieses Problem hatte sich durch den Zuzug von Flüchtlingen verschärft.

In Deutschland sollen Ehen nicht vor der Volljährigkeit geschlossen werden. Ausnahmen sind möglich, wenn einer der Partner volljährig, der andere mindestens 16 Jahre alt ist. Komplizierter ist die Rechtslage beim Umgang mit im Ausland geschlossenen Ehen. Bisher werden Kinderehen in Deutschland dann nicht anerkannt, wenn ein Partner jünger als 14 Jahre ist. Bei Ehen, die mit 14-Jährigen oder älteren Minderjährigen geschlossen wurden, haben die Gerichte bislang einen Ermessensspielraum.

http://www.handelsblatt.com/politik/deutschland/kinderehen-in-deutschland-union-will-jugendaemter-zu-anzeigen-zwingen/14595426.html

****************************************************************************************************************** Politics: From Vision to Action

Barandat* In eigener Sache – erlaube mir auf eine Neuerscheinung hinzuweisen:

Wegweiser zur Geschichte: Irak und Syrien. Im Auftrag des ZMSBw hrsg. von Bernd Lemke unter Mitarb. von Stefan Maximilian Brenner, Paderborn: Schöningh 2016, 296 S., 16,90 €, ISBN 978-3-506-78662-3

… Das Zentrum für Militärgeschichte und Sozialwissenschaften fügt den bereits für zahlreiche Länder und Regionen vorliegenden Bänden der Reihe »Wegweiser zur Geschichte« nun eine Publikation für diese Schlüsselgebiete hinzu

http://www.mgfa.de/html/einsatzunterstuetzung/irakundsyrien

https://www.schoeningh.de/katalog/titel/978-3-506-78662-3.html

Mein Beitrag darin:

Barandat, Jörg: Wasser – Lebensspender und politisches Konfliktthema, S. 217ff

Blog: Joerg Barandat- WATERINTAKE 4/2016 ( https://udovonmassenbach.wordpress.com/2016/09/24/joerg-barandat-waterintake-42016/ )

Reuters: RPT-COLUMN-The lithium supply battle starts to heat up: Andy Home

(Repeats Sept. 20 column. The opinions expressed here are those of the author, a columnist for Reuters.)

By Andy Home

LONDON, Sept 20 The lithium rush is on.

Not a day goes by without an exploration company telling us about an exciting development on their property, which is now a lithium prospect irrespective of what minerals were originally being hunted.

Today it is the turn of Premier African Minerals, providing "a positive update on its 2,500-meter drilling programme at the company’s Zulu Lithium Project near Fort Rixon in Zimbabwe".

Tomorrow it will be someone else.

Everyone, it seems, is trying to jump on the lithium bandwagon, fuelled by Tesla and other electric auto pioneers and propelled by rapidly rising prices and the promise of more to come.

It is a boom. Whether it turns to a bust is a hotly discussed topic across social media and internet forums.

Sceptics point to past excessive exuberance in metallic bubbles such as rare earths as a warning of what may lie in store.

And there is an obvious analogy. While no-one doubts lithium’s demand prospects, the big unknown is how much supply will be there to meet it. Too little or, as turned out to be the case with rare earths, too much?

Key to answering that question will be the behaviour of the big four producers that currently dominate the lithium supply landscape.

Some of them are now starting to make their moves, first and foremost by extending and tightening their grip on the lithium supply chain.

CONSOLIDATION AND CONTROL IN AUSTRALIA

Greenbushes in Western Australia is the world’s largest hard-rock lithium resource and it was at the heart of the last major consolidation wave among the lithium establishment.

Its joint owners are Tianqi Lithium and Albemarle. The former snapped up the previous owner Talison Lithium in 2013 and then sold a 49 percent stake to Rockwood Holdings, which was itself subsumed into Albemarle in 2014.

Now both partners seem intent on extending their footprint along the downstream supply chain.

Tianqi has just announced its intention to build a A$400 million ($306 million) plant, also in Western Australia, to convert the mine’s output into high-grade lithium hydroxide, the form of the metal needed for automotive and energy storage batteries.

Albemarle, which had been toll-refining its share of Greenbushes‘ output at Jiangxi Jiangli facilities in China has signed a definitive agreement to buy out the Chinese company.

The transaction, expected to close in the first quarter of 2017, will "accelerate our strategic goal of capturing 50 percent of the growth in the lithium industry".

CONFUSION IN CHILE

Tianqi’s ambitions extend beyond controlling its own Australian supply chain.

It has thrown its hat into the ring for the 23 percent stake up for sale in SQM, another member of the lithium establishment with brine and conversion operations in Chile.

It’s a bold move. There is both "complexity and uncertainty around the transaction", as another Chinese bidder, Ningbo Shanshan, noted with considerable understatement in explaining why it withdrew from the running.

A history of political scandal, a long-running stand-off with CORFO, the Chilean development agency that controls the rights to the brine deposits in the Atacama desert, and a government investigation make for a highly inflammatory cocktail.

Tianqi’s bid for the SQM stake, however, is a very clear statement of intent to rise up the four-strong hierarchy of established producers.

The fourth member of the establishment is FMC. It alone has stayed out of the recent investment fray, choosing, for now at least, to go down the organic growth route.

FLEXING CAPACITY

This flurry of activity reflects both an internal establishment battle for market position and the build-out of defences against the hordes of new and would-be producers trying to grab a slice of the lithium action.

Implicit in the latter ambition is the ability of the big four to increase production and retain market share.

Both Tianqi’s new Australian plant and Albemarle’s swoop on Jiangxi Jiangli are predicated on an expansion of activities at the Greenbushes mine.

Also In Cyclical Consumer Goods

Talison doesn’t currently disclose either capacity or production levels at Greenbushes but it’s studying an expansion which would double both, Chief Financial Officer Lorry Mignacca told Reuters.

Engineering studies on the expansion are due to be completed by the end of this year or early 2017 with any expansion timed to complement Tianqi’s proposed start-up in 2019.

There is similar flex within Chile, albeit one that is currently constrained by the dark political web surrounding SQM.

For its part FMC seems confident it can triple its hydroxide capacity by redirecting existing lithium resource towards battery-use products.

It’s a stance that has raised a few eyebrows among the lithium cognoscenti but FMC claims "our manufacturing network is highly flexible, which allows us to increase capacity or accelerate expansion plans as customer needs warrant".

NEWCOMERS

Meanwhile, the first wave of challengers to the big four is arriving.

Orocobre is currently ramping up production at its Salar de Olarez brine operations in Argentina.

Extracting lithium with the right purity and, equally importantly, with the required tight levels of impurity is a tricky business and Orocobre has experienced its share of teething problems since first production began last year.

But the company is guiding towards production of 15,000 tonnes of lithium carbonate in the financial year to June 2017, up from 6,900 tonnes in the first year of operations.

And more, many more are coming behind Orocobre.

What price lithium will command by the time they arrive is the big unknown.

Can the establishment lift production enough to deter the incomers? Or will it collectively fail to meet lithium’s expected super strong demand growth with all the bull market implications such a shortfall would entail?

What we’re seeing now are just the opening strategic moves in a battle that will be waged for many years to come.

http://www.reuters.com/article/lithium-supply-ahome-idUSL8N1BW3GP

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COLUMN-La Nina forecast downgraded as trade winds remain moderate: Kemp – Reuters News

21-Sep-2016 10:53:57 ( John Kemp is a Reuters market analyst. The views expressed are his own.)

By John Kemp

LONDON, Sept 21 (Reuters) – Sea surface temperatures in the central Pacific have been significantly below the seasonal average for the last 10 weeks, consistent with the formation of mild La Nina conditions.

But U.S. government forecasters have cut the probability of La Nina occurring this winter to 36 percent, down from an estimated probability of 76 percent at the time of their May forecast (http://tmsnrt.rs/2cGjeuX).

The U.S. government now predicts conditions this winter are likely to be neutral, with neither La Nina or El Nino evident, and puts this probability at 56 percent, up from 21 percent in May.

Surface temperatures in the central Pacific have cooled but not as fast or as far as expected earlier in the year, which has caused the forecast probability of La Nina developing to drop (http://tmsnrt.rs/2cOC4vQ).

Many other phenomena associated with La Nina are either absent or only weakly present, which has also caused forecasters to downgrade their predictions.

Some models indicate a borderline La Nina this winter. But the consensus among U.S. forecasters is for neutral conditions based on the lack of significant support from other indicators.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration dropped its “La Nina watch” in September, having been on the lookout since April, according to the agency’s latest forecast (“El Nino/Southern Oscillation diagnostic discussion”, NOAA, Sept. 8).

EL NINO

The term El Nino, meaning the boy, and referring to the infant Jesus, was originally employed by fishermen to describe an unusual warm southward current appearing each year in the cold waters off Peru just after Christmas.

Every few years, the current is unusually intense and reaches further south, bringing heavy rains along the normally arid coast.

Years in which the warm current was unusually strong were known historically as anos de abundancia, or years of abundance ("El Nino, La Nina, and the Southern Oscillation", Philander, 1990).

The existence of the seasonal El Nino warm current was formally reported by scientists in the 1890s but it was not until the 1950s and 1960s that it was realised the warm surface waters extended far out into the ocean.

In fact, the exceptionally warm waters associated with anos de abundancia in Peru extend as far as the date line and are associated with unusually weak trade winds as well as heavy rainfall in the central Pacific.

El Nino has come to describe the presence of unusually warm waters throughout a stretch of the central and eastern Pacific and the associated weather phenomena over a much wider area.

The U.S. government now defines El Nino as sea surface temperatures at least half a degree Celsius warmer than the seasonal average, persisting for at least three months, in a specific region of the central-eastern Pacific.

The critical area of the ocean stretches from 120 degrees to 170 degrees west of Greenwich and straddles the equator from 5 degrees south to 5 degrees north.

Sea surface temperature anomalies in this area, known as Nino region 3.4, are the most closely correlated with all the other phenomena associated with El Nino.

Oceanographers later came to realise El Nino was the warm phase of an irregular cycle of sea surface temperatures. The cold phase came to be called La Nina, the girl.

La Nina, the opposite of El Nino, is associated with colder-than-normal waters off the coast of Peru stretching towards the date line and trade winds that are even stronger than usual.

SOUTHERN OSCILLATION

The Southern Oscillation was discovered separately by Gilbert Walker, working as director-general of the Indian Meteorological Department in the early 20th century.

Walker noted how pressure changes over the Pacific and Indian oceans were inversely correlated with one another as well as linked to the occasional failure of the Indian monsoon.

Walker observed that when atmospheric pressure at sea level was high in the Pacific it tended to be low in the Indian Ocean and vice versa, a cycle he named the Southern Oscillation.

The pressure swing was historically measured at observatories located at Darwin in Australia and Tahiti in the Pacific, both slightly south of the equator, but chosen for convenience because they are on land.

More modern measurements of the Southern Oscillation are usually taken by comparing sea level pressures over an area of Indonesia straddling the equator with one in the eastern Pacific (http://tmsnrt.rs/2cOBVc5).

OCEAN-ATMOSPHERE COUPLING

Jacob Bjerknes at the University of California first proposed the link between El Nino and the Southern Oscillation in 1969. The combined cycle is now normally termed El Nino/Southern Oscillation, or ENSO.

Bjerknes suggested, and it was subsequently confirmed, that dry air sinks over the cold waters of the eastern Pacific (causing local high pressure) and flows west along the equator in the phenomenon known as the trade winds.

The air is warmed and picks up moisture as it flows across the ocean until it rises and forms rainclouds over the western Pacific (resulting in lower pressure there).

Drier air then returns across the Pacific in the upper atmosphere to sink again off the coast of Peru, completing a cycle Bjerknes called the Walker Circulation (https://www.climate.gov/sites/default/files/Walker_Neutral_large.jpg).

By warming the waters off Peru, El Nino weakens the trade winds and the Walker Circulation (https://www.climate.gov/sites/default/files/Walker_ElNino_2colorSSTA_l…).

In contrast, the cold coastal waters of La Nina accelerate the trade winds and strengthen the Walker Circulation (https://www.climate.gov/sites/default/files/Walker_LaNina_2colorSSTA_l…).

The Walker Circulation is therefore dampened and amplified by the difference in ocean temperatures between the eastern and western Pacific associated with El Nino and La Nina (“The Walker Circulation: ENSO’s atmospheric buddy”, NOAA, August 2014).

TRADE WINDS, OCEAN CURRENTS

Causality also flows the other way. El Nino and La Nina are themselves initiated and amplified by the weakening and strengthening of the trade winds and the Walker Circulation.

Trade winds carry warmer surface water from the coast of Peru far out into the Pacific in a fast-flowing equatorial current that can carry water towards the date line at speeds exceeding 1 metre per second.

As the warmer surface waters are driven off by the trade winds they expose and are replaced by an upwelling of colder water from the deep ocean.

When the trade winds accelerate, as in La Nina, the waters off the coast of Peru cool even more than normal and the cold zone extends further out into the ocean. When the winds slacken, as in El Nino, the waters off the coast of Peru become warmer.

The ocean cycle of El Nino and La Nina is coupled with the atmospheric Walker Circulation and Southern Oscillation, and the two interact closely with one another.

In a typical El Nino episode, the trade winds slacken and the waters off Peru warm, causing the trade winds to slacken further and the waters to warm even more.

La Nina describes the opposite set of ocean-atmosphere interactions, with stronger trade winds cooling the eastern Pacific more than normal, which in turn drives stronger trade winds.

POSITIVE FEEDBACK LOOPS

El Nino and La Nina are examples of positive feedback mechanisms in the coupled ocean-atmosphere circulations.

El Nino/La Nina and the Southern Oscillation are instances of a complex system in which small changes in either trade winds or sea surface temperatures can trigger large climate changes through feedback.

The sensitivity of ENSO to small variances in atmospheric or oceanic conditions is one reason why the timing, strength and development of El Nino/La Nina episodes are hard to forecast.

It also explains why the accuracy of predictions deteriorates rapidly when the forecast horizon extends forward by more than a few months, which is why NOAA has had to scale back its La Nina prediction since May.

Although El Nino and La Nina are defined by reference to sea surface temperature anomalies, they are associated with a host of supportive changes in sea-level pressure, wind speed and convection.

Sea surface temperature, sea level pressure, wind speed and convection anomalies are all closely though not perfectly correlated with each other (“Why are there so many ENSO indexes?” NOAA, January 2015).

But El Nino/La Nina and the Southern Oscillation are not the only influences on ocean and atmosphere circulations in the Pacific, so positive feedback mechanisms can fail to develop or subsequently break down.

In the current episode, the moderate cooling of waters in the eastern Pacific has not so far been accompanied by a strong and supportive pickup in pressure anomalies and trade winds (http://tmsnrt.rs/2d3J7o7).

Without a pickup in pressure anomalies and wind speeds, the positive feedback mechanisms that drive La Nina are absent or only weakly present.

The lack of positive feedback as shown in other indicators of sea level pressures and wind speeds is why forecasters have become much less confident about the emergence of La Nina during the winter of 2016/17.

(Editing by Dale Hudson)

John Kemp

Senior Market Analyst

Reuters

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*Massenbach’s Recommendation*

Russia: Siberian spring

New drilling in Soviet-era brownfields makes it unlikely that Russia will help ease the global glut.

At well pad number 258, Iosif Stefanishin watches with pride as a drill bit burrows deeper and deeper into swampy Siberian plain. This is Russia’s oil heartland, where thousands of miles of forest and mud are interrupted only by clusters of fuel tanks and shiny processing plants.

Mr Stefanishin has been drilling for oil here since Soviet times. The cluster of fields under the control of Yuganskneftegaz, the division of state oil company Rosneft where Mr Stefanishin works as a drilling supervisor, are some of the world’s most prolific. Last year, they pumped 1.25m barrels a day — one in eight barrels produced in Russia, or enough to supply the entire needs of Turkey and Poland combined.

“The market situation has changed, the equipment has changed,” he says of his years working at Yuganskneftegaz since 1986. “Our company was always good.”

But the deposits here were first extracted in the 1960s and the fields are beginning to show their age. Output at Yuganskneftegaz fell nearly 8 per cent from 2012 to a low last summer.

In response, Rosneft has embarked on a surge in drilling and investment. The 2.8km-deep well that Mr Stefanishin is overseeing will be one of 1,500 drilled in 2016; in the first half of this year, Yuganskneftegaz’s drilling rate was 148 per cent higher than the same period two years ago.

Rosneft’s new focus on its Soviet-era brownfield assets comes after the tumble in global oil prices and western sanctions forced it to temper its ambitions to develop new resources, most notably in the Arctic. But after years of under-investment in western Siberia, the effect of Rosneft’s shift on the oil markets could be significant.

Even with production from brownfield operators like Yuganskneftegaz in retreat, Russia’s oil industry, aided by investments in new projects made before the fall in oil prices and cushioned from it by the rouble’s weakness, has defied pessimistic forecasts to lift production significantly since 2014. Kirill Molodtsov, deputy energy minister, yesterday said the country had been pumping an average of 11.09m b/d so far in September — a post-Soviet high.

Output surge

With Rosneft’s new strategy, Russia is on track to challenge its record production of 11.4m b/d set in 1987. Goldman Sachs analysts predict that Russian output will increase by 590,000 b/d in the next three years.

“In the current oil price environment, Rosneft will shift its attention to better management of brownfields,” says Karen Kostanian, oil analyst for Bank of America Merrill Lynch in Moscow. “If Rosneft can indeed reverse its brownfield decline rates, then the projections of Russian oil production for the next few years are underestimates.” It could also help Moscow persuade foreign investors to buy a 19.5 per cent stake in a company — worth about $11bn at current market prices.

For Igor Sechin, Rosneft’s powerful chief executive, maximising production at its ageing brownfields marks a significant change of emphasis. Mr Sechin, a close ally of President Vladimir Putin, has had one overarching focus for much of the four years he has been in charge of Russia’s dominant state oil champion: the Arctic. In 2012, while unveiling a partnership with ExxonMobil, he described the development of Arctic oil as “more ambitious than man’s first walk on space or sending man to the moon”. Two years later he said Rosneft would “open a new oil province” with reserves equivalent to Saudi Arabia’s.

With ExxonMobil suspending its participation in the joint venture following US sanctions over Moscow’s actions in Ukraine, Mr Sechin has recently struck a different note. Speaking at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum in June, the Rosneft boss enthused not about the Arctic but about western Siberia’s brownfields.

“We believe that in the next 10 years the greatest potential is connected to the effective use of our unique resource base of conventional oil, including in the areas where there is existing infrastructure in western Siberia,” he said.

Rosneft’s surge in drilling at its brownfields appears to dash hopes that Russia will reduce oil production in conjunction with Opec. With its economy hurting from the fall in oil prices, Moscow has been enthusiastic about the possibility of a deal with the oil producers’ cartel to rein in production: earlier this month it agreed to co-operate with Saudi Arabia to “stabilise the oil markets”, and it is due to meet Opec countries in Algiers next week.

Mr Sechin has, however, long spoken out against the viability of a deal with Opec, and Russian observers and industry insiders are deeply sceptical that the country will modify its production, regardless of whether a deal is announced in Algiers.

The Rosneft chief presents its strategy as an implicit response to Russia’s two rival producers: the US, whose rapid increase in shale output has been the major contributor to a glut on the oil markets, and Saudi Arabia, whose decision to fight for market share helped trigger the price crash.

“The quality of the US resource base is such that it needs quite high prices to be exploited,” Mr Sechin said in St Petersburg, while the oil price tumble Saudi Arabia helped to unleash had been “quite painful” for Riyadh.

Drilling craze

The basis for Mr Sechin’s confidence is Yuganskneftegaz. Headquartered in Nefteyugansk on a tributary of the Ob river, the company was the cornerstone of Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s Yukos oil group until he was thrown in jail and his company bankrupted in 2006. Now Yuganskneftegaz accounts for 31 per cent of Rosneft’s production.

The unit’s history epitomises the changing fortunes of oil production in western Siberia. The company has struggled to maintain output, and Rosneft has replaced the management team three times in four years.

In the past 18 months, however, Rosneft has managed to stop the rot. The company is more than doubling its drilling rate, from 750 wells a year in 2014 to 1,700 a year from next year. It is also increasing the use of advanced techniques, such as hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. According to Khasan Tatriev, director of Yuganskneftegaz, 13 per cent of the wells it will drill this year will be horizontal, up from 4 per cent three years ago.

The increase has not come cheap: Rosneft’s capital expenditure at Yuganskneftegaz was 79 per cent higher in the first half of 2016, at Rbs70bn ($1.1bn) than in the first half of 2014.

Vladimir Shmatovich, head of strategy at pipemaker TMK, says there has been an increase in the use of fracking across the Russian oil industry. “People are trying to suck as much as possible from existing deposits. Hydro-fracking is a natural way to do that. It’s expensive — but less expensive than drilling greenfields,” he says.

Rosneft’s investment is already showing results: Yuganskneftegaz’s monthly production has been rising steadily since the middle of last year, and since April has been rising year on year. But that is not enough for Rosneft executives, who want to boost Yuganskneftegaz’s output by almost 10 per cent by 2019, adding 120,000 b/d of production.

Central to Rosneft’s plan to revive production at Yuganskneftegaz is the development of deposits known in Russian as “hard-to-recover resources”.

The terminology is important: until 2014, such resources were often described by western and Russian companies in English as “shale”. When the US and Europe imposed sanctions restricting sales of equipment and services to Russian shale oil projects, many feared they would scupper development of such projects.

But Russian executives say only the giant Bazhenov formation, which is estimated by the US energy department to hold 75bn barrels of oil, has been affected. Meanwhile, work on other “hard-to-recover” deposits, such as the Tyumen or Achimov, has continued. Like shale, these are low-permeability formations which require horizontal drilling and fracking to exploit, but the executives say they are geologically distinct from shale and therefore do not fall under the sanctions.

09-20-16 для Машенбаха 20 сентября 2016.docx

Joerg Barandat – WATERINTAKE 4/2016

W A T E R I N T A K E

4/2016

Juli – August – September

18.09.2016

SIWI – 2016 World Water Week

28 August – 2 September, 2016 in Stockholm

… is the annual focal point for the globe’s water issues … This year, the theme is Water for Sustainable Growth … In 2015, over 3,300 individuals and close to 300 convening organizations from 130 countries participated in the Week. Experts, practitioners, decision-makers, business innovators and young professionals from a range of sectors and countries come to Stockholm to network, exchange ideas, foster new thinking and develop solutions to the most pressing water-related challenges of today. We believe water is key to our future prosperity, and that together, we can achieve a water wise world …

http://www.worldwaterweek.org/

http://programme.worldwaterweek.org/

The Water Report 2016 – including highly current issues of water and migration

17 August 2016 … takes on the highly current, and sometimes parallel, issues of water and migration. While we are witnessing some of the largest refugee flows since the Second World War, water crises are highlighted as one of the most pressing global challenges … 2015 was a year of big decisions. The time has come for implementation. SIWI and The Water Report aims to follow, on an annual basis, the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals – the Water Goal (SDG 6) and the other water-related SDGs – as well as the implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement … Water is a cross-cutting resource. Access to reliable and safe freshwater is essential for human health, food security, sustainable economic development, social progress and sound ecosystems. Water thus has the potential to act as a connector between policy areas, economic sectors, and nations. In a world of growing demand for freshwater and increasing climate induced and water related hazards, integrating wise water resource management throughout the 2030 and climate agendas will be decisive for the success of their delivery … managing freshwater, and making effective use of its full potential, will be decisive for the possibility to achieve the 2030 Agenda as well as efficiently address the climate change challenge … High time to think deeper about water. The global challenges of both demand and supply of water is mounting. Growing populations and economies require and pollute increasing volumes of freshwater. At the same time, the availability of water is in increasing peril from climate change-induced extreme weather. It is clear that we will need to invest more in water security, but we also urgently need to consider how we invest the water at our disposal in our economies and societies. We need to start planning for our future from a water perspective …

http://www.worldwaterweek.org/the-water-report-2016/

Siehe auch:

2016 UN World Water Development Report, Water and Jobs

22 March 2016 Three out of four of the jobs worldwide are water-dependent. In fact, water shortages and lack of access may limit economic growth in the years to come … From its collection, through various uses, to its ultimate return to the natural environment, water is a key factor in the development of job opportunities either directly related to its management (supply, infrastructure, wastewater treatment, etc.) or in economic sectors that are heavily water-dependent such as agriculture, fishing, power, industry and health. Furthermore, good access to drinking water and sanitation promotes an educated and healthy workforce, which constitutes an essential factor for sustained economic growth. In its analysis of the economic impact of access to water, the report cites numerous studies that show a positive correlation between investments in the water sector and economic growth. It also highlights the key role of water in the transition to a green economy …

http://www.unesco.org/new/en/natural-sciences/environment/water/wwap/wwdr/2016-water-and-jobs/

2016 World Water Week in den Medien

Ende der World Water Week: Wasser spielt eine zentrale Rolle bei der Implementierung der 2030 Agenda für die nachhaltige Entwicklung

03.09.2016 Die World Water Week ging … mit dem Schluss zu Ende, dass Wasser als Mittel für eine erfolgreiche Implementierung der gesamten 2030 Agenda sowie des Pariser Klimaabkommens angesehen werden muss … Die Implementierung der Ziele nachhaltiger Entwicklung (SDGs Sustainable Development Goals), einschließlich des Ziels "Wasser" (Ziel 6), war eines der wichtigsten Themen, die von hochrangigen Entscheidungsträgern, Fachkräften aus den Bereichen Entwicklung und Wasser, Forschern, Vertretern der Zivilgesellschaft und aus dem privaten Sektor diskutiert wurden … Im Verlauf der Woche lag der Fokus auf der Implementierung und auf Maßnahmen – insbesondere auf lokaler und Stadtebene -, womit der Übergang von globalen Diskussionen und Verhandlungen hin zu einer Annahme der SDGs und des Pariser Klimaabkommens 2015 markiert wird …

http://www.finanzen.net/nachricht/aktien/Ende-der-World-Water-Week-Wasser-spielt-eine-zentrale-Rolle-bei-der-Implementierung-der-2030-Agenda-fuer-die-nachhaltige-Entwicklung-5064290

Cardinal Turkson gives keynote address at World Water Week 2016

29/08/2016 … president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, gave a keynote address for World Water Week … in which he examined the links between faith and development in the search to make drinkable water accessible to all people … “Motivation to virtue is the valuable contribution that religious faith and spiritual practices can and must bring to development, through their spiritual leaders and the multitudes of believers and adherents” … Educate youth to embrace solidarity, altruism, and responsibility. The latter of these virtues will help them to be honest administrators and politicians. In teaching Sacred Scriptures and spiritual traditions, show that water is a precious and even a divine element. It is used extensively in liturgy. This should inspire us to use water with respect and gratitude, reclaim polluted water sources, and understand that water is not a mere commodity. Organize interreligious campaigns for cleaning rivers or lakes, in order to foster mutual respect, peace and friendship among different groups. Reaffirm human dignity and the common good of the whole human family in order to promote a wise hierarchy of priorities for the use of water, especially where there are multiple and potentially competing demands for water …

http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2016/08/29/card_turkson_gives_keynote_address_at_world_water_week_2016/1254435

Danke für diesen Hinweis nach Berlin-Mitte! J.B.

The other water crisis: one million jobs are missing, yearly

12 September 2016 Experts are sounding the alarm over a growing jobs crisis in the global water sector. While there is much talk about the increasing water scarcity that will affect 1.8 billion people by 2025, and the need to support Goal Six of the Sustainable Development Goals which calls for the “availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all”, there is another issue: there aren’t enough skilled workers to keep the water sector running efficiently … According to UN Water, 1.5 billion people – more than 40 per cent of the world’s total active workforce – work in water-related sectors, while nearly all jobs are water dependent. Speaking at the at the World Water Week conference … Ger Bergkemp, executive director of the International Water Association (IWA), said the number of water professionals is failing to keep pace with the world’s ever increasing water needs. “The global population of seven billion needs waste water facilities, translating to approximately 7,000 people requiring new waste water facilities on daily basis. This means that one million new professionals are needed yearly to bridge the gap” … Jobs in the sector range from engineers to microbiologists to plumbers, waste management professionals and software developers … One of the reasons for the deficit is uncompetitive salaries and a lack of opportunities … The impact of this capacity shortfall is wide-ranging, although primarily it affects the sustainable provision of water and sanitation service delivery globally … The experts, however, agree unanimously that the privatisation of the water sector is not a panacea to its human resources challenge as it leads to a deterioration in service delivery, higher water prices, corruption and environmental problems … “Private firms in the water sector could do better in wages but unfortunately, they opt for profit maximisation. Whenever they take up public utilities, they usually sack all workers and reemploy 30 per cent of the former staff,” he observes …

http://www.equaltimes.org/the-other-water-crisis-one-million?lang=en#.V90ezIVOLIU

Weltwasserwoche in Stockholm – "Es fehlt nicht an Wasser, es fehlt an Geld"

Stand: 28.08.2016 … Jürgen Leist [Leibniz Universität Hannover]: Da muss ich erst mal korrigieren. Wasser wird immer knapper, das höre ich immerzu. Die Erde hat seit Jahrmillionen die gleiche Wassermenge. Natürlich ist das zu 97 Prozent Salzwasser, aber die Grenzen sind fließend: Das, was heute bei uns an Regen herunterkommt, war drei Tage vorher noch im Atlantik. Es findet ein beständiger Kreislauf statt. Wenn sich, was sich ja abzeichnet, die Welt erwärmt, dann wird sich das sogar noch beschleunigen. In die Atmosphäre kommt noch mehr Wasser. Es kann natürlich dazu führen, dass in einigen Regionen verfügbares Wasser in der Nähe von großen Metropolen knapper wird …

https://www.tagesschau.de/inland/weltwasserwoche-101.html

Achieving universal access to water and sanitation by 2030 – how can blended finance help?

08/29/2016 … With the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals on water and sanitation (SDG 6), countries of the world committed themselves to change this situation by achieving universal access to safe water and sanitation while addressing issues of water quality and scarcity to balance the needs of households, agriculture, industry, energy, and the environment over the next 15 years. A substantial increase in sector financing will be necessary to achieve SDG 6. Recent estimates by the World Bank’s Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) indicate that the present value of the additional investment in the water and sanitation sector alone needed through 2030 will exceed US$1.7 trillion. Existing funding falls far short of this amount; countries may have to increase their water and sanitation investments by up to four times in order to meet the SDGs … At present, most water sector actors in developing countries rely on government lending and concessional financing from national, bilateral or multilateral development banks (MDBs) to mobilize financing for capital investment. These financial sources alone will not be sufficient to finance investments on the scale that is called for by the SDGs. It is therefore essential to mobilize up-front financing from commercial sources as well. National governments and donors must use their funds in a catalytic manner, as part of broader financing strategies that mobilize funding from sector efficiency gains, tariffs, domestic taxes, and transfers to crowd in domestic commercial finance … OECD refers to blended finance as ‘the strategic use of development finance and philanthropic funds to mobilize private capital flows to emerging and frontier markets’ … Commercial finance usually brings requirements for greater investment discipline and transparency, which in turn could support improved efficiency in the sector, an objective for most water sector reform efforts around the world …

https://blogs.worldbank.org/water/achieving-universal-access-water-and-sanitation-2030-how-can-blended-finance-help

WASSERSTANDSMELDUNGEN

«Der Kampf ums Wasser wird die Kriege der Zukunft prägen» – Die UNO muss Konflikte verhüten und nicht bloss verwalten

[Interview mit Irina Bokova, Generaldirektorin der UNESCO]

17.09.2016 … Ich bin überzeugt, dass die Stärkung der «soft power», die Stärkung von Bildungsbemühungen und kultureller Identität, von grosser Wichtigkeit bei der Konfliktbewältigung ist. Zehn der siebzehn Ziele der UNO-Agenda für nachhaltige Entwicklung betreffen die Arbeit der Unesco. Es geht um die Entwicklung der Wissenschaft, den Schutz der Ozeane, die Gleichberechtigung der Geschlechter, den Zugang zu sauberem Wasser, den Erhalt der Biodiversität und um Bildung. Das hat mich motiviert, mich als UNO-Generalsekretärin zu bewerben … In vielen Teilen der Welt schwinden die Ressourcen und das Wasser wird knapp. Der Kampf ums Wasser wird die Kriege der Zukunft zunehmend prägen. Es braucht eine Art Alarmsystem für drohende Konflikte. Ich sprach jüngst im Sahel in verschiedenen Ländern über Wassermangel, Armut und Boko Haram. Es gibt keine einfachen Antworten auf die Frage nach den Ursachen dieser Herausforderungen. Aber die UNO sollte ihren Fokus darauf legen, das Konfliktpotenzial in solchen Ländern zu minimieren …

http://www.derbund.ch/ausland/Der-Kampf-ums-Wasser-wird-die-Kriege-der-Zukunft-praegen/story/20985948

Water, Energy, Food – Increasingly, Everything Is Connected

Sep 15, 2016 People often think of scientists as solitary types, working alone in our labs, focused on a narrow topic. But if that was ever true, it’s not now. Scientific discovery and creating new technologies don’t fit in a box. That’s certainly the case with questions involving water and energy, and the so-called water-energy nexus has gained attention from both the government and from researchers over the past few years. The two intersect like this: Producing clean water requires energy – to treat the water, to distribute the water and so on – while it takes water to produce energy, from generating electricity to blasting chemicals and sand into shale rock to extract oil and natural gas. Water is a key component of the cooling process in utility plants powered by fossil fuels, and it generates electricity directly in the case of hydroelectricity. Drought can affect power plants by limiting water availability. Similarly, water treatment plants can be shut down when a storm knocks out the power supply … The United Nations reports that agriculture accounts for 70 percent of global freshwater use. Food production and transportation consumes about 30 percent of global energy use. As the demand for food increases to meet projected population growth, it will require both more water and more energy. It doesn’t stop there, however. Runoff from agricultural operations can lead to pollution, requiring the water to be treated. The treatment requires energy. But agriculture doesn’t just consume water and energy – crops and agricultural waste are used to produce biofuels … There’s no place to get off the wheel. It goes in so many directions, and if we want to manage our resources sustainably, we have to pay attention.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/uhenergy/2016/09/15/water-energy-food-increasingly-everything-is-connected/#40dfebfd1606

How to Deal with Poor Water Quality Worldwide

September 6, 2016 The first step is to quantify the risks with both global and country-specific maps of where and what the hazards are … The global population has reached 7 billion, with more than 50 percent living within 150 km of a coastline, major lake or river system. Half of the world lacks any wastewater infrastructure, and other parts of the developed regions of the world (i.e. USA) are in desperate need of restoration. Beyond humans the numbers of cattle, sheep, pigs and chickens are estimated at 1.4, 1, 0.9 and 21 billion, respectively. On average, animals and humans generate 61.7 and 10.1 million metric tons of excreta per day … All of this fecal waste is entering waterways and impacting the designated uses including for recreating and drinking. While what we do on the land is the source of these pathogens, climate is the driver of the pollution. The severity of water quality problems are exacerbated by climate change both during scarcity and extreme events. Climate change will aggravate regional and global water scarcity by as much as 15 to 40 percent, which will mean that sewage dominated waterways and unplanned reuse will increase. And waterborne disease outbreaks tied to large precipitation events will continue to plague communities. This phenomenon has been found both in developing and developed regions of the world … The data we are now generating are available for us to produce global and country specific maps on pathogen risks associated with fecal pollution … We now have the diagnostic tools and risk frameworks to utilize the data necessary to maximize the potential for the blue economy around the world, to enhance industrial activities and tourism, to improve the designated uses of waterways for water supply, recreation and agriculture and very importantly produce jobs where skilled human resources will be needed. The data around the world on pathogens in sewage and their removal are tremendous and once collated will be extremely useful … Networks between public health institutions, universities, water providers and managers. Risk analysis frameworks to integrate science and policy and promote the translation of science into action around sewage sources …

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/how-to-deal-with-poor-water-quality-worldwide/

Johannesburg Tightens Water Controls as Record Drought Persists

September 6, 2016 — South Africa’s biggest city tightened water restrictions as high spring temperatures and dry weather meant dam levels continued to drop, adding to the effect of record-low rainfall in 2015. Johannesburg must cut water consumption by 15 percent or face forced cuts, the city said in a statement … In addition to restrictions imposed in November, consumers may not use sprinklers in their gardens and will be charged extra for high usage. “If these measures are not effective in reducing demand by 15 percent then the Johannesburg water system will face the risk of outages,” the city said. “We request residents to take this seriously” … The 15 percent reduction in usage in Johannesburg will help to ease pressure on water levels in the Integrated Vaal River System, which have dropped below the 60 percent threshold …

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-09-06/johannesburg-tightens-water-controls-as-record-drought-persists

Siehe auch:

5 September 2016 More water restrictions hit Joburg

http://www.iol.co.za/news/south-africa/gauteng/more-water-restrictions-hit-joburg-2064529

Israel’s water crisis isn’t over: Dead Sea, Lake Kinneret and aquifer levels are all down

Sep 06, 2016 Desalination has eased the water shortage, but continued drought, over-pumping and the needs of a growing population are playing havoc with the country’s ecology … Water shortage in northern Israel is worst in past 100 years, new data shows … Most of the public believes that desalination has helped Israel overcome its chronic water crisis, but water experts say this isn’t quite true and warn against complacency. The monthly report for August published by the Hydrological Service of the Israel Water Authority shows a sharper-than-usual drop this summer in the level of Lake Kinneret, the Dead Sea, the northern streams and all the underground aquifers. What’s more, domestic and international forecasts predict that at least the first half of the winter is going to be dry. If these forecasts are realized, the Kinneret this year will drop to its near-lowest level in 10 years. Although Israel’s desalination plants indeed meet an increasing quantity of the country’s water consumption, at the local level the current crisis may cause serious damage to agriculture and nature … The level of the Dead Sea, meanwhile, dropped 13 centimeters in August. Since the beginning of the hydrological year (which begins in October), the Dead Sea level has dropped 103 centimeters, 22 percent more than the drop in the corresponding period of the previous hydrological year. Over the past 25 years, the level of the Dead Sea has dropped nearly 25 meters. Today almost no water flows into it from the Jordan River, whose waters are diverted to provide drinking water to Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Israel … Israel’s last serious water crisis was in 2008, when the government launched a major water-saving campaign and expedited the construction of desalination plants … “To build a desalination plant takes three years,” says Prof. Daniel Kurtzman of the Volcani Center, “but to build the infrastructure to carry the water great distances takes many years. They started to build the fifth water line to Jerusalem in 2003, and it will be many more years before it’s finished.” Thus, areas that are distant from the desalination plants must continue to rely on natural water sources and will suffer during a drought despite Israel’s desalination capabilities … Golan farmers, who rely primarily on surface reservoirs, are the primary victims of the current situation … Now there are plans to drill deep wells in the Golan that concern environmental organizations … A study by Amir Givati, the head of surface water management at the Israel Water Authority, points to a global climatic change that will affect the region going forward …

http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/science/.premium-1.740462

Egypt: Impact Studies For Grand Renaissance Dam Postponed

September 4, 2016 Egypt’s water resources minister announced Sept. 4 that the contract signing with two French consultancy firms to study the impact of Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam on downriver countries was postponed due to "unresolved issues" … Another reason behind the postponement was that the firms‘ experts were not granted entry visas to Sudan. The signing of the contracts between the firms and Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan was to take place on Sept. 5-6 in Sudan’s Khartoum. Egypt is coordinating with the consultancy firms and the Sudanese and Ethiopian sides to agree on a new date for the meetings. Cairo has repeatedly expressed concerns that Ethiopia’s dam could affect its share of Nile water, or that the hydroelectric dam could be used for reasons other than electricity generation. Addis Ababa insists that the nearly complete dam project will not hurt downstream countries.

https://www.stratfor.com/sample/situation-report/egypt-impact-studies-grand-renaissance-dam-postponed

Danke für diesen Hinweis nach Berlin-Mitte! J.B.

Africa: At the Nexus of Water and Climate Change

3 September 2016 … at World Water Week … Susanne Skyllerstedt, programme officer for Water, Climate Change and Development at the Global Water Partnership (GWP), says her organisation is working with Sub-Saharan African governments to incorporate adaptation strategies into the partnership’s climate change programme. "For us, resolutions of COP21 are part and parcel of what we are implementing and those of COP22 (in Marrakech) will be embedded in our long-term agenda of ensuring water security in Africa and rest of the developing world in a bid to attain water-related sustainable development goals" … GWP has a programme that was started in Africa through the African Ministers Council on Water (AMCOW) together with the African Union Commission and other development partners. The programme has been a key platform for supporting African governments. These include support on national climate change adaptation programmes more so in the sphere of policy formulation. For Sub-Saharan Africa countries noted for vulnerability to impacts of global climate change, the programme is key in supporting climate adaptation and mitigation initiatives. Through monitoring and evaluation programmes conducted in the recent past, GWP has learned vital lessons and is cognisant of areas that need more resources to achieve the desired goals … implementing initiatives aimed at enabling countries in Sub-Saharan Africa to acquire highly relevant technologies on sustainable water management … GWP is also developing tools for better planning on water, sanitation and hygiene to help communities during calamities such as floods … For the next three years GWP intends to widen its support to encompass not only national climate change adaptation programmes but also Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) on reductions in greenhouse gas emissions that countries published prior to the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris …

http://allafrica.com/stories/201609040031.html

BDEW zur Konzeption Zivile Verteidigung

24. August 2016 Das Bundeskabinett hat heute die Konzeption Zivile Verteidigung verabschiedet. Das Konzept beinhaltet auch Empfehlungen für die Bereiche Energie, Trinkwasserversorgung und Abwasserentsorgung. Hierzu erklärt der BDEW: Eine solche Konzeption zu erarbeiten und regelmäßig an neue Erfordernisse und Entwicklungen anzupassen, ist richtig. "Bei der weiteren Ausgestaltung der Konzeption sollte die Bundesregierung jedoch die Expertise der Energie- und Wasserwirtschaft systematisch einbeziehen", sagte Stefan Kapferer, Vorsitzender der BDEW-Hauptgeschäftsführung heute in Berlin … Im Krisenfall sind zudem funktionierende Notsysteme der Trinkwasserver- und Abwasserentsorgung entscheidend für die Bevölkerung, so der BDEW. In der Wasserwirtschaft gibt es bereits Regelwerke und Konzepte zur Notversorgung, die in Abstimmung mit den kommunalen und regionalen Behörden kontinuierlich weiterentwickelt werden. Auch hier sollte die Politik den intensiven Austausch mit der Branche suchen. Aus wasserwirtschaftlicher Sicht sollte die heute vorgelegte Konzeption an einigen Punkten geschärft werden. So fehlt beispielsweise der Hinweis, dass bereits ein Notbrunnensystem existiert und dass dieses von den Bundesländern modernisiert werden sollte, so der BDEW.

https://www.bdew.de/internet.nsf/id/20160824-ps-bdew-zum-konzept-zivile-verteidigung-de

Siehe auch:

23.08.16 Auch im Katastrophenfall sicher: Die Wasserversorgung mit Notbrunnen

http://www.lebensraumwasser.com/2016/08/23/auch-im-katastrophenfall-sicher-die-wasserversorgung-mit-notbrunnen/

bdew: Trinkwasser Daten und Grafiken

https://www.bdew.de/internet.nsf/id/DE_Trinkwasser

https://www.bdew.de/internet.nsf/id/8DFFEM-DE_Trinkwasser

Siehe auch:

IFSH Stellungnahme

Weißbuch 2016: Viel Sicherheitspolitik und Bundeswehr, aber keine umfassende Strategie

13.07.2016 … Auch dazu, wie das Ziel eines "verantwortungsvollen Umgangs mit begrenzten Ressourcen und knappen Gütern" erreicht werden soll, finden sich im Weißbuch lediglich wolkige Hinweise …

https://ifsh.de/news/details/of/news-1193/

… zum BEZUGSDOKUMENT: Bundesministerium der Verteidigung > Startseite > Weißbuch 2016 > Weißbuch 2016 veröffentlicht

https://www.bmvg.de/portal/a/bmvg/!ut/p/c4/NYqxDoMgFEX_iAdLTbtJ7NChSx2q3QAJfYmAeT518eMLQ-9JznIufKCQzI7BMOZkZhhgdHizh7BxD-LwuK52c1941-fkhcvJczX7xFgcyHAmsWTiuZaNqBSBE4xSdVoq-Z86W_28X_tL03QP_YIlxvYHSwxvbA!!/

Water shortages hit West Bank Palestinians, provoking war of words

Aug 23, 2016 At the peak of a searing summer, Palestinians living in parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank are suffering from severe water shortages, prompting a war of words between Palestinian and Israeli officials over who is responsible. The Palestinians say Israel is preventing them from accessing adequate water at an affordable price, and point out that nearby Israeli settlements have plentiful water supplies. Israel says the Palestinians have been allocated double the amount they were due under an interim 1995 agreement, and have refused to discuss solutions to the current problem … Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, a branch of the military that administers Palestinian civil issues, said Israel provides 64 million cubic meters of water to the Palestinians annually, even though under the 1995 Oslo accords it is only obliged to provide 30 million … the water needs in the West Bank, which the Palestinians want for a state together with East Jerusalem and Gaza, are greater than the infrastructure can handle … The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), which is working with the Palestinian Authority and Italian aid agency GVC to provide water to impoverished areas, has warned that up to 35,000 Palestinians are at risk because of the shortages … Palestinians living furthest from urban areas have been the hardest hit, he said, often having to pay large sums to get private companies to truck water to their villages …

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-israel-palestinians-water-idUSKCN10Y1DS

Maya-Untergang wegen Wasser-Reservoirs?

23. August 2016 … Die Maya-Kultur erlebte ihre Blüte zwischen 300 und 900 n. Chr. im heutigen Guatemala, Honduras und Südmexiko. Es folgte binnen kurzer Zeit ein Bevölkerungseinbruch, dessen Gründe nicht klar sind. Wiener Forscher liefern nun mit Hilfe sozio-hydrologischer Rechenmodelle eine mögliche Erklärung: Dürren könnten zum Niedergang geführt haben, trotz – oder gerade wegen der Wasserreservoirs der Mayas … "Wasser beeinflusst die Gesellschaft und die Gesellschaft beeinflusst das Wasser" … So bestimme der Wasservorrat wie viel Nahrung zur Verfügung stehe und beeinflusse somit das Bevölkerungswachstum. Bei steigender Einwohnerzahl werde umgekehrt in den natürlichen Wasserkreislauf eingegriffen – etwa durch den Bau von Wasserreservoirs … Die TU-Wissenschafter versuchen, diese Wechselwirkungen zwischen soziologischen und hydrologischen Effekten in mathematische Modelle zu fassen. So können etwa zwischen vorhandener Nahrungsmenge und Geburtenrate mathematische Zusammenhänge hergestellt werden, oder zwischen den Erinnerungen an eine Dürre und der gesellschaftlichen Entscheidung, neue Wasserreservoirs zu bauen. Kombiniert man solche Zusammenhänge mit historischen oder aktuellen Daten, lassen sich verschiedene Szenarien des Zusammenspiels von Mensch und Natur berechnen … So haben die Wissenschafter die Auswirkungen der Wasserreservoirs berechnet, die die Mayas für ihr Bewässerungssystem gebaut haben … Wie sich zeigt, können solche Reservoirs tatsächlich helfen, kleinere Dürreperioden gut zu überstehen. Während die Bevölkerung in der Simulation ohne Wasservorräte nach einer Dürre zurückgeht, kann sie mit Reservoirs weiter wachsen. Doch genau das mache die Bevölkerung in bestimmten Fällen verwundbar: Wenn das Verhalten gleich bleibe, der Wasserbedarf pro Kopf also nicht gesenkt werde, aber die Bevölkerung weiter wachse, könne eine weitere Dürre zu einem Bevölkerungsrückgang führen. Und dieser sei dramatischer als er ohne Wasserreservoirs gewesen wäre … Ohne Verhaltensänderung und Reduktion des Verbrauchs könne es "trotz kluger technischer Lösungen passieren, dass die Gesellschaft nicht sicherer sondern im Gegenteil immer katastrophenanfälliger wird".

http://www.wetter.at/wetter/welt-wetter/Maya-Untergang-wegen-Wasser-Reservoirs/248643098

Palästina – Streit um das Wasser

18.08.2016 Die ARD sorgt mit einem Bericht über Wasserknappheit in den palästinensischen Gebieten, der in der „Tagesschau“ und in den „Tagesthemen“ lief, für eine Kontroverse … Der umstrittene Korrespondentenbeitrag handelte davon, dass es in dem Ort Salfit im Westjordanland zu wenig Wasser gebe und dass Israel dafür verantwortlich sei. Stimmen aus Israel zu diesem Vorwurf kamen in dem in zwei Versionen gesendeten Beitrag nicht oder nur ganz am Rande vor. In Frage gestellt wird auch die Ursache fehlenden Wassers in dem im Beitrag vorgestellten Haushalt einer palästinensischen Familie … Der Sender verwahrt sich vor allem gegen den Vorwurf, es seien in dem Beitrag Bilder manipuliert worden. Auch sei man von der Glaubwürdigkeit des als Zeugen herangezogenen Hydrogeologen Clemens Messerschmid, der in der Gegend lebt, überzeugt. Er arbeite seit fast zwanzig Jahren für internationale Organisationen und habe sich mit der Wasserproblematik intensiv auseinandergesetzt. Messerschmid wird aufgrund früherer Einlassungen eine Parteinahme gegen Israel angelastet. Was man aufrichtig bedauere, schreibt der BR, sei, „dass wir es versäumt haben, die israelische Seite durch einen eigenen O-Ton zu Wort kommen zu lassen“. Grund dafür sei ein hoher jüdischer Feiertag gewesen, der verhinderte, dass man in einer israelischen Siedlung drehen durfte, und aufgrund dessen angefragte Experten abgesagt hätten … Vor zweieinhalb Jahren hatte der Präsident des Europäischen Parlaments, Martin Schulz, mit Äußerungen über die Wasserknappheit vor dem israelischen Parlament einen Sturm der Entrüstung hervorgerufen. „Wie kann es sein, dass Israelis siebzig Liter Wasser am Tag benutzen dürfen und Palästinenser nur siebzehn?“, habe ihn ein Palästinenser während seines Besuchs in Ramallah gefragt, berichtete Schulz in seiner Knesset-Rede. Eigene Zahlen nannte er nicht; er zog auch keine Schlussfolgerungen aus den Worten des anonymen Palästinensers. Am Ende kritisierte sogar Ministerpräsident Benjamin Netanjahu Schulz dafür, dass er Israel beschuldigt habe, ohne sich mit den Fakten vertraut zu machen.

http://www.faz.net/aktuell/feuilleton/medien/palaestina-beitrag-der-ard-streit-um-das-wasser-14393038.html

Iran, Japan to Jointly Save Lake Oroumiyeh

August, 15, 2016 – Iran plans to save the endangered Lake Oroumiyeh in northwest of the country in joint cooperation with Japanese experts, the secretary of Oroumiyeh Lake Revival Headquarters said … Mohammad Masoud Tajrishi underlined the government’s determination to save one of the world’s largest saltwater lakes from disappearing, saying that a joint operation by Iranian and Japanese teams will be carried next week to that end. He added that the teams will be tasked with reducing water loss in areas surrounding the lake as much as possible, using pipes and proper water distribution network … that the operation will require farmers operating near the lake manage water consumption and help revive it … Lake Oroumiyeh has lost more than 60 percent of its surface over the last two decades due to drought and the damming of rivers feeding it …

http://www.tasnimnews.com/en/news/1395/05/25/1158936/iran-japan-to-jointly-save-lake-oroumiyeh-official

Danke nach Berlin-Mitte! J.B.

Siehe auch:

Klimawandel, Wassermangel, nachhaltige Entwicklung – wie meistern wir die Herausforderungen der Zukunft?

17.07.2016 Iran leidet seit Jahren unter anderem wegen des Klimawandels unter extremem Wassermangel und gehört zu den am schnellsten austrocknenden Ländern der Welt. Der Urmia-See wird zur Salzwüste. Die Hauptstadt Teheran gilt weltweit als eine der unter Luftverschmutzung am stärksten leidenden Städte. Was können die internationale Gemeinschaft, Iran und Deutschland tun, um die Geschwindigkeit der globalen Erwärmung zu reduzieren? Welche Maßnahmen können diesen Prozess aufhalten und das Land von weiteren Auswirkungen des Klimawandels schützen? Diese und weitere Fragen werden von interantionalen Experten diskutiert … Teilnehmer: Prof. Dr. Klaus Töpfer, ehemaliger Bundesumweltminister und Direktor des Umweltprogramms der Vereinten Nationen (UNEP)

Dr. Masoumeh Ebtekar, iranische Vizepräsidentin und Leiterin der iranischen Umweltbehörde. Moderiert wird die Veranstaltung von Luc Walpot, dem Mittel-Ost-Korrespondenten des deutschen Fernsehsenders ZDF …

http://www.ifa.de/de/termine/detail/browse/0/news/klimawandel-wassermangel-nachhaltige-entwicklung-wie-meistern-wir-die-herausforderungen-der-zukunft.html

http://www.teheran.diplo.de/contentblob/4842836/Daten/6692830/Klimawandel_Flyer.jpg

In zehn Jahren wird das Wasser in Hamburg knapp

15.08.2016 Um die Wasserversorgung zu sichern, will Hamburg Wasser künftig auch auf privaten Grundstücken Grundwasser fördern. Bis 2035 ist Wasser in der Stadt knapp, 2025 könnte es besonders eng werden. Trotz seiner Lage am Wasser kann Hamburg seinen Trinkwasserbedarf aktuell nur knapp decken. Rechnerisch und inklusive aller Sicherheitsabschläge steht bis zum Jahr 2035 sogar zu wenig Wasser zur Verfügung. Das geht aus dem neusten „Statusbericht zur Trinkwasserversorgung“ hervor, den der Senat vor wenigen Tagen veröffentlicht hat. Und auch, dass Hamburg Wasser künftig sogar auf Privatleute zugehen wird, um mit Brunnen auf privaten Grundstücken die Wasserversorgung sicherstellen zu können. Seitdem Ende der 60er Jahre die Wasseraufbereitung von Elbwasser wegen zu großer Verschmutzung des Flusses eingestellt worden ist, nutzt Hamburg Wasser ausschließlich Grundwasser für die Trinkwasseraufbereitung … Drei Wasserwerke des Hamburger Grundversorgers liegen in Schleswig-Holstein. Eines in Niedersachsen. Um die Fördererlaubnis dieses Werkes in der Nordheide wird seit Jahren gerungen … Ein Faktor, den der Senat deutlich als Risiko für die Sicherheit der Wasserversorgung einstuft. … Brunnenstandorte werden in der immer dichter besiedelten Stadt zunehmend knapp. Hamburg Wasser wird deshalb künftig vermehrt öffentliche Flächen nutzen müssen. Laut des Berichts des Senates geht es dabei um Brunnen in Parks, an Krankenhäusern, auf Schulhöfen oder Spielplätzen, um die Trinkwasserversorgung weiter sicherstellen zu können. Es werde aber auch nötig sein auf private Eigentümer zuzugehen …

https://www.welt.de/regionales/hamburg/article157663574/In-zehn-Jahren-wird-das-Wasser-in-Hamburg-knapp.html

Ureinwohner im Regenwald atmen auf: Geplanter Mega-Staudamm fällt ins Wasser

05.Aug 2016 Die brasilianische Umweltbehörde verhindert den Bau eines gigantischen Staudamms im Amazonasgebiet, der die Heimat des Munduruku-Stammes zerstört hätte … Die Umweltbehörde … hat dem Betreiber Electrobrás die zum Bau nötige Lizenz verweigert … Etwa 12.000 Mitglieder des Stammes der Munduruku leben in dem betroffenen Gebiet um den Tapajós-Fluss im brasilianischen Bundesstaat Pará. Der Staudamm São Luiz do Tapajós sollte 7,6 Kilometer lang werden und hätte eine Fläche eingenommen, die fast so groß wie New York gewesen wäre. Damit wären die Heimat der Munduruku und große Gebiete des artenreichen Regenwaldes zerstört worden … Auch in Deutschland gab es Proteste. Sie richteten sich vor allem gegen Siemens, da der Konzern die Turbinen für den Damm liefern sollte … Die brasilianische Umweltbehörde setzt mit der Lizenzverweigerung ein deutliches Zeichen gegen die Energiegewinnung durch gigantische Wasserkraftwerke im Amazonasgebiet. 70 Prozent der Erneuerbaren Energien in Brasilien kommen bereits aus der Wasserkraft. Der geplante Riesen-Staudamm hätte weitere 8000 Megawatt erzeugt, etwa soviel wie sechs Atomkraftwerke. Doch der Verlust des natürlichen Lebensraumes im Amazonas wiegt schwerer. Zumal der Bau des Megaprojektes Belo Monte am Nachbarfluss Rio Xingu trotz internationaler Proteste bereits begonnen hat. 2019 soll dieser Staudamm 11.233 Megawatt liefern können.

https://www.greenpeace-magazin.de/nachrichtenarchiv/ureinwohner-im-regenwald-atmen-auf-geplanter-mega-staudamm-faellt-ins-wasser

Wasserkrise in Jordanien – Gott hasst die Verschwender

21.7.2016 Jordanien ist ein kleines, wirtschaftlich schwaches und extrem wasserarmes Land … In einem Land, das laut den Vereinten Nationen zu den zehn wasserärmsten der Welt gehört, zählt Mafrak zu den besonders betroffenen Orten. Während Jordaniens Grundwasserspiegel im Schnitt um einen Meter pro Jahr sinkt, soll er hier um fünf Meter sinken. Weitgehend abgepumpt sind schon die meisten Grundwasservorkommen des Landes. Auch gehen aufgrund des Klimawandels die Niederschläge zurück. Und als hätte das kleine Königreich nicht Probleme genug, muss es seit Beginn des Bürgerkrieges im Nachbarland auch noch den Zuzug von über einer Million syrischen Flüchtlingen bewältigen. Allein nach Mafrak, das nur 15 Kilometer Wüstenstrasse von der Grenze trennen, kamen 100 000 von ihnen. Schlagartig hat sich mit ihnen die Einwohnerzahl des Ortes verdoppelt … Knapp 650 000 Schutzsuchende aus Syrien hat das Uno-Flüchtlingshilfswerk in Jordanien seit 2012 registriert. Von über einer Million sprechen unabhängige Beobachter, von bis zu zwei Millionen regierungsnahe Kreise. Nur etwa 20 Prozent von ihnen leben in einem der drei syrischen Flüchtlingslager … Auf den Ansturm der Flüchtlinge war das kleine Land mit seiner heimischen Bevölkerung von 6,6 Millionen einfach nicht vorbereitet: Besonders in den strukturschwachen Städten des Nordens stiegen die Mieten, wurden Wasser und Wohnraum immer knapper, fielen die Löhne. Dass die Einheimischen dies hinnahmen und es bisher nicht zu grösseren Protesten kam – ein Wunder … Sicher gebe es auch Spannungen zwischen Jordaniern und Syrern. Doch helfe in diesen Fällen die gemeinsame Religion: «Der Islam verbindet uns.» Um die Bürger daran zu erinnern, setzt der Staat auch hier auf seine Prediger, die in den Moscheen zur Brüderlichkeit aufrufen und so den öffentlichen Frieden wahren sollen – während sie gleichzeitig Lektionen im Wasserschutz erteilen … In einem Sitzungsraum in der Hauptstadt Amman haben sich rund 20 Frauen eingefunden. Sie sind ohne Ausnahme verhüllt … Es sind «Waidat», weibliche Religionsgelehrte, sie kommen aus allen Teilen des Landes. Soeben hat ihr Kurs begonnen, der auch sie zu Wasserbotschaftern ausbilden soll. Hayat Bakir, eine energische Mittfünfzigerin, steht vor einer Tafel. Sie begrüsst die Schwarzgewandeten und ruft ihnen zu: «Schwestern, ich werde euch heute erklären, warum Wassersparen so wichtig ist, was dazu im Koran steht und was der Prophet, Allahs Segen und Frieden auf ihm, sagt.» Anders als die Imame predigen die Waidat nicht öffentlich, sondern führen Hausbesuche durch und arbeiten in ihren Stadtvierteln als Seelsorgerinnen. Mit welchen Fragen werden sie dabei konfrontiert, Frau Bakir? «Zum Beispiel, ob die Wasserarmut real ist oder eine Erfindung der Regierung. Einige wollen auch wissen, warum sie ihr Wasser rationieren sollen, während sich die Reichen einen Swimmingpool leisten.» Ihre Antwort? «Jeder ist für sich selbst verantwortlich. Aber am Ende müssen wir uns alle vor Gott verantworten.» Wer Wasser spare, handle moralisch und im Sinne der Religion, sagt Bakir. An 63 Stellen im Koran werde die Bedeutung des Wassers erwähnt. Nicht zuletzt gehe es auch darum, Geld zu sparen. Und welche Rationen empfiehlt sie ihren Glaubensschwestern? Bakir zieht eine 0,3-Liter-Flasche aus der Handtasche. «So viel und nicht mehr für die rituelle Waschung. Für jede Dusche: maximal fünf Minuten.» Wasser sparen durch Religion, kann das funktionieren? Björn Zimprich von der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) ist überzeugt davon. Im Auftrag der jordanischen Regierung hat seine Organisation das Trainingsprogramm für die Imame und Waidat auf die Beine gestellt. Bis zu 1,5 Millionen Menschen sollen so für den Wasserschutz sensibilisiert werden. Zweifel, ob die mitunter strenggläubigen Gelehrten geeignete Ansprechpartner sind, hat Zimprich nicht. Man arbeite schliesslich «im Umfeld der gesellschaftlichen Realitäten» … Angesichts dieser Zwänge ist Hazim al-Nasser, Jordaniens Minister für Wasser und Bewässerung, nicht zu beneiden. Schon drei seiner Vorgänger, erzählt der Ingenieur in einem klimatisierten Saal in Amman, wurden wegen schlechter Trinkwasserqualität, Engpässen oder Korruption entlassen … Wasser … genügt schon jetzt kaum für die wachsende Bevölkerung, weswegen sich Nassers Ministerium nicht auf Aufklärungskampagnen beschränkt: Es saniert Kläranlagen, kürzt den Wasserbedarf bei Landwirten (um sie zu effizienteren Bewässerungssystemen zu zwingen) und zerstörte bisher 800 illegale Brunnen, gegen die in der Vergangenheit nichts unternommen wurde; die aber eine Erklärung für die massiven Wasserverluste im Land sind. Mit Haftstrafen sollen die Wasserdiebe künftig abgeschreckt werden. Als wichtigstes Projekt aber beschreibt Nasser den Bau einer Pipeline vom Roten zum Toten Meer, mit der nicht nur Trinkwasser gewonnen, sondern auch die Austrocknung des Toten Meers gestoppt werden soll … Im Gegenzug für den Verkauf von Trinkwasser an den Süden Israels verpflichtet sich Israel zudem, Jordanien im Norden etwa 50 Millionen Kubikmeter Wasser jährlich aus dem See Genezareth zu verkaufen. Weitere 30 Millionen Kubikmeter werden den Palästinensern zugesprochen. «Wir haben viele politische Differenzen, aber das hier ist eine Win-win-Situation für alle», schwärmt Wasserminister Hazim al-Nasser …

http://www.nzz.ch/international/nahost-und-afrika/wasserkrise-in-jordanien-gott-hasst-die-verschwender-ld.106722

The Arab World’s Water Insecurity

JUL 19, 2016 – Nowhere is freshwater scarcer than in the Arab world. The region is home to most of the world’s poorest states or territories in terms of water resources, including Bahrain, Djibouti, Gaza, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. This shortage – exacerbated by exploding populations, depletion and degradation of natural ecosystems, and popular discontent – is casting a shadow over these countries’ future. There is no shortage of challenges facing the Arab world. Given that many Arab states are modern constructs invented by departing colonial powers, and therefore lack cohesive historical identities, their state structures often lack strong foundations. Add to that external and internal pressures – including from surging Islamism, civil wars, and mass migration from conflict zones – and the future of several Arab countries appears uncertain. Are global economic recovery and political renewal still far off, or did they already begin long ago? Brad DeLong, Ana Palacio, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, and others weigh in on growth, war, and more. What few seem to recognize is how water scarcity contributes to this cycle of violence. One key trigger of the Arab Spring uprisings – rising food prices – was directly connected to the region’s worsening water crisis. Water also fuels tensions between countries. Saudi Arabia and Jordan, for example, are engaged in a silent race to pump the al-Disi aquifer, which they share. Water can even be wielded as a weapon. In Syria, the Islamic State has seized control of the upstream basins of the two main rivers, the Tigris and the Euphrates. The fact that nearly half of all Arabs depend on freshwater inflows from non-Arab countries, including Turkey and the upstream states on the Nile River, may serve to exacerbate water insecurity further … Finally, many countries offer subsidies on water, not to mention gasoline and food, in an effort to “buy” social peace. But such subsidies encourage profligate practices, accelerating water-resource depletion and environmental degradation. In short, the Arab world is increasingly trapped in a vicious cycle. Environmental, demographic, and economic pressures aggravate water scarcity, and the resulting unemployment and insecurity fuels social unrest, political turmoil, and extremism. Governments respond with increased subsidies on water and other resources, deepening the environmental challenges that exacerbate scarcity and lead to unrest. Urgent action is needed to break the cycle. For starters, countries should phase out the production of water-intensive crops. Grains, oilseeds, and beef should be imported from water-rich countries, where they can be produced more efficiently and sustainably … the introduction of more advanced technologies and best practices from around the world could help to reduce water use. Membrane and distillation technologies can be used to purify degraded or contaminated water, reclaim wastewater, and desalinate brackish or ocean water. Highly efficient drip irrigation can boost the region’s fruit and vegetable production, without excessive water use. Another important step would be to expand and strengthen water infrastructure to address seasonal imbalances in water availability, make distribution more efficient, and harvest rainwater, thereby opening up an additional source of supply. Jordan, with Israeli collaboration and European Union aid, is creating a Red Sea-Dead Sea pipeline, a conduit that would desalinate Red Sea water, in order to provide potable water to Jordan, Israel, and the Palestinian territories, and then funnel the brine to the dying Dead Sea. Improved water management is also crucial. One way to achieve this is to price water more appropriately, which would create an incentive to prevent wastage and conserve supplies … in order to break the cycle of violence and insecurity, all countries will ultimately have to step up to improve water management and protect ecosystems. Otherwise, their water woes – along with internal unrest – will only worsen.

https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/middle-east-water-crisis-conflict-by-brahma-chellaney-2016-07

What You Need to Know About the World’s Water Wars

July 14, 2016 Underground water is being pumped so aggressively around the globe that land is sinking, civil wars are being waged, and agriculture is being transformed … The groundwater has been so depleted that China’s capital city, home to more than 20 million people, could face serious disruptions in its rail system, roadways, and building foundations, an international team of scientists concluded earlier this year. Beijing, despite tapping into the gigantic North China Plain aquifer, is the world’s fifth most water-stressed city and its water problems are likely to get even worse. Beijing isn’t the only place experiencing subsidence, or sinking, as soil collapses into space created as groundwater is depleted. Parts of Shanghai, Mexico City, and other cities are sinking, too. Sections of California’s Central Valley have dropped by a foot, and in some localized areas, by as much as 28 feet … Now, the world’s largest underground water reserves in Africa, Eurasia, and the Americas are under stress. Many of them are being drawn down at unsustainable rates. Nearly two billion people rely on groundwater that is considered under threat … Over the past three decades, Saudi Arabia has been drilling for a resource more precious than oil. Engineers and farmers have tapped hidden reserves of water to grow grains, fruits, and vegetables in the one of the driest places in the world. They are tapping into the aquifer at unsustainable rates … As regions and nations run short of water … economic growth will decline and food prices will spike, raising the risk of violent conflict and waves of large migrations. Unrest in Yemen, which heavily taps into groundwater and which experienced water riots in 2009, is rooted in a water crisis. Experts say water scarcity also helped destabilize Syria and launch its civil war. Jordan, which relies on aquifers as its only source of water, is even more water-stressed now that more than a half-million Syrian refugees arrived … The most over-stressed is the Arabian Aquifer System, which supplies water to 60 million people in Saudi Arabia and Yemen. The Indus Basin aquifer in northwest India and Pakistan is the second-most threatened, and the Murzuk-Djado Basin in northern Africa the third … Irrigation has enabled water-intensive crops to be grown in dry places, which in turn created local economies that are now difficult to undo. These include sugar cane and rice in India, winter wheat in China, and corn in the southern High Plains of North America. Aquaculture has boomed in the land-locked Ararat Basin, which lies along the border between Armenia and Turkey. Groundwater is cold enough to raise cold-water fish, such as trout and sturgeon. In less than two decades, the aquifer there has been drawn down so severely for fish ponds that municipal water supplies in more than two dozen communities are now threatened … More is known about oil reserves than water … Depleted groundwater is a slow-speed crisis, scientists say, so there’s time to develop new technologies and water efficiencies. In Western Australia, desalinated water has been injected to recharge the large aquifer that Perth, Australia’s driest city, taps for drinking water. China is working to regulate pumping. In west Texas, the city of Abernathy is drilling into a deeper aquifer that lies beneath the High Plains aquifer and mixing the two to supplement the municipal water supply.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/07/world-aquifers-water-wars/

Immer mehr Europäer erleben einen Mangel an Wasser; Die Minister fordern eine gemeinsame Lösung

12. Juli 2016 – Der Klimawandel und damit verbundene abwechselnde Perioden von Überschwemmungen und Dürre waren die wichtigsten Themen der Ministerkonferenz zum Thema Wasser und des informellen Treffens des EU-Umweltrates … Die Debatte hat deutlich gezeigt, dass jedes EU-Land dieses Phänomen unterschiedlich erlebt. Einige Staaten leiden unter langanhaltender Dürre, andere unter häufigeren Überschwemmungen, und wieder andere erleben beide Arten dieser Extremereignisse. Das Mittelmeer beispielsweise erfährt eine immer länger andauernde Wasserknappheit, und gemäß einigen Prognosen besteht das Risiko, dass die Region mit einem afrikanischen Klimaszenario konfrontiert wird. Bis zu 70 Millionen Europäer sind in den Sommermonaten von Wasserproblemen betroffen und dieser Trend wird sich noch dramatisch verschlimmern … Obwohl die Probleme der einzelnen Länder spezifisch sind, forderten die Minister, die Festlegung von klaren gemeinsamen europäischen Zielen im Kampf gegen den Klimawandel, auch wenn es in diesem Fall keine universelle Lösung gibt. „Wasser können wir nicht als selbstverständlich betrachten, seine Ressourcen sind begrenzt und die Nachfrage steigt. Wir müssen es mehr schätzen. Auch wenn es nicht so scheint, betrifft es uns alle, weil ein Mangel an Wasser viele Risiken mit sich bringen kann, einschließlich sozialer Instabilität. Es gilt keine Zeit zu verlieren. Wir müssen einen gemeinsamen, europäischen, flexiblen und nachhaltigen Zugang zum effektiven Wassermanagement finden,“ sagte Umweltminister László Sólymos auf einer Pressekonferenz am … Die Minister einigten sich auf die Notwendigkeit, die Wiederverwendung und Rückgewinnung von Wasser zu verbessern … Sie hoben die Notwendigkeit eines besseren Wassermanagements in der Landwirtschaft hervor …Mehrere Minister denken, dass diese Frage nicht nur negative Seiten hat, sondern als eine gute Gelegenheit gesehen werden könnte, neue technologische Lösungen einzuführen …

http://www.eu2016.sk/de/pressemitteilungen/immer-mehr-europaer-erleben-einen-mangel-an-wasser-die-minister-fordern-eine-gemeinsame-losung

9 August 2016 Syria conflict: UN says water and power cuts threaten two million

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-37021305

09.08.16 Reichen die Reserven? Mallorca lechzt nach Wasser

http://www.merkur.de/reise/reichen-reserven-mallorca-lechzt-nach-wasser-zr-6648233.html

August 6, 2016 Energy, water are Wisconsin growth targets

http://www.jsonline.com/story/money/business/energy/2016/08/05/energy-water-wisconsin-growth-targets/88227390/

Aug 6, 2016 Water woes emerge as major issue in Wisconsin elections

http://lacrossetribune.com/news/local/water-woes-emerge-as-major-issue-in-wisconsin-elections/article_55a1146e-42a7-58e0-a485-1d8e49b817f9.html

August 5, 2016 Data Centers‘ Water Use Has Investors on High Alert

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-08-05/data-centers-water-use-has-investors-on-high-alert

August 3, 2016 See which Sacramento communities are greatly increasing water use

http://www.sacbee.com/site-services/databases/article93589432.html

Aug 3, 2016 How much water do Apple’s thirsty online services need?

http://www.computerworld.com/article/3102920/apple-ios/how-much-water-do-apple-s-thirsty-online-services-need.html

03. August 2016 Wasserknappheit – Wasser zweimal nutzen

http://www.fr-online.de/wissenschaft/wasserknappheit-wasser-zweimal-nutzen,1472788,34575022.html

08/01/2016 A Brief Introduction To Water Law

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brad-reid/a-brief-introduction-to-w_b_11295926.html

29. 7. 2016 Milliardenprojekt am Kongo-Fluss – Staudamm fällt ins Wasser …

http://www.taz.de/!5322279/

29.07.2016 Der Wasserforscher Brahma Chellaney – Wasser, wertvoller als Gold

http://www.tagesspiegel.de/wissen/der-wasserforscher-brahma-chellaney-wasser-wertvoller-als-gold/13929448.html

July 27, 2016 Water resilience that flows

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/07/160727140308.htm

ly 2016 Water crisis in the Gulf needs radical solutions

https://www.irinnews.org/analysis/2016/07/21/water-crisis-gulf-needs-radical-solutions

19 July 2016 Study role of climate change in extreme threats to water quality

http://www.nature.com/news/study-role-of-climate-change-in-extreme-threats-to-water-quality-1.20267

July 19, 2016 How a new source of water is helping reduce conflict in the Middle East

http://ensia.com/features/how-a-new-source-of-water-is-helping-reduce-conflict-in-the-middle-east/

July 18, 2016 Energy Use by Water Supply in a Changing Climate

https://www.wunderground.com/news/energy-use-by-water-supply

July 6, 2016 Leave California’s ‘new’ water in the ground

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-christian-smith-aquifers-california-20160706-snap-story.html

Jul 1, 2016 Mexican Town’s Water Supply Reportedly Being Guzzled by American Beer Drinkers

http://www.eater.com/2016/7/1/12078230/mexican-beer-water-shortage-constellation-brands

NORD -AMERIKA

Florida sinkhole causes vast leak of wastewater into drinking water source

17 September 2016 Phosphate supplier says ‘absolutely nobody at risk’ as company monitors groundwater at central Florida fertilizer plant. More than 200m gallons of contaminated wastewater from a fertilizer plant in central Florida leaked into one of the state’s main underground sources of drinking water after a huge sinkhole opened up beneath a storage pond … Mosaic, the world’s largest supplier of phosphate, said the hole opened up beneath a pile of waste material called a “gypsum stack” … Mosaic said it was monitoring groundwater and had found no offsite impacts … The sinkhole … is believed to reach down to the Floridan aquifer … Aquifers are vast, underground systems of porous rocks that hold water and allow water to move through the holes within the rock. The Floridan aquifer is a major source of drinking water in the state. One of the highest-producing aquifers in the world, it underlies all of Florida and extends into southern Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina. According to the University of Florida, it’s the principal source of groundwater for much of the state, and the cities of Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Gainesville, Orlando, Daytona Beach, Tampa, and St Petersburg all rely on it. The aquifer also supplies water to thousands of domestic, industrial and irrigation wells throughout the state … Since the 1960s, toxic solid waste from fertilizer production in Florida has been growing – some stored in 500ft-tall piles that sometimes span more than 600 acres … In 2004, during Hurricane Frances, 65m gallons of polluted waste from a fertilizer plant was sent into waters near Tampa Bay, resulting in thousands of dead fish and other marine life. In 1994, a sinkhole in Polk County opened, sending tons of waste from one of the company’s waste piles into the earth …

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/sep/17/florida-sinkhole-wastewater-leak-drinking-water

PUC gives CalAm green light on water project

Sep 15, 2016 The California Public Utilities Commission unanimously approved CalAm’s request … to allow the company to buy recycled water … would come from supplies of the Monterey Regional Water Pollution Control Agency and the Monterey Peninsula Water Management district. The CPUC also approved plans to build a … delivery pipeline and pump station for Cal-Am …

http://www.ksbw.com/article/teen-hears-mothers-voice-clearly-for-first-time/3387681

Monterey Peninsula Regional Water Authority

http://www.mprwa.org/resource-central/

Kalifornien: Mit Drohnen noch mehr Wasser sparen

12/09/2016 … Mithilfe von Agrardrohnen versuchen kalifornische Landwirte, ihre Anbauflächen noch sparsamer zu bewässern, als bisher. Auf dieser Farm nahe Los Banos ist das Drohnen gestützte System im Einsatz. Cannon Michael, Bowles Farming Company: “Die Dürre ist ein enormes Problem und zwingt uns zu größtmöglicher Effizienz. Wir investieren in sehr teure Tropfbewässerungssysteme, mit denen wir 40 bis 50 Prozent Wasser im Vergleich zu vorher einsparen. Mit der neuen Drohnentechnologie haben wir ein zusätzliches Instrument, um zu überprüfen, ob die Systeme korrekt funktionieren, ob wir sie richtig eingestellt haben und ob es irgendwo Probleme gibt, bevor wir unnötig Wasser verschwenden.” Die per Smartphone oder Tablet kontrollierten Drohen liefern dank Wärmebildkamera detaillierte Bilder über den Zustand der Anbauflächen. Nicht nur etwaige Probleme bei der Bewässerung, auch Schädlingsbefall oder aber kontinuierliche Veränderungen der Pflanzen über einen längeren Zeitraum hinweg werden deutlich …

http://de.euronews.com/2016/09/12/kalifornien-mit-drohnen-noch-mehr-wasser-sparen

Striking a better balance between water investment and affordability

September 12, 2016 Water infrastructure is failing to keep up across the country, as a long list of replacement and maintenance backlogs looms in many communities. Leaks are now wasting more than a trillion gallons of water each year, while overburdened wastewater collection systems are struggling to handle sewer overflows and manage polluted runoff. The recent tragedy in Flint, moreover, has alerted communities of the pressing need to replace public and private lead service lines, adding an estimated $300 billion to the county’s collective water bill. Although some utilities are making improvements in resource recovery, climate adaptation, and a variety of other innovations that will prepare them for the decades ahead, the nagging reality is that most are not moving fast enough and simply do not have the money to accelerate new improvements. Even as national leaders bring greater visibility to water infrastructure – especially during the election season – states and localities remain the primary drivers for investment, accounting for more than 95 percent of all public spending on water each year. In response, many utilities are slowly but steadily increasing the water rates that they charge users after years of unrealistically low fees. But where does that leave the households and businesses who are already struggling to make ends meet? … In order to drive new water infrastructure investments and accurately assess affordability issues, regional leaders must take a more nuanced approach. At a local level, for instance, utilities can benefit from a clearer assessment of the equity of municipal water rates, which ideally can examine a range of different economic indicators and allow for an easier comparison of different rate structures. Likewise, by accounting for fundamental neighborhood and housing differences, utilities and their state partners can look to a more comprehensive set of measures to guide future policy decisions and affordability concerns. The creation of more robust customer assistance programs, which can provide discounts and extended payment options, also have the potential to lower barriers and provide relief to individuals who currently struggle to keep up with their bills. Nationally, continued discussions over water affordability and other federal technical guidance can further aid these efforts. Ultimately, regions face an enormous water infrastructure challenge that not only requires increased investment, but also a balancing of other long-term economic priorities. Addressing affordability needs to be a big part of that effort, but accounting for equity concerns can be incredibly complex and will likely demand better data, more targeted policies, and new models of financial support. As the water infrastructure gap continues to widen, the time is ripe for regions to experiment with new approaches and address water demands in a more sustainable and equitable manner.

https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2016/09/12/striking-a-better-balance-between-water-investment-and-affordability/

Draining Oregon: State regulators must stop approving wells when water levels are unknown

September 10, 2016 State regulators approve permits for wells in Oregon even as they suspect there isn’t enough water in some areas to keep pace. A permit application might state it "cannot be determined" whether enough ground water existed for the well. Yet time and again, Oregon Water Resources Department managers approved the application. The lax regulatory culture is so engrained, some farmers and ranchers began pumping their wells before submitting an application … The practice of approving wells in untested basins must stop. And state lawmakers must act quickly to focus on the crisis they’ve failed to address for years … Department leaders defend their actions by saying they didn’t have the money or staff to do the research necessary to determine whether they should deny permits and defend their decisions. And yet they once offered up the small amount of research money they had for a potential budget cut … More than a dozen Oregon basins remain a mystery, and research must be done as soon as possible to determine their water levels. Oregonians need to know how much water is available to make responsible decisions about how to tap the aquifers deep underground … What’s most frustrating about this situation is how many of those likely to be affected are farming and ranching communities that have faced declining economies for years – often, they feel, because of government regulation. Some of that regulation was necessary to protect some lands and various species. But the Water Resources Department’s reluctance to regulate may have set up a situation in which some of the unmapped basins may already be dangerously low and water rights might have to be rescinded …

http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2016/09/draining_oregon_a_reluctance_t.html

Pipeline protesters: ‚Water is life. We must protect it.‘

September 10, 2016 About 150 protesters convened at a Dakota Access pipeline worksite … northwest of Boone by the Des Moines River, urging listeners that “Water is life. We must protect it.” They voiced opposition to the oil pipeline, a $3.8 million project that will run underground through four states to bring crude oil from North Dakota to Illinois for Houston-based Dakota Access LLC. It is set to run under the Des Moines River … “We are challenging an unjust law,” said Carolyn Raffensperger, executive director of the Science and Environmental Health Network, which runs the Bakken Resistance Coalition. “The civil disobedience piece is that we aren’t challenging the law enforcement, we are challenging the law” … Jessica Fears of Ames had been arrested earlier in the week for protesting the pipeline, but she still came to Saturday’s protest to support a cause she cared about.

"I was willing to risk (getting arrested) again because I hope it creates awareness and helps people realize that we’re at the breaking point" … “We had faith in the legal system … But they failed us.”

http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/2016/09/10/pipeline-protesters-water-life-we-must-protect/90196840/

Siehe auch:

These Native American Youths Are Running 2,000 Miles to Protect Their Water

08/05/2016 "Most of us coming from the reservation have never been this far from home," Bobbi Jean Three Legs, a resident of the Standing Rock Reservation, told PEOPLE on her 18th day of a 2,000-mile journey … The group ran from the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota all the way to Washington to hand over a petition started by Three Legs, 25, and Anna Lee Rain Yellowhammer, 13, to stop construction on a massive oil pipeline that would cross the Missouri River, putting their community’s sole water source at risk. The petition, addressed to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which approved plans for the pipeline in July, has earned 157,000 signatures and garnered support from a long list of celebrities including Leonardo DiCaprio, Shailene Woodley and Jason Momoa. "The support has been tremendous," Three Legs said. "I hope we’re opening a lot of people’s hearts and minds to the reality that protecting water isn’t just a native issue – it affects everybody" …

http://www.people.com/article/rezpect-our-water-native-american-youths-run-2000-miles-protest

Videos:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XL0aq05t7ds

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jgr7FrZHPPw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kuZcx2zEo4k

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ycupu6z4gEE

California’s water conservation dips in July — are eased rules to blame?

07.09.16 Urban water conservation across California dipped slightly during the second month that less stringent conservation requirements have been in place, state regulators said … More alarming to some, the 20% water-use reduction in July, compared with the same month in 2013, also marked a sharp decline from last summer, when residents and businesses saved more than 31% as concern about the drought reached a fever pitch. The drop-off between July 2015 and July 2016 will do little to allay the concerns of environmentalists who have criticized the State Water Resources Control Board for largely lifting mandatory water conservation requirements, and, they argue, paving the water for some Californians to return to profligate consumption … “What we see now is, instead of saving one drop in four … we’ve saved one drop in five,” board member Steven Moore said, … “Having invested time and effort into conservation, many Californians and their communities continue to hit it out of the park … Others are still very much in the game, while a few communities seem to be leaving the ballpark entirely.”

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-water-conservation-20160907-snap-story.html

Colorado’s water engineer discusses wasting of state’s precious resource

September 6, 2016 Dick Wolfe, Colorado’s state water engineer, told a group of irrigators here last week that it’s illegal for someone to take more water than they need because they are speculating on the future potential value of their water rights … “He’s going to talk about probably one of the most misunderstood parts of Colorado water law, and that is ‘use it or lose it’” … began by saying that some people who own a water right can have a “misunderstanding” of what it means to “own and operate that water right in the context of ‘lose it or use it ”… when you go to change a water right in water court, “the measure of your water right is not based on how much you divert, but how much you consume of that. That’s how much you can take and transfer into the future. That’s what values that water right” … Or, in short, “beneficially use or lose it.” “The essence of a water right is the application to a beneficial use without waste,” said Wolfe, the official responsible for enforcing compliance with Colorado water law. “In Colorado there are laws — specific provisions and statutes — that prevent someone from wasting water” … Colorado Water Institute at Colorado State University issue a special report on the subject … is called “How diversion and beneficial use of water affect the value and measure of a water right,” and is subtitled “Is ‘use it or lose it’ an absolute?” … “Administration” refers to managing the almost 180,000 decreed water rights in Colorado, which give people the right to use water from the state’s rivers and aquifers, but do so in priority based on the date of their water rights. “We recognize that even some of our own staff had misunderstandings, misperceptions, of this ‘use it or lose it,’” Wolfe said. “So as water users come into contact with [our staff], we’ve got to make sure we are sending a consistent message on what it means when we talk about ‘use it or lose it’” … Every six years in Colorado “you either have to demonstrate that you are maintaining diligence or that you’ve put it to use to make it absolute,” Wolfe said of such rights. “If you have an inability to put that water to beneficial use, there is a potential to lose that through [the] diligence process” … explained that every 10 years, regional division engineers prepare an “abandonment list” of water rights that have not been used consecutively in the last 10 years … Wolfe said the state of Colorado has the right to reduce the amount of water someone diverts from the river, if they are taking more than they need to get the job at hand done. “If we determine in that process that there is waste occurring, than we can curtail that water right back to what we think is a representative duty of water,” Wolfe said. “Remember, in the state constitution, the water belongs to the public. It’s the public resource, and there are a lot of laws written trying to protect this precious resource we have. “We have this duty to only use what you beneficially need without waste, because there is all these other people and other uses that rely on that public resource.”

http://www.aspendailynews.com/section/home/172423

America’s Water Supply: The Corrosion of a Proud Tradition

August 29, 2016 U.S. communities suffer from about a quarter of a million water main breaks every year, mostly due to aging pipes. The debacle in Flint, Michigan was a betrayal of the public trust at every level of government … In early twentieth century America, it was not safe to drink water from public taps. Cities routinely dumped raw sewage into nearby rivers, thus causing their downstream neighbors to suffer epidemics of waterborne diseases … This practice finally ended after Congress passed the 1972 Clean Water Act … In the 1980s, Congress’s taste for funding the construction costs waned, and it created a revolving funds program, which provided low-interest loans to states and cities. That worked pretty well for a while. But, in subsequent decades, spending on water and wastewater infrastructure plummeted. In the aftermath of the Great Recession, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Mr. Obama’s stimulus program) devoted only $6 billion out of $800 billion to our water systems. That’s not chump change but the scale of the problem is immense. Our water infrastructure consists of approximately 54,000 drinking water systems, with more than 700,000 miles of pipes, and 17,000 wastewater treatment plants, with an additional 800,000 miles of pipes. A 2012 report of the American Water Works Association concluded that more than a million miles of these pipes need repair or replacement. That’s why communities across the nation suffer 240,000 water main breaks per year. The major cause of pipe failure is age … Solving this problem presents a daunting challenge that asks us who we are as a people. Do we care enough about our communities to make water infrastructure a priority? It won’t be an easy road: No politician wants to run for reelection on a campaign of having overhauled the sewer system. Yet, recent polls suggest that Americans want public officials to act and are ready to pay more for a secure supply of safe water. Public officials—local, state, and federal—must devote substantial funds to modernize water and wastewater systems. Congress, in particular, should initiate a new Clean Water Act program to underwrite the costs of municipal water treatment plants and should vastly increase funding for loans to states and cities. State and local governments should issue ultra-long-term government bonds (perhaps for 50 years as European governments have recently done), so that modernization can begin now but the repayment costs spread out over longer periods … Our water and wastewater systems have set the benchmark for the world. We should feel pride in this stunning achievement. Now, we need to summon the resolve to fix the problem and maintain the proud tradition of providing safe, clean water and wastewater treatment to virtually every American.

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/america-s-water-supply-the-corrosion-of-a-proud-tradition/

8 takeaways from ‚Draining Oregon‘: The big water giveaway

August 26, 2016 … After years of liberally granting access to underground water across the high desert of southeastern Oregon, the state abruptly told irrigators it would accept no new applications to pump wells. Regulators launched a 5-year study, saying they feared newly dug wells were sucking up unsustainable quantities of water. Cattle ranching and alfalfa, once bright spots in the struggling rural economy, were thrown into limbo. How could Oregon so freely approve pumping permits for so long, then suddenly announce concerns so serious that they required immediate action? … State regulators frequently lack the basic information they need to make sound decisions about the water that flows under Oregon’s surface. Faced with knowledge gaps, they regularly dole out water anyway. The result, often, is groundwater declines that threaten people and the environment … Here are some key takeaways: 1. Underground water in Oregon is a big deal. More than 5,000 farms in Oregon’s $5.4 billion agricultural industry rely on well water to survive. Nearly a million Oregonians need wells for water they drink. 2. Oregon regulators are granting irrigators access to water they don’t know we have. Oregon regulators have given away rights to pump groundwater that would fill 150 million tanker trucks annually. Yet in most of the state, they don’t know with certainty how much water is down there … 3. Regulators also have no way to know how much we’re using. Most well owners aren’t required to meter and report their water use … 4. Even when regulators have reason to suspect there isn’t enough water to sustain new well development, they sometimes grant permits anyway … 5. Oregon’s approach to groundwater management has diminished groundwater supplies. Across 26 percent of eastern Oregon, an analysis by The Oregonian/Oregonlive found, irrigators are allowed to pump more water than Mother Nature can replace each year. 6. The overpumping of Oregon’s groundwater harms people, plants and animals alike … Pumping can dry up desert wetlands, killing the rare plants that thrive there, and it can deprive fish of the coldwater hiding spots they depend on during hot summer days. For humans, overpumping means well owners siphon water from other users … 7. … Regulators struggle to rein in groundwater use in part because they face enormous public and political pressure to keep the water flowing … State politicians have repeatedly rejected new money sources for the water resources department. At the current rate of funding, the state won’t complete full studies of all Oregon groundwater basins for at least 80 years. 8. Alternatives are out there; we just haven’t pursued them. Regulators have contemplated ending the unofficial policy of approving new wells without data to determine their impact, but they haven’t done it. Lawmakers could find the $75 million and additional staffing needed to complete the research regulators say they need to make decisions about new pumping. There are also ways to encourage frugality. Australia created a market in water rights, and some irrigation districts charge a per-gallon fee on water.

http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2016/08/draining_oregon_series_summary.html

Australia’s solution to California’s water woes: markets

August 25, 2016 Australia recognized the need to make the best possible use of existing resources. “Water markets and trading were the primary means to achieve this,” the National Water Commission explained in "Water Markets: A Short History" … Creating a working water market “required policy makers to put faith in the collective wisdom of water users, rather than governments, in deciding how to make the best use of the resource,” the commission says. The results have confirmed their judgment. The flexibility and autonomy of water trading has “increased agricultural production, helped farmers and communities to survive severe drought, and provided the mechanism for recovering water for the environment.” Today, according to the commission, Australia’s water markets are internationally recognized as a success story, “allowing water to be put to its most productive uses, for a price determined by water users,” generating “economic benefits valued in hundreds of millions of dollars annually.” In California, as in Australia, water is not equally distributed among regions, counties and municipalities. The heavy-handed restrictions favored by legislators, and enforced by water police, are of limited effectiveness even in times of scarcity. The bureaucratic system remains unwieldy, expensive and sometimes litigious. Trials do not create supplies of water, but they do consume public resources, and time. California would be better served by a system of tradable water rights, a proven success in Australia. Instead of additional controls, what Californians need is a solution. That can be found Down Under.

http://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/openforum/article/Australia-s-solution-to-California-s-water-9185380.php

BEZUGSDOKUMENT:

Commonwealth of Australia 2011: Water markets in Australia – a short history

… Australia now has around two decades of experience in the establishment and implementation of water markets and can legitimately be seen as being among world leaders in the market-based allocation and management of scarce water resources. Lessons from the successes and shortcomings of that experience could guide reform in other settings and could help others to establish workable markets in less time. In summary, the lessons are as follows:

1. It is feasible to develop working water markets in complex hydrological systems, including across jurisdictional boundaries.

2. Well-designed water markets can deliver significant benefits in any system where water is scarce by signalling the value of water dynamically …

5. Universal prerequisites for effective water markets include:

+ setting an effective cap on total sustainable extractions (preferably before scarcity becomes acute)

+ establishing entitlements that are clearly specified, monitored and enforced so that users know exactly what they can buy and sell

+ establishing a sound regulatory and governance framework within which water trading can take place

+ implementing fundamental elements of good water management, such as metering and water accounting …

7. Measures to address environmental and social outcomes that could be affected by water trading should be carefully considered and targeted to limit interference with the operation of the market. Some interventions, such as restrictions on trade, are costly and have unintended negative consequences.

8. Market participants learn quickly and make decisions based on the rules that are in place …

9. As water markets mature and develop, roles and responsibilities influencing market outcomes need to be assigned carefully to avoid conflicts of interest, which can undermine reform objectives …

http://archive.nwc.gov.au/library/topic/markets/water-markets-in-australia-a-short-history

http://archive.nwc.gov.au/library/topic/markets

Siehe auch in >WATERWISE<: A Market-Based Strategy for Sustainable Water Management

Amid drought, environmentalists want Nestlé to stop water taking in Aberfoyle

Aug 21, 2016 … Environmentalists are urging the Ontario government against renewing one of Nestlé’s water-taking permits in a southwestern Ontario town, saying "water should be for life, not for profit." Wellington Water Watchers says the permit for Nestlé Waters in Aberfoyle, Ont., expired on July 31, but the company has been allowed to keep extracting water from a local well even in the midst of a severe drought. … Documents on a ministry website show Nestlé Canada has three permits to take up to 8.3 million litres of water every day for bottling, while Nestlé Waters Canada — a division of Nestlé Canada — has a half dozen Ontario permits allowing it to take an additional 12 million litres a day. Other bottled water companies with large water-taking permits in Ontario include Gold Mountain Springs at 6.1 million litres a day, Gott Enterprises at 5.8 million litres and St. Joseph Natural Spring Water at 5.5 million litres … Ontario charges companies just $3.71 for every million litres of water, after they pay a permit fee of $750 for low- or medium-risk water takings, or $3,000 for those considered a high risk to cause an adverse environmental impact … The commercial water-taking permits can be valid for up to 10 years, even longer in some cases, and can allow the removal of several million litres a day. The Ministry of Environment has issued multiple water-taking permits for some rivers …Farmers don’t pay fees to take water for agricultural purposes — they take less than 0.5 per cent of water removed — and their exemption does not apply to food processing, beverage manufacturing, wine-making or water-bottling.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/amid-drought-environmentalists-want-nestl%C3%A9-to-stop-water-taking-in-aberfoyle-ont-1.3730349

‘Climate change is water change’ — why the Colorado River system is headed for major trouble

2016 August 19 There’s good news and bad news for the drought-stricken Colorado River system, according to projections just released in a new federal report from the Bureau of Reclamation, manager of dams, powerplants and canals. The report predicts that Lake Mead — the river system’s largest reservoir, supplying water to millions of people in Nevada, Arizona, California and Mexico — will narrowly escape a shortage declaration next year. But a shortage is looking imminent in 2018, and water experts are growing ever more worried about the river system’s future … In 2012, the U.S. and Mexico entered into an agreement known as Minute 319, a cooperative water management plan under which Mexico has been storing water in Lake Mead to help bolster the reservoir’s falling water levels. Under the agreement, Mexico agreed to take part in both surpluses and shortages as they’re declared for the reservoir. The agreement is set to expire next year, but officials have already opened negotiations to potentially extend it … For the past 15 years, a combination of precipitation declines and unusually high temperatures have helped fuel the region’s ongoing drought … These changes are “clearly climate change at work … Climate change is water change. This is the primary way by which we tiny little humans are going to get to feel the impacts of climate change. The water cycles will change” … Ultimately whatever solutions are adopted in the future, experts agree that they must be a collaborative effort among all the beneficiaries of the Colorado River system. “The sort of geopolitical reality of the Colorado River is that we’re all in it together … all water users and all jurisdictions are going to have to work together to ensure that our water supply is stabilized and our uses don’t exceed what this river has to give.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/08/19/climate-change-is-water-change-why-the-colorado-river-system-is-headed-for-trouble/?utm_term=.899747a144a9

In California, Who Owns the Water?

Aug. 19, 2016 …. Santa Barbara County may be one of the wealthiest areas in California but when it comes to water, the residents are just like anyone else in the state — wondering if the day will come when nothing flows out of the tap … when the county’s Goleta Water District discovered that a neighboring ranch was planning on drawing water out of its underground aquifers to benefit a celebrity enclave, things got testy … This is because the district conducted a geographic study in 2008 to determine whether the bedrock containing its groundwater is linked through crevices to Slippery Rock Ranch three miles away … Now the two sides are locked in a court battle to determine whether the district can lay claim to water that hasn’t yet traveled downhill to its coffers … As lakes and downward mountain streams have dried up, the hottest commodity in California is water. Hundreds of farms in the central part of the state have withered and died as traditional water supplies have disappeared and farmers lack the money to buy any on the open market … A city’s compliance with the state’s 20 percent water cutback mandate is measured by how many gallons each person uses … The water rights issue was debated for two years before the district filed a lawsuit in state court on Feb. 13, 2015, seeking an injunction against any further giveaways or sales to outside entities … "Slippery Rock Ranch is unlawfully seeking to exploit public water resources for private gain … We reluctantly had to file the lawsuit to protect the integrity of the groundwater basin and the watershed for the Goleta community." Slippery Rock responded with a lawsuit of its own on Jan. 22, 2016, seeking a judgment establishing its private water rights. The case is set for trial Aug. 31 and will be decided by a judge … Goleta’s water rights to its own underground basin were litigated in 1944 when the district was first formed and again in 1989 when the district sued other entities who had laid claim to its groundwater. In the 1989 case, a judgment named several parties who could take water for their own use and one that could sell it. The current district lawsuit claims that the 1989 case also gave Goleta rights to Slippery Rock’s water because of connecting bedrock, but this assertion is disputed by the ranch which says it was never a party to that original case …"It’s inexcusable for the Goleta Water District to be squandering ratepayers‘ money on frivolous litigation. Asserting that water on private property belongs to the district is audacious and not grounded in fact or law. They purchased water from Slippery Rock Ranch in the past and only initiated litigation after negotiations for purchasing more water broke down. How did water that they had been negotiating to buy suddenly become theirs?"

http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2016-08-19/in-california-who-owns-the-water

There is a Water-Energy Nexus. But It’s Not What You Think.

August 12, 2016 … researchers at UC-Davis confirmed what a lot of us already know—that saving water saves energy. The analysis from the UC-Davis Center for Water-Energy Efficiency found that California’s mandatory 25 percent reduction in urban water use, which was adopted in May 2015 due to the ongoing severe drought, resulted in significant energy and greenhouse gas savings. From June 2015 to February 2016, the electricity saved by reducing urban water use is estimated to have been nearly 922 gigawatt-hours. Because electricity production oftentimes relies on fossil fuels like coal and natural gas, this energy savings also significantly reduced greenhouse gas emissions—similar in scale to taking almost 50,000 cars off the road! Saving water saves energy because of the large amount of energy needed to extract, transport, treat, and distribute water to our homes and businesses. Still more energy is needed to collect and treat the wastewater that then comes from our sinks, showers, toilets, clothes washers, and other sources. This energy use is referred to as embedded energy. In California, the embedded energy in water can be quite large, especially for regions like Southern California, which rely heavily on imported water supplies from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta and the Colorado River … Still-Strong Nexus: High efficiency clothes washers save both water and energy on-site, along with energy embedded off-site by the local water supplier and sanitation agency – together, more than enough savings to justify efficiency upgrades … There are more than enough reasons to save water in California, now and in the future, without claiming more energy and greenhouse gas reductions than such water savings are likely to achieve.

https://www.nrdc.org/experts/ben-chou/there-water-energy-nexus-its-not-what-you-think

State Supreme Court sides with Southern California in epic water war over delta islands

July 15, 2016 The state Supreme Court has cleared the way for Southern California’s powerful Metropolitan Water District to buy five islands at the epicenter of the delta’s water system … Some officials and environmentalists in Northern California had fought to halt the sale, worried about what the MWD planned to do with the land. The agency has said it might use some of the land to provide access for the construction of a proposed delta tunnel system, a controversial project some oppose amid California’s five-year drought. A cohort of counties, water agencies and environmental advocacy groups had mounted a series of legal challenges aimed at postponing the sale. But the high court on Thursday turned those back … MWD officials said … that they still face several lawsuits connected to the island purchase. … The California Environmental Quality Act lawsuits seek to unwind the deal and ultimately force MWD to give the islands back to Delta Wetlands Properties … It could be months or even years until all the legal challenges to the purchase are resolved …

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-delta-islands-decision-20160715-snap-story.html

Planning for California’s Water Future

Jul. 14, 2016 California’s highly engineered water system struggles to serve its 39 million people and the environment. But there a numerous things we can do to better plan for the future, writes Mark Cowin, director of the Department of Water Resources … All the dams, pumps, aqueducts – and rules and laws – arise from 200 years of human engineering in the Golden State. Our forebears designed these projects for the sole benefit of a few million people, and today we struggle to adapt them to the support of threatened fish and wildlife and 39 million people. While we depend on this infrastructure not just to survive but thrive, some of it is undeniably outdated, and sometimes harmful. We cannot undo most of the environmental damage of our water development, but we can ameliorate it. We must face the reality of this engineered system and move forward with practical solutions that accept what we cannot change and improve where we can. We need infrastructure and laws that support California’s natural ecosystems and human structures for future generations … We also can improve the movement of water among voluntary buyers and sellers. If we can assure that the environment and local communities are protected, a water market is one of the best tools for getting water to places of highest need. The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, enacted in 2014, puts us on course to eliminate overdraft of crucial groundwater supplies. Restoring some of our lost natural habitat should bolster populations of many species. And our aging infrastructure can be made more efficient and protective of the environment with technology including fish ladders, fish screens, new points of diversion, and devices that allow dam operators to release deep, cool water for fish downstream. In some places, like the Klamath River, dams should be dismantled entirely. It serves little purpose to question decisions made 100 years ago. Scientific understanding of California’s environment has advanced more rapidly than California’s aging water infrastructure. But there’s much we can do in terms of how we live, invest and manage our infrastructure that would allow us to leave more reliable and resilient water systems to the next generation.

https://www.newsdeeply.com/water/op-eds/2016/07/14/mark-cowin-planning-for-californias-water-future

Water rulings a blow to New Mexico

July 12, 2016 – The nation’s highest court will likely have to settle a dispute between Texas and New Mexico over management of water from the Rio Grande. Officials in both states have been waiting for nearly a year for a recommendation on the handling of the case that could dramatically curb groundwater pumping in some of New Mexico’s most fertile valleys and force the state to pay as much as $1 billion in damages … Texas sued in 2013, claiming New Mexico failed to deliver water as required under a decades-old compact involving the river that serves more than 6 million people in several major cities and irrigates more than 3,100 square miles of farmland in the U.S. and Mexico. Groundwater wells drilled over the decades in Doña Ana County have been a focal point of Texas‘ concerns … The parties have a chance to respond to the special master before the Supreme Court weighs in on what is the latest legal battle over water to pit states against one another. Connecticut and Massachusetts, Nebraska and Wyoming, and New York and New Jersey all have been embroiled in water disputes over the decades … More than a decade ago, officials in Texas made claims about water shortages under the compact. Irrigation districts that serve farmers on both sides of the border reached the 2008 operating agreement with the federal government that shared the burdens of drought, while ensuring everyone received water allotments. Local water managers say the agreement worked even during the driest of times, but King insisted it was more beneficial to Texas and sued over his concerns, setting the stage for Texas to take its complaints to the U.S. Supreme Court … In his report, the special master suggested New Mexico has a “stunted interpretation” of the compact and that the state may not divert or intercept water it’s required to deliver downstream. The Rio Grande stretches from southern Colorado, through New Mexico and Texas and into Mexico. In recent years, stretches of the river have gone dry in New Mexico and flows often don’t reach the Gulf of Mexico.

http://www.lcsun-news.com/story/news/local/las-cruces/2016/07/12/water-rulings-blow-new-mexico/86946218/

160908 Granlund New England Drought

160916 Anupama kaveri_water_dispute

INDIEN

Two dead in water riots in India’s Silicon Valley

September 14, 2016 Relative calm has been restored to the Indian city of Bangalore following the deaths of two men amid riots over an ongoing water dispute. Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed to protesters to exercise restraint and follow the law as a heavy paramilitary presence was deployed … Protests began earlier this week over a water sharing deal between the Indian states of Karnataka and neighboring Tamil Nadu … One demonstrator was shot dead by police … Another died in hospital following injuries sustained from a fall while fleeing police during Monday’s clashes … Tamil Nadu claims it is not receiving enough water and blames Karnataka for holding it in its reservoirs … After rumblings of unrest, the Supreme Court … reduced the level of water that had to be released by Karnataka to 12,000 cubic feet of water per second each day until September 30 … State ministers held emergency meetings Tuesday after demonstrators vandalized shops and set fire to more than 100 cars, buses and trucks in Bangalore … is India’s original tech hub, home to campuses of many Indian and US tech giants, including Infosys, Microsoft and Google. Thousands of police were deployed in the city in an attempt to regain control, while authorities banned large gatherings and imposed a curfew in several areas …

http://edition.cnn.com/2016/09/13/asia/india-water-dispute/index.html

Karnataka will urge SC to limit water release to 10,000 cusecs a day

Sep 11, 2016 The supervisory panel, authorized by the Supreme Court to assess the ground reality of water availability in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, will commence its hearings … Law minister TB Jayachandra … told the media the government will impress upon the two bodies about the water crisis in Karnataka and its inability to release 15,000 cusecs of water for 10 days … the government expects the Centre to intervene and resolve the 200-year-old dispute. "Be it Prime Minister Modi or Bharti, either can intervene and try to resolve the matter," … On chief minister Siddaramaiah’s letter to the PM … "Over the past 100 years, one way or other, injustice has been meted out to Karnataka. Karnataka could have built a balancing reservoir at Mekedatu and a hydroelectricity station at Shivansamudra. Similarly, Tamil Nadu could have constructed a dam at Hogenakkal to store more water. Now, if the Centre does not intervene, it will be difficult to resolve the crisis" …

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/Karnataka-will-urge-SC-to-limit-water-release-to-10000-cusecs-a-day/articleshow/54272635.cms

siehe auch:

Sep 7, 2016 Tamil Nadu gets Cauvery water; Karnataka simmers amid protests …

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Tamil-Nadu-gets-Cauvery-water-Karnataka-simmers-amid-protests/articleshow/54045487.cms

Sep 06, 2016 Cauvery water dispute: Protests erupt in Karnataka over SC’s order …

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/cauvery-water-dispute-protests-erupt-in-karnataka-over-scs-order/articleshow/54028008.cms

India’s water crisis: 8 liters for 7 days, for drinking and all other needs

21 Aug, 2016 … People in Indian states which were once agricultural leaders in the country, now have to pay for water delivered from other regions … The current drastic situation has been caused by a number of reasons, locals believe. They’ve been citing too many people living in the same area, little rain and harvesting revolution where "people ruined the natural cycle" by chopping down forests and reversing river flows as the main causes. The monsoon has been late for the past two years, and all the water from the reservoirs has been used up. When the rains finally arrived in 2015, they were too scarce to provide people in the region with water. In 2016, the monsoon season was late again. The people in India are one of the first to experience a crisis which within 15 years will affect everyone on the planet, according to scientists‘ warnings. And it might be the most devastating one humankind has ever faced.

https://www.rt.com/news/356679-india-water-crisis-documentary/

WASSERQUELLEN

IDSA

Riverine Neighbourhood: Hydro-politics in South Asia

12.09.2016 … Flowing rivers are the largest renewable water resource as well as a crucible for both humans and aquatic ecosystem … Since the age of industrialization, humans have increasingly exerted a pervasive influence on water resources. Rivers in particular have drawn humans to monumental engineering interventions such as dams and barrages often as chest-thumping dominance and seldom as an enduring bond between man and nature. ‘Hydro-politics’ or water politics is not a popular expression among water practitioners. In using hydro-politics, the book does not in any way negate hydro-cooperation rather the chapters argue that cooperation is hydro-politics. Since no water dispute, as history tells, has almost ever led to war, states have to ensure that sensible hydro-politics prevails so that the possibilities of water wars are unlikely in the future. Transboundary rivers link its riparians in a complex network of environmental, economic and security interdependencies. Cooperation among South Asian riparians is undoubtedly high but that does not mean the absence of competing claims for water. Thus water will remain deeply political. Often water agreements are not always about water. History and hegemony play an important role in understanding the strategic interaction among riparian states and in the contextual framework under what circumstances politics interfere with cooperation or whether sharing of water acts as a neutralising factor in difficult political situations … Contents … South Asia’s Water Security … The Importance of Water Regimes, The Dynamics of River Treaties, South Asia: A Riverine Region … Himalayan Hydrology … Climate Change and Water Resources, Glaciology and the Indus River System … Himalayan Hydro-politics, Ganga Basin and Regional Cooperation … India-Pakistan and the Waters of the Indus … China and India: Hydropowers in South Asia … Towards Water Dialogue … Hydrological Scenarios: the Shape of things in 2030, The Way Forward …

http://idsa.in/book/riverine-neighbourhood-hydro-politics-in-south-asia

http://idsa.in/system/files/book/book_riverine-neighbourhood.pdf

WMO/GWP Integrated Drought Management Programme (IDMP).

Handbook of Drought Indicators and Indices

18 August 2016 The Integrated Drought Management Programme (IDMP), which is co-sponsored by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the Global Water Partnership (GWP) and some 30 other partners, has officially released the “Handbook of Drought Indicators and Indices” on the sidelines of the African Drought Conference, which is taking place here from 15 to 19 August. “The Handbook addresses the needs of practitioners and policymakers, and is not an academic paper” … The purpose of the handbook is to present some of the most commonly used drought indicators and indices that are being applied across drought-prone regions.” The goal is to advance monitoring, early-warning and information-delivery systems in support of risk-based drought management policies and preparedness plans. These concepts and indicators and indices are outlined in the Handbook, which is a “living document” that will evolve and integrate new indicators and indices as they come to light and are applied in the future …

http://public.wmo.int/en/media/news/handbook-of-drought-indicators-and-indices-launched-african-drought-conference

Handbook:

http://www.droughtmanagement.info/handbook-drought-indicators-and-indices/

Danke für diesen Hinweis nach Holm bei Hamburg! J.B.

WATERWISE

A Market-Based Strategy for Sustainable Water Management

August 23, 2016 Australia is one of the driest inhabited places on Earth. Yet nearly two-thirds of the country’s land area is devoted to agriculture, generating 93 percent of the domestic food supply. The country is only able to sustain this level of food production through irrigation and an active water market—a system in which water-use entitlements can be bought and sold and water can be transferred from one user to another. The system is working for farmers, but Australia is still trying to figure out how to meet the needs of one specific water user—nature. One potential solution to balance the water needs of people and nature, though, may lie with the power of impact investment … to increase water supplies, such as large reservoirs that store river water, canals that import water from distant sources and wells that go deeper into our aquifers. But we can no longer build our way out of water scarcity—the cost of new infrastructure remains out of reach for many communities, and there are no new supplies to tap. Water markets have proven immensely effective in many regions—from Australia to the western United States—for stimulating water conservation and enabling the transfer of saved water to other users who need more. By making water a tradeable asset, the system rewards those who can save some water and make it available to others. Furthermore, the cost of providing water to new users through markets is far less than the cost of infrastructure-based approaches and further damage to the environment can be averted … Water markets can be especially effective when implemented in areas where water is mainly consumed for irrigation …

http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2016/08/23/a-market-based-strategy-for-sustainable-water-management/

zum BEZUGSDOKUMENT: Water Share Report + Executive Summary August 2016

https://global.nature.org/content/water-share

https://global.nature.org/content/water-share-report

EU-ISS

Shaping the future of energy

13 July 2016 More than six months after the Paris climate talks concluded with a historic agreement, the implications for the energy sector are becoming clearer. While energy policymakers continue to have different priorities and pressures, they increasingly have the same broad goals: meet the energy needs of their citizens today while charting a course towards a more sustainable future. But every state will travel a different path towards sustainability, and many factors beyond the imperative for decarbonisation will shape the energy sector in the decades ahead … Other technologies seem to have a much brighter future. Solar power and wind power, of course, have seen their costs drop rapidly over the past decade, allowing them to become increasingly price competitive in some locations even without government support. This trend is very likely to continue in the years ahead … solar and wind power will continue to grow rapidly, forming the twin pillars of global renewable energy production in the years to come … Different ways of storing energy will be another boom sector, from fuel cells to lithium-air batteries, and perhaps even more long-term ideas such as hydrogen or thermal storage … Three key energy investment trends are likely to continue for the foreseeable future. First, the global trade in energy products will eventually peak and drop off significantly. As new geographies of energy production are developed, with distributed generation and smart electrical grids, the massive transport of fuels over long distances by pipeline or truck or boat will gradually be phased out … Second, economic growth will decouple from carbon use and even from energy use … the world has begun to focus on decarbonisation … The third trend is the increasing primacy of regulation and policy in shaping energy investments … The decisions of energy innovators and investors are going to be driven as much by expectations of what the policy environment will look like as what the pricing environment will be … In terms of energy investment, there will be a long-term challenge for governments to provide infrastructure to match future supply and demand patterns … With regard to geopolitics, it will need to be taken into account that pushing towards a different energy future will result in winners and losers … it will be important to keep a close watch on these differences and take action to reduce the difficulties for those that might be left behind, internationally and within Europe. This responsiveness to the impacts of groups and on individual citizens will mean taking action at the right level of governance, building on international frameworks, national and continental plans, and local capacities to put plans into action … Cities and regions will continue to be more and more networked across borders. This can be seen most clearly in North America where cities and states are cooperating across borders on climate action, stepping into the relative vacuum left by their slow-acting national governments. The global energy scene is likely to become yet more complicated in the years ahead. Navigating this complexity need not require the creation of detailed plans set in stone, but will require a solid understanding of the key trends at play, and a capacity to shape and adapt to these trends in the pursuit of clearly defined long term goals.

http://www.iss.europa.eu/uploads/media/Brief_24_Energy.pdf

Why Climate Change Is an Education Issue

JUL 4, 2016 – Climate change affects us all, but we still are not acting as quickly as we should to address its causes, mitigate the damage, and adapt to its effects. Many people don’t understand the risks climate change poses to global economic and social structures. And, sadly, many who do understand are dismissive of the far-reaching benefits a global shift to sustainability and clean energy would bring about. According to a recent Pew study, seven out of ten Americans classified as political independents were not very concerned that climate change would hurt them. Worse still, Yale University researchers recently found that 40% of adults worldwide have never even heard of climate change. In some developing countries, such as India, that figure climbs to 65% … Still, many people insist that implementing measures to mitigate the effects of climate change is too costly to our current way of life. According to the Pew study, almost seven out of ten people believe that, given the limitations of technology, they would have to make major lifestyle changes. This does not have to be the case, and education can challenge the kind of skepticism that forecloses opportunities for climate-smart living … education furnishes the technical knowledge needed to build a better future through innovation – one that includes clean and safe energy, sustainable agriculture, and smarter cities. Broadening access to education would lead to more homegrown innovation – entrepreneurs spotting opportunities to address local problems. Globally, we cannot rely on knowledge centers such as Silicon Valley or Oxford to develop a silver bullet to the climate problem. Solutions may come from tech hubs, but they will also come from villages and developing cities, from farmers and manufactures with vastly different perspectives on the world around them. And this will create a virtuous cycle. It is easier for educated people to migrate and integrate into new societies, sharing the knowledge they’ve brought with them. Fortunately, younger generations today are better educated and more committed to reducing their own carbon footprint than previous generations were. They are leading the way and forcing us all to reconsider our own actions. But we must broaden the availability of education worldwide to ensure that their efforts are not in vain … Addressing the dangers of climate change is not only an existential imperative; it is also an opportunity to move toward a cleaner, more productive, and fairer path of development. Only an educated global society can take the decisive action needed to get us there.

https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/climate-change-education-issue-by-felipe-calderon-2016-07

WASSERKUNST

A Guide to Current:LA Water, the Biennial Bringing Art to 16 Locations Across the City

July 15, 2016 … This summer, Los Angeles’ riverbanks and water-related sites will blossom to life despite the drought. Current:LA Water, a citywide public art biennial made by possible by a grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge, is seeking to uncover the complexities inherent in water (or the lack of them) on urban life.

https://www.kcet.org/shows/artbound/a-guide-to-current-la-water-events-art-biennial-los-angeles-bloomberg-philanthropies

Current: LA, A New Public Art Biennial

Michael Parker, "The Unfinished, 2014.

April 29, 2016 A recent mayoral announcement officially launched the Department of Cultural Affairs’ new Current:LA initiative, an issues-driven public art biennial whose inaugural edition happens at non-traditional locations scattered across the city in July and August. The first edition, Current:LA Water, addresses the multivalent topic of water’s usage, history, and role in the city’s physical and social infrastructure. This includes the L.A. River, but as the organizers are quick to point out,

it is about so much more than just the river. There’s water infrastructure throughout the city from the Port of L.A. (San Pedro) to the L.A. wetlands of Ballona Creek, to Hansen Dam in the north), and of course, the coast …Water as an issue is of course more than fraught with economic, political, historical thorns, but Current:LA seizes the opportunity for public education and discourse that the biennial represents.

https://www.kcet.org/shows/artbound/current-la-water-art-biennial-danielle-brazell

… und dann war da noch:

In den Ortsnamen ist das Wasser allgegenwärtig

09.08.2016 Wie wichtig das Wasser ist, zeigt sich auch darin, wie die Menschen ihre Landschaft benennen: Bäche, Seen, aber auch feuchte Gebiete spielen in den Ortsnamen eine zentrale Rolle … Weil sie erstens für die Menschen als Lebensgrundlage zentral sind und ihnen zweitens in der Landschaft Orientierung bieten …

http://www.thunertagblatt.ch/In-den-Ortsnamen-ist-das-Wasser-allgegenwaertig/story/10757377

Video: Eine Stadt taucht nach 30 Jahren wieder aus dem Wasser auf …

08.09.2016 Nach seiner Gründung im Jahr 1921, blühte der Tourismus in Villa Epecuén auf. Grund war der nahegelegene Salzsee Lago Epecuén und die therapeutische Wirkung des Wassers. Als der See zu verlanden drohte, baute die Region einen Kanal. Doch der besiegelte den Untergang der Stadt … Erst die seit einigen Jahren herrschende Trockenperiode brachte die versunkene Stadt jetzt wieder zum Vorschein …

http://www.focus.de/reisen/videos/grusel-touristen-in-argentinien-dieser-kurort-versank-vor-30-jahren-im-wasser-jetzt-taucht-er-wieder-auf_id_5903057.html

Astronomy Picture of the Day

11. September 2016 Wie hoch ist der Wasseranteil des Planeten Erde? Sehr gering. Wasserozeane bedecken zwar etwa 70 Prozent der Erdoberfläche, doch sie sind im Vergleich zum Erdradius sehr seicht. Diese Illustration zeigt, was geschehen würde, wenn man alles Wasser auf oder nahe der Oberfläche der Erde in einer Kugel sammeln würde. Der Radius dieser Kugel würde nur etwa 700 Kilometer betragen, das ist weniger als die Hälfte des Mondradius …

http://www.starobserver.org/ap160911.html

Beste Grüße von der Elbe!

Jörg Barandat

editorial@waternews.de

Massenbach-Letter: NEWS 16.09.16

Massenbach-Letter. News

· The Middle East Since 9/11

· China’s Infrastructure Play – Why Washington Should Accept the New Silk Road

· Carnegie Moscow Center: Why China Subsidizes Loss-Making Rail Transport via Russia and Kazakhstan

· Putin Rede über Weltpolitik, Nato, Ukraine, Terrorismus und Eurasische Union

· Carnegie Moscow Center / A. Malashenko: Preserving the Calm in Russia’s Muslim Community

· Why Croatia Matters to the Western Balkans

· Gabor Steingart: Das System Angela Merkel. Kanzlerin der Einsamkeit

Massenbach*The Middle East Since 9/11Geopolitical Futures logo

Sept. 12, 2016The region has changed significantly following the attacks 15 years ago.

Yesterday marked 15 years since Sept. 11, 2001. Since then, the U.S. and other forces have waged almost constant war in the Middle East,

the birthplace of Islam and civilization itself.

On Sept. 11, we pause and remember where we were that day and what we were thinking. That is altogether appropriate. However,

it is also appropriate to consider how the map of the Middle East has changed since 9/11. Maps are useful tools, but they can be dangerous

because they lock patterns into your mind that may not be accurate. The only way to counter this is to force yourself to look at things from

a different perspective. To do this, we have created two maps of the Middle East: one of the region on Sept. 11, 2001 and another of the region

on Sept. 11, 2016.

Osama bin Laden had one great goal in mind for al-Qaida, and it wasn’t simply to kill Americans. For bin Laden, attacks like 9/11 were a means to an end. Bin Laden really sought to transform the Islamic world from within by insurrection. He came from a wealthy Saudi family, and when he looked at this map, he saw sclerotic regimes, indulgent dictators and a society in a general state of collapse. The once-proud heirs of the Prophet Muhammed’s revelation had been turned into pawns in the Cold War and had imbibed foreign ideals – first nationalism, then socialism, then petty authoritarianism. And now they were weak and ignorant of their own traditions, and bin Laden hoped to change this.

Al-Qaida didn’t have the power to do this single handedly. And so al-Qaida attacked the United States, hoping to create a rallying cry in the Muslim world not just against the West but against the Western-sympathizing dictators who had steered the Arab Muslim world to this disastrous place. In total, 2,977 people died on 9/11 – but from al-Qaida’s point of view, 9/11 was initially a failure. The U.S. punished Afghanistan and the Taliban, but Afghanistan was on the periphery of al-Qaida’s fight. Al-Qaida hoped to draw the U.S. into the heart of the Middle East, and at first the U.S. didn’t take the bait.

But 9/11 also showed that bin Laden understood something the U.S. and others did not. And that was that most Middle Eastern states were in fact weak, their borders artificial. The 9/11 attacks may not have immediately set off the chain reaction bin Laden hoped for, but his diagnosis of the situation proved to be accurate. Eventually, the tinder ignited, sparked by the U.S. invasion of Iraq and the U.S. attempt to install a liberal democracy in Baghdad. Since then, because of war, popular unrest (most notably the 2011 so-called Arab Spring), economic frailty and various other dynamics, the map of the Middle East has changed dramatically.

This is a map of the Middle East on Sept. 11, 2016. The map does not show official political borders. It shows the forces that exert power over certain territory. It is a very different map than the first and represents the realization of at least some of bin Laden’s objectives.

Libya, for instance, is no longer a country. The old Libya was the 16th largest country in the world by area but only had a population of 6 million split between two population centers – Tripoli and Benghazi. The distance between Tripoli and Benghazi is over 600 miles, which is mostly desert. The hinterlands support small populations of various tribal groups and the Tuareg, many of whom now exert control over regions and battle each other for position and territory.

Yemen has fallen apart again, with fresh civil war kicking off in 2014, a few years after Arab Spring protests shook the country. The Saudis and their allies support what is still recognized internationally as Yemen. The Houthis and their supporters have a stronghold in the north. Al-Qaida has found enough space to operate its own little fiefdom in the country, and the Islamic State is there too. It is the perfect example of jihadist groups taking advantage of popular disillusionment with the old order of things.

Lebanon remains as it has been since the 1960s: hopelessly divided and deadlocked. Only now, Hezbollah has become both a political party and a fifth-column military force in the small Levantine country. Hezbollah has in recent years traded the occasional skirmish with Israel for supporting Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian Arab Republic, but remains dominant in stretches of land that is for all intents and purposes Hezbollah’s sovereign territory.

Egypt looks relatively stable despite its unrest and the 2013 coup d’état, but Egypt is under significant strain. The economy is in shambles, its military is dealing with an insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula and other jihadist terrorist threats at home, and its 80 million plus people live in an area roughly the size of the state of Kentucky, clustered on either bank of the Nile River.

Jordan is under similar strain – the fact that Jordan has been able to hold together amid the chaos surrounding it is a minor miracle. Almost 20 percent of the people living in Jordan are Syrian refugees.

Syria and Iraq have been destroyed and will not recover, at least not in their previous form. At the heart of this is the Islamic State, a splinter of al-Qaida, which took advantage of both the power vacuum in Iraq after the U.S. invasion and the sectarian rivalries embedded within the region. Bin Laden hoped to begin the process of building a caliphate by overthrowing Middle Eastern dictators. The Islamic State is building that caliphate by conquering territory and ruling it and has thus far met with success beyond what could have been imagined for such a group in 2001.

Syria has splintered into at least three different segments. First is the Islamic State. Second is the small, partially disconnected statelet the Syrian Kurds have carved out for themselves, which they call Rojava, on the Jazira Plain. Third is the remnants of the Syrian Arab Republic led by Assad’s regime – exactly the type of regime Bin Laden hoped al-Qaida would help break apart. Assad’s regime is a shadow of its former self, though it has solidified control over the Alawite coast as well as most of Syria’s major metropolitan areas: Homs, Hama and Damascus.

Iraq has split into at least four different segments. The Islamic State is under severe pressure there but remains a formidable force. Iraq’s Kurds in the north enjoy autonomy through the Kurdistan Regional Government – independence is a fait accompli at this point. Shiite Arab Iraq oscillates between being an Iranian vassal state and attempting to assert its own writ. Sunni Arab Iraqis, with the least physical control over their territory than any other entity on this map, remain something of a wildcard. IS could not have grown into what it is today without them, but that tacit support has waned in the last year.

Sitting atop this chaotic situation are the Middle East’s four regional powers: Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Israel. This map reveals that these countries face grave challenges and potential opportunities. Turkey must fear spillover from the chaos raging to the south, the result of both Syria’s civil war and the rise of the Islamic State – but that also means Turkey has a chance to reclaim its influence in some of the old Ottoman territories. Iran has to deal with Sunni Arabs, the Islamic State and the Kurds, all claiming land within territory that used to belong to its mortal enemy. These are all threats – but they also present a chance for Iran to gain a base of operations in the heart of the Middle East from which it can project power.

Saudi Arabia, a vast, oil-rich desert whose economy is under severe strain, faces a war on two fronts, and there are limits to the amount of treasure it can use to protect itself. Israel is surrounded by general chaos, but its two most important strategic partnerships – with Egypt and Jordan – remain in place. Israel’s would-be enemies are also too fractured and too busy fighting each other to give Israel a hard time. Despite the unease Israel feels looking at this map, ironically Israel is more secure today than at any other point in its modern history. As for the Palestinians, they have never been more divided, and Israeli military and economic dominance of the Palestinian territories is at this point a simple, if controversial, fact.

Looking at the old map of the Middle East is like traveling back in time. It is an echo of a past long gone. Comparing that old map to the new reveals the thinking of those who live there and gives a sense of the direction in which events have developed since 9/11. It’s not how bin Laden drew it up or planned it, but 15 years after 9/11, the map looks a lot more like he would have wanted, despite a massive expenditure of American (and Russian, French and various other foreign) resources in the region to stop those very developments. Bin Laden had a deep understanding of his part of the world in 2001. Looking at these maps bears that out – and points towards an inexorable conclusion: These new borders will change too, and that will necessitate more new maps.

https://geopoliticalfutures.com | https://geopoliticalfutures.com/the-middle-east-since-911/

**********************************************************************************************************************

From our Russian news desk:see attachment.

è 09-14-16 Russia-Yemen-Saudi Arabia-Iran-Gas Eastern Mediterranean-NATO+Cyber Defense

Putin Rede über Weltpolitik, Nato, Ukraine, Terrorismus und Eurasische Union

17.07.2016 Wie Putin die Welt sieht … Der russische Präsident Wladimir Putin hielt im Juli 2016 eine Grundsatzrede vor den Botschaftern und Diplomaten der Russländischen Föderation in aller Welt. In dieser Rede gibt er den Blick des Kremls auf die internationale Politik, den Konflikt in der Ukraine, internationalen Terrorismus, die Politik der NATO und die Eurasische Union wieder … ermöglicht mit der auszugsweisen Übersetzung der Rede einen Einblick in Putins Positionen.

Quelle: http://www.kremlin.ru/events/president/transcripts/52298

Internationale Politik … Russland macht eine unabhängige und selbstständige Außenpolitik … Der Zustand der Welt ist weit von Stabilität entfernt und wird jeden Tag weniger vorhersagbar. Alle Bereiche der internationalen Politik sind von großen Veränderungen betroffen. Die Konkurrenz um Ressourcen und Einfluss wird stärker. Das Konfliktpotenzial nimmt zu. Ich bin davon überzeugt, dass gefährliche Entwicklungen und unkontrollierbare Situationen nur durch Dialog und Zusammenarbeit verhindert werden können.

Die internationale Gemeinschaft muss eine gerechtere Weltordnung anstreben, die auf Vorstellungen einer gemeinsamen Sicherheit und kollektiver Verantwortung beruht.

Gleichzeitig sehen wir das beharrliche Streben einiger Partner danach, ein Monopol auf die geopolitische Dominanz aufrechtzuerhalten. Dabei kommen seit langer Zeit Instrumente der Bedrohung, der Schwächung, des Aufbringens von Konkurrenten gegeneinander sowie Mittel der politischen, wirtschaftlichen, finanziellen und informationellen Einflussnahme zum Einsatz …

Einmischung in die inneren Angelegenheiten anderer Staaten, die regionale Konflikte provoziert, den Export der sogenannten farbigen Revolutionen und anderes.

Zur Durchsetzung dieser Politik verbündet man sich mit Terroristen und Fundamentalisten, rechtsextremen Nationalisten und sogar offenen Neofaschisten …

Ukraine … Direkte Zeugnisse dieser Politik sehen wir schon unmittelbar an unseren Grenzen … Dort wurde ein innerer Konflikt entzündet, dessen Preis menschliche Opfer, der Abriss der Wirtschaftsbeziehungen und ein Flüchtlingsstrom, vor allem nach Russland, sind … Wir wünschen uns sehr, dass die Ukrainekrise schnell beigelegt werden kann … dafür muss man in Kiew endlich verstehen, dass ein direkter Dialog mit dem Donbass, mit Donezk und Luhansk nötig ist und dass alle Forderungen der Minsker Vereinbarungen erfüllt werden müssen …

NATO … Wir halten die Entfesselung des Ukraine-Konflikts und die ständigen Versuche, Russland dafür verantwortlich zu machen, für unerträglich. Dies führt zur Verschlechterung der Lage in Europa und verschlimmert die Folgen des großen Fehlers, der seinerzeit gemacht wurde, ich meine die Erweiterung der NATO nach Osten anstelle der Entwicklung einer einheitlichen Sicherheitsarchitektur vom Atlantik bis zum Stillen Ozean mit Russland als vollwertigem Partner. Die antirussischen Aktivitäten der NATO werden immer schlimmer …

Rechtfertigung der Raketenabwehr … haben ich … als Betrug, als Fetisch und als bloßen Vorwand bezeichnet … Stark zugenommen hat auch die Anzahl der Übungen, auch in der Ostsee und im Schwarzen Meer … In Polen und im Baltikum werden schnelle Einsatzkräfte stationiert und Angriffswaffen werden aufgestockt. Das alles zielt auf den Bruch jahrzehntelang aufgebauter militärischer Parität …

Wir werden uns auf eine militärische Konfrontation nicht einlassen, denn genau das ist die Absicht, uns dort hineinzuziehen und ein teures und sinnloses Wettrüsten zu provozieren, damit wir unsere Ressourcen nicht für die Lösung sozialer und wirtschaftlicher Aufgaben einsetzen können … Wir werden aber auch keine Schwäche zeigen, wir können uns immer verteidigen und die Sicherheit der Russländischen Föderation und ihrer Bürger garantieren.

Die verantwortungslose und falsche Politik … Beispiele die Interventionen im Irak und in Libyen … hat zu mehr Terrorismus und Extremismus geführt … Die Terroristen nutzen erfolgreich die Zerstörung der staatlichen Strukturen durch die Experimente des Exports der Demokratie in den Nahen Osten und nach Nordafrika aus …

Terrorismus, Syrien … Die Bedrohung durch den Terrorismus hat sich vervielfacht und ist heute die größte Herausforderung der internationalen Politik … Im Epizentrum … steht Syrien …

ich sage, dass vom Schicksal dieses Landes nicht nur die Entwicklungen im Nahen Osten abhängen. Auf dem Gebiet Syriens entscheidet sich der Ausgang des Kampfes gegen den Islamischen Staat … Der Islamische Staat will sich in Libyen, Jemen, Afghanistan, den Ländern Zentralasiens, an unseren Grenzen festsetzen.

Das ist der Grund, warum wir der Bitte der gesetzmäßigen Führung Syriens um Unterstützung im Herbst des vergangenen Jahres nachgekommen sind. Diesmal gemeinsam mit den Vereinigten Staaten und anderen Partnern gelang es uns, einen Waffenstillstand und innersyrische Verhandlungen zu erreichen. Das bestätigt nur unsere Auffassung, dass die heutigen Probleme nur gemeinsam gelöst werden können …

Eurasische Union … gehört zu unseren Prioritäten die Festigung der strategischen Partnerschaft im Eurasischen Raum … setzen wir ein großes Integrationsprojekt der Eurasischen Wirtschaftsunion um … führt Gespräche über Freihandelszonen mit mehr als 40 Staaten und internationalen Organisationen. Verträge sind bereits mit Vietnam geschlossen worden, Verhandlungen laufen mit Israel, Serbien und auf der Liste steht bereits Ägypten …

Europa … Für die Europäer ist es gerade nicht einfach, wir sehen und verstehen, was dort vor sich geht. Das Brexit-Referendum hat die Märkte erschüttert, aber ich denke, die Lage wird sich mittelfristig beruhigen … Es ist klar, dass das Referendum für lange Zeit eine traumatische Wirkung haben wird. Wir sehen uns an, wie die Prinzipien der Demokratie dort praktisch umgesetzt werden …

Russland unterstützt die Idee eines gemeinsamen wirtschaftlichen und humanitären Raumes mit der EU vom Atlantik bis zum Stillen Ozean, wir halten das für die beste Perspektive für eine langfristige nachhaltige Entwicklung des Eurasischen Kontinents …

USA … dort geht es in die letzte Phase der Präsidentschaftswahlen … Wir haben ein Interesse daran, mit den USA eng zusammenzuarbeiten und wir lehnen die Haltung des amerikanischen Establishments ab, das nur sie allein entscheiden, in welchen Fragen sie mit Russland zusammenarbeiten wollen und in welchen sie sich gegen uns stellen, bis hin zu Sanktionen. Wir sind für eine gleichberechtigte Partnerschaft, die die Interessen beider Seiten achtet. Nur auf dieser Grundlage sind wir bereit zu arbeiten …

Medien … Wir müssen dem Monopol der westlichen Medien Widerstand leisten. In diesem Sinne müssen wir mit allen verfügbaren Mitteln die russischen Medien unterstützen, die im Ausland arbeiten. Lügen über Russland und die Fälschung der Geschichte dürfen wir nicht einfach geschehen lassen …

230

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Carnegie Moscow Center: Preserving the Calm in Russia’s Muslim Community

By Alexey Malashenko

Events in the Middle East and Russia’s participation in the Syrian conflict have left the majority of Russian Muslims indifferent and have not inspired them to take any particular action, let alone protest. Even the hundreds of militants who have returned from fighting for the banned Islamic State terrorist organization in the Middle East are behaving passively.

The situation in Russia’s Muslim community is currently relatively stable, and now the task is to ensure it stays that way. Of course there are still incidents involving Russia’s Muslims, and inevitably suspicions of terrorism are swiftly voiced, but not always with reason and certainly, compared to the situation several years ago, things have improved.

Take, for example, this varied snapshot of recent events involving Russian Muslims.

On August 17, several alleged militants from Russia’s Kabardino-Balkaria Republic were killed in a counterterrorism operation in St. Petersburg. It is not completely clear what they were doing in the northern capital. The same day, two Chechens armed with axes attacked a police post in the Moscow region. One of the attackers was killed, the other arrested. The media immediately reported that the two men had ties to the so-called Islamic State terrorist organization, which is outlawed in Russia, though these accusations soon proved to be groundless. Also in August, several Muslims who had fought for the Islamic State were sentenced for planning to seize administrative offices in Kabardino-Balkaria.

Meanwhile, two senior representatives of Russian Muslim organizations visited Turkey, demonstrating loyalty to the Kremlin by helping the ongoing restoration of Russian-Turkish relations.

Around the same time, the chairman of the Coordination Center of Muslims of the North Caucasus, Ismail Berdiyev, elicited outrage—including within the Muslim community—by expressing support for female genital mutilation (FGM).

If these recent episodes involving Russian Muslims present a varied and in some ways contradictory picture, that is precisely because they reflect the diversity of the country’s Muslim community.

There are, however, some uniting characteristics. Like the majority of Russian society, Russian Muslims are mostly passive and loyal to the state. This will be reflected in September’s Duma elections, when they are unlikely to risk expressing any dissenting opinions. At one point there was some intrigue brewing in the North Caucasus because it was thought that representatives of the Muslim clergy might take part in the elections. But instead, just as in the rest of the country, only candidates from the usual parliamentary parties will enter the contest (that is, if Russian elections can really be considered a contest).

One aspect of Russia’s Muslim community that doesn’t change is its division into traditionalists, who practice local Islam (influenced by Tatar or Caucasus traditions, for example), and Salafists (Wahhabis), who fight for the purity of the religion. The latter reject local, ethnic tradition, which they consider the legacy of paganism. Both forms of Islam are politicized, although the traditionalists won’t admit it.

Despite their differences, the views of the traditionalists and Salafists are often closer than they care to admit. FGM proponent Berdiyev adopted a traditionalist Islamic position, arguing that the medieval practice is typical for some Caucasus groups such as the Avars. Even so, he was accused of Salafism.

What has changed is that while in the first half of the current decade dozens of clerics were murdered amid the rivalry between traditionalists and Salafists, in recent years there haven’t been any violent clashes. The dialogue between the two branches of Islam continues, even if it is sporadic. This perpetual conversation will never lead to total accord, although mutual tolerance is apparent in the North Caucasus, where the dialogue is supported by the secular authorities.

Salafism is associated with Islamic radicals, who came to prominence in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Religious radicalism (including its most intense manifestations, extremism and terrorism) hasn’t gone away, but the activity of its supporters is waning. This is evidenced by the constantly declining number of violent incidents in the North Caucasus, from 141 in 2014 to 86 in 2015.

There are several main causes for this reversal. The first is that the radicals no longer anticipate that they will attain widespread support from the broader Muslim population. The second is that a significant proportion of Islamists, primarily from the North Caucasus, have pledged their services to the Islamic State. Between 2,000 and 5,000 of the most active jihadists have gone over to the international terrorist organization, which has weakened Islamism within Russia. The third cause is the ongoing efforts of Russia’s special forces.

It is impossible to ignore the external factor of the Islamic State, whose influence on Russiа is constantly brought up by politicians and the media and, in my opinion, exaggerated. Of course the influence exists, but it is weaker now than immediately after the founding of the Islamic State Caliphate in 2014, when the very appearance of a self-proclaimed true Islamic State and its rapid growth in power had a forceful impact. But eighteen months later, enthusiasm for the Islamic State is waning. Even radically inclined Muslims don’t believe it can achieve a definitive victory, and the gruesome terrorist attacks for which the Islamic State takes responsibility across the globe have won it little sympathy.

In general, events in the Middle East and Russia’s participation in the Syrian conflict have left the majority of Russian Muslims indifferent and have not inspired them to take any particular action, let alone protest.

It’s also telling that hundreds of militants who have returned from fighting for the Islamic State in the Middle East are behaving passively. There are no signs of new regional organizations being formed. The last such organization, the Caucasus Emirate, essentially self-disbanded.

Incidents involving Muslim immigrants occur relatively infrequently, and often involve internal migrants from Russia’s North Caucasus rather than immigrants from Central Asia and Azerbaijan. Though not without significant difficulties, Muslim migrants are integrating into Russian society. In addition, their number has stabilized and even decreased over the last year to about 3.5 million people.

The question now is how to maintain this relative stability. The current calm was preceded by an explosion of radical activity in 2010–2012, and before that Russia was shaken by jihadists and a multitude of terrorist attacks, which took thousands of lives.

A conflict could flare up from some seemingly trivial issue, an everyday event or a single episode. The spark could be the shortage of mosques in some cities and the crowding of worshippers during a religious holiday, or unnecessarily rough treatment at the hands of security forces, or an unmotivated ban on religious literature. It could also be prompted by a terrorist attack perpetrated by a lone fanatic or a psychologically unstable person.

All of this could easily provoke tension in an individual city or region, and could ignite simmering xenophobic sentiment across the country as a whole and tilt the scales. In situations like these, the state must do everything it can to avoid such mishaps at all costs. And if they do occur, it must put in maximum effort straight away to reduce the damage done. Otherwise we will all be throwing up our hands in dismay once again: how could something like this happen? After all, we have been caught off guard by this before, and more than once.

http://carnegie.ru/commentary/?fa=64520&mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiT1RKallUUXdNVEJqTlRBMyIsInQiOiJyejJqRGZXdTlPNEgrTXdGWXpvRHlRYW9la284cXdsQVREQ1prOGJWMFB0eFJGYzFmcCtmcDVkTmxpclVCOVdXK2dvYnI5eFFsWlwvbzM3U20xdXVnNFEzZkxoY1p1WWVKNFFzQ3krcWw4VTQ9In0%3D************************************************************************************************************************

Policy= res publica

Freudenberg-Pilster* Kleines Quiz: Wie wird man Millionär?

Das Geld sei nicht im Zuge der WM 2006 gezahlt worden, sondern für eine Sponsorentätigkeit.“

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Barandat* China’s Infrastructure Play – Why Washington Should Accept the New Silk Road

… Over the past three millennia, China has made three attempts to project its economic power westward.

The first began in the second century BC; during the Han dynasty, when China’s imperial rulers developed the ancient Silk Road to trade with the far-off residents of Central Asia and the Mediterranean basin; the fall of the Mongol empire and the rise of European maritime trading eventually rendered that route obsolete.

In the fifteenth century AD, the maritime expeditions of Admiral Zheng He connected Ming-dynasty China to the littoral states of the Indian Ocean. But China’s rulers recalled Zheng’s fleet less than three decades after it set out, and for the rest of imperial history they devoted most of their attention to China’s neighbors to the east and south.

Today, China is undertaking a third turn to the west-its most ambitious one yet. In 2013, Beijing unveiled a plan to connect dozens of economies across Eurasia and East Africa through a series of infrastructure investments known as the Belt and Road Initiative …

The B&Rs unstated goal is equally ambitious: to save China from the economic decline that its slowing growth rate and high debt levels seem to portend … the B&R is a massive undertaking that will shape Eurasia’s future. It will extend from the pacific to the heart of Europe … the United States has either fruitlessly attempted to undermine the initiative or avoided engaging with it altogether.

That is the wrong course. Washington should instead cautiously back the many aspects of the B&R that advance U.S. interests and oppose those that don’t … Most important, China has retooled its foreign policy in service of the Belt and Road Initiative. To encourage their support for the B&R, Beijing welcomed India and Pakistan into the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a regional bloc; it is likely pushing for Iran to join, too.

In Europe, China has upgraded its relations with the Czech Republic, turning Prague into the hub of its ventures on the continent … Xi became the first foreign leader to visit Iran after the lifting of international sanctions on that country … he met with the leaders of Egypt and Saudi Arabia. China has also attempted to mediate between the rival factions in Syria’s civil war; has supported Saudi Arabia’s efforts to defeat the Houthi rebels in Yemen; and, in December 2075, passed a law that will allow the People’s Liberation Army to participate in counterterrorism missions abroad …

This passive-aggressive approach is misguided: it allows China to shape Eurasia’s economic and political future without U.S. input … The "rebalance” or “pivot," to Asia that U.S. President Barack Obama initiated in 2011 has proved hollow … Washington should approach the B&R with an open mind. U.S. officials should publicly acknowledge China’s initiative and the potential benefits it offers, provided that Beijing leads the effort transparently and ensures that it works largely in the service of international development rather than China’s own gain …

The United States, however, should not give the B&R its blanket support, since doing so would pose serious risks. First, it would feed Russia’s fears of U.S.-Chinese collusion, triggering paranoia in the Kremlin, where there is already concern about China’s push into former Soviet states, and Moscow could lash out in response. India poses a similar challenge … The Belt and Road Initiative could become either a source of great-power competition or a force for stability and collaboration … the United States must recognize that its fate is linked to that of the developing world and that it should give its blessing to initiatives that will lift all boats.

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Carnegie Moscow Center: Why China Subsidizes Loss-Making Rail Transport via Russia and Kazakhstan

Transporting Chinese goods to Europe by rail is far less profitable than sea transport, yet China subsidizes it to achieve its geostrategic goal of making a cluster of countries in the wide Eurasian space from China to Europe dependent on the Chinese economy and capital.

The rail transport of goods from Europe to China may be much faster than sea transport, but it is also far more expensive.

The demand for reverse transport from Europe to China is virtually nonexistent, and to top things off, many of the containers being shipped to Europe by train are actually empty: the transportation council of the Trans-Siberian Railway insists that trains have a standard length of 71 cars, regardless of how many are needed. This requirement also pushes up transport costs.

It’s not surprising, therefore, that only a tiny proportion (no more than 1–2 percent) of freight traffic is transported by land rather than sea. But bearing in mind that China-EU trade is worth $1 billion a day, it still constitutes an appetizing piece of the logistical pie worth competing for: China’s western provinces and Kazakhstan are successfully developing their transportation infrastructure, and now most freight transit passes through Kazakhstan rather than Siberia and the Far East before reaching European Russia.

Most train shipments from China to Europe actually lose money, and yet their number is growing, while transit tariffs are constantly falling. According to China Railway Corporation, the number of transcontinental trains increased by 30 percent in the first quarter of this year. So why do Chinese companies persist in transporting their goods to Europe by train, instead of opting for far less expensive sea transport?

The main explanation is China’s generous government subsidies for overland transit. After the implementation of the state’s Silk Road Economic Belt initiatives to integrate trade in Eurasia became one of the most important indicators of success for local authorities, all Chinese regions started regularly reporting their successes in establishing or modernizing East-West transportation corridors.

Guided by the need to maintain the appearance of success, local governments are forced to subsidize these money-losing routes. The Wuhan transportation department, for example, transferred 30 million yuan ($4.5 million) from a special compensation fund in the first half of 2015 to cover the losses of a state-run enterprise operating a Wuhan-Xinjiang-Europe container route. The subsidy program is to last for five more years. Similar mechanisms also exist in other Chinese regions, so shipping companies use money-losing train routes, expecting the local authorities to compensate them for it.

This subsidizing by China of unprofitable train routes benefits both Russia and Kazakhstan. If Beijing stops sponsoring overland transit for any reason, the system will not likely be able to sustain itself.

The rationale of China’s regional authorities is clear: they sponsor the New Silk Road to look good in the eyes of the central government. They shower Beijing with evidence of their successes in implementing the program, which include the numbers on rail transit. The central government reacts by making another cash transfer to local budgets (incidentally, the transfer amounts exceed the losses sustained by the shipping companies).

But why is Beijing prepared to prop up demonstrably more expensive overland transit?

First, the global competition between the United States and China is forcing Beijing to minimize possible risks of American pressure on China. The country can hardly challenge American sea dominance in the foreseeable future, so it needs to develop alternative routes for natural resource imports and commercial goods exports that can’t be controlled by the United States.

Second, China needs new projects to sustain its economic expansion rates. The government is hard-pressed to come up with new recipes to overcome economic stagnation other than continuing construction. China has essentially eliminated its housing and road infrastructure deficits and has been creating surplus capacities in these sectors for the past decade. Therefore, it seems quite logical to switch to constructing housing and roads in neighboring countries—preferably ones with higher profits and lower risks.

To accomplish this task, China needs loyal and tractable partners, and it is ready to do whatever it takes to win them over, from handing out commercial loans to molding a new generation of China-friendly local elites—though this may take a long time. Its much smaller and less economically developed neighbors to the west and north are perennially afraid of the “yellow peril,” which is not conducive to cooperation. The China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan railway, for example, was supposed to become the key link in the transportation corridor from China to Uzbekistan and farther west. Despite twenty years of discussions, nothing has been built as the parties are still arguing about the width of the track and investment formats.

Finally, China would like to develop its peripheral, poorly developed, and potentially separatist Western provinces. Beijing’s plan to revive the ancient trade route means significant investment and subsidies are pumped into the region with no promise of returns in the near future. Towns and even backwater villages in Gansu province, which I visited in May 2016, are literally changing as we speak—in sharp contrast with the Silk Road Economic Belt initiative’s stagnant international projects, which in comparison look like a mere side effect of China’s long-standing Great Western Development Strategy.

The concept of the Silk Road Economic Belt is based on a myth that both China and its neighbors prospered equally in the times of the Great Silk Road. Chinese tourist businesses plaster local Silk Road sites with images of bustling marketplaces and rich foreign merchants. But the real story of the ancient trade route is not quite so rosy: when commerce did prosper (which in fact was impossible most of the time due to constant wars and political instability), it was through trade between the powerful and essentially self-sufficient Chinese Empire and the intermediary towns dependent on China to varying degrees.

The original Silk Road in no way envisioned equal partnership, and apparently this has not changed. The Beijing project has the geostrategic goal of making a cluster of countries in the wide Eurasian space from China to Europe dependent on the Chinese economy and capital.

http://carnegie.ru/commentary/?fa=64555&mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiTXpabVpqa3lPRE5pWkRobCIsInQiOiJaNFR2aDBJRktZNG1nbTRzcVR4UHVUM0dxV3RTMmx3Q3RPb1NTMGJRNDRjOHV3NDU1b2pvblprMlptUTZ4MXU2YVc2bzJiUEdzTGlVVU1LUStuY3lYcmltenJLdVNZVjgrUDRTUXlhWW0yMD0ifQ%3D%3D

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Why Croatia Matters to the Western Balkans

By Carnegie Europe / Judy Dempsey

The horse trading has begun. Hours after the polls closed in Croatia’s parliamentary election on September 11, the conservative Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), which won the most votes, began seeking a coalition partner.

The chances are that the party will form the country’s next government with Most, the Bridge of Independent Lists, which made reform of the economy one of its main campaign slogans. Even if Most does become the junior partner in the government, it’s going to require immense political willpower to rid the country of endemic corruption and overhaul the public administration.

Since the country joined the EU in 2013, Croatia’s reputation in Brussels has been sullied by nepotism, procurement procedures that lack transparency, and unclear if not extremely murky property rights.

Such a reputation not only damages Croatia and the EU, which was well aware of the country’s rampant corruption before it joined the union. That reputation also does nothing for Croatia’s neighbors in the Western Balkans that aspire to become EU members. They see only growing antipathy to further enlargement of the 28-member bloc. For them, Croatia is no shining example for a region that is saddled with corruption, increasing pressure on the media from local oligarchs, and political elites who can tap into nationalism, often at random.

A recent report commissioned by the European Parliament and written by RAND Europe paints a pretty miserable picture about corruption in Croatia (but also other EU countries, particularly Bulgaria and Romania). According to the study, which pulls no punches in its analysis, Croatia has the highest level of corruption in public procurement in the EU. Corruption also drains the coffers of any finance ministry. The report showed that Croatia, as well as Bulgaria, Latvia, and Romania, loses about 15 percent of its annual gross domestic product to corruption.

The World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) are a little bit more diplomatic in their criticism of Croatia. In its assessment of Croatia for 2016, the World Bank ranked the country’s competitiveness and business environment 40 out of 189 economies, compared with 39 in 2015. And that was after the Croatian government began tackling corruption and making procurement procedures more transparent. Also, Croatia scored low in dealing with construction permits, coming 129th, as well as receiving low ratings for registering property, starting a business, and dealing with insolvencies.

The EBRD’s Business Environment and Enterprise Performance Survey showed that Croatian businesses were hampered by a lack of access to finance besides having to compete against unregistered or informal firms.

The previous government, led by Tihomir Orešković, a technocrat, was forced to resign in June 2016 after a five-month stint in office. The government was plagued by infighting, irregular business links, and deteriorating relations with Serbia.

It has taken Croatia so long to tackle corruption largely because of the culture of impunity perpetrated by the political elites, who in turn have close links with business and industry. During the 2000s, the corruption surrounding the building of highways, the modernization of the rail network, and the energy sector became notorious. Even then, at a time when Croatia was negotiating to join the EU, Brussels applied insufficient pressure. Finally, Ivo Sanader, prime minister from 2003 to 2009, was charged with corruption in 2011 and wide abuse of office.

Mounting pressure from the World Bank and the EU and influential studies such as RAND’s are forcing Zagreb to combat the sleaze and corruption. Civil society organizations too are mobilizing—just as they have done in Romania. But supporters of clean government in Croatia have no illusions about the economic and political elites who oppose completing the transition to a strong democracy. Nor do civil society activists in the Western Balkans have any illusions as they wait to join the EU. One day.

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*Massenbach’s Recommendation*

Das System Angela Merkel. Kanzlerin der Einsamkeit

von: Gabor Steingart

Datum: 08.09.2016 19:00 Uhr

Angela Merkel erlebt derzeit die schwierigste Phase ihrer Kanzlerschaft. Zu oft hat sie versucht, das Volk mit geschickt konstruierten Scheinrealitäten auf ihren Weg zu lenken. Was der Kanzlerin bei der Euro-Rettung noch gelang, wird ihr in der Flüchtlingskrise zum Verhängnis. Ein Essay.

Angela Merkel.Die Kanzlerin hadert mit dem Bürger.

Wenn ein Populist jemand ist, der alles tut, um beliebt zu sein, dann ist Angela Merkel von diesem Verdacht freigestellt. Vieles mag man ihr vorhalten, allzu große Geschmeidigkeit gegenüber dem Publikumsgeschmack gehört nicht dazu. Ging selbst der knorrige Helmut Schmidt davon aus, dass es zu den demokratischen Pflichten eines Politikers gehört, sich wenigstens alle vier Jahre beim Volk einzuschmeicheln, will die deutsche Regierungschefin offenbar den Beweis antreten, dass Politik auch ohne Volk funktioniert. In der Flüchtlingsfrage hat sie sich – rund zwölf Monate vor dem Wahltag – mit dem Bürgertum derart heftig angelegt, dass die Nerven auf beiden Seiten blank liegen. Stur, störrisch, ja geradezu herrisch streitet sie für ihren Kurs, derweil das Volk – nicht minder verstockt – ihr die Gefolgschaft versagt. Offene Tür prallt auf Obergrenze. Volk auf Volksvertreterin. Deutschlands Eheberater kennen die Situation: Jede Seite glaubt sich im Recht. Keiner hört dem anderen zu. Kein Ohr, zwei Münder, und die rufen im Duett: „Du verstehst mich nicht!“

Im mecklenburgischen Wahlkampf trat Merkel daher bevorzugt in geschlossenen Räumen vor bestellten Parteifreunden auf. Das rhythmische Klatschen kennt man hier noch aus DDR-Zeiten. Im Umfeld der Kanzlerin wird Zustimmung, nicht immer, aber eben doch immer öfter, synthetisch hergestellt. Der Wärmestrom zwischen oben und unten ist einstweilen unterbrochen.

Das Volk weiß sich zu rächen. Mit boshafter Vorsätzlichkeit wählten im östlichen Küstenstaat mehr Menschen AfD als CDU; und sie taten es nicht, weil Parteichefin Frauke Petry, Griesgram Alexander Gauland und deren Hintersassen Lust auf mehr weckten. Die Menschen wählen AfD, um Merkel eine Kopfnuss zu verpassen. Bis hierher und nicht weiter, steht auf den Wahlzetteln. Das Volk will Merkel, aber nicht diese Merkel. Die Bürger schätzen ihren unaufgeregten Stil, aber sie hassen mittlerweile ihre stoische Art, wenn sie in Reden, Interviews und Zeitungsbeiträgen darauf besteht, dass alles richtig gelaufen sei. Dass sie nie geirrt habe. Dass Erdogan ein guter Partner sei. Dass man Grenzen nicht schützen könne und ihre Politik nur besser verkauft werden müsse.

Die Internationalität steht uns gut

„Deutschland wird Deutschland bleiben“, sagt die Kanzlerin am Mittwoch im Bundestag, obwohl jeder, der mit offenen Augen und Ohren durch unsere Innenstädte streift oder auch nur in der Lokalpresse den Polizeibericht verfolgt, eines anderen belehrt wird. Deutschland driftet. Die Zahl der Eigentumsdelikte steigt. Auf den Straßen kann man Globalisierung sehen. Die Burka, also die Vollverschleierung von orthodox gläubigen Muslimen, ist noch immer kein Massenphänomen in Deutschland, aber sie ist zum Symbol nationaler Selbstentfremdung geworden.

Nicht dass die neue Wirklichkeit unerträglich wäre. Die Internationalität steht dem Land gut. Die Wirtschaft floriert. Die Erwerbstätigkeit ist so hoch wie schon lange nicht mehr. Das Nebeneinander von christlichem und muslimischem Kulturkreis – immerhin mit rund vier Millionen Menschen in Deutschland vertreten – hat sich eingespielt. Das Zauberwort heißt dabei nicht Integration, sondern Abstand.

Die Regierungschefin allerdings will gar keine Veränderung sehen und fühlen. Und darüber offen reden will sie schon gar nicht. Sie hat es sich im Labyrinth ihrer eigenen Behauptungen bequem gemacht. Irgendwie scheint ihr die Wahrnehmung verrutscht. Dieselbe Regierungschefin, deren unerschrockene und auch uneitle Art beim Wähler einst so gut ankam, löst mittlerweile Gefühle der Beklemmung und der Angst aus. So wurde Merkel zur Kanzlerin der Einsamkeit.

Sie ihrerseits hadert mit dem Bürger. Alle Macht geht vom Volke aus, heißt es zwar in der Verfassung. Aber Angela Merkel, die mittlerweile im elften Jahr regiert, hat sich ein anderes Bild vom Bürger gemacht. Er ist in ihrer Vorstellungswelt nicht der über alles erhabene Souverän, sondern ein Betreuungsfall. Der Bürger fühlt sich bei ihr zuweilen als Wicht, der geführt, belehrt und bei Bedarf auch ignoriert wird.

So erlebt denn Deutschland einen doppelten Kontrollverlust. Erst kommen mehr als eine Million Flüchtlinge unkontrolliert ins Land. Grenzen setzen keine Grenze mehr. Und dann kommt den Bürgern neben der alten Ordnung auch noch die Regierungschefin abhanden. Das Volk besitzt jedenfalls keine Kontrolle mehr über das, was Merkel sagt und tut. Wahlniederlagen werden von ihr mit großer Lässigkeit eingeräumt – und ignoriert. Merkel übernimmt Verantwortung – und flirtet weiter mit Erdogan.

Das jüngste Kapitel in der Beziehungsgeschichte Merkel/Volk handelt daher von Entfremdung. Ihre Macht erodiert derzeit nicht, sie zerfällt. Man kann ihr beim Sich-Auflösen regelrecht zuschauen.

Und das alles passiert vor allem deshalb, weil Merkel nur schwache Signale der Umkehr sendet. Es überwiegt das Rechthaberische, das burschikose Weiter-so, weshalb die Parallelen zur Spätphase Helmut Kohls sich aufdrängen. Auch er, den sie in seinen letzten Kanzlerjahren den „Aussitzer“ nannten, wirkte zum Schluss wie festgerostet.

In den Hosen von Claudia Roth

Dabei kann Merkel durchaus wendig sein, wie sie im Gefolge der nur knapp gewonnenen ersten Bundestagswahl zeigte. Die bis dahin propagierte Gesundheitsprämie und ihre kühnen Flatrate-Ideen wurden hastig beerdigt. Die als neoliberal empfundene Merkel verschwand so zügig, wie sie gekommen war. Der CDU-Wirtschaftsrat hat seither halbmast geflaggt.

Auch ihre Energiewende kam wie ein Tsunami übers Land. Aus der glühenden Kernkraftbefürworterin wurde nach dem Atomunglück in Japan und vor den wichtigen Landtagswahlen in Baden-Württemberg die Abschaltpolitikerin Merkel, die seither auf Sonne, Wind und staatliche Subvention setzt. Die Milliarden an Umrüstkosten, die fällig werden, weil Europas größte Volkswirtschaft fast über Nacht die Energiebasis umstellen muss, nimmt sie billigend in Kauf.

Dabei hatte sich auch in diesem Fall nicht ihre Sicht auf die Sache, sondern ihr Kalkül verändert. Merkel wollte sich nicht von der Atomkraftlobby verstrahlen lassen. So schlüpfte sie kurzerhand in die Beinkleider der Grünen. Claudia Roth steht noch heute staunend vor der Lücke in ihrem Kleiderschrank.

In der Flüchtlingsfrage fällt Merkel der Positionswechsel schwerer. Sie hat ja auf dem öffentlichen Parkett schon diverse Pirouetten gedreht. Ihre einst schroffe Ablehnung der Zuwanderung („Der Ansatz für Multikulti ist gescheitert“) und die im Fernsehprogramm erfolgte Zurechtweisung eines von Abschiebung bedrohten Flüchtlingskindes („Politik ist manchmal auch hart“) deuten darauf hin, dass die nun vertretenen Merkel-Werte nicht so werthaltig sind wie behauptet.

Aber: Sie hat sich auf die neue Rolle der Wir-schaffen-das-Kanzlerin versteift. Aus dieser Versteifung findet sie derzeit keinen Ausweg, auch und gerade, weil sie öffentlich dauernd aufgefordert wird, sich zu bewegen.

CDU-Parteitage Leipzig 2003 (li.) und Karlsruhe 2015

2003 in Leipzig gibt sich Angela Merkel als reformfreudige Oppositionsführerin. 2015 in Karlsruhe verteidigt die Kanzlerin ihre Flüchtlingspolitik.

Längst geht es für Merkel nicht mehr um Flüchtlinge und Asylverfahren, sondern um die Durchsetzung ihrer Deutungshoheit. Sie kämpft nicht für die Geschundenen dieser Erde, sondern für den Erhalt ihrer Führungsrolle im konservativen Lager. In der „Relativwelt der Politik“, ein Ausdruck, den Merkel einst im kleinen Kreise benutzte, kommt es eben nicht auf die Wirklichkeit an, sondern auf die Wahrnehmung von Wirklichkeit. Merkel kennt die Gesetze der Macht: Gefühle werden bewirtschaftet, Realitäten kuratiert. Stark ist, wer sein Narrativ durchsetzt.

Der amerikanische Psychologe Bryant Welch hat ein bemerkenswertes Buch über das Verhältnis von Politik und Wahrheit verfasst. Darin beschreibt er, wie Politiker nicht die Wirklichkeit, sondern die Wahrnehmung von Wirklichkeit verändern. „Gaslighting“ nennt er das Verfahren zur bewussten Irreführung der Öffentlichkeit.

Das Wort „Gaslighting“ hat Welch dem 1944 produzierten Psychothriller „Gaslight“ mit Charles Boyer und Ingrid Bergman entnommen. Um seine Frau zu verwirren, ihre Wahrnehmung von der Wirklichkeit zu trüben und sich die Gattin schließlich gefügig zu machen, dreht der Mann die Gaslampen im Haus heimlich heller und dunkler. Die ständig wechselnde Beleuchtung bedeutet einen Anschlag auf den Realitätssinn der Frau. Sie traut sich schließlich kein eigenes Urteil mehr über die Tageszeit zu, ist angewiesen auf die Ansagen ihres Mannes und wird so von der Partnerin zur Abhängigen.

Dieses Verfahren charakterisiert laut Welch die heutige Politik. Derweil der Laie glaube, die Wirklichkeit sei die Wirklichkeit und als solche nicht zu manipulieren, bestehe moderne Politik im Kern genau daraus: aus dem Einsatz manipulativer Techniken zur Veränderung von Wahrnehmung. Die Wirklichkeit wird – je nach Interessenlage von Regierung und Opposition – verdüstert oder erhellt, sie wird grell ausgeleuchtet oder weggeblendet. Die Realität muss nicht real sein, sie muss nur so wirken. In Zeiten hoher Komplexität, die beim Wähler fast naturgesetzlich zum Zustand der Überforderung führt, habe der Illusionspolitiker seine große Zeit, sagt Welch. Das politische „Gaslighting“ hat den verwirrten Bürger zum Ziel, der eingeschüchtert von Alternativlosigkeiten aller Art in den Schoß der Regierenden regelrecht flüchtet. Er soll nicht fragen, sondern folgen.

Merkels konstruierte Wirklichkeit

Womit wir wieder bei Angela Merkel wären. Die deutsche Regierungschefin hat sich auf das gefährliche Spiel mit der Wahrheit eingelassen. Sie behandelt die Realität neuerdings als einen Rohstoff, den es entsprechend der politischen Erfordernis zu gestalten, zu verformen, zu verpacken und schließlich massenmedial zu vertreiben gilt. Eine Unwahrheit ist keine Unwahrheit mehr – solange das Präsidium der CDU mehrheitlich glaubt, dass es sich um die Wahrheit handelt und der Rest des Gremiums schweigt. Von den Tatsachen geht für die Kanzlerin keine bindende Wirkung mehr aus.

Das Spiel begann, als sie 2008 auf dem Höhepunkt der Finanzkrise mit dem damaligen Finanzminister Peer Steinbrück vor die Öffentlichkeit trat, um den besorgten Sparern die Werthaltigkeit ihrer Einlagen zu garantierten. Natürlich wusste sie, dass ein bereits damals mit rund 1,6 Billionen Euro verschuldeter Staat, in dessen Tresor lediglich ein großer Schuldschein liegt, nichts garantieren kann. Doch der Bluff gelang. Märkte und Menschen beruhigten sich. Merkel konnte froh sein, dass die Bürger den Wahrheitsgehalt ihrer Geld-zurück-Garantie nicht testeten.

Bald darauf betrat das Wort „alternativlos“ die Bühne. Nun erklärte Merkel den stabilitätsorientierten Deutschen, die Schuldenmachen genauso befremdlich finden wie Burka-Tragen, es sei unvermeidlich, den Süden Europas mit der Notenpresse zu retten. Plötzlich galten Maß und Mitte in der Geldpolitik als vormoderne Restanten. Die große Geldflutung setzte ein.

Mehr denn je hängt der Süden Europas nun an der Nadel jener Substanz, die sich verharmlosend Kredit nennt. Die Staatsverschuldung in der Euro-Zone stieg seit Beginn der Finanzkrise um ein Viertel auf zuletzt 93 Prozent der Wirtschaftsleistung. Die Bilanzsumme der EZB wuchs im gleichen Zeitraum um 61 Prozent auf jetzt 3,3 Billionen Euro.

Draghi druckt Geld, Südeuropa kommt aus dem Halluzinieren nicht mehr heraus, und die Kanzlerin kann nur hoffen, dass der Illusionscharakter dieser Politik erst aufliegt, wenn sie das Kanzleramt in Richtung Uckermark verlassen hat.

Doch die Finanzkrise und Merkels anschließende Schuldenpolitik, die zur Rettungspolitik umetikettiert wurde, waren nur der Vorfilm zu dem Streifen, der als Flüchtlingsdrama zur Aufführung kam. In der Arthaus-Videothek würde man den Film in der Ecke der Surrealisten finden.

So machte Merkel die Bekämpfung von Fluchtursachen zum rhetorischen Zentralgestirn ihrer Regierungspolitik, wissend, dass ihre realen politischen Möglichkeiten auf keinem Feld so gering sind. Den Krieg im Nahen Osten kann sie nicht beenden; Deutschland ist nun mal kein großer Machtfaktor der Weltpolitik. Die seit langem schon in einen blutigen Religionskrieg verwickelten Sunniten, Schiiten und Alawiten lassen sich auch von der Frau aus Berlin nicht besänftigen. So wird Politik zur Pose.

Fertigungsstraße bei Porsche

Der deutsche Wirtschaft braucht hochqualifizierte Zuwanderer, keine Hilfskräfte.

In der Merkel’schen Beleuchtung von Wirklichkeit wird der deutsche Sicherheitsapparat, der doch immerhin aus knapp 177.000 Bundeswehrsoldaten, rund 6.000 Geheimdienstlern und etwa 221.000 Polizisten besteht, bewusst geschrumpft, so dass am Ende der Satz „Wir können unsere Außengrenzen nicht sichern“ wie eine regierungsamtliche Gewissheit in allen Zeitungen steht. Damit will sie ihrem freien Entschluss, die Grenzen zu öffnen, in den Stand einer Unausweichlichkeit heben. Wer sich auch nur 30 Minuten zu diesem Thema mit dem ehemaligen Innenminister Otto Schily austauscht, weiß es anschließend besser. Ein Land mit dieser Ausstattung und einer Grenze, die zwar aus vielen Wiesen besteht, aber nicht ans Mittelmeer grenzt, kann sehr wohl bewacht und beschützt werden.

Im Lichte von Merkels „Wir schaffen das“ wird die Integration von derzeit 1,2 und bald wahrscheinlich zwei Millionen Flüchtlingen zu einer Sache des guten Willens. Dabei weiß sie, was jeder Firmenchef in Deutschland auch weiß: Die deutsche Wirtschaft braucht qualifizierte Facharbeiter, keine Analphabeten. Das Heer der Unqualifizierten wird niemals die Büros und Fabrikhallen bevölkern, sondern immer nur die Auszahlstellen des Sozialstaats.

„Gespenst der Nutzlosigkeit“

Im Zeitalter der künstlichen Intelligenz, die eine massenhafte Übertragung von körperlicher und geistiger Arbeit auf humanoide, also menschenähnliche Roboter bedeutet, kann die deutsche Volkswirtschaft nichts weniger gebrauchen als eine Abwertung ihres Erwerbskräftepotenzials. Genau das aber bedeutet eine ungesteuerte Zuwanderung.

Am Ende werden auch jene Flüchtlingsfamilien enttäuscht sein, die darauf setzen, in Deutschland ein selbstbestimmtes Leben mit Wohnung und Arbeitsplatz führen zu können. Für einige Zehntausend Menschen kann der Traum – bei verstärkter Anstrengung auch der Betroffenen selbst – zur Wirklichkeit werden. Aber die Mehrheit wird das „Gespenst der Nutzlosigkeit“ heimsuchen, vor dem der britische Soziologe Richard Sennet uns gewarnt hat.

Auch die Alltagsprobleme des Zusammenlebens lassen sich nicht mit den routiniert vorgetragenen Integrationsappellen lösen. Wahrscheinlich wirft schon das Wort „Integration“ ein Irrlicht. Der Satz des amerikanischen Soziologen Samuel Huntington hat nichts von seiner Gültigkeit verloren: „Bemühungen, eine Gesellschaft von einem Kulturkreis in einen anderen zu verschieben, sind erfolglos.“

Dass Deutschland Deutschland bleibt, wird nicht nur in der Kriminalstatistik, sondern auch im Verfassungsschutzbericht dementiert. Dort heißt es: „Der IS hat sich inzwischen zur wichtigsten Anlaufstation für Dschihad-Willige aus Deutschland entwickelt. (…) Bei diesem Personenspektrum sind zunehmend Anzeichen der Verrohung, Brutalisierung und Gewöhnung an Gewalt zu beobachten. (…) Personen, die ein terroristisches Ausbildungslager absolviert haben beziehungsweise aktiv an Kampfhandlungen teilgenommen haben, stellen bei ihrer Rückkehr nach Deutschland ein erhebliches Sicherheitsrisiko dar.“

Auf diesen weitgehend unsichtbaren Gegner, der im Schutze einer wohlmeinenden Gesellschaft operiert, der Jeans trägt und nicht Uniform, der keine Landstriche verwüstet, nur unser Sicherheitsgefühl erschüttert, hat die Politik bis heute nicht in angemessener Form reagiert. Merkels Beruhigungsmittel wirken nicht, auch deshalb, weil sie über die neue Qualität der Bedrohung gar nicht spricht. Sie schickt Bundeswehrsoldaten nach Syrien, derweil „die neuen Kriege“, von denen Herfried Münkler spricht, und die „transformation of war“, die der Militärexperte Martin van Creveld diagnostiziert, keinen Widerhall im sichtbaren Teil des Regierungshandelns finden. Mit Hilfspolizisten und Hamsterkäufen lassen sich die Probleme nicht adressieren, allenfalls parodieren.

Die Wirklichkeit ist derzeit Merkels gefährlichster Gegner. Wenn die Dinge sich dauerhaft anders zeigen als vom Regierungschef versprochen und vorhergesagt, dann entstehen beim Bürger erst leichte Zweifel, die in ein Unbehagen hinübergleiten, bevor sie sich zu Enttäuschung auswachsen. Am Ende steht die Entfremdung zwischen Regierung und Regierten. Der aufgeklärte Mensch fühlt sich als Untertan angesprochen, nicht als Bürger. Er wendet sich ab von denen, die Führung versprachen und ihn doch nur im Kreis geführt haben. Er entrüstet sich oder dreht dem herrschenden Politikbetrieb den Rücken zu. Ihn befällt, wenn er die ewig gleichen Sätze aus dem Baukasten der Uneinsichtigkeit hört, eine komatöse Gleichgültigkeit. Die Hoffnungsenergie, die man einst in diese so erdnahe Frau aus Mecklenburg-Vorpommern gesteckt hatte, entweicht.

CSU-Chef Horst Seehofer: Merkels Poltergeist

PremiumInstinktpolitiker und kühler Taktiker: Ausgerechnet der politisch oft totgesagte Seehofer erweist sich als erster Mann, der der Kanzlerin gewachsen ist – und möglicherweise 2017 nach einem Platz in ihrem Kabinett strebt. mehr…

„Wenn wir uns das verkneifen und bei der Wahrheit bleiben, dann gewinnen wir das Wichtigste zurück, was wir brauchen: das Vertrauen der Menschen“, hat Merkel am Mittwoch im Bundestag gesagt. Aber genau an der Stelle hapert es. Ihre gedimmte Gaslampenbeleuchtung einer vom Volk als widrig empfundenen Realität macht sie angreifbar. Alle Versuche der Kanzlerin, nicht die Wirklichkeit, sondern die Wahrnehmung von Wirklichkeit zu verändern, schlugen bisher fehl. Die Lücke zwischen den Tatsachen und der Behauptung über die Tatsachen ist zu groß.

Diese Lücke ist Seehofers Kampfplatz. Er greift nicht ihre Flüchtlingspolitik an. Er bekämpft ihr Narrativ. Denn beim konkreten Regierungshandeln hat er sich bereits weitgehend durchgesetzt. Die deutsche Grenze ist so gut wie geschlossen, die Regeln zur Abschiebung wurden verschärft, die Balkanstaaten hat man gemeinsam zu sicheren Herkunftsländern erklärt. Aber Seehofer begnügt sich nicht mit der Korrektur, sondern er verlangt ein öffentliches Schuldeingeständnis. Er will die Kanzlerin demütigen und damit schrumpfen, um sich zu erhöhen. Und womöglich, das weiß er selbst noch nicht so genau, will er sie stürzen. Er kann sie zwar nicht beerben, aber morden kann er sie schon. Ihr Arbeitsvertrag für eine neue Amtszeit geht über seinen Schreibtisch.

Eine Angela Merkel, die sich im Labyrinth ihrer eigenen Wirklichkeiten verlaufen hat, ist zur leichten Beute für Seehofer und die AfD geworden. Man muss ihr gar nicht nachstellen, man muss sie nur weiter sich verrennen lassen. Weit ist sie nicht mehr von jener Stelle an der Wand entfernt auf der steht: „Kein Ausweg“. Der Rückweg wird mit jedem Tag riskanter. Ihre politischen Energiereserven schwinden. Ihr Vertrauenskapital schmilzt. Die Zeit läuft ihr davon. Im Merkel-Land hat es zu dämmern begonnen.

Farbenvergleich

Besuch im Mai 2006 im neuen Spiegel-Hauptstadtbüro am Pariser Platz in Berlin.

(Foto: Marc Darchinger)

http://www.handelsblatt.com/my/politik/deutschland/das-system-angela-merkel-kanzlerin-der-einsamkeit/14520296.html?ticket=ST-930751-sfLIoP0f4sRJ2vfLHuaH-ap2

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Something enjoyable, about the “English”.

By Christopher Leary.

…..Surprise, surprise, they decided that what they wanted more than a n y t h i n g w a s a j o l l y g o o d adventure.

And what better way for a country to look for adventure than to throw forty years of treaty and trade arrangements to the winds in

e x c h a n g e f o r t h e c o m p l e t e unknown? In the adventurous spirit of Drake, Cook and Scott they said,….(for more read the Attic, att.)

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see our letter on:

*Herausgegeben von Udo von Massenbach, Bärbel Freudenberg-Pilster, Joerg Barandat*

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UdovonMassenbachMailJoergBarandat

the Attic no.11 (Sep 2016).pdf

09-14-16 Russia-Yemen-Saudi Arabia-Iran-Gas Eastern Mediterranian-NATO+Cyber.docx

Massenbach-Letter: NEWS 09.09.16

Massenbach-Letter. News

· John Kornblum: The Amerexit

· Nick Butler, FT: Turkey turns east

· One Belt, One Road: China’s Vision of “Connectivity”

· Korruptionskampf in der Ukraine

· Vatikan: „Neue Ämter für Frauen in der Kirche denkbar“

Massenbach*Nick Butler, FT: Turkey turns east

The attempted coup in Turkey on July 15 may have failed but its consequences are still playing out. Some 40,000 people have been detained as suspected conspirators – so many in fact that ordinary convicts are being released to make room for them. Tens of thousands more have been suspended from their jobs under suspicion of being sympathisers. The trawl for the guilty has reached institutions a long way from the military front line including the energy ministry, where 300 staff have been suspended along with 25 “experts” working for the sector’s regulator EPDK. If it weren’t so serious for those involved you could be forgiven for laughing at a president who sees the number crunchers who set the tariffs for consumers of gasoline and electricity as a threat to his regime.

What effect will all this have on energy policy and on Turkey’s position as an important transit route for oil and gas supplies to the international market?

In the fog of claims and threats that has followed the coup, nothing is absolutely clear but three significant changes do seem to be emerging.

The first is rapprochement with Russia, marked by the summit between President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Vladimir Putin in St Petersburg on August 9. Some restoration of relations seemed likely even before August 9 but now the link is being fully recreated not least because Mr Erdogan blames the US for backing the attempted coup and has followed the theory that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. The freeze in relations began, as you may recall, when a Turkish aircraft shot down a Russian fighter that had strayed into Turkish airspace. That was nine months ago. Now Mr Erdogan has not only apologised personally to the family of the Russian pilot. He has also arrested the pilot of the Turkish plane who stands accused of being part of the coup plot.

In terms of energy, the renewed relations put the Turkish gas stream project back on track. The details are still being negotiated but the plan is to bring gas from the Krasnodar region in Russia and then probably through two lines: one will go to Bulgaria and from there to the countries of south-east Europe; the other would deliver gas directly to Turkey but could also send extra gas through the country into Europe, perhaps through the Trans Adriatic Pipeline. The question of whether Europe actually wants still more Russian gas is unresolved.

This will make Turkey more dependent on Russian gas, both for its own needs (almost 60 per cent of Turkey’s gas already comes from Russia) and for transit revenue. Turkey is a significant energy importer, with demand rising faster over the last decade than in any other major economy except China. In 2015 it imported almost all its natural gas needs, and more than 85 per cent of its oil.

Second, the events of the last two months make some of the projects that might have diversified gas supplies less likely to proceed. The mood in Ankara is very nationalistic. It is, for instance, impossible to see the current government accepting the independence and sovereignty of Cyprus, but that would be essential if Turkey were to be a destination for gas from the eastern Mediterranean fields that lie in Cypriot and Israeli waters.

The Trans Anatolian Pipeline, or Tanap, from Azerbaijan should go ahead as planned, bringing in some new gas by 2019, but any expansion of the existing lines from northern Iraq and the semi autonomous Kurdish republic looks unlikely. The Kurdistan Workers party (PKK) in eastern Turkey is a prime target for the regime in Ankara and the security situation in the region makes construction of any new infrastructure difficult if not impossible. Some oil will keep flowing (mostly in tanker lorries) but it will be more difficult to move the natural gas.

The third shift is in the perception of Turkey’s place in the market. Ankara’s ambition has been to create a trading hub – a meeting point at which prices are set. That requires suitable infrastructure, multiple inflows of supply, multiple buyers and some storage capacity – all of which exist or are within reach for the country. But it also requires a lot of confidence on the part of everyone involved in the rule of law and political stability. That now looks out of reach.

Turkey will still be a transit country for those who have no alternative, or those such as the Russians who want a convenient way of sidestepping the existing lines through Ukraine. But the overreaction to the coup, the continued bombing campaign by the followers of the militant group Isis and the ugly political rhetoric from Mr Erdogan and his followers mean those who do have options will look elsewhere.

All this will compound Turkey’s problems and divisions, especially between those who want the country to look to the west for its future and those who see it as primarily an eastern-oriented Muslim state. For the moment, Ankara has made the dangerous decision to turn to the east. The July coup may have been defeated but the conflicts it brought to the fore are far from resolved.

http://blogs.ft.com/nick-butler/2016/08/29/turkey-turns-east/

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Europe: Uncheck That Box

The Amerexit

John Kornblum

Brexit is less a cause of future problems for Europe than it is a consequence of the dramatic re-ordering of the world that took place after 1990.

As I write in mid-July 2016, all the Transatlantic chatterati can seem to talk and write about—except when temporarily interrupted by terrorist outrages like the one at the Istanbul airport on June 28—is Brexit. It is as though, for some, everything was just fine in Europe before June 23. And it is all too typical that the brunt of much of the commentary revolves around whom to blame for the surprising disaster.

So let us start with a necessary restatement of what ought to be obvious but isn’t, apparently. The Brexit vote was a highly telegenic symptom of lingering problems, not a cause or source of them. It is not the most important datum of the current disorder in Europe and across the Atlantic, and the next chapters of this disorder’s tale are neither known nor numbered; many outcomes are possible and the possibilities are subject to human agency. But Brexit does demonstrate how difficult it has been, to one extent or another, for the elites of all the Atlantic nations to digest the many dramatic changes that emerged from the reordering of the world since 1990.

As for blame, Brexit is no one’s fault in particular—not even David Cameron’s. Yes, he guessed wrongly about the outcome, but his occasion for guessing was constructed by many others over many years. To look for individual scapegoats is to misunderstand the nature of the phenomenon. In political institutions causes, like decisions, are not like snapshots but like videos. They are embedded as if in a never-ending tapestry of precursor threads. In ordinary life, sometimes stupid or evil behavior very quickly produces a recognizable outcome; if you drink way past your fill, it will not take weeks or months for your deserved hangover to announce its arrival. But it doesn’t work that way in the world of politics and foreign policy.

If we wish to search for the underlying factors to explain Brexit, we would be wise to begin simply with the passage of time. Nothing is forever. Neither the political goals of the Atlantic system set up by the victors in World War II seven decades ago nor its economic and social foundations should be expected to survive unperturbed, or at all, today. The prescriptions no longer fit the problems, but we still allow ourselves to be guided by them—and when that doesn’t work, we typically scrutinize details rather than question premises. As a result of the cumulative debilities of this wayward approach, large numbers of voters simply do not trust their leaders anymore.

At its root, Brexit is a sign of this growing tension between political and economic elites and their voters. It raises questions about the ability of governments to understand and manage a world in which virtually everything is undergoing fundamental change. The fact that Western elites were generally surprised by the outcome of the vote bears vivid witness to how out of touch they have become—that, or how unwilling they are to admit a less than idyllic reality. Their confusion is reflected in the steady erosion of the intellectual quality of political dialogue and institutions, both within and among Atlantic nations. It also coincides with a renewed diminishment of trust among European nations and between Europe and the United States.

This erosion of Transatlantic trust probably qualifies to win the irony sweepstakes, for it comes at a time when our societies are growing ever more closely integrated in terms of economics and culture. An event that roils financial markets in London creates dangers in New York as well. Research on GMOs in California leads to demonstrations in Munich. Corporate mergers come under the scrutiny of courts on both sides of the ocean, that being a measure not only of how integrated our economies are but of how compatible our legal traditions have become as well. Europe composes the world’s largest economy and trading bloc, the second most important military power by capability measures, and remains a center of science and technology. Anyone familiar with the relationship can recite the investment, trade, patent, licensing, and even tourism data showing the accelerating pace of Transatlantic transactions. Everyone in the so-called private sector seems able to take the measure of what this ought to mean politically and diplomatically, but Western politicians and diplomats themselves apparently cannot, or at any rate lately do not.

Above all, the Brexit vote is the proverbial wakeup call for leaders who have been so consumed with crushing problems at home that they seem to have forgotten how important Atlantic consensus has become for the realization of their domestic goals. Rather than being defined by formal diplomatic agendas through NATO and the European Union, the Western community should increasingly be seen as a large sounding board that offers governments a chance to build confidence among their voters by demonstrating consensus and professionalism on issues that really matter to their citizens.

Today’s Western voters want to know what is going on. Closer Atlantic collaboration over the past ten years could have helped build confidence among American and European voters that their leaders actually do understand the ravages of globalization, or the dangers of terrorism. An unemployed steel worker in Britain feels the same pain as an underemployed autoworker in Detroit, and each could have gained confidence from learning that governments are working closely in his interest.

That did not happen. Instead, the U.S. government, in particular, allowed the Transatlantic consensus to drift and decay not from opposition but from inanition. In a June 2013 speech delivered in Berlin, President Obama recited an agenda of 43 items on which he hoped to work closely with Europe. But this was obvious speechwriter persiflage, for not once did he mention the European Union or the problems it was struggling with across the continent. Most listeners lost count after four or five examples as they waited for some sort of essence to give the speech the gravitas that circumstances deserved. It never came, so no wonder Germans, for example, are now looking elsewhere for answers—some even to Russia. From this perspective, it is likely that a steady, unplanned, but nonetheless consequential “Amerexit”—the erosion of active American engagement in Europe and the Atlantic world—has contributed to the breakdown of consensus and trust. It is also possible that, had there been no Amerexit, there would not have been a subsequent Brexit either.

The main criticism of Barack Obama one hears in Europe these days is that “he has lost interest in us.” This isn’t new, and that’s part of the point. It dates from Obama’s early willingness to go to Copenhagen to shill for Chicago’s Olympic bid, but not come to Berlin for the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. John Kerry’s emergency visit on June 27 in an effort to “moderate” between the parties demonstrates how far out of touch the Obama Administration has become. Kerry’s arrival and announcement were greeted justifiably with sarcasm and bemusement, sort of like what happens when a big man on campus tries to get a second date with pretty Suzy Q after having ignored her for the previous three semesters. Few, if any, European commentators welcomed his offer. Most would have ignored it entirely had they the choice.

Europeans, despite themselves, continue to depend on American leadership. Yet they have done little to cultivate it. They are too consumed with the internal politics of the European Union to have lifted a finger to allay our drift. Their loss of trust in the United States has been reciprocated by growing American doubts that, when the going gets tough, Europeans cannot be counted upon.

The “Brexit effect” invalidates the claims by both the Bush and Obama Administrations that they had somehow found a new paradigm for America’s role in the world, one that can somehow pivot away from Europe to somewhere else—the Middle East, Asia, wherever. The steady U.S. disengagement from serious dialogue with its European allies is a sign of no new paradigm. It is instead a sign of damage to important American interests, already and yet to come.

No Exit from Europe

Writing in 1943, Walter Lippmann suggested in American Foreign Policy, Shield of the Republic, that an Atlantic alliance would be the best foundation for postwar governance:

[T]he original geographic and historic connections across the Atlantic have persisted. The Atlantic Ocean is not the frontier between Europe and the Americas. It is the inland sea of a community of nations allied with one another by geography, history and vital necessity. . . . There is a great community on this earth from which no member can be excluded and none can resign. This community has it geographical center in the great basin of the Atlantic.

In a sense, Lipmann was only elaborating on something Alexis de Tocqueville had written nearly a century earlier in Democracy in America, that Europe and America “can never be independent of each other, so numerous are the natural ties which exist between their wants, their ideas, their habits and their manners.”

It’s an old truth, but it is no less true for being old. It is important that we learn the right lessons from the erosion of Transatlantic trust over the past two decades. What we learn can lead us back to this truth. It has little to do with institutions and cannot be had by tinkering with this or that organization, as Washington think tanks love to do. This is why EU and NATO summits these days are such consistently underwhelming experiences: A great deal of work goes into these conclaves, but not nearly a concomitant volume of actual thinking.

The basic lesson is more fundamental: We cannot escape each other. The United States cannot pivot away from Europe anymore than a tree can pivot away from the soil in which it is rooted. We share a common Atlantic history that is more than four centuries old, and this remains the case regardless of diffusive demographic changes on both sides of the Atlantic, because institutions and attitudes are vastly more important than the details of ethnic origin. We are constituent parts of one another in ways that we are not with any other part of the world.

If Americans ignore this fact, as we have tried to do for at least the past decade, we cut ourselves off from a big part of our heritage, and from many possible tools of transnational governance we will need looking ahead. It is overwhelmingly in our interest that Western values shape the contours of any new global governance mechanisms that need to arise. So we and the Europeans might just as well sit down together, work out a road map for the era ahead, and devise the new institutions we need for the purpose.

A good and by no means trivial example concerns the impact of the digital revolution. America essentially created that revolution, and how we manage it will have a major effect on our future. It may seem as though the technology has been around forever, so ubiquitous has it become in our lives, and that therefore the management protocols must have long since been worked out. That is not the case: We have just begun the task, and America alone cannot finish it.

As it happens, Europe is the world’s second-largest IT market, and Europeans are looking to the United States for ways to deal with some of the disturbing questions that have arisen concerning values, privacy, and the future of human employment. They have raised many questions that Silicon Valley producers seem not yet ready to answer. These producers are very good at inventing, manufacturing, marketing, and selling stuff; they are not so far better than anyone else at figuring out how all this stuff changes our societies, cultures, economies, and politics. Finding the answers is very much in the American interest, and it behooves us to search alongside others whose values most closely align with our own.

The End of History?

Part of the disconnect between the United States and Europe has been a different understanding of the results of the Cold War. Americans seem generally to believe that Europe, defined as a problem, was “solved” by victory over the Soviet Union. This is certainly the view of the Obama Administration, as well as that of its predecessor, more or less. To Americans, the only European history that matters is the history that started after around 1870, or maybe even 1914. This is a mistake, and both America and Europe have suffered because of it.

To most Europeans, the end of the Cold War was more of a beginning. Even the word “victory” is hard for some to swallow because it implies finality, which Europeans have learned from experience doesn’t really exist. Their goal is to be able to deal successfully with the many unsolved conflicts that arose from what pan-European minded people nowadays reasonably refer to as Europe’s 20th-century Civil War. The relationship with Russia is among the most important of these unsolved conflicts.

Very little will ever be “solved” in the traditional sense. Russia is still very large to the east, and it largely retains the political culture it has had for half a millennia at the least—one that has given it, almost but not completely, a European vocation. Europeans are again looking for American support in an effort to manage more than to solve the relationship with Russia. It remains to be seen how much help we will give.

The European elites need us because their obsession with creating a European superstate has deranged their capacity for common sense. Try as they may, the EU’s leaders have been unable to overcome their fixation with fitting all the parts of Europe into one neat box. As a result, whatever the issue, Europeans often fail to focus on the actual issue in play. They are great at organizational detail and airy abstractions, but not the reality in between. They also put EU solidarity ahead of real action, so we often end up with a vague consensus capable of achieving almost nothing, making Europe less than the sum of its parts.

Much of this reality gap flows from the psychology of the Brussels establishment. It has been inculcated with a deeply held belief that a return to illiberal nationalism is always lurking in the background (they seem unable to conceive of a liberal form of nationalism with a half-life longer than a single generation), and that peace and prosperity can be assured only through an equilibrium enforced on recalcitrant voters by an elite group of leaders. The goal is not good policy or even results, but rather to ensure that no one rocks the boat.

The European Union is not a would-be Soviet Union in disguise, as Mikhail Gorbachev suggested. The mentality of European consensus seekers is defensive, not aggressive. But the acceleration of economic and technological change is putting both the EU’s identity and its structures under pressure, and the pressure is leading the elite to double down in all the wrong ways. The neat boxes no longer fit together. The structural contradictions can no longer be hushed up. The more invasive the digital world becomes; the more European leaders seem to be obsessed with protecting their legacy from change, and the more futile the obsession becomes. The more the world works by flexible networks, the more EU elites seemed determined on centralization and functional conformity.

Above all, the more skeptical younger generations become, the more threatened European leaders feel. But the elites’ toolkit has tools only for fixing existing machinery, when what they need to do, together with the United States, is to design new machinery. They don’t know how, and neither, apparently, do we. The result is a growing standoff between European political elites and their voters, and a concomitant U.S. inability to really offer anything of value, for our own elites are in a similar predicament relative to U.S. voters.

Radical Economic and Technological Change

Some truths are old, but the way to embrace them need not be. A quarter century after the end of the Cold War, history is rapidly reasserting itself in the sense that, as many have put it, geopolitics has returned. But nationalism is not what is causing this. A rise in nationalism in many places is like Brexit itself—a symptom of something more basic, not a cause.

It is becoming brutally clear that the 45 years following World War II did not mark a path to the end of history, but were rather a welcome period of recuperation between two phases of a radical industrial revolution. Western technological society is likely never to come to rest. We may not be approaching a suffocating singularity, but it does seem that some kind of galloping “creative destruction” has moved into the house for the long term as one class of generative innovation after another reshapes our lives.

Many typical citizens are afraid of what’s ahead on account of the fresh memory of having been knocked off balance in the recent past. They know now they are facing an era of protracted restructuring. Put differently, a post-Cold War transition that seemed to come with a reasonable expiration date turned out not to have one. Industries are still collapsing and jobs are still being lost, and still much too fast to expect either individuals or institutions to gamely adjust. Look at the key calculation that affected the Brexit vote: It was about how much dole the European Union provides to depressed rustbelt parts of Scotland, Wales, and England as against what Britain pays into the common pot. The whole idea that the future of the United Kingdom should be decided on the basis of such objective economic weakness and calculative pandering beggars belief. It is or ought to be deeply embarrassing–which is doubtless why so few seem brave enough to state the point clearly.

It’s no wonder that many voters are confused, because they can’t figure out if the freeing of capital flows is to blame for the orgy of outsourcing that has enriched corporations and banks even as it has destroyed whole communities, or if various forms of automation have laid waste to even more middle class families. Nor can they figure out how an age of unprecedented openness and participation could have produced what seem to be the largest inequality metrics perhaps in modern history.

Confusion left unassuaged often leads to anger. Some are now driven to think that the whole mess is part of a deliberate plan by plutocratic elites to shift money from everyone else’s pockets into theirs. Sometimes it even looks that way, but it isn’t. During the past twenty years the world has slipped rapidly, almost without notice, into a new era. The world of formal structures, the world of hierarchical methods of management, the world of non-porous national borders has disappeared, without most of us even knowing what was happening. The existing treaty-based world order is being turned on end faster than any dictator could have done in the past. Bankers and CEOs, like everyone else, are simply trying to figure out where their possibilities lie, and do the best they can. The idea that anyone or some cabal is directing all this is conspiracy theorizing near its worst.

The experience of the past quarter century suggests strongly that the central factors of our era are not nationalism or militarism, but rather the two periods of radical change stimulated by technology and innovation during not one but two Industrial Revolutions. The first one began 175 years ago; the second, the information age, has now lasted about four decades. Our picture of Europe comes into clearer focus if we understand that such revolutionary technological and social change was the real driver of 19th and 20th century European history, just as it was in the United States. Many American observers missed the run up to Brexit because they focused on the standard diplomatic history of Europe and overlooked the painful dynamics of the onrushing effects of globalization. Something similar happened, just by the way, with the surprise of the First World War that followed on the heels of the collapse of the first era of globalization, the first Gilded Age.

Why are the Germans so rabid about budgetary discipline in southern Europe? It’s not because they are penny pinchers. Rather, they understand how fundamentally the future can change and destroy existing ways of life, so that one must have a buffer to serve as an insurance policy to make it through. For Berlin, the choice facing Europe is between efficiency and solidarity. And to them, solidarity with other less productive EU states means wastefulness and the inevitable decline of Germany from the top rank of economic powers. Their effort to introduce efficiency into southern Europe may seem worthy of Don Quixote, but they see no other option.

Globalization’s invasive, data-driven efficiency also threatens control by authoritarian states. Western values now dominate the software of this system, but they also unnerve leaders in countries such as Russia and China. Freedom of information and civic society challenge their influence as no military alliance could ever do. They will fight back, and of course they already are. So unless the Atlantic world finds a new sense of common purpose as a “global Atlantic” to manage the challenges of globalization, we may not be able to ensure that Western values will continue to define the operating system of the digitalized world. This defines a need for even closer integration across the Atlantic. Europe cannot manage this second revolution without America, and America should not wish to manage it without Europe.

Updating Our Narrative

Armed with this different perspective, we can more accurately plot Atlantic interests. It can help us create an updated narrative for the Atlantic world that is more relevant to the challenges of a digitalized future. In particular, this new map can help Americans better to understand the unresolved challenges in Europe, and see that our leadership role will change from protector to that of interpreter and manager of a networked world.

Atlantic ties are already focused more on data and network issues than on the military and trade relations of the past. This is why the TTIP negotiations have run into so much opposition. Google’s handling of personal data is much more important to most Europeans (and Americans) than any standard trade negotiation could ever be. Many fear that a new Atlantic trade partnership could open the way for even more invasive technology. Europeans and Americans have different histories that make them care about the right to privacy, but both care deeply about it.

This type of hands on, patient management that will be required in the digital age is unfamiliar and unpleasant to many American leaders. Despite persistent legends to the contrary, there were few great visionary eras of the past. Only hard work, lots of false starts, and several instances of both bad and good luck made things work out as they did. Most of the great geopolitical concepts were plotted after the fact by academics who luckily did not know how hit and miss most political decisions turn out to be–the real history of the Berlin Airlift being a better-than-usual case in point. As we enter the 21st century with both Europe and Asia undergoing change beyond recognition, it will be especially important to remember how much patience, skill, and fortitude future diplomacy will require.

To persist in what we and the Europeans together need now to do, some forgetting may be in order. We have accumulated in recent years a fair load of pap about how different we are—Mars and Venus, and other such nonsense. Of course we have our differences. Our histories are not the same, so what else could one expect? And we have had more than our share from recent administrations of high principles to define new American crusades, paradigms, and visions. None of these visions were previewed privately or publicly either in the United States or Europe and, designed for maximum media impact, they fit well into the short attention spans of the digital age and promptly self-destructed.

And good riddance, for while all this symbolic fluff was littering down like so much confetti the world was becoming more integrated and interdependent, both for good and in some ways perhaps for not so good. The dawn of the digital age has created new communities of de facto diplomatic activists who are separate from government. The “Leave” movement in Great Britain is an example. Unsettling change in a time of increasing pluralism and transparency is generating organizing capabilities outside of government that governments have a hard time anticipating let alone controlling. Despite their vast differences, that is what the “Leave” movement in the United Kingdom and the upheavals of the so-called Arab Spring have had in common.

These new modalities of non-state diplomacy are creating hybrid forms of influence. A complex “peace order” negotiated with Russia in the 1990s is not only ignored by Russia, but is undermined by tools of digital information sharing and reporting that we invented. However outrageous we may find Vladimir Putin’s twisting of the truth, his arguments do hit home in large parts of the world whose inhabitants gain access to them through Western-based satellite television and social media. Russia has dispatched squads of operatives throughout the world, often called “trolls,” to make sure that its messages are distributed as widely as possible. This illustrates the possibility that the greatest challenge facing future leaders may be learning how to deal with what the Financial Times has dubbed “a post-factual world.”

The paradox of our era is that the more adept the machines of Big Data become in organizing and validating the veracity of numbers, the more Western populations are ready to believe the most fanciful versions of reality—and the more young people think that since governments no longer should enjoy the right to keep any knowledge secret, people like Edward Snowden are obviously transparency saints. Understanding and applying the lessons of new technology to the underlying values of democratic societies will be one of the major political, and philosophical, tasks of the 21st century.

Consider a tale of two negotiations. The Dayton Peace agreement was negotiated before smart phones and social media existed. It also included a good deal of covert military activity designed to convince the Serbs to negotiate. Having participated in those talks from start to finish, I doubt if we could have pulled off the same solution under today’s 24-hour news cycle and constant comment on social media. On the other hand, the nuclear arrangement with Iran was carried out at acceptable levels of confidentiality, but only barely. Iranian control of its own media helped, as did the fact that negotiators had been at their task for several years. A comparable negotiation with a less autocratic power might not have been possible.

Not that the TTIP negotiations are comparable, but they offer a hint. The negotiations are attacked regularly on both sides of the Atlantic for their secrecy and lack of transparency. Critics refuse to concede that bargains could not be struck if all negotiating positions appear in each morning’s news. They understand the power of information and they want to share in it, but not every situation is aided by full-frontal transparency. In the absence of total transparency, there has been a marked tendency to just make up narratives that seem convenient. The post-factual age is already underway.

In the future, diplomacy will focus on maintaining balances within networks of relationships that include private as well as governmental players as never before. Mutual definitions of interests among partner nations will be necessary, not only because of friendship, but also to keep the public message on line. Luckily, the Atlantic community is a ready-made framework for the application of such methods. But allies, like voters, will want to be part of the formulation of ideas as well as their implementation. We can be successful at such an effort only if American political leaders and diplomats realize that there really is no Amerexit option from Europe, let along from the world.

http://www.the-american-interest.com/2016/07/25/no-exit-from-europe/

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Policy= res publica

Freudenberg-Pilster* Vatikan Initiativen und Kongresse

Kardinal Ravasi: „Neue Ämter für Frauen in der Kirche denkbar“

Es ist ein Novum für den Vatikan: der Päpstliche Kulturrat hat eine permanente Frauen-Beratungsgruppe gegründet, die einen kritischen Blick auf alles werfen soll, was der Rat tut. Die erste Sitzung fand an diesem Dienstag in den Räumlichkeiten des Kulturrates statt. 22 Frauen waren dabei, überwiegend Italienerinnen, darunter Universitätsprofessorinnen, Mütter, Diplomatinnen, Journalistinnen, Forscherinnen und Polit-Aktivistinnen.

Präsident des Päpstlichen Kulturrates ist Kardinal Gianfranco Ravasi. Im Gespräch mit Gudrun Sailer von Radio Vatikan regte der Kardinal generell „mehr Kreativität“ an, um das reiche Reservoir weiblichen Wissens zum Wohl der ganzen Kirche besser auszuschöpfen. Die erste Frage an den Kardinal: Welche Anliegen genau verfolgt der Kulturrat mit der Einrichtung der Frauen-Beratungsgruppe?

„Die Ziele sind zwei: zum einen geht es darum, die Frauen einzuladen, mit ihrem Blick und ihrer persönlichen Interpretation alle Aktivitäten des Dikasteriums zu beurteilen. Es geht nicht darum, sich gleichsam zu schmücken mit weiblicher Präsenz in der Kirche. Wir wünschen uns von den Frauen ein Urteil, ein objektives, aber aus ihrer Sicht gefälltes Urteil auf alles, was wir am Kulturrat tun. Die zweite Dimension ist, von den Frauen Hinweise auf unbekanntes Terrain und neue Horizonte zu erhalten. Wir sind hier in den gehobenen Positionen nur Männer, die Frauen haben ausschließlich Verwaltungstätigkeiten – und genau deshalb wollen wir die Frauen bitten, uns neue Wege zu zeigen, die wir noch nie betreten haben.“

„Ich bin skeptisch mit Blick auf Frauenquoten“

Inwiefern ist die Einrichtung einer solchen Beratungsgruppe innovativ?

„Sie ist innovativ gerade in diesem Sinn, weil es nicht bloß heißt: Wir wollen irgendwie auch Frauen dabei haben. Ich bin skeptisch mit Blick auf Frauenquoten, also auf das Mechanische und Mathematische, Halbe-Halbe, oder Quoten einzuführen. Ich bin aber überzeugt davon, dass es eine weibliche Präsenz braucht, und eine relevante Präsenz, die nicht nur irgendwie Farbe und neue Eindrücke gibt, wie man das ja oft hat bei Beratungsgruppen. Unsere soll stattdessen wirklich ins Innere der Fragen eintreten, auch mit ihren kritisierenden Fähigkeiten.“

Die Gruppe hat sich zum ersten Mal bereits versammelt. Was sind die nächsten Schritte?

„Ich möchte gerne auch die erste Versammlung beschreiben. Da gab es zunächst ein Art Outing von allen Anwesenden, in der alle sich vorgestellt haben, und das hat allen – auch uns vom Rat, die wir zuhörten – auch gleich eine Art elektrischen Schlag versetzt, denn jede erzählte sich nicht nur vom Biografischen her, sondern vom Menschlichen. Das war ein überraschender Beitrag, solche existenziellen Erfahrungen der Frauen zu hören. Dann habe ich ein thematisches Beispiel vorgestellt, mit dem die Frauengruppe beginnen könnte; in meinem Dikasterium laufen mindestens sieben, acht Aktivitäten, von denen ich mir wünsche, dass sie von den Frauen geprüft und beurteilt werden. Eines davon ist Sport. Sport ist ja heutzutage eine Art Esperanto der Völker geworden, und es ist auch eine Phänomen, in dem sich am meisten die Figur des Mannes und der Frau spiegelt. Im Guten, im Spiel, im Reichtum, der Phantasie, aber auch im Schlechten: Denken wir an Doping, Korruption, Gewalt in den Stadien, Rassismus. Wir möchten gerne von Etappe zu Etappe voranschreiten auf zwei Wegen. Zum einen möchten wir die Gruppe erweitern, und zum anderen ihr Urteil erfragen in Themen, die wir bereits vorliegen haben.“

Müssen denn alle Angehörigen der Frauen-Beratungsgruppe katholisch sein?

„Auch Nichtglaubende in den Rat berufen“

„Im Moment sind, glaube ich, alle Teilnehmerinnen katholisch. Aber das war etwas, das sofort als Wunsch auftauchte: nicht nur die ökumenische Dimension, sondern auch die interreligiöse Dimension, und ich habe noch eine weitere Dimension eingebracht, die der Nichtglaubenden. Ich habe die Absicht, in dieser Beratungsgruppe auch Frauen aufzunehmen, die sich zu keinem Glauben ausdrücklich bekennen. Und nach dieser ersten bescheidenen Meldung, die wir veröffentlicht haben, sind bereits positive Reaktionen von mindestens sieben, acht nichtglaubenden Frauen eingelaufen, die sich vorstellen könnten, mit dabei zu sein.“

Wäre es vorstellbar, auch in anderen vatikanischen Kurienbehörden solche weiblichen Beratungsgruppen einzuführen?

„Das würde ich mir wünschen. Papst Franziskus hat ja auch oft Erklärungen in diese Richtung gemacht und in der Kurie eine stärkere Präsenz von Frauen verlangt, die ja noch schwach ausgeprägt ist. Vor einigen Tagen hat uns Papst Franziskus hier im Kulturrat besucht, und ich habe ihm dieses Anliegen vorgelegt. Der Papst war sehr aufmerksam und nannte eine Reihe von Beispielen, wo Bischöfe zuerst auf ihre rein männlichen Beratungsorgane hörten, und dann aber auch eine Frauen-Beratungsgruppe ins Leben riefen und fanden, dass die Ratschläge aus dem weiblichen Gremium reichhaltiger und besser waren. Ich denke, das ist ein Wunsch, und unsere Gruppe am Kulturrat ist ein Beispiel. Kultur ist ja von ihrem Wesen her beweglicher und kreativer.“

„Man müßte da Kreativität entwickeln“

Nicht nur in der in der westlichen Welt haben Katholikinnen heute einen hohen Bildungsgrad, auch in der Theologie. Was ist aus Ihrer Sicht zu tun, um dieses Reservoir besser auszuschöpfen, zum Wohl der ganzen Kirche?

„Im Feld der Laien wird das zum Glück immer häufiger, ich denke an das Feld der Wissenschaft, wo heute auch ganz an der Spitze Frauen mitwirken – nachdem sie oft mit großer Mühe ihren Weg machen mussten in einem traditionell männlichen Feld. Ähnliches muss auch in der Kirche geschehen. Und das muss, denke ich, auch abseits der funktionellen Wege geschehen, das heißt nicht in klerikaler Gesinnung. Also: die Präsenz ist nur gegeben, wenn du es schaffst, eine priesterliche oder kuriale Funktion zu haben – das sind Funktionen, die von Männern kodifiziert wurden. Man müsste da Kreativität entwickeln. Die Präsenz von Frauen in der Gesellschaft hat sich in Jahrhunderten entwickelt, und ich hoffe, dass in der Kirche in den nächsten Jahrzehnten – nicht Jahrhunderten! – Ämter, Funktionen, Verantwortungen entstehen, die vornehmlich weiblich sind.“

Können Sie uns da ein Beispiel nennen?

„Nun, das Synodendokument spricht etwa von Frauen in der Priesterausbildung. Hier muss man eine Figur, eine Funktion schaffen. Und wir müssen uns auch daran erinnern, woran uns Papst Franziskus gemahnt, dass die Figur von Maria wichtiger ist als die der Kardinäle und der Bischöfe. Sie ist in der Mitte, und sie repräsentiert die Kirche. Und wie sie unter dem Kreuz Jesu steht, wird Maria – und nicht der Jünger – das Bild der Kirche. Und so glaube ich, es muss eine Revolution, nein besser: eine Evolution stattfinden, zuerst auf theoretischer Ebene, theologisch und auch mit Blick auf die Mentalität, und dann auf praktischer Ebene. Dabei sollten wir aber nie vergessen, dass wir nicht das männliche Modell imitieren sollten, das bis jetzt exklusiv die Funktionen und Ämter der Kirche bestimmt hat.“

„Spitzenämter für Frauen auch in Vatikan-Behörden“

Wie sehen Sie die Frage nach hohen Ämtern für Frauen an der römischen Kurie?

„Spitzenfunktionen in den Dikasterien könnten sehr gut auch Frauen anvertraut werden. Dazu braucht es aber das, was ich vorhin sagte: eine theoretische und eine praktische Ekklesiologie. Andernfalls würden die Leute, auch Frauen selbst, einen solchen Vorschlag gar nicht annehmen. Das ist ein Werk, das von Johannes Paul II. begonnen und von Benedikt XVI. bestärkt wurde und jetzt von Franziskus ein unmittelbares Interesse erfährt.“

Braucht es eine Synode der Frauen?

„Das wünschen sich viele Frauen, und viele haben mir deswegen geschrieben. Ich denke, man muss sehen, wie man das versteht. Frauen als Objekt oder als Subjekt? Eine Bischofssynode über Frauen also zunächst: Ja, das kann man machen, auch wenn ich nicht begeistert bin von der Vorstellung, Frauen als Studienobjekte anzusehen. Aber ich denke, so wie ich in meinem Dikasterium in diesem Jahr eine Vollversammlung über die „weiblichen Kulturen“ gemacht habe, so kann man auch eine Synode über die Frauen prüfen, über ihre Probleme, Kulturen, ihre Präsenz in der Kirche. Das ist legitim, man hat es für so viele andere Themen gemacht. Und eine Synode der Frauen, Frauen als Subjekte der Synode? Nun, die Synode ist in der Kirche als Bischofssynode angelegt. Die Kirche betrachtet das Priesteramt als christologisch und somit als männlich. Aber wir wissen gut, dass die Synode viele andere teilnehmende Subjekte hat. Und wie werden in diesem Fall beispielsweise Generaloberinnen als Synodenmitglieder miteinbezogen? Man könnte es ja so anlegen, dass in einer Synode der Frauen eine starke weibliche Präsenz vorhanden ist, die im Dialog ist. Das wäre heute gar nicht so schwer. Denn die Mehrheit der Bischöfe ist überzeugt. Auch weil in jeder Hirtentätigkeit der Beitrag von Frauen wesentlich ist, denken wir an die Religionslehrerinnen. Der Dialog zwischen den Frauen und den Bischöfen, und in dieser Weise könnte auch eine solche Synode der Frauen stattfinden.“

Hintergrund

Unter den Frauen, die der vatikanischen Beratungsgruppe bisher angehören, sind unter anderem die Botschafterin Irlands beim Heiligen Stuhl Emma Madigan, die Ordensfrau Mary Melone, die erste Rektorin einer Päpstlichen Universität in Rom, die Leiterin des römischen Frauengefängnisses in Rebibbia Ida del Grosso und die Schauspielerin Nancy Brilli. Kardinal Ravasi hatte die letzte Vollversammlung des Päpstlichen Kulturrates dem Thema „Weibliche Kulturen“ gewidmet. In dieser Veranstaltung war der Vorschlag eines „Frauenrates“ aufgekommen.

http://de.radiovaticana.va/news/2015/06/25/kardinal_ravasi_neue_ämter_für_frauen_in_der_kirche_denkbar/1153951

About: Kardinal Ravasi – https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gianfranco_Ravasi / https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gianfranco_Ravasi

****************************************************************************************************************** Politics: From Vision to Action

Barandat* One Belt, One Road: China’s Vision of “Connectivity”

President Xi Jinping has outlined plans to construct huge infrastructural links to better connect China with the rest of the world. This strategic vision of a “New Silk Road” is now more often referred to as the “One Belt, One Road” (OBOR) initiative. Beijing is allocating huge amounts of finance to the project, but China’s neighbors remain wary of OBOR’s geopolitical implications.

«One Belt, One Road»: Chinas Vision von Konnektivität

Präsident Xi Jinping will China mit dem Bau eines riesigen Infrastrukturnetzwerks besser an den Rest der Welt anbinden. Die strategische Vision einer «Neuen Seidenstrasse» wird auch als «One Belt, One Road» (OBOR) bezeichnet. Peking stellt bereits massiv finanzielle Mittel für das Projekt zur Verfügung; Chinas Nachbarn fürchten jedoch die geopolitischen Auswirkungen.

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Some arguments about Russian Politics.

SWP

Denkbare Überraschungen – Elf Entwicklungen, die Russlands Außenpolitik nehmen könnte

Juli 2016 … Moskau scheint seine Unberechenbarkeit taktisch einzusetzen, um auf der Handlungsebene die Offensive übernehmen zu können. Dabei geht die russische Führung erhebliche Risiken ein, die auch für europäische und internationale Sicherheit unabsehbare Folgen haben können … Entwicklungen … die sich über einen längeren Zeitraum abgezeichnet hatten, die aber weder von Experten/innen noch von politischen Akteuren in Deutschland, der EU oder auch Russland ausreichend wahrgenommen wurden. Die … Intransparenz politischer Prozesse in Russland ist ein Grund für diese Blindheit. Wichtige Ursachen des Problems liegen jedoch ebenso auf westlicher Seite. Die Osteuropa-Expertise wurde in der EU während der vergangenen Jahre auf institutioneller Ebene systematisch ab-gebaut. Unter diesen Bedingungen ist es unmöglich, die politischen Prozesse in Russland und der gesamten Region intensiv zu beobachten … Großereignisse verdrängten Osteuropa so sehr aus der öffentlichen und politischen Wahrnehmung, dass zunehmende Spannungen im russisch-westlichen Verhältnis erst sehr spät – zu spät – wahrgenommen wurden. Außerdem saßen die deutsche und die EU-Politik häufig Illusionen und Fehlwahrnehmungen auf … Die Selbstbeschreibung als transformative Friedensmacht machte die EU und mit ihr Deutschland blind für die Tatsache, dass man immer tiefer in die geopolitischen Spannungen in Osteuropa hineinglitt. Schließlich war die EU wegen interner Zerwürfnisse hinsichtlich des Kurses gegenüber Russland lange nicht in der Lage, eine proaktive und konsistente Politik für die Region zu entwickeln … Die russische Führung formuliert als oberste außenpolitische Priorität die Herstellung einer »auf internationalem Recht, Gleichberechtigung, gegenseitigem Respekt und Wahrung staatlicher Souveränität beruhenden neuen Weltordnung«. Sie schreibt Russland in dieser Ordnung die Rolle einer eigenständigen Großmacht zu, die Gestaltungsansprüche auf regionaler (eurasischer) wie internationaler Ebene hat … Zum einen muss Russland in der Lage sein, den USA auf Augenhöhe zu begegnen und – gemeinsam mit gleichgesinnten Akteuren – die amerikanisch geführte unilaterale Weltordnung durch eine multipolare zu ersetzen. Andere westliche Akteure, wie Nato oder EU, handeln nach dieser Wahrnehmung nicht eigenständig, sondern angeleitet vom Hegemon USA. Zum anderen beansprucht Russland das Territorium der ehemaligen Sowjetunion als Interessensphäre, in der Moskau die Regeln setzt und externe Akteure eine untergeordnete Rolle spielen … Der Instrumentenkasten der russischen Außenpolitik hat sich in den vergangenen Jahren immer weiter entwickelt und ausdifferenziert. Er enthält heute verbesserte militärische Fähigkeiten, daneben aber auch eine Vielzahl »weicher« Werkzeuge – wie zum Beispiel orchestrierte Desinformationskampagnen in traditionellen Massenmedien und sozialen Online-Netzwerken, Instrumentalisierung ethnischer Minderheiten, Nutzung zivilgesellschaftlicher Organisationen, wirtschaftliche Kooperation oder wirtschaftlicher Druck. Um Moskaus Handlungsfähigkeit realistisch einschätzen zu können, ist eine regelmäßige Bestandsaufnahme dieses Instrumentenkastens nötig … Die Reflexion über mögliche Zukünfte befähigt nicht dazu, alle denkbaren Überraschungen zu erkennen und ihnen wirksam vorzubeugen. Dennoch ist sie wichtig, um das analytische Denken über russische Außenpolitik in die Zukunft hinein zu erweitern. Dabei sollte man im doppelten Sinne offen sein: einmal für Themen mit einem negativen Entwicklungspotential, das in der Gegenwart nur schwer erkennbar ist, zum anderen – trotz der anhaltenden Krise mit Russland und des beiderseitigen Vertrauensverlustes – auch für solche Situationen, die Anhaltspunkte für Kooperation bieten könnten …

I. EU-Europa

… Die Autorinnen konstatieren eine massive Gefahr für den Zusammenhalt der EU. Moskau habe ein starkes Interesse daran, die Union zu schwächen. In den Beiträgen werden mögliche Einfallstore für russische Einflussnahme identifiziert; sie entstehen vor allem durch strukturelle Schwächen der jeweiligen politischen, wirtschaftlichen und gesellschaftlichen Systeme. An diesen gilt es zu arbeiten, sollen die Staaten und Gesellschaften der EU von innen her-aus gegen solche Einwirkung geschützt werden.

– Rechtsruck in Paris: Der Kreml und die französischen Wahlen

– Russland lanciert eine facettenreiche Kampagne zur Diskreditierung Deutschlands

… Im März 2017 lanciert der Kreml eine »Friedenskampagne«, da immer deutlicher werde, dass »bestimmte Kräfte« einen dritten Weltkrieg herbeiwünschen. Dabei geht es darum, insbesondere die USA und Deutschland als Treiber eines solchen Krieges in den Fokus zu rücken – die USA, weil sie die Weltdominanz anstrebten, und Deutschland, weil es den Zweiten Weltkrieg ausgelöst und sich nie wirklich von seinem militärisch geprägten Machtstreben abgekehrt habe. Hinzu komme, dass Berlin mehr als bereit sei, sich dem Willen Washingtons unterzuordnen … Es wird darauf hingewiesen, dass Russland und Deutschland gemeinsam in der Lage wären, ein solches Szenario zu verhindern, die deutsche Führung dies aber bedauerlicherweise kategorisch ablehne. Dadurch trage nicht zuletzt Deutschland die Schuld am Ausbruch eines Krieges, der nach Auffassung der russischen außen- und sicherheitspolitischen Elite zusehends unausweichlicher wird … Kurzfristig möchte die russische Führung eine Aufhebung der EU-Sanktionen erreichen, um die wirtschaftliche Situation ihres Landes zu verbessern. Außerdem verspricht sie sich davon, auf diese Weise die Uneinigkeit der EU gegenüber Russland vorführen zu können. Längerfristig dient das russische Verhalten dazu, die EU insgesamt zu schwächen, damit Moskau seine ökonomische und sicherheitspolitische Agenda in Europa besser durchsetzen kann … Hinzu kommt das Bestreben, einen Keil zwischen die EU und die USA zu treiben, um den Wirkungsradius beider zu verringern und gemeinsame, gegen Russland gerichtete Anstrengungen zu verhindern. In der Vergangenheit war Deutschland kaum je das Ziel solcher Spaltungsversuche. Vielmehr wurde es als Freund behandelt … Jetzt wendet Moskau eine ähnliche Taktik auf Deutschland an, nicht nur weil die Russlandpolitik der Bundesregierung kritischer geworden ist, sondern auch weil die russische Führung von dem Wandel überrascht und enttäuscht wurde und sich gekränkt fühlt. Aus russischer Perspektive wird das deutsche Vorgehen als Verrat an dem bisherigen guten Einvernehmen empfunden … Ein unangenehmer Dialog ist in der heutigen Situation ungefährlicher, als aneinander vorbeizureden, auch wenn er die Zusammenarbeit kurzfristig erschwert …

II. Andere Regionen

… In allen drei Beiträgen sieht Moskau sich mit außenpolitischen Herausforderungen konfrontiert. Während es im Falle Serbiens und Japans vor allem darum geht, Einfluss und Handlungsspielräume zu wahren, nutzt Russland … ein sich öffnendes Gelegenheitsfenster, um seine Position im Nahen und Mittleren Osten auszubauen. Aus westlicher Sicht sind die möglichen Folgen dieser Situationen nicht zwingend negativ und destabilisierend; vielmehr bieten sie auch Optionen für Kooperation …

– Russland stellt Serbien vor die Wahl: Satellit oder Faustpfand

– Durchbruch im Kurilen-Streit zwischen Japan und Russland

– Russland löst die USA als Sicherheitspartner des Irak ab

III. Internet, Energie und Sicherheit

… Die drei hier behandelten Politikfelder stehen im russischen Kontext stark unter dem Primat der Sicherheitspolitik. Während Moskau in den Situationen … [Internet, Rüstungskontrolle] … unter diesem Primat konfrontativ vorgeht, setzt sich … [beim Energieexport] … unter bestimmten Bedingungen ökonomische Rationalität durch. Daraus könnte sich aus westlicher Perspektive ein Möglichkeitsfenster für Kooperation ergeben.

– Das EurasiaNet – oder wie das Internet zerbrach

– Russlands Rückzug aus der nuklearen Rüstungskontrolle

– Das Gazprom-Exportmonopol fällt

IV. Eurasien

… handelt Russland mit dem Ziel, einen Einflussverlust im postsowjetischen Raum zu verhindern. Moskau geht dabei hohe Risiken ein und gerät vor allem in Zentralasien in eine schwer kontrollierbare Lage … Nach der Ernennung Alexej Kudrins zum neuen Premierminister Anfang 2017 erhält die EU zunehmend ambivalente außenpolitische Signale aus Moskau. Diese könnten einer bewussten Arbeitsteilung entspringen – oder aber einem Konflikt zwischen verschiedenen Elitefraktionen …

– Konfrontation im »Hinterhof«: Russland greift militärisch in Kasachstan und Tadschikistan ein

– »Republik Ossetien – Alania«: Zusammenschluss Nord- und Südossetiens in der Russischen Föderation

– Russland nach den Duma-Wahlen: Reformorientierte Regierung und nationalistische Außenpolitik

… Einerseits strebt ein Teil der russischen Regierung danach, Spannungen im

bilateralen Verhältnis abzubauen und Möglichkeiten der Kooperation im Bereich wirtschaftlicher Reformen auszuloten. Andererseits bleibt es bei dem hegemonialen Handeln im postsowjetischen Raum und dem konfrontativen Kurs gegenüber dem Westen in der Außen- und Sicherheitspolitik … Die Verflechtung von Innen- und Außenpolitik hat in Russland während der vergangenen Jahre stetig zugenommen. Es ist deshalb anzunehmen, dass die Ursachen für die ambivalenten Signale, die Deutschland und die EU nach der Regierungsumbildung erreichen, ebenfalls auf innenpolitischer Ebene liegen … Aus deutscher und europäischer Perspektive wäre es wünschenswert, mit der russischen Führung wieder in einen offenen Dialog zu treten, der Kooperationsmöglichkeiten in der Außen- und Sicherheitspolitik ebenso wie wirtschaftliche und politische Reformen behandelt … Deutschland und die EU sähen sich in jedem Fall vor einem Dilemma. Reagiert sie zu hart, läuft sie Gefahr, den Trägern einer möglichen Öffnung entgegenzuwirken und damit die Öffnung selbst zu unterminieren. Lässt sie sich aber durch Moskaus ambivalente Signale auseinanderdividieren, verliert sie ihre innere Kohärenz und damit die Grundlage für ein entschlossenes Auftreten gegenüber Russland …

http://www.swp-berlin.org/de/publikationen/swp-studien-de/swp-studien-detail/article/russlands_aussenpolitik_denkbare_ueberraschungen.html

bpb

Der Russland-Reflex – Einsichten in eine Beziehungskrise

Es läuft nicht rund in den Beziehungen zwischen Deutschland und Russland, und es gibt viele Themen, die wechselseitig Irritationen auslösen. Irina Scherbakowa und Karl Schlögel loten in diesem Buch aus, wo die Verständigungsschwierigkeiten liegen und wie der deutsch-russische Dialog wieder belebt werden kann …

http://www.bpb.de/shop/buecher/schriftenreihe/230468/der-russland-reflex

Working Paper: Prospects for Russian-Chinese Cooperation in Central Asia

16 august 2016 … the publication is to outline the possibilities of cooperation between Russia and China in Central Asia by analyzing the interests of the two countries in relation to the interests of the Central Asian states themselves. The Paper also discusses risks and security challenges which are on the rise in the region and may impede the implementation of economic development projects such as the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) and the Chinese Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB) initiative … … Due to its central position on the Eurasian continent between the most developed European region and dynamically developing Southeast Asia, Central Asia has a number of opportunities to offer … linked first and foremost with developing the region’s transit potential … In 2013, a number of Chinese projects in the region were incorporated into the initiative of creating a “Silk Road Economic Belt” … creating better transportation links in the region … to facilitate China’s access to the European market. At the same time, because of their geographic proximity to the Middle East and Afghanistan, Central Asian countries face several serious threats to their security. These threats include the spread of radical Islam, terrorism, drug trafficking, organized crime, difficulties in controlling and securing their borders, etc. … Aside … there are several internal challenges … instability of political institutions, problems with ensuring political continuity, the threat of escalating ethnic conflicts, low economic growth rates … inability to ensure employment, which gives rise to high rates of labor migration … one should also note the inability of Central Asian states to solve the existing hydropower conflicts, to handle the problems with electric power, to ensure complete control over, and security of their borders with Afghanistan, to cut off the routes for drug trafficking, weapons smuggling, etc. The worst-case scenario for the region involves the emergence of “failed states” unable to control their own territory … It is this goal that sustains Russia in its desire to coordinate its Central Asian effort with China … China’s leaders initiated the Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB) project; Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, and Xi Jinping, Chairman of the PRC, reached an agreement to tie the SREB to the EEU … Central Asia’s strategic position in the center of Eurasia and its abundance of natural resources, including fossil fuels, led many regional and world powers to become involved in the region. Competition for influence over Central Asian countries could have a negative impact on the region’s development and exacerbate existing problems, including security risks … It is of primary importance for Russia’s and China’s cooperation in Central Asia that both countries have largely similar and perfectly compatible strategic and geopolitical interests … Russia and China are not interested in a potentially hostile third party increasing its influence in the region … Beijing attempted to realize its interests via the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) … Subsequently, Beijing integrated these interests in the comprehensive SREB project … Overcoming the competitive elements in the relations between Russia and China in Central Asia. Common strategic and military interests and close bilateral relations prompt Moscow and Beijing to search for ways to efficiently co-adapt their interests and projects and to conduct an active political dialogue … The joint declaration by Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, and Xi Jinping, Chairman of the PRC of May 8, 2015, “On Cooperation Aimed at Tying the Building of the Eurasian Economic Union and the Silk Road Economic Belt”, speaks about searching for ways to establish efficient interaction between three projects: the EEU, the SCO, and the SREB … “Vision and Actions on Jointly Building the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road,” which was published by the Chinese leaders on March 28, 2015. It says that the project is “harmonious and inclusive”, that it “advocates tolerance among civilizations”; the “Vision” includes respecting each country’s choice of its way and model of development, supporting dialogue between civilizations, searching for common ground while shelving the existing differences , about aligning and accumulating, about peaceful co-existence, joint creation and flourishing … The involvement of non-regional players in the Central Asian processes and the multi-vector nature of the policies conducted by the Central Asian states demonstrate yet another principle of the Russian-Chinese partnership, namely, that it be not directed against third-party countries, that there be striving for as broad and productive interaction as possible with all the powers interested in the steady progressive development of Central Asia. This is fully in keeping with the Shanghai process and the SCO principles … Valery Gerasimov, the Chief of the General Staff, puts the number of IS-affiliated fighters in Afghanistan at 2,000–3,000 (both “locals” and arrivals from other countries), and that number is constantly growing. Besides IS fighters, Afghanistan has large numbers of other international terrorists with ties to Al-Qaeda, among others. The UN Security Council notes that “Afghan security forces estimated in March 2015 that some 6,500 foreign terrorist fighters were active in Afghanistan.” If we count the Afghanis themselves, and the Taliban fighters first and foremost, the overall number of fighters has reached 50,000 in the Russian General Staff’s estimates … pay particular attention to the Fergana Valley. Due to the geographic, economic, social, demographic, and cultural conditions, the threat of emergence and consolidation of extremist Islamist groups has traditionally existed here and is from time to time revitalized. Population density in the Fergana Valley, divided between Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan … is one of the highest in the world. Observers remark that “over the last 10 years, it showed demographic growth of 32%”, “the teachings of Salafism and Wahhabism are popular” in the valley, and “foreign preachers and recruiters are very active here.” They may also include recruiters from IS who master the modern tactics of “moving centers” and floating hotbeds of tensions … SREB and the EU. When developing practical measures for the Russian-Chinese cooperation, it should be taken into account that the SREB project is aimed not only at cooperation with Russia and Central Asia, but also at coadaptation to EU interests. The EU mostly supports China’s project, viewing it as an opportunity for closer integration and cooperation with China … the “One Belt, One Road” initiative affords an opportunity to create a platform for tying together the EU and China, including China’s cooperation with all European countries on a broad range of issues such as infrastructure, investment, high tech, trade, etc. This approach is shared by the leading experts from Germany, Spain, Great Britain, Serbia, Poland, and other European states … Without the EU–EEU interaction, chances are high that many key Chinese projects of tying together the SREB and the EU, including transportation projects, will be implemented bypassing the Russian Federation, which will suffer significant economic losses and lose its chance at fulfilling its transit potential … The key element of Russia’s, China’s, and Central Asian states’ mutual interests regarding the improvement of transportation infrastructure lies in developing the northern branch of the Northern route which should connect China and the EU via Russia and Central Asian states … It is necessary to consider the issue of creating not only latitudinal, but also longitudinal transportation communications (railway and river fleet), which would allow for a more efficient use of the Northern Sea Route … The interests of China and Central Asia— in coordinating with the EU transportation and infrastructure projects, as well as the issues of the movement of goods, people, and services in the Eurasian space — could be used as an important resource in reestablishing the dialogue between Russia and the EU …

http://russiancouncil.ru/en/inner/?id_4=7724#top-content

Center for Strategic & International Studies

A Conversation with Brzezinski on Geostrategy

Zbigniew Brzezinski speaks with CSIS President and CEO John Hamre about significant geostrategic challenges

1. On Global Leadership

2. On Reconnecting Asia

3. On Europe and Russia

4. On the United States and Asia

5. On Hiroshima and the Horror of War

https://www.csis.org/programs/brzezinski-institute-geostrategy/brzezinski-institute-projects/conversation-brzezinski

Why there will be no “reset” with Russia

August 22, 2016 … The Russia challenge has radically changed since the 1990s … How should the United States respond? First, we need to understand the domestic motivations for Russia’s actions. Recent shakeups in top leadership – most notably the firing of Vladimir Putin’s longtime aide Sergei Ivanov and the creation of Putin’s own Praetorian Guard to protect him both from a “color” revolution and a palace coup – suggest that the president remains focused on ensuring that the September elections to the Russian Duma and his own re-election in 2018 are carefully managed … Russia’s economic situation has deteriorated because of economic mismanagement, falling oil prices and Western sanctions imposed after the Crimean annexation. But the Kremlin has skillfully played a weak hand by appealing to patriotism. It blamed the United States for Russia’s economic problems and launched an air campaign in Syria last September that forced the United States to negotiate and recognize its enhanced international role … U.S. president … should not seek another “reset” but accept the fact that the Russia we are dealing with today requires a different approach. Engagement for engagement’s sake does not work … The United States should continue negotiating with Russia over both Syria and Ukraine, but it should only open an intensified dialogue with the Kremlin if and when the Russian leadership is genuinely interested in offering constructive proposals. The gap between U.S. and Russian interests in both cases is significant … The United States should consider enhancing its own military presence in Europe and needs to deter any further attempts by Russia to destabilize its neighboring countries. The Russia challenge is long-term and will likely outlast both the next U.S. president’s term and Putin’s time in office …

https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2016/08/22/why-there-will-be-no-reset-with-russia/

Germany’s Weak Negotiating Power – Berlin’s authority in negotiations with Russia and Turkey is outweighed by the U.S.

Aug. 15, 2016 German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier’s meeting with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, in Yekaterinburg, Russia to discuss the latest escalation in Ukraine and the impasse over Syria; German State Secretary Markus Ederer rushed to Turkey to, in the words of the German Foreign Ministry, “re-establish direct channels of communication” with the Turkish authorities … These meetings are a small indication of a larger problem for Berlin: it is facing a growing number of crises, at home and abroad, that it has limited power to address … Surrounded by instability, Germany is attempting to play a leadership role in resolving regional crises, but finding that in reality Washington – and not Berlin – holds the cards. Germany’s ability to shape Russia’s actions in Ukraine and Turkey’s trajectory is limited … Berlin has sought this role … more importantly because Germany fears that an escalation in Ukraine would exacerbate the EU’s fragmentation … While Germany has sought to act as a mediator in the conflict, Berlin’s ability to influence Moscow or play a significant role in negotiating a deal is limited … Instead, the U.S. is playing the dominant role in the negotiations. The Kremlin would like guarantees that Ukraine would remain a neutral power and would not join NATO or receive significant military assistance from the West. While Germany in the past has politically supported pro-Western forces in Ukraine, it is not a military player in the region … A deal negotiated by Berlin would be worthless, from Russia’s perspective, without America’s formal or informal agreement. A similar dynamic is at play when it comes to Germany’s relationship with Turkey … Turkey is engaged in negotiations with Moscow, Washington and the EU (represented primarily by Berlin). But Turkey’s approach to each of these three relationships changes based on what Turkey thinks will get it the best deal … it knows that its actions are being evaluated not only in Berlin and Brussels, but also in Washington. Berlin is concerned about stability in Ukraine and Turkey’s moves, but highly publicized diplomatic talks mask Berlin’s limited options. Germany may be a key player in Europe and the Continent’s largest economy, but when it comes to negotiations with Ankara and Moscow, it is the U.S., and not Germany, that is in a position to make deals and alleviate crises.

https://geopoliticalfutures.com/germanys-weak-negotiating-power/

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*Massenbach’s Recommendation*

Theresa May faces Brexit warnings from US and Japan

Obama tells prime minister US won’t prioritise UK trade deal while Tokyo warns of consequences for Japanese businesses

Theresa May has had a difficult start to the G20 summit as President Barack Obama said the UK would not be the priority for a US trade deal and Japan issued an unprecedented 15-page warning about the consequences of Brexit…

After her first bilateral meeting with Obama, May was warned that the US wanted to focus on trade negotiations with the EU and a bloc of pacific nations before considering a deal with the UK.

This was swiftly followed by a message from Japan to the UK that there could be a string of corporate exits from the UK unless some of the privileges that come with access to the single market are maintained.

The lengthy document from Tokyo gives a list of possible consequences of Brexit and a series of specific requests from Japanese businesses. About half of Japanese investment in the EU comes to the UK, including from companies such as Nissan, Honda, Mitsubishi, Nomura and Daiwa.

“Japanese businesses with their European headquarters in the UK may decide to transfer their head-office function to continental Europe if EU laws cease to be applicable in the UK after its withdrawal,” the report concludes.

It says: “In light of the fact that a number of Japanese businesses, invited by the government in some cases, have invested actively to the UK, which was seen to be a gateway to Europe, and have established value-chains across Europe, we strongly request that the UK will consider this fact seriously and respond in a responsible manner to minimise any harmful effects on these businesses.”

Earlier, Obama had promised to work hard to stop “adverse effects” of Brexit and assured the UK there was still a “very special relationship” between the two nations.

But he also raised the risk of some trading relations unraveling and made clear that it “would not make sense to put aside” existing negotiations with big blocs of countries in order to do an immediate deal with the UK.

Asked whether he stood by his warnings against Brexit and claim that Britain would go to the back of the queue when it comes to trade deals, Obama repeated his belief that the world would benefit from the UK being a member of the EU.

“I’ve committed to Theresa that we will consult closely with her as she and her government move forward on Brexit negotiations to make sure we don’t see adverse effects in our trading and commercial relationship. Obviously there is an enormous amount of trade that already takes place … That is not going to stop. And we are going to do everything we can to make sure the consequences of the decision don’t end up unravelling what is already a very strong and robust economic relationship.

“But first things first. The first task is figuring out what Brexit means with respect to Europe. And our first task is making sure we go forward on TTIP negotiations in which we have already invested a lot of time and effort.”

It comes after the prime minister warned on her flight to China that there would be “difficult times ahead” for the economy after leaving the EU….

May also has to contend with diplomatic tensions with China over the country’s proposed multibillion investment in UK nuclear energy. She angered Beijing by placing the French and Chinese-backed Hinkley Point nuclear project under review in July, apparently over security concerns about Beijing’s involvement.

Since then, there has been a suggestion that she could be happy for the Chinese to be a passive investor in Hinkley Point nuclear power station in Somerset but does not want the country to have a more active role in developing a new plant at Sizewell in Suffolk or Bradwell in Essex.

On the way to Hangzhou, she confirmed that she would go to her first meeting as prime minister with the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, on Monday without having come to a decision about allowing Chinese investment in nuclear power to go ahead…….

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/sep/04/g20-theresa-may-warns-of-tough-times-for-uk-economy-after-brexit?utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=GU+Today+main+NEW+H+categories&utm_term=188879&subid=620800&CMP=EMCNEWEML6619I2

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Korruptionskampf in der Ukraine

Die alte Garde im Staat wehrt sich

Analyse

02.09.2016-Miriam Kosmehl

Stadtbild von

Das elektronische System, das Staatsbedienstete verpflichtet, ihre Vermögensverhältnisse offen zu legen, ist zum 1. September in Betrieb gegangen. Damit fällt die letzte Hürde im Verfahren über die Visumsfreiheit für Ukrainer. Fraglich ist, ob es langfristig in Gebrauch bleiben wird. Die eigentlich für den 15. August geplante Inbetriebnahme war offiziell wegen Sicherheitsbedenken abgesagt worden. Daraufhin hatten Reformer und Aktivisten den Schulterschluss mit westlichen Partnern der Ukraine gesucht. Die angeblichen Sicherheitsbedenken seien nur ein Vorwand und ein weiterer Versuch, das unbequeme System zu sabotieren. Der Westen möge bitte das Verfahren über Visumsfreiheit aussetzen, der IWF der Ukraine keine weitere Makrofinanzhilfe gewähren.

Der Kampf gegen die Korruption – die ukrainische Leidensgeschichte

Der Kampf um die Inbetriebnahme der „e-Deklarationen“ zeigt die ganze Bandbreite von Herausforderungen, mit denen Korruptionskämpfer in der Ukraine fertig werden müssen.

Das Ausmaß der Korruption unter Ex-Präsident Janukowytsch war eine wesentliche Ursache für den Euromajdan. Die ukrainischen Bürgerinnen und Bürger waren des allgegenwärtigen Machtmissbrauchs überdrüssig. Nach Abschluss der von den Ukrainern so getauften „Revolution der Würde“ verabschiedete das von wenigen neuen Politikern und Aktivisten aufgemischte Parlament zunächst zügig neue Antikorruptionsgesetze. Der Aufbau der zur Umsetzung dieser Gesetze notwendigen Verwaltungsstrukturen aber zog sich mühsam hin. In den letzten beiden Jahren tauchten immer wieder Hindernisse auf, die die Einrichtung oder Besetzung der neuen Büros verzögerten, sei es eine Klausel in einer Haushaltslinie, sei es ein das System aushöhlendes Gesetz. Zurückgenommen wurden diese Initiativen nur nach lauten Protesten von Aktivisten oder westlichen Vertretern.

Hochrangige Amtsträger im Visier des neuen Systems

Der Widerstand von Bürokratie und Regierenden gegen die Einführung des Systems verwundert nicht: Das elektronische System über Vermögenswerte und Einkommen nimmt hochrangige Amtsträger in die Pflicht, den ukrainischen Präsidenten und Premierminister sowie ihre Berater und Assistenten, Regierungsmitglieder, stellvertretende Minister, Mitglieder nationaler Kommissionen wie des Antimonopolkomitees, die Leiter des Fonds für Staatsvermögen und der Zentralbank und ihre Stellvertreter. Es gilt für Abgeordnete und Beamte bestimmter Kategorien, sowie für Richter, Staatsanwälte, hochrangige (Polizei-)Ermittler, Leiter von staatlichen Agenturen, deren Zuständigkeit sich auf die gesamte Ukraine erstreckt, und hohe Militärs. Rund 50.000 Amtsträger sind es in diesem Jahr, ab 2017 werden eine Million verpflichtet sein, Einkünfte und Vermögen zu deklarieren.

Jaroslav Jurtschyschyn, Leiter Transparency International UkraineYaroslav/TI

Die e-Deklarationen sind eine zentrale Voraussetzung für die Arbeit des Nationalen Anti-Korruptionsbüros NABU, so etwa der Leiter von Transparency International Ukraine Jaroslav Jurtschyschyn, eines Partners der Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung für die Freiheit. Im Zusammenspiel der Anti-Korruptionsstrukturen spielt das System der e-Deklarationen, für das die Nationale Agentur zur Korruptionsprävention (aus dem Englischen als NAPC abgekürzt) zuständig ist, eine wichtige Rolle.

Sabotageakte von staatlicher Seite?

In den letzten Monaten vor der Inbetriebnahme trat jedoch zunehmend der „Staatsdienst für Spezialkommunikation und Informationsschutz“ (Derschspetssviasok – Spezialkommunikationsdienst) aus dem Schatten und erklärte schließlich unmittelbar vor dem 15. August, das „Informationssicherheitszertifikat“ für die System-Software könne nicht ausgestellt werden. Dieses ist notwendig, um Amtsträger für gemachte Angaben auch strafrechtlich zur Verantwortung ziehen zu können.

Zuvor hatten sich bereits zwei Abgeordnete der regierenden Parlamentskoalition, der Parteien „Volksfront“ und „Solidarität Petro Poroschenko Block“, bemüht, in der Öffentlichkeit Zweifel an der Sicherheit des Systems zu säen.

Was genau in den letzten Tagen vor der Lancierung des Systems passierte, ist nicht offiziell geklärt. Es kam zu einem Angriff auf das System, den Aktivisten als Diebstahl des digitalen Schlüssels eines NAPC-Mitarbeiters seitens der Sicherheitsdienste einstufen, um das System zu diskreditieren. Aktivisten wandten sich daraufhin an die westlichen Partner der Ukraine und forderten diese auf, die nächste Tranche von $1.6 Milliarden – vom IWF wegen Bedenken in Sachen Korruptionsbekämpfung zurückgehalten – zusammen mit der Visumsfreiheit auf Eis zu legen, um Druck auf Präsident und Regierung auszuüben.

Von einer Hürde zur nächsten – der Widerstand der alten Garde

Der ungeklärte Vorfall ist nicht das einzige Beispiel für technische Sabotage. Vor der geplanten Inbetriebnahme am 15. August wurden schon mehrfach technische Probleme „gefunden“ bzw. lang bekannte technische Details problematisiert. Regelmäßig spielte dabei der Spezialkommunikationsdienst eine wesentliche Rolle, der dem Sicherheitsdienst SBU traditionell nahesteht und dessen zunehmende Einmischung an der Unabhängigkeit des NAPC zweifeln lässt.

Im August beherrschte noch ein schwerer Konflikt zwischen dem Nationalen Antikorruptionsbüro (NABU), dessen Direktor Artem Sytnyk allgemein als stark und unabhängig gilt, und der Generalstaatsanwaltschaft die ukrainischen Medien. An die Spitze der Staatsanwaltschaft hatte Präsident Poroschenko seinen Vertrauten Juri Luzenko berufen – wofür das Parlament extra die Gesetzgebung so änderte, dass auch ein Nicht-Jurist Generalstaatsanwalt sein darf. Nun gibt es also den nächsten Behördenkonflikt, diesmal zwischen dem NAPC und dem Spezialkommunikationsdienst. Außerdem äußern NAPC-Mitarbeiter Zweifel an der Unabhängigkeit der eigenen Struktur, also des NAPC.

Als weiteres Bollwerk gegen ein effektives Arbeiten des Systems für e-Deklarationen könnte sich noch das Verfassungsgericht erweisen. Dessen Besetzung beließ Präsident Poroschenko im Wesentlichen so, wie sie unter seinem Vorgänger Janukowytsch war – obwohl es in seiner Macht gestanden hätte, etwa einen unabhängigen Gerichtspräsidenten zu berufen. Bei den Obersten Richtern ist eine Klage von Abgeordneten der Partei-der-Regionen des ehemaligen Staatspräsidenten gegen das e-System anhängig. Gibt das Gericht der Klage statt, ist dies erst einmal das Ende der Pläne, Transparenz in die Vermögensverhältnisse von Amtsträgern zu bringen.

Im Korruptionskampf entscheidet sich die Glaubwürdigkeit des Staates

Die Glaubwürdigkeit der Staatsspitze im Kampf gegen die Korruption muss sich deshalb daran messen lassen, ob das wichtige Instrument e-Deklarationen im Kampf gegen die Korruption langfristig in Gebrauch sein wird. Aktivisten, Fachleute und Vertreter internationaler Organisationen stellen jedenfalls einhellig fest, es gebe keinen technischen Grund, das System nicht zu betreiben.

Das System für e-Deklarationen gehört nicht auf den Server des Spezialkommunikationsdienstes. Nur das NACP als unabhängiges Korruptionspräventionsorgan, um dessen Einrichtung man sich seit zwei Jahren bemüht, kommt als Host in Frage – und dessen Unabhängigkeit gilt es zu gewährleisten. Die Vorgänge um den 15. August gehören offiziell untersucht, sonst wäre weitere Makrofinanzhilfe für die Ukraine tatsächlich problematisch. Visumsfreiheit nicht zu gewähren ist dagegen zwar ein wirksames Druckmittel auf die Staatsspitze, die der eigenen Bevölkerung gegenüber im Wort steht, trifft aber die Falschen.

Solange politische Korruption weiter Bestand hat, bleibt der ukrainische Staat schwach. Er stagniert in seiner Schwäche, weil Wirtschaft und Politik intransparent verflochten und Korruption und eine mit ihr einhergehende Kultur der Straflosigkeit ungebrochen sind. Die Ukraine, die nach dem Zerfall der Sowjetunion etwa auf dem Entwicklungsstand Polens war, könnte – wäre sie konsequent an rechtsstaatlichen und marktwirtschaftlichen Prinzipien ausgerichtet – heute ein wohlhabendes Land sein. In der traurigen Realität ist im europäischen Vergleich nur das Durchschnittseinkommen Moldawiens und Albaniens noch niedriger.

Miriam Kosmehl ist Projektleiterin der Stiftung für die Freiheit für die Ukraine und Belarus.

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…imagine ….

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see our letter on:

*Herausgegeben von Udo von Massenbach, Bärbel Freudenberg-Pilster, Joerg Barandat*

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UdovonMassenbachMailJoergBarandat

09-07-16 One Belt, One Road- Chinas Vision of Connectivity_CSSAnalyse195-EN.pdf

09-07-16 One Belt, One Road- Chinas Vision von Konnektivität Nr. 195_CSSAnalyse195-DE.pdf

Massenbach-Letter: NEWS 02.09.16

Massenbach-Letter. News

· Cicero: Neue Umfrage – Die Union in der Existenzkrise

· aus prominenter liberaler Schreibe: Dittberner, J_ Wie Merkel das Erbe Deutschlands verspielt

· Geopolitical Futures/Friedman: Russia’s Illusion of Influence in the Middle East

· Studie der Bertelsmann-Stiftung über Firmen in Deutschland, die von Migranten gegründet wurden.

· Gallup: Uninsured Down Since Obamacare; Cost, Quality Still Concerns

· Radio Vaticana:Wie funktioniert die Diplomatie des Heiligen Stuhles?

·

è From our Russian news desk

· What Did Russian Bombers in Iran Mean?

· Turkey’s intervention in Syria: A game changer?

· The Sykes-Picot Agreement And Russia

· Russia and Turkey: More Than a Rapprochement?

· “The Narrow Corridor” of American-Polish Relations

· Vladimir Putin Meets with Serzh Sargsyan (Armenia): Moscow Supports a Compromise

· Russia and Iran: Historic Mistrust and Contemporary Partnership

Massenbach*Russia’s Illusion of Influence in the Middle East

Aug. 23, 2016 Moscow’s position in the region is not as dominant as it might seem.

By Kamran Bokhari Geopolitical Futures logo

Over the past several months, media reports have made it seem like Russia’s influence is growing in the Middle East. After all, Russian air support helped Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime regain the upper hand against the rebels in Syria. Then, Turkey suddenly and intensely moved to improve ties with Russia – at a time when Turkish-American relations have deteriorated. Finally, and most recently, Russian strategic bombers conducted airstrikes in Syria after taking off from an Iranian air base.

Today, however, the serious geopolitical constraints that Russia faces in expanding its influence in the Middle East became quite apparent. The Kremlin’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said that Russia and Turkey remained at odds over Syria. Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ said that anyone who accuses Turkey of aiding the Islamic State – which Moscow has done quite loudly – is an enemy. Elsewhere, within days of allowing Russian aircraft to take off from one of its bases, Iran rescinded the permission. Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan accused Russia of a “betrayal of trust” for publicizing the deal. These different but definitive signs underscore how uncomfortable Turkey and Iran are with getting too close to Russia.

Russian-Iranian Relations

Russia and Iran are on the same side as far as Syria is concerned. They are the principal allies of the Syrian regime and cooperate closely to ensure that Assad remains in power. Tehran and Moscow also have very close bilateral relations in a number of fields. Russia has helped Iran on the international front with regards to the latter’s controversial nuclear program.

That said, there is a huge debate within Iran on trusting Russia. Here we are not talking about the reformists versus hardliners. The mistrust runs deep within Tehran’s conservative establishment. Just the other day, Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, a ranking hardline member of the powerful parliamentary committee on national security and foreign policy, warned that, in recent years, Russia had demonstrated “a different and volatile foreign policy.”

Criticizing the decision to allow Russian aircraft to use the Shahid Nojeh air base, the lawmaker remarked that whenever Iran was faced with a crisis, Russia had sided against it. The Iranians are well aware that Russia views Iran as a bargaining chip for extracting concessions from the Americans. Indeed, Russia supported the most recent wave of U.S.-led crippling sanctions against Iran in 2012 and for many years delayed the supply of the S-300 missile system to Tehran.

Iran’s problem with Russia really goes back centuries. The Russians and Persians fought a number of wars between the 17th and 19th centuries. In addition, in 1941, the Soviet Union (in coordination with Britain) invaded and occupied Iran. Even after the end of World War II, the Soviets supported the creation of the short-lived Kurdish and Azeri republics carved out of territory in Iran’s northwest. Contemporary Iran is well known for its hostile relations with the United States, but its relations with Russia have also been quite troublesome – though it is far less apparent.

Russian-Turkish Ties

Ever since the outbreak of civil war in Syria in 2011, Turkey and Russia have found themselves increasingly at odds. Turkey has been trying to oust Assad and is a principal supporter of the various rebel groups fighting the Russian-backed Syrian regime. Tensions remain contained until last year for many reasons – chief among them the fact that Turkey depends on Russia for more than half its natural gas needs. But when Russia began conducting airstrikes against the Turkish-backed rebels, Turkey shot down a Russian warplane last November.

Though they managed to avoid open conflict, Turkish-Russian relations were extremely hostile for the next six months. In June, the two sides cleared the air, with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan offering a written apology for the downed plane to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Turkey needed to improve ties with Russia because its relationship with the U.S. had soured over differences on how to deal with Syria, and especially the threat from the Islamic State.

Then came the Turkey’s July 15 coup attempt, which Turkey accused the United States of being involved in given that the founder of the Gülen movement is based in Pennsylvania. At the same time, Russia was the first nation to issue a statement of support to Erdoğan after the coup, and it appeared that the die was cast for a realignment of Turkish foreign policy.

Indeed, there has been massive anti-American rhetoric in the past six weeks along with the warming of ties with the Russians. Erdoğan even met with Putin in St. Petersburg. But those were all atmospherics, because in the end Turkey, like Iran, cannot rely on Russia. Today’s developments have only made apparent what was the case all along. If Iran, which has had a close working relationship Russia, cannot fully trust the Kremlin, Turkey has many more reasons not to. Turkish and Russian interests have historically collided in the Black Sea region, where the two have fought wars and territories have exchanged hands. Even today, Turkish and Russian proxies are at war.

More important, Turkey needs the United States, which is why we see Ankara backpedaling on the demand for Fethullah Gülen’s extradition. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu today denied that Ankara ever accused Washington of being involved in the coup. Turkish media is arguing how getting a hold of Gülen is not worth the trouble. The Turks know that they can better pursue their interests by working with the United States than by flirting with Russia.

Conversely, Turkey cannot afford to simply rely on the United States. Ankara reached out to Moscow in part because of the need to balance the U.S. But the Turks swung too far away from the United States and now are repositioning. The miscalculation is to be expected in a country that is dealing with the fallout of an attempted coup. In the end, while Turkey will not get too close to the Russians, it will also keep its distance from the Americans.

These developments show how the Russians are at best a secondary player in the Middle East. Thus, moving forward, it will be more important to watch what the real regional powers, Turkey and Iran, do to come to terms with each other and the future of the Middle East.

https://geopoliticalfutures.com/russias-illusion-of-influence-in-the-middle-east/

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From our Russian news desk:see attachment.

è What Did Russian Bombers in Iran Mean?

è Turkey’s intervention in Syria: A game changer?

è The Sykes-Picot Agreement And Russia

è Russia and Turkey: More Than a Rapprochement?

è “The Narrow Corridor” of American-Polish Relations

è Vladimir Putin Meets with Serzh Sargsyan (Armenia): Moscow Supports a Compromise

è Russia and Iran: Historic Mistrust and Contemporary Partnership

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Policy= res publica

Freudenberg-Pilster* Gallup:Uninsured Down Since Obamacare; Cost, Quality Still Concerns

by Nader Nekvasil

Story Highlights

· Uninsured rate down significantly since the healthcare law took effect

· Percentage who have trouble affording necessary care/medicines at record low

· U.S. adults don’t see improvement in healthcare costs and quality

This is the first article in a five-part series examining changes in Americans‘ health and well-being during Barack Obama’s presidency.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — During his presidential campaign and first term in office, President Barack Obama made healthcare reform the foundation of his domestic agenda. Now, six years after the Affordable Care Act was signed into law and a few months before Obama leaves office, Gallup and Healthways are reviewing how his signature legislative achievement has affected the public’s perceptions of the law’s primary goals. These goals include: increasing healthcare accessibility, reducing healthcare costs and improving healthcare quality.

To make healthcare more accessible, the Affordable Care Act requires Americans to carry health insurance or risk paying a fine — a provision often referred to as the "individual mandate." The percentage of U.S. adults without health insurance has dropped significantly since the individual mandate took effect in early 2014, according to data from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. The uninsured rate declined from 17.3% in 2013 to 10.8% so far in 2016, the lowest percentage of uninsured adults Gallup and Healthways have recorded in more than eight years of tracking. This translates to roughly 16.1 million previously uninsured adults gaining health insurance since 2013.

When Obama took office, the uninsured rate was increasing amid the worst economic recession since the Great Depression. Many Americans lost their jobs and, consequently, their healthcare coverage. The uninsured rate climbed to a six-year high of 17.3% in 2013 but dropped significantly after the individual mandate took effect in early 2014. While the drop in the uninsured rate appears to be tied to the individual mandate, declining unemployment also might have played a role.

Minorities, young adults and lower-income Americans have seen the sharpest drops in their uninsured rates. Regardless, these groups still have the highest uninsured rates across key demographic groups. Further, Gallup-Healthways research shows that collectively, states that have expanded Medicaid to provide coverage to more individuals and have established a state-run marketplace exchange have seen a greater decline in their uninsured rate than have states that took neither or just one of these actions.

Percentage With Trouble Affording Necessary Care or Medicine at Record Low

The percentage of U.S. adults who say they were unable to afford healthcare or medicines for themselves or their families at some point in the past 12 months is also at a record low after nearly eight years of Obama’s presidency. Since Gallup and Healthways began tracking this metric in 2008, it has dropped more than four percentage points, with a majority of that decline occurring after the individual mandate took effect in early 2014. The increase in the percentage of U.S. adults with health insurance appears to be a key reason why fewer U.S. adults report having difficulty affording healthcare or medicines.

Even though fewer Americans are struggling to afford healthcare, other Gallup trends suggest that the Affordable Care Act may not be meeting its goal of reducing healthcare costs. U.S. adult satisfaction with the total cost they pay for their healthcare has remained relatively steady over the past 14 years, including after the healthcare law was passed. Gallup also previously reported that since the individual mandate took effect, there has been a rise in the percentage of U.S. adults paying for all or some of their health insurance premiums who say that their premiums have gone up "a lot" over the past year.

Healthcare Quality Remains a Concern

To improve healthcare quality and lower long-term costs, the Affordable Care Act includes various provisions to encourage preventive and primary care. The percentage of U.S. adults with a personal doctor has remained relatively unchanged since early 2014, according to data from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.

Other Gallup trends suggest healthcare quality remains a concern. Gallup reported in late 2015 that the percentage of U.S. adults rating the quality of their healthcare and their healthcare coverage as "excellent" has dropped over the previous two years.

Bottom Line

Barack Obama’s legacy is focused, to some degree, around the passage of the landmark Affordable Care Act and how it has affected healthcare in the U.S. The uninsured rate was rising during Obama’s first term amid high unemployment during the economic recession. The uninsured rate has fallen since the Affordable Care Act took effect and is now back to the levels recorded before the 2007-2009 recession. The uninsured rate has dropped most among groups who previously struggled with access to healthcare, such as young adults, minorities and lower-income Americans.

However, despite the increase in healthcare accessibility, the two other original goals of the Act — increasing the quality and decreasing the cost of healthcare in the U.S. — remain in question. Fewer Americans say the quality of their healthcare is "excellent," and they are no more likely than they were before the law was passed to be satisfied with the total cost of their healthcare.

The sustainability of the Affordable Care Act in its current state has come under scrutiny. Aetna recently joined other health insurance groups in withdrawing from the healthcare marketplace, leading some experts to question the viability of the Affordable Care Act in its current form. Further, the next presidential administration could try to repeal or significantly reshape the Affordable Care Act.

Still, even with the cost, quality and future of healthcare in question, it is clear that millions of U.S. adults have gained access to healthcare through the Affordable Care Act.

These data are available in Gallup Analytics.

Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone interviews conducted January 2008-July 2016 as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index survey, with a random sample of 2,415,499 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±.08 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

For data collected before Sept. 1, 2015, each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 50% cellphone respondents and 50% landline respondents. For data collected between Sept. 1, 2015, and Aug. 5, 2016, each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 60% cellphone respondents and 40% landline respondents. Additional minimum quotas by time zone within region are included in the sampling approach.

****************************************************************************************************************** Politics: From Vision to Action

Barandat* The Taliban and the Divided Afghan State

Aug. 30, 2016 Those who would fight the Taliban cannot present a united front.

Media reports treat the story of the Taliban taking over districts all across Afghanistan as something that should not be happening. The underlying assumption is that the Taliban would not be resurging if mainstream forces were not corrupt and if they behaved democratically. There is a general tendency to overlook the reality that Afghanistan is afflicted by a much deeper problem – there is no mainstream to begin with, at least not one that is coherent. Indeed, the Taliban are fractious, but they are still the single largest coherent force in the country.

For the past several months, there has been no shortage of reports about Taliban fighters going on the offensive in various parts of the country. In the past few weeks, the situation has gotten grim. After surging forces in several districts of southern Helmand province, the Afghan jihadist movement is threatening the provincial capital of Lashkar Gah. But the province is in the Taliban’s core turf in the country’s south.

Afghan security personnel walk near the site of an attack on the elite American University of Afghanistan, in Kabul on Aug. 25.

Even yesterday’s report that Taliban fighters have taken over the Jani Khel district in eastern Paktia province is arguably not such a big deal. After all, Paktia is situated on the eastern border with Pakistan – a country where the Afghan Taliban enjoy sanctuary. What is most striking, is that the Taliban have overrun districts in the northern Kunduz, Takhar and Baghlan provinces and are very active in every single province along the country’s border with Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.

Not only have the largely Pashtun Taliban demonstrated the ability to advance into areas dominated by the country’s ethnic minorities (Tajik, Uzbek, Hazara, Turkmen, etc.) they are doing so while simultaneously operating in their traditional strongholds in the south and east.

Many will attribute the Taliban gains to the U.S.-NATO drawdown that began in 2014. It is true that the insurgent group took advantage of the vacuum left behind by departing Western troops. But what does that say about the state of the Afghan government that the United States and its Western allies established after the ouster of the Taliban regime in late 2001? The conventional wisdom is that the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (which replaced the Taliban’s Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan) remains weak.

What most observers do not want to admit is that the state constructed by the West, at the cost of at least a $100 billion, has really not taken root in the country.

We are now 15 years out from the 9/11 attacks, after which the United States set about on a nation-building mission in the southwest Asian country. The performance of the Afghan government clearly shows that that effort has not succeeded. Yes, we have come a long way from 1996, when the Taliban were able to steamroll into Kabul.

That is not about to happen again, but it doesn’t really matter. The essence of Afghanistan has not changed much since the ouster of the communist government in 1992 – three years after the withdrawal of Soviet troops in 1989. In reality, the war that began in 1979 continues, and will likely go on for the foreseeable future.

Why? Because there has not been effective government in the country since President Mohammed Najibullah was overthrown in April 1992. Whatever remained of the state after a decade of war was eviscerated in the next four years of warfare between the Islamist insurgents who had been united against the communists.

The Taliban movement, which emerged from this intra-Islamist war, was able to do so because there were no institutions to speak of – just chaos. This was followed by Taliban rule from 1996 to 2001, during which al-Qaida established its global headquarters in the country and planned and executed the 9/11 attacks. The rest is history.

The bottom line is that Afghanistan has not had a state since the late 1980s. The last state of any worth was a mixture of the Afghan monarchy that reigned uninterrupted for two generations (1933-1973), the short-lived republican regime led by President Sardar Mohammed Daoud Khan (1973-1978), and the communist regime of the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (1978-1992). Those whose infighting demolished the last coherent Afghan state did not gain power till the West needed their help against the Taliban in the aftermath of 9/11 attacks. These factions have squandered the opportunity afforded by the last decade and a half.

So the Taliban remain the single most coherent force, while the jihadist movement’s opponents remain bitterly divided. Former President Hamid Karzai was able to rule for 12 years because of active support from Western military forces. His successor, President Ashraf Ghani, came to power when NATO was on its way out of the country. Moreover, he was not able to win a clear mandate. His challenger, former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah, claimed foul play in the 2014 presidential election.

As a result, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry brokered a power-sharing agreement between Ghani and Abdullah, which led to the former becoming president and the latter the chief executive. That arrangement hasn’t really turned out well, with the rival leaders feuding. Thus, those who are supposed to be united in their struggle against the Taliban are feuding with each other. In essence, there are two camps in the country, Taliban and anti-Taliban.

That division speaks volumes about the problems plaguing the country. The Taliban remain more or less coherent, despite their internal rivalries in the wake of the death of the movement’s founder, Mullah Mohammad Omar, and his first successor, Mullah Mohammed Akhtar Rasoul (who was killed in a U.S. drone strike a few months ago). This is not to say that the Taliban are poised to retake the country.

U.S. air power and the Afghan National Security Forces remain a bulwark against a Taliban takeover. What this means is that standing in between the Taliban and Afghanistan is a Western backed security arrangement. Both the Pakistani state and society remain conducive to the Taliban’s aims. But the cross-border assistance can only go as far as the Taliban’s influence in country will allow.

In the end, the problem is that there is no Afghan mainstream that can effectively combat the Taliban. Those who oppose the Taliban cannot agree to disagree. Therefore, what Afghanistan ought to be remains a highly contested issue.

https://geopoliticalfutures.com/the-taliban-and-the-divided-afghan-state/

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Middle East

Studie der Bertelsmann-Stiftung über Firmen in Deutschland, die von Migranten gegründet wurden.

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*Massenbach’s Recommendation*

Zwei Darstellungen / Two Reports about:

Germany Should Offer Russia Concrete Cooperation or ‚Balance Will Be Lost‘ (by Sputnik) /

Kritik an Russland – Steinmeier schlägt Neustart der Rüstungskontrolle vor (by FAZ)

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier stated that security in Europe is under serious threat and proposed to resume arms control. In his article for the newspaper FAZ, the politician said that the confrontation between the two blocks, which seemed to have been overcome a long time ago, has once again appeared on the agenda.

The restart of the arms control is a "proven means for transparency, risk prevention and confidence building," Steinmeier wrote. To all, who "want to take responsibility for Europe’s security", this could be a good opportunity for cooperation, he added. "Therefore we want a structured dialogue with all partners responsible for the security of our continent," the foreign minister wrote.

Steinmeier also stressed that relations with Russia should be based on a dual strategy, which includes deterrence and dialogue. At the same time, he added that Germany should offer Russia concrete cooperation otherwise "the balance will be lost."

The minister also stated that peace in Europe in the past two decades has been taken for granted. "Now, there is again a deep gap that formed between Russia and the West, and I fear that we can’t overcome it quickly, even if we make the most serious effort," Steinmeier stated.

The German Foreign Minister repeatedly called for maintaining dialogue with Moscow, viewing anti-Russian sanctions introduced by Western countries as inefficient. He suggested that the sanctions should be relieved in the event of progress in the implementation of the Minsk agreement on the settlement of the Ukrainian conflict. In 2014, relations between Russia and the European Union deteriorated amid the crisis in Ukraine. Brussels, Washington and their allies introduced several rounds of anti-Russia sanctions over Crimea’s secession from Ukraine, accusing Moscow of meddling in the Ukrainian conflict. The Russian government has repeatedly denied its involvement in Ukrainian crisis and introduced a food embargo against EU countries in response.

FAZ: Kritik an Russland. Steinmeier schlägt Neustart der Rüstungskontrolle vor.

Bundesaußenminister Steinmeier sieht die Sicherheit in Europa bedroht und schlägt einen Neustart bei der Rüstungskontrolle vor. Die lange für überwunden gehaltene Blockkonfrontation sei wieder aktuell, schreibt er in der F.A.Z.

Mit einem Neustart der Rüstungskontrolle will Außenminister Frank-Walter Steinmeier einen neuen Rüstungswettlauf abwenden. Damit würde man zudem Russland, das eine neue Debatte über konventionelle Rüstungskontrolle in Europa fordere, beim Wort nehmen, schreibt Steinmeier in einem Gastbeitrag für die Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

Ein Neustart der Rüstungskontrolle sei ein „bewährtes Mittel für Transparenz, Risikovermeidung und Vertrauensbildung“, schreibt Steinmeier. An alle, die „für Europas Sicherheit Verantwortung tragen wollen“, könne damit ein konkretes Kooperationsangebot gemacht werden.

In der Vergangenheit habe die Strategie von Abschreckung und Entspannung gegenüber Russland gewirkt, so Steinmeier. Die Nato bekenne sich weiter zu dieser Doppelstrategie. Abschreckung sei konkret und für alle sichtbar, auch das Angebot zur Kooperation müsse konkret sein. Ein Neustart der Rüstungskontrolle müsse eine echte Verifikation erlauben, und sie müsse auch in Gebieten einsetzbar sein, deren territorialer Status umstritten ist. Zudem müssten neue Waffensysteme einbezogen, regionale Obergrenzen und Mindestabstände definiert sowie neuen militärischen Fähigkeiten und Strategien Rechnung getragen werden. „Dazu wollen wir einen strukturierten Dialog, mit allen Partnern, die für die Sicherheit unseres Kontinents Verantwortung tragen.“ Ein wichtiges Dialogforum dafür sei die die OSZE, deren Vorsitz Deutschland in diesem Jahr innehat.

Russland habe grundlegende Friedensprinzipien gebrochen, „die für uns nicht verhandelbar“ seine, schreibt Steinmeier. Über Jahrzehnte mühsam aufgebautes Vertrauen sei dahin. „Doch zugleich muss uns das Interesse einen, jede weitere Drehung der Eskalationsspirale zu vermeiden.“ Ohne die größten Anstrengungen werde der Frieden in Europa und darüber hinaus brüchig.

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Radio Vaticana

Wie funktioniert die Diplomatie des Heiligen Stuhles?

Ein Grundriss. Sie ist alt, uralt, die Diplomatie der Päpste. Sie kann und muss andere Akzente setzen als die eines einzelnen Landes, und sie kann vorangehen:

Kardinalstaatssekretär Pietro Parolin, der vatikanische Chefdiplomat, hat gerade eine behutsame Akzentverschiebung in der Arbeit der Botschaften angeregt

dahingehend, dass die Diplomatie heutzutage auch die Opfer eines Konflikts in den Blick nehmen müsse.

(Link: http://de.radiovaticana.va/news/2016/08/28/parolin_barmherzigkeit_zentraler_wert_der_diplomatie/1254112 )

Parolin argumentierte unter Verweis auf Dokumente und Äußerungen von Papst Franziskus, nahm aber auch auf ältere Päpste wie Pius XII., Papst Paul VI. und Johannes XXIII. Bezug. Er forderte einen Paradigmenwechsel in der heutigen Diplomatie, die nicht mehr nur die Konfliktparteien in den Blick nehmen dürfe, sondern darüber hinaus die Opfer von Kriegen. Insbesondere in den Verhandlungen der Phase des Post-Konflikts bestehe die Gefahr, dass ohne konstruktiven Einsatz ein neuer, dunkler Konflikt entstehe: Ein Konflikt, in dem der eigene Wille, die eigene Ideologie auf egoistische Weise durchgesetzt werden sollten.

„Die komplexeste Herausforderung, der sich die Diplomatie stellen muss, ist ihre mittlerweile globalisierende Starrheit zu überwinden. Aber nicht im Namen von allgemeinen oder partikulären Interessen, sondern indem sie die Komplexität, die Fragilität und auch die Vieldeutigkeit von den Prozessen anerkennt, die sie verfolgt, beginnt, löst und abschließt.“

Versöhnung beginne von Unten, auf lokaler Ebene, indem man die unterschiedlichen Hürden überwinde. Ziel sei es, in jene Grauzone vorzudringen, wo sich die Mängel an politischen Entscheidungen und die Grenzen des Wissens und der Technologien bemerkbar machten.

Kardinal Parolin hob die diplomatischen Beziehungen des Heiligen Stuhls zu 179 Staaten jeder Religion und Kultur hervor. Er nannte auch Erfolge bei den Verhandlungen wie etwa die Annäherung von Kuba und den USA unter anderem durch Papst Franziskus. „Für den Heiligen Stuhl bedeutet Diplomatie nicht Neutralität, sondern echter Widerspruch im Sinne des Evangeliums, mit Kompetenz, gezielten Taten für die Gerechtigkeit, aber auch mit der Barmherzigkeit.“

è Was aber ist genau die päpstliche Diplomatie? Was ist ein Nuntius, also ein päpstlicher Botschafter, wo liegen die Stärken und die Grenzen seiner Mission? Gudrun Sailer sprach mit dem italienischen Juristen Matteo Cantori. (rv)

RV: Der Heilige Stuhl unterhält heute diplomatische Beziehungen mit nicht weniger als 180 Staaten. Die katholische Kirche hat eine Sendung der Verkündigung, der Evangelisierung. Wie verträgt es sich mit diesem Auftrag, gleichzeitig eine so artikulierte und ausgefaltete Diplomatie zu unterhalten?

Cantori: „Die erste Aufgabe der päpstlichen Diplomatie ist es, der Kirche in Einheit mit Petrus zu dienen. Der Nuntius muss sich in dem Land, in das er gesandt ist, zum Lautsprecher des Heiligen Vaters machen, muss wachen und informieren: Wachen über den Zustand der Kirchen und informieren über all das den Heiligen Stuhl. Zugleich ist die päpstliche Diplomatie eine Diplomatie „sui generis“, also eigener Art. Eine Diplomatie ohne Grenzen, keinen nationalen Wirkungsradius und Schluss, sie ist unbegrenzt. Sie zielt auf alle Menschen, nicht nur auf die Christgläubigen, sondern auf alle Männer und Frauen unserer Zeit, sie schaut auf die Entwicklung und das Wachstum und den Fortschritt aller, und sucht über ihre Missionarität und evangelisierendes Werk, alle Punkte des menschlichen Lebens zu berühren.“

RV: Der Nuntius ist der Botschafter des Papstes, doch was ihn auf den ersten Blick unterscheidet von einem Botschafter jedes anderen Staates, ist, dass er ein Priester ist, ein Erzbischof. Was heißt dieser Unterschied?

Cantori: „Der Nuntius steht auf derselben Ebene wie der Bischof von Rom, weil er Mitbruder im Bischofsamt ist. Juristisch gesagt ist er die Figur, über die der Heilige Stuhl die äußerliche Gesandtschaft und die innere Gesandtschaft ausübt. Das bedeutet, der Nuntius pflegt die Beziehungen einerseits mit dem Staat und andererseits mit seiner katholischen Bevölkerung. Zu seinen Aufgaben gehört es beispielsweise, neue Bischöfe vorzuschlagen. Er muss eine Unterstützung sein für den Klerus und die Ordensleute, für die örtlichen Bischofskonferenzen, wobei er sich ihr nicht überordnen darf. Er unterstützt, hilft und verbindet. Und er ist ein Vermittler, kein Bürokrat. Oft wird gesagt, der Nuntius macht eine bürokratische Arbeit. Nein: Der Nuntius ist in erster Linie Hirte.“

RV: Man hört oft, die päpstliche Diplomatie sei historisch betrachtet die erste gewesen. Stimmt das? Und wenn ja, welche Absichten hatten die Päpste zu Beginn der Kirchengeschichte?

Cantori: „Die päpstliche Diplomatie ist die erste. Sie kam zustande, um den Papst bei Konzilien und Synoden zu vertreten. Um aber Nuntiaturen zu sehen, die den heutigen ähneln, müssen wir in die frühe Neuzeit gehen, ins 15. Jahrhundert, wenn sich die großen Nationalstaaten herausbilden. Auch der Papst hat einen eigenen Staat, den Kirchenstaat, und auch er braucht Repräsentanten, etwa in Venedig oder in Polen, überall. So entstehen fixe Nuntiaturen, nicht fallweise Repräsentanten. Im Lauf der Jahrhunderte nimmt die Nuntiatur dann immer mehr eine evangelisierende Funktion an, sie erhält auch einen missionarischen Charakter.“

RV: Der Heilige Stuhl ist längst auch bei internationalen Organisationen mit seiner Diplomatie präsent und hat permanente Beobachter bei der UNO, bei der Atomenergiebehörde, dem Welternährungsprogramm und vielen anderen Organisationen. Aus welchem Grund?

Cantori: „Weil dem Heiligen Stuhl liegen die großen Fragen der Menschheit am Herzen. Auf internationaler Ebene hat die Kirche immer die Notwendigkeit verspürt, mit allen Staaten zusammenzuarbeiten, um sich den Herausforderungen der heutigen Welt zu stellen. Sicher, das Gewicht des Heiligen Stuhles ist moralisch, weniger politisch. Aber er ist ein anerkanntes Mitglied unter den Staaten, und er sieht ab von nationalen Interessen zugunsten universeller Werte: Recht auf Leben oder Verzicht auf Gewalt etwa. Die grundlegenden Menschenrechte, Meinungsfreiheit, Religionsfreiheit.“

RV: Inwiefern verteidigen die Repräsentanten des Heiligen Stuhles auch die Rechte der anderen Religionen?

Cantori: „Der päpstliche Repräsentant ist nicht nur für die katholischen Gläubigen da. Es wird nicht gesagt: hier sind 1.000 Einwohner, 100 Getaufte, ich muss noch 100 dazugewinnen. Nein: Hier sind 1.000 Einwohner, mir liegen die 100 Getauften am Herzen, aber mir liegen auch die 900 Nichtgetauften am Herzen, die anderen Religionen oder gar keiner angehören. Ein weiteres Merkmal der päpstlichen Diplomatie ist ihre Unparteilichkeit. Sie lässt sich nicht leiten von Sympathien oder Antipathien. Der Heilige Stuhl begreift es als seine Pflicht, die Stimme der Vernunft zu Gehör zu bringen.“

http://de.radiovaticana.va/news/2016/08/29/die_diplomatie_des_heiligen_stuhles_ein_%C3%BCberblick/1254358 )

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Deutsche Bischofskonferenz – Pressemeldung: Erzbischof Schick reist in die Türkei

Begegnung mit dem Ökumenischen Patriarchen und Besuche von Flüchtlingseinrichtungen geplant

Der Vorsitzende der Kommission Weltkirche der Deutschen Bischofskonferenz, Erzbischof Dr. Ludwig Schick (Bamberg) ist zu einem mehrtägigen Besuch in die Türkei, wo in den vergangenen Wochen und Monaten drei neue Bischöfe ihr Amt angetreten haben. Erzbischof Schick wird unter anderem mit den neuen Ordinarien in Istanbul, Bischof Rubén Tierrablanca Gonzalez, und Izmir, Erzbischof Lorenzo Piretto, sowie weiteren Vertretern der katholischen Kirche in der Türkei zusammentreffen. Der Ökumenische Patriarch von Konstantinopel, Bartholomaios I., wird Erzbischof Schick in einer Privataudienz empfangen.

Ziel der Reise ist neben der Begegnung mit der katholischen Kirche und der Vertiefung der ökumenischen Kontakte mit der griechisch-orthodoxen Kirche der intensive Erfahrungsaustausch im Bereich der Flüchtlingshilfe. Offiziellen Angaben zufolge hat die Türkei rund 2,7 Millionen Flüchtlinge aus Syrien und dem Irak aufgenommen – mehr als jedes andere Land. So wird Erzbischof Schick Projekte der Flüchtlingshilfe der Caritas und der Salesianer Don Boscos besuchen.

Mit der Reise in die Türkei setzt der Vorsitzende der Kommission Weltkirche seine Besuche von Flüchtlingseinrichtungen im Nahen Osten fort. 2015 traf der Erzbischof im Libanon mit Geflüchteten und Verantwortlichen für die Flüchtlingshilfe zusammen, im April 2016 bereiste er Syrien, Jordanien und den Nord-Irak. Das besondere Augenmerk galt dabei jeweils dem Engagement der Ortskirchen und deren Zusammenarbeit mit den katholischen Organisationen in Deutschland sowie mit der internationalen Gemeinschaft. Bereits Ende November vergangenen Jahres besuchte der Vorsitzende der Deutschen Bischofskonferenz, Kardinal Reinhard Marx, Istanbul, um an den Feierlichkeiten zum orthodoxen Andreasfest teilzunehmen.

aus prominenter liberaler Schreibe: Dittberner, J_Wie Merkel das Erbe Deutschlands verspielt.

von: Jürgen Dittberner

Datum: 26.08.2016 08:12 Uhr

Merkel ist bald elf Jahre im Amt. Wie hat sich das Land unter ihr verändert? Parteienforscher Dittberner hat die Große Koalition und die Kanzlerin von Beginn an beobachtet – und zieht eine ernüchternde Bilanz. Ein Gastbeitrag.

Parteienforscher Jürgen Dittberner beobachtet die Große Koalition und Kanzlerin von Beginn an.

Der FDP-Politiker war Staatssekretär im Berliner Senat und in Brandenburg.

2006 erschein sein Buch: „Große Koalition – kleine Schritte“.

Nach der nationalen Katastrophe von 1945 entstand im Westen Deutschlands eine Republik, die sich durch Demokratie, Wohlstand, Friedfertigkeit und Maß auszeichnete. Nicht, dass den „Westdeutschen“ alles in den Schoß gelegt wurde. Alles wurde erarbeitet und nach und nach erkämpft.

Doch nun wird so viel vertan.

Der Parlamentarische Rat – dieses Ur-Gremium Westdeutschlands – schuf ein „Grundgesetz“ – keine „Verfassung“ – für die spätere Bundesrepublik. Darin wurden Lehren aus der jüngsten deutschen Geschichte fixiert: Dem hemmungslosen Zentralismus des untergegangenen „Führer“-staates wurde ein wirkungsvoller Föderalismus entgegen gesetzt. Der Verachtung der politischen Parteien folgte deren Aufwertung. Viele Rechte des Staatsoberhauptes gingen an den Kanzler über. Politisch Verfolgten wie zuvor die Juden oder Bibelforscher wurde Asyl angeboten. Vor allem aber: Im Mittelpunkt aller Politik sollte der Mensch, nicht die Nation oder der Staat stehen. „Die Würde des Menschen ist unantastbar.“

Die erste Bundesregierung unter Konrad Adenauer festigte den neuen Staat nach innen und außen. Nach Innen setzte sie die Ächtung des politischen Extremismus rechts und links durch, denn beim Bundesverfassungsgericht in Karlsruhe beantragte diese Regierung, dass die rechte SRP einerseits und die linke DKP andererseits verboten würden. Sie war damit erfolgreich. Zugleich integrierte die Regierung die Bundesrepublik in die westliche Staatenwelt. „Westintegration“ hieß das.

Heftig und oft außerparlamentarisch war der Streit um die Rolle des Militärs in den fünfziger Jahren. Im Zuge der Westintegration wurde die Bundeswehr schließlich gegen viel Widerstand gegründet – als Landesverteidigungsarmee und beherrscht von den Westmächten einerseits sowie vom Bundestag anderseits. Der Militarismus früherer Zeiten sollte aus den Kasernen verbannt werden. Dafür sorgte das Konzept des „Staatsbürgers in Uniform“.

Zugleich krempelten die Nachkriegsdeutschen die Ärmel hoch. Sie bauten ihr Land wieder auf, schufen Straßen, Fabriken und Handelsunternehmen. Der Wirtschaftsminister Ludwig Erhard setzte auf den geläuterten Neoliberalismus und führte die „soziale Marktwirtschaft“ ein. So, zudem befeuert durch die Wirtschaftshilfe des „Marshallplanes“ der Amerikaner. entstand das „Wirtschaftswunder“.

Nach dem ersten Staatengründer Konrad Adenauer kam ein zweiter. Es war ein parteipolitischer Glücksfall, dass der nicht Christ-, sondern Sozialdemokrat war: Willy Brandt. Nach Innen und Außen verankerte er mit seiner Regierung die Bundesrepublik abermals. Unter dem Stichwort „Mehr Demokratie wagen“ füllte er die formale Demokratie mit Inhalten. Ideen, Bewegungen und Initiativen kamen neben den bekannten politischen Institutionen auf das Feld der Politik und wurden dort akzeptiert. Flankiert von der „Westintegration“ erfolgte die Aussöhnung mit dem Osten Europas, dem die Nazis viel Leid angetan hatten. Die „Neue Ostpolitik“ sicherte den Frieden im einst kriegerischen Europa.

So wurde Deutschland stark. Die frühen Erben von Adenauer beherzigten die Lehren der Vergangenheit. Helmut Kohl spielte in Europa nicht den starken Mann, sondern stimmte sich mit kleinen Staaten ab, wenn es auf dem alten Kontinent um etwas Wichtiges zu gehen schien. An Kriegen der Westmächte beteiligt er sich nicht; er kaufte sich frei. Im westlichen Ausland lästerte man halb bewundernd, lange würde Westdeutschland das alles nicht bezahlen können.

Danach kam der Übermut. Deutschland wurde wiedervereinigt, und Gerhard Schröder wurde ein Kanzler im Übergang. Zwar zog er mit in einen Jugoslawienkrieg und engagierte sich in Afghanistan, aber als die Amerikaner den Irak angriffen, verweigerte er ihnen – zusammen mit den Franzosen – die Gefolgschaft. Er war unsicher. Was sollte die Rolle des vereinten Deutschlands in der Welt sein? Den russischen Präsidenten Putin betrachtete er als Freund, Washington war ihm fremd.

Doch seine Nachfolgerein Angela Merkel hat keine Skrupel. Sie vertut gegenwärtig viel vom Erbe der alten Bundesrepublik.

Schon als sie noch in der Opposition war, beteuerte sie, dass sie im Amt der Regierungschefin Deutschland mit in den Irak hätte einmarschieren lassen. Als sie dann Kanzlerin war, wurde bekannt, dass sie ein Faible für die einstige Zarin „Katharina die Große“ habe. Deutschland war wieder wer. Für Frau Merkel war klar, dass sie in Europa den Ton angebe. Wenn sie mit Frankreich einig war, galt das eben, auch wenn kleinere Länder wenig Begeisterung zeigten.

Mit Putin kam sie anfangs gut aus. Das war unpolitisch. Dass der Russe Deutsch und die Deutsche Russisch spricht, brachte beide Persönlichkeiten zunächst nahe. Doch Frau Merkels Herz schlägt für Amerika, und seit der Krim-Krise ist sie eine der schärfsten Kritikerinnen des Kremls. Deutschland will Russlands Politik beeinflussen! Adenauer hingegen hatte gewusst, dass das nicht funktioniert. Er vereinbarte mit dem Vorgänger-Staat Russlands, der Sowjetunion, diplomatische Beziehungen. Dem Rheinländer ging es um das Schicksal deutscher Kriegsgefangener in der Sowjetunion.

Die Uckermärkerin aus der eben noch von Russen besetzten DDR belehrt nun die alte Weltmacht, was wahre Demokratie sei. Deutschland und Russland haben aber eine lange gemeinsame Geschichte. Die größere Macht von beiden war dabei stets Russland. Wenn es darauf ankam, hatten Petersburg oder Moskau das Sagen und nicht Berlin. Daran wird sich zukünftig auch nichts ändern. Hat die Kanzlerin das bedacht?

Unter Adenauer war die CDU ein „Kanzlerwahlverein“. Möglichst viele Gruppen und Schichten sollten sich an seiner Union orientieren, und so geschah es. Am rechten Spektrum des Volkes blieb wenig Platz; die CDU saugte viel auf. Wie der „Alte“ hat auch Frau Merkel eine Partei geschaffen – allerdings keine eigene, sondern eine ihr wenig gesonnene, die AfD. Dass die rechtspopulistisch eingestellt ist, stört offenbar nicht sehr, denn diese Folge hätte bei der Propagierung der offiziellen Flüchtlingspolitik in Deutschland einkalkuliert werden müssen.

Nun, wo es schon sehr spät ist, kommen die Behörden darauf, dass das Grundgesetz bewusst von „politisch Verfolgten“ und nicht „vom Krieg Betroffenen“ spricht, wenn es Asyl verheißt. Als die Kanzlerin Deutschland für alle Syrer öffnete, ignorierte sie diesen Tatbestand.

Die Funktion der politischen Parteien wird neuerdings auf deren Kampagnenfähigkeit reduziert. Nicht der Wettbewerb der politischen Konzepte ist mehr ihre Aufgabe, sondern die Herstellung allgemeiner Wählbarkeit. Dabei saugt die CDU-Vorsitzende andere Parteien – vor allem die SPD – aus, um im Staate an der Macht zu bleiben. Kritiker nennen das „Bonapartismus“.

Einst hieß es in Deutschland: „Nie wieder Krieg!“ Noch Helmut Kohl wusste, wieviel Elend durch Krieg entsteht. 1945 bis 1990 schien es, als könnte Deutschland ein Land werden, das aus eigener Hybris gelernt hatte und den Krieg als „Mittel der Politik“ ein für alle Mal ächtete. Unter Angela Merkel ist Schluss damit. Die Bundeswehr soll eine Interventionsarmee werden. Je mehr Auslandseinsätze sie hat, desto besser. Auch das kostbarste Erbe der alten Bundesrepublik ist verspielt.

So vieles wird vertan! Aus der „Westintegration“ wurde Kadavergehorsam vor allem gegenüber den USA. Die „Soziale Marktwirtschaft“ wird ausgetestet mit staatlich verordnetem Mindestlohn, Mütterrente und der Herabsetzung der Altersgrenze auf 63 Jahre. Aus „Mehr Demokratie wagen“ ist Kampagnenfähigkeit der Regierung und Homogenität der veröffentlichten Meinung geworden, „Ostpolitik“ heißt jetzt, Deutschland die Führung in Europa überlassen. Und „Friede schaffen ohne Waffen“ gibt es nicht mehr, denn Krieg ist erlaubt.

Wie so oft in der Welt, so geschah es mit Deutschland nach 1945.

Erster Schritt: Aufbau.

Zweiter Schritt: Die ersten Erben verwalten gut und wecken Begehrlichkeiten anderswo.

Dritter Schritt: Spätere achten den Wert des Erbes nicht und bringen es durch.

Armes Deutschland, Deine besten Jahre könnten vorbei sein….

Cicero: Neue Umfrage – Die Union in der Existenzkrise

VON ALEXANDER MARGUIER am 31. August 2016

In Mecklenburg-Vorpommern kündigt sich ein politisches Erdbeben an. Die neueste Umfrage von Insa im Auftrag von Cicero sieht die AfD bei den Landtagswahlen am kommenden Sonntag vor der CDU. Für die Christdemokraten ist das eine Katastrophe.

Die einfache Frage lautet: Welchen Anspruch hat die CDU noch an sich selbst? Zum Selbstverständnis dieser Partei, gegründet als bürgerliche Sammlungsbewegung, gehörte schon immer und oft sogar zuallererst die Regierungsfähigkeit. Allerdings war damit eben nicht nur ein „irgendwie Mitregieren“ gemeint, sondern durchaus ein Gestaltungswille unter konservativ-liberalem Vorzeichen und mit christlich-sozialer Prägung.

Es reicht aber ein Blick auf die derzeitigen Verwerfungen der deutschen Politik, um festzustellen: Weit ist es damit nicht mehr her. Während die bayerische Schwesterpartei CSU knallhart und alles andere als erfolglos an der Verteidigung ihrer absoluten Mehrheit im Freistaat arbeitet, hat sich etwa die baden-württembergische CDU klaglos und kleinlaut in ihre Rolle als Juniorpartner der Grünen eingefunden. Hauptsache mitregieren.

AfD bei 23 Prozent, CDU nur 20 Prozent

Wenn an diesem Sonntag in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern gewählt wird, könnte sogar ein neues Kapitel im Niedergang der Christdemokraten eingeläutet werden – sollte tatsächlich die AfD stärker abschneiden als die Union. Das zumindest ist nach einer aktuellen Umfrage des Instituts Insa im Auftrag von Cicero zu erwarten. Demnach käme die CDU auf 20 Prozent der abgegebenen Stimmen, die AfD auf 23 Prozent. Es wäre die Kernschmelze der Union, wenn sich rechts von ihr eine Partei auf Landesebene etablieren könnte, die größer ist als sie selbst. Noch dazu in dem Bundesland, wo auch der Wahlkreis der Kanzlerin liegt. Ganz davon abgesehen, dass es für eine Fortsetzung der Großen Koalition unter dem SPD-Ministerpräsidenten Erwin Sellering sehr, sehr knapp werden würde.

Angesichts dieser Zahlen wirkt der Spruch von Kanzleramtsminister Altmaier, die Werte für die AfD würden aufgrund der Maßnahmen der Bundesregierung in der Flüchtlingskrise „wie ein Soufflé“ in sich zusammenfallen, nur noch wie ein frommer Wunsch. Die Alternative für Deutschland scheint sich als feste Kraft zu etablieren, und die Union hat dazu sehr viel beigetragen. Die Gründe sind bekannt. Mit Wählerbeschimpfung kommt man nicht weiter, und gesundbeten lässt sich die Lage auch nicht. Der alte Spruch von Franz Josef Strauß, wonach es rechts von der Union keine demokratisch legitimierte Partei geben dürfe, hat nichts von seiner Gültigkeit verloren.

Für die CDU bleibt bald nur noch die Opposition

Zumindest dann nicht, wenn die CDU sich nicht damit abfinden will, in Zukunft nur noch zusammen mit der SPD oder mit den Grünen regieren zu können – oder eben, wie in Sachsen-Anhalt, mit beiden gemeinsam, weil selbst große Koalitionen nicht mehr mehrheitsfähig sind. Tatsächlich befinden die Christdemokraten durch den Aufstieg der AfD in einer Sackgasse: Koalitionen mit den Rechtspopulisten sind ausgeschlossen, wogegen die SPD in den meisten Bundesländern mit den Grünen und der Linkspartei regieren könnte. Demnächst womöglich auch in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern und in Berlin.

Kein Wunder also, dass jetzt der ehemalige CDU-Bundesgeschäftsführer Peter Radunski seine Partei dazu ermuntert hat, den Bann gegen die AfD aufzuheben. Bei solchen Forderungen geht es dann nur noch um den eigentlichen Markenkern der Union, nämlich die Regierungsfähigkeit.

Die CDU muss wieder konservativ werden

Eine Koalition von CDU und AfD wäre allerdings, mehr noch als der Verlust politischer Gestaltungskraft, das Eingeständnis des Scheiterns jenes von der Parteivorsitzenden vorgegebenen Kurses nach überall und nirgendwo. Tatsächlich befindet sich die Christdemokratie derzeit in der schwersten Krise seit ihrem Bestehen. Ein Erdbeben kündigt sich da an, und den Bewohnern des Unionshauses wird es nicht helfen, sich unter der Tischplatte zu verkriechen. Es ist vielmehr eine Frage der gesellschaftlichen Statik und der politischen Bindungskräfte. Immerhin: Um die Einsturzgefahr zu bannen, muss sich diese Partei nicht neu erfinden. Genau das hat sie nämlich in den vergangenen Jahren versucht. Mit absehbarem Ergebnis.

Das Umfrageergebnis (erhoben am 29. August) für die am Sonntag bevorstehende Landtagswahl in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern von Insa im Auftrag von Cicero:

SPD 28%, AfD 23%, CDU 20%, Die Linke 15%, Bündnis90/Die Grünen 6%, FDP 2%, NPD 2%.

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see our letter on:

*Herausgegeben von Udo von Massenbach, Bärbel Freudenberg-Pilster, Joerg Barandat*

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UdovonMassenbachMailJoergBarandat

08-30-16 Russia-Iran-Turkey-Armenia-Poland.pdf

08-30-16 the-taliban-and-the-divided-afghan-state.pdf

Migrationsunternehmen in D Studie Bertelsmannstiftung.pdf

Massenbach-Letter: NEWS 26.08.16

Massenbach-Letter. News

· NYT:Think Hillary Clinton Will Win in a Landslide? Don’t Bet on It

· Washington Post: Inside the exclusive events helping to fund Clinton and the Democratic Party

· [Inside the Clinton Donor Network]

· Washington Post: Hillary’s heelClinton Foundation donors got access to the State Department.

· Turkey and the Energy Transit Question

· Is Russia Safe From Extremist Attacks Like Those in Europe?

· US Army War College Quarterly: Why Russia is Reviving Its Conventional Military Power

· From my Russian news desk: Russia and Turkey: More Than a Rapprochement?

·

Massenbach*Italy: Germany To Accept Hundreds Of Migrants

August 23, 2016 | 17:21 GMT

Beginning in September, Germany will accept hundreds of Iraqi, Syrian and Eritrean migrants currently living in camps in Italy, Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said Aug. 23, Reuters reported. An EU plan put in place in 2015 was meant to divert up to 40,000 migrants from Italy and Greece to other member states over two years. However, as border security has increased and with few EU nations willing to accept migrants, many have been trapped. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is already under pressure from the anti-immigration party Alternative for Germany but needs to forge a lasting solution to the migrant crisis.

https://www.stratfor.com/situation-report/italy-germany-accept-hundreds-migrants?id=899b2d6282&uuid=ad9a1aac-35ce-4f7b-ae6b-9f7323421f3f

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From our Russian news desk:see attachment “Russia – Asia”.

Russia and Turkey: More Than a Rapprochement?

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Carnegie Moscow CenterIs Russia Safe From Extremist Attacks Like Those in Europe?

Source: Balkis Press/ABACAPRESS.COM/TASS

Dmitri Trenin
Op-Ed August 12, 2016 Newsweek

To a casual observer, it may seem surprising. Russian speakers form one of the largest groups among Islamic State’s (ISIS) foreign fighters. For over 10 months, Russia has been actively involved in the conflict in Syria.

The Russian North Caucasus remains a region of perennial instability. A Kiev-based Crimean Tartar group has vowed to take direct action against what it calls the Russian occupation of the peninsula. Yet, so far, Russia seems to have been spared the upsurge in extremist attacks which has affected France, Belgium and Germany. Why?

To begin with, this perception is wrong. Russia has lost more lives than France has in its recent attacks combined —224—as a result of the bombing of its passenger jet over Sinai on October 31, 2015. The perpetrators are widely believed to have been a local jihadist group which had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State militant group (ISIS).

The attack happened just one month after the start of the Russian military campaign in Syria. Flights between Russia and Egypt, a favorite holiday destination for many Russians, have not been resumed since, which suggests that the threat persists.

ISIS certainly has Russia in its sights. People pledging allegiance to ISIS have carried out several deadly strikes in Dagestan. The FSB, Russia’s domestic security agency, reports an increase in the activity of potential terrorists across the country. Would-be bombers and attackers have been apprehended in a number of Russian regions. One of the stated reasons for President Putin’s decision to go into Syria was to fight the enemy in its own territory, rather than wait for him to come to Russia.

So far, Russia itself has been spared major terrorist attacks. The October plane bombing occurred after the Russian jet had taken off from an Egyptian airport. More than a dozen Russian servicemen who were killed in Syria died on the battlefield. The concerns often expressed in the West ahead of the 2014 Sochi Olympics did not, fortunately, materialize.

Clearly, the Russian security services have gained a lot of experience; Russia’s anti-terror legislation, already harsh, is getting harsher; and Chechnya, once the main trouble spot on Russia’s map, is tightly controlled by a strongman, Ramzan Kadyrov, who calls himself “Putin’s soldier”.

That said, there are considerable differences between Russia and Western Europe, the principal target of ISIS-inspired or –affiliated attackers. In Russia, Muslims and the Orthodox Christian majority have lived side-by-side for centuries. Integration has not always been perfect, but an acceptable modus vivendi exists, both at the grassroot and elite levels.

Islam is an established religion in Russia, recognized by the state, alongside Orthodox Christianity, Buddhism and Judaism. The vast majority of Muslim migrants who come to work in Russia arrive from the former Soviet republics of Central Asia. Like guest workers in Europe in the 1960s and 1970s, they either come and go on a rotating basis or seek to stay and assimilate. In sum, Russia’s imperial legacy and its multi-ethnic, multi-religious nature are cushioning the impact of Islamist violence.

There is also the bitter experience of the 1990s and the early 2000s, the time of the war in Chechnya. Then, terrorism was a tool frequently used in Moscow and elsewhere.

Passenger planes, metro stations and whole apartment blocks were blown up, and hundreds of hospital patients, theater goers and schoolchildren were taken hostage—against the background of bloody battles in the North Caucasus. That war is long over, but making sure that peace does not unravel in the region is a major concern for the Kremlin, which explains the unique contract that de facto exists between Putin and Kadyrov.

None of the above gives the Russian leadership any ground for complacency. Domestically radicalized jihadis, ISIS followers, and the returnees from the Syria war are currently the top concerns—in addition to the extremist groups who have continued to operate in the North Caucasus after the end of the Chechnya war.

There are even bigger threats on the horizon. Russia’s participation in the Syria war, although limited, is essentially open-ended. It also looks like a first instalment in a series of possible future engagements along Russia’s southern periphery.

Afghanistan, almost a decade and a half after the start of the U.S.-led operation, remains unstable. Two of the biggest countries in Central Asia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, face potentially difficult transitions as their founding presidents, in their mid-to-late 70s, prepare to leave the scene.

The smaller countries of the region, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, are facing mounting challenges to their stability. Given that Russia’s border with Kazakhstan, the world’s longest, is not controlled as closely as the country’s other frontiers, and that borders in Central Asia are not sufficiently secure, overflow of jihadis across them is a possibility they need to reckon with.

Even as Russia is again engaged in a confrontation with the West, it is confronted by very real threats coming from the south.

This article was originally published in Newsweek.

http://carnegie.ru/2016/08/12/is-russia-safe-from-extremist-attacks-like-those-in-europe/j3n5?mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiTm1SaVlqYzBOR1JtTlRjMSIsInQiOiJoU3hyOTdEcFBBZmtMcytLa3pPU2dkWFwvT0lNOWZNU1lpdWpKbmdYdWs1c0hyOWVMaGF5clVVSGpZUk4wTTR5RE01akJndnl5bHB5UG55R2JlczFnRk14bWFmdXNUbEgzOHFIUktMUkZpcFU9In0%3D

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Policy= res publica

Freudenberg-Pilster* NYT:Think Hillary Clinton Will Win in a Landslide? Don’t Bet on It.

vote. Credit Damon Winter/The New York Times

Donald J. Trump, after weeks of self-inflicted damage, has seen support for his candidacy in national polls dip into the 30s — Barry Goldwater and Walter F. Mondale territory — while Hillary Clinton has extended her lead to double digits in several crucial swing states.

Time to declare a landslide, right? Not so fast.

The vote may be more favorable to Mr. Trump than the worst-case-scenario prognosticators suggest for a very simple reason: Landslides do not really happen in presidential elections anymore.

It has been 32 years since a president won the popular vote by a double-digit percentage. That was when Mr. Mondale suffered an 18-point defeat to Ronald Reagan in 1984. It was also the last time there was a landslide among states, with Mr. Mondale winning only Minnesota and the District of Columbia.

There are a variety of factors that are likely to prevent a candidate today from rallying the huge, 60-plus-point majorities that swept Franklin D. Roosevelt back into office in 1936, Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964 and Richard M. Nixon in 1972.

OPEN Interactive Feature

Interactive Feature: Who Will Be President?

The country is too fragmented and its political temperature too overheated for any single person to emerge as a consensus choice for anything nearing two-thirds of the electorate. And that climate has led the political parties to become far more ideologically uniform than they used to be.

“The biggest difference between today and say, 1936 or 1964, is the composition of the two parties,” said Jonathan Darman, author of the book “Landslide: LBJ and Ronald Reagan at the Dawn of a New America.” Party identification used to be more fluid, making it less difficult for partisan voters to conceive of supporting someone of the opposite affiliation.

“The Republican and Democratic parties were much more heterogeneous than the parties we have today,” Mr. Darman added. “Party identification had a lot more to do with regional ties and family traditions than ideology.”

Data show just how less likely crossover voting is today. Ninety percent of Republicans and two-thirds of independents see Mrs. Clinton unfavorably, according to the most recent McClatchy/Marist poll. And many Trump defectors are choosing to vote for third-party candidates, which has also contributed to Mrs. Clinton’s inability to break the 50 percent threshold in most national polls. (All together, the third-party candidates are approaching 15 percent of the vote, indicating an unabated dissatisfaction with the nominees for the two major parties.)

Photo

Hillary Clinton on Tuesday in Burbank, Calif. Even as her rival has slid, she remains below the 50 percent threshold in many polls.

According to Amy Mitchell, director of journalism research at Pew Research Center, about 20 percent of voters now hold political beliefs that place them at the ideological poles of their respective parties — a number that doubled from 2004 to 2014. And these people tend to reinforce one another’s views. “Those on the ends of the political spectrum are more likely to surround themselves with people that think like they do,” Ms. Mitchell said.

This high level of polarization could contribute to a curious electoral phenomenon, which could cost Mrs. Clinton support: If people begin to believe that she is going to run away with the election, they may lodge a protest vote against her simply to deny her a commanding victory.

“If it becomes a ‘free vote,’ ” said Peter Hart, a Democratic pollster, “I think that could be one of her problems. If it looks all too easy and all too comfortable, there may be voters who will say, ‘I don’t want her to win by a landslide.’ ”

If Mrs. Clinton performs well enough, she could achieve something her husband, Bill Clinton, never did: winning a majority of the popular vote. But given the polling today, the election is showing certain resemblances to the 1992 race that sent Mr. Clinton to the White House the first time. That year, many voters dissatisfied with President George Bush flocked to the independent Ross Perot, and neither Mr. Bush nor Bill Clinton came close to a majority.

OPEN Graphic

Graphic: Only 9% of America Chose Trump and Clinton as the Nominees

Mr. Clinton took a whopping 370 electoral votes, despite winning just 43 percent of the vote. With Mr. Perot on the ballot again in 1996, Mr. Clinton won only 49 percent.

President Obama’s victory in his first term was considered about as large a landslide as possible given how split the country is. But when compared with the Johnson, Roosevelt and Reagan landslides, it was paltry: just 53 percent. Recent elections were more closely divided. George W. Bush received 48 percent in 2000 — after he failed to win the popular vote but won the Electoral College — and 51 percent in 2004.

The margin of victory, however, is about more than just bragging rights. If voter unease does not subside, a smaller victory could limit Mrs. Clinton’s ability to claim the kind of popular mandate that she and Democrats on Capitol Hill would like.

“A mandate is some kind of issue platform that you have advocated that is the basis of your victory,” said Lee M. Miringoff, the director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion. “Not fear of the person who got beaten, which I think is the prime motivator of the Clinton people: the fear of Trump. The same thing can be said for Trump voters: fear of Clinton.”

Absent a popular vote landslide, the only overwhelming chances for victory lie in the Electoral College. Mr. Obama won in 2008 with 365 electoral votes to Senator John McCain’s 173, for example.

Mrs. Clinton could approach or even exceed that if Mr. Trump’s poll numbers remain depressed. But even so, for Mr. Trump not to carry close to 20 states would be a defeat on a huge scale. Mr. McCain won 22 states in 2008. And despite the scale of that defeat, it was still far less lopsided than Mr. Mondale’s one state and the District of Columbia.

Washington Post: Inside the exclusive events helping to fund Clinton and the Democratic Party

The price of entry to see Hillary Clinton on Sunday evening was $50,000 per person, a sum that got you an al fresco meal of tomato and mozzarella salad, lobster, strawberry shortcake and an intimate conversation with the possible next president of the United States.

“It was the easiest event I’ve ever done,” said Elaine Schuster, a longtime Clinton friend who hosted the soiree at her waterfront home on Cape Cod, Mass. “Everyone wanted to come.”

Not everyone could, of course: Just 28 people joined Clinton for cocktails and dinner in Schuster’s back yard.

The Democratic nominee has spent much of August in such exclusive environs, helping her campaign and the party scoop up at least $32 million in three weeks as part of a nonstop press of high-dollar fundraisers.

Clinton has touted her growing support from small contributors, whose donations of $200 or less made up nearly 40 percent of her campaign’s $62 million haul in July.

But the former secretary of state devoted much of this month to seeking big money to finance the Democratic Party, a race for cash that has taken her from Greenwich, Conn., to Nantucket, Mass., to Beverly Hills, Calif.

The fundraising drive has served as a reminder of her deep and decades-long connections to some of the country’s wealthiest figures, a jarring contrast with her efforts to cast herself as an ally of those left out of prosperity.

“There is too much inequality, too little upward mobility. It is just too hard to get ahead today,” Clinton said during a major economic speech this month in the blue-collar community of Warren, Mich. If elected, she pledged, “I will have your back every single day that I serve.”

That appeal to working-class voters was bookended by two expensive fundraisers. The night before, Clinton had held a $25,000-a-head event in nearby Birmingham, Mich., at the home of a musician whose father was the owner of basketball’s Detroit Pistons. Legendary soul singer Aretha Franklin provided entertainment for the roughly 70 guests, performing “Natural Woman.”

And on the evening of her speech, donors paid $50,000 apiece to socialize with the candidate at the Chicago Club, one of the city’s most exclusive social gathering places. Clinton’s running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine (Va.), did his part by appearing at a fundraiser the same day at a Roman-style trattoria in a boutique Manhattan hotel, where admission started at $50,000 as well.

The Democratic ticket’s relentless fundraising this month — which included 50 private events through Monday, split roughly in half between the running mates — is helping to drive what is expected to be a record monthly haul for the campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

But the intense pursuit of big money spotlights what has long been one of Clinton’s biggest vulnerabilities: her immersion in a wealthy elite circle that has supported her family’s political and philanthropic causes over the past four decades. Those relationships were underscored by newly released emails from her time as secretary of state, which showed how the requests of her longtime friends and donors captured the attention of top Clinton aides.

Republican nominee Donald Trump also has devoted much of August to the fundraising circuit, with about two dozen events scheduled in some of the same exclusive enclaves as Clinton’s. But he does not have the same kind of long-standing connections to wealthy donors as the former first lady — relationships that have paid dividends as she has sought financing for her second White House run.

The billionaire real estate developer has attacked Clinton as beholden to her benefactors, picking up a critique that Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.) made during the Democratic primaries.

“Hillary Clinton’s donors own her,” Trump said at a rally in Akron, Ohio, on Monday night. “They own her lock, stock and barrel. They own her, and she will do whatever they tell her to do.”

It’s an argument that resonates with many Sanders fans, who remain uncomfortable with Clinton’s pursuit of big money.

“Fifty thousand dollars is more than a lot of people make in a year,” said Erich Pica, president of Friends of the Earth Action, an environmental group that was an early Sanders supporter.

“When you’re taking such big-dollar contributions, ordinary Americans have a right to question what people are getting in return,” he added.

Some Sanders supporters are even more pointed in their criticism, noting that the senator’s low-dollar fundraising juggernaut surpassed Clinton for several months.

“It seems to be 180 degrees opposite of what Bernie talked about,” said Burt Cohen, a former New Hampshire state senator and host of a podcast called “Keeping Democracy Alive.” “It’s more of that strategy of leaving the Bernie people in the dust.”

Clinton officials said that those writing big checks are supplying just a fraction of the campaign’s contributions. Of the $62 million Clinton raised for her campaign in July, $44 million was contributed online, they said. Donations of $200 or less totaled more than $24 million, about 38 percent.

Trump also brought in about $24 million in small donations in July, about two-thirds of the $36 million he collected in his campaign committee.

Clinton spokesman Josh Schwerin said in a statement that “grassroots support continues to be the lifeblood of this campaign. Hillary Clinton raised nearly 70 percent of her money online in July, with about half of the donations coming from first time donors and the average donation to the campaign for the month was just $44.”

Still, Clinton spent most of August raising huge sums for the national party, which can accept vastly larger contributions than her campaign, as a result of rules being loosened in 2014.

She pulled in at least $1.5 million from 15 guests who attended a dinner in Omaha hosted by Susan Buffett, the daughter of Warren Buffett, a business magnate and investor, according to details released by the campaign.

A few days later, Clinton scooped up at least $750,000 at the home in Bow Mar, Colo., of Charlie Ergen, co-founder of Dish network and reportedly the richest man in the state.

Last weekend, Clinton collected at least $3.8 million in a swing through the toniest oceanfront communities in Massachusetts, headlining five events held by the likes of investor Lynn Forester de Rothschild, former ambassador to Portugal Elizabeth Bagley and former Universal Studios chief executive Frank Biondi.

Then it was off to Southern California, where the candidate spent Monday and Tuesday feted by boldface names such as former basketball star Earvin “Magic” Johnson at six events Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday, she is scheduled to headline three fundraisers in California’s Bay Area, culminating with a dinner in Los Altos hosted by Apple chief executive Tim Cook.

Those who have observed Clinton in these settings say that she takes pains to point out the vast economic chasm that separates the attendees from the majority of Americans.

“She says the same thing at every one of these events as I see on TV,” said Wade Randlett, a longtime Democratic bundler who is raising money for Clinton’s campaign.

“The only difference is that she starts by saying that the economy is working for all of us in the room, but it’s not working for too many people and her job is to make it work for everybody.”

Clinton was the first presidential contender this cycle to take advantage of recent changes in campaign finance rules that allow candidates to seek massive contributions in conjunction with the national party.

[Political parties go after million-dollar donors in wake of looser rules]

By giving to two joint fundraising committees that Clinton’s campaign set up with the DNC, a single donor can contribute as much as $619,200 this year to support her bid. (Trump now has a similar arrangement with the Republican National Committee that allows donors to give up to $449,400.)

A Washington Post analysis of Federal Election Commission filings found that 65 Clinton allies had given at least $300,000 apiece to her joint fundraising committees by the end of June, together accounting for more than $29 million in contributions.

Among them are Univision chairman Haim Saban and his wife, Cheryl Saban who together donated $1.4 million. The Sabans also have contributed $10 million to Priorities USA Action, a pro-Clinton super PAC.

A Post investigation last year found that the couple ranked as the top political benefactors of Bill and Hillary Clinton’s campaigns since 1992 and also had donated at least $10 million to the Clintons’ family foundation.

On Monday night, the Sabans opened their Beverly Hills home to their longtime friend, hosting 100 supporters who paid $50,000 each to dine with the candidate.

The next day, Clinton took a brief break from her fundraising schedule to participate in a conference call with small-business owners around the country.

During her remarks, she recalled her upbringing in a family that ran a small drapery business in suburban Chicago, saying, “I want to make sure every family has the chance to tell a similar story. And that’s why my top priority as president will be building an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top.”

Soon after, she was off — headed to mingle with stars such as Jennifer Aniston, Jamie Foxx and Tobey Maguire at the Hollywood Hills home of pop star Justin Timberlake and his wife, actress Jessica Biel, for yet another fundraiser. This one alone would generate more than $3 million for Clinton and the party.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

[Inside the Clinton Donor Network]

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/politics/clinton-money/?tid=a_inl

****************************************************************************************************************** Politics: From Vision to Action

Barandat* The ISIS war has a new commander — and ISIS may be the least of his worries.

By: Andrew Tilghman, August 21, 2016

It’s going to be a long year for Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, who on Sunday became the seventh American general since 2003 to assume command of war operations in Iraq. And his mission might be the toughest one yet.

As the head of Operation Inherent Resolve, Townsend’s objective is to eliminate the Islamic State’s self-proclaimed caliphate while simultaneously diffusing the region’s Sunni-Shia conflicts that have metastasized into a proxy war, drawing in nearly every major country across Europe and the Middle East. He has to win the Battle of Mosul and stabilize northern Iraq. He has to pursue ISIS into Syria, where the U.S. has few allies on the ground, and negotiate a highly complex battlefield that also includes heavily armed and highly unpredictable Russian military forces. And back in Washington, Townsend will face historic uncertainty, the product of an unusual political landscape that — for better or worse — will produce in a new commander in chief come January.

Military analysts say Townsend, by all accounts one of the Army’s most gifted strategists, will oversee a shift from conventional warfare to a mission that is far more ambiguous and political. “Things are about to get a lot more complicated,” said Theodore Karasik, a senior adviser for Gulf State Analytics, a geopolitical risk analysis firm. “The complexity of operations is going to speed up. And for General Townsend, trying to understand that quickly is going to be paramount.”

Townsend replaces Lt. Gen. Sean McFarland, a fellow Army officer whose 11 months in command brought about a significant momentum shift. He helped the Iraqi army seize Ramadi and Fallujah, two strategically important cities in Anbar province, and made important commitments to the Kurdish forces now encroaching on Mosul from the north. That came despite a spike in ISIS terror attacks in Baghdad, turmoil inside Iraq’s Shiite-led government, and the steady expansion of Russian military operations across the region. Most recently, Russian military aircraft began flying combat missions from Iranian air bases, cutting across the Iraqi airspace already crowded with American military aircraft.

Townsend will face those challenges and more. He’ll have to contend not only with Russia’s expanding presence, but with Iran’s heavy-handed influence and continued fallout with Turkey, whose leadership has become outwardly distrustful of the U.S. after this summer’s failed coup attempt. If relations with Turkey don’t improve, U.S. military access to Incirlik Air Base could be in jeopardy, potentially compromising the anti-ISIS air campaign.

In Iraq, a fundamental predicament remains: Can Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds live together in a single nation state? And in Syria, where the military plan remains vague, there is no end in sight to the chaotic civil war that created the safe havens where ISIS took root.

“It’s hard to imagine walking into a more difficult scenario than General MacFarland did last year,” said Peter Haynes, a retired Navy captain who is now a military strategist at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments in Washington. “However, I think General Townsend is walking into an even greater challenge.”

Townsend declined to be interviewed, instead offering Military Times a brief written statement about his initial plans as war commander.

“We will continue the attack, maintaining the momentum we have, to close with Mosul and Raqqa, ISIL’s twin capital cities, and destroy or drive Da’esh out," the general said, using alternative monikers for the Islamic State group. "Our international coalition has demonstrated a steadfast commitment to this mission, which will liberate the Iraqi and Syrian people from ISIL’s twisted ideology and make our own nations safer.”

FRAGILE, NEFARIOUS ALLIANCES
Townsend will command fewer than 5,000 U.S. troops on the ground in Iraq and Syria. He can strike ISIS from the air, and he is authorized to deploy H-64 Apache attack helicopters to support close-quarters urban warfare. Yet most of his power lies in his ability to stitch together an improbable coalition of allies.

“The U.S. is almost like the glue that will hold this together. The multiple actors is going to be the biggest challenge General Townsend faces,” said Omar Lahriani, a military analyst for Stratfor, a Texas-based private intelligence firm.

Nearly all of those allies are flawed in some way. By and large, they don’t trust one another. Some are poorly led, ill equipped and unreliable. Some are foreign militaries with their own national agendas that may or may not overlap with U.S. objectives.

MilitaryTimes

Moqtada al Sadr and his followers in Iraq are ‚thirsty for Americans‘ blood‘

Operation Inherent Resolve is providing air strikes and combat advisers to at least four distinct groups: the Iraqi army, the Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga, the Syrian Kurds, known as the YPG, and also to the so-called “Syrian Arab coalition.” At the same time, there is another layer of more ambiguous players: the enemies of America’s enemies who may (or may not) be friendly to the U.S. They oppose ISIS for one reason or another but don’t coordinate directly with U.S. forces. These groups include Iraq’s Shiite militias, Iranian operatives, the Russian military, the Turkish military and a patchwork of Syrian rebel militias whose aims and loyalties are unclear.

“Coalition warfare is always difficult. Collation warfare where some of the players aren’t even part of the coalition is even more difficult,” said Anthony Cordesman, a national security analyst with the Center for Strategic and International Studies. What remains to be seen is whether those groups will do what Townsend and his U.S. strategists want them to do. “You’re going to have to be looking at the Kurds; you’re going to have to be looking at the Iraqi forces; you’re going to have to be looking at the Iranians. And you’re going to have to be looking at the popular militias — and it is possible you might have to be looking at the Turks,” Cordesman added.

The rules of engagement could become quite complex very quickly, Haynes said. “What is the ROE if Shiite militias or Iranian forces start to fire on U.S. forces?” he said. Such an array of dubious allies makes some military professionals question the entire mission.

"The question," said Doug MacGregor, a retired Army colonel who’s now a consultant living in Virginia, "is ‚who are our friends and allies that we are ultimately helping?‘ I don’t think that’s very clear because I don’t think we have friends and allies in the region.”

A LOT HINGES ON MOSUL

Mosul will be familiar terrain for Townsend, who was a brigade commander there in 2006. Nevertheless, the battle for Iraq’s second-largest city, likely to begin later this year, will be a careful balancing act.

If he relies too heavily on air power and artillery, Townsend risks civilian casualties and damaging the city, further alienating Mosul residents and making reconciliation more difficult. But he can’t let the fight drag on for too long. “If Mosul ends up being a long, slogging affair, it will make the political situation in Baghdad even worse and ISIS would be able to gain a huge propaganda victory,” Haynes said.

Mosul is also a place where traditional combat operations will converge with politics. For the first time the U.S. commander is relying on all Iraqi factions to work together.

The battle plan calls for the Iraqi army to invade from the south and coordinate with the Kurdish Peshmerga who will push into Mosul from the north and east. At the same time, Townsend will have to apply political pressure to prevent the more autonomous Shiite militias — some backed by Iran — from causing problems.

MilitaryTimes

Top U.S. commander in Iraq says Islamic State group will ‚morph into a true insurgent force‘

“Taking Mosul is actually just the first time you have to make sure the glue works and the Baghdad government, the Peshmerga and the Shiite militias don’t turn on each other,” Lahriani said. A military victory in Mosul that “clears” the city center might ultimately turn out to be the easy part for the new commander.

To that end, MacFarland offered a blunt warning shortly before leaving Baghdad. “We can expect the enemy to adapt, to morph into a true insurgent force and terrorist organization capable of horrific attacks,” he told reporters on Aug. 11. It’s a problem that sounds a lot like the one that faced a force of 150,000 U.S. troops a decade ago.

“General Townsend’s biggest challenge is going to be figuring out how to translate battlefield victories into political gains,” Hayes said. “The sooner that you can get your political and economic reforms underway, it kind of starts to drain the swamp that ISIS swims in. If you reduce those grievances, it really reduces ISIS’s ability to gain a foothold at the local level. … Will it require more U.S. troops to do a counter-insurgency mission, which is very labor intensive?”

SYRIA: ‚ANYBODY’S GUESS‘
Achieving success will be far more difficult in Syria, where the multi-sided civil war creates a self-reinforcing crisis that ISIS exploits. Targeted operations against ISIS inadvertently strengthen the regime of President Bashar al Assad, thus prolonging the civil war between Assad and a disorganized patchwork of rebel forces. Weakening ISIS inadvertently eases pressure on Assad and helps sustain the chaotic stalemate where ISIS took root.

U.S. strategy is focused on ousting ISIS from its stronghold in Raqqa. American warplanes conduct daily airstrikes, but there are only about 300 U.S. troops on the group, special operators backing a cadre of anti-ISIS militias.

Compared to Iraq, the Syrian battlefield has many more actors, including dozens of rebel factions, Russians and Iranians, both of whom support Assad’s ultimate survival. Syria is a geopolitical powder keg, and that limits the U.S. military’s ability to leverage its own power.

“If you put more U.S. forces on the ground in Syria, not only can they come into contact with ISIS, but they could come into contact with Russian forces. Or with Iranian forces. Imagine if some of their bombs actually hit U.S. forces? That is a much bigger complication,” Lahriani said. That fear was highlighted just a few days before Townsend took command. On Aug. 18, Syrian jets launched air strikes near a small contingent of U.S. special operations troops alongside Syrian real allies on the ground.

Russian pilots fly a long range bomber Tu-22M3 during an air strike over Syria on Aug. 18, 2016. Russia’s Defence Ministry said the Russian warplanes took off from a base in Iran and in Russia to target Islamic State fighters in Syria. Photo Credit: AP via Russian Defense Ministry
U.S. support in Syria has focused on the Syrian Kurdish militia known as the YPG. They’ve proven to be the most reliable U.S. ally and could help achieve a major tactical victory by cutting off ISIS supply lines into Turkey and further isolating the extremist group. “The big question is going to be whether or not the Syrian Kurds are going to be able to consolidate control over the length of the Syrian-Turkish border,” said Michael Rubin, a military analyst with the American Enterprise Institute in Washington.

But flowing military support to the YPG comes with a big risk: destabilizing Turkey. The Turkish government vigorously opposes empowering Syrian Kurds. Turkey has its own restive Kurdish minority, and many Turks believe the YPG is linked to a Turkish terrorist group that mounts catastrophic attacks on the Turkish government and civilians.

U.S. relations with Turkey, a NATO ally, have faltered during the past year, and some U.S. military officials fear that Turkey would revoke military’s access to Incirlik Air Base, a key hub for the American coalition’s anti-ISIS operations. While Turkey nominally backs the U.S. effort to defeat ISIS, many experts believe suppressing the Kurds is Turkey’s top priority and many Turks quietly sympathize with the Islamic extremists.

“Turkey has been playing a double game,” Karasik said.

MilitaryTimes

In Turkey, a criminal complaint targets two senior U.S. generals

With Turkey, Russia and Iran all pursing different agendas in Syria’s civil war, many experts believe there is no military solution — that the civil war will end only with a diplomatic agreement between the U.S., Europe and the Middle East.

“It’s going to have to be solved politically,” said Larry Korb, a military expert with the Center for American Progress. “Syria has got to be solved by [U.S. Secretary of State John] Kerry, to come to some sort of accommodation with the Russians. Because the Russians kept Assad from failing, but they can’t make him win. … We don’t want to get involved with the Syrian civil war, but we want to deny ISIS a safe haven. We want to work with the Kurds to fight ISIS, but we don’t want to antagonize the Turks too much. So basically that is much more complex.”

Just days before Townsend arrived in Baghdad, the calculus grew more multifarious as the Russians began using Iranian military bases to launch air strikes on Syria. “That was a direct message to the Arabs, that the Russians are here to stay,” Karasik said. “The general is going to have to deal the Russians more and more."

Most experts say there is simply no end in sight. “What happens in Syria is, quite frankly, anybody’s guess,” Cordesman said.

WILDCARD: IF TRUMP IS PRESIDENT
One of the greatest uncertainties during Townsend’s command will be his new commander in chief, and what direction the next president will want to take the ISIS fight.

If Hillary Clinton wins in November, Townsend’s mission is likely to remain largely unchanged. “She’ll continue the Obama policies, maybe a little more effort in there. … You might have a safe zone, for example, in Syria for humanitarian reasons,” Korb said.

Republican nominee Donald Trump has been vague about his objectives for war. If he’s elected, Townsend could face an awkward transition if the president-elect signals a big policy shift before being sworn into office.

“A president Trump would be an interesting issue,” Cordesman said. “One problem is — what does a president-elect say? And this is a president who would probably say something and there is no way to know. Is it going to reinforce General Townsend’s mission? Is it going to present a problem? ‘Obviously one of the difficulties for any serving officer is trying to serve two masters, and here you’d have a master in office and a master that is coming in. That is not something, again, that you can predict. But it is certainly going to be a challenge if it happens.”

Few experts believe either candidate would order a new, aggressive push into Syria. But Townsend may receive very little oversight as power changes hands in Washington. There might be some "drift" at a very critical time, Karasik said. "And ‘between administrations’ can last a good six months at least,” he added.

The list of worst-case scenarios is long: open conflict with Russia or Iran; a collapse of the Iraqi government; or even a massive humanitarian crisis caused by a breach of the dilapidated Mosul dam, which would cause flooding in the streets of Baghdad.

“If certain contingencies happen simultaneously," Karasik said, "then he’s going to be on his own. And don’t forget everybody knows this — and they will take advantage of it.”

Andrew Tilghman is Military Times‘ Pentagon bureau chief.

http://www.militarytimes.com/articles/the-isis-war-has-a-new-commander-and-isis-may-be-the-least-of-his-worries?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=New%20Campaign&utm_term=%2ASituation%20Report

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Middle East

Why Russia is Reviving Its Conventional Military Power

AbstrAct: The revival of Russian military power poses certain challenges to NATO and to the West. However, the exact nature of these challenges is not straightforward. This article discusses why Russia is reviving its conventional military power and argues these developments are not limited to the intention of preparing for offensive action. NATO’s and the West’s policy responses to recent changes in Russian defense policy need to be based on a realistic and nuanced understanding of Russian motivations because ill-considered responses could have serious unintended consequences.

After almost 20 years of allowing Russia’s conventional armed forces to fall into disrepair, an extensive program of modernization announced in 2008 has yielded impressive results and started a process of Russian military revival.1

Following the military intervention in Ukraine, the annexation of Crimea, and Russia’s first expeditionary operation outside of the former Soviet region in Syria, recent developments in Russian defense policy have led to increasing concerns about a militarily resurgent Russia and the potential implications of this for its neighbors, NATO, and the West.

In the words of the new NATO SACEUR, US General Curtis Scaparotti, who was sworn in in May 2016, “a resurgent Russia [is] striving to project itself as a world power…To address these challenges, we must continue to maintain and enhance our levels of readiness and our agility in the spirit of being able to fight tonight if deterrence fails.”2

According to Gustav Gressel, writing for the European Council of Foreign Relations, “Europe’s military advantage over Russia” is now “undermined.”

To counter “Russia’s new military boldness and adventurism” and its military vision that is “centered on the Eurasian landmass,” Europe is now in need of finding an urgent response to “Russian expansionism.”

Although “a major military escalation on the European continent is not imminent,” according to Gressel, “Russia is clearly preparing itself for offensive operations.”3

Russia’s conventional military capabilities are more impressive today than during the first two decades of the post-Soviet period, and these capabilities are likely to continue growing. It is also beyond doubt Russian foreign policy rhetoric and conduct today, particularly towards NATO and the West, is more forceful and aggressive than it was at any time during the post-Cold war era.

However, the convergence of these factors does not necessarily mean Russia is rebuilding its conventional military exclusively to prepare for more offensive action or to pursue expansionist policies in direct confrontation with NATO.

This article argues this conjecture overlooks the fact that most states continue to see the maintenance of a powerful conventional military as essential. Conventional military power has remained highly relevant throughout the post-Cold war era not only as an instrument of policy, but also as an essential attribute of a strong state and global actor.

From this point of view, Russia’s restoration of conventional military power was only a matter of time and money and is in many ways less surprising than the long neglect of these capabilities.

Moreover, the assumption that preparation for offensive action and the pursuit of expansionist policies is the only motivation behind the revival of Russia’s conventional military power disregards the fact that the utility of military force is not limited to the fighting of wars and defeating of opponents.

Instead, conventional military power is routinely wielded to deter, compel, swagger, dissuade, or reassure. The idea that improvements in Russia’s conventional military capabilities have significantly increased the likelihood of offensive action, including against the West, also underestimates the limitations of Russia’s conventional military capabilities and overstates its likely willingness to take such a step in the first place.

Theoretically, the scenario of a Russian offensive against a NATO member state is not impossible now or in the future, but it would be highly irrational given Russia’s persistent disparity in conventional military power and the risk of escalation into nuclear conflict. The revival of Russian conventional military power will increasingly affect the defensive balance in Europe and pose certain challenges. However, the implications of this development and how NATO and the West should respond are not straightforward.

A more nuanced consideration of Russia’s possible motivations for rebuilding its conventional military power is essential. Basing policy responses on a skewed understanding of Russian intentions could have serious unintended consequences.

The Enduring Relevance of Conventional Military Power. A strong military is central to a state’s ability to project power on an international level. As Hans Morgenthau noted, as long as anarchy obtains in the international system, “armed strength as a threat or a potentiality is the most important material factor making for the political power of nations.”4

Arguably, this is as true today as it was at the time this line was written. During the Cold War, strong conventional military power, in addition to nuclear deterrence, singled out the United States and the Soviet Union as the world’s two superpowers. Although some advocates of nuclear weapons believed nuclear deterrence would make conventional military power obsolete in the long run, such a view never took hold in the superpowers’ defense decision-making establishments.

In fact, both countries continued spending the bulk of their military budgets on conventional forces because it was understood the political military utility of nuclear deterrence was limited for dealing with threats to their interests below the threshold of a direct nuclear attack on their own territories.5

When the Cold War ended, many believed the centrality of military power in international relations would diminish. The dissolution of the Soviet Union and the threat of a global conflict had waned and, with the spread of democracy and economic interdependence, state competition in the future would revolve around economic, not military matters.6

However, such beliefs were short-lived. Military power continued to be seen as an essential instrument of statecraft, especially for great powers, even though economic competition had become more important and there was no longer an immediate threat of a global war.7

In the absence of an immediate adversary against whom to assess its conventional military capabilities, the United States defined the “two-war” standard as a measure to size its conventional forces in 1991. As there was no clear and present danger emanating from a specific state actor, conventional forces strong enough to deal with the eventuality of two simultaneous major regional contingencies were considered essential to ensure the country’s “ongoing demands for forward presence, crisis response, regional deterrence, humanitarian assistance, building partnership capacity, homeland defense, and support to civil authorities.”8

Contemporary China is another important example demonstrating the enduring relevance of conventional military power in the eyes of states aspiring to great power status. Although China has established itself as one of the world’s economic great powers, growing economic strength has been accompanied by a massive drive to establish a competitive conventional military arsenal. As the world’s second largest military spender behind the United States, and with its budget continuing to grow, China’s development has evoked discussions similar to the Russian case about the country’s intentions and its potential transformation into a “revisionist state.”9

As Hew Strachan has noted, rather than causing a decline of the role of conventional military power in international politics, the end of the Cold War made permissible a situation where states, especially in the West, have displayed a growing readiness to use military force as an instrument of policy.10

The utility of conventional military power endures. Russia and Conventional Military Power Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia always maintained a strong nuclear deterrent, and in this area remained equal to the United States. However, its conventional forces were left to decay for almost two decades.

This drawn-out neglect of its armed forces should not be confused with a statement of pacifism in the sense that the projection of military power was no longer seen as important. Russia’s quest for great power status dates back centuries, and its self-perception as such did not cease with the end of the Cold War in 1991.11

Military power was central to the making of the tsarist empire. It was also a strong military, above all else, which elevated the Soviet Union to superpower status during the Cold War years. Relinquishing armed strength and accepting the resulting loss of great power status was never a serious option for Russia. The first military doctrine of the Russian Federation issued in 1993 envisaged significant cuts to Soviet legacy force levels and prioritized the development of conventional forces able to deal with local conflicts, which were seen as the most immediate concern at the time.

The idea that a global conventional deterrent was no longer needed was never a consensus view in Russia. Traditional military thinkers from the outset argued in favor of more open-ended defense requirements that would keep the country prepared for a larger variety of eventualities.12

In fact, the 1993 doctrine already reflected ambitions to maintain a competitive conventional deterrent. It envisioned investments in research and development for the creation of high-tech equipment, including electronic warfare capabilities, stealth technology, and advanced naval weaponry. This was a direct response to the lessons Russian strategists had learned from the accomplishments of the “revolution in military affairs” demonstrated by superior US conventional forces in the 1991 Gulf War.13

Such ambitions were confirmed in the 2000 military doctrine, which explicitly reoriented priorities away from the focus on small wars-type scenarios and towards the need for the creation of conventional forces with global reach. This doctrine was published in the wake of NATO’s high-tech operation “Allied Force” over Serbia which, in the words of Alexei Arbatov, “marked a watershed in Russia’s assessment of its own military requirements and defense priorities.”14

Although the central components of the successful 2008 modernization program, such as the need to professionalize, create rapid reaction forces, and procure advanced technology, were considered in all reform attempts from the early 1990s, no program up until 2008 led to fundamental transformation.

Unlike the 2008 reforms, which were backed up by realistic financial means and unprecedented political will, Yeltsin-era plans for military transformation faltered owing to the country’s dire economic situation and the lack of political clout required for pushing through changes unpopular with some elements in the military leadership.15

The inability to turn ambitions for its conventional military into reality did not mean the Russian leadership no longer saw strong conventional military power as desirable or important. Clearly, there was an understanding that a strong nuclear deterrent alone was insufficient to uphold Russia’s great power status in the long term, especially when other countries’ conventional armed forces continued to modernize at a rapid pace. Conventional military power persists as an important attribute of state power. It is deemed to have utility as an instrument of policy, even more so now than it was during the Cold War. As long as this is the case, it would be unrealistic to expect Russia not to want to remain a player in the game.

The Utility of Conventional Military Power. The idea that the modernization of Russia’s conventional military capabilities can only be motivated by its intention to engage in ever more aggressive, expansionist, and offensive military action is based on a simplistic understanding of the utility of conventional military power.

As Robert Art argued, “military power should not be equated simply with its physical use…To focus only on the physical use of military power is to miss most of what most states do most of the time with the military power at their disposal.”16

In other words, states maintain conventional military forces not only to fight offensive wars, but also to wield these forces in a variety of physical and non-physical ways to deter, coerce, compel, swagger, reassure, or dissuade other actors, depending on the situation and on the objectives to be achieved.17

The prerequisite for a state’s ability to use its military power in any physical or non-physical way is the availability of a robust military organization in the first place.

Following the serious neglect of the Russian armed forces throughout the 1990s, this availability was increasingly in doubt. The degree of decay of the Russian military and the possible domestic and international repercussions if this situation had been allowed to continue need to be taken into account when Russia’s reasons for rebuilding its conventional military power are considered.

As Eugene Rumer and Celeste Wallander wrote in 2003, “Russia entered the millennium with its capacity to project military power beyond its borders vastly reduced and its ability to defend its territorial integrity and sovereignty severely tested by the war in Chechnya.”18

Clearly, the fact that the once powerful Russian military struggled to defeat “a band of irregulars fighting with little more than the weapons on their backs,” as Jeffrey Tayler had put it, created a feeling of insecurity in Russia that cast serious doubts on its ability to defend against and deter potential external threats.19

Although a stronger Russian conventional military poses certain challenges to NATO and the West, it is clear further decay would have been a poor alternative. When the Russian National Security Concept issued in 2000 permitted nuclear first use to “repulse armed aggression, if all other means of resolving the crisis have been exhausted,” it was widely assumed the nuclear threshold was lowered because there was no longer any faith in Russia that conventional options would be successful in the case of an armed attack.20

As Charles Glaser cautioned, there is the danger that insecurity can pressure an adversary to adopt competitive and threatening policies.21 This is particularly dangerous if the only tools available for pursuing such policies are nuclear weapons. It is also clear the modernization of Russia’s conventional military was a necessity not only to ensure defense requirements.

Although a military coup was never on the cards, concerns over growing military opposition and mutiny became increasingly common by the end of the 1990s.22

The potentially catastrophic consequences of this for Russia, as well as for international security, are not hard to imagine. Russian views on the utility of conventional military power are not limited to territorial defense and the peaceful deterrence of potential external threats. After all, Russia has used armed force to pursue a variety of policy objectives throughout the post-Cold War years, including various “peace enforcement” operations across the former Soviet region at the beginning of the 1990s, the Chechen wars, the war with Georgia in 2008, in Ukraine starting in 2014, and most recently in Syria.

A reason why there is concern in the West about improvements in Russia’s conventional military capabilities is the conviction that better capabilities will inevitably lead to more offensive action in the future. As British expert on the Russian military Keir Giles has put it, “the more Russia develops its conventional capability, the more confident and aggressive it will become.”23 The influence of capabilities on the decision to use force is not as straightforward, however. As Benjamin Fordham argued, the “claim that capabilities influence not just opportunity, but also willingness…is implicit or explicit in a substantial amount of work in international relations, but has rarely been tested.”24

Better military capabilities are likely to influence Russian foreign policy by providing more opportunity for the use of force. After all, as Fordham also noted, “decision makers cannot use force unless they have the means to do so.”25

Russia’s air campaign in Syria, for example, was certainly enabled by the opportunities created from improvements in its conventional capabilities.

In Syria, Russia demonstrated it now had the capability to deploy and sustain a limited out-of-area operation for the first time in post-Soviet history.

This came as a surprise to many observers, who did not believe Russia had the sea and airlift capabilities required for such an undertaking.26

This operation would not have been possible ten years ago, even if there had been the willingness in theory to launch a similar offensive. The most likely area for future Russian military action continues to be the former Soviet region in cases deemed by Russia to pose significant threats to its interests, for example, the intrusion of IS terrorism into Central Asian states.

It is unlikely better capabilities will result in the indiscriminate future use of military force by Russia or a proliferation of expansionist policies as improvements in Russia’s conventional military capabilities have not substantially changed the relative military power balance in this region. Even at its lowest point, Russian conventional military power far outrivalled any of the other former Soviet states, at any point of the post-Cold War period, due to the sheer disparity in size and the fact that their militaries were besieged by similar levels of neglect.

Although the operational performance of Russian forces in conflicts fought up until the Georgia war in 2008 was far from stellar, especially when the Chechen wars stretched their capabilities in every possible way, the country never risked a situation that could lead to comprehensive defeat.

In spite of its consistent military superiority over the other former Soviet states, Russia opted for the use of force in some cases, but not in others even when this was expected, such as the Kyrgyz-Uzbek clashes in 2010.

Although long-term occupation and territorial expansion following the five-day war with Georgia in 2008 was within the realm of possibility, Russia decided to withdraw. Better conventional capabilities have created more options for the Russian leadership to resort to the use of force.

However, better capabilities per se are unlikely to cause Russia to lose sight of the fact that the utility of military force is limited and not suited for the achievement of every policy objective. Rationality in Russian decision-making, when it comes to the use of force as an instrument of policy, is an important context for the fear that improved capabilities are pursued ultimately to prepare for offensive action against the West.

This is not a new insight: in spite of the success of the 2008 modernization program, Russian conventional military power continues to lag far behind the United States and NATO in terms of size, spending, and technological sophistication.

This fact has been conceded even by analysts who have warned about the dangers of a military resurgent Russia, as Gressel cited above. This issue tends to be brushed aside, however, as disparity is merely expected to delay the threat of Russian offensive action. It should not be.

Given the relative weakness of Russia’s conventional military vis-à-vis NATO and the likelihood of serious escalation and defeat, a military offensive on a NATO member state would be highly irrational. It is also far from clear what strategic objective such a move would serve. There is no doubt that in absolute terms Russian conventional military capabilities in 2016 are considerably bigger and better than they were at any point during the post-Soviet period.

The achievements of the 2008 modernization program, which emphasized the efficiency of command structures, the move from mobilization to rapid reaction, and the modernization of technology, have been well documented and were demonstrated during the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria.27

Relative to the conventional military power of other great powers, the United States and NATO in particular, Russia’s position remains far from impressive. Although defense spending alone is insufficient as a measure of relative military power, the sheer discrepancy in this respect is worth reiterating. Although Russian defense spending has seen a steady increase since Vladimir Putin’s election as president in 2000, the country’s military budget today is still little more than 10 percent of United States mlitary budget—and a fraction of the NATO alliance as a whole.

Even when the Russian defense budget approached five percent of the gross domestic product in 2015 at the peak of military spending, its entire budget, inclusive of spending on nuclear capabilities, amounted to less than the combined budgets of Germany and Italy.28

In terms of the number and quality of high-tech weaponry, Russia continues to lag far behind Western competitors, especially the United States. Although strides have been made in reforming the Russian defense industry, persistent organizational problems need to be resolved before Russia can start rivaling the West with advanced military technology.

Regarding troop numbers, it is generally assumed Russian military strength in 2015 comprised up to 800,000 personnel. This is sizeable (even compared to the United States’ 1,400,000 active soldiers), but the bulk of the Russian armed forces are poorly trained conscripts.29

When it comes to the combat readiness and operational experience of Russian conventional forces relative to those of the United States, there is little reason to fear Russia is catching up. Although Russian troops have trained in the fighting of large-scale joint inter-service operations in numerous military exercises in the past few years, Russia’s reformed ground forces have never been tested in an actual conflict situation, as both Crimea and Syria were limited in scope and scale.30

Fears over the possibility of Russian offensive action against a NATO member state have not arisen out of the blue. Although longrange Russian bomber flights close to other countries’ airspaces resumed in 2006 and have caused concern for a while, such instances of military provocation continue and have risen in number. Aggressive maneuvers by Russian fighter aircraft, like the buzzing of a US naval vessel in the Baltic Sea in April 2016, have exacerbated concerns Russia was willing to risk a military confrontation with the West.

Moreover, the number and size of Russian military exercises and surprise inspections in its Western military district have mushroomed since the start of the 2008 modernization program. According to figures of the Russian Ministry of Defense, some exercises have involved up to 150,000 military personnel and have honed the country’s ability to fight a large-scale interstate war.31

It remains highly questionable whether preparation for offensive action is the most likely motivation behind these developments. Given the variety of possible ways in which states can wield conventional military power to achieve different objectives, there are more plausible explanations for Russia’s actions vis-à-vis NATO. One explanation, for example, is that Russia is using its military power for swaggering.

This has been defined by Art as the conspicuous display by a state or statesman of one’s military might “to look and feel more powerful or important, to be taken seriously by others in the councils of international decision making, to enhance the nation’s image in the eyes of others.”32

Clearly, after years of decay during which the West had written off Russia as a global military actor, such swaggering, coupled with the interventions in Ukraine and Syria, has been an effective way to enhance the international image of Russia’s shiny, new military power in a comprehensive manner. Given the importance for Russia of being granted great power status on a global level, this explanation makes a great deal of sense, as swaggering can bring prestige “on the cheap,” especially when the country is not in the position to project the image of being a great power by other means.33

The idea that the revival of Russian conventional military power is motivated entirely by the wish to pursue expansionist policies and to build the offensive potential required to defeat the West is reminiscent of the Western school of thought that during the Cold War sought to explain the Soviet defense effort as the result of historical Russian paranoia, aggressiveness, and “mindless lust for territory,” thus depriving Soviet decision-making of any rationality.34 Such an interpretation of Russian motivations and intentions is even more remarkable because the decision to risk offensive action against a NATO state would be even more irrational today than it was at any point during the Cold War given the disparity of the conventional military power balance.

Some observers have expressed the fear Russia, even in the face of military inferiority, might test NATO’s resolve with an attack on one of the Baltic states because a lack of commitment to Article V collective defense might mean the United States and other NATO members would not fulfill their treaty obligations.35…….

NATO’s Options NATO’s and the West’s options for stopping the ongoing revival of Russia’s conventional military power, or to prevent potential future Russian military interventions, are limited. There are choices to be made in deciding how to respond to these developments, especially when it comes to Russian military posturing vis-à-vis NATO, and potential consequences of any responses made need to be weighed up carefully.

As indicated in NATO SACEUR Scaparotti’s May 2016 statement and also by NATO’s actions since the start of the Ukraine conflict in spring 2014, the alliance has decided to take an uncompromisingly tough stance towards Russia, strengthening its presence and posture alongside its eastern borders in order to demonstrate strength, unity, and resolve to deter any potential Russian military aggression or expansionist move against NATO members and allies.

While these measures are likely to reassure NATO member states in eastern and central Europe that have been historically fearful of Russian intentions, their potential long-term consequences for NATO and the West should not be ignored.

It is already obvious Russia is not interpreting NATO’s actions in the spirit intended by the alliance, that is, as defensive measures aimed predominantly at reassuring NATO member states close to its borders. Continuing to perceive NATO troops stationed and exercising close to its borders as a threat to its security and national interests, Russia has reacted by stepping up its military posture and presence, as well as its aggressive rhetoric vis-à-vis NATO.

The experience of the Cold War has taught us what an ever-more intense security dilemma can lead to. If the current trend of uncompromising rhetoric and military posturing on both sides continues, a renewed arms race is a likely outcome. Given Russia’s economic situation and comparative conventional military weakness, the West would probably emerge victorious yet again in such a race.

From this point of view, the scenario of a new arms race would be less disastrous for the West than it would be for Russia, but nonetheless it would be costly for all states and societies involved.

Moreover, the danger of intended or unintended escalation in the face of spiralling tensions is worth bearing in mind. Doing nothing is clearly not an alternative to NATO’s current policies towards Russia. Even if a convincing case can be made that Russian intentions are probably not driven by expansionist policies and that an attack on a NATO member state is highly unlikely, chance and uncertainty make the fears felt by Russia’s closest neighbors understandable and justified.

The question is whether a middle ground between a policy (that will inevitably lead to another arms race with all the costs this involves), and “doing nothing” or a weak response (that could be interpreted as “appeasement”) can be found.

The intensity of current East-West tensions cannot yet be likened to those of the Cold War and rhetoric about a “New Cold War” is not helpful as it “makes it harder for the West to craft realistic policies with respect to both the Ukraine crisis and Russia generally,” as Andrew Monaghan has argued.42

However, certain lessons from the Cold War might be instructive, especially when it comes to NATO’s and the West’s handling of aggressive Russian military posturing. George F. Kennan’s Cold War doctrine of containment, with its emphasis on strength, unity, and readiness to defend against and deter potential Russian expansion, has already experienced a revival and is being discussed amongst some Western leaders and within NATO as a relevant framework for creating responses to Russia.43

As Matthew Rojansky cautioned, there is a tendency to interpret this doctrine falsely as an exclusively military approach. In fact, Kennan’s understanding of containment was a complex and long-term political strategy. Focusing on recognition of the opponent’s vulnerabilities at the same time as strengthening the West’s capacities to find long-term solutions to pressing problems, Kennan explicitly warned against the use of “threats or blustering or superfluous gestures of outward toughness” as this could back the Kremlin into a corner and inadvertently exacerbate the situation.44

The intensity of current East-West tensions will make a renewed attempt at resetting relations with Russia a much more difficult undertaking for the soon-to-be elected new US administration. The new administration will have the opportunity to consider whether a policy of increasingly tough military containment of Russia will serve the future interests of the United States and NATO better than a more balanced approach as advocated by Kennan. The latter will be the more difficult choice because it requires a complex understanding of developments in Russia, as well as the willingness of both sides to communicate. This effort appears worthwhile because as Rojansky argued, it will allow the United States and the West to strike a balance “between demonstrating the collective political will necessary to maintain a credible deterrent, and charting a way forward for negotiated settlement of differences, selective cooperation, and eventual reconciliation in Russia-West relations overall.”

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*Massenbach’s Recommendation*

Washington Post: Hillary’s heelClinton Foundation donors got access to the State Department.

By Kathleen Parker Opinion writer

Opinions

August 23 at 7:25 PM

When I wrote the headline “Hillary’s heel,” I was thinking of Achilles, not Bill, though the former president is usually within nipping range of his wife’s pantsuit hem.

Hillary Clinton’s Achilles’ heel is her very Clinton-ness. Rather than tell the truth as soon as possible, a reluctance shared by her husband during his presidency, she has mastered the art of teetering along the knife’s edge of truth. Like a gymnast on a balance beam, she manages to stay within the narrow parameters of lawfulness without losing her footing.

But her long history of avoiding provable infractions despite hundreds of hours of investigations and millions in taxpayer expense — from Whitewater to Benghazi to her private email server — may soon come to an end, not with a gold medal but with an Olympian loss of whatever faith remained in her integrity.

A batch of emails released Monday makes clear that Clinton Foundation donors got access to the State Department.

Some of the email was between Huma Abedin, Clinton’s deputy chief of staff at the State Department, and an official at the charity. Not all requests appear to have been granted, but the coziness between State and the Clinton family charity exposes a troubling hubris and highlights the emptiness of her personal promise to President Obama to build a firewall between the two institutions when she became his secretary of state.

Among examples reported by The Post:

● Sports executive Casey Wasserman, whose family’s charitable organization has given the Clinton Foundation between $5 million and $10 million, and whose investment company paid Bill Clinton $3.13 million in consulting fees in 2009 and 2010, sought a visa for a British soccer player with a criminal past. It was not granted.

● The crown prince of Bahrain, Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa, whose government had given more than $50,000 to the foundation, requested a last-minute meeting with the secretary of state. Granted.

● U2’s Bono, a regular at foundation events, asked for help in broadcasting a live link to the International Space Station during a concert tour. Response from State: “No clue.”

These discoveries, among others, may not amount to much in terms of actual favors, but they cast doubt on the integrity of Hillary Clinton’s word. They also go a long way toward confirming her critics’ allegation that the Clintons were in a global pay-for-play arrangement.

One crucial fact is no longer in dispute: Foundation donors got access to the State Department.

The emails became public through a lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group, and were among 725 pages of Abedin’s correspondence. The stash also included 20 emails between Abedin and Clinton that weren’t included in the 55,000 pages previously provided to State. Meanwhile, the FBI has turned over about 15,000 other emails and documents to State that were discovered during the agency’s investigation of Clinton’s private server.

Judicial Watch is trying to get these released as well. In the meantime, a State Department spokesman says that many of them were plainly personal.

As if these developments weren’t problematic enough, former secretary of state Colin Powell last weekend denied Clinton’s claim that he advised her to use a private server, as he had done, saying, “Her people are trying to pin it on me.” According to Powell, Clinton had been using her server for at least a year before the two discussed how he had managed his email.

Whether this constitutes a “lie” to the FBI, as some are claiming, or the result of a faulty memory likely will keep busy bees buzzing for a while. But Clinton has bigger worries as more emails continue to trickle out, revealing who knows what. What we already know from FBI Director James B. Comey is that his agency’s investigation found insufficient evidence to charge Clinton, though he did say her handling of classified information was “extremely careless” and that she falsely testified to the House Select Committee on Benghazi that there was no classified material in any of her email.

Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln . . .

To Republicans, Clinton is a serial liar. To Democrats, she is the perennial target of a right-wing conspiracy. Both appear to be marginally correct. The question for voters may come down to this: How much, if any, substantive harm has Clinton’s lack of absolute clarity on a given subject or event caused?

The only definitive answer thus far is that she has deeply damaged whatever public trust remained — and for a candidate, this can be fatal.

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Judy Dempsey's Strategic Europe - Carnegie Europe - The Global Think TankTurkey and the Energy Transit Question.

Posted by: Severin Fischer Tuesday, August 23, 2016

For foreign and security policy analysts, pipelines tend to be the entry point into the world of energy. Pipelines create dependencies between countries, pipelines stay for decades, and pipelines have a highly symbolic political value.

In the European energy security debate, gas pipelines also have an identity function: you either support freeing Europe from its dangerous addiction to Russian gas by backing the Southern Gas Corridor—formerly known as “Nabucco” and designed to bring new gas supplies from the Caspian Basin, Central Asia, and Middle East regions into Europe—or you blindly follow the Kremlin’s breadcrumbs into the Nord Stream/South Stream-energy trap. Critical differentiation is rare.

Today, controversies over pipeline politics have a rather anachronistic flavor. This is mainly due to the growing flexibility of European—and partially global—natural gas markets in light of the massive increase in LNG supply, interconnectors, and spot market trade. This new market environment has not only changed the relationship between producers and consumers but has also altered the political and economic leverage of transit countries. This is especially important when looking at new transit countries, Turkey being a prominent example.

Nowadays, transit countries are not just dependent service providers; they can also have a profound influence on the market share of a supplier. This leverage can be used as a vehicle to negotiate higher transit fees depending on the available flexibility of switching between markets and suppliers on both sides.

The example of Ukraine as a transit country illustrates this quite well: without alternative supply routes, Ukraine can determine the market share of Russian gas in Europe (approximately 60% of Russian export capacity to the EU is via Ukrainian territory.) Once a pipeline is constructed, the temptation for rent-seeking in transit countries—and transit control power—is huge. Therefore, a suppliers’ interest in the physical diversification of transit routes is understandable. This applies as much to the future gas supply architecture of Southeastern Europe as it does to the Nord Stream/Ukraine debate.

With the realization of the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP)—a smaller version of the originally planned Nabucco Pipeline and now a Southern Gas Corridor project—two new variables will enter the equation of European energy security. First, natural gas from Azerbaijan could reach European markets for the first time around 2019. Second, Turkey will obtain the position of a transit country for European gas imports; admittedly with limited influence, since only 10 billion cubic meters per year are foreseen for the European market (between 2-3% of total EU gas consumption in 2014.)

In addition to the TANAP project, the recent easing of tensions between Turkey and Russia has revitalized debates about the construction of Turkish Stream, a project that was initiated after a direct pipeline connection between Russia and Bulgaria through the Black Sea (“South Stream”) was cancelled in 2014 due to regulatory conflicts between Gazprom and the European Commission. Turkish Stream would mainly supply the Turkish market, but could also bring gas destined for the EU market to the Turkish-Greek border.

Moreover, should gas exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea south of Cyprus be commercially and technologically feasible, project developers will be tempted to think about a possible pipeline project serving the Turkish market and potentially re-exporting gas to Southeastern Europe. The Turkish corridor would also be mandatory for all hypothetical deliveries from Iraq, Iran, or Central Asia.

While some analysts positively describe these developments as the creation of the “Gas Hub Turkey,” one could also reframe it as the potential rise of Turkey as a major transit country for (Southeastern) European gas supply. There has been very little debate so far on the subsequent security implications.

With the potentially growing role of Turkey as a transit corridor for European gas supplies, the implications could be twofold. On the one hand, future relations between Azerbaijan and the EU will be strongly influenced by Ankara’s role as the middle man in transporting gas. On the other hand, Turkey could also gain a significant position in EU-Russia gas relations—smaller, but still comparable to the situation of Ukraine today.

The threat of Turkish influence over how much Azeri or (some of the) Russian gas would enter European markets and the potential for rent-seeking in transit fees looks troubling in the current political environment. The willingness of Turkey’s government to link issues such as refugee treatment, visa liberalization, and financial transfers, as has happened recently, should serve as a warning.

This leads to the conclusion that both Russia’s and Europe’s interests would be best served if Turkey were kept out of bilateral energy relations in the future; a possibility that can only materialize if Turkey does not assume a gate-keeper role for several suppliers simultaneously.

Currently, however, the opposite is a very realistic scenario. Since the cancellation of the South Stream project, Russia has declared an unwillingness to deal with the “politically motivated” regulation of the EU Commission on the matter of Southeastern European gas supplies, and only a few EU politicians have shown interest to engage in the issue again.

This has not solved any problem though, since competition between different gas suppliers as well as control over access to the EU market would be transferred into the hands of Turkish authorities in the future.

Therefore, resuming the debate about a smaller version of a direct Russia-EU-link through the Black Sea, which would exclude Turkey, should be seriously revisited by European and Russian stakeholders alike. Provided, of course, that the regulatory control of the third energy package fully applies on EU territory.

Severin Fischer is a senior researcher at the Center for Security Studies (CSS) at ETH Zurich.

http://carnegieeurope.eu/strategiceurope/?fa=64382&mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiWW1VM01qUmpaak13WWpnMSIsInQiOiIrMnYwNHlWcThHbkdUdUkyc0tWcVdwK1cwZjhIZWk2UUhXMEpzYUcyelRPaEUxakxBQlJnK0NUZkZrcm1PSWxNcTNkWlliWUx6RTdBZm1tRVh0eTNwcHZYWTZLNjZIc0Y5cTM5VndXN0xrZz0ifQ%3D%3D

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*Herausgegeben von Udo von Massenbach, Bärbel Freudenberg-Pilster, Joerg Barandat*

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08-22-16 US Army War College Quarterly_Renz_Why Russia is Reviving Its Conventional Military Power .pdf

08-23-16 Russia – Asia.docx