Massenbach-Letter: NEWS 04/10/13


Udo von Massenbach

Guten Morgen.

–>Erscheinungstag: 02.10.2013

Massenbach* Javier Solana: At a critical historical juncture, Europe must pivot eastward *
28 Sept 2013

For the first time in centuries, the focus of the global economy is shifting to the East. The United States has commenced its “pivot” to Asia, and its relations with China, in particular, seem constantly to be flirting with Thucydides’ trap, the historical pattern that suggests that a rising power will inevitably collide with a reigning power. But with the U.S. and China regarding each another warily in the foreground of world affairs, where does Europe fit in?

The EU is at a critical historical juncture, one that demands its own pivot eastward – a coherent and decisive Asian strategy that builds on Europe’s strengths. Although its population is only one-fifth the size of that of China and India combined, and its military presence in Asia is minimal, its $16.8 trillion economy is the world’s largest.

This has not gone unnoticed by Asia’s governments, which are heavily dependent on economic growth to meet their young and growing populations’ demand for jobs and prosperity. Currently, Asia is the EU’s main trading partner, surpassing North America and constituting a third of its total trade. Trade with China alone is worth more than $1.35 billion per day, second only to trade with the U.S.

Moreover, the EU has a somewhat paradoxical asset at its disposal: It is not a Pacific power and does not carry the burden of great-power status in Asia. Far from being a weakness, this is precisely the source of the EU’s potential strength in Asia, for it provides a degree of diplomatic agility that the American heavyweight cannot muster.

In attempting to execute its strategic pivot, the U.S. is haunted at virtually every turn by its status as a historical hegemon, a military power, and the guarantor of its Asian allies’ security. Even when rebranded as a “rebalancing,” America’s eastward shift is inevitably met with suspicion by some Asian countries, particularly China. Europe, by contrast, can use its agility to perform a “smart pivot.”

The EU must engage with Asia on at least three mutually beneficial fronts, with trade being the most important. The trade-liberalization agreements that the EU has in the pipeline with Asia’s vibrant economies are more ambitious in scope than previous bilateral deals. As large-scale regional free-trade arrangements take shape, the EU continues to signal unequivocal commitment to free trade through sophisticated bilateral agreements.

But trade flows are vulnerable. Of course, economic relations between states foster interdependence, decreasing the risk of conflict. But if conflict does erupt, the cost is far higher. When the territorial dispute between Japan and China over the Senkaku-Diaoyu islands flared anew last year, Japanese auto exports to China plummeted 80 percent in just three months.

Herein lies Asia’s specific paradox: A high level of economic integration has not given rise to regional institutions that can support the stability required for sustained prosperity. Instead, Asia remains deeply scarred by unsettled disputes, periodic fits of nationalism, and contested borders, all of which tend to be amplified by apprehension stemming from the asymmetric rise of some of its powers.

Regional integration is a recipe for long-term stability in Asia, and a second line of engagement for the EU. In Europe, once torn apart by war, armed conflict among EU member states is now almost unthinkable. The EU’s institutional architecture facilitated the pivot from devastating and recurrent wars to peace and prosperity.

But creating that architecture is a daunting task, which has taken Europe decades and is still ongoing. Successive quandaries and crises have revealed the flaws in the EU’s institutional design, and each (painstaking) upgrade has made the European project that much stronger. With no hint of paternalism, and recognizing its status as a work-in-progress, the EU should increase its engagement with Asia’s existing structures and lend its know-how where possible – for example, in ASEAN’s shift toward a three-pillared design (political-military, economic and sociocultural) by 2015.

On the global front, the EU and China may find themselves to be natural partners on key issues. China is facing increasing pressure (particularly from the U.S.) to assume a global political role that corresponds to its economic weight. Here, China could find an excellent partner in Europe, either in a G-3 format with the U.S. or in focused bilateral cooperation.

Consider the Middle East. China and Europe might find common cause in the vacuum left as America’s domestic energy revolution weakens its commitment to the region. As China’s reliance on Middle East energy resources grows the need to deepen engagement with oil-producing states will become more acute. Europe, the Middle East’s experienced neighbor, could be China’s strategic partner in this endeavor.

Japan is another Asian giant regaining confidence, following Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s energetic stimulus program. As Japan takes unprecedented trade-liberalization steps in the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations with the U.S. and other economies in Asia and the Americas, and boosts its regional engagement, Europe must maintain its strong ties with the world’s third-largest national economy. The ambitious bilateral trade agreement now under construction is expected to boost exports in both directions by up to one-third.

In any complete strategy for engagement with Asia, the EU is only as strong as its parts. Though country-to-country engagement with Asia’s rising powers may be tempting, and while China often prefers bilateral dealings, renationalization of EU members’ foreign policies would be counterproductive. A thickly woven cord is needed to keep Europe reliably anchored as it points eastward, whereas separate strands would withstand only a limited degree of strain in the turbulent years ahead.

Javier Solana was EU high representative for foreign and security policy, secretary-general of NATO, and foreign minister of Spain. He is currently president of the ESADE Center for Global Economy and Geopolitics and distinguished fellow at the Brookings Institution. THE DAILY STAR publishes this commentary in collaboration with Project Syndicate © (

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on September 28, 2013, on page 7.

Policy = res publica

Bärbel Freudenberg-PilsterFreudenberg-Pilster* Allensbach-Studie: Männer haben genug von Gleichberechtigung

Fast zwei Drittel aller Männer in Deutschland finden, dass es mit der Gleichberechtigung mittlerweile reicht. Einige fühlen sich sogar benachteiligt. Das hat eine Allensbach-Umfrage im Auftrag einer Frauenzeitschrift ergeben. Macho-Gehabe oder Verunsicherung?

Hamburg – Wie ticken sie, die Männer in Deutschland? Dieser Frage ist das Institut für Demoskopie Allensbach im Auftrag der „Bild der Frau“ nachgegangen. Ein zentrales Ergebnis der Umfrage: 64 Prozent der Männer sind der Meinung, dass es mit der Gleichberechtigung der Frauen in Deutschland mittlerweile reicht. Ein Teil von ihnen – 28 Prozent – findet sogar, dass bei der Gleichberechtigung übertrieben wird. Und sechs Prozent der Befragten fühlen sich bereits benachteiligt.

Für die repräsentative Studie hat das Institut für Demoskopie Allensbach Menschen in Deutschland zum Rollenverständnis von Männern, Arbeitsteilung der Geschlechter in Bezug auf Partnerschaft, Beruf und Familie und zur Gleichberechtigung der Frau interviewt. Befragt wurden 947 Männer im Alter von 18 bis 65 Jahren, sowie als Vergleichsgruppe 546 Frauen im selben Alter.

„Es ist schade, dass so viele Männer schon einen Schlussstrich ziehen wollen – wo es doch noch so viel zu tun gibt: gerechte Verteilung der Familienarbeit, gleicher Lohn, gleiche Aufstiegschancen“, sagt Sandra Immoor, Chefredakteurin der Frauenzeitschrift. Laut der Studie steht für viele Männer die Karriere im Vordergrund, der Hausmann ist dagegen ein Exot:

  • Teilzeit kommt für 62 Prozent der Männer nicht in Frage
  • 66 Prozent der Frauen wünschen sich jedoch, dass Männer viele Aufgaben im Haushalt und der Familie übernehmen
  • Andererseits ist es für 52 Prozent der Frauen aber weiterhin auch sehr wichtig, dass Männer im Beruf erfolgreich sind

Frauen stellen also doppelte Ansprüche an Männer – und überfordern sie damit offenbar. Jeder dritte Mann gab bei der Befragung an, den an sie gestellten Erwartungen nicht gewachsen zu sein. Bei den Singles hatte sogar jeder zweite Befragte dieses Gefühl.

Allensbach-Chefin Renate Köcher sagt zur Situation der Männer: „Sie sollen gleichzeitig berufs- und familienorientiert sein, sich intensiv um die Kinder kümmern und vermehrt Aufgaben in Haushalt und Familie übernehmen, selbstbewusst und gleichzeitig einfühlsam sein, eigene Gefühle zeigen und eine selbstbewusste Partnerin schätzen.“

Frauen sehen sich benachteiligt

Trotz gestiegener Anforderungen haben aber nur sieben Prozent das Gefühl, sich gar nicht mehr wie „richtige Männer“ verhalten zu können, weil das nicht akzeptiert würde. Die überwältigende Mehrheit ist gerne Mann, lediglich sechs Prozent der Befragten wären lieber eine Frau, falls sie noch einmal auf die Welt kämen.

„Trotz der Auflösung festgelegter Geschlechterrollen folgt die Aufgabenteilung in den meisten Familien nach wie vor dem herkömmlichen Muster“, sagt Köcher. Der Mann kümmere sich in erster Linie um den Beruf und das Einkommen, die Frau vorwiegend um Haushalt und Kinder. So glauben zum Beispiel 81 Prozent der 18- bis 44-jährigen Männer, dass Frauen Arbeiten im Haushalt wie Bügeln besser erledigen.

Im August hatte eine Allensbach-Studie im Auftrag des Frauenmagazins „Emma“ gezeigt, dass jede zweite Frau unzufrieden mit dem Stand der Gleichberechtigung ist. 54 Prozent der Befragten gaben an, für gleiche Rechte von Mann und Frau müsse „noch einiges getan werden“. Vor allem bei Verdienst, Karriere und Hausarbeit sehen sich Frauen benachteiligt.

„Selbst wenn beide Partner ganztags berufstätig sind, wird das Schwergewicht der Hausarbeit von Frauen geleistet“, kritisierte Allensbach-Chefin Köcher bereits damals. Es gebe bei beiden Geschlechtern feste Vorstellungen, „was Mann kann“ – und „Bügeln gehört eben nicht dazu“. Laut der Erhebung sprachen sich zwei von drei Frauen dafür aus, dass sich Frauen zur Vertretung ihrer Interessen stärker organisieren sollten.




Politics: From Vision to Action
Barandat* Russian Interests in Sub-Saharan Africa
U.S. Army War College >> Strategic Studies Institute

Brief Synopsis

View the Executive Summary

An apparent lack of interest by Russia in Sub-Saharan Africa over recent years masks persistent key strategic drivers for Moscow to re-establish lost influence in the region.

A preoccupation with more immediate foreign policy concerns has temporarily interrupted a process of Russia reclaiming relationships that were well-developed in the Soviet period in order to secure access to mineral and energy resources which are crucial to Russia’s economic and industrial interests, as well as both existing and new markets for military arms contracts.

Russian policy priorities in Africa provide both challenges and opportunities for the U.S. in fields such as nuclear nonproliferation, as well as energy security for the United States and its European allies. Russian development of key resources in southern Africa should be observed closely. Russian trade with the region is significantly underdeveloped, with the exception of the arms trade, which Russia can be expected to defend vigorously if its markets are challenged, including by the prospect of regime change or international sanctions.

At the same time, Russia and the United States have a shared interest in restricting the freedom of movement of terrorist organizations in ungoverned or lightly governed spaces in Africa, which opens potential for cooperation between AFRICOM initiatives and Russian presence in the region. Russian diplomatic and economic activity in southern Africa should receive continuing attention from U.S. policymakers due to its direct relevance to a number of U.S. strategic concerns.

PDF (Recommended)


Suter* Why (some) people still marry – an economic perspectiveby IZA Press

familyHave the benefits from marriage changed over the past decades? A new IZA Discussion Paper by Shelly Lundberg and Robert A. Pollak investigates this question by putting it into an economic perspective. In particular, the authors take the changing labor market role of women into account: the educational attainment of women has overtaken and surpassed that of men, and the ratio of male to female wage rates has fallen.

The authors argue that this development has weakened traditional patterns of gender specialization in work as the primary economic benefits from marrying in the 1950s lay in the specialization between work (typically the husband’s task) and the production of household services and commodities (typically the wife’s). Instead, in modern times, the main benefit from marriage is the investment in children. Lundberg and Pollak argue that for some couples, this change means that marrying is no longer worth the costs since people give up independence and face the risk of choosing the wrong partner. Because of that, cohabitation has become an acceptable living arrangement, but cohabitation serves different functions among different groups.

The authors stress the fact that the poor and less educated are much more likely to rear children in cohabitating relationships, while the college educated typically cohabit before marriage, and marry before conceiving children. In addition, marriages of well-educated couples are relatively stable. According to the paper, different patterns of childrearing are the key to understanding class differences in marriage and parenthood: marriage is the commitment mechanism that supports high levels of investment in children and is hence more valuable for parents adopting a high-investment strategy for their children.

Read abstract or download discussion paper [pdf].


Middle East

Bashar al-Assad ready to leave the presidency, but not now

29 September 2013, 20:49 (GMT+05:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, Sept. 29 /Trend/

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is ready to resign if that improves the situation in the country, but believes that he has to remain in his position now, he said in an interview to Italian television channel RaiNews24. „If my leaving the office will improve the situation, then I’m ready to go for it. But now I have to stay as a president,“ – Assad said, RIA Novosti reported. „You can not leave the ship during the storm. My mission is to bring this ship into the port,“ – said the Syrian president. According to Assad, he will decide whether to run for president of Syria in 2014 on the eve of the election. „If I understand that the Syrian people want it, I’ll do it. Otherwise – no,“ – the president said


Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline

29 September 2013, 12:51 (GMT+05:00)

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, the Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources of Pakistan is to visit Iran on October 10 to discuss issues relating to Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project, Business Recorder reported.

A senior Petroleum Ministry official told to Business Recorder here on Saturday stated that the Pakistani delegation will also deliberate with Iranian authorities on the possibility of fully financing the project.

The Ministry of Petroleum is also set to take the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project to the Economic Co-Ordination Committee (EEC) of the cabinet upon the return of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from US.

If Iran’s relation with America improve, it would benefit entire region, and help Pakistan get international support for overseeing and financing the project, the official said.

The $1.5 billion IP project has been lingering since 1995, when Iran-Pakistan signed a memorandum of understating (MoU) to lay the pipeline. Under the accord, signed in June 2010, Iran will provide about 750 million cubic feet per day (MMCFD) to Pakistan for 25 years. The deal can be extended by five years and the volume may go up to 1 Billion Cubic Feet per Day (BCFD).

„We are going to Iran to renegotiate financing of Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project and will also request Iranian authorities to extend the deadline of IP gas project from December 2014 to a mutually agreed time frame,“ Petroleum Ministry officials said.

„Our main concern is US sanctions against Iran, due to which Pakistan has so far failed to initiate the project. Once US sanctions against Iran are lifted or relaxed the laying of pipeline will be carried out within a year as all other important tasks relating to the project have been completed,“ the official said.

An official of National Engineering Services Pakistan (Nespak) said „Nespak has designed the pipeline corridor that would enable laying an extra pipeline for any other country showing an interest in becoming a partner. Within the next few months, Nespak along with its partner German company ILF would begin supervising the construction of the pipeline once it receives the go-ahead from the government,“ he added.

German-based consultant firm ILF, National Engineering Services Pakistan (NESPAK) and Iranian construction company Tadbir are set to complete the project, which would cost $1.5 billion. The government of Iran has assured Pakistan of $500 million for the construction of pipeline.

Sources while quoting the penalty clause of the agreement of the IP project said that both Pakistan and Iran are bound to complete the project by the end of 2014, and if any of the two delay the project due to any reason that country will have to pay a daily penalty of $ 1 million , which is extendable to $3 million per day.

Sources said that work on the IP project has reached an advanced stage as Pakistan has already completed Interim Front End Engineering Design (FEED) of the proposed IP project, while progress on TAPI is in an initial stage.

The government has imposed Gas Infrastructure Development surcharge (GIDS) on all gas consumers to finance the construction of imported gas projects like IP, Liqefied Natural Gas (LNG), Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline projects and other energy projects. The government has so far collected over Rs 50 billion from GIDS, which would be utilised on construction of Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline and/or other energy projects.

According to the GIDS Act, the collected Cess would be utilised for or in connection with infrastructure development of Iran-Pakistan (IP) project, Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) Pipeline Project, Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and other projects, or for price equalisation of other imported alternative fuels including Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG).


Iran, Oman naval forces to hold joint exercises

Azerbaijan, Baku, September 29 /Trend, T.Jafarov/

The naval forces of Iran and Oman will hold joint exercises in February, 2014, Iranian Navy Commander Habibollah Sayari said, IRNA reported on Saturday. The naval forces of the two countries will hold joint exercises on rescue and relief in the sea, Sayari said. According to him, before the joint exercises with Oman, Iranian naval forces will hold naval exercise, entitled Velayat-92.

Earlier, the naval forces of Iran and Oman held exercises on rescue and relief in the sea.


Iran makes payments on old loans to World Bank

28 September 2013, 13:28 (GMT+05:00)

Iran resumed payments on old loans to the World Bank, the bank said on Friday, just as the country held the highest level conversation with the United States in more than three decades, Reuters reported.

The poverty-fighting World Bank, which did not provide a reason for the resumption of payments, announced in July that Iran had not made any payments for more than half a year, a possible sign of the strain on the sanctions-hit Iranian economy.

At the time, Iran denied that it had failed to make payments on its loans, which now total $616 million, and blamed Western sanctions for preventing an intermediary from forwarding funds to the global lender.

All of the payments are for old loans, as Iran has not had a World Bank program since 2005. The Washington-based World Bank said it is in compliance with all U.N. and international sanctions against Iran.

It was not immediately clear why Iran had stopped making payments in July, according to the World Bank, and why it resumed them on Friday. World Bank spokesman David Theis had no further comment.

The World Bank announcement came just as U.S. President Barack Obama and new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani held a historic phone call, a sign that the estranged nations are serious about reaching an agreement on Tehran’s nuclear program.

Obama said this was a unique opportunity to make progress with Iran over an issue that has isolated it from the West.

The United States and its allies have imposed hard-hitting sanctions against Iran’s oil and banking sectors to choke off funding of a nuclear program which the West says is a drive to achieve a weapons capability. Iran says its nuclear program is entirely for peaceful purposes.

Rouhani, who was in New York for the U.N. General Assembly this week, urged an end to sanctions crippling Iran’s economy and repeatedly stressed Iran’s desire for normal relations with Western nations, while denying the country wanted a nuclear arsenal.

During the visit to New York, Rouhani also met with the head of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde to discuss his government’s economic policies and a way to deepen relations with the international institution.


„Qui vestram rem publicam tantam amisistis tam cito?“
„Proveniebant oratores novi, stulti adulescentuli.“

(Wie habt ihr diesen Staat so schnell zu Fall gebracht?“
„Es traten neue Redner auf, törichte junge Burschen.“)

– Cicero, „De senectute“ –

Jetzt bezeugen plötzlich ganz viele Bewunderung für Gerhart Baum und/oder sehnen sich nach Hans-Dietrich Genscher zurück. Der Rückgriff auf die Väter – genauer: auf die Groß- und Urgroßväter – ist der (zu) späte Reflex auf eines der zentralen Probleme der liberalen Partei der vergangenen zehn Jahre: Jugendlichkeit für sich ist keine Tugend und keine Qualität. Philipp Rösler und seine Generation („alle unter 40, alle mit Body-Mass-Index unter 20“ – Ulf Poschardt) brachten Jugend mit, aber keine Lebenserfahrung. Alle (Rösler, Bahr, auch Lindner) sind rein politische Biografien mit sehr wenig oder auch gar keiner Geschichte im richtigen Leben, z. B. in der freien Wirtschaft. An der Wertschöpfung haben sie bislang nicht relevant mitgewirkt. Der Mangel an Verwurzelung im nicht-politischen Leben bildete sich folgerichtig ab – und wurde vom Publikum, auch vom liberalen, als das wahrgenommen, was er war: ein unreifes Angebot der Partei an die Menschen. Da reichte ein Brüderle als Gegengewicht nicht. Auch junge Menschen erwarten von Politikern offenbar mehr als nur ein Mindestmaß an außerpolitischer Lebenserfahrung: Je jünger die Wähler, desto größer waren am Sonntag die Verluste für die FDP. In der Partei wird jetzt laut nach neuen Gesichtern gerufen. Das ist gut so. Die FDP sollte nur nicht wieder den Fehler machen, neu mit jung zu verwechseln.