Massenbach-Letter: NEWS 28/03/14

Massenbach-Letter

Udo von Massenbach

Guten Morgen.

· Indian Punchline: Syrian endgame triggers realignments (http://blogs.rediff.com/mkbhadrakumar/2014/03/20/syrian-endgame-triggers-realignments/ )

· Former US Ambassador to Syria: America alone cannot solve the Syrian crisis* “So if we and the Russians can come to an agreement we can act as a pole that will pull not all, but possibly bring others in as part of a negotiated deal.” * http://www.aawsat.net/2014/03/article55330146 *

· German Marshall: Transatlantic Twilight or a Revitalized Relationship? ( )

· Indian Punchline: China, India tap into Ukraine tensions ( )

· State Building: „Unbezahlbar und unrealistisch ( )

· Indian Punchline: US, Russia to de-escalate on Ukraine ( )

Massenbach* Syriens Altertümer in Gefahr: Palmyra gehört den Räubern

Das Welterbe eines Schmelztiegels der Kulturen ist in Gefahr: die Säulenstraßen und die hochmittelalterliche Burg von Palmyra in besseren Tagen… und die Zitadelle von Apameia unter Artilleriebeschuss im März dieses Jahres

12.06.2012 · In Syrien sterben auch die Wurzeln der europäischen Kultur – rücksichtslos werden antike, byzantinische und mittelalterliche Stätten beschossen, Museen geplündert und Kunstwerke verhökert.

Im zweiten Jahrhundert vor Christus war Apameia am Orontes eine der Metropolen des Mittelmeerraums. Hier lagerte, mitsamt seinen fünfhundert Kriegselefanten, das Heer des Seleukidenherrschers Antiochos, bevor es im Frühjahr wieder über den Euphrat zog, um die aus den asiatischen Steppen eingefallenen Parther zu bekämpfen. Noch um Christi Geburt zählten die Stadt und ihr Landgebiet eine halbe Million Einwohner. Ein gutes Jahrhundert später, nach einem verheerenden Erdbeben, entstanden die Thermen und die zwei Kilometer lange, vierzig Meter breite und zwanzig Meter hohe Säulenstraße, die Apameia von Norden nach Süden durchquert. Im zwölften Jahrhundert wurde die zwischen Kreuzfahrern und arabischen Emiren umkämpfte Stadt bis auf den antiken Festungshügel aufgegeben. Wer ihre Reste sieht, braucht keine Computerbilder mehr, um sich eine Vorstellung von der Pracht der griechisch-römischen Großstädte zu machen.

Heute liegen die Säulenreihen von Apameia unter Beschuss. Ein am 15. März entstandenes Video zeigt einen Panzer, der von einem Hügel aus über das Ruinenfeld feuert, und den Einschlag der Granate in der Zitadelle Qal’at al-Mudiq auf der Nordseite des Plateaus. Dort, hinter den zerschossenen Mauersteinen aus drei Jahrtausenden, verschanzte sich wenig später offenbar eine Einheit der syrischen Armee. Bulldozer brachen Öffnungen in die Mauern, um freies Schussfeld für die Panzer zu schaffen. Schon zuvor war das Museum in der Karawanserei am Fuß des Burgbergs aufgebrochen, waren römische Mosaike in der Ruinenstadt mit Bohrern und Meißeln abgeschlagen und weggeschafft worden. Apameia gehört jetzt den Scharfschützen und dem schwarzen Markt.

Der Aufschrei ist ausgeblieben

Ein Bürgerkrieg ist immer eine kulturelle Katastrophe, weil er die gesamte Lebenswelt eines Landes zur Kampfzone macht, Gotteshäuser, Museen, Altstädte, Friedhöfe eingeschlossen. Im Fall von Syrien trifft der Bürgerkrieg ein Land, dessen herausragende Bedeutung für die Kulturgeschichte der Menschheit erst seit ein paar Jahrzehnten überhaupt begriffen wird. Seit den dreißiger Jahren erst wird der Siedlungshügel der sumerischen Großstadt Mari, seit den Sechzigern das im dritten und zweiten Jahrtausend vor Christus blühende Ebla ergraben. Seit gerade mal achtzig Jahren weiß man Genaueres über die Totenstädte im nordsyrischen Kalksteingebirge, die mit ihren spätantiken Kirchenbauten inzwischen zum Weltkulturerbe gehören, und seit 1930 erst wird Ugarit freigelegt, eine Stadt aus dem zwölften Jahrhundert vor Christus, in der die allererste Buchstabenschrift gefunden wurde.

Assur, Babylon, Troja und Luxor waren längst berühmt, als die Altertümer Syriens noch in der Erde schlummerten, und dieser Vorsprung hat sich bis heute gehalten. Man trifft hundertmal mehr Leute, die schon einmal in Leptis Magna oder im Tal der Könige waren, als solche, die Apameia oder die frühislamische Fassade des Wüstenschlosses Qasr al-Heir al-Gharbi in Damaskus gesehen haben, obwohl das eine dem anderen an kulturhistorischer Bedeutung nicht nachsteht.

Eben deshalb ist wohl auch das Drama der syrischen Kulturschätze noch nicht richtig ins westliche Bewusstsein gedrungen. Seit dem vergangenen Sommer wird in Syrien gekämpft, seit Monaten erscheinen immer wieder Berichte über Zerstörungen und Plünderungen auf Websites von Denkmalschützern. Aber der allgemeine Aufschrei angesichts der Barbarei ist bisher ausgeblieben. Seit Mitte Mai liegt nun mit der Studie von Emma Cunliffe, einer Mitarbeiterin des Global Heritage Fund, der erste ausführliche Bericht zur Lage der archäologischen Stätten in Syrien vor.

Denkmäler als Geschützstellungen

Cunliffes Bilanz ist niederschmetternd: Es gibt, von den Grabungen in Tell Halaf nahe der Türkei bis zu den spätrömischen und frühislamischen Baudenkmälern im Hauran an der Grenze zu Jordanien, buchstäblich keinen Ort mehr, an dem die syrische Antikenverwaltung ihre Schätze vor der Vernichtung schützen kann. Museen werden ausgeraubt, goldene Statuen und Bronzewaffen abtransportiert, Moscheen und Kirchen mit Granaten durchlöchert, antike Blöcke als Straßensperren missbraucht. Die Altstadt von Homs, das 1982 bereits Schauplatz eines Massakers war, ist zu großen Teilen zerstört, ebenso die Al-Omari-Moschee in Dar’a, deren Fundamente aus der Zeit der ersten Kalifen stammen. In der alten Nabatäerstadt Bosra, dem späteren Hauptlager der römischen III Legio Cyrenaica, walzen Panzer durch die Straßen, und das frühchristliche Kloster von Deir Sunbel wurde in einen Armeestützpunkt umgewandelt. Die Liste der Verluste ist lang, und sie wird mit jedem Monat länger, denn es existiert keine zivile Autorität mehr, die das Werk der Zerstörung aufhalten könnte.

Der kulturelle Reichtum Syriens hängt mit seiner geographischen Lage zusammen. Vier Jahrtausende lang, von den frühen Hochkulturen im Zweistromland bis zum Siegeszug des Islam, kreuzten sich hier die Einflussbereiche der Sumerer, Babylonier, Ägypter, Assyrer, Hethiter, Perser, Griechen und Römer. Das architektonische Wahrzeichen dieses weltgeschichtlichen Schmelztiegels ist die Oasenstadt Palmyra, in der sich parthische und hellenistisch-römische Bauelemente zu einem einmaligen Lokalstil verbanden. Der märchenhafte Ruhm der Stätte ging auch im Mittelalter nie ganz verloren, bis sie englische Reisende im 18.Jahrhundert wiederentdeckten. Jeden Frühling und Herbst quoll Palmyra von Touristen über. Jetzt ist die gewaltige Anlage leer. Die Nekropolen im Tal der Toten, bereits in der Spätantike Ziel von Räubern, wurden abermals geplündert. In der Mameluckenburg, die im dreizehnten Jahrhundert zum Schutz der Oase vor Überfällen der Kreuzfahrer errichtet wurde, haben sich Soldaten des Assad-Regimes einquartiert, die, wie es heißt, auf alles feuern, was sich zwischen den Ruinen bewegt. Die Prachtstraße mit ihren korinthischen Säulen, der Triumphbogen der Severer und die Umfassungsmauer des Baal-Tempels sind durch Einschüsse gezeichnet. Nachts laufen Raubgräber über das Gelände und versuchen dem Boden seine Kostbarkeiten zu entreißen, bis das Aufblitzen von Mündungsfeuer sie wieder vertreibt.

Wie in Palmyra und Apameia haben Regierungstruppen auch andernorts Kulturdenkmäler zu Geschützstellungen umfunktioniert. Über das Geschehen in der Kreuzritterburg Krak des Chevaliers, neben dem Londoner Tower vielleicht die bekannteste mittelalterliche Festungsanlage, gibt es mehrere Versionen. Offiziell heißt es, „bewaffnete Banden“ hätten die Kustoden ausgesperrt, um ungehindert plündern zu können. Andere Stimmen berichten, Soldaten hätten eine friedliche Protestkundgebung als Vorwand benutzt, die Anlage zu besetzen. Auch die Festungen Margat und Schmemis wurden auf diese Weise okkupiert. Falls der militante Teil der syrischen Opposition in den Besitz schwerer Waffen kommt, kann man sich ausmalen, was aus dem zum Weltkulturerbe gehörenden Krak und den anderen Burgen werden wird.

Ende einer Forschungsepoche

Nicht weniger dramatisch ist die Lage der syrischen Museen. Viele von ihnen liegen mitten in Kampfgebieten – etwa das Museum in Idlib, das einen Großteil der unschätzbaren Ebla-Tontafeln verwahrt, oder die Häuser in Hama, Deir ez-Zor und Suweida. Bereits im Juli 2011 veröffentlichte die Regierung Assad ein Memorandum, das vor Aktivitäten technisch hochgerüsteter Kunsträubernetzwerke in Syrien warnte. Seither wurden offenbar einige wertvolle Stücke aus den Museen in Damaskus und Aleppo in den Safe der syrischen Staatsbank gebracht. Die große Masse aber bleibt bewaffneten Plünderern schutzlos ausgeliefert. Und wie zuvor im Irak sind auch in Syrien zahllose Funde weder systematisch beschrieben noch fotografiert worden. Das macht es den Hehlern leicht, ihre Beute auf dem internationalen Kunstmarkt anzubieten. In Deutschland erschwert zudem die Gesetzeslage die Erfassung von Raubkunst: Zwar ist die Bundesrepublik vor fünf Jahren endlich dem Unesco-Abkommen zum Kulturgüterschutz beigetreten, aber Objekte „nicht nachweisbarer Herkunft“, gerade solche aus zweifelhaften Kanälen also, sind von der Genehmigungspflicht für den Kunsthandel ausgenommen.

Karin Bartl, die Leiterin der Außenstelle Damaskus des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts, war im Dezember zuletzt in Syrien. Viele ihrer einheimischen Mitarbeiter, erzählt sie, seien zu ihren Familien aufs Land geflohen. Im Grabungshaus des Instituts in Hama gab es im August wilde Schießereien. Vor kurzem, sagt Bartl, habe sie sich das Haus von oben auf Google Earth angesehen. „Es scheint noch zu stehen, aber wenn die Kämpfe andauern, kann man sich vorstellen, wie es in ein, zwei Jahren da aussieht.“ Für die Kunsthistorikerin endet mit dem Bürgerkrieg eine Epoche der archäologischen Forschung. „Das Syrien, das wir kannten, wird es nicht mehr geben.“

http://www.faz.net/aktuell/feuilleton/kunst/syriens-altertuemer-in-gefahr-palmyra-gehoert-den-raeubern-11782995.html?printPagedArticle=true#pageIndex_2

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Syrian army takes Krak des Chevaliers in Homs

March 20, 2014 02:52 PM (Last updated: March 20, 2014 03:12 PM)
The Daily Star

BEIRUT: The Syrian army took over the historic citadel known as Krak des Chevaliers in Homs Thursday following fierce battles with rebels.

Al-Jadeed reporter Ramez al-Qadi, who is embedded with Syrian government forces, broadcast live from a hill overlooking the fort moments after it fall to troops loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad.

At least 11 rebels were killed and more than 45 wounded in a Syrian army ambush and ensuing gunbattle in Al-Hosn which takes its name from Qalaat Al-Hosn, Arabic for Krak de Chavaliers.

The fort’s fall comes days after the Syrian army seized control of the strategic rebel-held town of Yabroud in the region of Qalamoun.-

http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2014/Mar-20/250838-syrian-army-takes-krak-des-chevaliers-in-homs.ashx

Die Krak des Chevaliers liegt in Syrien am Rande des Alawitengebirges. Aufgrund der perfekt strategischen Lage herrscht die Burg über das Tal zwischen besagtem und dem Libanongebirge. Doch nicht immer hieß die Burg „Krak des Chevaliers“. Bereits im Jahre 1031 wurden auf Befehl des damaligen Emirs von Homs hin, Befestigungsanlagen errichtet.

Krak des Chevaliers und die Kreuzritter
Im Jahre 1099 erreichten erstmalig Kreuzritter auf ihrem Weg nach Jerusalem, die Burg mit dem damaligen Namen „Hisn al-Akräd“ oder auch „Kurden-Burg“ genannt. Doch diese „Belagerung“ von Krak des Chevaliers war nur für die Durchreise gedacht. Nach dem 10-tägigen Aufenthalt verließen die Kreuzritter die Burg und der Besitz ging wieder auf die Muslime über. Der damalige Befehlshaber der Kreuzzüge Raimund von Toulouse kam wenige Jahre später in die Gegend zurück und versuchte sich seine eigene Herrschaft zu befehligen. Ein Vorhaben, welches er zahlreicher historischen Überlieferungen nach, dann auch in der Realität umsetzte. Nur Tripolis und Hisn al-Akrad leisteten erbitterten Widerstand. Der Sohn Raimunds, Bertrand von Saint-Gilles eroberte nach dessen Tod, 1109 die Hafenstadt Tripolis und die Burg Hisn al-Akräd wurde im Jahre 1110 von dem normannischen Heerführer Tankred erobert.

Machtwechsel und Schicksal – Burg Krak des Chevaliers
Von den Kreuzritter bis hin zum Johanniterorden (1142) – die Burg war ständiges Objekt der Begierde. Erdbeben machten Krak des Chevaliers aber ebenso schwer zu schaffen, wie die zahlreichen Kämpfe und Herrscherwechsel. Arabischen Überlieferungen zu Folge, sollen nach den beiden Erdbeben in den Jahren 1157 und 1170 die komplette Burg zerstört und kein Stein mehr auf dem anderen gewesen sein. Unter den Johannitern wurde die Festung neu errichtet und entgültig zu einem Bollwerk ausgebaut, so belagerte etwa der weltberühmte Sultan Saladin die Feste vergeblich im Jahre 1188. Ehe sie Jahre später doch in Hände der muslimischen Mamluken fiel, diese erweiterten die Verteidigungsanlagen noch um zahlreiche Bauten.
Krak des Chevaliers ging 1927 in den Besitz der Franzosen über. Von eben diesen Franzosen wurde die Burg 1947 wieder zurück an die Syrer gegeben. Die UNESCO nahm die Burg Krak des Chevaliers aufgrund der Größe und Ausstrahlung auf die Liste des Weltkulturerbes auf. Krak gilt heute als die herrausragende Kreuzritterburg schelchthin.

Mehr Infos zu Krak des Chevaliers gibt es auf Wikipedia.

http://www.weltkulturerbe.com/weltkulturerbe/asien/krak-de-chevalier.html

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State Building: „Unbezahlbar und unrealistisch

*Die internationalen Interventionen der letzten zehn Jahre sind gescheitert. Von den eigentlichen Problemen haben sie nur abgelenkt.*

Von: Michael J. Mazarr * Washington D.C.*

Michael J. Mazarr ist Professor und Associate Dean for Academics am U.S. National War College in Washington, D.C.

Vor einem guten Jahrzehnt veröffentlichte Thomas Barnett ausgerechnet im US-Männermagazin Esquire einen Beitrag, der enormen Einfluss auf die westliche Sicherheitspolitik der kommenden Jahre haben sollte. Unter der Überschrift „Die neue Landkarte des Pentagon“ warnte Barnett vor einer immer enger vernetzten Welt, in der von der Globalisierung abgekoppelte „gescheiterte Staaten“ die größte Bedrohung darstellten. Barnett zog die plausible Schlussfolgerung, dass die Vereinigten Staaten auf diese Situation mit einer globalen State Building Kampagne reagieren sollten.

"Gescheiterte Staaten" als zukunftweisendes Paradigma

Nach dem Ende des Kalten Krieges lieferte dieser Ansatz all denjenigen eine politische Vision, die auf der Suche nach einem zukunftsweisenden Paradigma für die amerikanische Sicherheitspolitik waren. Die Zeiten des Großmachtrealismus waren Geschichte und nach dem Ende der Blockkonfrontation erschien das Ausgreifen von Bürgerkriegen oder der internationale Terrorismus als größte Gefahr. Die Mehrzahl dieser Risiken wurde mit dem „Scheitern“ von Staaten in Verbindung gebracht. Diese Einschätzung prägte nicht nur in den Vereinigten Staaten sondern auch in Europa eine ganze Ära und ist bis heute einflussreich geblieben. Jüngstes Beispiel dafür sind nicht zuletzt die aktuellen Rufe, schwache Staaten in Afghanistan, Mali oder der Demokratischen Republik Kongo zu unterstützen.

Heute wird jedoch immer deutlicher, dass dieser Ansatz eine strategische Ablenkung war. Denn schwache Staaten stellen weder für die Vereinigten Staaten noch für Europa eine kritische Bedrohung dar.

Heute wird jedoch zugleich immer deutlicher, dass dieser Ansatz eine strategische Ablenkung war. Denn schwache Staaten stellen weder für die Vereinigten Staaten noch für Europa eine kritische Bedrohung dar. Im Gegenteil: Gefährlich ist vielmehr der verengte Fokus auf schwache Staaten, der politische Aufmerksamkeit von weit wichtigeren Prioritäten ablenkt.

Der Versuch, gescheiterte Staaten zu unterstützen, hat stets unter einem fundamentalen Denkfehler gelitten: Akteure von außen können Entwicklungsbemühungen vor Ort und die Politik von legitimen Regierungen in den betroffenen Gesellschaften nicht ersetzen. Ohne eine lokale politische Klasse, die dem Rechtsstaat und effektiver Regierungsführung verpflichtet ist, kann politischer Wandel nicht gelingen. Dabei ist es unerheblich, wie wohlmeinend eine Intervention sein mag, über welche Machtinstrumente die äußeren Akteure verfügen oder welche Ressourcen sie einsetzen.

Wir haben nun ein Jahrzehnt lang versucht, einen Rechtsstaat in Afghanistan zu errichten. Die Ergebnisse sind überschaubar. Doch selbst eine Vervielfachung der eingesetzten Ressourcen würde keinen Unterschied machen.

Die Vereinigten Staaten, Deutschland und andere haben sich nun mehr als ein Jahrzehnt lang bemüht, einen Rechtsstaat in Afghanistan zu errichten. Dennoch sind die Ergebnisse überschaubar, denn lokale Politik und soziokulturelle Normen haben die Bemühungen externer Technokraten konterkariert. Daher verweisen Kritiker des europäischen Ansatzes gegenüber gescheiterten Staaten mit Recht auf begrenzte Fähigkeiten und auf den mangelnden politischen Willen zum Erfolg. Doch selbst eine Vervielfachung der eingesetzten Ressourcen würde keinen wirklichen Unterschied machen.

Von den eigentlichen globalen Problemen abgelenkt

Die Theorie der gescheiterten Staaten greift noch aus einem anderen Grund zu kurz. Denn sie beruht auf einer Fehlberechnung des eigentlichen nationalen Interesses. Die mit schwachen Staaten in Verbindung gebrachten Herausforderungen wie Terrorismus, Instabilität oder globale Gesundheitsprobleme reflektieren eigentlich nur viel breiter angelegte globale Risiken. Terroristen werden nicht nur in gescheiterten Staaten rekrutiert, sondern auch in Großbritannien, Schweden, Indien, Pakistan und vielen anderen Ländern. Und auch ihre Aktivitäten beschränken sich keineswegs auf gescheiterte Staaten. Das Gleiche gilt für die Verbreitung von Krankheiten, für organisiertes Verbrechen oder für jedes andere Gebrechen, das schwachen Staaten zugeschrieben wird. Dabei wird aber übersehen, dass diese Bedrohungen nicht einmal dann verschwinden würden, wenn alle sogenannten gescheiterten Staaten den Pfad in Richtung guter Regierungsführung einschlagen würden.

Dieser falsche Fokus hatte zur Folge, dass die politische Aufmerksamkeit westlicher Staaten von viel wichtigeren strategischen Langzeitprioritäten abgelenkt wurde. Die Sicherheit von Handelsnationen wie Deutschland und den Vereinigten Staaten wird entscheidend von globalen Trends wie den Beziehungen der Großmächte untereinander geprägt. So geht es aktuell darum, Chinas globalen Aufstieg zu managen und darum, auf russische Bemühungen um strategischen Einfluss zu reagieren. Doch wir stehen auch vor der Aufgabe, den Klimawandel unter Kontrolle zu bringen und Normen und Institutionen auf die Beine zu stellen, die gravierende Störungen im globalen Kapitalfluss verhindern können.

Im vergangenen Jahrzehnt wurden weit mehr Energie, Ressourcen und Überlegungen in gewagte State Building Versuche investiert, als in viel bedeutsamere strategische Herausforderungen.

Diese Fragen haben sehr viel weitreichendere Auswirkungen auf die langfristige Sicherheit und den Wohlstand von Europäern und Amerikanern als schwache Staaten. Und dennoch wurden im vergangenen Jahrzehnt weit mehr Energie, Ressourcen und Überlegungen in gewagte State Building Versuche investiert, als in diese tatsächlich sehr viel bedeutsameren strategischen Herausforderungen.

Das gilt auch für europäische Beiträge zur globalen Stabilität und für die aktuelle deutsche Debatte über Berlins künftige Rolle in internationalen Friedensmissionen. Nicht wenige europäische Stimmen haben sich jüngst darum bemüht, den aktuellen europäischen Ansatz gegenüber dem westafrikanischen Mali als vielversprechende neue Strategie für gescheiterte Staaten zu charakterisieren.

Gescheiterte Staaten: Nicht irrelevant (aber fast)

Die Europäische Union und ihre Mitgliedstaaten hätten aber einen weit größeren Einfluss auf das internationale System und auf ihre eigene Sicherheit, wenn sie ihre Ressourcen an einer anderen Stelle einsetzen würden. Etwa zur Bearbeitung der geopolitischen Herausforderungen in den Beziehungen zu Russland und China oder in der Verbreitung von globalen Normen zur Informationssicherheit und des Klimaschutzes. Schwache und gescheiterte Staaten sind für die europäische Sicherheit zwar sicher nicht irrelevant, aber bei weitem weniger wichtig.

Zwei Dinge würden dabei helfen, Kriterien für angemessenes State Building abzustecken. Zunächst müsste eine Richtschnur für verschiedene Einsätze erarbeitet werden. Klassische Friedenssicherung kann dabei ein Ansatz sein. Gerade in Fällen, in denen effektive Regierungsführung durch einen internen Konflikt erschüttert wird, können solche Interventionen Stabilität fördern, ohne sich in lokalen politischen Auseinandersetzungen zu verfangen.

Die Unterstützung von State Building ist auch dann sinnvoll, wenn es von starken Reformern vor Ort getragen wird. Beispiele hierfür sind etwa Südkorea in den 60er und 70er Jahren oder die Regierung von Kolumbien heute. Sinnlos sind dagegen Versuche, Staaten eine andere Lebensweise aufzuzwingen – egal wie dringend erforderlich dies auch erscheinen mag. In solchen Fällen sollte es vielmehr darum gehen, Alternativen zu umfassenden Intervention zu erarbeiten.

Wir brauchen eine neue Agenda, die nach vorne weist. Eine Agenda, die sich nicht auf State Building in gescheiterten Staaten konzentriert, sondern auf die wirklich zentralen geopolitischen Herausforderungen der Gegenwart.

Der Ausgang der Reformexperimente in Tunesien, Ägypten und in Libyen wird erhebliche Auswirkungen auf die europäische Sicherheit haben. Deshalb bleibt die Förderung von staatlichen Fähigkeiten dort ein wichtiges Ziel. Aber umfassende Interventionsabenteuer nach dem Modell des vergangenen Jahrzehnts werden nachweislich nicht die Lösung sein.

Stattdessen wird ein neues Modell für den Aufbau von handlungsfähigen Staaten benötigt, das auf technische Beratung, Kapazitätsförderung, Investitionen und auf andere Arten von gradueller, nachhaltiger und geduldiger Politik setzt.

Sicher klingt dies nicht so forsch und dramatisch wie Thomas Bennets Vision einer neoimperialen Weltveränderungsmission aus dem Jahr 2003. Doch diese Vision ist gescheitert. Sie war so unbezahlbar wie unrealistisch. Die Vereinigten Staaten, Deutschland und andere führende Nationen brauchen eine neue Agenda, die nach vorne weist. Eine Agenda, die sich nicht auf State Building in gescheiterten Staaten konzentriert, sondern auf die wirklich zentralen geopolitischen Herausforderungen der Gegenwart.

Dieser Beitrag reflektiert die persönlichen Ansichten des Autors und nicht die Politik oder Positionen der US-Regierung.

http://www.ipg-journal.de/kommentar/artikel/state-building-unbezahlbar-und-unrealistisch-324/

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Policy= res publica

Freudenberg-Pilster* Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Rep): NSA Abused Trust, Must Be Reined In

Washington, Nov 6, 2013

It is impossible to forget the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. And it is not easy to forget what followed: fear, anger and an upwelling of patriotism. Throughout our nation’s history, we’ve fought in wars both at home and abroad, but until that day, most Americans felt invincible from an attack from the outside world.

Following 9-11, the United States felt an unfamiliar vulnerability, but we also felt more unified than ever.

Congress knew it had to act to enhance the tools the intelligence community needed to identify and track terrorists, but we never forgot what makes our country great: freedoms and liberties unlike anywhere else in the world. I led a bicameral group of legislators that came together and passed the USA Patriot Act with strong bipartisan support.

President Ronald Reagan said, "trust but verify." After 9-11, with the country at risk and poised to enter its most intensive conflict since the Vietnam War, Congress extended the administration broader powers to help protect the American people. But the National Security Agency abused that trust.

It ignored restrictions painstakingly crafted by lawmakers and assumed a plenary authority never imagined by Congress. Worse, the NSA has cloaked its operations behind such a thick cloud of secrecy that, even if our trust was restored, Congress and the American people would lack the ability to verify it.

Our constitutional democracy was built to be accountable to the people. That principle can never be compromised.

Earlier this year, Americans were rightly outraged to learn that the NSA is collecting in bulk the phone records of nearly every American. More recently, the media has revealed additional classified information that has added to our concerns.

Since the revelation that the NSA is collecting the details of Americans‘ phone calls on an unprecedented scale, we have learned that the government searches the content of huge troves of emails, collects in bulk the address books from email accounts and social networking sites, at least temporarily collected geolocation data from our cellphones, committed thousands of privacy violations and lied to courts and Congress. This is not the America our founders envisioned.

Not only do many of these programs raise serious legal questions, they have come at a high cost to Americans‘ privacy rights, business interests and standing in the international community.

On Oct. 31, the Senate Intelligence Committee voted to give the NSA the authority to collect private data on innocent Americans. In an 11-4 vote, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) presided over the first congressional vote in our country’s history to allow unrestrained spying on the American people.

I am committed to a different approach.

On Oct. 29, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy and I came together to introduce the USA Freedom Act. The bill has co-sponsors in the Senate covering the political spectrum, and nearly 90 co-sponsors in the House — almost an even split between Republicans and Democrats.

It also has been endorsed by groups ranging from the National Rifle Association to the American Civil Liberties Union and has the support of many of the tech giants, including AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo.

The USA Freedom Act restores Americans‘ privacy rights by ending the government’s dragnet collection of phone records under Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act and requires greater oversight, transparency and accountability with respect to surveillance authorities.

The bill also provides more safeguards against warrantless surveillance under the FISA Amendments Act and includes significant privacy and oversight provisions, creates a special advocate to focus on the protection of privacy rights before the FISA Court and requires more detailed public reporting.

In short, the USA Freedom Act ensures the law is properly interpreted, past abuses are not repeated and American liberties are protected. And over the coming weeks and months, as more revelations are brought to light and public outrage grows, I will be working to push this important legislation through the House Judiciary Committee and onto the House floor.

There, members can cast their vote to restore trust and accountability to our intelligence community.

http://sensenbrenner.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=361245

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Politics: From Vision to Action

Barandat* Former US Ambassador to Syria: America alone cannot solve the Syrian crisis *

Asharq Al-Awsat speaks to Robert Ford, the former US Ambassador to Syria, in his first interview since his recent retirement

Washington, DC, Asharq Al-Awsat—As Syrians mark the passing of three years since the start of the uprising in their country and the crisis that followed, the United States marks this solemn anniversary with discussions on “new policy options” in its approach to the conflict. This coincides with a “changing of the guard” at the State Department, with the retirement of Ambassador Robert Ford as the US envoy for Syria, and the passing of the baton to a new official, Daniel Rubenstein.

US President Barack Obama chose Ford, a fluent Arabic speaker and long-time career diplomat, to be his envoy to Syria in 2010. Ford became the first American envoy to Syria since the withdrawal of the US Ambassador in Damascus after the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri. When he arrived in Damascus in January 2011, Ford knew it would be a tough post, yet he could not have foreseen how events were to unfold over the following three years. While the outcome of Syria’s conflict remains unknown, and quite possibly a distant prospect, Ford announced his retirement in February after months of contemplation.

Ford recently spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat in Washington, DC about US policy in Syria in his first interview since retiring from the State Department at the end of February.

Asharq Al-Awsat: Many questions were posed about your decision to retire and whether it was an indication of a frustration with US policy in Syria

Ambassador Robert Ford: Well, I have been in the Foreign Service for 30 years, and I think at a certain point, especially on Syria policy, it is time for some new ideas and some new faces. I enjoyed working with many Syrians and many of my colleagues in the State Department and also other governments and foreign ministries, with the London 11 Countries Group [the core members of the Friend of Syria group]. But I also think we have reached a sort of milestone with three years, and the end is not clearly in sight yet, and I think there is a utility in bringing in fresh people and fresh ideas to address this.

Q: When you say fresh ideas, have you had ideas that you think should have been taken forward but weren’t? Is there advice you have offered the Obama administration as you leave?

Well I have certainly talked to the person replacing me, Danny Rubenstein, and also Larry Silverman who is taking part, and I have left them some ideas I think will be important going forward. [The] Number one [thing] is to remember that more than anything else this entire revolution is about Syrians and it is about dignity. I cannot emphasize the word “dignity” enough. Before anything else it is about dignity, and once we begin to understand that, then you can sort of imagine how you might get to a negotiated political settlement, but it has to be about dignity first and foremost.

Second, the United States has interests in Syria, so going forward those interests won’t change, but there may be additional interests attached to them. The Director of National Intelligence said that Syria is becoming a major security threat to the United States because of the Al-Qaeda groups there. That doesn’t change our stress on dignity, it just means we have additional things to worry about and so now we have to manage several different challenges all at one time.

And the last thing I have said to Danny and Larry, we cannot work alone in the region; we have friends and they have interests in the region too—Turkey has interests, Saudi Arabia has interests, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, they all have interests. So whatever things they do going forward, they are going to have to work with regional partners; it is not an American solution, it is going to have to be an international community solution which the United States will be a big part of, but not the only part. And I think sometimes there are people who look at the United States and say ‘Why don’t you fix the problem,’ and it cannot be only the United States who ‘fixes it’. That is one of the lessons, not the only one, that we should have learnt from the Iraq experience. In situations like this, of internal conflict, where there are lots of countries that have interests, you have to work as part of a broader effort. We can lead the effort, but we are not the only part of the effort.

Q: Some Arab officials would respond to that statement by saying Arab countries do want to be part of the solution and have ideas for supporting the opposition, but there is not enough commitment and engagement from the United States to get on board fully. I don’t just mean the arming of opposition forces, which some Arab states support, but also a sense that they do not have a fully committed partner in the United States.

Well I would say, hence perhaps the reason for some new faces and some new ideas if foreign governments feel we are not committed or not engaged enough, then I think that falls on my shoulders in part and I accept that responsibility. All the more reason for fresh faces and fresh people to carry this forward.

Q: Yet it is perhaps more about the impetus from the White House for a push forward. Many don’t think the issue was you and your office, but more the commitment and will of the White House.

Well, we just had King Abdullah of Jordan here, and the President is going to Saudi Arabia in two weeks. I know regarding the visit of King Abdullah of Jordan, Syria was practically at the top of the agenda. I would expect it would be in the top two or three issues on the agenda of the President in his visit to Saudi Arabia.

I don’t think it is fair to say that the President is not engaged. I feel a bit frustrated when foreign governments say they want more engagement from the United States; what is it exactly that they are looking for? If they are looking for F-16s and drone strikes, okay, but let us be honest about what exactly it is they want. Sometimes I think they say this about the United States but what they really want is military engagement, and there are some voices in Washington that are urging military action, Senator John McCain and others, but at the same time, the argument will still have to be made to convince the senior levels of the administration that the military strikes will provide the way forward in a solution by doing one, two and three. That still has not been clearly identified, and I think until it is it will be very difficult to convince the United States to move forward on it. That is another lesson from Iraq: be a little more careful and understand the endgame before you engage military forces.

Q: It is hard to know an end game of any military strike, unless it is only one single target that needs to be taken out. The situation in Syria is more complex, so in your assessment, is it possible to highlight what can be achieved by limited strikes?

I think the Syrian regime certainly pays attention to the threat of military action and the Russians do too—that is one of the big reasons we were able to secure a chemical weapons agreement. The President has never taken it off the table, but at the same time we are the largest military power in the world and so we have to act with a sense of responsibility and also think medium- and long-term.

You do not threaten military action if you are not willing to do it, and if we are to begin an operation, it would be very helpful to know where does it end and what is it we are attaining out of it. The advocates of the military strike have not yet been able to convincingly articulate this, not just in Washington. I live in Baltimore, and I have yet to meet one person in Baltimore in favor of military strikes in Syria.

Q: Last September, there was a sense that a strike was imminent; then there was a stepping back, with the deal on the chemical weapons. How damaging was that incident for the Syrian crisis?

Oh, there is no question that with the Syrian opposition there was huge frustration when we decided we would not go ahead with the strike—it was a gigantic frustration and I heard all about it, and I still do sometimes. Yet I have to be really blunt with my friends in the Syrian opposition: suppose tomorrow the President decides 146,000, or whatever number it is, of Syrians have died is enough—it is possible—and he takes a decision on this. What happens next week? Does the Syrian opposition have a proposal? Do they know if they will move these people into these jobs and take these kinds of measures to maintain security and to reassure Alawis and Christians and others? We do not have that yet. They have made a lot of progress in terms of defining their thoughts on that, and that is great. But it is not enough.

It goes back to what I was saying before—the military engagement is not really an answer, it is the political part after the military engagement. On that we have a long way to go. My biggest disappointment from Geneva, frankly, is that the Syrian opposition put a proposal on the table. It was a framework for a Transitional Governing Body that you could build on, and I think there was a huge opportunity lost for Syria that the regime would not sit down and start to discuss that, because in the end it is not F-16s and drones that will fix the problem, [instead] that framework was something like [a solution]. Getting tough armed guys on the opposition side—and there are lots of them, some of them are extremists—and getting hard and tough guys from the regime—and some of them are also extremists—and to get most of them to give a political settlement a chance. You will still have nasty guys on both sides who will have to be contained, isolated and eventually dealt with. We had a chance in Geneva to put something forward and get some progress. But it stalled, the regime would not discuss it. [Syrian Permanent Representative at the UN, Bashar] Al-Jaafari simply said, ‘we will not discuss this until we finish discussing violence’, as though the two sides were not connected.

Q: Before we get to Geneva, one final point about military strikes. Some would say drone strikes are one way of supporting the Free Syrian Army and change the situation on the ground. Is it feasible for the United States to approve such strikes?

Well technologically it is feasible . . .

Q: And politically?

Politically, I don’t know, I can’t answer that, it is more of a Defense Department question. Policy-wise, we have resumed non-lethal assistance for some of the armed factions in both the north and the south. That is not a secret; and just in the past few days we got some more stuff in, I was talking to our coordinator about it. We do not have a problem providing them with at least some kind of assistance as long as it is understood we only are going to support people who are going to focus on dignity and giving people choices after the Assad regime, and are not going to impose some vision of whatever regime—that people will have dignity and human rights will be respected. I think there is room to discuss a lot between us and the armed groups. A lot.

Q: Let us turn to the Geneva talks. Everyone speaks as though that process has now failed and ended. Is that your understanding?

I think Lakhdar [Brahimi, the Special Joint representative for Syria] told the UN clearly that we cannot see when there would be another date [for talks]. And it is a shame because there was hope for a little while and I think that is all gone now. It is sad.

Q: Yet we knew from the start this process would be hard, we knew that the Syrian regime would not be willing to talk about handing over power from the beginning. But the idea was to keep at it. What changed? Was it when Brahimi came out and said he couldn’t make them agree and said it was up to the US and Russia?

Here is where we left Geneva frustrated. The invitation letter from the UN Secretary General [Ban Ki-moon] says, ‘come to Geneva to discuss ending violence and implementing the Geneva Communique, beginning with the establishment of a Transitional Governing Body with full authority’ and so on. To us, as a country that signed off on that as an initiating country and contributed a lot of the language of that letter, it was clear that although ending violence might be a reasonable topic at the table—we certainly don’t object—there clearly had to be discussions about a transition government, because in the end, this is about dignity and about an existing regime that does not provide dignity enough to keep civil peace.

Therefore that transitional government had to be on the agenda, and I will confess to you some surprise that in the end there was not sufficient pressure on the Syrian regime to accept that conversation and discuss that. They were able to just say we will not discuss it, let us put it that way.

Q: You said there was a need to get the hardliners, even those with the guns, to sit and talk . . .

I didn’t say they need to sit together and talk—even though I think that will be eventually needed—but we need them to accept the agreement. They might, to negotiate through political representatives. My sense from the opposition side [is that] most of the armed groups were okay with it, including the Islamic Front. It is not fair to say they rejected the process, they were not happy with it, but they were okay. Now from the other [government] side, it may be different. I don’t know if all the elements from the regime support peace talks, that is not clear to me. I don’t know if the Assad [government] can deliver its side. For those who say the opposition is so fractured, they forget that actually the regime is increasingly fractured. As this attrition goes on, the regime’s own control on all the sides involved diminishes month by month, and that is very serious. It is one of the most frightening things about this whole situation.

Q: Some expected the regime to implode from all the pressures it is facing. But it isn’t possible to wait for that to happen to change the situation on the ground.

The situation of the cantonization of Syria is happening unfortunately and it is not a good result for us.

Q: And it appears that cantonisation is only increasing with time.

Yes, I don’t disagree with that.

Q: Let us turn to the Geneva talks, which appear to have collapsed completely now. What is the likelihood of getting international consensus to push a political solution forward, especially as US-Russia relations are tense now with the developments in Ukraine?

I think this is really important to remember: we and the Russians disagree on a great many things about Syria—responsibility for the August 2013 chemical weapons attack, etcetera etcetera—but we and the Russians do both agree that each country has a national security interest in Syria being free of extremists. So we would ask the Russian authorities, “look at the direction of events over the past three years, is the problem of extremism in Syria getting better or getting worse? Think forward, is it likely to get better or worse, if the current circumstances continue, or even get worse?”

I think it was on the basis of that understanding that we agreed there needed to be a transitional national government with mutual consent and full authority. I don’t think that has changed, either for us or for the Russians. Ukraine is a separate, hard issue. In terms of the two countries’ interests in Syria, that hasn’t changed. So we may need to think about how to go back to the Russians to say, “how do we get to that transitional national government?” That is a fair question to ask, because the Geneva process was not going anywhere—that is what Lakhdar Brahimi said, that is not what the Americans said, that is what the United Nations said.

Q: Yet Brahimi said that to get the talks to work he would need the US and Russia to push both sides in that direction. Is that your assessment—that if the Russians and Americans can work together for a political solution, as they did with the chemical weapons deal, it can lead to a result, or do you need regional involvement?

I think that when the United States and Russia work together, as we did on the chemical weapons, they can achieve a lot. But in the end we will have to get the Syrians to accept whatever comes out, and there are other countries in the region as well. So you may build up a Russian-American agreement on the way forward but you will have to bring in, most importantly, Syrians. But you will also have to bring in regional countries that could try to play a spoiler role. So there is going to be a need for lots of creative diplomacy. I can’t imagine that once you have a Russian-American agreement on a way forward, the problem is solved. That would be step one of many steps. But even right now, although we and the Russians agree on where we need to go, we do not agree on how to get there. So we had hoped in Geneva II that that would become clear, but it did not. So there will be a need at the right time to go back and talk about how to get there.

Q: Several US officials said the Russians either won’t deliver the Syrian regime during the talks or can’t actually do it. Do you have any clarity now—they won’t or they can’t

I don’t. Except I would say this: the Russians in past weeks have been increasing their military assistance to the Syrian regime dramatically. I don’t know exactly why they are doing that, but I am sure it gives them more influence and leverage in Damascus. Now maybe they are doing it because Iran is also increasing assistance, so to keep up with Iran.

We have seen the United States in situations like that too, where we sort of compete for influence in a smaller country. I don’t know what the Russians’ mentality on this is, however, I don’t think their leverage is diminishing. I think the most important thing though is not what the Russians do, it is what the supporters of the regime inside [Syria] do. We, the Russians, the Syrian opposition, the Iranians and others will have to interact with those regime supporters, and it is a diverse group. It is not just the [Assad] family, but there are people who are allied to the family, some Sunni business community elements, some part of the Syrian social fabric, elements of the regime’s military and militia forces. It is a complex interplay.

So if we and the Russians can come to an agreement we can act as a pole that will pull not all, but possibly bring others in as part of a negotiated deal. I don’t think Bashar Al-Assad will ever willingly give up power until he is confronted with a fait accompli. Obviously you will have to think about taking care of different people’s interests. It has always been clear to us, for example, that a transitional national government will have some elements of the existing regime, people whose behavior against Syrians has not been trickling with blood—they may stay. Their staying may convince other supporters of the regime that they could be safe in this new transitional government period. That will be important. I think the regime knows that exactly, and that is why they did not want to begin discussions on a transitional national government, because they could lose control of that discussion very quickly.

Q: There are obviously names of elements in the regime that Syrians and the international community could work with, but there has also been caution not to name them for their own safety. Yet have you been in touch, directly or indirectly, with these people and sensed a willingness to work on a political solution

All I can say is that I am obviously not going to name any names either, precisely because we don’t want to put people in jeopardy. What I can say is that most certainly there have been, at different times, people from inside who have reached out either to us or to other foreign countries to say we want the political solution that you are talking about in general. We want a negotiated solution. We got a lot of very positive echoes from inside Syria on the eve of Geneva when it started. There were messages directly and indirectly saying we hope this succeeds. Many people in the regime’s support camp are tired of this, they want a way out and they don’t see it. They were hoping that a negotiated solution would be possible to give them that way out. I don’t think that has changed. I interpret this anger that some in the Alawi community have voiced about what the nuns [of Maaloula] have said, and why hasn’t the regime worked to get Alawi prisoners released. That tells me they are tired and they are hurting too. They are looking for a way out.

Q: Everyone is looking for a way out.

That is what I am saying. What is interesting is that the one group not really looking for a way out is the regime, and it has been able to continue like this by saying that it is dealing only with extremists, that the enemy is all Al-Qaeda and the Al-Nusra Front.

My biggest complaint of all about the work of the Syrian opposition: they have done many, many good things, but their biggest problem so far is that they have never been able to clearly distinguish what they stand for, versus what Al-Qaeda stands for. For a long time, they would not even criticize Al-Qaeda and even now they won’t criticize Al-Nusra. But let us be honest, we know what Al-Nusra is too. They have gone in to Alawi areas and murdered Alawi civilians, and that has to be condemned.

I am not saying barrel bombs are not killing innocent civilians in Aleppo, of course they are, and it is horrible. But if you cannot think of a way to reassure elements of the regime’s support camp that a transition government won’t kill them, then they will keep fighting, because they are so afraid. Somehow, opposition elements must find a way to say we are not targeting Alawis or Christians or Sunnis or anybody, but that we are trying to get rid of a family that has destroyed our country. When was the last time we heard that? That is my parting request to the Syrian opposition. We are in the middle game now. The American Revolution took eight years, so why should we think this is different?

I hope it doesn’t take that long, I hope this ends this year, but we are in the middle game, and it has to be about convincing elements from the regime’s camp that there is only one way out, and that is to take a negotiated deal. Part of that deal may be that Assad has to go, the American position is he should, but it is not our decision. That has to be part of a package of security guarantees, dignity and safety of all the different elements of Syrian society.

It is the three-year anniversary and you have handed over the Syria file. Looking back, if you could change one thing on the US side, what would it be?

Let me think about that. I think we were not the decisive factor, ever. What started in Al-Hareeqa, which is to me when the uprising started, not in Dera’a, those were not American things. When I visited Hama and Jassem and the regime said I was instigating it, that was so ridiculous because it was already happening. So we were never the driving force; Syrians were the driving force. I think what bothers me the most, is that at different times some people in the Syrian opposition have thought that because we didn’t undertake a military strike, or because we didn’t say “Assad must go” at a certain time, they had questions about our policy. And I think that is too bad, it tells me again my failing—that it wasn’t clear that we stood for dignity, human rights, implementation of the Geneva Communiqué and that Assad has no legitimacy. I think we need to keep communicating as clearly as possible what it is we stand for and support.

I think as this fight goes on, and in some ways gets harder in terms of dignity and security, that kind of clarity is more important than ever. I would be very unhappy if people said, “because you fight Al-Qaeda, you support Bashar Al-Assad.” It doesn’t work that way, Assad is bringing these people in, these jihadists are coming to fight because he is there. If he wasn’t there it would be much easier to reduce the recruitment, but you can see how quickly that can be confused. I do not think we have communicated as clearly as we should where we stand, and I think going forward it will be more important than ever that we do communicate that.

http://www.aawsat.net/2014/03/article55330146

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Suter* Youth unemployment in Europe: key issues *

Posted on March 25, 2014 by IZA Press and Werner Eichhorst

During a panel discussion at the 2nd European Conference at Harvard University on 1 March 2014, IZA Director of Labor Policy Europe, Werner Eichhorst, highlighted five core issues of current youth unemployment in Europe:

1. There is major divergence in youth unemployment rates across European countries with massive increases (more than doubling) in some countries such as Spain and Greece, Italy and Portugal, France and some CEE countries, but the situation is mostly stable in most countries in continental Europe (e.g. Germany, Netherlands, Austria, Denmark). Youth unemployment rates are not the best indicators available, however. Measuring youth exclusion via the NEET rates, i.e. those not in employment, education or training, shows lower values and lower increases.

2. Cross-national differences highlight the crucial interaction of a macroeconomic shock with institutions that were in place before. The aftermath of the crisis is highlighting structural problems that existed already in better times. In general, there is a particular vulnerability at the early stage of labor market careers that is typical for young people in many countries. But institutions are crucial in structuring the transition from school or education to work. This holds for (i) the regulation of employment protection (fixed-term vs. permanent contracts) that tends to create dual labor markets with very limited possibilities of a transition to stable jobs in many Roman countries, (ii) minimum wages which can be particularly harmful for young people without particular skills or work experience, (iii) vocational training where dual vocational training and apprenticeships appear superior to general education and purely school-based vocational education as they combine structured learning with early work experience, (iv) active labor market policies to deal with the prevention of (long-term) unemployment such as preparatory training, alternative curricula and subsidized forms of employment that are more or less effective in promoting a sustainable access to the labor market.

3. Countries with high youth unemployment and NEET rates often lack institutional preconditions for a smooth transition from school to work. Youth-friendly labor markets are either flexible (with a low regulatory gap between permanent and temporary jobs and not too high minimum wages) and / or have strong vocational training that raises attractiveness of labor market entrants to employers due to skills acquisition and work experience combined. Initiatives in Europe to promote reforms in that direction are somewhat limited, however.

4. The establishment of (dual) vocational training is difficult as it requires cooperation between government (training schedules, funding of vocational schools), social partners (committed to promoting vocational training and co-management of the system, including pay agreements), individual employers (hiring apprentices, providing work experience and training by qualified trainers), and, last but not least, young people and their families (accepting vocational training as a reasonable alternative to academic education). Of course, such systems have major historical and societal foundations that are hard to transplant, but regional or sectoral networks of employers could establish ‘lighter’ versions of structured learning and joint schooling when there are shared interests and a critical mass of firms supporting it as well as backing by regional governments.

5. In general, youth unemployment cannot be overcome by targeted publicly sponsored active labor market policies, such as youth guarantees, but benefits from macroeconomic improvement and labor market institutions that are conducive to employment growth and labor mobility.

Other participants at the panel: Richard B Freeman, Harvard University, Pierre –Andre Chiappori, Columbia University, Geert Paemen, Telefonica Foundation Madrid

http://newsroom.iza.org/en/2014/03/25/youth-unemployment-in-europe-key-issues/

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Middle East

Syrian endgame triggers realignments

When senior Pakistani editor Najam Sethi can’t figure out why Saudi Arabia deposited a princely amount of $1.5 billion in the State Bank of Pakistan recently, we are at a dead end. Sethi said in a TV interview, “money is money and if something is taken, something has to be given in return and that is being kept secret. Saudi Arabia had made a request [to Pakistan].”

There have been reports about a Saudi-Pakistani understanding about Syria — Pakistani advisers to train a Syrian rebel army and for supplying weapons for equipping the rebel fighters.

But the advisor to Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif in foreign and security policies Sartaj Aziz has flatly denied that. But then, Aziz merely says it is “gifted money.” So, Sethi’s tantalizing question remains: why such a generous gift?

A clue is available with the arrival of the King of Bahrain Sheikh Hamad bin Isa bin Salman Al-Khalifa in Islamabad on Wednesday on a 3-day visit.

This is the first visit by a Bahrain ruler to Pakistan in four decades and it is taking place after the recent visits by the Saudi foreign minister and Crown Prince to Islamabad.

One of the agreements signed during Al-Khalifa’s visit relates to the interior ministries. Nawaz Sharif said he expects Bahraini (read Saudi) investments in “mega projects” in Pakistan.

Slowly, but surely, the picture that is emerging is of Saudi Arabia (and Bahrain) subcontracting to Pakistan certain internal security duties in the Gulf region. Breaking protocol, Al-Khalifa visited the Joint Services Headquarters in Rawalpindi to meet the military leadership’.

With the intra-GCC rifts becoming acute, Saudi deployments in Bahrain to quell the upheaval for democratic reforms are becoming unsustainable, especially with the steadily worsening situation in the eastern provinces of Saudi Arabia, which are Shi’ite-dominated.

Besides, the Saudis are bracing for a confrontation with Qatar. The latter, on the other hand, has close ties with Turkey and Iran and, even more shockingly for Riyadh, it has reached out to the Syrian regime for a patch-up. In sum, Saudi Arabia faces isolation and has only the UAE, Bahrain and Jordan as its reliable allies. Iran’s Fars News Agency featured an insightful report on this complex realignment taking place in the Middle Eastern politics.

Quite obviously, the endgame in Syria and the brightening prospects for an Iran nuclear deal have triggered realignments in regional politics. The Syrian regime has all but gained the upper hand on the ground and is fast reaching a position to dictate the national reconciliation, while Iran’s diplomatic options have multiplied.

Against this backdrop, and with Egypt in disarray, Saudi Arabia feels an unprecedented regional isolation. No doubt, it is assiduously courting Pakistan.

But it is unclear whether Pakistan will want to take sides in the intra-GCC rift involving Saudi Arabia and Qatar or in the popular Shi’ite uprising in Bahrain.

From all accounts, a furious debate is going on within the Pakistani establishment. Pakistan always walked a fine line when it concerned ties with Iran, given the Tehran-Delhi equation. Having said that, Pakistan is also badly in need of the “gifted money”. Unsurprisingly, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is scheduling a visit to Iran.

http://blogs.rediff.com/mkbhadrakumar/2014/03/20/syrian-endgame-triggers-realignments/

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*Massenbach’s

Recommendation*

*Ukraine moves closer to unfettered trade access to EU*

Influential European lawmakers backed a package of nearly 500 million euros ($695 million) in annual trade benefits for Ukraine on Thursday, opening the way for duty-free Ukrainian exports into the European Union from late April.

Brussels is giving Ukraine unfettered access to the 28-nation bloc’s 500 million consumers even before a proposed bilateral free-trade accord comes into force later this year to cement Kiev’s historic shift away from Russia. "The people of Ukraine fought on the Maidan for democracy and rule of law," said EU lawmaker Daniel Caspary, a member of the European Parliament’s International Trade Committee, which approved the deal. "The EU must not let them down."

The committee approved the plan by 22 votes to 2, with 1 abstention. The move is an important step to revive the trade and aid accord with Ukraine which ousted president Viktor Yanukovich rejected in November in favour of cash from Moscow. That rejection triggered the protests that led to bloodshed in Kiev and Yanukovich’s flight to Russia last month, giving the European Union a second chance to offer a so-called Association Agreement to Ukraine. The ouster of the pro-Russian Yanukovich led to a standoff between Russia and Ukraine that eventually resulted in Crimea’s voting to secede from Ukraine and join Russia. European leaders will meet later on Thursday to discuss possible retaliation for Russia’s takeover of the region. EU leaders and Ukraine’s prime minister will sign the political part of the free-trade agreement at the two-day summit in Brussels from Thursday. The full European Parliament is due to sign off on the EU’s unilateral measures in mid-April.

That will allow 98 percent of all customs duties to be removed for Ukrainian goods entering the European Union from April 23, a deal worth 487 million euros a year and a boost for Ukraine’s near-bankrupt economy. Ukraine had been teetering towards default even before pro-Western unrest in Kiev and Russia’s occupation of the Crimea. Trade benefits alone will not save the economy, but they should help stabilise it along with EU and IMF financing. "Ukraine’s new government needs strong and immediate EU help to fight off external pressures and to overcome economic and financial hardships," said lawmaker Pawel Zalewski. While the bilateral trade relationship is relatively small — 38.3 billion euros in 2012 — the European Union is Ukraine’s top trading partner, representing about a third of the country’s total trade, slightly more than with Russia. The EU’s offer will run until Nov. 1, at which time both sides aim to have the full free-trade deal enacted under the Association Agreement, and following May presidential elections in Ukraine.Ukraine will not have to provide extra access to EU exports in return until both sides sign the free-trade deal.

http://www.todayszaman.com/news-342634-ukraine-moves-closer-to-unfettered-trade-access-to-eu.html

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China, India tap into Ukraine tensions

China and India are called upon to craft their responses to the tensions involving the West and Russia over Ukraine. No one speaks of a cold war yet, but a drawn-out confrontation cannot be ruled out, either. Of course, there is no ideology involved in what is happening and China and India will carefully assess what is there in it for them.

President Vladimir Putin singled out China and India in his celebrated Kremlin speech last Wednesday on Crimea’s historic accession to Russia. In carefully-chosen words, Putin said, “We are grateful to the people of China, whose leadership sees the situation in all its historical and political integrity. We highly appreciate India’s restraint and objectivity.”

Quite obviously, there is a difference between gratitude and appreciation. There are signals that Russia would show its gratitude to China during Putin’s forthcoming visit to Moscow in May. We may expect the signing of the long-awaited trillion dollar mega deal for the supply of Russian gas to China.

The issue of pricing has been holding up negotiations for the past few years, but Moscow may show flexibility. The Western analysts also anticipate that Russia might relent on the 4-year old Chinese request for supply of SU-35 fighter jets and generally agree to ease restrictions on Chinese investment in its strategic industries. (Reuters).

Indeed, China is much in demand. Its abstention in the UN Security Council vote on Crimea’s referendum pleased Moscow, while Washington saw in it Russia’s total isolation in the UN. China let both Russia and the US feel happy.

Meanwhile, Michelle Obama’s week-long visit to China came handy for Beijing to spread petals of goodwill toward the US and President Barack Obama (with whom Chinese President Xi Jinping claims “personal friendship”.)

The Ukraine crisis prompted Obama to extend his stay at the Hague for the nuclear security summit (March 24-25) and to seek a bilateral with Xi. Obama is making a point to Moscow. The US National Security Advisor Susan Rice stressed in a media briefing that Obama will strive to ‘isolate’ Russia. (Putin is skipping the Hague summit.)

But there could be more in it for China than symbolism. At the Hague, Obama is having a trilateral between the US, Japan and South Korea. Over the weekend, there was the incredible spectacle of Chinese and Japanese aircraft scouring the oceans around Perth, Australia, looking for the ill-fated Malaysian plane.

Things are working well for China. In a candid commentary on Saturday, Global Times took note that unlike with Russia, “it is not wise for China to fuel confrontations with the West.”

The GT differentiated China’s predicaments with the West from Russia’s. It said Russia is a mere “trouble-maker” for the West — not a “rival” — whereas, China needs to be mindful that the West’s main focus is on it, because unlike Russia, it has the “potential to grow stronger than the US.” The GT concluded that China should keep a “sober mind about its strategic direction” since it is vulnerable today. (here)

How the Obama-Xi meeting at the Hague plays out will be keenly watched not only in Moscow but also in Delhi. Thus, it comes as no surprise that Russia’s ‘oil czar’ and Putin’s close confidante, Igor Sechin is heading for Delhi on Monday.

Moscow hopes to conclude a mega deal to supply two nuclear reactors to India. It will be interesting to see what Sechin has to offer. His visit is at Russian initiative. It came as a last-minute decision by Moscow to extend Sechin’s ongoing Asia-Pacific tour visiting Japan, South Korea and Vietnam and depute him to India as well.

Will he convey Moscow’s green signal for Indian companies to acquire assets in the upstream oil sector in Siberia and the Russian Far East, something which India has been keenly seeking and Russia hedging so far?

Delhi needs to take note that Obama’s ’smart’ sanctions include deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin. Rogozin has no assets in America that Washington can ‘freeze’. But then, Obama may have a game plan down the line if US-Russia tensions cascade, insofar as Rogozin is also the co-chairman of the bilateral commission for military-technical cooperation with India, which is Russia’s number one buyer of weapons.

On March 21, Obama authorized potential future sanctions on Russian industries, including financial services, energy, metals and mining, defence and engineering. A Russian military intervention in Ukraine can trigger the new round of sanctions. The US military and intelligence officials have noted that there are now Russian troops virtually on all of Russia’s borders with Ukraine and in some sectors reinforced with armor, attack airplanes and helicopters. (Bloomberg).

To be sure, Moscow expects India not to succumb to US pressures regarding sanctions. India has an opaque record here. While it publicly maintained it wouldn’t comply with the US’ sanctions against Iran, the plain truth is that in actual practice it did exactly what the US wanted. On the other hand, arguably, Russia is not Iran in India’s scheme of things.

However, India is also deepening and broadening its energy partnership with the US. India is pressing for LNG supplies and investment opportunities in the upstream shale gas sector in the US and collaboration in ‘green energy’.

This is where the rising US-Russia tensions work to India’s advantage — for, unlike in the Cold War when India was stigmatized as a ‘Soviet proxy’, the cold-war like tensions are unfolding today in a multipolar setting where India is on a friendly wicket with the US.

In sum, neither China nor India would have any interest in partaking of Russia’s wrangle with the US. They are status quo powers seeking better accommodation in the existing international system. Nor are they going to be deflected from their set foreign-policy trajectory which attaches the highest importance to expanding their own relations with the US.

Again, neither will allow Russia to figure as a factor in their partnership with the US even while remaining open to any beneficial deals at a bilateral level that Moscow may offer.

Equally, both China and India need to factor in the inevitability that the West and Russia would reach a detente at some point. The Russian elites are quintessentially western-oriented and will not want an open-ended exile from Europe where they own massive assets, keep bank accounts, educate their children and go for partying or on vacation.

If the US offers agreeable terms of accommodation, Russia will settle for it. The initiative, therefore, lies with Obama.

But a lot of bad blood has been created lately — most important, the manner in which Russia handled the Edward Snowden affair and the damage it caused to US foreign policies and image and the resultant weakening of the Euro-Atlantic partnership.

The US strategy vis-a-vis Ukraine on one plane at least aims at evicting Russia from the European architecture and to reestablish Washington’s transatlantic leadership — and forcing Russia’s elites to seriously introspect where they want to belong. Rice was explicit in her media briefing that Russia’s isolation is the leitmotif of Obama’s meetings at the Hague. Transcript is here. http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/03/22/press-briefing-press-secretary-jay-carney-national-security-advisor-susa

http://blogs.rediff.com/mkbhadrakumar/2014/03/24/china-india-tap-into-ukraine-tensions/

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German Marshall: Transatlantic Twilight or a Revitalized Relationship?

by Craig Kennedy

WASHINGTON—On March 26, U.S. President Barack Obama will meet with European Union leaders in Brussels at the U.S.-EU Summit. While the summit’s agenda may appear wide-ranging — covering Ukraine, Syria, Iran, the Middle East peace process, and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) — it obscures the weak, almost dysfunctional, state of transatlantic cooperation today.

The fact is that the United States and Europe find it increasingly difficult to respond to regional and global challenges in a coordinated and timely manner. Americans and Europeans have been out of sync with one another, whether on Libya, Egypt, or Russia. Instead, we have a series of disconnected and modest initiatives, or responses to crises, rather than proactive campaigns to address significant challenges.

How did we get to this point? There are at least five reasons.

First, the transatlantic community lacks a positive common project that can inspire politicians and citizens. The integration of most of Central and Eastern Europe into NATO and the European Union may not have represented the end of history, but it did signify the end of a long-term struggle to bring democracy and liberal values to these oppressed countries. While we should be proud of this accomplishment, no new project has arisen to take its place in the 21st century. The war against terrorism never achieved broad support in Europe and divisions created by the Iraq War are still very much present, implicitly if not always explicitly.

Second, the global financial crisis forced both Americans and Europeans to focus more on domestic concerns, such as high unemployment and fiscal challenges, and turn away from many foreign and security issues. Significant reductions in defense spending followed in Europe, and the disparity in capabilities and resources with the United States widened. It is this resource gap that is the real underlying issue in the recent spying controversy, as the United States developed a significantly more developed and sophisticated system for gathering intelligence than its allies. The financial crisis also took a toll on the confidence of the American people, resulting in unprecedented public skepticism about any kind of international intervention.

Third, NATO — once the gold standard of multilateral cooperation — has been substantially diminished by the war in Afghanistan, reduced defense spending in Europe, and divided interests among its key members. While Central, Eastern, and Nordic Europe are focused on the challenge posed by Russia, much of Western Europe is concentrated on North and sub-Saharan Africa and the ongoing conflict in Syria. Modest actions — such as French involvement in the troika addressing Ukraine, or Eastern European participating in African peacekeeping missions — will not bridge the growing divide within Europe. While these different priorities are not impossible to resolve, it is unclear whether NATO is capable of doing it.

Fourth, governance in both the United States and Europe make it difficult to build support for major transatlantic projects. The United States’ capacity to deal with basic fiscal responsibility has proven too much for its system. Ideological and economic interests may even undermine an initiative like TTIP. More generally, few members of the U.S. Congress pay much attention to foreign policy or to Europe. In Europe, the problem is an evolving system of policymaking in which the European Council, Commission, and Parliament, as well as member states, all have a role in a complicated and cumbersome process. The EU high representative is often constrained to producing results that reflect the lowest common denominator. And leadership from Europe’s largest and most important country, Germany, has been sporadic.

Finally, the common attraction felt by both the United States and Europe to Asia only underscores their differences. While some see a bigger role for European soft power in addressing tensions in Asia, the fact is that the drive for markets and investment is the centerpiece of Europe’s Asia policy. For the United States, economic interests in Asia are tempered by the real obligations it has as a provider of security and stability. The U.S. pivot to Asia is a response to real threats and potential conflicts. Although Asians want European and U.S. investment and market access, many also want reassurance that the United States will help in managing their complicated region.

It would not be hard to conclude under these circumstances that U.S.-European cooperation will be largely transactional and sporadic. But the situation may yet be reversible. The United States and Europe still share many values, and their differences are minor compared to those that divide the United States from China or Europe from Russia. Together, they are the dominant political, economic, and military power in the world.

The most important condition, however, is leadership on both sides of the Atlantic. The United States needs a president that views Europe as its central, if not its only, ally in the world. Europe faces a more difficult task: a leadership that can bridge the complexities and dysfunctions of current EU governance. This is not impossible. Helmut Kohl was able to make Europe an effective partner with the United States in the integration of Central and Eastern Europe. Strong and visionary leadership is a necessary but insufficient, condition. A revitalized transatlantic partnership will also require a shared understanding of how to address major global challenges, a clear division of responsibilities, and an investment of resources, especially by Europe.

In the short run, the Russian annexation of Crimea may infuse NATO with new energy and a new sense of mission. But over the long term, the most important variable may well be the economic fortunes of the United States and Europe. The current energy revolution in the United States could produce real economic benefits in the near future. But for Europe, high unemployment and public debt combined with antiquated regulatory systems may make it a continent of slow growth and austerity for years to come. This could mean an even greater gap in ambitions and capabilities between the United States and Europe, with the latter only an occasional collaborator on regional issues.

It is in everyone’s interest that both sides of the Atlantic get their economic houses in order and regain their confidence and ability to work together on the major challenges of the world. Given the many problems that afflict the global order today, we should all want to see a revitalized U.S.-EU partnership emerge in the coming years.

Craig Kennedy is retiring after 19 years as the president of the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

http://blog.gmfus.org/2014/03/23/transatlantic-twilight-or-a-revitalized-relationship/

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see our letter on:

Wir wünschen Ihnen ein angenehmes Wochenende. Ihr Team.

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Udo von Massenbach – Bärbel Freudenberg-Pilster – Jörg Barandat – Edith Suter

UdovonMassenbachMail

Edith.SuterJoergBarandat

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney, National Security Advisor Susa.pdf

US, Russia to de-escalate on Ukraine – Indian Punchline.pdf

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