Massenbach-Letter: NEWS 30/05/14

Massenbach-Letter

Udo von Massenbach

Guten Morgen.

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Massenbach* Ukraine Voted on Sunday

Six myths about the current controversy – all untrue!

(deutsche Fassung: Ukraine: Sechs Irrtümer über die gegenwärtige Kontroverse – und die Wahrheit)

Myth: U.S. and German officials promised the Soviet Union that NATO would not expand into Eastern and Central Europe. Russia’s actions in the Ukraine today are a reaction to NATO and EU expansion. NATO non-enlargement was part of a deal to attain German re-unification.`

Truth: No assurances were given to Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev regarding a non-aligned “buffer zone” between NATO’s eastern borders and Russia during discussions in 1990 – after the fall of the Wall and before German reunification. Gorbachev did seek assurances that Germany would be kept out of NATO but failed to receive them. The West German and U.S. Governments stuck by their position that reunited Germany should become a full member of NATO, and the Soviet leader ultimately backed down on the issue. Secretary of State James Baker brought a nine-point package of ‘‘assurances’’ with him to Moscow for talks with Gorbachev and Soviet Foreign Minister Shevardnadze in May 1990. The package included a pledge to eschew any NATO deployments in eastern Germany during a brief transition period and a commitment to reconstitute NATO to ‘‘take into account the changes that had occurred in Europe.’’ These commitments were laid out in the Final Settlement with respect to Germany. The Soviet Union made any other demands regarding NATO during the negotiations on German reunification.

Myth: NATO is Russia’s adversary.

Truth: NATO-Russia cooperation began in 1991 within the framework of the North Atlantic Cooperation Council – later renamed Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council – and was further deepened as Russia joined the Partnership for Peace program in 1994. In 1997, both parties signed the Founding Act on Mutual Cooperation and Security – a road map for future NATO-Russia cooperation. Russia’s recent actions in Crimea have resulted in its international marginalization and prompted a review of NATO-Russia relations. Political dialogue in the NATO-Russia Council has, however, not been suspended.

Myth: The Crimea was not annexed. It was only unified with Russia, just as Germany was reunited in 1990.

Truth: The accession of Crimea to Russia did not take place in compliance with the Ukrainian constitution or international law. German reunification 1990 was agreed upon and negotiated by both West and East Germany, along with the Soviet Union and the three other former occupying powers. The German unification treaty was in full compliance with all international law and norms, and no Western forces were present in the GDR for the vote in March 1990. The Crimea referendum, by contrast, was conducted and implemented at short notice, under the intimidating presence of Russian forces and their supporters.

Myth: Crimea should never have been part of Ukraine; this action just corrects an injustice.

Truth: Russia, along with the U.S. and the UK, guaranteed the territorial integrity of Ukraine in the 1994 Budapest Agreement, which confirmed the withdrawal of nuclear weapons from Ukraine. Russian forces have remained able to utilize Crimean facilities on a cooperative basis throughout this period, without controversy.

Myth: Russian actions in facilitating the self-determination of the Crimea from Ukraine were no different than the West’s 1999 military actions facilitating Kosovo’s self-determination to secede from Serbia.

Truth: The NATO intervention in Kosovo followed an extensive attempt to conciliate the conflict through multilateral conflict mediation. NATO forces intervened to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe after reports of massive human rights violations and genocide. Nearly a million people were internally displaced as part of the aftermath of the collapse of Yugoslavia. Kosovo gained independence after a long diplomatic process in 2008. There have been no reports of human rights violations against ethnic Russians in Crimea by the Ukrainian government. Furthermore, Russian troops took control of Crimea before the referendum or negotiations took place for a referendum.

Myth: The majority of Germans support Putin’s action in Ukraine.

Truth: In a recent Politbarometer opinion poll, 51 percent responded that the West did not have any efficient means to oppose Russian president Vladimir Putin’s power grab. However, to interpret such figures as a rejection of Western policies or even sympathy for Putin would be wrong. According to ARD-Deutschlandtrend (Infratest dimap) more than two thirds of all Germans support economic aid for Kyiv, 62 percent believe that political pressure from the U.S. and the EU on Moscow makes sense, and three quarters agree that Putin is a politician "who cannot be trusted." Emnid most recently ascertained that 70 percent of the German citizens have no sympathy for Putin’s actions. This information tracks with the results of an Allensbach poll from mid-April, according to which 55 percent of Germans associate Russia with danger, and 76 percent believe German-Russian relations to be strained. Russia is increasingly associated with terms like corruption, the disregard of human rights, great social differences, and a lack of legal security.

Speaking generally, many Germans remain strictly opposed to the use of military force – in part because of the lessons of German history but also after more recent experiences in the Balkans, in Afghanistan and Iraq. Regarding the present situation in the Ukraine, many Germans believe economic sanctions to be ineffective and at the same time fear that they will have negative consequences for the German economy and for jobs and will cause bottlenecks in the energy supply. But there is little active support, per se, for recent Russian activities in Crimea, in the rest of Ukraine, or throughout the region.

USINFO-B is a mailing list for the dissemination of information by the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Berlin

Ukraine: Sechs Irrtümer über die gegenwärtige Kontroverse – und die Wahrheit

Posted on 2014/05/23 by AmerikaDienst

BERLIN – (AD) – Nachfolgend veröffentlichen wir eine Übersicht der US-Botschaft in Berlin vom 23. Mai 2014 mit sechs Irrtümern über das russische Vorgehen in der Ukraine sowie deren Richtigstellung.

IRRTUM: Vertreter der Vereinigten Staaten und Deutschlands haben der Sowjetunion versprochen, dass die NATO nicht um Staaten in Ost- und Mitteleuropa erweitert würde. Das aktuelle russische Verhalten in der Ukraine ist eine Reaktion auf die Erweiterung der NATO und der EU. Der Verzicht auf eine NATO-Erweiterung war Bestandteil eines Pakets zur Erlangung der deutschen Wiedervereinigung.

Die Wahrheit: Eine Zusicherung, dass es eine neutrale Pufferzone zwischen der Ostgrenze der NATO und Russland geben würde, wurde gegenüber dem sowjetischen Präsidenten Michail Gorbatschow bei Gesprächen 1990 nach dem Fall der Mauer und vor der deutschen Wiedervereinigung nicht ausgesprochen. Gorbatschow hat versucht, eine Zusicherung zu erhalten, dass das wiedervereinte Deutschland nicht in die NATO aufgenommen werden würde, aber er hat sie nicht bekommen. Die Regierungen der alten Bundesrepublik und der Vereinigten Staaten haben darauf beharrt, dass Deutschland ein vollwertiges Mitglied der NATO wird und schließlich hat Gorbatschow in dieser Frage nachgegeben.

Im Mai 1990 reiste der damalige amerikanische Außenminister James Baker mit neun Zusicherungen zu Gesprächen mit Gorbatschow und dem sowjetischen Außenminister Schewardnadse nach Moskau. Das Neun-Punkte-Paket enthielt die Zusage, während einer Übergangsphase auf NATO-Stationierungen in der ehemaligen DDR zu verzichten und die Ankündigung, die NATO unter Berücksichtigung der Veränderungen in Europa neu aufzustellen. Diese Zusagen wurden im Zwei-plus-Vier-Vertrag festgehalten. Während der Verhandlungen über die Wiedervereinigung hat die Sowjetunion keinerlei andere Forderungen im Hinblick auf die NATO gestellt.

IRRTUM: Die NATO ist Russlands Gegner.

Die Wahrheit: Die NATO und Russland begannen 1991 im Rahmen des Nordatlantischen Kooperationsrates zusammenzuarbeiten, der später in den Euro-Atlantischen Partnerschaftsrat umbenannt wurde. Die Zusammenarbeit wurde weiter vertieft, als Russland 1994 dem Programm „Partnerschaft für den Frieden“ beitrat. 1997 unterzeichneten beide Seiten die NATO-Russland-Grundakte – einen Fahrplan für die Zukunft der Zusammenarbeit zwischen der NATO und Russland. Das Vorgehen Russlands auf der Krim hat zu einer gewissen internationalen Marginalisierung geführt und dazu, dass die Beziehungen zwischen der NATO und Russland auf den Prüfstand gestellt wurden. Aber der politische Dialog im NATO-Russland-Rat ist nicht ausgesetzt worden.

IRRTUM: Die Krim ist nicht annektiert worden. Es kam lediglich zu einer Vereinigung mit Russland, genauso wie Deutschland 1990 wiedervereint wurde.

Die Wahrheit: Der „Beitritt“ der Krim zu Russland erfolgte nicht im Einklang mit der Verfassung der Ukraine oder dem Völkerrecht. Die deutsche Wiedervereinigung 1990 wurde von der alten Bundesrepublik und von der DDR beschlossen und ausgehandelt, und auch die Sowjetunion und die drei anderen ehemaligen Besatzungsmächte saßen am Verhandlungstisch. Der Einigungsvertrag verstieß in keinem Punkt gegen das Völkerrecht oder andere Normen, und bei den Wahlen im März 1990 befanden sich keine westlichen Truppen in der DDR. Im Gegensatz dazu wurde das Referendum auf der Krim sehr kurzfristig durchgeführt und umgesetzt und dies unter der einschüchternden Präsenz russischer Kräfte und ihrer Unterstützer.

IRRTUM: Die Krim hätte nie Teil der Ukraine sein dürfen; das russische Vorgehen beseitigt lediglich ein Unrecht.

Die Wahrheit: Gemeinsam mit den Vereinigten Staaten und Großbritannien hat Russland 1994 im Budapester Memorandum die territoriale Unversehrtheit der Ukraine garantiert, in dem auch der Abzug von Atomwaffen aus der Ukraine bestätigt wurde. Die russischen Streitkräfte durften seither ohne Unterbrechung Stützpunkte auf der Krim im Geiste der gegenseitigen Kooperation nutzen und hierüber gab es keine Kontroversen.

IRRTUM: Die russische Unterstützung für die Krim und ihre Loslösung von der Ukraine unterscheidet sich nicht von der westlichen Militäraktion im Jahr 1999, die die Selbstbestimmung des Kosovos und die Loslösung von Serbien unterstützte.

Die Wahrheit: Der NATO-Intervention im Kosovo waren intensive Bemühungen um eine Konfliktbeilegung durch multilaterale Schlichtung vorausgegangen. NATO-Truppen sind eingeschritten, um eine humanitäre Katastrophe zu verhindern, nachdem es Berichte über massive Menschenrechtsverletzungen und Völkermord gab. Nach dem Zusammenbruch Jugoslawiens wurde fast eine Million Menschen zu Flüchtlingen im eigenen Land. Das Kosovo wurde 2008 nach einem langen diplomatischen Verfahren unabhängig. Es liegen keine Berichte vor, wonach die ukrainische Regierung die Menschenrechte ethnischer Russen auf der Krim verletzt hat. Hinzu kommt, dass russische Truppen die Kontrolle auf der Krim übernommen haben, bevor das Referendum abgehalten wurde oder über das Referendum verhandelt wurde.

IRRTUM: Die Mehrheit der Deutschen unterstützt Putins Vorgehen in der Ukraine.

Die Wahrheit: In einer Politbaromter-Umfrage gaben 51 Prozent der Befragten an, sie seien der Ansicht, der Westen habe keine wirksamen Mittel um Putins Machtstreben Einhalt zu gebieten. Aber es wäre falsch, solche Umfragewerte als Beweis für eine Ablehnung der westlichen Politik oder sogar als Sympathie für Putin zu deuten. Laut ARD-Deutschlandtrend (Infratest dimap) sind mehr als zwei Drittel aller Deutschen dafür, die Ukraine wirtschaftlich zu unterstützen, 62 Prozent halten den politischen Druck der Vereinigten Staaten und der EU auf Moskau für sinnvoll, und drei Viertel sind der Ansicht, Putin sei ein Politiker, „dem man nicht über den Weg trauen kann“. Emnid hat jüngst ermittelt, dass 70 Prozent der Deutschen keine Sympathie für das Vorgehen Putins hegen. Diese Ergebnisse decken sich mit den Resultaten einer Allensbach-Studie von Mitte April, wonach 55 Prozent der Deutschen Russland mit Gefahren assoziieren und 76 Prozent der Deutschen glauben, dass das Verhältnis zwischen Deutschland und Russland gestört sei. Russland wird vermehrt mit Begriffen wie Korruption, Missachtung von Menschenrechten, großen sozialen Ungleichheiten und dem Fehlen von Rechtssicherheit in Verbindung gebracht.

Allgemein lehnen viele Deutsche den Einsatz militärischer Mittel nach wie vor vehement ab – teils aufgrund der deutschen Geschichte, aber auch aufgrund jüngerer Erfahrungen auf dem Balkan sowie in Afghanistan und dem Irak. Angesichts der gegenwärtigen Situation in der Ukraine glauben viele Deutsche außerdem, dass Wirtschaftssanktionen nicht wirken werden und gleichzeitig befürchten sie, dass solche Sanktionen negative Auswirkungen auf die deutsche Wirtschaft und den deutschen Arbeitsmarkt hätten und zu Engpässen bei der Energieversorgung führen würden. Allerdings gibt es wenig aktive Unterstützung für das russische Vorgehen auf der Krim sowie im Rest der Ukraine und der Region.

This entry was posted in Ukraine and tagged Irrtümer, Krim, NATO, Putin, Russland, Ukraine, US-Botschaft, Wiedervereinigung by AmerikaDienst. Bookmark the permalink

http://blogs.usembassy.gov/amerikadienst/2014/05/23/sechs-irrtumer-uber-die-gegenwartige-kontroverse-und-die-wahrheit/

·

· Borderlands: The View from Azerbaijan *

By George Friedman

I arrive in Azerbaijan as the country celebrates Victory Day, the day successor states of the former Soviet Union celebrate the defeat of Germany in World War II. No one knows how many Soviet citizens died in that war — perhaps 22 million. The number is staggering and represents both the incompetence and magnificence of Russia, which led the Soviets in war. Any understanding of Russia that speaks of one without the other is flawed.

As I write, fireworks are going off over the Caspian Sea. The pyrotechnics are long and elaborate, sounding like an artillery barrage. They are a reminder that Baku was perhaps the most important place in the Nazi-Soviet war. It produced almost all of the Soviet Union’s petroleum. The Germans were desperate for it and wanted to deny it to Moscow. Germany’s strategy after 1942, including the infamous battle of Stalingrad, turned on Baku’s oil. In the end, the Germans threw an army against the high Caucasus guarding Baku. In response, an army raised in the Caucasus fought and defeated them. The Soviets won the war. They wouldn’t have if the Germans had reached Baku. It is symbolic, at least to me, that these celebrations blend into the anniversary of the birth of Heydar Aliyev, the late president of Azerbaijan who endured the war and later forged the post-Soviet identity of his country. He would have been 91 on May 10.

Click to Enlarge

Baku is strategic again today, partly because of oil. I’ve started the journey here partly by convenience and partly because Azerbaijan is key to any counter-Russian strategy that might emerge. My purpose on this trip is to get a sense of the degree to which individual European states feel threatened by Russia, and if they do, the level of effort and risk they are prepared to endure. For Europe does not exist as anything more than a geographic expression; it is the fears and efforts of the individual nation-states constituting it that will determine the course of this affair. Each nation is different, and each makes its own calculus of interest. My interest is to understand their thinking, not only about Russia but also about the European Union, the United States and ultimately themselves. Each is unique; it isn’t possible to make a general statement about them.

Some question whether the Caucasus region and neighboring Turkey are geographically part of Europe. There are many academic ways to approach this question. My approach, however, is less sophisticated. Modern European history cannot be understood without understanding the Ottoman Empire and the fact that it conquered much of the southeastern part of the European peninsula. Russia conquered the three Caucasian states — Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan — and many of their institutions are Russian, hence European. If an organic European expression does exist, it can be argued to be Eurovision, the pan-continental music competition. The Azerbaijanis won it in 2011, which should settle any debate on their "Europeanness."

But more important, a strategy to block Russia is hard to imagine without including its southern flank. There is much talk of sanctions on Russia. But sanctions can be countered and always ignore a key truth: Russia has always been economically dysfunctional. It has created great empires and defeated Napoleon and Hitler in spite of that. Undermining Russia’s economy may be possible, but that does not always undermine Russia’s military power. That Soviet military power outlived the economically driven collapse of the Soviet Union confirms this point. And the issue at the moment is military.

The solution found for dealing with the Soviet Union during the Cold War was containment. The architect of this strategy was diplomat George Kennan, whose realist approach to geopolitics may have lost some adherents but not its relevance. A cordon sanitaire was constructed around the Soviet Union through a system of alliances. In the end, the Soviets were unable to expand and choked on their own inefficiency. There is a strange view abroad that the 21st century is dramatically different from all prior centuries and such thinking is obsolete. I have no idea why this should be so. The 21st century is simply another century, and there has been no transcendence of history. Containment was a core strategy and it seems likely that it will be adopted again — if countries like Azerbaijan are prepared to participate.

To understand Azerbaijan you must begin with two issues: oil and a unique approach to Islam. At the beginning of the 20th century, over half the world’s oil production originated near Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan. Hence Hitler’s strategy after 1942. Today, Azerbaijani energy production is massive, but it cannot substitute for Russia’s production. Russian energy production, meanwhile, defines part of the strategic equation. Many European countries depend substantially on Russian energy, particularly natural gas. They have few alternatives. There is talk of U.S. energy being shipped to Europe, but building the infrastructure for that (even if there are supplies) will take many years before it can reduce Europe’s dependence on Russia.

Withholding energy would be part of any Russian counter to Western pressure, even if Russia were to suffer itself. Any strategy against Russia must address the energy issue, begin with Azerbaijan, and be about more than production. Azerbaijan is not a major producer of gas compared to oil. On the other side of the Caspian Sea, however, Turkmenistan is. Its resources, coupled with Azerbaijan’s, would provide a significant alternative to Russian energy. Turkmenistan has an interest in not selling through Russia and would be interested in a Trans-Caspian pipeline. That pipeline would have to pass through Azerbaijan, connecting onward to infrastructure in Turkey. Assuming Moscow had no effective counters, this would begin to provide a serious alternative to Russian energy and decrease Moscow’s leverage. But this would all depend on Baku’s willingness and ability to resist pressure from every direction.

Azerbaijan lies between Russia and Iran. Russia is the traditional occupier of Azerbaijan and its return is what Baku fears the most. Iran is partly an Azeri country. Nearly a quarter of its citizens, including Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, are Azeri. But while both Azerbaijan and Iran are predominantly Shiite, Azerbaijan is a militantly secular state. Partly due to the Soviet experience and partly because of the unique evolution of Azeri identity since the 19th century, Azerbaijan separates the private practice of Islam from public life. I recall once attending a Jewish Passover feast in Baku that was presided over by an Orthodox rabbi, with security provided by the state. To be fair, Iran has a Jewish minority that has its own lawmaker in parliament. But any tolerance in Iran flows from theocratic dogma, whereas in Azerbaijan it is rooted in a constitution that is more explicitly secular than any in the European Union, save that of France.

This is just one obvious wedge between Azerbaijan and Iran, and Tehran has made efforts to influence the Azeri population. For the moment, relations are somewhat better but there is an insoluble tension that derives from geopolitical reality and the fact that any attack on Iran could come from Azerbaijan. Furthering this wedge are the close relations between Azerbaijan and Israel. The United States currently blocks most weapons sales to Azerbaijan. Israel — with U.S. approval — sells the needed weapons. This gives us a sense of the complexity of the relationship, recalling that complexity undermines alliances.

The complexity of alliances also defines Russia’s reality. It occupies the high Caucasus overlooking the plains of Azerbaijan. Armenia is a Russian ally, bound by an agreement that permits Russian bases through 2044. Yerevan also plans to join the Moscow-led Customs Union, and Russian firms own a large swath of the Armenian economy. Armenia feels isolated. It remains hostile to Turkey for Ankara’s unwillingness to acknowledge events of a century ago as genocide. Armenia also fought a war with Azerbaijan in the 1990s, shortly after independence, for a region called Nagorno-Karabakh that had been part of Azerbaijan — a region that it lost in the war and wants back. Armenia, caught between Turkey and an increasingly powerful Azerbaijan, regards Russia as a guarantor of its national security.

For Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh remains a critical issue. Azerbaijan holds that U.N. resolutions have made it clear that Armenia’s attack constituted a violation of international law, and a diplomatic process set up in Minsk to resolve the crisis has proven ineffective. Azerbaijan operates on two tracks on this issue. It pursues national development, as can be seen in Baku, a city that reflects the oil wealth of the country. It will not endanger that development, nor will it forget about Nagorno-Karabakh. At some point, any nation aligning itself with Azerbaijan will need to take a stand on this frozen conflict, and that is a high price for most.

Which leads me to an interesting symmetry of incomprehension between the United States and Azerbaijan. The United States does not want to sell weapons directly to Azerbaijan because of what it regards as violations of human rights by the Azerbaijani government. The Americans find it incomprehensible that Baku, facing Russia and Iran and needing the United States, cannot satisfy American sensibilities by avoiding repression — a change that would not threaten the regime. Azerbaijan’s answer is that it is precisely the threats it faces from Iran and Russia that require Baku to maintain a security state. Both countries send operatives into Azerbaijan to destabilize it. What the Americans consider dissidents, Azerbaijan sees as agents of foreign powers. Washington disputes this and continually offends Baku with its pronouncements. The Azerbaijanis, meanwhile, continually offend the Americans.

This is similar to the Nagorno-Karabakh issue. Most Americans have never heard of it and don’t care who owns it. For the Azerbaijanis, this is an issue of fundamental historical importance. They cannot understand how, after assisting the United States in Afghanistan, risking close ties with Israel, maintaining a secular Islamic state and more, the United States not only cannot help Baku with Nagorno-Karabakh but also insists on criticizing Azerbaijan.

The question on human rights revolves around the interpretation of who is being arrested and for what reason. For a long time this was an issue that didn’t need to be settled. But after the Ukrainian crisis, U.S.-Azerbaijani relations became critical. It is not just energy; rather, in the event of the creation of a containment alliance, Azerbaijan is the southeastern anchor of the line on the Caspian Sea. In addition, since Georgia is absolutely essential as a route for pipelines, given Armenia’s alliance with Russia, Azerbaijan’s support for Georgian independence is essential. Azerbaijan is the cornerstone for any U.S.-sponsored Caucasus strategy, should it develop.

I do not want to get into the question of either Nagorno-Karabakh or human rights in Azerbaijan. It is, for me, a fruitless issue arising from the deep historical and cultural imperatives of each. But I must take exception to one principle that the U.S. State Department has: an unwillingness to do comparative analysis. In other words, the State Department condemns all violations equally, whether by nations hostile to the United States or friendly to it, whether by countries with wholesale violations or those with more limited violations. When the State Department does pull punches, there is a whiff of bias, as with Georgia and Armenia, which — while occasionally scolded — absorb less criticism than Azerbaijan, despite each country’s own imperfect record.

Even assuming the validity of State Department criticism, no one argues that Azerbaijani repression rises anywhere near the horrors of Joseph Stalin. I use Stalin as an example because Franklin Roosevelt allied the United States with Stalin to defeat Hitler and didn’t find it necessary to regularly condemn Stalin while the Soviet Union was carrying the burden of fighting the war, thereby protecting American interests. That same geopolitical realism animated Kennan and ultimately created the alliance architecture that served the United States throughout the Cold War. Is it necessary to offend someone who will not change his behavior and whom you need for your strategy? The State Department of an earlier era would say no.

It was interesting to attend a celebration of U.S.-Azerbaijani relations in Washington the week before I came to Baku. In the past, these events were subdued. This one was different, because many members of Congress attended. Two guests were particularly significant. One was Charles Schumer of New York, who declared the United States and Azerbaijan to be great democracies. The second was Nancy Pelosi, long a loyalist to Armenian interests. She didn’t say much but chose to show up. It is clear that the Ukrainian crisis triggered this turnout. It is clear that Azerbaijan’s importance is actually obvious to some in Congress, and it is also clear that it signals tension over the policy of criticizing human rights records without comparing them to those of other countries and of ignoring the criticized country’s importance to American strategy.

This is not just about Azerbaijan. The United States will need to work with Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary — all of whom have been found wanting by the State Department in some ways. This criticism does not — and will not — produce change. Endless repetition of the same is the height of ineffectiveness. It will instead make any strategy the United States wants to construct in Europe ineffective. In the end, I would argue that a comparison between Russia and these other countries matters. Perfect friends are hard to find. Refusing to sell weapons to someone you need is not a good way to create an alliance.

In the past, it seemed that such an alliance was merely Cold War nostalgia by people who did not realize and appreciate that we had reached an age too wise to think of war and geopolitics. But the events in Ukraine raise the possibility that those unreconstructed in their cynicism toward the human condition may well have been right. Alliances may in fact be needed. In that case, Roosevelt’s attitude toward Stalin is instructive.

http://www.stratfor.com/weekly/borderlands-view-azerbaijan?utm_source=freelist-f&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20140512&utm_term=Gweekly&utm_content=readmore

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Policy= res publica

Freudenberg-Pilster* Das Wasser wird knapp

09.05.2014 Der Klimawandel führt zu längeren Trockenperioden. Zwei Regionen sind besonders gefährdet … Sachsen muss sich auf einen umfassenden Wandel seines Klimas einstellen. Die Erwärmung hat bereits jetzt Folgen für den Wasserhaushalt. Extremereignisse, teilt das Landesamt für Umwelt, Landwirtschaft und Geologie mit, häufen sich. Dazu zählen Fluten, vor allem aber langanhaltende Niedrigwasserperioden. Flüsse können zumindest zeitweise versiegen, der Grundwasserstand sinkt … warnt allerdings vor Panikmache. Trinkwasserknappheit wird es nach seiner Einschätzung nicht geben. Unter anderem deshalb, weil der Verbrauch angesichts sinkender Einwohnerzahlen ohnehin geringer wird. Ohnehin sind die Sachsen deutsche Sparmeister beim Wasserverbrauch. Zu DDR-Zeiten betrug dieser rund 200 Liter pro Tag, jetzt sind es 85 und damit deutlich weniger als im Bundesdurchschnitt (130) … Schwierigkeiten … für die Elbschifffahrt. „Wir werden an mehr Tagen Niedrigwasser haben.“ Zudem erhöhe sich die Wahrscheinlichkeit von Fluten. Auch dann sei die Elbe für Schiffsverkehr nicht nutzbar … Besonders stark werden der Klimawandel und die damit verbundene Trockenheit im Freistaat voraussichtlich in der Lausitz und in Nordsachsen zu spüren sein … Dort könnten kleinere Flüsse wie etwa die Parthe vorübergehend austrocknen …

http://www.sz-online.de/sachsen/das-wasser-wird-knapp-2834855.html

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Politics: From Vision to Action

Barandat* No irrigation water for marijuana crops, feds rule

21. 05.14 — Delivering a blow to pot growers in Washington state and Colorado, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation said … that it won’t allow any federally controlled water to be used on marijuana crops because Congress has banned the drug … The ruling makes clear that the Obama administration is willing to set limits on the states’ legalization experiments, even though the Justice Department said in August that it wouldn’t block their plans to tax and sell the drug. The decision might hit hardest in Washington state, as the federal agency controls the water supply for two-thirds of the state’s irrigated land … The Bureau of Reclamation had been studying the issue with the Justice Department since last month, after Revell and other local officials in Washington state and Colorado asked for a legal analysis. The Bureau of Reclamation is the nation’s largest wholesaler of water and a key federal agency in the West, best known for the dams, canals and power plants it’s built. Part of the Interior Department, it delivers water to more than 31 million people and to 1 out of every 5 Western farmers, contracting with local irrigation districts … Schreiber said he grew more than 100 crops on his farm, relying on water provided by the Bureau of Reclamation. While he hasn’t received his marijuana-growing license yet, he said he was expecting to get one. “If they tell me I can’t use bureau water, I will follow the rules because that’s what I do,” Schreiber said. “It is an inconvenience and just part of the cost of doing business.”

http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/05/20/4127277/no-irrigation-water-for-marijuana.html

https://udovonmassenbach.wordpress.com/2014/05/28/joerg-barandat-hamburg-waterintake-052014-2/

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Suter* Toilet, water must in schools: Supreme Court

May 11, 2014 The Supreme Court has ruled that separate toilets for boys and girls as well as drinking water facility were integral to right to education and ordered that all schools, including those run by minority community, must make provision for them. A bench of Justice … said separate toilets and drinking water facilities "are essential for basic human rights that enhance the atmosphere where the education is imparted. It can also be put in the compartment of basic needs and requirements in schools … We fail to appreciate the AP [Andhra Pradesh] government’s explanation. When the young children go to school and they do not have essential facilities, drinking water and separate toilets and the requisite teaching and non-teaching staff who impart education subject-wise, in our considered opinion that would be causing a dent in the system of imparting education" …

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Toilet-water-must-in-schools-Supreme-Court/articleshow/34945462.cms

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Middle East

Egypt Emerges as a Route for Israeli Natural Gas Exports

Piping Israeli gas to liquefaction plants in Egypt is the most commercially logical option but remains politically risky.

The announcement of a letter of intent between the partners in Israel’s giant Tamar natural gas field and the Spanish owners of a liquefied natural gas plant on Egypt’s Nile Delta coast is a major breakthrough, one that could help realize Israel’s gas export potential and ease Egypt’s energy crisis. The fifteen-year agreement, said to be worth $1.3 billion annually, foresees a quarter of Tamar’s offshore reserves being converted into LNG and exported across the world. Until now, Israel had only signed up to send small volumes from Tamar — which came onstream in March 2013 — to Jordanian industrial plants by the Dead Sea.

When one factors in the unexploited Leviathan field, which holds almost double Tamar’s reserves, Israel has much more gas than it needs for predicted future domestic demand. Yet its efforts to pursue export options have been hampered by various challenges. Hopes for cooperation with Cyprus were downgraded after the island’s own offshore reserves proved smaller than anticipated. And the option of building a pipeline to Turkey — an important market in of itself as well as a transit route to Europe — has been overshadowed by political antagonisms.

Selling gas as LNG, particularly to Asian markets, is highly profitable, especially if Israel can avoid the huge investment (at least $5 billion) of building its own LNG plant. Yet the Egypt option has its hurdles. Until two years ago, Egypt exported gas to Israel, but the practice was domestically unpopular and the pipeline across Sinai was vulnerable to sabotage. Yet the likely route of a pipeline from the Tamar field, located fifty miles out to sea from the northern Israeli port of Haifa, would be on the Mediterranean seabed, making it almost impervious to attack. To be sure, Cairo will still have to manage political and public disapproval of dealing with Israel, perhaps by arguing that Egypt is not buying the gas but simply permitting the use of foreign-owned facilities within its borders.

Egypt’s own demand for gas has soared because of its subsidized prices in recent years, which have reduced the volumes available for export and left Egypt’s two major LNG facilities underutilized. Accordingly, the country is also a theoretical route for unexploited Palestinian gas reserves off the Gaza coast. Israel recently suspended cooperation with the Palestinian Authority on developing this field after Fatah sought rapprochement with the designated terrorist group Hamas, which controls Gaza.

Much remains to be agreed in the putative Israeli LNG deal, including the financing of the undersea pipeline. Yet the letter of intent is a major advance in the commercial development of Eastern Mediterranean offshore natural gas.

Simon Henderson, the Baker Fellow and director of the Gulf and Energy Policy Program at The Washington Institute, is author of the recent German Marshall Fund report "Natural Gas in the Palestinian Authority: The Potential of the Gaza Marine Offshore Field."

http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/egypt-emerges-as-a-route-for-israeli-natural-gas-exports

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*Massenbach’s

Recommendation*

https://i2.wp.com/siteresources.worldbank.org/ECAEXT/Images/PR_H_WB_IBRD_IDA.jpg

World Bank Boosts Support for Recovery in Ukraine
Nearly US$1.5 billion provided under three new operations

WASHINGTON, May 22, 2014—The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved three new projects for Ukraine amounting to US$1.48 billion. This new financing will be reinforced by technical assistance and policy dialogue to help drive forward the essential structural and macroeconomic reforms.

"The Ukrainian authorities have developed a comprehensive program of reforms, which they are committed to undertake with support from the World Bank Group," said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim. "We are stepping up our assistance to Ukraine because we want to help improve the lives of people in the country and to achieve economic recovery at a crucial time. The country’s leaders are determined to improve public services and back much-needed reforms, and we’re determined to help them."

The three projects approved by the Board today are part of the World Bank Group’s overall assistance to Ukraine announced in March this year, which aims to provide up to US$3.5 billion by the end of 2014.

The US$750 million First Development Policy Loan will support high-priority reform measures to address key structural roots of the current economic crisis in Ukraine and to lay the foundation for inclusive and sustainable growth. It aims to promote good governance, transparency, and accountability in the public sector; strengthen the regulatory framework and reduce costs of doing business; and reform inefficient and inequitable utility subsidies while protecting the poor.

The US$382 million District Heating Energy Efficiency Project will support 10 municipal heating utility companies across the country by helping them enhance quality of their services and carry out efficiency improvements to cut production costs as well as harmful emissions. The project includes US$50 million from the Clean Technology Fund (CTF), which provides middle-income countries with resources to use low carbon technologies. Over 3 million Ukrainians are expected to benefit from the project.

The US$350 million Second Urban Infrastructure Project will provide funding for 10 participating water utilities across the country and a municipal solid waste company. It will assist the participating utilities in achieving a series of improvements in quality and efficiency of the services provided through the rehabilitation and upgrade of dilapidated water supply and wastewater infrastructure and institutional building. This will result in better access to water, wastewater and solid waste services to over 6 million citizens. The project includes US$50 million from the Clean Technology Fund (CTF).

The World Bank is a major development partner of Ukraine. With these new investments, the current World Bank’s lending portfolio will amount to US$3.39 billion through 11 operations in the country. Since Ukraine joined the World Bank in 1992, the Bank’s commitments to the country have totaled over US$8.5 billion for 43 projects and programs.

About the World Bank Group
The World Bank Group (WBG) is one of the world’s largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries. It comprises five closely associated institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA), which together form the World Bank; the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Bank’s private sector arm; the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA); and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Each institution plays a distinct role in the mission to fight poverty and improve living standards for people in the developing world. For more information, please visit www.worldbank.org, www.miga.org, and www.ifc.org.

News Release
2014/521/ECAFor more information on World Bank activities in Ukraine, please visit: www.worldbank.org/ukraine

http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/ukraine

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*France’s Total in shale deal with Russia’s Lukoil*

PARIS (AP) — French energy company Total SA is hooking up with Russia’s largest private oil company to explore and develop a huge Siberian shale oil field, despite Western sanctions and anger over the Kremlin’s role in Ukraine’s crisis.

The deal signed Friday with Russia’s Lukoil draws new attention to French economic ties with Russia, and the French government’s reluctance to punish Moscow too heavily.

Total says in a statement that the two will set up a joint venture to develop the Bazhenov oil formation in western Siberia, believed to hold some of the world’s largest shale oil deposits. It says Lukoil will have 51 percent of the venture and Total 49 percent.

The statement gives no value for the deal, which had been under negotiation for months. The ITAR-Tass news agency quotes Lukoil CEO Vagit Alekperov as saying the companies will invest $120 million to $150 million.

The deal highlights a divide within Europe over how to handle Russia. France and other European countries with big Russian trade and energy connections have been cautious, while Britain, the United States and Poland have toed a tougher line.

French executives have lobbied their government to go easy on Russia over Ukraine, arguing that long-term investments are at stake, according to officials at two French companies active in Russia.

European companies involved in Russia are already losing money because of economic uncertainty linked to Ukraine’s crisis and the first two rounds of sanctions. The threat of tougher U.S. and EU sanctions looms if Russia tries to derail Ukraine’s presidential election Sunday.

French bank Societe Generale had to write down 525 million euros ($731 million) on its Russian activities in the first quarter. A French ship-building company, meanwhile, is sticking to plans to make two warships for the Russian navy in a deal criticized by France’s allies but hailed as a boost for French industry and jobs.

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/frances-total-shale-deal-russias-lukoil

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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

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