Massenbach-Letter: NEWS 01.07.16

Massenbach-Letter. News

· WP / Applebaum:Brexit Was the Revenge of Britain’s Elites – What the media gets wrong about Brexit

· Bloomberg: Who Will Now Invest £100 Billion to Keep Britain’s Lights On?

· Richard Haas: Political losses from Brexit will be deep and enduring

· DEBKAfile: Brexit – Backlash from mass migration and ISIS

· DEBKAfile:Turkey – Israel – Russia

· B. Wetzel: Religions against Terrorism.

· Radio Vaticana: Papst Franziskus in Armenien

· Lord Ashcroft: How the United Kingdom voted on Thursday… and why

· FP: The Brexit Comes to Turtle Bay ( “European governments are expected to grow less willing to submit to London’s leadership role at the United Nations in crises from Libya to Somalia, where British diplomacy is backed up by European muscle and euros.”)

· FP: Angela Merkel Doesn’t Have a Brexit Plan, Either ( Britain’s departure from the EU has made Germany far more powerful than it should be. )

Alert: Russia: Moscow Agrees To Russia-NATO Summit

Massenbach*Political losses from Brexit will be deep and enduring.

Decision to hold referendum will go down as one of history’s great blunders, writes Richard Haass.

Stock markets around the world, not having seen Brexit coming, will do what markets do, which is not just react but overreact to the news. At some point, however, they will probably snap back, recovering some even if not all of what they lost.

The same cannot be said of what might be described as political and strategic markets. They will follow a different trajectory. They, too, will lose altitude but more slowly. The difference, though, is that there will be no recovery. The losses are likely to turn out to be deep and enduring.

The biggest and most obvious loser will be the UK. It is a question of when and not if Scotland moves to separate itself, this time with the all too real argument that it is more important to stay in Europe than in the UK.

This will unfortunately be the tragic political legacy of David Cameron, the outgoing prime minister, whose decision to hold a referendum on Britain’s relationship with the EU will go down as one of history’s great blunders.

Northern Ireland, which has enjoyed an uneasy peace for almost 20 years, will find itself under new pressure. There are already calls to unify with Ireland — here, too, using the argument that it is a way (which for some will be more of a pretext) to stay in Europe.

This will be fiercely resisted by Unionists, and the result will be an even more deeply divided population. Those in Northern Ireland or in the Cameron government who recklessly supported Brexit will have to contend with the costly consequences.

The overall result of a near evenly split vote and possible secessions will be a United Kingdom that is no longer united. It will also be poorer, weaker, and distracted. The country’s influence will be reduced in line with its diminished currency.

Lost, too, will be the British voice in Brussels. The danger here is that centrifugal forces in Europe will be strengthened as governments and politicians call for votes on their country’s relationship with the EU.

Over time the gap between Germany and everyone else will grow, creating further tensions. The EU’s ability to play a meaningful role on the world stage will be reduced by the loss of its second-largest economy and strongest military.

The historic accomplishment of European integration launched in the wake of the second world war, which brought with it unprecedented stability and prosperity, is at risk. The Brexit vote comes in a context in which Europe is already reeling from low economic growth, Russian aggression in Ukraine, and an influx of refugees. Making matters worse is the likelihood that EU officials are more likely to threaten other countries not to follow the UK’s lead than they are to address the EU’s flaws that in part fuelled the vote.

The US will also pay a price for Brexit. One of its closest partners in the world will have less to offer. And the UK will no longer be able to influence the course of EU foreign policy, something that on balance will work against American purposes in the world.

The special relationship will be decidedly less special as Washington will have no choice but to find other partners in Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

It is impossible to write about Brexit without reflecting on its larger meaning and message.

Many of those voting for Brexit were not voting to set in motion historic trends so much as to send a message of frustration, fear and anger. They succeeded, but at a great cost. It is a lesson for democracies and for institutions, that when they are perceived to be unresponsive or ineffective, people will turn to radical “solutions” that are anything but.

The writer is president of the Council on Foreign Relations and a former director of policy planning at the US state department.

àDie internationale Ratingagentur Standard & Poor’s (S&P) hat die Kreditwürdigkeit Großbritanniens bei langfristigen Verbindlichkeiten in Landes- und Fremdwährungen von der höchsten Note „AAA“ auf „AA“ abgestuft.

Der Ausblick sei „negativ“, wie S&P am Montag mitteilte. Grund für die Entscheidung sei das Resultat des jüngsten Brexit-Referendums in Großbritannien, bei dem sich etwas mehr als die Hälfte der Briten für einen Ausstieg aus der EU ausgesprochen hatten.


From our Russian news desk.

Russia-EU: Strategic Partnership, Which Did Not Happen. Valdai Club Session at SPIEF-2016.

The session took place on June 16, 2016, at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum and was one of the most important debates on the future of EU-Russia relations, organized by the Valdai Discussion Club.

The "business as usual" principle in EU-Russia cooperation has lost its fundamentality long before the Ukrainian crisis, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who took part at the Valdai Club session. And the reason is not only mistakes made by both parties. "We understand that part of directives aimed to curtail the cooperation with Russia are generated from overseas. The Americans have their own economic interests ", – the minister said.

According to Lavrov, the current crisis should help both Russia and the EU to understand how to build further relationship, without isolationism. The European Union is the most important political partner of Russia, and the development of strong ties in a number of areas corresponds to the interests of both sides.

Speaking about the history of sanctions against Russia, Lavrov recalled discontent of some heads of European governments, who were forced to carry out a sanctions policy, adopted by Brussels without their approval.

Moreover, despite the fact that the Minsk agreements mostly relate to Kiev, their compliance is a key condition for the lifting of economic sanctions against Russia. But non-compliance of the agreements and the extension of the anti-Russian sanctions can only serve the interest of the Ukrainian side, causing all sorts of delays in their implementation by Kiev.

Responding to a question what might mean the sensational statement by John Kerry, who claimed that the patience of the United States in the settlement of the Syrian conflict comes to an end, Sergey Lavrov outlined the major steps, taken in order to stabilize the Syrian conflict, including the Russian side.

According to him, currently the most problematic is the failure of the negotiations by all the parties involved in the conflict, due to disagreements between the opposition groups and the refusal of Turkey to allow the Kurdish side to negotiate. US delay in the separation of the opposition groups from the Jabhat al-Nusra positions is one of the major stumbling blocks in the successful settlement of the Syrian crisis.

Former French Foreign Minister Hubert Védrine said that due to the success of Russia in Syria and the failure of the European concept of the Syrian crisis settlement the United States and Russia have a unique opportunity to determine the political future of that country.

According to Védrine, during the Cold War Russia-EU relations "were better organized and more intelligent than they are now". To continue the successful symbiosis between Russia and the European Union they must get out of the "Ukrainian trap". And it must be done together and in parallel.

The long-term basic principles of interaction between Russia and the European Union are on the way to be formulated. Hubert Védrine stressed that the implementation of the Minsk agreements is a key element to form a new joint future strategy.

Speakers at the Valdai Club session repeatedly emphasized that a significant role in the restoration of Russia-EU relations is played by a continued cooperation between business circles, particularly in the key cooperation area – energy. "A healthy business relationship is the only cure, which promotes political stability between the partners", – said Rainer Seele, Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO of the largest Austrian gas company OMV.

He reminded that the successful cooperation between Russia and the EU in the field of energy has a long history, and the European partners never had to reproach Russia for the non-compliance of agreements. The mutual damage is huge, Seele stressed, and many demand sanctions review or their complete abolition.

According to Alexander Medvedev, Gazprom’s Deputy CEO, the implementation of major joint projects is likely to restore the dialogue. Both Russia and Europe have too many benefits of mutual partnership in the energy sector, and it is impossible to abandon it in a minute. Therefore, according to Medvedev, Brussels rhetoric on limiting dependence on Russian gas is inappropriate.

Evgeny Vinokurov, Director of the Centre for Integration Studies of the Eurasian Development Bank, urged European partners to take into account the potential of the Eurasian Union, which receives increased powers, delegated by the member states. He stressed that the EU and the Eurasian Union need to develop common schemes. "We offer to think about a great deal, a comprehensive agreement, which would link together all aspects of relations between the Eurasian Union and the European Union", – Vinokurov said.

Summing up the session, Andrei Bystritskiy, Chairman of the Board of Foundation for the Development and Support of the Valdai Discussion Club, noted the crucial importance of the dialogue, aimed to continued understanding of the new architecture of EU-Russia relations and the development of analytical strategy by the Valdai Club experts.

Europe’s Eastern Frontline – BREXIT & Economy – Syria & Middle East (more see att.)


Klaus Wittmann, General a.D., Acht Beiträge für die Plattform ‚Deutsch-Russisches Forum‘“.(attached)


Policy= res publica

Freudenberg-Pilster* Brexit Was the Revenge of Britain’s Elites . What the media gets wrong about Brexit.

“The British vote against the European Union represented the revolt of the poor against the rich, the provinces against the metropolis, the losers of globalization against the elite.” I’m sure you’ve heard some version of that general analysis of last week’s Brexit vote. It’s a fine-sounding cliché. But before it hardens into conventional wisdom, please remember that, like so many of the facts sold to the public during this referendum campaign, it isn’t entirely true.

Yes, the voting statistics do say that the supporters of “leave” were, by and large, poorer and less educated. They also show that support for “remain” was highest in cities, and especially high around universities. But the statistics don’t tell you everything. They don’t tell you, for example, that the intellectual and financial architects of the Brexit campaign were, in fact, fully paid-up members of the metropolitan elite. Nor do they tell you how different the views of those leaders were from the voters they won over, or from one another.

Just to start with, Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, the two leading conservative supporters of Brexit, are both political columnists. Johnson, a former mayor of London who was famously pro-business and pro-immigration, is still paid to write a weekly column for the pro-Brexit Daily Telegraph. Gove, formerly of the Times, is married to a columnist on the pro-Brexit Daily Mail. I am not objecting to their transition from newspapers to politics, just pointing out that neither is accurately described as poor, provincial or anti-establishment. Nigel Farage, the leader of the U.K. Independence Party, is a former commodity broker who doesn’t look like he’s starving either.

The newspaper editors and proprietors who backed the loudly anti-elitist Brexit campaign are even more well-heeled. On the eve of voting day, the Daily Mail ran this headline: “Lies. Greedy Elites. Or a great future outside a broken, dying Europe: If you believe in Britain, vote Leave.” The Daily Mail’s editor, Paul Dacre, earned £2.4 million pounds in 2014. Its proprietor, Viscount Rothermere (a.k.a. Jonathan Harmsworth), is worth £$1.21 billion, according to Forbes, a sum which does not make him a victim of global free trade. I could tell the same story about the Rupert Murdoch-owned Sun (voting day headline: “Be-Leave!”) and the Daily Express, whose owner, Richard Desmond, donated 1 million pounds to the U.K. Independence party in 2015.

By contrast, the libertarian and free-market journalists and businessmen who opposed the E.U., and have done so for many years, are not hypocrites. The economist Patrick Minford has long argued that Britain should unilaterally scrap all trade deals, accept the manufacturing losses, drop E.U. regulation on workers’ rights and live off services. A group of London investors wrote a letter stating that “the EU’s approach to regulation now poses a genuine threat to our financial services industry.” But if they are not hypocrites, neither are they uneducated and dispossessed. Minford, an Oxford graduate, has a chair at Cardiff University. Among the letter’s signatories was Crispin Odey, net worth 1.1 billion pounds, also a funder of the leave campaign.

There are other sincere Euroskeptics, people who argue about whether the joint writing of legislation means too great a loss of sovereignty, as well as many, many people who are nostalgic for a different and more English England. I spent Sunday afternoon with some of them. It involved green lawns and clinking glasses, and none of them seemed particularly undernourished either.

But here is the trouble: That elite version of Brexit — England as an offshore haven, a deregulated zone, an arcadian haven, a cosmopolitan business center, the Dubai of the North Atlantic — was not what the Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph sold in the campaign, and it isn’t what the leave campaign put on their billboards. Instead, the papers repeated scare stories about immigration and the campaign bus promised that 350 million pounds a week, a completely invented number, would be paid to the National Health Service. The idealists want pure sovereignty; the hedge funds want deregulation; the voters voted for the welfare state.

The result is chaos. The leave campaign does not have a common vision and does not have a common plan because its members wouldn’t be able to agree on one. Iain Duncan-Smith, a pro-Brexit MP and former minister, backpeddaled on the 350 million pounds: “I never said that,” he said — although photographs show he was happy enough to travel on a bus that did. Farage laughed at the number, too. Johnson wrote a column which seemed to suggest that immigration was fine and nothing much would change. In an act of Monty Pythonesque farce, he then temporarily disappeared, refusing to turn up in the House of Commons on the first meeting after his team’s victory. How long will it be before the next revolution — this time against the pro-Brexit elite?


Bloomberg: Who Will Now Invest £100 Billion to Keep Britain’s Lights On?

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

Barandat* Brexit – Backlash from mass migration and ISIS.

DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis June 24, 2016, 8:52 PM (IDT)

In a historic referendum, millions of British citizens voted Thursday, June 23, to leave the European Union after 43 years by a margin of 52 to 48 percent. Many were undoubtedly moved into approving this pivotal step by three seismic world events:

1. The mass migration flowing into Europe from the Middle East and Africa under the EU aegis. Forebodings in the UK were fueled by figures released a week before the referendum showing an influx of 330,000 migrants to Britain in 2015.
2. The war on the Islamic State which poses a peril which most Western governments avoid addressing by name as World War III in the making.
3. The inability of those governments, beyond empty words, to grapple with the war on ISIS or cope with the mass of migrants expected to beat on the gates of Western societies for many more hard years.

Many Americans and Europeans are dissatisfied and resentful of President Barack Obama’s approach to the war on ISIS, which is to dismiss the enemy as a minor band of fanatics and thus, rather than a war against Islam. Neither do they accept German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s magnanimous invitation to take refugees in – 1.5 million in two years – as her country’s moral responsibility.

This popular disgruntlement has thrown up such antiestablishment figures as Donald Trump in the US and Boris Johnson in Britain and contributes to the rise of far right-wing movements and extremist violence on both continents.

Those two leaders, though different in most other ways, owe much of their popularity to the pervasive fear in their countries that surging immigration will forever alter the fabric of their societies.
Such social upheaval is the result of a trap deliberately set for the West by two Muslim leaders: ISIS “caliph” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and Turkish President Tayyip Recep Erdogan.

conceived the idea of flooding the western world with waves of immigrants from Africa and the Middle East as a way to achieve three targets:

a) To change the composition of the population of Western countries by expanding the Muslim increment.

b) To plant networks of ISIS terrorists in the West.

c) To boost ISIS Middle Eastern arms, people and drugs smuggling networks as the organization’s main source of income. Migrants are willing to pay an average of between 5,000 and 10,000 dollars to reach the West even though they know that many never make it alive.

Al Baghdadi made up for the revenue shortfall caused by the US bombing of ISIS-held oil fields and money reserves by pushing over a new wave of immigrants.

President Erdogan’s motives are quite different.
He allowed the waves of immigrants to pass through Turkey on their way to the US and Europe – just as for years, he allowed Western jihadists joining ISIS to reach Syria via Turkey – because he was consumed with the desire to punish the US, namely, the Obama administration, for refusing to back up his hegemonic aspirations in the Middle East; Europe was punished for denying Turkey EU membership year after year.

The victory of Boris Johnson’s “leave” campaign – in the face of Obama’s personal championship of Prime Minister David Cameron’s bid to keep his country in, supported by the Democratic presumptive nominee Hilary Clinton – was a loud and clear signal for politicians running in future elections in the West, including the US presidential vote in November.
Republican candidate Donald Trump’s call to stop Muslim immigration into the US until proper screening measures are in place may sound like an unformed idea, but no other US politician has dared put it on the table, or directly challenge the hollow words and self-righteous hypocrisy of Obama and Clinton on the issues of terror, wars in the Middle East and mass immigration. This alone gives Trump a popular edge in widening circles in the USA over his rival.
Trump is not likely to lose votes either by his pledge to rebuild NATO for leading the West in the war against Islamic terror.

During the five months up until the US presidential election, the West can expect more large-scale ISIS terror coupled with dramatic events in the wars raging in at least seven countries – Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Libya and Afghanistan. Refugees in vast numbers will continue to batter down the doors of countries that are increasingly unable and unwilling to accept them.

Wars in general and religious wars in particular, have throughout history thrown up massive shifts of population displaced by violence, plague, falling regimes, famine and economic hardship.
The year 2016 will go down as the year in which Middle East crises spilled over into the west, bringing social change and far-reaching political turmoil in their wake.
And this is only the beginning.–-Backlash-from-mass-migration-and-ISIS

Netanyahu meets top US diplomat Kerry, Italian PM Renzi in Rome

DEBKAfile June 27, 2016, 12:51 PM (IDT)

Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu said Monday in a Facebook post that he held two meetings, yesterday and today, with US Secretary of State John Kerry. Netanyahu said he updated Kerry regarding challenges by ISIS in the region, defense cooperation between Israel and the US, regional cooperation and Israel’s agreement with Turkey. He called the deal with Ankara "an important step for normalization" of bilateral relations that will have a very positive effect on the Israeli economy. Netanyahu, who is currently visiting Rome, also met with his Italian counterpart Matteo Renzi on Monday.

PM announces reconciliation agreement with Turkey

DEBKAfile June 27, 2016, 1:55 PM (IDT)

Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu announced Monday afternoon at a news conference in Rome that Israel and Turkey had reached a reconciliation agreement. He outlined the major points of the deal, which are:
The termination of all lawsuits in Turkey against IDF soldiers.
The naval blockade on Gaza is to be maintained.
Israel will permit Turkey to engage in humanitarian projects in Gaza, especially dealing with electricity and water, in line with Israel’s security considerations.
Turkey gave its commitment to prevent terror activity against Israel, including collection of funds, on its territory.
The prime minister of Turkey gave his commitment to deal with the return of missing Israeli soldiers and civilians by Hamas.
Turkey will help Israel join international organizations in which it has membership, especially NATO.
Netanyahu said the deal opens the way for economic cooperation in the natural gas field, which has major strategic importance for Israel, and the creation of new markets including Turkey and Egypt. He added that he had updated US Secretary of State John Kerry regarding the agreement.

Ankara’s conflict with Jerusalem is over, Turkish prime minister says

DEBKAfile June 27, 2016, 2:33 PM (IDT)

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim on Monday afternoon announced his country’s reconciliation agreement with Israel that ends their conflict since a 2010 raid on a flotilla. He said the agreement is be signed on Tuesday and then brought for the approval of the two governments, with ambassadors to be appointed soon afterwards. According to the prime minister, Israel will pay $20 million to casualties of the raid, a ship with humanitarian aid for Gaza is to arrive at the Israeli port of Ashdod on Friday, and a 200-bed hospital will be established in Gaza.

Turkey’s president apologizes for downing a Russian military jet

DEBKAfile June 27, 2016, 7:10 PM (IDT)

Russian and Turkish officials said Monday that Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has apologized to Moscow for the downing of a Russian military jet at the Syrian border, opening the way for easing a bitter strain in Russia-Turkey ties and ending crippling Russian sanctions against Ankara.

His spokesman said seven months after the incident: “In the letter, the president stated that he would like to inform the family of the deceased Russian pilot that I share their pain and to offer my condolences to them. May they excuse us. We are ready to take any incentive to help ease the pain and the burden of inflicted damage.” Putin had demanded a formal apology and compensation for damage. Erdogan has now offered both, according to his letter, the excerpts of which were released by the Kremlin.’s-president-apologizes-for-downing-a-Russian-military-jet


Dr. Birgit Wetzel – Wirtschaftsjournalistin

Religions against Terrorism.

The table is as big as the topic: How to fight terrorism? This conference was set up for international leaders of world religions and international institutions. It took place in the Pyramid of World Religions in Astana, Kazakhstan.

What an amazing get together: Participants from almost all parts of the world joint the debate to state their point of view what needs to be done. Representatives of Islam, of Christianity and of Judaism, of Buddhism and Taoism, of Hinduism and more. All came by invitation of President Nasarbayev of Kazakhstan. But since he had Russian President Putin dropping in for a visit, the welcoming address was brought out Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Chairman of the Senate of the Parliament in Astana.

International state representatives of all kinds of institutions involved in the fight against terror were present to listen to each other for advice and to exchange points of view. Common ground was seen quickly: „We need more efforts to fight terrorism“ and „We need to come together as one“ Tokayev stated. „Unity through diversity“ was one of his well sounding phrases. But how to do it?

As the conference progressed, these key statements we repeated in numerous versions, languages, dialects and ways of telling a story or citing from the bible.

First speaker, Dr. Amal Abdullah Al Qubaisi from United Arab Emirates, reminded that all have responsibility. Time had come for a multi-dimensional strategy, and more ressources were needed. She stressed that the roots for terrorism were multi-faceted: poverty plays a great role in some parts of the world, as well as education – it needs investments in knowledge systems. Religious leaders could play a vital role to reach people in their values. She appealed to political leaders to make responsible laws. „We need to protect our believes and values“ she stated. „Humanity is what we need to protect!“ And she called for more leading women. „They see different aspects, they need to play a more important role“, Dr. Abdullah stressed.

Christine Muttonen followed and repeated the same topic, adding that diversity in many aspects could be an invaluable tool, if we „respect and learn from each other“. Everybody had to be included, and „women are most valuable partners.“

Khaled Akashed, third speaker, and from the Pontifical Council of Interreligious Dialogue, brought up two major questions: “ How did we get into this phenomenon“ of terrorism – and „how done get out of it?“

„Do we live our values?“ Inguna Sudraba, chairperson of the parliamentary group from Latvia questioned Western lifestyle. Has money making become more important than Humanitarian values? There was no answer, but later speakers had even more questions from the field of international politics. Some speakers named crises and war zones to questions values and reality.

While quite a number of speakers found numerous political fields to be adressed, none of them looked into their own garden or country!

All agreed that terrorism is hijacking Islam. Terrorism is one thing, Islam another. While leaders of Islam explained with diverse statement, non-Islam leaders could listen to a variety of explanations. At the end it seems very clear: Terror is Terror – and no religion, no faith, no world of fidels and un-fidels. Terrorists are hijacking a religion.

These facts need to be transferred and communicated: to all religions, institutions, nations, governments. We need more dialogues to get to know each other better, we need to learn more about each other’s religions, believes, values.

And we need more in depth journalism to bring the messages across for people, everywhere.

What concrete steps can be taken, now that things seem to be clear? And who will have to act? Walter Schwimmer, Chairman of the International Coordination Committee and Co-Chairman of the „Dialogue of Civilizations“ turns the questions around asking: Who will not have to act? We all have to act! We all!


Middle East

FP: The Brexit Comes to Turtle Bay

With the United Kingdom looking less united than ever before, a rump Britain could lose influence at the U.N. –

and face mounting pressure to give up its seat on the Security Council.

“European governments are expected to grow less willing to submit to London’s leadership role at the United Nations in crises from Libya to Somalia,

where British diplomacy is backed up by European muscle and euros.”

Post-Brexit Britain may lose Scotland and Northern Ireland, whose voters overwhelmingly favor remaining in the European Union. But they run little risk of losing their seat on the U.N. Security Council, a key source of London’s claim to be a true world power.

That doesn’t mean it will be business as usual for British diplomats at the United Nations. Emotions remain raw over Britain’s Brexit vote, which has roiled global stock markets, sent the value of the pound plummeting to historic lows, and injected an unwelcome degree of uncertainty into world affairs. Over time, European governments are expected to grow less willing to submit to London’s leadership role at the United Nations in crises from Libya to Somalia, where British diplomacy is backed up by European muscle and euros. That will greatly enhance the influence and prestige of France, which will become the sole remaining representative of the European Union, among the council’s big power caucus. Great Britain, meanwhile, may suddenly find itself as “the runt of the Security Council,” quipped Richard Gowan, a U.N. specialist at the European Council on Foreign Relations.

Britain’s departure from the EU is also virtually certain to give new momentum to efforts to change the makeup of the U.N. Security Council, whose five permanent members — the United States, Russia, China, France, and Britain — still reflect the balance of global power at the end of World War II. For two decades, rising powers like Brazil, India, Germany, and Japan have pushed to receive permanent seats of their own. Those efforts have been blocked by regional rivals like Algeria, Argentina, Pakistan, and Italy, which fear for their own standing at the U.N. if their more powerful neighbors make their way onto the world body’s most powerful arm.

“It is difficult to see Brexit doing anything other than making Britain weaker,” said Natalie Samarasinghe, the executive director of the U.K. branch of the United Nations Association. If Scotland and Northern Ireland leave and “we’re left with a rump U.K.,” she said, questions about London’s right to have a Security Council seat “will grow louder.” And while Britain is unlikely to lose its seat, “the pressure will be intense and might inhibit the U.K.’s ability to play what is otherwise a very positive role,” Samarasinghe added.

For the moment, British diplomats are trying to walk the narrow line between stressing that they will abide by the will of their voters while insisting they’ll still find ways of cooperating with allies — and EU members — like France and Germany.

During a closed-door meeting of European Union diplomats Tuesday morning in New York, Britain’s U.N. envoy, Matthew Rycroft, told his European colleagues there was no turning back from the decision to leave the EU. But he sought to assure them that his government would remain engaged on key international matters, and that it would actually intensify its activities on the Security Council, according to several European diplomats. “They say they will stay the course, not diminish their efforts,” said one diplomat.

French, German, Spanish, and other European diplomats told Rycroft that they were shocked by the British decision to withdraw from the EU and that relations would never be the same. At the same time, however, they assured him that they would strive to find ways of collaborating. A senior French official at the meeting told Wycroft that Paris, which holds the other European seat on the Security Council, would continue to closely coordinate its diplomatic activities with Britain, citing a history of “friendship and solidarity.” Though diplomats said that France would probably take on a greater share of responsibilities once Britain leaves the EU.

Rycroft, for his part, told the gathering that Britain would remain a full-fledged member of the European community — with a seat at the table in NATO, the G-7, and the G-20, and a robust military — until its departure is finalized.

Ironically, Rycroft’s assurances that Brexit would have limited impact on Britain’s diplomacy echo claims by proponents of the “Leave” campaign, which issued a statement earlier this year saying that the U.K.’s relationship with the U.N. “would not change significantly if we left the EU. Britain’s permanent seat on the Security Council is central to its ability to play a useful role, and the U.K. will retain it while continuing to support wider reform of the council.”

By contrast, the “Remain” camp, which was led by outgoing Prime Minister David Cameron, warned that Brexit “would disrupt the U.K.’s diplomatic operations” at the United Nations. “The EU brings with it greater scale than the U.K. would have on its own — in diplomatic reach, economic weight and development assistance and other funding,” according to the statement. “Recently, the resolution through diplomatic means of the Iranian nuclear issue counts as a successful case of the U.K.’s bringing EU economic clout in behind its preferred ‘sanctions + negotiations’ policy.”

“The loss of our place inside the EU would make the U.K. a less valuable partner for countries and organizations around the world,” the statement said.

Those concerns were echoed by President Barack Obama, who warned before the vote that Brexit would leave Britain with “less influence in Europe and, as a consequence, less influence globally.” A former senior U.S. diplomat said the departure of Washington’s closest ally in Europe would also lessen America’s influence in the European Union.

For decades, Britain’s influence was derived from its ability to leverage other people’s power — the United States and the European Union — in pursuit of its interests. In Somalia, for example, Britain typically takes the lead in drafting the U.N. resolutions that define international policy. But it’s the wider European Union that foots the bill for African peacekeepers there. In Libya, British diplomats have overseen negotiations on a resolution authorizing the seizure of people smugglers and arms traffickers. While the EU may decide to maintain support for such operations, it is far less likely to want to take its lead from the United Kingdom.

London is the lead policymaker — or penholder — on the council on about a dozen international crises, from Darfur to Libya to Yemen. In recent months, it has returned for the first time in 20 years to U.N. peacekeeping missions, pledging to send more than 250 blue helmets to South Sudan and an additional 70 or so to Somalia. U.N. supporters said they hoped this was the first step in a broader re-engagement in U.N. peacekeeping. But Samarasinghe said Brexit might stall any expansion of a British peacekeeping role. “I don’t think they will pull back” from their commitment, she said. “But I don’t think this is the start of something new, which is what we had previously expected.”


FP: Angela Merkel Doesn’t Have a Brexit Plan, Either

Britain’s departure from the EU has made Germany far more powerful than it should be.

At Monday afternoon’s news conference in Berlin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s body language was a notch less downcast than her post-Brexit vote appearance on Friday, when the dispassionate, even-keeled chancellor actually looked disheartened in a way she seldom does. Flanked by her allies French President François Hollande and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, Merkel was back to her old self: monotone, emotionless. Britain’s pending exit seemed like just another crisis, one Berlin and the EU as a whole would address step by step, as they had its many predecessors. “Governance as repair work,” as the weekly Spiegel once described Merkel’s preferred method.

From her poker face, you would never know that the Brexit vote has thrust Germany into the driver’s seat of the European Union as never before. Britain’s exit not only eliminates one-third of the Berlin-Paris-London triumvirate, the gear shaft of the 28-member union; it also costs the union a member that often functioned as a counterweight to EU-wedded Germany. Given that France is entirely consumed with its own affairs – recession and economic reform, labor unrest, terrorism — Germany is emerging from the Brexit vote with more clout and responsibility than ever before. Indeed, the post-Brexit EU will be an even more German one — a state of affairs that pleases nobody, not even the Germans.

Tragically, it doesn’t appear that Merkel has the slightest inkling of what to do with her country’s new, even more powerful, status. She and Germany as a whole are so thoroughly intertwined with the problems plaguing the union that it’s nearly impossible to imagine Berlin summoning the vision and grit to overhaul the union in order to halt its decline. Merkel and other members of Europe’s leadership, like EU President Jean-Claude Juncker, are the old guard: the exhausted, played-out elite against whom the masses are rebelling. Their like can’t be the EU’s saviors, too.

The Brexit vote, though jarring and unwelcome, nevertheless speaks out loud uncomfortable truths that EU leaders, Merkel among them, have up until this point strained to ignore. But now it’s impossible to simply keep the EU on the path of least resistance. The referendum vote cried out, through arena loudspeakers, that EU citizens are unhappy with the distant, ramshackle, undemocratic monstrosity that the EU has become. This is also the essence of what happened in 2005, when French and Dutch voters thumbs-downed the European constitution. European volk, from the Brits to the Dutch to the French, have expressed displeasure with the current incarnation of the EU by the only means available: referendums, with their simple “in” or “out,” “yes” or “no” options.

It’s unclear whether at the moment Merkel has grasped the gravity of this message — or reality of Berlin’s new station. The issues on Merkel’s plate at the moment are, as usual, short term, the stuff of crisis management: Should Brexit be slow or fast? Rough or smooth? Most of the EU establishment, with the notable exception of Merkel, is pressing British Prime Minister David Cameron to make it quick: to officially inform Brussels — this week, if possible — of its desire to secede and then to get about the business of making it happen. London, to their consternation, has implied that it may wait until autumn to serve notice. Behind this is Cameron’s desire not to be the executor of an act that extricates the United Kingdom from a union that he never wanted it to leave. Understandably, he’d prefer to have a successor deal with the mess.

The forces calling for a speedy Brexit, including Juncker, Germany’s social Democrats, and the governments of Italy and France, are anxious for a variety of reasons. One is that, until the U.K. officially leaves, it holds voting rights in all of the EU’s common institutions. As a bargaining chip, it could hold up decision-making, vote tactically, or simply obstruct anything from getting done. More critical is that waiting could create a vacuum in which raging insecurity and angst cause financial markets to go haywire. In addition to the economic fallout, this unstable dead time would be made-to-order for anti-EU populist movements plotting their own “Leave” referendums. Britain’s bolting could cause a stampede; on the other hand, if Brexit happened fast enough, and the negative fallout for the U.K. was severe, it could discourage euroskeptics and reverse momentum.

Why then is Merkel alone in advocating a go-slow approach (other than the fact that her response to almost every crisis is go-slow)? One possibility is that she wants to cool tempers — to quiet things down so that the complicated, contentious Brexit can happen in the most ordered, dispassionate fashion possible. Moreover, for her, the EU is just one aspect of Germany’s amicable postwar partnership with Great Britain, and she wants that relationship to remain as congenial as possible for the sake of regional security and diplomatic harmony.

But there’s another underlying reason for Merkel’s cagey, measured approach. Namely: She has no master plan to keep the EU from unraveling.

Arguably, Merkel’s actions for over a decade have only aggravated the discontent of the European demos, not least the Brits. First and foremost, there’s the tight-money policy imposed uniformly across the Eurozone, and draconian austerity prescriptions for the southern Europeans who have kept just about all of Europe in recession and unemployment at record highs. The bailout measures imposed on countries in financial need were designed mostly to benefit German and French banks, and the conditions they imposed on the recipient governments have failed to produce growth, new jobs, or higher wages. Greece, the worst case, is trapped in a downward spiral from which it may never escape. Meanwhile, Germany’s exports continue to boom, as do its trade surpluses, which means that other countries run deficits. It’s hard to look at the EU economy and not think that it’s run by Germans to profit Germans.

Whether fair or not – and I think not – Merkel’s migration policies went down poorly with almost all its EU peers and have spurred the rise of far-right euroskeptical parties from Croatia to Denmark. The chancellor, very uncharacteristically, went out on a limb by suspending the Dublin II rules and opening the EU to waves of migrants last summer fleeing wars and hardship in the Middle East. This was the right thing for a number of reasons, I believe, not least because international law requires the acceptance of refugees. But it sent the Central Europeans, the Austrians, the British, and most every other EU member, too, into a tizzy. The Brits seemed to confuse Merkel’s refugee measures with the EU-internal labor market provisions that enabled Central Europeans to travel to their island to work. The fears unleashed by Merkel’s decision were potent stuff and made Germany and the EU many more enemies than friends.

Add to this the EU’s long-running democratic deficit that EU leaders have periodically tried to mend with Band-Aids. Various efforts to tinker around the edges, such as endowing the European Parliament with a smidgen of greater responsibility, were nothing close to enough to allay critics who demand, rightly, that EU decision-making be more democratic, transparent, and accountable.

There are as many proposals for wide-ranging reform of the EU as there are think tanks in Brussels, Berlin, and London. Some call for a bicameral European Parliament with powers to draft legislation, others for a European republic, while still others want EU Europe to revert to a giant free trade zone and little more. Few governments have put their names next to any of these blueprints. Many politicians in Berlin, and EU old-timers such as Juncker, want a more deeply integrated EU, both politically and economically, which almost all experts say is the only way that a monetary union (in the form of the eurozone) can work. Merkel, typically, has steered away from visionary pronouncements for the EU or a root-and-branch reform process, preferring to talk generally of ever-closer economic integration, including Brussels-based control over national budgets. The problem is that most EU nations seem to want the union to move in the other direction — that is, less Europe, not more. There’s nothing close to a consensus on how the EU should be reformed, and putting the odd man out – namely, Germany — in charge of it seems like a recipe for disaster.

The EU needs a remodeling and a fresh source of inspiration, something like the rallying cry for peace and prosperity that inspired enlargement and the integration process over the postwar decades. Simple gestures at peace and prosperity just don’t cut it anymore. Peace we take for granted, and Europe’s efforts at prosperity are concentrated on German interests, many Europeans believe. Over the weekend, the foreign ministers of the community’s founding members – Germany, France, Italy, and the Benelux countries – met to brainstorm about the EU of the future. They zeroed in on security (within EU borders and beyond) and investment in hard-hit regions as possible rallying points.

Might these thoughts mark a veering away from the austerity-über-alles policies of the past five years? It bears remembering that it wasn’t Merkel but Germany’s foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, a social Democrat, who attended the weekend powwow and broached the possibility of more spending and less saving. Renzi and Hollande have long been advocates of less restrictive, more Keynesian approaches to the euro and financial crises. According to German newscasts, they lobbied this in their meeting with Merkel. But at the Berlin news conference, which she led, Merkel made no mention of a shift in economic policy. Rather, she underscored the need to press forward with the hard, anodyne work of simply getting Europe through another week.





Papst Franziskus ist in Armenien angekommen. Der Papstflieger landete in der Hauptstadt Jerewan, wo er von Staatspräsident Sersch Sargsjan sowie Vertretern der Kirchen und der Gesellschaft begrüßt wurde. Die Reise habe vor allem spirituellen Charakter. Das hatte der Papst in einer Videobotschaft betont, deswegen führte ihn sein erster Programmpunkt in die Apostolische Kathedrale des heiligen Georgs zu einem Gebetstreffen und erst danach zu den Autoritäten des Landes.

Aus den Gräueln der Vergangenheit lernen Aus den Gräueln der Vergangenheit lernen, wie Frieden zu gestalten wäre:

Diesen Wunsch äußerte Papst Franziskus in seiner Ansprache an den Staatspräsidenten, Diplomaten, Politiker und Vertreter des öffentlichen Lebens. Der Papst ging auf das nationale Trauma der Armenier ein, das von den Osmanen durchgeführte Massaker in den Jahren 1915/1916. „Diese Tragödie, dieser Völkermord“, wie der Papst es nennt, habe „leider die traurige Liste der entsetzlichen Katastrophen des vergangenen Jahrhunderts” wiederholt, die „von anormalen rassistischen, ideologischen oder religiösen Motivationen ermöglicht wurden.“ (rv) Hier mehr in Text und Ton

(Link: )

Papst Franziskus: „Ich verneige mich vor dem armenischen Volk“ Ansprache von Papst Franziskus

(Link: ) bei der Begegnung mit Vertretern des öffentlichen Lebens und der Regierung und mit dem Diplomatischen Korps im Präsidentenpalast von Jerewan. (rv)

Gemeinsames Zeugnis gegen Spaltungen

Papst Franziskus hat bei seiner ersten Ansprache seiner Armenienreise in der Apostolischen Kathedrale des heiligen Gregors des Erleuchters in Etschmiadsin die Bedeutung der Ökumene im Umgang mit Krisen und Konflikten in der Welt betont. Im Beisein des Apostolischen Katholikos Karekin II. sagte er, die Welt sei leider gezeichnet von Spaltungen und Konflikten, materieller und geistlicher Armut und Christen müssten ein Zeugnis der gegenseitigen Achtung und brüderlichen Zusammenarbeit geben.

Hierfür sei wichtig, dass sie diesen Weg gemeinsam gingen. (rv)

Hier mehr in Text und Ton (Link:


Israel pulls support from rebels fighting in S. Syria. US steps in

The US has gone back to arming and funding the Syrian rebel militias fighting in the Syrian-Israeli-Jordanian border region, who this week launched a new offensive against the ISIS-affiliated Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade and Al Muthanna militia around Ain Zakr, 5km north of the Israeli border. This is reported by DEBKAfile’s military sources. While Damascus accused the Americans of extending air cover to these rebel groups, our sources identified Jordanian planes or helicopters in the area. Israel has withdrawn its assistance after obtaining a guarantee that Russia too would abstain from military intervention in the southern Syrian arena at the last Putin-Netanyahu meeting in Moscow on June 7.

DEBKA Newsletter, June 24, 2016

How the United Kingdom voted on Thursday… and why

Friday, 24 June, 2016 in Europe, Referendums

By Lord Ashcroft

The UK has voted to leave the European Union. On referendum day I surveyed 12,369 people after they had voted to help explain the result – who voted for which outcome, and what lay behind their decision.

The demographics

· The older the voters, the more likely they were to have voted to leave the EU. Nearly three quarters (73%) of 18 to 24 year-olds voted to remain, falling to under two thirds (62%) among 25-34s. A majority of those aged over 45 voted to leave, rising to 60% of those aged 65 or over. Most people with children aged ten or under voted to remain; most of those with children aged 11 or older voted to leave.

· A majority of those working full-time or part-time voted to remain in the EU; most of those not working voted to leave. More than half of those retired on a private pension voted to leave, as did two thirds of those retired on a state pension.

· Among private renters and people with mortgages, a small majority (55% and 54%) voted to remain; those who owned their homes outright voted to leave by 55% to 45%. Around two thirds of council and housing association tenants voted to leave.

· A majority (57%) of those with a university degree voted to remain, as did 64% of those with a higher degree and more than four in five (81%) of those still in full time education. Among those whose formal education ended at secondary school or earlier, a large majority voted to leave.

· White voters voted to leave the EU by 53% to 47%. Two thirds (67%) of those describing themselves as Asian voted to remain, as did three quarters (73%) of black voters. Nearly six in ten (58%) of those describing themselves as Christian voted to leave; seven in ten Muslims voted to remain.

· The AB social group (broadly speaking, professionals and managers) were the only social group among whom a majority voted to remain (57%). C1s divided fairly evenly; nearly two thirds of C2DEs (64%) voted to leave the EU.

  • A majority of those who backed the Conservative in 2015 voted to leave the EU (58%), as did more than 19 out of 20 UKIP supporters. Nearly two thirds of Labour and SNP voters (63% and 64%), seven in ten Liberal Democrats and three quarters of Greens, voted to remain.
  • Conservative voters constituted just over three out of every ten remainers, and four in ten leavers. Labour voters made up four in every ten remainers, and two in ten leavers.

· Just under half (43%) of voters said they always knew how they would end up voting or decided more than a year ago. Nearly a quarter (24%) decided in the week before referendum day; and one in ten decided yesterday, or on the day they filled in their postal vote.

· Leave and remain voters were almost equally likely to have decided on the day. Labour and Lib Dem supporters who voted leave were more likely to have decided late than Conservative leavers

· Nearly half (49%) of leave voters said the biggest single reason for wanting to leave the EU was “the principle that decisions about the UK should be taken in the UK”. One third (33%) said the main reason was that leaving “offered the best chance for the UK to regain control over immigration and its own borders.” Just over one in eight (13%) said remaining would mean having no choice “about how the EU expanded its membership or its powers in the years ahead.” Only just over one in twenty (6%) said their main reason was that “when it comes to trade and the economy, the UK would benefit more from being outside the EU than from being part of it.”

· For remain voters, the single most important reason for their decision was that “the risks of voting to leave the EU looked too great when it came to things like the economy, jobs and prices” (43%). Just over three in ten (31%) reasoned that remaining would mean the UK having “the best of both worlds”, having access to the EU single market without Schengen or the euro. Just under one in five (17%) said their main reason was that the UK would “become more isolated from its friends and neighbours”, and fewer than one in ten (9%) said it was “a strong attachment to the EU and its shared history, culture and traditions.”

· Overall, small majorities of voters thought EU membership would be better for the economy, international investment, and the UK’s influence in the world. Leaving the EU was thought more likely to bring about a better immigration system, improved border controls, a fairer welfare system, better quality of life, and the ability to control our own laws.Next Conservative leader

· A small majority of those who voted to remain think that for most children growing up today, life will be better than it was for their parents; leavers think the opposite by 61% to 39%. Leavers see more threats than opportunities to their standard of living from the way the economy and society are changing, by 71% to 29% – more than twice the margin among remainers.

· Nearly three quarters (73%) of remainers think life in Britain is better today than it was 30 years ago; a majority (58%) of those who voted to leave say it is worse.

· Those who said they paid a great deal of attention to politics were evenly divided between leave and remain. Those who said they paid little or no attention to politics voted to leave the EU by 58% to 42%.

What did they expect?

· Seven voters in ten expected a victory for remain, including a majority (54%) of those who voted to leave. Leave voters who voted UKIP at the 2015 election were the only group who (by just 52% to 48%) expected a leave victory.

The impact

· More than three quarters (77%) of those who voted to remain thought “the decision we make in the referendum could have disastrous consequences for us as a country if we get it wrong”. More than two thirds (69%) of leavers, by contrast, thought the decision “might make us a bit better or worse off as a country, but there probably isn’t much in it either way”.



see our letter on:

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



Russlandkontrovers – Beiträge Wittmann 2015-16.docx

06-24-16 Lord Ahcroft.com_How the United Kingdom voted on Thursd ay… and why_Full-tables-1.pdf

06-28-16 Who Will Now Invest £100 Billion to Keep Britain’s Ligh ts On_ – Bloomberg.pdf

06-29-16 Europe’s Eastern Frontline – Brexit – Syria.docx