· Butler, FT: Can the oligarchs save Russia?
· Carnegie Moscow: Gazprom’s Battle for Europe
· Islamic State’s chaotic defeat is incubating something far worse * RAND: How to Roll Back ISIL and Other Terrorist Threats
· Noonan: America’s Decadent Leadership Class * WSJ: The Press Buries Hillary Clinton’s Sins
· Friedman: The Roots of Hillary Clinton’s Foreign Policy
· Zitelmann: Merkels aussichtsloser Versuch, „Fluchtursachen in Afrika zu beseitigen“
Massenbach*Russische Fallschirmjäger üben mit ägyptischen Kollegen in Nordafrika
Das ist das erste gemeinsame Manöver der beiden Länder. Die Teilnehmer aus Russland treffen in Nordafrika mit eigener Ausrüstung und eigenem Gerät ein. Die Übungen werden bis zum 26. Oktober dauern.
Das russische Verteidigungsministerium gab bekannt, dass die Teilnehmer der Anti-Terror-Übungen "Schützer der Freundschaft 2016" nach Ägypten abgeflogen waren. Die Militärtransporter vom Typ "Il-76" hatten mit Personal und Militärgerät an Bord vom Militärflughafen Djagilewo im Gebiet Rjasan abgehoben. Für die russischen Fallschirmjäger wird das das erste gemeinsame Anti-Terror-Training in Nordafrika sein.
It’s Time: Admiral Kuznetsov Carrier Group Heads to Med to Kick Daesh Ass
The Russian Northern Fleet announced that a group of warships led by the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier, armed with a full complement of weaponry and aircraft, has left its home port to join the Russian anti-Daesh military operation in Syria.
The carrier, officially classified by the Russian Navy as an aircraft carrying cruiser, is accompanied by the Kirov-class heavy missile cruiser Pyotr Velikiy, the Vice Admiral Kulakov and Severomorsk destroyers, and several supply ships.
The warplanes aboard the Admiral Kuznetsov include carrier-based variants of the Su-33 air superiority fighters and Ka-27/Ka-29 ASW helicopters. Last month it was reported that the Su-33s would be equipped with an ultra-precision targeting system, the SVP-24, already successfully used by other aircraft in Russia’s year-long anti-terrorist operation in Syria….along with several Ka-52K reconnaissance and combat helicopters. The latter were originally designed for operations aboard French-built Mistral-class amphibious assault ships, whose delivery Paris postponed and then canceled in 2014.
The anti-Daesh operational deployment will be historic, in that it will be the first combat deployment of a Russian or Soviet aircraft carrier.
Mistral Helicopter Carrier to arrive in Egypt in June-September.
Two Mistral-class helicopter carriers Sevastopol (R) and Vladivostok are seen in this picture taken May 21, 2015
at the STX Les Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard site in Saint-Nazaire, western France.
The French-made Mistral-class helicopter carriers will be delivered to Egypt in June-September 2016, the French ambassador in Cairo said Sunday.
"The delivery of Mistrals will take place between June and September this year," Andre Parant said during a press conference in the Egyptian capital.
Moscow and Paris officially terminated the $1.3-billion contract on the delivery of the Mistral-class warships in August 2015.
Cairo and Paris signed a contract in October 2015 for the purchase of two helicopter carriers originally built by France for Russia.
The ships are designed to carry 16 Ka-27/29 Helix anti submarine/assault and Ka-52 Hokum B strike helicopters.
DEBKAfile Special Report July 6, 2016, 11:31 AM (IDT)
DEBKAfile: Russia revamps air force array in Syria & Mid East
Moscow has decided to send additional advanced aircraft, including K-52 helicopter gunships, to Syria “in order to strengthen the Russian military grouping that takes part in anti-terrorist operations" – Russian Deputy Defense Minister Yuriy Ivanovich Borisov announced this week. The new consignment, he said, would replace the bombers and Su-25 fighter jets which will be recalled to Russia.
The Ka-52, ‚Alligator‘- NATO codename “Hokum-B” – is a two-seat attack helicopter which fits the requirements of the different battle sites in Syria. Rated one of the world’s most sophisticated of its kind, it is highly maneuverable, capable of abruptly altering flight directions and angles without prior adjustments.
Alligator is equipped with an advanced battlefield management system for running contact and exchanges of data with other helicopters/airplanes and ground units. The battlefield management system can also serve as an airborne headquarters for ground and air forces in battle.
The Ka-52 has six external hardpoints for different combinations of weapons, among which are Vikhr and Vikhr-M anti-tank missiles and Igla-V air-to-air missiles. The helicopter also carries bombs and rockets. For targeting armored forces, these helicopters carry 12 Vikhr ATGMs laser-guided anti-tank missiles with a range of up to 8km and the ability to pierce 950mm-thick armor. The helicopter is also equipped with extra-strong advanced casing against ground fire.
On July 7, Russian Navy headquarter in Moscow announced that the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov will be deployed in the Mediterranean opposite Syrian shores. In October, the carrier will begin military operations against terror organizations in Syria and in particular against ISIS. On its decks are 15 Su-33 and MiG-29K/KUB bombers and fighter jets, and 10 Ka-52K, Ka-27 and Ka-31 helicopters.
debkafile’s military sources say there are six reasons why Russia has shifted is reliance in Syria and the Middle East on helicopters rather than on bombers and fighter planes.
1. To adapt is aerial assets to expanded military cooperation with the US air force in Syrian air space. It is possible that we will soon see US and Russian helicopters attacking Syrian terror targets together, especially ISIS. Russian helicopters may even be deployed in support of US special operations forces in this arena.
2. US-Russian negotiations on joint air force operations are already underway, with a couple of provisos set by the Obama administration, especially the discontinuation of Syrian air force strikes against Syrian rebel groups supported by the US.
debkafile counter-terror and intelligence sources report that Washington and Moscow have not agreed on which of these rebel forces are to be immune. The debate centers on rebel groups close to al-Qaeda, ISIS or other radical Muslim organizations.
3. The continued US failure to successfully wield CIA-trained and armed Syrian rebel forces is forcing the Americans to fall back increasingly on the Russian forces in Syria. In recent weeks these pro-US forces were repeatedly beaten back by ISIS before achieving their mission.
The latest examples are: the bitter defeat of The New Syrian Army near Abu Kamal in eastern Syria, and the failure of Syrian Democratic Forces – SDF, another pro-US force, operating in northern Syria near the Turkish border, to capture Manjib from ISIS, despite aerial support.
4. As the US has withdrawn its aircraft carriers from the Mediterranean, the arrival of the Admiral Kuznetsov carrier ready to go into action in October will make the Russian navy the only military force to deploy an aircraft carrier in the region.
5. Since Moscow and Ankara buried the hatchet earlier this month, the Russian air force no longer needs to maintain advanced fighters jets in Syria against the Turkish air force.
6. The Russians are also aiming to reach an agreement with Turkey for joint aerial operations against terror targets in Syria.
From the Israel side: Russia & Turkey carve anti-US enclaves in Syria
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report October 15, 2016, 6:47 PM (IDT)
US President Barack Obama told Pentagon and military chiefs he met Friday, Oct. on Oct. 14, that instead of arming anti-Assad rebel groups in Syria, Washington was going back to negotiations with Moscow for cooperation in achieving a cessation of hostilities in the Syrian war.
US Secretary of State John Kerry therefore scheduled his umpteenth meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov for Saturday in Lausanne. This time, the foreign ministers of Turkey, Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia and possibly Qatar, tagged along.
Beyond the high words, recriminations and the unspeakable horrors attending the battle for Aleppo, Obama never seriously considered providing the anti-Syrian rebels holed up in Aleppo with the anti-air weapons they need to shoot down the Russian and Syrian warplanes blitzing them – any more than UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s statement that it was time for British military involvement in the Syrian war was for real. Above all, Britain is short of the military heft for backing up hypothetical intentions.
The options for serious Western intervention in the Syrian war are constantly diminishing for the reasons outlined here by debkafile’s military sources:
1. American missiles have no way of reaching Syrian rebel groups, certainly not those still fighting in eastern Aleppo. Neither Russia, nor Turkey, whose army now controls 5,000 sq. km of northern Syria, would let them through to that destination.
2. Had Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan chosen to do so, he could have simply ordered his army to open up a route for the supply of missiles to the rebels who are hemmed in in Aleppo by Russia, Syrian, Iranian and Hizballah forces. He is withholding that order because the military deals he concluded with President Vladimir Putin last week in Istanbul override any concerns he may have for the fate of those rebels or Aleppo’s population.
3. Those deals in a word sanctify the Turkish “security zone” in northern Syria which is covered by a no-fly zone for all but Russian and Turkish flights. They also provide for the Syrian rebels retreating from the various Syrian war zones, including Aleppo, to be taken in and absorbed in the Turkish enclave. Erdogan would thus become the senior patron of the Syrian opposition rebel movement, barring only the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front and other Islamic extremist groups. This would enable him to steal from the United States, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Qatar their sponsorship roles and their influence in the anti-Assad movement.
4. Ankara’s military alliance with Moscow is steadily eroding Turkey’s ties with the United States as well as NATO. Matters have gone so far that the two capitals or in advanced discussion of the supply of Russian air defense missiles to the Turkish army.
debkafile’s intelligence sources reveal that under discussion is the installation in Turkey of a system of advanced Russian missiles linked to the Russian anti-air missile shield under construction in Syria.
Turkey would thus become the first member of NATO to arm itself with a Russian anti-air missile shield.
How was this allowed to happen?
According to our sources, Putin and Erdogan are moving fast to cash in on President Obama’s repugnance for military intervention in Syria and his waning powers at the tail end of his presidency.
a) Neither is configuring Syrian President Bashar Assad into their calculations. They are going forward with their plans while ignoring him and his drastically diminished army as factors worth consideration.
b) Their objectives are similar and interlocking: Both are intent on developing their respective enclaves in northern Syria, Moscow for a long-term military presence in the country: likewise, Ankara.
Up until now, the Obama administration stood firm against the two goals, which is why Washington and Moscow were unable to achieve any real cooperation over a secession of hostilities in the war-torn country; even when Kerry and Lavrov struck a truce accord on Sept 9, it never held up beyond a few hours.
Most recently, Putin and Erdogan tried signaling the US president that their sole ambitions with regard to Syria’s future lie in the two military enclaves now under construction.
Obama saw this as a sufficient basis to continue withholding advanced arms from Syrian rebel groups and to go for another round of diplomacy with Russia – with Turkey hitching a ride this time on the opposite side of the table..
From our Russian news desk:see attachment.
– Russia – Turkey Relationship – Syria – Countering Radical Islam – “Less than a Year Since…” Does the Normalization of Russia–Turkey Relations Really Work?
– RUSSIA—EU RELATIONS AT A CROSSROADS
– Russia and the EU proceed on the basis that “business as usual” is no longer possible. However, neither of
– them has specified what legacy of their relations before the crisis they are willing or ready to sacrifice, except
– for the strategic partnership rhetoric. Nor have they formulated any particular vision for their future relations
– that could become a “new business”. The working paper includes analysis of common and divergent interests,
– of mechanisms for cooperation, and gives recommendations on the first steps for renewing the cooperation.
– The views and opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of RIAC.
– The full text is published on RIAC’s website. You can download the Working Paper or leave a comment via this
– direct link russiancouncil.ru/en/paper31
Policy= res publica
Freudenberg-Pilster* America’s Decadent Leadership Class
Putin doesn’t respect them, and they don’t like half the American people.
By Peggy Noonan
It is quite dreadful and a showing of the gravest disrespect that, if U.S. intelligence agencies are correct, Russia’s Vladimir Putin has inserted himself into America’s presidential election. And it could not have deeper implications.
If Russia is indeed behind the leaks of the emails of Democratic Party operatives Mr. Putin may have many reasons, as he often does, but the most frightening would be that he views the current American political leadership class as utterly decadent and unworthy of traditional diplomatic norms and boundaries. And, thinks, therefore, it deserves what it gets.
Why would he find them decadent—morally hollowed out, unserious? That is the terrible part: because he knows them.
Think of how he’s experienced them the past few years. Readers of these pages know of the Uranium One deal in which a Canadian businessman got Bill Clinton to help him get control of uranium mining fields in Kazakhstan. The businessman soon gave $31 million to the Clinton Foundation, with a pledge of $100 million more. Uranium One acquired significant holdings in the U.S. A Russian company moved to buy it. The deal needed U.S. approval, including from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
While it was under consideration the Clinton Foundation received more money from Uranium One. Bill Clinton got a $500,000 speech fee. Mrs. Clinton approved the deal. The Russian company is now one of the world’s largest uranium producers. Significant amounts of U.S. uranium are, in effect, owned by Russia. This summer a WikiLeaks dump showed the State Department warning that Russia was moving to control the global supply of nuclear fuel. The deal went through anyway, and the foundation flourished.
Peter Schweizer, who broke the Uranium One story, reported in these pages how Mrs. Clinton also pushed for a U.S.-Russian technology initiative whose goals included “the development of ties between the Russian and American people.” Mrs Clinton looked for U.S. investors and found them. Of the 28 announced “key partners,” 60% had made financial commitments to the Clinton Foundation. Even Russian investors ponied up.
But the research coming out of the initiative raised alarms: U.S. military experts warned of satellite, space and nuclear technology transfers. The FBI thought the Russian partners’ motive was to “gain access to classified, sensitive, and emerging technology.” WikiLeaks later unearthed a State Department cable expressing concern about the project. Somehow, said Mr. Schweizer, the Clinton State Department “missed or ignored obvious red flags.”
What would Mr. Putin, knowing all this and inferring Mrs. Clinton’s real priorities, conclude about the American political system and its major practitioners? Would he feel contempt? Might he toy with them?
As for Donald Trump, we don’t know, because he has not released his tax returns, what ties if any he has with Russia. There are charges that Trump businesses are entangled with powerful Russian financiers. We know some of his top advisers had business ties to Russia or affiliated nations and leaders.
Again, what might Mr. Putin think of this? Might he amuse himself with mischief, even to the point of attempting to hack the election returns? We’ll see.
But nothing is more dangerous than this: that Mr. Putin and perhaps other world leaders have come to have diminished respect for the morality, patriotism and large-mindedness of our leaders. Nikita Khrushchev had a rough respect for JFK and his men and that respect, in the Cuban Missile Crisis, helped avert nuclear war. Mikhail Gorbachev was in the end half-awed by Ronald Reagan’s goodness and idealism; the world knew George H.W. Bush and respected his integrity, and so he was able to build coalitions that were real coalitions, not just names. Now, whoever wins, we are in a different place, a lesser and more dangerous one.
On the latest groping charges: We cannot know for certain what is true, but my experience in such matters is that when a woman makes such a charge she is telling the truth. In a lifetime of fairly wide acquaintance, I’ve not known a woman to lie about sexual misbehavior or assault. I believe Juanita Broaddrick and Kathleen Willey, and I believe the women making the charges against Mr. Trump in the New York Times. NYT -0.43 % The mainstream media of the United States is in the tank for the Democratic nominee, to its great and destructive shame: They add further ruin to the half-ruined reputation of a great American institution. That will make the country’s future harder and more torn up. But this story, at least as to the testimony of its central figures, does not appear to be an example of that.
Here I would like to say a word for the spectacular illusions under which American voters once were able to operate. You used to be able to like your guy—to admire your candidate and imagine unknown virtues he no doubt possessed that would be revealed in time, in books. Those illusions were beautiful. They gave clean energy to the engine of our politics. You can’t have illusions anymore. That souring, which is based on knowledge and observation as opposed to mere cynicism, is painful to witness and bear. The other day a conservative intellectual declared to her fellow writers and thinkers: “I’m for the venal idiot who won’t mechanize government against all I hold dear.” That’s some bumper sticker, isn’t it? And who has illusions about Mrs. Clinton? No one.
The big fact of the week, however, has to do with these words: They don’t like us. The Democrats, progressives and left-liberals who have been embarrassed by the latest WikiLeaks dump really hate conservatives, or nonleftists. They don’t like half the people of the country they seek to control! They look at that half with disdain and disrespect. Their disdain is not new—“bitter clingers,” “basket of deplorables.” But here it’s so unashamed and eager to express itself.
A stupid man from a leftist think tank claimed the most “powerful elements” in the conservative movement are Catholic. “They must be attracted to the systematic thought and severely backwards gender relations,” he wrote. Mrs. Clinton’s press aide Jennifer Palmieri responded: “I imagine they think it is the most socially acceptable politically conservative religion. Their rich friends wouldn’t understand if they become evangelicals.”
When I read that I imagined a conversation with my grandmother, an immigrant who was a bathroom attendant at the Abraham & Straus department store in Brooklyn. Me: “Grandma, being Catholic is now a step up. It means you’re an aristocrat! A stupid one, but still.” Grandma, blinking: “America truly is a country of miracles.”
Here’s what you see in the emails: the writers are the worst kind of snobs, snobs with nothing to recommend them. In their expression and thoughts they are common, banal, dumb, uninformed, parochial.
I don’t know about you but when people look down on me I want them to be distinguished or outstanding in some way—towering minds, people of exquisite sensibility or learning. Not these grubbly poseurs, these people who’ve never had a thought but only a sensation: Christians are backward, I saw it in a movie!
It’s the big fact of American life now, isn’t it? That we are patronized by our inferiors.
The Press Buries Hillary Clinton’s Sins
As reporters focus on Trump, they miss new details on Clinton’s rotten record.
By Kimberley A. Strassel
If average voters turned on the TV for five minutes this week, chances are they know that Donald Trump made lewd remarks a decade ago and now stands accused of groping women.
But even if average voters had the TV on 24/7, they still probably haven’t heard the news about Hillary Clinton: That the nation now has proof of pretty much everything she has been accused of.
It comes from hacked emails dumped by WikiLeaks, documents released under the Freedom of Information Act, and accounts from FBI insiders. The media has almost uniformly ignored the flurry of bombshells, preferring to devote its front pages to the Trump story. So let’s review what amounts to a devastating case against a Clinton presidency.
Start with a June 2015 email to Clinton staffers from Erika Rottenberg, the former general counsel of LinkedIn. Ms. Rottenberg wrote that none of the attorneys in her circle of friends “can understand how it was viewed as ok/secure/appropriate to use a private server for secure documents AND why further Hillary took it upon herself to review them and delete documents.” She added: “It smacks of acting above the law and it smacks of the type of thing I’ve either gotten discovery sanctions for, fired people for, etc.”
A few months later, in a September 2015 email, a Clinton confidante fretted that Mrs. Clinton was too bullheaded to acknowledge she’d done wrong. “Everyone wants her to apologize,” wrote Neera Tanden, president of the liberal Center for American Progress. “And she should. Apologies are like her Achilles’ heel.”
Clinton staffers debated how to evade a congressional subpoena of Mrs. Clinton’s emails—three weeks before a technician deleted them. The campaign later employed a focus group to see if it could fool Americans into thinking the email scandal was part of the Benghazi investigation (they are separate) and lay it all off as a Republican plot.
A senior FBI official involved with the Clinton investigation told Fox News this week that the “vast majority” of career agents and prosecutors working the case “felt she should be prosecuted” and that giving her a pass was “a top-down decision.”
The Obama administration—the federal government, supported by tax dollars—was working as an extension of the Clinton campaign. The State Department coordinated with her staff in responding to the email scandal, and the Justice Department kept her team informed about developments in the court case.
Worse, Mrs. Clinton’s State Department, as documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show, took special care of donors to the Clinton Foundation. In a series of 2010 emails, a senior aide to Mrs. Clinton asked a foundation official to let her know which groups offering assistance with the Haitian earthquake relief were “FOB” (Friends of Bill) or “WJC VIPs” (William Jefferson Clinton VIPs). Those who made the cut appear to have been teed up for contracts. Those who weren’t? Routed to a standard government website.
The leaks show that the foundation was indeed the nexus of influence and money. The head of the Clinton Health Access Initiative, Ira Magaziner, suggested in a 2011 email that Bill Clinton call Sheikh Mohammed of Saudi Arabia to thank him for offering the use of a plane. In response, a top Clinton Foundation official wrote: “Unless Sheikh Mo has sent us a $6 million check, this sounds crazy to do.”
The entire progressive apparatus—the Clinton campaign and boosters at the Center for American Progress—appears to view voters as stupid and tiresome, segregated into groups that must either be cajoled into support or demeaned into silence. We read that Republicans are attracted to Catholicism’s “severely backwards gender relations” and only join the faith to “sound sophisticated”; that Democratic leaders such as Bill Richardson are “needy Latinos”; that Bernie Sanders supporters are “self-righteous”; that the only people who watch Miss America “are from the confederacy”; and that New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is “a terrorist.”
The leaks also show that the press is in Mrs. Clinton’s pocket. Donna Brazile, a former Clinton staffer and a TV pundit, sent the exact wording of a coming CNN town hall question to the campaign in advance of the event. Other media allowed the Clinton camp to veto which quotes they used from interviews, worked to maximize her press events and offered campaign advice.
Mrs. Clinton has been exposed to have no core, to be someone who constantly changes her position to maximize political gain. Leaked speeches prove that she has two positions (public and private) on banks; two positions on the wealthy; two positions on borders; two positions on energy. Her team had endless discussions about what positions she should adopt to appease “the Red Army”—i.e. “the base of the Democratic Party.”
Voters might not know any of this, because while both presidential candidates have plenty to answer for, the press has focused solely on taking out Mr. Trump. And the press is doing a diligent job of it.
****************************************************************************************************************** Politics: From Vision to Action
Barandat* Islamic State’s chaotic defeat is incubating something far worse
Published on October 17, 2016.
President John C. Hulsman Enterprises, Senior Columnist at City AM London
It is the saddest, and easiest, prediction to make in global political risk analysis today: we will ‘win’ military victory in Iraq, only to lose the peace. For the dire, ghostly, maddening conclusion must be the West and its Middle Eastern allies are incapable of learning from history.
The press salivates about the imminent retaking of one of Iraq’s largest cities, Mosul, from the fanatics who run ISIS, for that is a simple story they can understand. The more complicated–and far more important–reality is that, until the political poison that led to the rise of ISIS in the first place is creatively addressed, the rest of us are merely mowing the lawn, only to have to again deal with Sunni radicalism further down the line.
Just as Al Qaeda in Iraq metastasised into the more virulent ISIS, an even more diabolical iteration of Sunni disenfranchisement in Iraq is bound to be spawned in the near future, meaning that, like the incomparable movie Groundhog Day, we will be doomed to repeat this horrendous moment again and again.
The present signs of political dysfunction are there for all with eyes to see. Ahead of the assault on Mosul, there is growing tensions between Baghdad and the Kurds, Baghdad and Ankara, and Baghdad and their restive minority Sunni subjects. ISIS is not the real problem; it is merely the ghastly symptom of these larger—and perpetually unresolved—tensions.
Part of the issue, practically excluding any chance to get the longer term politics right, is the undue haste with which the assault on Mosul is being undertaken. This is because weak but well-meaning Prime Minister Haider el-Abadi of Iraq made the ill-considered public promise that the ctiy would be retaken by the end of this year.
Strategically trapped but this silly pledge, the operation has been rushed, with the political end state that logically follows on from successful conquest being wilfully ignored. Still undecided is the role that the Shia irregular militias will play in the assault of this predominantly Sunni city. In the past, as in the retaking of Tikrit, the militias treated the local Sunni populations with contempt, hardly enticing them back into the Iraqi political fold. Often funded by Iran, more sectarian—and more effective—than Iraqi regular troops, the militias may be essential to victory, but they are a gigantic roadblock to winning the peace.
The other key operational question revealing the political chaos to come is that it has been left glaringly unanswered who will actually run Mosul after it has been taken. And as Shakespeare put it, herein lies the rub.
Mosul sits in Nineveh province, one of the most religiously and ethnically diverse areas of the country. To the north and east lies Kurdistan. As previously stated, the government controlled forces and the militias are Shia. The majority of Mosul’s inhabitants are Sunni. Complicating matters further, however, there are large numbers of ethnic Turkmen in the region–a group closely related in terms of customs of culture with great regional power Turkey, and group which erratic Turkish President Erdogan has vowed to protect, by force if necessary. As Turkey has troops stationed in northern Iraq at Bashiqa (to the hapless fury of Baghdad), this threat is hardly an idle one.
To yet again ignore the politics, to not make clear who will run Mosul after it has been retaken, is to invite an outcome where facts on the ground will determine who practically runs the place. This will lead to a free-for-all, as the various anti-ISIS groups and factions fall upon each other the minute the city is taken. Even if outright fighting is avoided, the bad blood and irredentist claims that naturally arise from such blockheaded confusion are bound to lead to perpetual instability, and most likely the need to repeat the taking of a city in Iraq like Mosul a decade or so down the line.
Until the government of Iraq gets serious about devolving power in a confederal arrangement to its three major ethno-religious groups—the Sunni, the Shia and the Kurds—a political outcome which reflects actual political facts on the ground, the country will remain an unstable and dangerous place.
Failure to even begin to incorporate the formerly ruling Sunni into now Shia-dominated Iraqi political life means the largest minority in the country will have no stake whatsoever in its future success. Worse, and highly likely given this hopelessness, the Iraqi Sunnis will flock to a future death cult like ISIS, perhaps even more maniacal (if that is possible).
Iraq, like the rest of the world, will only begin to crawl out of the fix it is in if creative, real world policies are devised reflecting political facts on the ground. Don’t hold your breath.
Published in City AM London, October 17, 2016
FT: Can the oligarchs save Russia?
By Nick Butler
Twenty years ago, a small group of Russian businessmen saved the country from a return to communism. Boris Yeltsin, physically and politically weak, was close to being beaten in the presidential election by Gennady Zyuganov. In the first ballot, Yeltsin led by just 3 per cent. The money and organisation the oligarchs brought to the party put him more than 13 points ahead in the second and decisive vote. Now, in very different circumstances, the oligarchs may need to intervene again.
Russia is in a parlous state. Real incomes have fallen by 10 per cent in just a year. The rouble depreciated 37 per cent and in real terms gross domestic product fell 3.7 per cent, according to World Bank figures. Household incomes and investment fell sharply. The trends have persisted into 2016. Forget the bluster of President Vladimir Putin and the military activities in Ukraine and Syria. What was once a superpower is now a country in decline.
Many nations have suffered from the fall in energy prices over the last two years but few have been more seriously affected than Russia. The reason is its overwhelming dependence on the oil and gas sector, revenues from which account for half the national budget. The effect of the fall in oil prices has been compounded by the loss of both volumes and value in gas sales. Europe is Russia’s primary export market and falling gas demand (down 20 per cent over the last decade) combined with a worldwide surplus of supply has pushed prices down 65 per cent in the last three years.
To these exogenous factors have been added the isolation and sanctions that have followed the annexation of Crimea. Such measures may not have led to any reconsideration of policy in the Kremlin but they have had an inexorably growing negative effect on the economy. Fresh inward investment is minimal, and in the areas of new technology that Russia so badly needs it is nonexistent. The international companies already present are keeping their heads down, hoping circumstances will change. But they are not rushing to put in more money.
Mr Putin, who has remained in power for most of the last 17 years on the back of relatively strong oil and gas prices, can now only rely on the dangerous rhetoric of nationalism, coupled with a determination to make convenient enemies of the west, in particular the US. The vicious and unnecessary conflict in Syria serves no practical purpose. Russian interests, including its naval base on the Mediterranean coast of Syria, could easily have been protected within the terms of a peace agreement. But Mr Putin needs a continuing conflict to justify his position of power.
Why should the oligarchs take the risk of forcing a change in the Kremlin? The answer is self-interest — just as in 1996. Several have lost large sums of money as the economy has declined. Although most have managed to extract their families and the bulk of their capital and moved to London or Paris, many still have substantial physical and economic assets in Russia. Those are vulnerable to a collapse of confidence in the economy and potential expropriation by a desperate government. Some even fear the long arm of Moscow will reach out to force them to hand back some of the money they have taken out.
For many there is a reputational concern. To be Russian is not a label that secures trust or warm acceptance. Some doors have already been closed to investment from the country. In the second US presidential debate last week, Hillary Clinton talked about the need to find more leverage to force Moscow to change its behaviour. That can only be economic in nature and would directly affect the oligarchs and their business interests including, in extremis, their right to travel freely in the US. As American robber barons learnt at the end of the 19th century, once you have made your money – by whatever means – you have a keen interest in the enforcement of the rule of law to protect your assets.
The understanding reached more than a decade ago between the oligarchs and Mr Putin after initial tension which saw some arrested or exiled was that he would make Russia a secure place in and from which to do business and that the oligarchs would stay out of politics and sustain him in power. The president has broken his side of that bargain.
What would a change of leadership mean? In essence, a change of priorities. Economics would become more important than military adventures or any conflict with Europe or the US. Deals would be done to settle the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria to bring an end to sanctions. The neglected agenda of establishing closer links with Europe would be revived.
Changing Russia internally would be the greatest challenge. A technocrat would be put in charge. The security apparatus of the state would remain in place – the oligarchs are too smart to mess with the FSB, the KGB’s successor agency – but there would be a reduction in military spending and procurement which has risen rapidly in the last three years. There would instead be incentives for inward investment, helped by the weakness of the rouble and the promise of a more more economically and politically stable government in Moscow. On top of that, a new wave of privatisation could begin. No doubt the oligarchs would participate by bringing back some of the capital they have exported.
Russia would not suddenly become an open, liberal democracy but the dangerous illusion that it is still a superpower would be quietly dropped and the world would be a safer place. Given the scale of the country’s problems and the risks of the current tensions escalating, an imperfect transfer of power would be better than allowing the status quo to deteriorate further.
Carnegie Moscow: Gazprom’s Battle for Europe
Why is Gazprom selling gas to Europe below cost? So that companies from the United States and other countries do the same, fall into a price war, and eventually go broke.
While Russian officials talk endlessly about their plans to sell as much natural gas to China as they currently do to Europe, in fact, Gazprom will have no future without the European export market.
For Russia and Gazprom, the European export market has a number of advantages over the Asian one, including that the capacity of European pipelines exceeds Gazprom’s actual deliveries by more than double.
Europe also has a diversified market, so Gazprom is not at the mercy of one or two consumers. What’s more, Gazprom’s production potential already exceeds its total sales by 200 million cubic meters per year. Finally, Gazprom has signed numerous contracts with European buyers that extend to 2035 and beyond.
China offers nothing of the kind. There are not enough pipelines leading to China to increase deliveries to European levels. Furthermore, the country lacks production-ready gas fields and infrastructure, and no one is sure whether China actually needs all the gas that Gazprom wants to sell it: Beijing has consistently refused to finance Russian gas projects. Most importantly, gas prices on Asian markets won’t be high enough to justify Russia’s extraction and transportation costs for at least the next five to ten years.
Gazprom is facing a number of challenges in Europe as well, however. First, EU gas consumption has increased less significantly than Gazprom management projected. Indeed, though Europe’s own gas output has been steadily decreasing, imports are falling even faster due to a 20 percent drop in demand. In fact, net imports fell from 299 billion cubic meters in 2010 to 219 billion cubic meters in 2014. A slight uptick in 2015 has so far failed to reverse the trend.
Despite these realities, Gazprom officials are using figures from the last quarter of 2014 to report fictitious increases in demand for Russian natural gas.
Statoil experts predict that demand for natural gas in the EU will continue to decrease 0.4 to 1.6 percent annually until 2040. Though the market for new gas shipments to the EU may total 40 billion to 70 billion cubic meters by 2035, it’s unclear how much of this will come from liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports and how much will be left for Gazprom.
Moscow is beginning to understand that LNG prices will be competitive with Russian gas for at least the next ten years. In the past, Gazprom spin masters liked to talk about the benefits of their monopoly over the competition. Now, however, at international conferences they use visual aids to prove that Russian pipeline gas is cheaper than American LNG.
Let’s do some math. In August, the average price of the natural gas that Gazprom sells to Europe on long-term contracts pegged to oil prices was $150 per 1,000 cubic meters. Spot market deals were even cheaper.
No matter how you look at it, Gazprom is losing money on gas shipments to Europe—and U.S. shale gas has barely hit the market. Its only hope is that the LNG from the United States and other countries will be sold below cost; in this case, it will simply wait for its competitors to lose the price war and go broke.
And a price war is right around the corner. LNG global supplies are set to increase by 50 percent over 2014 levels by 2020. The projects launched and mostly financed when gas prices were high are being completed now, which will lead to overproduction and predatory pricing.
We are now seeing a rapid increase of U.S. gas at prices that don’t allow companies to recoup the costs of extraction, liquefaction, transportation, and regasification. Gas that costs the seller $6 or even $7 per 1,000 BTU is being sold to South America for $5.50—and even cheaper to Portugal and the UK. The goal is to offset at least part of the liquefaction expenses and secure a market share that can be fully tapped if prices rise in the future.
It’s hard to say who will win the price war. On the one hand, Gazprom is up against enormous LNG surpluses around the world, EU supplier diversification regulations, and a reputation for being the Kremlin’s political instrument.
On the other hand, Gazprom does control enough field deposits to supply the equivalent of another Europe should there be more demand for its product. It also has the infrastructure necessary to deliver natural gas to Europe—and currently uses less than half of its capacity. What’s more, Russia’s political leadership will never abandon Gazprom, which is sometimes referred to as a “national treasure”: it may offer Gazprom tax breaks and other benefits to sustain its struggle against the competition.
By George Friedman.
This is an election in which anything can happen. Nevertheless, for now at least, it appears that Hillary Clinton will be the next president of the United States. For the moment, we can turn away from the real issues of this world to the question of what Clinton’s foreign policy might look like if she wins. It is an important question, inasmuch as I was at a dinner last night where there were foreign diplomats, and they seemed oddly obsessed with the question.
To understand her foreign policy, it is important to understand the evolution of American strategy since the fall of the Soviet Union. Clinton is a creature of the beliefs, values and illusions that dominated American policy from 1991 until 2008. By understanding that world, we can understand Clinton’s core beliefs and then consider the extent to which they have evolved. Clinton represents the American and global consensus that emerged after the Cold War.
U.S. President Bill Clinton (C), First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton (R) and Coca-Cola Deputy Region Manager in Russia Michael O’Neill drink a Coca-Cola in Moscow on May 11, 1995, during the Clintons’ visit to the Coca-Cola factory in the Russian capital.
When the Soviet Union fell in 1991, there was a general assumption that the world of war, near war and distrust had been put behind us. This is normal when a global conflict ends. After Napoleon was defeated, the victorious powers met at the Congress of Vienna and decreed two things. The first was that the victorious anti-Napoleon coalition would continue in place and administer the peace. The second was that there were no fundamental differences among these coalition partners. The same assumptions were made after World War I in the League of Nations. After World War II, the United Nations was created, with the victorious coalition ensconced as the permanent members of the Security Council.
Great wars are won by coalitions and not individual states. There is an illusion that the common interests of these states during the war will endure to administer the peace. Leading powers will suppress new challengers and all that will be left is to maintain discipline in the system. War is obsolete and unnecessary, and the only thing that matters is enjoying the economic blessings that come with victory. These periods of comforting delusion can last for decades, as happened after the Napoleonic wars, or a few months, as happened after World War II.
This same thing happened after the end of the Cold War. The U.S. and President George H. W. Bush generally believed that the coalition that won the Cold War and the institutions that were created in the Cold War would govern the peace. NATO, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and others, as well as the coalition of anti-Soviet nations that had used these institutions, would create a perpetual peace, and history would come to a happy end.
There were only two tasks at hand. One was integrating the shattered Soviet Empire into the Western security and economic system. The other was managing unruly marginal nations. When Iraq invaded Kuwait, the United States marshalled a wide range of countries, including some former communist states, to punish the unruly Saddam Hussein, and the U.S. did this without concern about the Russian or Chinese reactions. The U.S. dominated a global coalition, the coalition was of one mind and minor irritants like Iraq would be dealt with as one.
This is the world that President Bill Clinton’s administration came into. It saw the world that George H. W. Bush had crafted as the world’s permanent condition and focused on further global economic and social integration. It extended Cold War institutions and engaged in intermittent military actions with primarily humanitarian goals (though not in every case) that were appropriate to coalition management. These were the only real reasons for having a military at this point.
Bush started this with the 1992 intervention in Somalia, where U.S. direct interests were minimal, but internal chaos had created a famine. Bill Clinton adopted this stance, sending forces to Haiti, to depose a singularly unpleasant government, and to Liberia. He bombed Iraq in Operation Desert Fox to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons, waged war against Serbia to prevent mass murder in Kosovo, and when a group called al-Qaida struck at U.S. embassies in East Africa and attacked the USS Cole, carried out retaliatory strikes of dubious effectiveness.
The view of the Clinton administration was that it led a worldwide coalition to manage a global consensus. None of these issues represented significant threats, but each had to be dealt with. Minor irritants might become more significant and with limited effort could be controlled.
These were side issues. The central issue was managing global economic growth. The 1990s were a period of large-scale development, and it was assumed that increased trade and international investment would perpetuate this growth and create a peaceful and prosperous world. Therefore, the primary interest of the Clinton administration was shaping the international economy. This was the strategic issue of the decade. The rest were secondary.
The Clinton administration did not see al-Qaida as a significant threat. It was another irritant, a terrorist group that could cause problems, but not change the direction of history. It also saw Russia as a closed issue. In spite of the catastrophic decade it had experienced, the Clinton administration did not believe Russia would emerge as a strategic challenger, but would rather settle into its role as a liberal democracy. As for China, increased global integration would simply increase its prosperity, and that prosperity would liberalize China.
Three beliefs were at work. The first was that we had entered an era in which nothing would disrupt economic growth. The second was that with economic growth, the world would be increasingly liberal. The third was that increased liberalism would lead to international harmony and no one would want to disrupt it. As a result, the rise of al-Qaida was not seen as the overriding issue, and extreme measures for destroying it were not used.
President George W. Bush accepted the core concepts behind this foreign policy. In an odd way, 9/11 did not change the foundations of American national strategy. As shocking as the 9/11 attacks were, the fight against al-Qaida, though central, did not change the fundamental assumptions about how the world worked. Economic growth and integration remained at the center, the struggle was built around a coalition and waging war in some way coincided with the concept of humanitarian interventions. The coalition became strained, to say the least. The war intensified and the humanitarian dimension collided with the reality of warfighting, but the beliefs remained that there were no peer powers threatening the United States and that global economic integration was not incompatible with an expanding war in the Islamic world.
There was another dimension. Humanitarianism and the belief in coalitions caused the United States to take a strange stance toward allies. The commitment to liberal democracy was as deep among liberal humanitarians as neoconservatives. Both would wage war for it, and both would demand allies adhere to it. Therefore, the coalition shrank not only because of defections, but equally from expulsions of nations the United States needed as allies but that did not measure up to its standards.
Much of this blew up in 2008. In August, the Russians went to war with Georgia, declaring that Russia had not taken the place in history that the Americans had intended. In September, Lehman Brothers collapsed. The world had ceased to be the post-Cold War world. There were fundamental politico-military challenges to the United States, not existential, but serious. The assumptions about perpetual prosperity weakened as interdependence spread the contagion of 2008 throughout the world.
The idea that China would become increasingly prosperous, increasingly liberal and disinterested in international conflict proved to be in error. Two newly confident rivals, Russia and China, challenged the American understanding of the world as it was bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan. The challenge of the Islamic world spread, ranging from a more powerful and self-confident Turkey, to the Islamic State’s attempt to build a caliphate, to economic crisis in Saudi Arabia.
It was in this context that Hillary Clinton’s support of the intervention in Libya must be viewed, because it was the last gasp of the post-Cold War world. Moammar Gadhafi was clearly a thug and he might well have been about to carry out a massacre. Hillary Clinton accepted the notion that the United States, along with its coalition, had a moral obligation to prevent it. There have been theories that this was about oil or uranium or something else. It arose from a concept of the world that had eroded.
But this was the world after 9/11, and a corrupt tyrant might be better than what succeeded him. Destroying Gadhafi would not bring liberals to power, but trigger the rise of warring rival militias and opportunistic jihadists. The U.S. was able to destroy an enemy armed force, but nation-building – creating new societies on the wreckage of the old – was not what the U.S. was good at anymore. Humanitarian intervention was an illusion. The suffering after intervention was frequently worse than before. Most important, the divergence of U.S. forces into one theater weakened the U.S. in other theaters, and this was no longer a luxury the U.S. could afford, not in competition with Russian and Chinese power and interests.
Hillary Clinton is an interventionist, but her interventionism was shaped by Bill Clinton’s time in office, when each intervention was separate, none were linked to regional crises, and none affected the global balance. Driven partly by the concept of humanitarian intervention and partly by a misreading of American power to reshape countries, Libya resulted. Hillary Clinton’s support of the Libya intervention belies a worldview of a strategic reality that no longer existed. In the same sense, her economic understanding of the world pre-dated 2008. It was based on the assumption that economics and American values were more important than political and military matters and on the assumption that prosperity and integration were part of the same process.
When we think of Hillary Clinton as speaking for the establishment, it is not wrong, but it is insufficient. The establishment, which did brilliantly from the early 1980s until 2008, has failed to adjust to the new reality. Its ideology, business models and expectations of how the world works have not adapted to the new reality it had created. This is not surprising. It is the way things work.
Hillary Clinton gives every indication that she still thinks the post-Cold War is tattered but can be redeemed. Some people believed in the League of Nations and the Congress of Vienna long after they had ceased to exist in any meaningful way. As a tactician she may understand this, doing things differently on a case-by-case basis. But as a strategist, she does not see a strategic shift having taken place. It is difficult to abandon a world you thought permanent, even when that world is gone. And this will be the difficult part of a Hillary Clinton presidency. She is disciplined and coherent, but that turns out to be her trap.
To understand her dilemma, imagine a die-hard Cold Warrior trying to function in the post-Cold War world or someone committed to Versailles dealing with Hitler and Stalin. They would have no point of reference. Hillary Clinton’s challenge will be to adjust, strategically and in her soul, to this world. The reality of the world has shifted. Donald Trump has failed to understand the key reality of politics. Your enemies are at least as tough and ruthless as you are. The test for Hillary Clinton, if she wins, is whether she will understand that on the broadest level possible.
ISIL is the most active group among Salafi-jihadists, waging a wide campaign. Defeating the group will require moving it from a quasi-state to an insurgency to a suppressed movement that controls little or no territory or population.
Violent jihadist groups are orchestrating or inspiring a growing number of terrorist attacks across the world, sowing disorder and testing governments’ ability to protect their citizens. The Islamic State in the Levant (ISIL)—also commonly referred to as the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), the Islamic State (IS), and Daesh— is the most active group among Salafi-jihadists, waging a terrorist and insurgent campaign across the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. ISIL has also orchestrated or motivated bloody attacks in the United States, France, Belgium, Australia, Bangladesh, and Indonesia—countries far from its nerve center in Syria and Iraq.
ISIL Support and Opposition on Twitter
A 2016 RAND report drew on publicly available Twitter data to better understand the networks of ISIS supporters and opponents on Twitter. Drag the slider to view the geographic location of ISIL opponents (green), and ISIL supporters (red).
By the Numbers
· number of active Salafi-jihadist groups worldwide: 6 in 1990; 25 in 2005; 49 in 2013
Why Is the Issue Important for the Incoming Administration?
There has been an uptick in radicalization in the U.S. as ISIL and other groups have conducted an aggressive social media campaign and exploited local grievances. In 2014, the FBI arrested a dozen alleged ISIL supporters based in the U.S.—that number jumped to five dozen in 2015. Overseas, ISIL has expanded its affiliate network by co-opting allies in Yemen, Libya, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, the Caucasus, Afghanistan, and Nigeria, along with informal allies in Somalia, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Tunisia. Defeating ISIL will require moving it from a quasi-state to an insurgency to a suppressed terrorist movement that controls little or no territory or population. The new administration will need to re-examine the effectiveness of U.S. strategy, policies, tools, and authorities overseas to counter groups like ISIL. Key issues include:
· * Whether and how to cooperate with Russia in ending the civil war in Syria and in targeting ISIS and al Qaeda affiliates in Syria
· * Whether to expand, contract, or redirect U.S. military and intelligence assets in and around Iraq, Syria and Libya
· *The combination of American and international counterterrorism, counterinsurgency and stabilization operations needed to prevent ISIL or other extremist groups from reemerging in Syria, Iraq ,and Libya once Mosul, Raqqa, Sirte, and other ISIL strongholds are liberated
· * How to curtail ISIL and other violent extremists from access to cyberspace, including the Internet and social media
· * How to balance issues of privacy and free speech with the need to secure access to digital information on violent extremist activity
· * How to design and conduct more effective domestic and international programs to counter ISIL’s efforts to recruit new adherents, inspire acts of terror, and secure sources of revenue.
Zitelmann: Merkels aussichtsloser Versuch, „Fluchtursachen in Afrika zu beseitigen“
Alter Wein in neuen Schläuchen: Entwicklungshilfe für Afrika, damit die Flüchtlinge sich nicht auf den Weg nach Europa machen.
Das ist Merkels neue, noch absurdere Version von ihrem „Wir schaffen das“.
Es klingt für viele Menschen zunächst überzeugend und logisch, wenn Merkel sagt, man müsse den armen Ländern Afrikas helfen, um die Fluchtursachen zu beseitigen. Sie wiederholt diese These seit Wochen. Und es vergeht kaum ein Politikerinterview und keine Talkshow, in der dieses Rezept der „Fluchtursachenbekämpfung“ nicht wiederholt wird.
Entwicklungshilfe leistet jedoch leider nicht das, was sie verspricht. René Zeyer von der “Neuen Zürcher Zeitung” hat nachgewiesen, dass die Abnahme der Armut in der Welt in den letzten Jahrzehnten kein Ergebnis von Entwicklungshilfe war, sondern ein Resultat der wirtschaftlichen Entwicklung – vor allem der beiden Länder China und Indien. Dort hat sich das Durchschnittseinkommen seit 1980 um 2200 Prozent beziehungsweise 440 Prozent gesteigert. Aber China und Indien haben keine oder keine beeindruckende Entwicklungshilfe erhalten. „Dagegen verzeichnen Somalia oder Burundi, die zu fast 80 Prozent von Entwicklungshilfe leben, keinerlei Fortschritt; sie krebsen seit Jahrzehnten um ein Einkommen von 550 US-Dollar pro Jahr und Kopf herum“, so Zeyer.
Dambisa Moyo, eine Schwarzafrikanerin aus Sambia, die in Oxford und Harvard studierte, zeigte auf, dass in den vergangenen 50 Jahren weltweit zwei Billionen Dollar für Entwicklungshilfe ausgegeben wurden, die Hälfte floss nach Afrika. Dennoch habe, so Moyo, die Armut gerade dort massiv zugenommen. Mehr als die Hälfte aller gescheiterten Staaten liegt in Afrika. Und die afrikanischen Länder, die am meisten Entwicklungshilfe bekommen, weisen die niedrigsten Wachstumsraten auf. Moyo hat in ihrem Buch „Dead Aid. Warum Entwicklungshilfe nicht funktioniert und was Afrika besser machen kann“ nachgewiesen, wie wirkungslos und sogar kontraproduktiv diese Entwicklungshilfe war. „Dieses Modell hat nirgendwo auf der Welt wirtschaftlichen Aufschwung gebracht“, so Moyo. „Dabei wissen wir, wie es geht. Wir haben gesehen, welche Konzepte die Armut in China, Indien, Südafrika und Botsuana vermindert haben. Diese Länder haben auf den Markt als Motor für Wirtschaftswachstum gehört.“
Wachsende Geldströme lösen das Armutsproblem nicht
Der renommierte Wirtschaftsjournalist der “Neuen Zürcher Zeitung”, Gerhard Schwarz, sieht einen Zusammenhang zwischen der gutgemeinten Entwicklungshilfe und der Armut in Afrika: „Wachsende Geldströme von außen lösen die Armutsprobleme nicht, im Gegenteil. Die Umverteilung von Nord nach Süd zerstört Anreize, verschüttet oft lokale Potenziale und verführt gute Leute dazu, ihr Glück in der Entwicklungshilfe statt im Unternehmertum zu suchen.“
Das schreiende Elend und die Armut in Afrika können niemanden gleichgültig lassen. Und natürlich sind genau dies die Fluchtursachen, die bekämpft werden müssen. Aber sie mit Entwicklungshilfe zu bekämpfen, wie Angela Merkel dies jetzt propagiert, ist ein längst gescheitertes Konzept. Das Konzept hilft vielleicht gegen das schlechte Gewissen von Menschen in den reichen Ländern, aber ansonsten ist es unwirksam.
Die wirtschaftliche Entwicklung in China, die das Leben von Hunderten Millionen verbessert hat, zeigt, was funktioniert: Der bei uns so verschmähte „Kapitalismus“ hat mehr zur Armutsbekämpfung beigetragen als alle Entwicklungshilfe. Ohne wirtschaftliche Freiheit gibt es keine wirtschaftliche Entwicklung, auch nicht in Afrika. Die wirtschaftliche Freiheit können wir diesen Ländern aber nicht bringen, sondern wir können nur hoffen, dass sich irgendwann auch Menschen in Afrika finden, die dort der wirtschaftlichen Freiheit den Weg bahnen. Es ist kein Zufall, dass aus all jenen Ländern, die unter den „Top 20“ auf der berühmten Liste der Hertiage-Foundation über die wirtschaftliche Freiheit stehen, niemand flüchtet, während die Länder, aus denen die Flüchtlinge kommen, alle unter politischer und wirtschaftlicher Unfreiheit leiden.
Merkel hat auf ihrer Afrikareise angekündigt, sie wolle sich nun verstärkt dem Thema Afrika annehmen. Sie kündigte an, im nächsten Jahr, während der deutschen G-20-Präsidentschaft, solle es eine große Afrika-Konferenz in Deutschland geben, auf der neue Programme, neue Aktionen und neue Hilfsversprechen erörtert werden. Die Konferenz, das kann man schon jetzt sagen, wird ebenso wenig bewirken wie alle vorangegangenen Konferenzen ähnlicher Art.
Merkel meinte auf ihrer Afrikareise: „Wir müssen miteinander verstehen, dass Afrikas Wohl im deutschen Interesse liegt, auch im Interesse Europas.“ Das klingt schön. Aber ist es nicht ein weiteres Zeichen maßloser Selbstüberschätzung, wenn Merkel meint, Deutschland und Europa könnten die Probleme Afrikas lösen? Derzeit kann Europa nicht einmal seine eigenen Probleme lösen: Die Griechenlandkrise, der Brexit und die maßlose Zerstrittenheit der Europäer sind jedenfalls kein Beleg für Problemlösungsfähigkeit.
*Herausgegeben von Udo von Massenbach, Bärbel Freudenberg-Pilster, Joerg Barandat*