Massenbach-Letter. NEWS 09.12.16

Massenbach-Letter. News

· Jahresbericht der Marine 2016 / The German Maritime Situation –

· U.S. Army: Rebalancing Offshore Balancing * Friedman: Trump’s Mad Dog

· Westpoint: The Consequences of Russia’s ‘Counterterrorism’ Campaign in Syria

· Russia – NATO – EU

· Green Canada vs Oil Canada & The North Dakota public affairs


· (Beware of Xmas): Paying the Price for a Cheap Deal – Mobile Coupons, User Data and a Way Forward

Massenbach*Jahresbericht der Marine 2016

Bereits zum 29. Mal erscheint der Jahresbericht der Marine.

In diesem umfangreichen Bericht wird die maritime Abhängigkeit Deutschlands in Zahlen und Fakten verdeutlicht …



Rebalancing Offshore Balancing

Abstract: Long, indecisive wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have led some to propose a middle ground between intervening too much and too little. One prominent strategy for this is called offshore balancing. With ships on the water instead of boots on the ground, power and stability would be projected at seemingly little cost or risk. Offshore balancing, however, would be tantamount to an unstable selective isolationism leading to a delayed and perhaps more costly intervention.

Mearsheimer and Walt’s Offshore Balancing Perhaps the greatest interest to defense practitioners is the recent proposal of the University of Chicago’s John Mearsheimer and Harvard’s Stephen Walt for an offshore strategy.1

As realists, they recognize not all regions reflect American national interests; many states can be left to sort out their difficulties without our help.

In a swipe at neoconservatives, they decry the “misguided grand strategy of liberal hegemony” that includes spreading democracy.

Instead, Mearsheimer and Walt propose a realist grand strategy that would concentrate on “preserving U.S. dominance in the Western Hemisphere and countering potential hegemons in Europe, Northeast Asia, and the Persian Gulf.”

They would have the United States contribute to a regional balance carried out chiefly by local powers while American Military Power would “remain offshore as long as possible.”2

These scholars call this a strategy with a limited agenda, but it could easily lose its limits—for example, they admit a fast-rising China “is likely to seek hegemony” in Asia, “which the United States should undertake a major effort to prevent.” European NATO members should take the lead in Europe and the Russians in Syria……… (for more see att.)

The Consequences of Russia’s ‘Counterterrorism’ Campaign in Syria

November 30, 2016

Abstract: Under the guise of joining the U.S.-led war against the Islamic State, Russian President Vladimir Putin intervened militarily in Syria in September 2015 by launching what the Russian media dubbed Operation Vozmezdie (Retribution).

But his real aim was to bolster the beleaguered Bashar al-Assad regime in the western corridor where most Syrians live. Russian forces have deployed advanced tanks and aircraft to repulse an alliance of Sunni rebels that was advancing on the coastal strongholds of the Alawite-dominated Assad regime.

But in so doing, Moscow incurred the wrath of Sunni jihadist groups, including the Islamic State, even though the vast majority of Russia’s bombings have not targeted the group. As a result, Russia has increasingly been made a primary target of global jihad with a rising number of Islamist terrorist plots and attacks focusing on Russian targets at home and overseas. With thousands of foreign fighters from the former Soviet bloc in Syria and Iraq, there is significant risk this terrorist blowback will get much worse.

(for more see: ) + attachment


From our Russian News Desk.

– Russia – NATO – EU (see att.)

( Russia—EU Relations at a Crossroads. Common and Divergent Interests – )


Friedman: Trump’s Mad Dog

Dec. 7, 2016 It has become rare for top military officers to stand up to their civilian leaders.

By George Friedman

I have received several emails, primarily from non-Americans, asking why Donald Trump would select a man called “Mad Dog” to be secretary of defense. They are aware that “mad dog” is a term denoting a dog with rabies and are baffled why anyone normal would be given that name. I have decided to serve as a guide to the perplexed.

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump (L) welcomes retired U.S. Marine Gen. James Mattis as they pose for a photo before their meeting at Trump International Golf Club, Nov. 19, 2016 in Bedminster Township, New Jersey.

First, you should bear in mind that James Mattis is not normal. He is a United States Marine. As such, he is expected to go beyond the normal. Within the American family of services, the Marines pride themselves on going to extremes. Those who go beyond the extremes are rewarded with names like Mad Dog. Mad dogs are said to be tenacious, unwilling to accept defeat or to leave a teammate behind. This has little to do with rabies and everything to do with honor. And one of the tenets of honor is never to lie to others or yourself about war. War is about defeating your enemy, and that means killing them. And in killing them you may kill innocents. This is true, and you can’t lie about that. If that is unacceptable, don’t go to war.

The Mad Dog was fired by President Barack Obama, rumor has it, for asking inconvenient questions. The question of bombing Iran had come up and Mattis would not let go of the issue. He demanded answers to questions ranging from how we will know if we destroyed the nuclear facilities to what we will do if the Iranians respond with non-nuclear weapons like chemical weapons. Only a mad dog would ask questions for which planners had no answers, so Mattis was fired. Obama wanted an option and Mattis’ questions made it clear the president didn’t have the option he wanted. That was intolerable.

The United States has been waging war in the in the Middle East for 15 years. It has been dishonest from the beginning. George W. Bush said the U.S. was at war and would bring the perpetrators to justice. In a war you kill your enemies, not arrest them. If you arrest them, you aren’t at war. Obama couldn’t decide whether to leave or stay. As a result, he mostly left, except for those that stayed. Donald Rumsfeld called the insurgency the last gasp of a defeated enemy. He knew it wasn’t, but he didn’t want to admit that he miscalculated in Iraq, and that defeating the Iraqi army was the preface to the real war, not the end.

The greatest deception was in designating the enemy. The enemy is the one you must defeat and must be clearly identified. If the enemy was all of Islam, hang it up. There are 1.7 billion Muslims, and America won’t win that war. On the other hand, if you pretend that Islam is purely incidental to terrorism, you are lying and you know it. Every Muslim is not a terrorist, but almost all terrorists today are Muslims. Now if saying that will make every Muslim a terrorist, that poses a serious problem. But there is a secret that everyone knows: Muslims know that there are Muslim terrorists, that they attack the West and that the Americans are at war with them. Trying to pretend otherwise seems not to have a point. If the point is that not all Muslims are terrorists, then say that if you wish and move on.

The enemy of victory or survival is wishful thinking. The U.S. did not wish to be in World War II. The Germans wished to defeat the Soviets in three months. The Japanese wished the Americans would sue for peace. The handmaiden of wishful thinking is poor planning. First you wish, then you pretend it’s possible, then you believe it’s certain, and then you plan without thinking about reversals, defeats or the worst case.

In the war in the Middle East, wishful thinking ruled. That was coupled with confidence, and that was married to careless planning. A few years into it every enlisted man knew that even the definition of victory was unclear, and that there was no light at the end of the tunnel. They couldn’t even find the tunnel. But pulling out of a war that was being lost was impossible. So the pretense from the White House and Pentagon was that the war was being won. They may have been far enough away from the war intellectually that they might have thought the war was being won. I personally doubt it.

If the war was to be won, and I don’t know that it could be, the key was to identify the enemy. It was not al-Qaida, because when it was shattered the Islamic State emerged. The enemy was that strain of Islam that provided manpower to whatever organization arose. But that would require admitting that the war was about Islam, and that wasn’t what the political leadership wished it to be about, or at least they didn’t want to admit it.

The leadership of the American military does not challenge the authority of the president. The president is commander in chief and the secretary of defense is whom the senior leaders must report to. This is respected. But the chain of command is not at stake. The senior commanders are as far from the battlefield as the civilians, and their knowledge of the battlefield is what they read in reports from the field. Some have heard a shot fired in anger at some point. Many have never been in combat. They are part of the same system of denial as are the civilians.

But a career’s worth of effort has gotten you your stars. You don’t throw that away to tell a truth you may not know and for which your career will be ended. But this is not new. It was true when Douglas MacArthur told Harry Truman he couldn’t win in Korea without using nukes. It was not what Truman wanted to hear, nor did he want the public to hear it. So he fired MacArthur, accepted a draw and portrayed MacArthur a madman. Mad he may have been, but the U.S. couldn’t and didn’t win without nukes. The president is free to do what he wants, but MacArthur insisted on telling the truth, however unwanted it was and however inappropriately it was delivered.

William Westmoreland in Vietnam accepted the theory that attrition would defeat the guerrillas, as eagerly produced reports showed body counts mounting. The truth was that counting bodies in the jungle is harder to do than you might think, and that the Ho Chi Minh trail was choked with fresh troops entering Vietnam. Lyndon Johnson did not want to hear that, and God knows if Westmoreland knew it, or if it mattered to him. The North Vietnamese could absorb casualties more readily than the Americans. There might have been ways to win the war, but it would have involved widening the war, sending many more troops and accepting much higher casualties. Westmoreland didn’t say this to Johnson because he didn’t want to hear it. And Westmoreland had no intention of being fired like MacArthur had been.

The president is the commander in chief, but he must demand that he hear the truth as his commanders see it. That truth may confirm the path he is on, it may tell him that path is doomed, it may offer another path, or it might say that the commanders are as baffled as anyone and see no path. The president decides, but his commanders must speak and the president must not merely listen, but hear. All owe their best to those they would send to war and those they would subject to war.

The military is subordinate to civilians. But senior commanders in the military are asking their troops to go to their death on the commanders’ orders. If they can ask soldiers to give their lives, they might be prepared to accept the consequences of speaking the truth as they see it. It is not insubordinate to insist to the civilians that they are lying to themselves or to force them to do honest planning or to resign. This not about routine matters but about the terrible decisions presidents must make. That might not help, but a revolt of the generals against a policy decimating their forces, to whom they are also responsible, is not unheard of. Dwight Eisenhower told Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt that unless there was a completely unified command under him, or whomever they chose, he would refuse to take the command and resign. Churchill capitulated to the threat. Eisenhower was a man who understood politics. That did not stop him, in extremis, from asserting his position (which was the right one). During World War II, generals fought tenaciously against civilian edicts they thought were wrong.

That hasn’t been true, at the critical points, in the United States since World War II. MacArthur knew the Chinese couldn’t be defeated once they came in. Westmoreland didn’t know, or didn’t tell the truth to Johnson. When Eric Shinseki told Rumsfeld that Iraq couldn’t be pacified with less than 300,000 troops, Rumsfeld fired him. At least Shinseki had pointed out that the plan was a fantasy.

If you are going to send troops to fight and die, the least you can put on the line is your career. It’s nothing compared to their lives. But the fact is that most senior officers – and intelligence personnel – are bureaucrats who got to where they are not because they mastered the arts of the warrior, but because they were clever staff officers, doing the necessary work of managing, but they were only incidentally warfighters. Nor were they intellectuals, who steeped themselves deep in the complex texts written by those who know war and Islam and the moral virtues of a soldier. They read reports and memos. And so expecting them to confront the Roman Senate, pointing out that they don’t know what they are talking about, and being self-satisfied, didn’t want to learn – that isn’t known to happen.

It may be apocryphal that Mad Dog Mattis carries a copy of Marcus Aurelius’ “Meditations” with him, but I have a feeling it is not. Mad Dog Mattis assigns reading lists to his junior officers, pointing out that wisdom is in them and will help them on the battlefield. And Mad Dog Mattis reads constantly and intensely himself. And what is certain is that he allowed his career to be destroyed rather than to go along with a very bad idea.

He is truly a mad dog. He cares more for his troops than his career. If he can be fierce with his enemy he can be fierce with his president. And Mad Dog knows three critical things. He knows how to kill. He knows that to kill he must pursue wisdom in the tradition. And he know that with these two things he can lead, and earn the name Mad Dog. He is the classic soldier scholar.

Whether he can dramatically reform the Department of Defense is unknown. It is too big, too self-absorbed and far more concerned about the battles in the Pentagon than the battles with the enemy. But if Mattis can force Washington to say publicly what they already know – that this is the enemy, that it cannot be all of Islam, but it is part of Islam, I fantasize that the Pentagon will magically evaporate in the face of truth, replaced by a few hundred people who have no personnel policy beyond finding the best and placing them in harm’s way.

I do not usually admire people, nor write about those I do. But I have indulged myself in this. I am not making a political statement for or against any politician. I am saying that the kind of civic virtue that has become rare in the American military may well be found in this man. He refused to save his job by falling silent so as not to irritate the commander in chief. He insisted on having answers to reasonable questions. Such soldiers are tragically rare, and nothing is more likely to prevent a war than a general prepared to tell the truth or demand a truth. Nor is anyone more likely to win a war at less cost. Having had two children serve in the military, I understand the cost of pretending to my wife that all is well, all the while wondering whether their commanders stay awake through the night or are the type who ruthlessly deny themselves the comfort of delusions.

Mattis is simply a man worth admiring, and I will divert myself from my regular course to admire him. I will return to more ascetic things after this.

Donald Trump Is Choosing His Cabinet.
Here’s the Latest List.(Dec. 5, 2016)


( )

Alert: President-elect Donald Trump has chosen retired Marine Gen. John F. Kelly to run the Department of Homeland Security, turning to a blunt-spoken border security hawk who clashed with the Obama administration over women in combat and plans to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, according to people familiar with the decision.

Kelly, who retired in February as chief of U.S. Southern Command, would inherit a massive and often troubled department responsible for overseeing perhaps the most controversial part of Trump’s agenda: his proposed crackdown on illegal immigration. DHS is the third-largest Cabinet department, with more than 240,000 employees who do everything from fight terrorism to protect the president and enforce immigration laws.

Kelly, 66, is a widely respected military officer who served for more than 40 years, and he is not expected to face difficulty winning Senate confirmation. Trump’s team was drawn to him because of his Southwest border expertise, people familiar with the transition said. Like the president-elect, Kelly has sounded the alarm about drugs, terrorism and other cross-border threats he sees as emanating from Mexico and Central and South America.

President-elect Donald Trump plans to nominate Scott Pruitt, the Republican attorney general of Oklahoma and a frequent legal adversary to President Obama, to lead the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a transition official told The Hill.

If confirmed by the Senate to oversee the 15,000-employee agency, Pruitt would take the lead on dismantling the EPA regulations that Trump targeted throughout his campaign as job killers that restrict economic growth.

Pruitt has been a legal opponent of President Obama over nearly every major regulation and executive action, not only on environmental issues but also ObamaCare, immigration and bathroom use by transgender people.


Policy= res publica

Freudenberg-Pilster* Paying the Price for a Cheap Deal –

Mobile Coupons, User Data and a Way Forward

​By Birgit Huetten, Brussels/Belgium.

“Careless shepherd make excellent dinner for wolf” said American novelist Earl Derr Biggers. Born in 1884, for sure he knew nothing about digitalization but perhaps a lot about human nature. And that includes hoping for effortless good deals, despite common sense telling then and today that there is no such thing as a free lunch, and not even a free drink. Still, it is quite possible that despite his own insights, Biggers himself quite happily got hooked by coupons issued by Coca-Cola founder Asa Candler.

Reputedly between 1894 and 1913 one in nine Americans had received one or even two of estimated 8,500,000 free Coca-Colas, in exchange for a complimentary coupon, in most cases mailed to potential customers and placed in magazines. This exchange had apparently all the ingredients of a good deal. No further obligations seemingly to the Coca-Cola consumer, and for the company the promise of a lifelong dedication to its brand.

Coca-Cola’s current stock value is still sufficient proof that Candler’s coupon strategy paid off, at least for the company. Neither the novelist nor the entrepreneur could have known the extent to which commerce would be imbued with irreversible and unstoppable manifestations of digitalization. Immediate online consumption of e-books, on-line banking and e-ticketing for goods and services just form the tip of the iceberg. And last but not least coupons have been replaced by consumer payback / loyalty cards. Most recent developments already make these plastic cards look antiquated. The future is about downloading apps like Stocard that bring them altogether onto consumers’ mobile devices. More than ever, though, it is questionable whether consumer loyalty cards also pay off for consumers. Using them, they hand over unsolicited and, in effect, for free the access to their own personal data. At most in exchange for a reward, too small to be taken seriously and called a good deal.

-> It is questionable whether consumer loyalty cards also pay off for consumers. Using them, they hand over unsolicited and, in effect, for free the access to their own personal data.

When buying mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets, consumers acquire the entire hardware. However, the software is not their property. And often enough, the software such as apps shuns to inform that consumer-produced content including personal data and content derived metadata – like telephone number scooped from text content – is transmitted without prior consent to others. The effect is reinforced by consumers lacking the awareness for the value of their data and not perceiving ownership of their data as a property right. Changing the situation will require a phased multi-facetted approach, focusing on more choices for consumers and raising their awareness. The tools will be competition and education. The key stakeholders will be the application store platforms such as Apple, Microsoft, Google and application developers on the one hand, along with consumers, consumer associations and regulating authorities on the other hand.

In view of the capitalist environment, in which these changes will have to occur, waiting for a self-regulatory based process that makes industry defend consumer rights let alone share profits with them would be asking the frogs to drain the swamp. Also, despite all good faith in consumers’ purchasing power, they by themselves will struggle if not fail to catch up with the key industry stakeholders. This is where, in a market place characterized by enormous inequalities, consumer right watchdogs and regulating authorities come into play. Examples for the US are the Future of Privacy Forum and the Center for Democracy & Technology and the Federal Trade Commission with its dual mission for protection and competition. All of them already made it very clear to industry that merely complying with applicable laws and regulations is not good enough for meeting consumers’ expectation and winning their trust.

To that end, their recommendations include just-in-time-disclosures obtaining explicit opt-in rather than implied consent before allowing apps to access sensitive information and privacy dashboards enabling consumers to determine which apps have access to different types of information. And last but not least, they also include icons indicating the transmission of personal information or other information more broadly. Such services that will ensure transparency and appropriate consumer choice on how personal information will be collected, used and transferred, might eventually become a purchase incentive.

In the short term for instance, the beginning could be about having the choice between a “free” or assumingly cheap app and a payable or pricier one in exchange for meeting aforementioned services. Should these turn into standards to be met by industry, either because the regulator or market demand forces gain the upper hand, the ultimate competitive advantage could be with those companies that even go a step further and offer consumers a fair “deal”: Their valuable data in exchange for money. This may sound rather odd in the ears of those fighting for consumers’ privacy rights. However, the extent to which some people, notably so-called digital natives already now voluntarily open up their personal data to the views of others is indicative of how perception of privacy has changed. Thus, getting in on the profit, could be another incentive raising consumers’ appreciation to the new currency which is data. But as the market is not yet mature enough for this new “deal”, it could be stimulated by increasing awareness about the currently invisible act of expropriation through education. Its purpose is to offer knowledge about consumers’ role in the value chain of a data-driven economy, including how consumer data generates revenues either directly or through resale to third parties.

Fortunately the consumer can count on consumer associations to enhance consumers’ knowledge about the wider financial and economic implications of industry’s breathless race into a fully digitalized environment. However, the last decades not only shifted the focus from protecting to informing and educating consumers but also to the perception of consumers’ own responsibility. And this consists of making use of the available information, allowing for instance to withdraw and withhold data. Exercising this right, may however require some time consuming tedious efforts.

In truth it must be said that consumers’ wide-spread and deep desire for comfort and a disposition for inertia too often override their own interest and rights – including those of their fellow human beings. As mobile devices and apps offer enormous convenience and have even become indispensable to many people’s life styles, consumers are not really willing to discharge them. And they should not. Neither should they idealize nor demonize industrial products. However, it is in their very interest to see the incompatibility conflict between their care for convenience and industries’ innate strive for profit maximization and exploiting the playing rules to the fullest. Unlikely to be ever fully bridged, consumers are well advised to mitigate this conflict by increasing their sensibility for data as the new currency and the value of better choice of products and services. Choice that eventually will offer even a deal, one that truly deserves to be called fair. In getting there, consumers are not alone, but it also requires them to make a real effort. They cannot afford to be careless about their rights.

Birgit Hütten works in Brussels for an inter-governmental organization. Her fields of interest are those relations and factors whose alleged insignificance for the overall developments needs to be questioned with a recent emphasis on robotics and industry 4.0. She has a Magister Artium (University Bonn) degree in Japanology and Comparative Religion and a Master in European Administrative Management (University of the Applied Sciences Berlin) for which she presented defense related thesis.

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

Joerg Barandat* Ontario should look to Germany for a successful green bank

By Marc Ruttloff, Gleiss Lutz in: The Globe and Mail Metro, Ontario, Canada, Oct 26, 2016. P B4.

When the Ontario govern­ment unveiled its Climate Change Action Plan in June, a largely overlooked element at the time – the intention to establish a

green bank – could prove to be one of its most important initiatives. Unfortunately, Ontario seems to be unduly limiting itself when it comes to learning best practices from other jurisdictions that al­ ready have green banks.

A green bank is a public or quasi-public entity set up to facilitate private investment in low-carbon, climate-resilient infrastructure. These banks help

jump-star t funding of green projects and leverage financing from private-sector banks that have limited or no experience in providing capital for such

projects, or which find many of them to be too small unless aggregated with other smaller projects.

Ontario says its green bank will draw upon the best practices of two nearby models: Effi­ciency Vermont, the first statewide energy-efficiency utility in the

United States, and the New York Green Bank, a state­ run financing agency. While this is a good start, these models are challenging fits for Ontario.

Vermont’s demographics and economics are much different from Ontario’s – the state’s population is more than 20 times smaller and its agriculturally

dominated economy is almost 30 times smaller. New York’s Green Bank, although in a juris­ diction with more similarities to Ontario, opened only in 2014 and has yet to do much to learn from. Moreover, it is an arm of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. An Ontario green bank should have more indepen­dence.

Several other green banks in the United States and farther afield may be better models.

Some of them – such as the UK Green Investment Bank, which was established in 2012, and Japan’s Green Finance Organisation, founded in 2013 – are part of the recently created Green Bank Network, whose purpose includes to "collect, organize and share green bank know­ how."

But an even better model is one with a long track record of facilitating financing for environmental and climate change protection: Germany’s green bank – the KfW (Kreditanstalt fur Wied­eraufbau).

Like Ontario, Germany has a !arge, diversified economy, and it has forged a transition in the energy sector similar to what Ontario wants to do by stimulating renewables, conservation programs and greenhouse gas reductions using policies that have been emulated around the world.

In fact, Ontario adopted a Feed- in Tariff (FIT) program based on Germany’s model, where contracted renewable capacity jumped from 13 MW in 2010 to 4,626 MW in 2015.

KfW, which bills itself as Germany’s largest environmental and climate bank, has been carrying out government programs for more than 65 years, including providing finance for envi­ronmental and infrastructure projects in Germany and around the world. In the 197os, it began promoting energy savings and innovation, and in the 2ooos and 2010s it has increasingly focused on climate change and environmental protection, green energy and efficiency. In 2014, it made nearly $40-billion avail­ able for these types of projects worldwide.

KfW offers financing to help individuals, businesses and public bodies to engage in such things as startups and innovative climate and environmental protection initiatives. lt also helps municipalities, public-pri­vate partnerships and social institutions with projects in the fields of municipal and social in­frastructure, energy supply and energy efficiency.

In 2006, it launched a funding initiative for energy-oriented housing refurbishments and

low-energy homes. Five years later, its "Energy-efficient Construction and Rehabilitation" housing promotion program funded 41 per cent of new housing projects in Germany, with final emission savings of more than 4.2 million tonnes of C02 a year by 2011.

KfW has been so successful in part because it operates more in­ dependently and flexibly than the New York government’s green bank. It does not compete with the private finance sector, but it does help facilitate their business and applies their best practices. Its governance struc­ture – a six-member executive board reporting to a larger aa supervisory board with representa­tives from politics, industry and associations, and chaired alternately by the German finance minister and the economic affairs and energy minister – has proven it can adapt to frequent­ly changing economic and political requirements.

Finding the right model for a green bank to help finance ener­gy efficiency and low-carbon technologies is vital to delivering on pledges made by world lead­ers at last year’s UN Climate Change Conference in Paris. KfW is an established success story with decades of experience ready to inform a discussion in Ontario that has only just begun.

Marc Ruttloff is an energy lawyer with Gleiss Lutz in Berlin, current­ly on secondment with Torys LLP in Toronto.

Jonathan Weisz is the head of Torys‘ Project Finance Practice.


Canada: Prime Minister Approves 2 Oil Deals, Rejects Another

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made three major decisions on Canadian export pipelines Nov. 29, rejecting one proposed project and approving two others. Trudeau gave conditional approval to expand the capacity of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline running from Edmonton, Alberta to the Vancouver/Seattle area from 300,000 barrels per day to 890,000 barrels per day and to expand Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline running from Alberta to the U.S. Midwest from 390,000 barrels per day to 760,000 barrels per day. Trudeau rejected Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline proposal, which would have had the capacity to send 525,000 bpd from Alberta to Kitimat, British Columbia.

Though Canada’s current liberal government has been more stringent about approving pipeline proposals than its conservative predecessor, Trudeau has proved pragmatic about energy projects. And now with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump set to take office next year, medium-term concerns about increasing pipeline capacity out of Alberta and Saskatchewan and to the United States are waning. Immediate constraints, however, are still worrisome: Canada’s production capacity is about equivalent to its transportation capacity (rail and pipe), forcing Western Canada Select to discount its prices to about half the price per barrel of West Texas Intermediate, the crude oil grade used to benchmark prices.

Over the long term, Canada almost certainly needs to expand its pipeline capacity out of Alberta, given the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) projects that the country’s oil production will rise from 3.8 million barrels per day in 2015 to around 4.9 million barrels per day in 2030. (This figure excludes diluent oil added as a thinning agent to lower the viscosity of heavy oil and bitumen, a process that often adds up to 37 percent volume.) Of this increase, 850,000 barrels per day of new oil sands production is expected between now and 2021 and another 700,000 barrels per day of production is expected between 2021 and 2030. Simply put: Canada needs new takeaway capacity, and a lot of it.

The Trans Mountain expansion is controversial in Vancouver and British Columbia, but it could significantly enhance Canada’s ability to export oil beyond the United States. Right now, almost all of Canada’s production sent through the pipeline is refined either in Seattle or Vancouver, but an expansion would create nearly 600,000 barrels per day of additional capacity that could potentially be exported to Asia — which Ottawa and Edmonton have been advocating for some time. However, even with increased transportation capacity, Canada’s oil companies will still have to contend with low global oil prices. These challenges taken together will keep oil sands prices low compared to WTI and other global benchmarks — making investment into oil sands and other expensive Canadian oil production projects unattractive.

Canada Pipeline Opponents Ready to Take on Kinder Morgan, Ottawa

Published in Oil Industry News on Tuesday, 29 November 2016

If Canada approves Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, the company’s four-year campaign for the project will be far from over. Next up is a battle against hardening opposition amongst some communities along its planned route.

The C$6.8 billion ($5.04 billion) project is a big step toward opening up Asian markets to supply from Canada’s massive oil sands. Kinder Morgan plans to build a pipeline parallel to an existing line and nearly triple capacity on the artery to 890,000 barrels per day.

Without the expansion, Canadian oil sands producers may find it too costly to ship crude by rail, missing out on billions of dollars of export revenue.

First, the crude must travel from the conservative heart of the Canadian oil industry in Alberta across mountains and grasslands to the liberal West Coast. The further west on the route, the stiffer the resistance to the plan.

The pipeline ends at Burnaby, part of Vancouver’s urban sprawl, which already hosts fuel tanks and the marine terminal for the existing pipeline, as well as a refinery. In opposition to further development thousands have taken to the streets vowing to block bulldozers if Trans Mountain construction goes ahead.

Ottawa has until Dec. 19 to decide whether to approve it, but the decision could come as soon as this week.

Burnaby mayor Derek Corrigan said he would join the protests even if could end his political career.

"It’s not nice to be a politician who has been 15 years in this office, to be heading into the end of my career with something that would show civil disobedience," Corrigan, 65, told Reuters. "I lose sleep about whether or not this is going to turn into being something ugly."

The backlash against a plan to build on sites already dedicated to energy infrastructure shows how entrenched opposition to new energy projects in North America has become.

It also shows how the government is struggling to soothe public concerns despite its pledge to give local communities greater say in the approval process. Pipeline opponents – British Columbia municipalities, aboriginal groups and environmentalists – are fighting the expansion for reasons ranging from climate change concerns to fears of tanker spills, pipeline leaks or tank farm fires.


They draw inspiration from the fate of Enbridge’s stalled Northern Gateway pipeline, TransCanada’s rejected Keystone XL and protests against the Dakota Access pipeline built in the United States by Energy Transfer Partners.

"Simply because the government will issue a grandiose statement of approval does not mean the project will ever see the light of day," Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of BC Chiefs, an aboriginal organization, told Reuters in on the eve of a 3,000-strong anti-Trans Mountain rally in Vancouver’s center.

In an emailed response to Reuters, the project’s media team cited Kinder Morgan’s strong safety record in the area, but said it had not expected consensus on the project given a wide range of interests and opinions. It noted that the Canadian energy regulator had approved the new pipeline with 157 "rigorous, but achievable" conditions that address environmental and safety concerns that Kinder Morgan is committed to meet.

The pipeline starts from a 140-acre (0.57 square km) tank farm outside of Edmonton where, like elsewhere in Alberta, new export pipelines enjoy public support as a way to revive the oil province’s stuttering economy.

About 800 kilometers (497 miles) west in Kamloops, a south central British Columbia city that unlike most of the province voted Conservative in the 2015 federal election, the local businesses and the mayor also back the pipeline.

"Communities along the interior route have a familiarity with resource-based projects and what they bring," Kinder Morgan Canada President Ian Anderson said at a Kamloops Chamber of Commerce event this month.

But further west, the sentiment turns against the pipeline. Earlier this month Liberal lawmaker Ron McKinnon urged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to reject the expansion because of "overwhelming" opposition on the west coast, where his party did unexpectedly well in the last election.

A recent poll commissioned by one of environmental groups found nearly a third of British Columbia’s Liberal voters said they would be less likely to support the party if Trans Mountain goes ahead.

From Kamloops the pipeline climbs over the steep Coquihalla Pass, which separates interior British Columbia from the Fraser Valley and the coast. As the vegetation turns from semi-arid scrublands to temperate rainforest and the route enters the fertile farming region, opposition intensifies.


"I know five grandmothers who will go and lie down in front of bulldozers…and I will absolutely join them," said Michael Hale, 72, a co-founder of Yarrow Eco Village near Chilliwack, a 20-acre farm under which the existing pipeline runs.

"They may bring in the army, they may throw me in jail, but when I get out I will come back," he said.

The pipeline ends at Burnaby Mountain tank farm near the Westridge marine terminal, which Kinder Morgan aims to expand to load 34 oil tankers a month from five now.

Burnaby deputy fire chief Chris Bowcock says the planned increase in the number of oil storage tanks on Burnaby Mountain from 13 to 27 would raise the risk of a single tank fire spreading across the complex.

Opponents, among them Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson, also fear a potential oil spill would cripple the local economy powered by the Port of Vancouver, tourism, and increasingly, the film industry.

Kinder Morgan says it is investing in extra safeguards to mitigate the probability of a tanker spill but opponents say the risk to the rugged coastline is too great.

"Our first mother is the water," said Reuben George of the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation, whose lands face Westridge dock. "We will do anything to protect it and we will not let the pipeline go through."

The aboriginal group is planning litigation if the government approves the project.

In June, two conservation groups filed a lawsuit challenging the energy regulator’s positive recommendation saying the oil tankers‘ route cut across a habitat of an 80-strong pod of killer whales protected under Canada’s Species at Risk Act.

If legal action fails, Trans Mountain’s opponents say they will resort to civil disobedience. This month in Vancouver environmental groups gave free training on mass protests, blockades, and de-escalating confrontations with police.

Asked how Kinder Morgan might respond, Anderson told reporters in Kamloops the company was prepared to talk to all who had a view about the project.

"We’ll see what unfolds and hopefully we can get through this period in a respectful way."


*Massenbach’s Recommendation*

Trump considering Dem senator for Energy secretary: report

President-elect Donald Trump

is reportedly considering Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin

to lead the Energy Department, multiple sources told Politico.

One source told the publication that the West Virginia senator “is being considered to show the coal people how serious Trump is about coal.” While campaigning, Trump vowed to states impacted by the declining coal industry that he would bring back “clean coal” jobs.

Manchin, who faces a tough reelection race in 2018, told Politico in a Thursday interview that Trump hasn’t contacted him or his staff and there are currently no scheduled trips to New York City. But he didn’t rule out serving in the president-elect’s Cabinet.

“If I can do anything that would help my state of West Virginia, and my country, I would be happy to talk to anybody,” Manchin said. “Other than that, I haven’t heard anything. … I have nothing scheduled.”

An aide for Manchin would not confirm anything beyond what the senator said in the interview.

The 2018 Senate map is grim for Democrats, and Manchin faces an uphill battle for reelection. Trump carried West Virginia easily, winning by more than 40 points.

Earlier this month, Manchin was tapped to serve in Democratic leadership as the vice chairman of the Democratic Policy and Communications Center. And the Democratic senator has already shown a willingness to work with the president-elect.

Manchin isn’t the only red-state Democrat up in 2018 to be rumored as a contender for a Cabinet position.

Trump’s transition aide Jason Miller told reporters on a Thursday morning that Trump will be meeting with Sen. Heidi Heitkamp

(D-N.D.) on Friday. Miller wouldn’t elaborate about the meeting with Heitkamp, who faces a tough reelection race, or if she’s being considered for a job in the incoming administration.

Dem senator Heidi Heitkamp to meet with Trump

North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp,

a Democrat about to face a difficult reelection in 2018, will meet with President-elect Donald Trump in New York as he continues to take meetings to shape his Cabinet.Trump transition aide Jason Miller confirmed the meeting on a Thursday call with reporters but did not add any information as to what they would speak about.Following the announcement of their meeting, Heitkamp’s office sent a statement that she is willing to work with Trump and Republicans in "whatever job I do."

When asked if she would consider a Cabinet appointment, Heitkamp told reporters Thursday afternoon it’s “way premature" to discuss it but noted the importance of “bipartisan cooperation.” “I think that when the president-elect asks you to come to visit with him, it’s a wonderful opportunity to talk about mutual goals and mutual aspirations for our country,” Heitkamp said, adding that her top priority is her home state.

Heitkamp will be the second Democratic lawmaker to meet with Trump. Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard,

a prominent backer of Bernie Sanders’s Democratic presidential bid, spoke with Trump in New York earlier this month.

Miller did not say whether Heitkamp is being considered for a role in the administration, noting that some visitors are only meeting with the president-elect "to provide their insight and experience as to how to make the administration more effective for the American people."

"With regard to the senator, she comes very highly recommended, very highly qualified, is a proven leader and would be an asset in any role or capacity," Miller said.

Heitkamp also said the meeting is an opportunity to talk about their "completely different life story" and find common ground on policy areas surrounding energy and agriculture.

“We think there’s certainly a common interest in doing things on energy, a common interest in doing things in agriculture,” she said.

“Rural American is a high priority, I would think, to the new administration so I’m anxious to talk about some ideas to revitalize and create economic opportunities in rural America.”

Heitkamp’s seat is considered one of the more difficult ones for Democrats to defend in 2018.

The party already faces a tough map in the upcoming cycle even if she seeks reelection. Republicans swept the top races in the state in November — Trump won by 36 points, Sen. John Hoeven

won his reelection by 62 points and incoming Gov. Doug Burgum won by 58 points.

The Democratic senator has not yet announced whether she would seek reelection in 2018, a year when the Democrats have to defend 23 seats (plus two held by friendly independents) compared to the GOP’s eight seats up for reelection.

Walden to head powerful Energy and Commerce Committee

Republicans have elected Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) the next chairman of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Walden defeated Reps. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) and Joe Barton (R-Texas), the former committee chairman, in the race for the gavel. Current chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.), is stepping down from the position due to term limits.

A nine-term lawmaker, Walden has experience on both the Energy panel and within the industries over which it has jurisdiction.

He previously owned radio stations in Oregon and has chaired the panel’s technology and telecom subcommittee. He has also worked on healthcare issues in rural Oregon.

Technology and healthcare are among the biggest industries under the purview of the energy panel. The committee also oversees with the American energy sector and issues as diverse as consumer protection and encryption.

During his push for the chairmanship, Shimkus emphasized his experience on all six of the committee’s subpanels. He outranks Walden on the committee and, in a letter to members last month, noted his work passing a major chemical safety overhaul bill this year.

He vowed, as chairman, to eat away at Obama administration rulemaking, including “building the case” against the legal principle that agencies get to interpret laws as they see fit.

But Republicans watching the contest said Walden’s work at the National Republican Congressional Committee — where he helped secure the GOP’s largest majority since the Great Depression, raised millions of dollars for candidates and limited Republican losses in last month’s election — helped him nail down the chairmanship.

Republicans on Thursday also selected Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) to head the Veterans Affairs Committee. He secured the position after a three-way contest against Reps. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) and Doug Lamborn (D-Colo.).

Roe, a former captain in the U.S. Army Medical Corps. and a seven-year veteran of the Veteran’s Affairs Committee.


Was Sie schon immer wissen wollten / Your steady question (UvM):

The Atlantic Council


Russian Influence in France, Germany, and the United Kingdom

November 2016 … Foreword by Radosław Sikorski … former Foreign Minister of Poland [Welt 21.07.2015: Warschaus Wunderkind tritt von der Bühne ab …]

… Moscow views the West’s virtues—pluralism and openness—as vulnerabilities to be exploited. Its tactics are asymmetrical, subversive, and not easily confronted.

Western governments have ignored the threat from Putin’s covert allies for too long, but finally, awareness is growing that the transatlantic community must do more to defend its values and institutions. To that end, Western governments should encourage and fund investigative civil society groups and media that will work to shed light on the Kremlin’s dark networks.

European Union member states should consider establishing counter-influence task forces, whose function would be to examine financial and political links between the Kremlin and domestic business and political groups. American and European intelligence agencies should coordinate their investigative efforts through better intelligence sharing.

Financial regulators should be empowered to investigate the financial networks that allow authoritarian regimes to export corruption to the West. Electoral rules should be amended, so that publically funded political groups, primarily political parties, should at the very least be required to report their sources of funding …

INTRODUCTION … influence operations are a core part of Russia’s military doctrine. In 2013, Chief of the Russian General Staff General Valery Gerasimov described a new approach for achieving political and military goals through “indirect and asymmetric methods” outside of conventional military intervention. These “non-linear” methods, as Gerasimov also called them, include manipulation of the information space and political systems. Russia under Putin has deployed such measures with increasing sophistication in its immediate neighborhood …

The strategy is not limited to what Russia considers its “near abroad” in the post-Soviet space. Through its state-sponsored global media network, which broadcasts in Russian and a growing number of European languages, the Kremlin has sought to spread disinformation by conflating fact and fiction, presenting lies as facts, and exploiting Western journalistic values of presenting a plurality of views …

Russia seeks to infiltrate politics, influence policy, and inculcate an alternative, pro-Russian view of the international order. Whereas the ultimate goal in the near abroad is to control the government or ensure the failure of a pro-Western leadership, in Europe, the goal is to weaken NATO and the EU. In Central and Eastern Europe … Kremlin does so by strategically exploiting vulnerabilities in Central and Eastern Europe’s democracies, such as weak governance, underdeveloped civil society space, and underfunded independent media, while cultivating relationships with rising autocratic leaders and nationalist populist parties; a web of influence that one report describes as an “unvirtuous cycle” that “can either begin with Russian political or economic penetration and from there expand and evolve, in some instances leading to ‘state capture’” …

Western Europe is not exempt from Russia’s manipulations. In Western countries, the Russian government cannot rely on a large and highly concentrated Russian-speaking minority as its target of influence and lacks the same historical or cultural links. In this context, the Kremlin’s destabilization tactics have been more subtle and focused on: (1) building political alliances with ideologically friendly political group and individuals, and (2) establishing pro-Russian organizations in civil society, which help to legitimate and diffuse the regime’s point of view …

GERMANY – INTERDEPENDENCE AS VULNERABILITY … The leading role of German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the Ukraine crisis, particularly her consequent support for EU sanctions on Russia, has made Germany a main obstacle in the implementation of Russian interests in Europe and Ukraine. At the same time, Merkel is under pressure in domestic politics because of her liberal refugee policy and tough stance on Russia. The domestic weakening of her position and the fundamental crisis of the EU open opportunities to weaken Germany’s (and the EU’s) position on Russia

… the bilateral networks, which have been established over the last fifteen years between German and Russian leaders, open opportunities for the Kremlin to influence German politics and the public debate …

The recognition of the Soviet Union and later Russia as crucial to security in Europe and the desire to have relations based on trust with the Russian elite and society established deeply intertwined economic, cultural, and political networks between the two countries, particularly since the late 1960s. Under President Putin, these networks have taken on a different, more nefarious goal: to alter the rules of bilateral relations, influence German policy toward Eastern Europe and Russia, and impact EU decisions through influence networks in Berlin.

These networks are purposely obscure, but still evident at the level of elite dialogue, in civil society, political parties, the economy, and the media. Feelings of historical guilt and gratitude—because of the peaceful German unification—toward Russia are the main drivers for the moral arguments of many decision makers …

… Russian influence in Germany takes place on three levels using: 1) pro-Kremlin networks, which were mainly established over the past fifteen years, and which support a policy of appeasement with regard to the current Russian regime; 2) parties and populist movements at the right and left margins of the political spectrum, but also the mainstream political parties in the Bundestag; and 3) Russian foreign media, which is often linked to these pro-Russian groups through social networks. With the Ukraine crisis, these three elements became increasingly intertwined and continue to attempt to penetrate German society, politics, and the public discourse …

In the campaign for the next federal elections in Germany, Russia will play a prominent role. Merkel’s current coalition partner and campaign competitor, the SPD, will try to distance itself from her policies, and other parties like Die Linke and AfD will question current Russia policy in order to undermine Merkel’s position …



see our letter on:

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



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