Massenbach-Letter. NEWS 24.3.17

Massenbach-Letter. News

  • Friedman: The Dutch Elections and the Looming Crisis – A class struggle is emerging in Euro-American society
  • BAKS: Gescheiterte Staatlichkeit Zu den Ursachen von Umbrüchen und Konflikten im Nahen Osten
  • Vatican Middle East Policy
  • Vatican to host conference on ‘water values’
  • COLUMN-OPEC cuts make global crude supply lighter and sweeter: Kemp – Reuters News
  • DAN Coats – Director of US National Intelligence

From our Russian News Desk. (The views expressed are the author‘s own.)

  • Is there any settlement in sight for the battle over Libya’s oil?
  • Tehran’s Two Main Perspectives on Dealing with Washington
  • Keeping Peace in Africa in the 21st Century
  • Russia – GCC Relations After the Signing of the JCPOA with Iran
  • Russia-Iran Partnership: an Overview and Prospects for the Future

Massenbach*The Dutch Elections and the Looming Crisis

March 17, 2017 – A class struggle is emerging in Euro-American society.

By George Friedman

Geert Wilders, the nationalist candidate for prime minister of the Netherlands, lost the election on March 15.

This has brought comfort to those who opposed him and his views on immigration and immigrants.

It is odd that they should be comforted. Ten years ago, it would have been difficult to imagine that someone of his views would have won any seats in parliament.

The fact that his party is now the second largest in the Netherlands, rather than an irrelevancy, should be a mark of how greatly the Netherlands – and Euro-American civilization – has changed, and an indication that this change is not temporary.

Wilders’ views are coarser than most. He called Moroccans pigs and called for closing mosques in the Netherlands.

But more alarming from my point of view is the inability of his enemies to grasp why Wilders has risen, and their tendency to dismiss his followers as simply racists. This comforts his critics. They feel morally superior. But paradoxically they are strengthening Wilders – and his allies in the rest of Europe and the United States. By willfully misunderstanding the movement and attempting to delegitimize the nationalist impulse, they make it impossible to shape a movement that cannot be resisted.

I have written before on the intimate connection between the right to national selfdetermination and liberal democracy.

The right to national self-determination is meaningless without the existence of a nation. And a nation is impossible to imagine without an identity.

There is something that makes the Dutch different from Poles, and both different from Egyptians. Nationalism assumes distinctions. For Europe, Nazi Germany and the wars of the 20th century were seen as manifestations of nationalism. Without nationalism – or more precisely the obsession with national identity – these things would not have happened.

One of the results of this was the European Union, which tried bafflingly to acknowledge the persistence and importance of the nation-state while also trying to reduce the nation-state’s power and significance. The European Union never abolished the differences between nations and their interests, because it couldn’t.

In an embarrassed way, Europe acknowledged the sins of nationalism, while clinging to it. Hitler taught us an important lesson. The balance between loving one’s own and despising the stranger is less obvious than we would like to think.

Nationalism can become monstrous. But so can internationalism, as Stalin, Hitler’s soul mate, demonstrated. All things must be taken in moderation, but the need for moderation doesn’t abolish the need to be someone in a vast world filled with others.

Nationalism was the centerpiece of the rise of liberal democracies because liberal democracy was built around the liberation of nations.

Liberals in Europe and America did not deny that, but they simply could not grasp that the nation cannot exist unless the people feel a common bond that makes them distinct. The claim was that it was legitimate to have a nation, but not legitimate to love it inordinately, to love it more than other nations, to value the things that made it different, and above all, to insist that the differences be preserved, not diluted.

Nationalism is not based on minor idiosyncrasies of food and holidays. It is the deep structure of the human soul, something acquired from mothers, families, priests and teachers. It is the thing that you are before you even understand that there are others. It tells you about the nature of the world, the meaning of justice, the deities we bow to and the obligations we have to each other.

It is not all we are, but it is the root of what we are. Novelist André Malraux once wrote that we leave our nation in a very national way. He meant that even when we try to abandon our national identity, we do so in a uniquely national way. Sitting in a bar in Shanghai, I can tell who is an American and who isn’t. I know mine and those who are not mine. If I say that I am an American, then I have said something of enormous importance. I am American and not Japanese or Dutch.

I can admire these nationalities and have friends among them, but I am not one of them, and they are not one of us. I owe obligations to America and Americans that I do not owe to others, and others owe the same to their nations.

It is easy to declare yourself a citizen of the world. It is much harder to be one. Citizenship requires a land, a community and the distinctions that are so precious in human life.

The problems associated with immigration must always be borne in mind. The United States was built from immigrants, beginning with the English at Jamestown.

America celebrated immigrants, but three things were demanded from them, two laid down by Thomas Jefferson.

First, they were expected to learn English, the common tongue.

Second, they were expected to understand the civic order and be loyal to it.

The third element was not Jefferson’s. It was that immigrants had to find economic opportunity. Immigration only works when this opportunity exists. Without that, the immigrants remain the huddled masses, the wretched refuse etched on the Statue of Liberty.

Immigrants don’t want to go where no economic opportunities exist, and welcoming immigrants heedless of the economic consequences leaves both immigrants and the class they will compete with desperate and bitter.

In some countries, such as the United States, immigration and nationalism are intimately connected. Since economic opportunity requires speaking English, immigrants must learn English and their children learn loyalty to the regime. It is an old story in the U.S.

But when there is no opportunity – as in many European countries – assimilation is impossible. And when the immigrant chooses not to integrate, then something else happens. The immigrant is here not to share the values of the country but as a matter of convenience. He requires toleration as a human, but he does not reciprocate because he has chosen to be a guest and not a citizen in the full sense of the term.

For the well-to-do, this is a drama acted out of sight. The affluent do not live with poor immigrants, and if they know them at all, it is as servants.

The well-off can afford a generous immigration system because they do not pay the price.

The poor, who live in neighborhoods where immigrants live, experience economic, linguistic and political dislocation associated with immigration, because it is the national values they were brought up with that are being battled over.

It is not simply jobs at stakes. It is also their own identities as Dutchmen, Americans or Poles that are at stake. They are who they are, and they battle to resist loss or weakening of this identity.

For the well-to-do, those who resist the immigrants are dismissed in two ways. First, they are the poorer citizens, and therefore lack the sophistication of the wealthy. Second, because they are poor, they are racists, and nationalism is simply a cover for racism.

Thus, nationalism turns into a class struggle. The wealthy are indifferent to it because their identity derives from their wealth, their mobility and a network of friends that go beyond borders. The poor live where they were born, and their network of friends and beliefs are those that they were born into. In many cases, they have lost their jobs. If they also lose their identity, they have lost everything. This class struggle is emerging in Euro-American society.

It is between the well-to-do, who retain the internationalist principles of 1945 reinforced by a life lived in the wider world, and the poor. For this second group, internationalism has brought economic pain and has made pride in who they are and a desire to remain that way a variety of pathology.

The elite, well-to-do, internationalists, technocrats – call them what you’d like – demonize poorer members of society as ignorant and parochial. The poor see the elite as contemptuous of them and abandoning the principles to which they were born, in favor of wealth and the world that the poor cannot access.

It is about far more than money. Money is simply the thing that shields you from the effect of the loss of identity. The affluent have other ways to think of themselves. But the real issue goes back to the founding principles of liberal democracy – the right to national self-determination and, therefore, the right to a nation.

And that nation is not understood in the EU’s anemic notion of the nation, but as a full-blooded assertion of the right to preserve the cultural foundations of nationhood in the fullest sense. In other words, the nationalism issue has become a football in a growing class struggle between those who praise tolerance but do not face the pain of being tolerant, and those who see tolerance as the abandonment of all they learned as a child.

I began by talking about Hitler, whom no reasonable and decent person wants to emulate. Yet, what made him strong was that the elite held his followers in contempt. They had nowhere else to go, and nothing to lose. Having lost much in World War I and the depression, they had nothing left but pride in being German. And the scorn in which they were held turned nationalism into a monstrosity. Scorn and contempt are even more powerful a force than poverty.

Liberals are sensitive to the scorn directed at immigrants, but rarely to those who must deal with immigration not as a means of moral self-satisfaction, but in daily life. This is not about immigration or free trade. It is about the nation, first loves, and the foundations of liberalism.

Geopolitical Futures Keeping the future in focus


From our Russian News Desk. (The views expressed are the author‘s own.)

  • Is there any settlement in sight for the battle over Libya’s oil?
  • Tehran’s Two Main Perspectives on Dealing with Washington
  • Keeping Peace in Africa in the 21st Century
  • Russia – GCC Relations After the Signing of the JCPOA with Iran
  • Russia-Iran Partnership: an Overview and Prospects for the Future


An die Mitglieder der

Deutsch-Ungarischen Gesellschaft

in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland e.V.


Ansprache zum deutsch-ungarischen Freundschaftsvertrag

Der Botschafter von Ungarn Dr. Peter Györkös hat aus Anlass des 25. Jahrestages der Unterzeichnung des deutsch-ungarischen

Freundschaftsvertrages am 15. Februar 2017 in der Botschaft eine vielbeachtete und zurecht mit Beifall bedachte Ansprache

gehalten, die Sie anbei erhalten, weil diese Ansprache sehr viele grundsätzliche Gedanken enthält, die für unsere Meinungsbildung

und für unsere Arbeit insgesamt von wegweisender Bedeutung sind.

Dr. Dr. h.c. Peter Spary




Policy= res publica

Freudenberg-Pilster* Gescheiterte Staatlichkeit Zu den Ursachen von Umbrüchen und Konflikten im Nahen Osten

Bundesakademie für Sicherheitspolitik | Arbeitspapier Sicherheitspolitik, Nr. 10/2017

von Andreas Jacobs

Das Scheitern von Staatlichkeit ist die zentrale Variable zum Verständnis der Misere des Nahen Ostens, einschließlich ihrer regionalen und globalen Auswirkungen. Die Umbrüche des „Arabischen Frühlings“ und die anschließenden Rückschläge werden aus dieser Perspektive ebenso verstehbar wie der Aufstieg islamistischer Organisationen und Terrormilizen. Mittelfristig liegt daher nicht in der Unterstützung autoritärer Regime der schwierige Weg aus der Krise, sondern in der Stärkung funktionaler Staatlichkeit.

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

Dan Coats: Director of US National Intelligence

Daniel Coats .

The Honorable Daniel Coats was sworn in as the fifth Director of National Intelligence (DNI) on March 16, 2017. As DNI, Mr. Coats leads the United States Intelligence Community (IC) and serves as the principal intelligence advisor to the President.

After graduating from Wheaton College in 1965, Coats served in the U.S. Army from 1966 to 1968. Following his military service, Coats attended the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, where he received his Juris Doctor in 1972 and was associate editor of the Indiana Law Review. He went on to work for a life insurance company in Fort Wayne before joining the office of then-Congressman Dan Quayle as a district representative.

From 1981 to 1999, Coats served in the U.S. House of Representatives and then in the U.S. Senate. During this time in Congress, he served on the Senate Armed Services Committee and Select Committee on Intelligence, where he worked on ways to strengthen our national defense and security. In keeping with a term-limits pledge he had made, Coats retired from the Senate in 1999.

Coats was named Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany in 2001, arriving in country just three days before the tragic events of Sept. 11. As Ambassador from 2001 until 2005, Coats played a critical role in establishing robust relations and in the construction of a new United States Embassy in the heart of Berlin.

Coats returned to the U.S. Senate in January 2011 to focus on reducing the national debt, promoting pro-growth economic policies to put Americans back to work, and protecting Americans from terrorist threats. He served on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, as well as the Finance, Appropriations, and Joint Economic committees. He did not seek reelection in 2016 and retired from the Senate in January 2017.

Dan and Marsha Coats met in college and have three adult children. They have been active in charitable causes, including The Foundation for American Renewal, which they formed together. DNI Coats has served as President of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and on the boards of many civic and volunteer organizations.


Middle East

Pope Francis holds private audience with President of Lebanon…."The discussion then turned to Syria, with special attention to international efforts to find a political solution to the conflict. Furthermore, appreciation was expressed at the welcome that Lebanon has extended to many Syrian refugees. Finally, there was a broader exchange of views on the regional context, referring also to other ongoing conflicts and the situation of Christians in the Middle East." – 16/03/2017 –

A general scene of severely damaged areas of Umayyad Mosque in the northern city of Aleppo, Syria – EPA

Calls for world leaders to act on conflict in Syria. For next month’s conference in Brussels, Supporting The Future Of Syria And The Region, Christian Aid hopes that this will bring solid action to guarantee an end to sieges, an end to attacks on civilians, unhindered humanitarian access and keeps humanitarian protection at the heart of decision making about the future of Syria.

The Advocacy Officer notes that there are so many parties to this conflict and it is a war that has been fought out with so many international actors having an interest in it. But she stresses that there is still time for people to act and the upcoming Brussels conference allows that possibility.

According to the United Nations 13.5 million people in Syria require humanitarian assistance, including 4.6 million people in need trapped in besieged and hard-to-reach areas. – 16/03/2017 –

Apostolic Voyage to Egypt confirmed. –18/03/2017- “In response to the invitation from the President of the Republic, the Bishops of the Catholic Church, His Holiness Pope Tawadros II and the Grand Imam of the Mosque of Al Azhar, Sheikh Ahmed Mohamed el-Tayyib, His Holiness Pope Francis will make an Apostolic trip to the Arab Republic of Egypt from 28 to 29 April 2017, visiting the city of Cairo. The programme of the trip will be published shortly.”

Vatican to host conference on ‘water values’. – 22/03/2017 –(Vatican Radio) The value and values of water are at the heart of a conference taking place in Rome on 22 March entitled “Watershed: replenishing the water values for a thirsty world”. The one-day event marks World Water Day 2017 and is organized by the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Club of Rome, in collaboration with Circle of Blue and the World Economic Forum Global Future Council on the Environment. Policy makers, academics, and business leaders will join top Vatican officials in a dialogue aimed at recovering the values of water and the centrality of water for human life.

Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture and of the Pontifical Commission of Sacred Archaeology, along with Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States, are among those making opening remarks.

Cardinal Peter Turkson, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development, will speak on the ‘The Nexus of Water and Humanity’.

The event represents a concrete response by the Pontifical Council for Culture to the questions raised by Pope Francis in his Encyclical Laudato Si’ about humanity’s relationship with the environment.‘water_values’/1300023 *********************************************************************************************************************

*Massenbach’s Recommendation*

COLUMN-OPEC cuts make global crude supply lighter and sweeter: Kemp – Reuters News

17-Mar-2017 15:21:16

John Kemp is a Reuters market analyst. The views expressed are his own


By John Kemp

LONDON, March 17 (Reuters) – OPEC’s production cuts have changed the quality of the global oil supply, shaking up the relationship between important crude benchmarks and altering purchasing calculations for refiners.

Most oil from shale formations in the United States as well as from the North Sea and West Africa is relatively low density and contains only a small percentage of sulphur.

Crude from Saudi Arabia and other countries around the Middle East Gulf, on the other hand, is mostly denser and contains much more sulphur (giving it an acrid odour).

Atlantic basin crudes are mostly “light” and “sweet” while Arabian crudes are mostly “medium” or “heavy” and “sour”.

The bulk of OPEC’s cuts have come from members exporting medium and heavy sour oils while members exporting lighter oils have cut much less or been exempted.

Light and sweet crudes are generally more valuable to refiners because they are much easier and less expensive to process.

Light crudes require less secondary processing through cracking and coking and yield a greater proportion of high-quality premium fuels.

Medium-sour crudes, on the other hand, normally trade at a discount to compensate refiners for the extra energy and expensive equipment needed to refine them.

But the production cuts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, coupled with the revival of shale oil production, have upended the normal relationships between the different crude grades.


By restricting their production, Saudi Arabia and other Middle East members of OPEC have reduced the aggregate supply of medium and sour grades on world markets.

At the same time, more light, sweet grades have become available from Libya, Nigeria and now U.S. shale producers.

The result has been a sharp narrowing of the quality premium for light, sweet crudes such as Brent over medium sour crudes such as Oman (

At the start of 2016, Brent futures for delivery in June 2017 were trading at a premium of almost $6 per barrel over Oman futures for the same date.

In the middle of November, shortly before the OPEC production-cut agreement, the Brent premium over Oman had shrunk to around $4 per barrel.

By Feb. 23, the Brent premium had narrowed to just 75 cents, though it has since widened modestly to around $1.25.

While the Brent futures curve is in contango between June and December, the Oman curve is flat, reflecting the anticipated tightness of supply in medium crude.


Most refineries are configured to operate on a fairly specific quality of crude (simple refineries generally need light, sweet oils while more complex refineries make most money from upgrading heavy, sour crudes).

Refineries are usually willing to buy a range of crude grades but will blend them to achieve a fairly steady quality of intake in terms of density and sulphur (a well as acidity and heavy metals content).

Asia’s big new refineries are designed to run on medium and heavy crudes and produce lots of diesel for local markets, so the reduction in OPEC production has left them scrambling to secure heavier grades.

Asia’s refineries are capable of processing light oils, but not as efficiently. Light oils also do not allow them to employ all the expensive capital equipment they have installed to handle discounted lower-quality crudes.

By contrast, North Atlantic refineries, which prefer lighter oils, are struggling to shift surplus stocks of gasoline and have no appetite to process more light oil.

And U.S. refineries are undergoing a heavy spring maintenance season, which has cut demand for light, sweet oils.

Surplus light, sweet oil is therefore being exported from the United States and competing with light oils from the North Sea, West and North Africa, depressing light, sweet prices.

At the same time, the quality premium for light crudes has eroded to make it worthwhile for Asian refineries to switch from heavier grades to process more light oils.

(Editing by Dale Hudson)

John Kemp

Senior Market Analyst




For the past three years, the Islamic State has held Raqqa, the capital of its self-proclaimed caliphate. But lately, both the U.S.-backed, Kurdish-based Syrian Democratic Forces and the Turkish-backed Euphrates Shield forces have stated their intention to take Raqqa, raising complex questions about future governance in eastern Syria. Whatever the outcome, Arab tribes in the area will be central not only to defeating IS but to ensuring that the group does not return.

This new Policy Note, published anonymously for security reasons and edited by Andrew Tabler, is based on interviews with members of the four most prominent Raqqa tribes: al-Bayattrah, al-Ajeel, al-Breij, and al-Na’im. Along with detailed profiles of the tribes and their alliances, the paper discusses the related prospects for cooperation with U.S.-backed forces and notes potentially explosive issues, including Arab-Kurdish tensions and increasing concern over the involvement of Iran-sponsored Shiite militias. Only al-Bayattrah, based downtown, harbors no support for either IS or the Assad regime, offering a glimpse of challenges to come.



see our letter on:

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



03-21-17 Libya_Iran.docx

03-21-17 Peacekeeping in Africa – Russia & Golf Country Council-Iran.docx

DUG_15.02.2017_Botschaft v. Ungarn – Ansprache zum deutsch-ungarischen Freudscahftsvertrag.pdf

03-21-17 Gescheiterte Staatlichkeit_ Zu den Ursachen von Umbrchen und Konflikten im Nahen Osten_arbeitspapi er_sicherheitspolitik_2017_10.pdf

03-21-17 TWI PolicyNote39-Raqqa.pdf