Massenbach-Letter. NEWS 24.11.17

Massenbach-Letter. News

  • Christian Lindner (FDP) zur Beendigung von “Jamaica“: Weiter arbeiten für ein modernes Land: Veränderung braucht Mut.‘
  • WSJ: Angela Merkel’s Failing Center
  • WSJ: Germany’s Green Energy Meltdown
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  • Belt and Road Initiative

 

  • How Turkey, Iran, Russia and India are playing the New Silk Roads – A pacified Syria is key to the economic integration of Eurasia through energy and transportation connections
  • Die Ostflanke des Bündnisses ist in Gefahr. Das liegt nicht nur an Russland. Der Landweg durch Europa gleicht für die Truppen einem Hindernisparcours
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From our Russian News Desk. (The views expressed are the author‘s own.)

 

–          Policy Priorities in U.S.-Russia Relations – CSIS and RIAC Meeting Report

  • Trio in Tehran

 

    Massenbach*   WSJ: Angela Merkel’s Failing Center

Pragmatism isn’t practical when it fails to inspire voters.

By The Editorial Board

Nov. 20, 2017 7:12 p.m. ET

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s negotiations to form a new coalition collapsed on Sunday night, and good riddance. Whatever else German voters wanted in September’s murky election, they hoped for more political competition. An implausible coalition of the barely willing is the wrong way to deliver.

Conventional wisdom for months overlooked problems with a so-called Jamaica coalition—so labeled because the colors of the participant parties resemble a Caribbean flag. Mrs. Merkel wanted to unite the left-wing Greens and the free-market Free Democrats (FDP) in a government with her center-right Christian Democrats (the CDU and Bavarian CSU). No one could say to what end this motley crew would govern, and the parties couldn’t agree on tax rates, green and coal energy, and especially immigration.

Mrs. Merkel appears to have used the coalition talks mainly to deploy the Greens as a political shield for her own bad instincts on taxes and migration from attacks by her right flank. FDP Leader Christian Lindner has performed a public service by ending the coalition talks. “We were elected to bring about change,” he said Sunday. “It’s better not to govern than to govern wrongly.”

If only Mrs. Merkel would heed that advice. She’s in this jam because her political method prioritizes consensus politics over principle. That’s often called pragmatism, but it’s not very practical when she leaves voters so bored and confused by her milquetoast campaigns that they deny her a majority or at least a plausible coalition.

Instead, voters weary of Germany’s storied consensus-based politics handed the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party a surprising 13% share of the vote in September because it promised to be an alternative. And having punished the FDP in 2013 for bowing too much to Mrs. Merkel in a previous coalition, voters also rewarded Mr. Lindner with nearly 11% for defending his low-tax, low-regulation views aggressively this time around.

This is what normal democratic politics looks like. Mrs. Merkel’s best way forward is to call a new election and run on an agenda to unite and elect a center-right coalition, or step aside to let someone else try. German pundits say the polls predict another murky outcome, but a different campaign might yield different results.

A campaign making ideological commitments about how she wants to govern would give voters something to endorse. The center-left Social Democrats already seem to understand this, which is why they are refusing to repeat the last four years and form another coalition with Mrs. Merkel and are developing their own agenda.

Mrs. Merkel could also try to govern in a minority coalition with either the Greens or the FDP. Then at least she might rule based on some coherent principles. But the Bavarian CSU is facing a challenge in local elections next year from the AfD and seems unlikely to tolerate a coalition with the Greens. A new election seems a better prospect.

Germans are said to recoil from an election do-over for the first time in the postwar era, and after their fraught history of instability in the 1920s and ’30s. They deserve more credit for their democratic transformation over the past 70 years. The real threat now is less electoral uncertainty than the false sense of stability embraced by Mrs. Merkel’s collapsing politics of the middle.

https://www.wsj.com/article_email/angela-merkels-failing-center-1511215697-lMyQjAxMTE3MjIxMTEyNjE1Wj/

 

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

 

–          Policy Priorities in U.S.-Russia Relations – CSIS and RIAC Meeting Report

  •  
  • Trio in TehranVladimir Putin’s visit to Tehran on November 1, 2017, was held in connection with a trilateral meeting of the leaders of Russia, Iran, and Azerbaijan. The politicians met up in this format in August 2016 for the first time. At that time, the format was considered successful, and the parties agreed to hold similar meetings on a regular basis.
  • Despite the usual positive feedback from participants on the trilateral dialog, the negotiation format proved to have a number of natural limitations. In fact, it was created around one specific logistics project — the North-South transportation corridor. Not surprisingly, it was the major topic of the trilateral meeting. The rest of the content is an attempt to make the existing framework of negotiations more constructive. This time, logistics was discussed along with transport issues, countering terrorism, trade and energy, as well as with the legal status of the Caspian. To resolve the latter issue, by the way, the trilateral format is not enough, even under the most positive scenario, since Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan also claim their right for Caspian resources.
  • It should not be forgotten that in the Russia-Iran-Azerbaijan trio the last participant obviously loses to the other two in both political and economic power. For geographic reasons, Baku in this cooperation acts more as an indispensable intermediary between Tehran and Moscow, in their energy and logistics projects. At the same time, the Azerbaijani side is quite happy with this situation at the current stage, as this makes it possible to obtain additional sources of income as a transit country. Moreover, Armenia as the main rival of Azerbaijan pretends to play a similar role, though with obviously less success.
  • Perhaps the main innovation of the trilateral negotiations was the project to create a gas corridor from Russia to Iran through the territory of Azerbaijan. It is difficult to call this result a breakthrough, but the successful implementation of the new project combined with the launch of the North-South transportation corridor might increase the importance of this trilateral cooperation. —–
  • Shaken, Not Stirred: Blending an INF/New Start Detox Cocktail
  • Caucasian Knot:
  • Tbilisi: special operation accompanied by explosion
  • Tbilisi City Court upholds Chabuk’s denial of refugee status
  • Senator Kerimov (Dagestan) detained in France under tax evasion case ( Nice Matin“ reported that Suleiman Kerimov is the actual owner of four villas on the Côte d’Azur)

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WSJ: Germany’s Green Energy Meltdown

Voters promised a virtuous revolution get coal and high prices instead.

By The Editorial Board

Updated Nov. 17, 2017 6:55 p.m. ET

 

American climate-change activists point to Europe, and especially Germany, as the paragon of green energy virtue. But they ought to look closer at Angela Merkel’s political struggles as she tries to form a new government in Berlin amid the economic fallout from the Chancellor’s failing energy revolution.

Berlin last month conceded it will miss its 2020 carbon emissions-reduction goal, having cut emissions by just under 30% compared with 1990 instead of the 40% that Mrs. Merkel promised. The goal of 55% by 2030 is almost surely out of reach.

Mrs. Merkel’s failure comes despite astronomical costs. By one estimate, businesses and households paid an extra €125 billion in increased electricity bills between 2000 and 2015 to subsidize renewables, on top of billions more in other handouts. Germans join Danes in paying the highest household electricity rates in Europe, and German companies pay near the top among industrial users. This is a big reason Mrs. Merkel underperformed in September’s election.

Berlin has heavily subsidized renewable energy since 2000, primarily via feed-in tariffs requiring utilities to buy electricity from renewable generators at above-market rates. Mrs. Merkel put that effort into overdrive in 2010 when she introduced the Energiewende, or energy revolution.

The centerpiece is the escalating emissions-reductions targets Germany now is missing, which surpass the 20% reduction by 2020 to which the rest of the European Union has committed. The policy is also supposed to reduce total energy consumption to 50% of the 2008 level by 2050, with a 25% reduction in electricity use. That was a tall enough order for an industrial economy. Then Mrs. Merkel made it even harder in 2011, with a hasty promise after Japan’s Fukushima disaster to phase out nuclear power by 2022.

Energiewende enthusiasts say the policy is racking up successes despite the problems. That’s true only in the sense that if you throw enough money at something, some of the cash has to stick. In electric generating capacity, for instance, renewables are now running almost even with traditional fuel sources.

Yet much of that capacity is wasted—only one-third of Germany’s electricity is actually generated by renewables. Berlin has invested heavily in wind and solar power that is easiest to generate in parts of Germany that need the power the least, especially the north. Berlin will need to spend another huge sum building transmission lines to the industrial south.

The other costs relate to providing electricity when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine, which is often in Germany. The traditional plants needed to fill in the gaps are overwhelmingly fired by coal, on which Germany still relies for roughly 40% of its power.

Natural gas would be cleaner and is easy to switch on and off. But gas is more expensive than coal, and the peak daytime consumption hours when gas could recoup that investment are also the times utilities are more likely to be required to buy overpriced solar power.

As a result, natural gas accounts for only 9.4% of Germany’s electricity, down from a little over 14% in 2010. Gas accounts for some 30% of U.S. electricity generation, and the shift to gas from coal explains a majority of the reductions in carbon emissions in U.S. generation since 2005, according to a report last month by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. German households pay nearly 36 U.S. cents a kilowatt-hour of electricity, versus an average of 13 cents in America.

No wonder voters are in revolt. Surveys say that in theory Germans like being green, but polls about household energy costs say otherwise. The right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) won a surprising 13% vote share in part on a promise to end the Energiewende immediately. A new study from the RWI Leibniz Institute for Economic Research finds that 61% of Germans wouldn’t want to pay even one eurocent more per kilowatt-hour of electricity to fund more renewables.

This is casting Mrs. Merkel’s coalition talks into disarray. Her prospective Green Party partners want to double down on Energiewende distortions by banning coal, starting with the 20 most-polluting plants. Mrs. Merkel’s center-right Christian-Democratic parties and the free-market Free Democrats are willing to close 10 plants at most, in recognition that more would strangle the economy of energy absent nuclear power after 2022.

Whatever agreement she works out, it’s clear that German voters want more honesty about the cash-and-carbon costs of Mrs. Merkel’s green ambitions. If instead she recommits to soaring energy costs and dirty-coal electricity, expect another voter rebellion in 2021.

https://www.wsj.com/article_email/germanys-green-energy-revoltgermanys-green-energy-revolt-1510848988-lMyQjAxMTE3MjEzODUxMzg0Wj/

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                                                                                                            Policy = res publica

Freudenberg-Pilster  Weiter arbeiten für ein modernes Land: Veränderung braucht Mut.“

Erklärung von Christian Lindner, FDP Bundesvorsitzender, zur Beendigung der Sondierungsgespräche / „Jamaica“

„Liebe Parteifreundinnen und Parteifreunde,

das Ergebnis der Bundestagswahl am 24. September 2017 hat die demokratischen Parteien vor eine große Herausforderung  gestellt. Es war vermutlich der komplizierteste Prozess zur Sondierung einer möglichen Regierungsbildung, den die Bundesrepublik Deutschland je gesehen hat. Seit dem 18. Oktober bis in den Abend des 19. Novembers hinein, haben CDU, FDP, Grüne und CSU vermessen, ob trotz der sehr unterschiedlichen Wähleraufträge eine stabile Regierungsbildung zum Wohle unseres Landes möglich ist.

Wir haben Stunden, Tage und Wochen miteinander gerungen. Die Freien Demokraten haben Kompromissangebote gemacht: unter anderem in der Steuer-, der Europa-, der Einwanderungs- und der Bildungspolitik. Denn wir wissen, dass Politik vom Ausgleich lebt. Mit knapp elf Prozent kann man nicht einer ganzen Republik den Kurs vorgeben. Unsere Bereitschaft zum gemeinsamen Handeln zeigen wir in Regierungsbeteiligungen mit Union, SPD und Grünen in den Ländern. Nach vier Wochen lag aber unverändert nur ein Papier mit zahllosen Widersprüchen, offenen Fragen und Zielkonflikten vor. Dort, wo es Übereinkünfte gab, sollten sie oft mit viel Geld der Bürger oder Formelkompromissen erkauft werden.

Im Namen der Mitglieder des Sondierungsteams und in Übereinstimmung mit den Führungsgremien von Bundespartei und Bundestagsfraktion muss ich Ihnen daher heute mitteilen: Dieses Experiment einer Vierparteienkoalition ist leider gescheitert. Trotz langer Sondierungsgespräche konnte in wesentlichen Politikfeldern am Ende keine Verständigung erzielt werden. Es hat sich gezeigt, dass die vier Partner keine gemeinsame Idee zur Gestaltung des Landes und keine gemeinsame Vertrauensbasis erreichen konnten. Wir haben uns diese Entscheidung nicht leicht gemacht. Unser Wunsch war es, eine lagerübergreifende Koalition zu bilden, die den Stillstand der Großen Koalition und politische „Lebenslügen“ etwa bei Einwanderung und Bildung überwindet, um Deutschland voran zu bringen. Was aber am Ende auf dem Verhandlungstisch lag, war im Wesentlichen ein ambitionsloses „Weiter so“ auf dem Kurs der Großen Koalition, gespickt mit zahlreichen Wünschen der Grünen. Dafür können und wollen wir nicht zur Verfügung stehen. Das möchte ich Ihnen anhand einiger Beispiele aus der Schlussrunde von Sonntagabend erläutern:

In der Finanzpolitik war es unser Anliegen, eine neue Balance zwischen Bürger und Staat durch Entlastungen herzustellen. Wir hatten hier weitgehende Kompromisse angeboten. Auf eine große Steuerreform im Umfang von 30 bis 40 Mrd. Euro hätten wir verzichtet; die Abschaffung des Solidaritätszuschlages wären wir bereit gewesen, in Stufen bis zum Ende der Legislaturperiode durchzuführen. Wir mussten erkennen, dass dazu keine Bereitschaft bestand. Am Schluss lag mehr oder weniger das Wahlprogramm der Union vor, das den Soli mäßig reduziert und bis in die nächste Legislaturperiode fortgeschrieben hätte.

Bei der Zuwanderung wollten wir neue Ordnung durch ein Einwanderungsgesetzbuch schaffen. Qualifizierte Einwanderung in den Arbeitsmarkt sollte über ein Punktesystem leichter, humanitäre Zuwanderung dagegen gesteuerter stattfinden. Dies wäre erreichbar gewesen. Beim Familiennachzug für subsidiär Schutzbedürftige gab es bis Sonntagabend aber immer noch keine Einigung. Auch wir hatten Kompromisse eingebracht, die den Grünen eine Zustimmung erleichtert hätte. Eine Übereinkunft war nicht möglich.

Wir wollen eine Trendwende für weltbeste Bildung. Dazu bedarf es nicht nur Geld für Investitionen, sondern auch einer grundlegenden Reform des deutschen Bildungsföderalismus. Die Union hat Ideen vorgelegt, die CSU war hier jedoch zu keinem Schritt bereit. Auch Teile der Grünen, wie etwa Winfried Kretschmann, haben lautstark gegen ihr eigenes Programm und gegen eine Modernisierung des Bildungsföderalismus gewettert.

In der Energie- und Klimapolitik wollten wir Klimaschutz mit Versorgungssicherheit und Bezahlbarkeit von Energie pragmatisch versöhnen. Die Freien Demokraten haben angeboten, bis zu fünf Gigawatt Leistung aus der Kohleverstromung aus dem Netz zu nehmen und noch über zwei weitere Gigawatt in den kommenden Jahren zu sprechen, sofern die Versorgungssicherheit es erlaubt (5+2). Die Energiepolitiker von Union und FDP sahen diese Offerte bereits eher kritisch. Die Grünen wollten dagegen Kraftwerke mit einer Leistung von mindestens neun bis zehn Gigawatt schließen. Die CDU-Vorsitzende schlug einen Kompromiss von sieben Gigawatt vor, den wir als physikalisch kaum realisierbar eingeordnet haben.

Bei der Entwicklung Europas haben wir uns für eine Trendwende zu mehr finanzieller Eigenverantwortung und Solidität eingesetzt. Auch hier haben wir klar Kompromissfähigkeit gezeigt. Um hier eine Brücke der Vernunft zu bauen, die auch für die anderen Parteien gangbar wäre, haben wir vorgeschlagen, sich an der lagerübergreifenden Koalitionsvereinbarung der neuen Regierung unserer weltoffenen Nachbarn in den Niederlanden zu orientieren. Die Antworten aus dem Lager der Grünen waren zum Teil plumpe Anschuldigungen des Nationalismus. Für uns als proeuropäische Partei in der Tradition Hans-Dietrich Genschers wirkt dieser Anwurf geradezu ehrabschneidend. In der Sache waren CDU und Grüne nicht bereit, eine europäische Risikoteilung bzw. Haftungsgemeinschaft im Bereich der privaten Banken, Sparkassen und Volksbanken auszuschließen. Die Grünen wollten darüber hinaus noch weitere Budgets für Finanztransfers in Europa.

Neben den fachlichen Differenzen möchte ich auch eines nicht unerwähnt lassen: Permanent sind wahre oder auch falsche Tatsachenbehauptungen von einzelnen Sondierungsteilnehmern anderer Parteien „durchgestochen“ worden. Permanent gingen bei mir Hinweise ein, wie Teilnehmer unseres Sondierungsteams in sogenannten Hintergrundgesprächen bei Journalisten verächtlich gemacht wurden. Schließlich mussten wir in Interviews einzelner Sondierungsteilnehmer anderer Parteien nachlesen, dass man uns in eine Ecke mit der Politik Donald Trumps rücken wollte. Unter solchen Umständen gedeiht das zarte Pflänzchen gegenseitigen Vertrauens wohl kaum.

Liebe Parteifreundinnen und Parteifreunde,

es war unsere staatspolitische Verantwortung, konstruktiv Gespräche über eine Regierungsbildung zu führen. Dieser Verantwortung sind wir nachgekommen. Genauso ist es jedoch unsere Verantwortung, nicht zu vergessen, dass wir für Trendwenden gewählt worden sind. Sie waren nicht erreichbar.

Den Geist des Sondierungspapiers können wir nicht verantworten. Viele der diskutierten Maßnahmen halten wir für schädlich. Wir wären gezwungen, unsere Grundsätze aufzugeben und alles das, wofür wir Jahre gearbeitet haben. Wir werden unsere Wählerinnen und Wähler nicht im Stich lassen, indem wir eine Politik mittragen, von der wir nicht überzeugt sind.

Es ist besser, nicht zu regieren, als falsch zu regieren. Wir sehen uns auch in der Verantwortung, klar Position zu beziehen, die demokratische Vielfalt zu erhalten und zu beleben.

Also arbeiten wir weiter für ein modernes Land, für weltbeste Bildung, für die Chancen der Digitalisierung und eine faire Balance zwischen Bürger und Staat.

Dafür brauchen wir jetzt umso mehr neues Denken. Und erneut Ihre Unterstützung.

Wir zählen auf Sie.

Ihr

Christian Lindner MdB
Bundesvorsitzender

Freie Demokratische Partei
Hans-Dietrich-Genscher-Haus
Reinhardtstr. 14, 10117 Berlin

 

http://6rpn.mjt.lu/lnk/AEoAAKgWdJwAAUwF_OMAAG2nzPMAARpfgHEAGrcjAAgI2QBaEzaly4W4LjkkQYe2IBc2282jdQAHZFE/1/O5Fz6_qeE_1siP8QfIu2rg/aHR0cHM6Ly9tYWlsaW5ncy5mZHAuZGUvbm9kZS8xMTU1Mzk

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Politics: From Vision to Action

Barandat*  “Belt and Road Initiative” beim 19. Nationalkongress in der Verfassung der KPCh festgeschrieben
“… the Silk Road Spirit – ‘peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit’ … Symbolizing communication and cooperation between the East and the West, the Silk Road Spirit is a historic and cultural heritage shared by all countries around the world …”

What the Inclusion of BRI in the Chinese Constitution Implies
November 07, 2017   The recently concluded 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) amended the Party’s Constitution to include the promotion of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as one of the major future objectives.

This has been seen as an “unexpected” development in Beijing’s political practice in some quarters … the BRI’s inclusion in the CPC’s amended Constitution is a significant development since the international community mostly views the initiative as an economic strategy that is linked to China’s external engagement policy, and less of a “political” proposition.

No matter how minor this amendment might appear to be, it signifies a ‘Chinese state strategy’ in the making, both in the domestic and international contexts

… the reference to the BRI in the Constitution was another big recognition for Xi Jinping himself since it was primarily known as his project.

 

Further, the inclusion of BRI in the constitution signifies that it is a long-term national project that will continue to be pursued even if Xi were to step down from the presidency in 2022

By naming the BRI in the CPC Charter, China has placed more policy weight on the initiative and offered it a legal sanctity.

  • Further, its inclusion in the Charter reiterates the fact that the BRI is not merely an economic policy but rather a ‘political project’ that Beijing would like to pursue as part of its national developmental programme. At the same time, the constitutional amendment links BRI with China’s aspiration to ‘build a community of shared interest’ and to achieve “shared growth” through “discussion and collaboration”. This implies the leadership’s ambition to shape the world order through the progress and success of BRI

Moreover, the induction of BRI into the constitution exerts the central leadership’s political control over the provinces since power struggles between different provinces and between the centre and the provinces area known issues in China …

The amendment clubbing BRI with “shared interests” and “shared growth” through “discussion and collaboration” elucidates the foreign policy intent that Beijing attaches to its external engagement policy. That means, Beijing may like to employ a more serious approach for convincing the international community to formally join the BRI, and sign agreements that would be beneficial to China and the outside world. This would further imply that China would pursue a more ‘purposeful’ external engagement policy where the top-down directives of the CPC would exert more pressure on Chinese banks, state-owned companies, private companies and business operators to promote investment decisions abroad that will reflect Beijing’s strategic objectives …

Beijing would be pursuing this consultative process from a position of strength as the world’s second-largest economy … Stressing BRI as a “priority”, he emphasised on opening China further to the outside world and encouraged an equal emphasis on “bringing in” and “going global” in order to promote stable engagement with the international community. This implies that China’s external engagement policy will be more BRI-centric in the years to come.

Nationally, the inclusion of BRI in the CPC charter was a historic moment for Xi Jinping personally. If Mao Zedong is remembered as the founding father of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Deng Xiaoping for his “Reform and Opening-up” policy which transformed China into what it is today, Xi Jinping will certainly be remembered for his Belt and Road policy in the years to come.
https://idsa.in/idsacomments/what-the-inclusion-of-bri-in-the-chinese-constitution-implies_jpanda_071117
siehe auch:
Reuters October 24, 2017: Pressure on as Xi’s ‚Belt and Road‘ enshrined in Chinese party charter
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-congress-silkroad/pressure-on-as-xis-belt-and-road-enshrined-in-chinese-party-charter-idUSKBN1CT1IW
The Diplomat October 31, 2017: The Belt and Road Initiative and the Future of Globalization
https://thediplomat.com/2017/10/the-belt-and-road-initiative-and-the-future-of-globalization/

The new geopolitics of trade in Asia
November 15, 2017 … China’s economic and political influence has expanded significantly with the successful launch of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the Belt and Road Initiative. Through these initiatives, China is recycling capital surpluses to finance infrastructure in developing Asia with improvements to regional connectivity.

But leadership in free trade may be China’s last frontier because it hinges on the supply of a commodity in short supply in Xi’s vision for China: liberalization.

 

The 19th Party Congress did not set China on a path to become a free trader.

On the contrary, it confirmed that the impetus for meaningful domestic reform has waned and the state’s role in the economy is the North Star … The geopolitics of trade in Asia are in flux as the three major powers transition to new roles. A United States critical of multilateral and regional undertakings, unable to gain traction in bilateral trade negotiations, and eager to resort to unilateral enforcement as the main thrust of trade policy. A China that is knitting the region together through infrastructure finance and has vied for the title of champion of multilateralism, but comes woefully short in the supply of liberalization. And a Japan that is cutting its teeth in trade leadership by rescuing the TPP project, not out of a desire to displace the United States from its traditional role in regional economic diplomacy but instead to encourage its return …
https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2017/11/15/the-new-geopolitics-of-trade-in-asia/

CSIS
AUDIO: November 9, 2017 Great Powers in Asia
The Role of Asia in the Grand Strategies of China, Russia, and the U.S.
The fates of China, Russia, and the United States, are profoundly bound to the Asian continent. Historically, these powers have shaped and been shaped by Asia, and it is clear that Asia continues to factor centrally in their strategic thinking. In recent years, both Russia and the United States have paid more attention to Asia as a central theater in 21st century geopolitics. With its Belt and Road Initiative and expansive activities in maritime Asia, China is also playing a more active role in Asian geopolitics today.

Yet all three powers also face significant uncertainty … Where does Asia fit in the grand strategic visions of China, Russia, and the U.S.—and what are the implications for regional security? Where is there room for cooperation, and where is there a real possibility of confrontation? What form might either of these take? …
https://www.csis.org/events/great-powers-asia?
Anna Kireeva, Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO)
zur RUS Rolle + Strategie ggü. Asien: 3:42-14:24
Yun + Glaser zu Belt and Road Initiative, sehr “dünn”, ab 1:23:20
Q+A sehr Korea-lastig

 

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    China’s One Belt, One Road Faces Pushback

Nov. 21, 2017 Countries want China’s funding but not at any cost.

 

China’s One Belt, One Road, a much-touted initiative to connect the country with Europe, the Middle East, Africa and other parts of Asia, is facing resistance from states whose cooperation Beijing needs to build its highly ambitious infrastructure projects. Last week, Pakistan and Nepal both pulled out of deals to build dams with China because of disagreements over the terms of the deals. Countries that have partnered with China on projects such as these need Chinese finance and expertise to help develop their economies and infrastructure. But these two cases show that some countries are unwilling to just accept China’s terms in exchange for access to its cash. There are limits to China’s economic clout, and Beijing can expect similar pushback from other countries.

On Nov. 15, Pakistan announced that it had withdrawn from the $14 billion Diamer-Bhasha Dam, part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project, over its objections to certain terms and conditions set by Beijing. According to the head of Islamabad’s Water and Power Development Authority, China demanded ownership of the project and its operations and wanted its own forces to provide security. Pakistan will use its own financing to go ahead with the dam, which is expected to provide 4,500 megawatts of power – roughly equivalent to the country’s energy shortfall.

Before the dam was included in the $62 billion CPEC project, the Pakistanis had sought financing from the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. Both institutions refused to fund the project because of its location in the Pakistani-controlled part of the disputed Kashmir region. The project, which has been in the works for 15 years, has already faced numerous delays and could face even more if Pakistan is unable to supply the money needed to complete the dam.

The CPEC will continue to fund other projects, including roadways, energy facilities, transportation systems and the port of Gwadar. At a time when relations with the United States have deteriorated, Pakistan is all the more reliant on China for development assistance, making the decision to reject Chinese funding for the dam even more significant. Pakistan didn’t make this decision lightly, but it couldn’t accept the terms China was seeking; Chinese ownership of a major infrastructure facility guarded by Chinese security forces was just a step too far.

Leaders attend a roundtable meeting during the Belt and Road Forum at the International Conference Center in Yanqi Lake, north of Beijing, on May 15, 2017.

Also last week, Nepal announced that it would scrap a $2.5 billion deal with Chinese state firm China Gezhouba Group to develop the Budhi Gandaki hydroelectric project. The hydroelectric plant would have generated 1,200 megawatts of electricity. The deal was signed last June – less than a month after Nepal agreed to participate in OBOR – by the pro-Beijing Maoist-dominated government in charge at the time.

That government has since been replaced by an interim government, which has said that a key part of its decision to pull out of the deal was that the agreement was reached without a competitive bidding process. There is much speculation that factions that support India within the interim government were behind the decision. Nepal has long been part of a struggle for influence between the world’s two most populous nations. With elections due on Nov. 26, the future balance between pro-China and pro-India factions in Nepal remains unclear, but the struggle between these two camps is just one part of why Nepal pulled out of the deal and why China has had trouble ensuring the cooperation of its partners.

In an article published this week, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post highlighted the larger implications of the cancellation of these two deals. That a Chinese paper has been openly critical of how China has handled this issue is noteworthy. Chinese publications don’t often acknowledge problems associated with a signature project of President Xi Jinping. But people are beginning to take notice of the many problems with OBOR. The failure of these deals is related to the fact that OBOR is an overly ambitious initiative that lacks a coherent strategy.

The most developed of OBOR’s six overland economic corridors runs from Xinjiang province in western China through the entire length of Pakistan to the port of Gwadar on the Arabian Sea. Pakistan views the project as a major part of its close relationship with China and its efforts to address its chronically weak infrastructure. But Pakistan understands that China’s main interest in the project is to ensure that Chinese firms can profit from it, to find new markets for its goods and to establish a new trade route that isn’t dependent on maritime shipping lanes.

It is unlikely that Pakistan and Nepal will be the only countries critical of China’s approach to these infrastructure projects. Countries in Central Asia, where the Chinese are aiming to develop another critical corridor as part of OBOR, could also raise objections to Chinese demands, which are proving to be unduly onerous on China’s partners. These countries want China’s funding, but not at any cost.

 

https://geopoliticalfutures.com/chinas-one-belt-one-road-faces-pushback/

 

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How Turkey, Iran, Russia and India are playing the New Silk Roads

A pacified Syria is key to the economic integration of Eurasia through energy and transportation connections

By Pepe Escobar November 21, 2017 5:19 AM (UTC+8)

 

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Vladimir Putin, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Hassan Rouhani will hold a summit this Wednesday in Sochi to discuss Syria. Russia, Turkey and Iran are the three power players at the Astana negotiations – where multiple cease-fires, as hard to implement as they are, at least evolve, slowly but surely, towards the ultimate target – a political settlement.

 

A stable Syria is crucial to all parties involved in Eurasia integration. As Asia Times reported, China has made it clear that a pacified Syria will eventually become a hub of the New Silk Roads, known as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – building on the previous business bonanza of legions of small traders commuting between Yiwu and the Levant.

 

Away from intractable war and peace issues, it’s even more enlightening to observe how Turkey, Iran and Russia are playing their overlapping versions of Eurasia economic integration and/or BRI-related business.

 

Much has to do with the energy/transportation connectivity between railway networks – and, further on the down the road, high-speed rail – and what I have described, since the early 2000s, as Pipelineistan.

 

The Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline, a deal brokered in person in Baku by the late Dr Zbigniew “Grand Chessboard” Brzezinski, was a major energy/geopolitical coup by the Clinton administration, laying out an umbilical steel cord between Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey.

Now comes the Baku-Tblisi-Kars (BTK) railway – inaugurated with great fanfare by Erdogan alongside Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, but also crucially Kazakh Prime Minister Bakhytzhan Sagintayev and Uzbek Prime Minister Abdulla Aripov. After all, this is about the integration of the Caucasus with Central Asia.

Erdogan actually went further: BTK is “an important chain in the New Silk Road, which aims to connect Asia, Africa, and Europe.” The new transportation corridor is configured as an important Eurasian hub linking not only the Caucasus with Central Asia but also, in the Big Picture, the EU with Western China.

BTK is just the beginning, considering the long-term strategy of Chinese-built high-speed rail from Xinjiang across Central Asia all the way to Iran, Turkey, and of course, the dream destination: the EU. Erdogan can clearly see how Turkey is strategically positioned to profit from it.

Of course, BTK is not a panacea. Other connectivity points between Iran and Turkey will spring up, and other key BRI interconnectors will pick up speed in the next few years, such as the Eurasian Land Bridge across the revamped Trans-Siberian and an icy version of the Maritime Silk Road: the Northern Sea Route across the Arctic.

What’s particularly interesting in the BTK case is the Pipelineistan interconnection with the Trans-Anatolian Gas Pipeline (TANAP), bringing natural gas from the massive Azeri gas field Shah Deniz-2 to Turkey and eventually the EU.

Turkish analyst Cemil Ertem stresses, “just like TANAP, the BTK Railway not only connects three countries, but also is one of the main trade and transport routes in Asia and Europe, and particularly Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan ports. It connects Central Asia to Turkey with the Marmaray project in Istanbul and via the Caspian region. Along with the Southern Gas Corridor, which constitutes TANAP’s backbone, it will also connect ports on the South China Sea to Europe via Turkey.”

It’s no wonder BTK has been met with ecstatic reception across Turkey – or, should we say, what used to be known as Asia Minor. It does spell out, graphically, Ankara’s pivoting to the East (as in increasing trade with China) as well as a new step in the extremely complex strategic interdependence between Ankara and Moscow; the Central Asian “stans”, after all, fall into Russia’s historical sphere of influence.

Add to it the (pending) Russian sale of the S-400 missile defense system to Ankara, and the Russian and Chinese interest in having Turkey as a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

The Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline, a deal brokered in person in Baku by the late Dr Zbigniew “Grand Chessboard” Brzezinski, was a major energy/geopolitical coup by the Clinton administration, laying out an umbilical steel cord between Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey.

image0125

image0125

Now comes the Baku-Tblisi-Kars (BTK) railway – inaugurated with great fanfare by Erdogan alongside Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, but also crucially Kazakh Prime Minister Bakhytzhan Sagintayev and Uzbek Prime Minister Abdulla Aripov. After all, this is about the integration of the Caucasus with Central Asia.

Erdogan actually went further: BTK is “an important chain in the New Silk Road, which aims to connect Asia, Africa, and Europe.” The new transportation corridor is configured as an important Eurasian hub linking not only the Caucasus with Central Asia but also, in the Big Picture, the EU with Western China.

BTK is just the beginning, considering the long-term strategy of Chinese-built high-speed rail from Xinjiang across Central Asia all the way to Iran, Turkey, and of course, the dream destination: the EU. Erdogan can clearly see how Turkey is strategically positioned to profit from it.

 

Of course, BTK is not a panacea. Other connectivity points between Iran and Turkey will spring up, and other key BRI interconnectors will pick up speed in the next few years, such as the Eurasian Land Bridge across the revamped Trans-Siberian and an icy version of the Maritime Silk Road: the Northern Sea Route across the Arctic.

What’s particularly interesting in the BTK case is the Pipelineistan interconnection with the Trans-Anatolian Gas Pipeline (TANAP), bringing natural gas from the massive Azeri gas field Shah Deniz-2 to Turkey and eventually the EU.

Turkish analyst Cemil Ertem stresses, “just like TANAP, the BTK Railway not only connects three countries, but also is one of the main trade and transport routes in Asia and Europe, and particularly Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan ports. It connects Central Asia to Turkey with the Marmaray project in Istanbul and via the Caspian region. Along with the Southern Gas Corridor, which constitutes TANAP’s backbone, it will also connect ports on the South China Sea to Europe via Turkey.”

It’s no wonder BTK has been met with ecstatic reception across Turkey – or, should we say, what used to be known as Asia Minor. It does spell out, graphically, Ankara’s pivoting to the East (as in increasing trade with China) as well as a new step in the extremely complex strategic interdependence between Ankara and Moscow; the Central Asian “stans”, after all, fall into Russia’s historical sphere of influence.

Add to it the (pending) Russian sale of the S-400 missile defense system to Ankara, and the Russian and Chinese interest in having Turkey as a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

From IPI to IP and then II

Now compare the BTK coup with one of Pipelineistan’s trademark cliff-hanging soap operas; the IPI (Iran-Pakistan-India), previously dubbed “the peace pipeline”.

IPI originally was supposed to link southeastern Iran with northern India across Balochistan, via the Pakistani port of Gwadar (now a key hub of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, CPEC). The Bush and Obama administrations did everything to prevent IPI from ever being built, betting instead on the rival TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) – which would actually traverse a war zone east of Herat, Afghanistan.

TAPI might eventually be built – even with the Taliban being denied their cut (that was exactly the contention 20 years ago with the first Clinton administration: transit rights). Lately, Russia stepped up its game, with Gazprom seducing India into becoming a partner in TAPI’s construction.

But then came the recent announcement by Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak: Moscow and Tehran will sign a memorandum of understanding to build a 1,200km gas pipeline from Iran to India; call it II. And Gazprom, in parallel, will invest in unexplored Iranian gas fields along the route.

Apart from the fact of a major win for Gazprom – expanding its reach towards South Asia – the clincher is the project won’t be the original IPI (actually IP), where Iran already built the stretch up to the border and offered help for Islamabad to build its own stretch; a move that would be plagued by US sanctions. The Gazprom project will be an underwater pipeline from the Persian Gulf to the Indian Ocean.

From New Delhi’s point of view, this is the ultimate win-win. TAPI remains a nightmarish proposition, and India needs all the gas it can get, fast. Assuming the new Trump administration “Indo-Pacific” rhetoric holds, New Delhi is confident it won’t be slapped with sanctions because it’s doing business with both Iran and Russia.

And then there was another key development coming out of Putin’s recent visit to Tehran: the idea – straight out of BRI – of building a rail link between St. Petersburg (on the Baltic) and Chabahar port close to the Persian Gulf. Chabahar happens to be the key hub of India’s answer to BRI: a maritime trade link to Afghanistan and Central Asia bypassing Pakistan, and connected to the North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC), of which Iran, India and Russia are key members alongside Caucasus and Central Asian nations.

You don’t need a weatherman to see which way the wind blows across Eurasia; integration, all the way. (sic!? UvM)

http://www.atimes.com/article/turkey-iran-russia-india-playing-new-silk-roads/?utm_source=The+Daily+Report&utm_campaign=8b0622c2f3-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_11_21&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_1f8bca137f-8b0622c2f3-28273647

 

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                                                                                                 Middle East    

WDR 5: Krieg ums Wasser: Panikmache oder reale Gefahr?

13.11.2017   Kriege und Krisen trocknen von Syrien bis zum Iran ganze Flüsse aus. Zugleich baut die Türkei Staudamm um Staudamm. Ist ein Krieg ums Wasser dort nur eine Frage der Zeit? Interview mit Martin Keulertz, Dozent an der American University of Beirut.

http://www.ardmediathek.de/radio/Morgenecho/Krieg-ums-Wasser-Panikmache-oder-reale-/WDR-5/Audio-Podcast?bcastId=41952690&documentId=47551986

 

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*Massenbach’s   Recommendation*

Die Achillesferse der Nato

Von ELISABETH BRAW BR

17.11.2017 · Die Ostflanke des Bündnisses ist in Gefahr. Das liegt nicht nur an Russland. Der Landweg durch Europa gleicht für die Truppen einem Hindernisparcours.

I m Juli diesen Jahres nahm die amerikanische Armee an einer Übung in Rumänien teil. Bis heute warten die in Deutschland stationierten Einheiten immer noch auf Teile ihrer Ausrüstung, die sie nach Rumänien verlegt hatten. Aufgrund fehlender Bahntransportkapazitäten sitzt das Material dort fest. Logistik wird oft als langweilig empfunden, aber ohne sie kommen keine Lebensmittel in die Supermärkte. Und auch Nato-Streitkräfte kommen ohne sie nicht dorthin, wo sie gebraucht werden. „Es ist von enormer strategischer Bedeutung, dass sich Streitkräfte in Europa frei und ohne Hindernisse bewegen können“, sagt Generalleutnant Ben Hodges. „Wir müssen uns genauso schnell oder schneller bewegen können als die russischen Streitkräfte. Dann haben die Politiker im Ernstfall mehr Alternativen als beispielsweise einen Befreiungskrieg im Baltikum.“

Als Kommandeur der amerikanischen Heeresstreitkräfte in Europa trägt Hodges eine große Verantwortung dafür, dass die Nato einen Angriff Russlands im Fall des Falles abwehren kann. Oberster Befehlshaber der Nato-Streitkräfte in Europa ist zwar Hodges‘ amerikanischer Kollege General Curtis Scaparrotti. Mit 30.000 Soldatinnen und Soldaten und deren imposanter Ausrüstung verfügt Hodges aber über die Speerspitze für die europäische Verteidigung. Hodges‘ Soldaten – und ihre Kameraden aus anderen Nato-Staaten – können sich in Europa aber nur bedingt bewegen. Im Kalten Krieg führten die Nato-Streitkräfte regelmäßig gewaltige Übungen durch, bei denen Einheiten über weite Entfernungen, auch über Ländergrenzen hinweg, verlegt wurden. Kommandeure wussten genau, welche Straßen und Brücken welches Gewicht tragen konnten, welche Tunnel für Panzer notwendige Ausmaße hatten. Sie wussten, wo Bahnwaggons für Militärtransporte bereitstanden.

Multinationale Nato-Kampftruppen im Baltikum

Heute weiß das niemand mehr so genau. „Die eFP [Enhanced Forward Presence, die Nato-Bataillone im Baltikum und Polen] ist ein Signal, aber keine Abschreckung“, sagt General Sir Richard Barrons, bis letztes Jahr Kommandeur des britischen Joint Forces Command. „Zur Abschreckung braucht man einen Mobilisierungsplan. Man muss wissen, wo die Kräfte und die Ausrüstung sind, und wie mobilisiere ich sie?“ In den neunziger Jahren hörte die Nato auf, Infrastrukturangaben über Brücken, Straßen, und Tunnel in der Allianz zu erheben. Jetzt sammelt sie diese Daten wieder. Das müsste aber viel schneller gehen, damit auch Reparaturen durchgeführt werden können, denn was den Befehlshabern fehlt, ist eine sicher funktionierende Infrastruktur. Deutschland verfügt nur über eine Brücke, die einen großen Konvoi tragen kann; andere Nato-Mitglieder haben gar keine. Das Fehlen geeigneter Brücken ist kein triviales Problem, denn um das Baltikum zu erreichen, müssten Nato-Streitkräfte mehrere große Flüsse überqueren. Gelänge das nicht, stünden kampfkräftige Verbände zwar bereit, zum Einsatz kämen sie aber nicht.

Seit Anfang 2015 hat Russland den Einsatz in Großübungen dreimal so oft geübt wie die Nato in Europa. Es ist für die Nato heute zwar nicht mehr erforderlich, wie im Kalten Krieg regelmäßig Zehntausende von Soldaten aus den Vereinigten Staaten nach Europa zu verlegen und über Wochen hinweg üben zu lassen. In kleinerem Rahmen sind solche Übungen aber notwendig.

Die Nato steht allerlei Herausforderungen gegenüber: Wer soll was zahlen? Wie groß sollen die Streitkräfte der Mitgliedstaaten sein, und welche Großwaffensysteme und Ausrüstung benötigen sie? Sollten amerikanische Streitkräfte Europäern überhaupt helfen? Wenn nicht, wie sollte sich die europäische Seite organisieren? Wie sollten wir gegen Cyber-Gefahren und andere hybride Bedrohungen vorgehen? Und wie gegen Terrorismus? Alarmstufe Rot herrscht bei der Verteidigungsallianz schon jetzt: laut einem internen Bericht könnte sie sich gegen einen russischen Angriff nicht verteidigen. Die schnelle Eingreiftruppe der Nato würde drei bis vier Wochen brauchen, um etwa im Baltikum anzukommen, von den Hauptstreitkräften ganz zu schweigen.

 

  • Die Logistik spielt dabei eine Hauptrolle. Heute sind Brücken, Bahnwaggons und Bürokratie die Achillesferse der Nato-Streitkräfte, denn trotz Kürzungen in fast jedem Mitgliedsstaat stehen den Nato-Nationen immerhin fast drei Millionen Soldatinnen und Soldaten zur Verfügung. Gerade in der Logistik könnte sehr schnell sehr viel getan werden – und es müsste nicht einmal sehr teuer werden. Die Datenerhebung der Allianz zur Verkehrsinfrastruktur in jedem Nato-Mitgliedsstaat könnte beschleunigt werden, und die Nachzügler sollten zur Nachbesserung aufgefordert werden.
  • Noch schneller und billiger wäre eine Reform des Stempel-Fetischismus. Heute muss ein militärischer Konvoi in Deutschland, Rumänien und der Slowakei beispielsweise zehn Arbeitstage vor der Ankunft angemeldet werden. In der Tschechischen Republik sind es sogar 14 Arbeitstage. Und selbst wenn der Konvoi zeitgerecht beantragt wurde kann der Zollbeamte an der Grenze sämtliche Dokumente kontrollieren, wie es ein amerikanisches Regiment an der Grenze zwischen Rumänien und Bulgarien vor kurzem erfahren musste.

 

Für den Fall eines direkten Angriffs fallen wesentliche bürokratische Hürden weg. Ohne zuverlässige Infrastruktur können NATO-Streitkräfte sich aber trotzdem noch nicht einmal so schnell bewegen wie der Apfel-Lieferant. Und ohne regelmäßige Übungen entstünde Chaos. Wenn Logistik und Bürokratie geschmeidig funktionierten, könnte die Nato aber um ein vielfaches stärker auftreten. Eine „Nato-Schengen-Zone“, in der sich Streitkräfte so einfach bewegen können wie europäische Touristen oder Lastkraftwagen mit Äpfeln ist auch eines der Ziele der vieldiskutierten EU-Verteidigungs-Initiative im Rahmen der sogenannten Ständigen Strukturierten Zusammenarbeit (englisch PESCO).

Diesen Monat haben sich die NATO-Verteidigungsminister zudem auf die Aufstellung eines Logistik-Kommandos geeinigt. Dies ist ein wichtiger Schritt, doch mit Brückenreparatur und Bürokratiereform wird sich der Kommandeur dieses neuen Kommandos nicht beschäftigen. Darum müssen sich die nationalen Regierungen zuvorderst selbst kümmern, und zwar schleunigst. Hoffnung gibt da auch eine diesen Monat vorgestellte EU-Initiative, die bis März nächsten Jahres einen Plan zu effizienten Militärtransporten innerhalb der EU vorstellen soll.

Nato-Truppen im Manöver

 

Osteuropa ist für die Nato schon lange kein unbekanntes Terrain mehr. Zu Lande, zu Wasser und in der Luft üben Truppen des Bündnisses vom Baltikum bis nach Rumänien. Mit Einsatzbataillonen unterhalten eine Reihe von Alliierten zudem in Estland, Lettland, Litauen und Polen eine symbolische Präsenz. Im Verteidigungsfall aber bräuchte es mehr als das. Unter anderem: Schnellere Verbindungswege aus dem Westen.

Denn ein Gegner wartet keine internen Verhandlungen der Nato oder der EU ab. Schließlich wissen die Russen bestens, wie es um die Bewegungsmöglichkeiten und damit um die Kampfkraft unserer Streitkräfte steht. Mit Konzepten wie PESCO lässt sich aktuell kein Widersacher abschrecken; mit einsatzbereiten Soldaten, die innerhalb von Tagen Streitkräften entgegentreten können, aber schon. Deutschland fällt hierbei eine Hauptrolle zu.

„Deutschland ist der unentbehrlichste Alliierte der USA in Europa, und ist auch eine entscheidende Transitzone“ sagt Hodges. Schon jetzt schicken die Amerikaner regelmäßig Soldaten nach Europa, die mit Hodges‘ Soldaten gemeinsam üben. Auch diese Kräfte treffen zuerst in Deutschland ein. Darüber hinaus führt die Bundeswehr seit 2016 das eFP-Bataillon der Nato in Litauen.

Die Bundeswehr wird in den nächsten Jahren die Verteidigung Europas nicht anführen können; dazu fehlen wesentliche Fähigkeiten. Als Logistik-Führer könnte Deutschland aber schnell eine fast ebenso wichtige Rolle spielen. Davon würde auch die Zivilbevölkerung profitieren, denn um große Teile der deutschen Infrastruktur steht es nicht gut. Vor allem die Auto- und Eisenbahnbrücken sind veraltet, ebenso das gesamte Schienennetz. Im August musste die wichtigste Schienenverbindung in die Schweiz für mehrere Wochen gesperrt werden.

Das Verteidigungsministerium sollte auch auf mehr gemeinsame Übungen der Nato drängen, denn „Übungen signalisieren nicht nur, dass wir uns verteidigen können, sondern dass wir es auch wollen“, wie Sir Richard erklärt. „Die Gefahr ist, dass wir Litauen nicht rechtzeitig erreichen, um die Deutschen und ihre internationalen Kameraden zu unterstützen“, sagt Hodges. Verteidigungsintegration hin und Aufgabenteilung her: Die Nato muss etliche zentrale Probleme lösen. Mit vergleichsweise wenig Geld könnte sie aber durch Fokus auf Logistik schnell Alarmstufe Rot auf Gelb umschalten.

Quelle: F.A.Z.

Veröffentlicht: 17.11.2017 09:27 Uhr

http://www.faz.net/aktuell/politik/infrastruktur-ist-die-achillesferse-der-nato-15292734.html#void

 

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  • China’s promised energy revolution

Nick Butler FT

 

Can China transform its energy economy? For the last 30 years rapid economic growth – based on heavy industry, manufacturing and construction – has been sustained by hydrocarbons. Coal remains dominant; what has changed is the volumes involved. In 1990, China used some 446m tonnes of coal. This year the figure will be around 2.8bn tonnes.

In parallel, oil demand has grown with the dramatic expansion of car numbers. Oil consumption was 2m barrels a day in 1980. Now it is almost 12m b/d, making China the largest oil importer.

But growth has come at a cost. China, as last week’s announcement from the Global Carbon Project reminded us, is the largest single source of emissions and suffering badly from the low level pollution that covers many cities in smog. President Xi Jinping has promised dramatic change – an energy revolution “to make the skies blue again”. The rhetoric is great but are the promises deliverable?

A comprehensive study of the Chinese energy market published last week as part of the International Energy Agency’s new World Energy Outlook is a great place to start for anyone wanting to understand what is happening and what might happen next.

The facts are remarkable:

 

  • China consumes 25 per cent of energy used globally each day.
  • Coal continues to dominate Chinese energy use – in industry, power generation and heating – providing almost two-thirds of total demand. The country produces and uses over 50 per cent of all the coal burnt globally.
  • Power generation has grown dramatically to meet electricity demand that has quadrupled since 2000.Gas use is relatively small but growing – mostly relying, for now, on imported LNG.
  • China is the leading producer of wind and solar power. Advances in technology and production efficiency have cut costs and made the country the dominant supplier of solar panels to the rest of the world.
  • China is building dozens of new nuclear plants – more than a third of the global total. Its nuclear industry is developing its own reactor technology, aiming to create a world-class export industry.
  • The country leads the global electric vehicle industry. Of the estimated 2m electric vehicles on the world’s roads by the end of this year, at least 40 per cent will be in China.
  • Remarkable advances in energy efficiency have been made, and the amount of energy used for each unit of China’s gross domestic product has fallen 30 per cent since 2000 but emissions remain a challenge. After three years when reported emissions were flat, renewed industrial growth has pushed them up again.

Each of these facts reflects a dramatic change in the last 10 to 15 years. But they do not represent an end point.

The party Congress in Beijing endorsed the latest plan – a sweeping statement of intent entitled “Energy Production and Consumption Revolution Strategy”.

The plan describes a transformation of the whole energy sector over the next decade and a half.

The share of non-fossil fuels will rise to 15 per cent by 2020, and to 20 per cent by 2030, meeting most if not all incremental demand.

By 2030, 80 per cent of all remaining coal-fired power stations will have ultra low emissions as old capacity is retired. GDP energy intensity will fall by 15 per cent and the amount of carbon required will fall by 15 per cent. Further improvements will come over the following decade to 2030.

The target is to ensure that emissions peak by 2030. The long-term goal for 2050 is to reduce the share of fossil fuels to less than half the total, to rebase the whole system on leading-edge energy technologies and equipment and make China an important player in global energy governance.

History suggests it is unwise to underestimate China’s ability to deliver on its plans but in this case there are good reasons for doubt. Infrastructure and market structures are needed to support the changing energy mix.

As the IEA analysis makes clear, the absence of infrastructure and a supportive regulatory regime already limit the potential of natural gas.

The same problems could constrain wind and solar. Electric vehicle numbers are growing but the odds are still that the bulk of the electricity they use will be produced from coal for a long time to come.

An excellent post by Simon Goess for the Energy Collective website spells out the reality.

In addition, industrial changes have to be managed. In coal and the major manufacturing sectors many workers and whole communities remain dependent on activity that is likely to be transformed or eliminated by technology. The Chinese coal industry, for instance, employs 4m. Trade dependence also poses risks.

The target of 80 per cent net self-sufficiency is probably achievable with the combination of coal, new nuclear and renewables, including hydro. But the remaining 20 per cent involves the critical supply of oil where import dependence has doubled in the last five years. On the IEA’s estimate, China will need to invest $6.1tn – $250bn a year on energy supply between now and 2040, two-thirds of which will go into the power sector. Another $2.1tn ($90bn a year) will be needed to deliver the required gains in energy efficiency.

China is a dominant force in the global energy market. Next week I will look at the international implications of what is happening. But energy also matters for the survival of the regime in Beijing. The political process has not been ended by Mr Xi’s triumphant re-election.

A sustained improvement in living standards over the last three decades has helped to keep the Communist party in power. That would not have been possible if the energy system had not been adapted to meet growing demand in what is now a consumer society. The “iron rice bowl” now extends beyond employment and food to mobility and increasingly to the demand for a cleaner environment. As ever, energy and power are inseparable.

https://www.ft.com/content/0094d3c3-405b-3966-a088-1060fa2cdc2e

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see our letter on:  http://www.massenbach-world.de/41259.html

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

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UdovonMassenbach@t-online.de   Mail@Freudenberg-Pilster.de   JoergBarandat@yahoo.de

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