Wednesday 20th of June 2018

her contempt for Donald Trump is obvious...


Unlike last year’s US Presidential contest, there are few fireworks and little showbiz. Instead of something like Donald Trumps “Make America Great Again” slogan, Angela Merkel’s CDU is using “für ein Deutschland in dem wir gut und gerne leben (for a Germany in which we live well and happily)” which hardly rolls off the tongue. And their SPD opponents, led by Martin Schulz, aren’t channeling Hillary Clinton’s feistiness either with “Die Zukunft braucht neue ideen. Und einen, der sie durchsetzt (The future needs new ideas. And someone who implements them).

The fact both realistic candidates for chancellor have so much in common removes the scope for the usual political jousting. Both are liberals who favor a strong European Union under Berlin's leadership. And Schulz appears to broadly support Merkel’s 2015 decision to open German doors to millions of migrants.


East-West choices

However, one subject has emerged to divide the pair: Germany’s relationship with the United States. And, as a consequence, Berlin’s attitude to Moscow is also in the spotlight. So far, the CDU is sticking to the pro-sanctions agenda favoredby its leader, but SPD figures are more open to dialogue with the Kremlin. 

To further complicate matters for Merkel, the leader of her preferred future coalition partners, the Free Democrats (FDP), has called for Germany to change its policy toward Russia and tacitly accept the Kremlin’s reabsorption of Crimea. “The security and prosperity of Europe depend on its relationship with Moscow,” Christian Lindner believes.

These issues injected some life into the humdrum campaign when Schultz began to harangue Merkel for proposing an increase in military spending of around €30 billion. Something the SPD leader painted as meek acquiescence to Donald Trump’s demands that NATO members spend two percent of GDP on their armed forces.

But last week, the former Eurocrat went further, stunning Germans by saying: “as chancellor of the federal republic, I will campaign for the removal of nuclear weapons on German soil.” He later tweeted that “the upper limit for nuclear weapons in our country must be 0.” 

A few days later, Sigmar Gabriel, the former SPD leader who is currently the Foreign Minister in Berlin’s grand coalition, also brought up the Russian issue. Warning that Germany needed to avoid a new “ice age” in relations between Russia and the West, he chided Washington over fresh sanctions it recently imposed on Moscow. “We don't want to completely destroy our business relations with Russia, especially in the energy sector,” he explained. 

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The fine sore point here is that there are far more German cars to be sold in the USA than in Russia... Any "rapprochement" with Moscow could see a slide in sales of Mercs to the USA... It's fine balance of perception about the value of "friendship"...



brics by brics...

As the 9th BRICS Summit kicks off in China's southeastern city of Xiamen, RIA Novosti contributor Gevorg Mirzayan reviews how the block can become an alternative center of control over global processes and replace the US in making key political and economic decisions, which will have a constructive influence on the world order.

On September 3-5, China's southeastern city of Xiamen is hosting the 9th Summit of BRICS countries. The meeting will be also attended by non-member countries, such as Egypt, Mexico, Thailand, Guinea and Tajikistan.

Gevorg Mirzayan, associate professor at the Department of Political Sciences at the Finance University of the Russian Government and RIA Novosti contributor, reviews how this format can become a platform for making key political and economic decisions, which will have a constructive influence on the world order, and how the bloc can replace the US in the role of a global hegemon.

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pipeline troubles...

With Denmark reportedly preparing a bill that could stop the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which will deliver Russian gas to a number of European nations, experts give their thoughts on what stands behind Copenhagen's decision.

Local media reported on Saturday that the Danish government is dealing with a bill that proposes requiring the country's Foreign Ministry to be the first to assess requests for permission to build pipelines, which could lead to the rejection of the request to construct the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.

According to the newspaper Politiken, the Danish parliament will discuss the bill in October.

Speaking to RT, Vladimir Dzhabarov, first deputy chairman of the Russian Upper House's International Affairs Committee, suggested that the Danish government could be promoting the bill due to pressure from the US administration.


"I think that Denmark is not to blame. Here you can see the hand of Washington, which is doing its best to derail the construction of Nord Stream 2," Dzhabarov said, referring to the White House's previous efforts to exert pressure through Poland.

He added that Washington is unlikely to succeed because "there is no alternative toNorth Stream 2." According to him, the construction of the pipeline meets the interests of "right-minded countries."

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merkel accidentally solves the crimean reunification...


The Russian Foreign Ministry's spokeswoman commented Monday on German Chancellor Angela Merkel's statement comparing Crimea's reunification with Russia to the German reunification.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Russian Foreign Ministry's spokeswoman Maria Zakharova commented Monday on German Chancellor Angela Merkel's statement comparing Crimea's reunification with Russia to the German reunification, joking that it might prompt the German media allegations on Russia's 'hacking' of an election candidate.

On Sunday, the German chancellor said in an interview to the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper that accepting Crimea's reunification with Russia could be compared to accepting the existence of two German states in the times of the German Democratic Republic instead of putting efforts to reunite.

"Now, mentioning the Crimean issue and German unification, though awkwardly articulated, is the position of the German government… Not people of Crimea and Ukraine, but people of Russia and Crimea had been divided against their will, which has been proved not only with 2014 referendum, but with referendums and its attempts which took place since the USSR collapse. But on the other side, I am not ruling out that tomorrow the German media would report that 'Russian hackers', which are so actively used to threaten the Germans, have 'hacked' not servers of the campaign, but a candidate," she wrote on her Facebook page.



Zakharova stressed that Merkel's statement was a yet another argument, proving the rightfulness of events in Crimea.


"Could have anybody imagined two year ago that the German chancellor would solve the complex Crimean issue by mentioning it in the context of German reunification? Back in 2015, when speaking about the Crimean referendum, [Russian Foreign Minister] Sergey Lavrov said at the Munich [Security] Conference that the 'Germany's reunification was conducted without any referendum, and we actively supported this,' but the audience expressed their resentment," she said.

Crimea rejoined Russia in March 2014 after almost 97 percent of the residents voted for the reunification at the referendum. Ukraine, as well as the international community, has not recognized the move, with Kiev still considering Crimea as an occupied territory. Russian authorities have repeatedly said that the Crimean residents decided to rejoin Russia in a democratic procedure and that the referendum was conducted in compliance with international law.

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