Pubblicato in: Devoluzione socialismo, Geopolitica Mondiale, Stati Uniti, Trump, Unione Europea

Germania. Come la valuta e la percepisce la White House.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2018-11-16.

White House Gatto 001

Il 26 aprile di questo anno la White House aveva steso per il presidente Trump una sintetica nota sullo stato della Germania. Il Deutsche Welle riferisce di esserne entrato da pochi giorni in possesso e la pubblica.

Piaccia o non piaccia quanto riportato, questo sarebbe il punto di vista americano.

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2018-11-13__Deutsche Welle 001jpg

Per comprenderlo al meglio, comprendere non significa condividere, occorrerebbe ricordare come le cancellerie considerino gli altri stati sono due ottiche complementari, ma totalmente differenti: una è la visione dei problemi attuali, contingenti, e l’altra è l’inquadramento strategico, nel lungo termine.

2018-11-13__Deutsche Welle 002

Il Deutsche Welle ne resta perplesso ma anche atterrito: la White House ha correttamente indicato il punto di vista strategico che rende la Germania particolarmente vulnerabile:la demografia. Se al momento questo aspetto è appena percepito, nel lungo termine sarà la causa efficiente della disgregazione della Germania, e di questo l’America non può non tener conto. Non perché ami in modo particolare i tedeschi, quanto piuttosto perché in un futuro più o meno lontano, più o meno vicino, l’America dovrà intervenire in una situazione europea tumultuosa, molto tumultuosa.

«The paper focuses on Germany’s demographic challenges»

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«The age of Germany’s population augurs a demographic crisis against the backdrop of rising immigration. Nearly 45% of Germany’s population is aged 55 and older, with 22 percent of population 65 and older. The elderly dependency ratio – the number of individual older than 65 for every 100 persons of working age – was 34.8 in 2015 and is forecast to be 59.2 in 2050.

Meanwhile … German women are not having enough children to keep the population growing or even steady. In 2017, the birth rate was 8.6 births per 1,000 residents, much lower than the death rate of 11.7 deaths per 1,000 residents. In 2016, 18.6 million residents in Germany had an immigrant background — a record high for the country — mostly attributable to the influx of refugees. While some immigrants come from the Middle East and Africa, most of the immigrant population has come from fellow European nations»

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Le conseguenze strategiche sono semplici.

La Germania non è, né potrà essere, un alleato strategico su cui contare entro un futuro abbastanza ravvicinato.

La sempre più rapida diminuzione della popolazione autoctona porterà a breve alla paralisi politica ed alla regressione economica.

Alla fine l’America dovrà decidere se intervenire o meno se non altro per difendere quel territorio avanzato.


Deutsche Welle. 2018-11-11. How the Trump White House views Germany

A briefing document for Trump’s last meeting with Angela Merkel, obtained by DW, underscores the White House’s view of Germany. The paper focuses on Germany’s demographic challenges and includes some trivial “tidbits.”

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The Daily Economic Briefing compiled by US President Donald Trump’s Council of Economic Advisers the day before he received Chancellor Angela Merkel for a highly anticipated meeting in the White House in April frames Germany in a way that seems to be in line with the president’s widely perceived negative view of the country.

“Germany has the world’s largest current account surplus and its second oldest population, as well as one of the lowest unemployment rates in the European Union,” reads the headline — underlined and in caps — of the two-page document, dated April 26, 2018.

Testy ties

Trump and Merkel held a comparatively cordial working meeting on April 27. The get-together, while friendlier than some of their previous encounters, did nothing to solve the deep disagreements between both leaders, particularly on trade and economic issues.

Trump has repeatedly lashed out against Germany’s large trade surplus with the United States, which he has routinely linked with what he views as the country’s meager defense spending — well below NATO’s spending goal of 2 percent of gross domestic product.

After his meeting with Merkel, Trump reiterated that “all member states must honor their commitment to 2 percent, and hopefully much more, of GDP, on defense. It is essential our allies increase so everyone is paying their fair share.”

The document, which has not previously been reported, also addresses Germany’s immigration policy — another key point of contention between Merkel and Trump since the beginning of his presidential campaign.

‘Demographic crisis’

“The age of Germany’s population augurs a demographic crisis against the backdrop of rising immigration,” according to the Daily Economic Briefing.

As the country’s population ages, reads the document, “German women are not having enough children to keep the population growing or even steady. In 2017, the birth rate was 8.6 births per 1,000 residents, much lower than the death rate of 11.7 deaths per 1,000 residents. In 2016, 18.6 million residents in Germany had an immigrant background — a record high for the country — mostly attributable to the influx of refugees. While some immigrants come from the Middle East and Africa, most of the immigrant population has come from fellow European nations.”

The document’s focus on Germany’s demographic challenges, and its emphasis on the large number of immigrants that came to the country as a result of the Merkel government’s decision to suspend joint European Union rules to allow in refugees fleeing Syria’s civil war in 2015, appear to support Trump’s long-held view that immigration is detrimental for Germany.

Glühwein and zoos

On a lighter note — perhaps geared towards a president who is not known for being bookish — in a section called “Interesting tidbits about Germany,” White House economists list what they apparently consider curious factoids about the country.

The list includes claims that Germany was the first country to institute daylight saving time, that running out of fuel on the German Autobahn is illegal, that “Glühwein,” or mulled red wine, is one of the most popular drinks in the country and that Germany is not only home to more than 2,100 castles, but also has more zoos (over 400) than any other country in the world.        

Asked for their take on the briefing paper, US scholars on Germany and trans-Atlantic politics said that, while the document appears to be largely correct factually, it provides a somewhat skewed view of German-American economic ties.

‘Odd take’

The paper offers “a rather odd take on the German economy,” said Jeffrey Anderson, a professor at Georgetown University and the former director of its Center for German and European Studies. “I think it’s fair to say that the briefing plays to Trump’s concerns and prior judgments about Germany.” 

“The emphasis seems to be on vulnerabilities, both political — unhappiness with the country’s current account surplus,” he said, “and structural — the demographic trends, which are actually old news and not unique to Germany.”

What’s more, noted Anderson, the “one-sided picture” presented in the briefing extends to trade as well, “insofar as there is no mention of German foreign direct investment in the United States, the value of which, in aggregate dollar amounts as well as jobs created, dwarfs the annual current account deficit the US runs with Germany.”

‘Funny and irrelevant’

Put differently, said Anderson, the US is not as it may appear in the paper, “a ‘loser’ in this relationship, but actually benefits greatly from our German economic partners.”

For Mark Hallerberg, the dean of research and faculty at Berlin’s Hertie School of Governance, the briefing fails to accurately reflect the broad economic ties between the US and Germany.

Not only is trade absent in the paper, he said, but “I would also expect something on foreign direct investment in both countries.” While German automakers have a strong presence in the US, “the US tech sector has interests in Germany.” 

Having said that, added Hallerberg, “the comments on Glühwein, zoos and the autobahn are pretty funny — and largely irrelevant, though, given that Trump does not drink.”

The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

Asked for a response, a German government spokeswoman said, “We generally don’t comment on briefing papers of other countries.”

Annunci
Pubblicato in: Armamenti, Geopolitica Mondiale, Stati Uniti

America. I montacarichi della portaerei Ford non funzionano. – Bloomberg.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2018-11-14.

2018-10-05__Portaerei Ford1

Alla fine della seconda guerra mondiale gli Stati Uniti si ritrovarono ad essere l’unica superpotenza navale. Cosa questa del tutto evidente, dato il fatto che gli interessi strategici coprivano l’orbe terracqueo.

A quella data fu messa a punto una strategia costruttiva che prevedeva varo ed allestimento di una nuova portaerei ogni circa cinque anni, e rimpiazzo di un’altra avviata al disarmo. In questa maniera si mantenevano sempre in attività progettisti e cantieri in grado di lavorare sempre allo stato dell’arte: non solo navale in senso stretto, ma anche per tutto l’armamento di bordo, aerei ed elettronica inclusi.

Così agendo tutta l’industria collegata a questa tipologia di costruzioni restava aggiornata, allo stato dell’arte.

Una conseguenza è del tutto pacifica.

Anche se le portaerei realizzate seguono i canoni costruttivi di una classe, in effetti ogni nuova portaerei è un caso singolo, e le novità implementate sono soggette ad un piuttosto lungo periodo di messa a punto operativa. In altri termini, tra il varo e la messa in linea intercorre un lungo lasso di tempo. Poi, le innovazioni installate sottostanno al vaglio operativo e le versioni ragionevolmente definitive formano il substrato costruttivo degli ulteriori scafi messi in cantiere.

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Alla luce di quanto detto non desta meraviglia che la portaerei Gerald Ford presenti dei problemi.

È una nave da 104,000 tonnellate, lunga 337 metri e larga 78, spinta da due reattori nucleare A1B che consentono una velocità di 30 nodi. A pieno carico dovrebbe essere dotata di circa 75 aeroplani. Per la difesa ha sistemi antimissile Vulcan Phalanx, Rim-116 e Sea Sparrow. Tuttavia la vera contraerea è supportata dalle navi di appoggio che fanno squadra con la portaerei.

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Al momento attuale i più pericolosi nemici delle portaerei sono i missili ipersonici, quali i russi Zircon e Kinžal, oppure il cinese CM-302. In linea generale, questi missili hanno una portata di 100 – 300 km, possono volare rasente la superficie marina a circa cinque metri di altezza, sono in grado di mutar rotta ed eseguire manovre di disimpegno, nonché una velocità di Mach 5 / 6. Se queste caratteristiche fossero effettivamente vere, il missile raggiungerebbe la nave in circa due – tre minuti primi, consentendo all’avversario tempi minimi di risposta.

Lo sviluppo di queste armi anti nave obbliga i costruttori e manutentori delle portaerei ad incrementare gli armamenti anti – missile e la corazzatura.

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«Huntington Ingalls ship lacked 11 elevators needed for warfare»

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«Futuristic elevator’s ‘uncommanded movements’ among problems»

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«The $13 billion Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier, the U.S. Navy’s costliest warship, was delivered last year without elevators needed to lift bombs from below deck magazines for loading on fighter jets»

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«Previously undisclosed problems with the 11 elevators for the ship built by Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. add to long-standing reliability and technical problems with two other core systems — the electromagnetic system to launch planes and the arresting gear to catch them when they land»

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«The Advanced Weapons Elevators, which are moved by magnets rather than cables, were supposed to be installed by the vessel’s original delivery date in May 2017. Instead, final installation was delayed by problems including four instances of unsafe “uncommanded movements” since 2015»

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«While progress was being made on the carrier’s other flawed systems, the elevator is “our Achilles heel,”»

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«The elevator system is “just another example of the Navy pushing technology risk into design and construction — without fully demonstrating it»

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L’innovazione tecnologica ha un acerrimo nemico mortale: gli entusiasti della tecnologia.

Costoro sopravvalutano in modo quasi fanciullesco la potenza della nuova tecnologia e, soprattutto, la sua affidabilità. Ma un sistema non completamente affidabile può diventare causa primaria di disastri.


Bloomberg. 2018-11-04. U.S. Navy’s Costliest Carrier Was Delivered Without Elevators to Lift Bombs

– Huntington Ingalls ship lacked 11 elevators needed for warfare

– Futuristic elevator’s ‘uncommanded movements’ among problems

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The $13 billion Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier, the U.S. Navy’s costliest warship, was delivered last year without elevators needed to lift bombs from below deck magazines for loading on fighter jets.

Previously undisclosed problems with the 11 elevators for the ship built by Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. add to long-standing reliability and technical problems with two other core systems — the electromagnetic system to launch planes and the arresting gear to catch them when they land.

The Advanced Weapons Elevators, which are moved by magnets rather than cables, were supposed to be installed by the vessel’s original delivery date in May 2017. Instead, final installation was delayed by problems including four instances of unsafe “uncommanded movements” since 2015, according to the Navy.

While progress was being made on the carrier’s other flawed systems, the elevator is “our Achilles heel,” Navy Secretary Richard Spencer told reporters in August without providing details.

Technology Risk

The elevator system is “just another example of the Navy pushing technology risk into design and construction — without fully demonstrating it,” said Shelby Oakley, a director with the U.S. Government Accountability Office who monitors Navy shipbuilding.

Problems with the elevators add to questions about the Navy’s plan to bundle the third and fourth carriers in the $58 billion Ford class into one contract. It’s part of the service’s push to expand its 284-ship fleet to 355 as soon as the mid-2030s.

Congress gave the Navy permission for the two-at-once contract in this year’s defense spending and policy bills despite the unresolved technical issues and the lack of a Navy estimate so far of how much money it would save the service. Deputy Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan continues to review the contracting plan.

The Navy says that the first carrier will be fully combat-capable, including the elevators, by July — the end of its current 12-month pier-side shakedown period in Virginia.

Navy weapons buyer James Geurts cited what he called “considerable progress” on the Ford, including on the elevators, in a July 6 memo to Pentagon acquisition head Ellen Lord.

The Navy in May requested permission from Congress in May to increase the Ford’s cost cap by $120 million, partly to fix elevator issues “to preclude any effect on the safety of the ship and personnel.” The safety issues related to the uncommanded movements, the Navy said in an email.

‘First-in-Class Issues’

Beci Brenton, a spokeswoman for Newport News, Virginia-based Huntington Ingalls, said “all the elevators are installed.” She said the weapons elevator is among “the most advanced technologies being incorporated into” the carrier and “its completion has been delayed due to a number of first-in-class issues,” Brenton said.

“We are committed to working through the remaining technical challenges,” she said.

William Couch, a spokesman for the Naval Sea Systems Command, said the elevators are “in varying levels of construction and testing.”

Six are far enough along to be operated by the shipbuilder, and testing has started on two of those, he said. All 11 “should have been completed and delivered with the ship delivery,” according to Couch.

He said the contractor has corrected “all issues,” including the “four uncommanded movements over the last three years that were discovered during the building, operational grooming, or testing phases.”

‘Elevator of Tomorrow’

A November 2010 program on PBS’s “Nova” science series extolled the “Elevator of Tomorrow” being developed by Federal Equipment Co., a Cincinnati-based subcontractor to Huntington Ingalls.

“In the not-too-distant future the Advanced Weapons Elevator will be lifting bombs to the flight deck of a new aircraft carrier,” the narrator said. “If it survives the rigors of Navy life, someday we might all be passengers on elevators powered like this one.”

Doug Ridenour, president of Federal Equipment Co., said the elevator’s key technologies “have been consistently demonstrated for years” in a test unit in the company’s plant and any programming or software-related issues have been fixed.

But “shipboard integration involves many other technology insertions not controlled by” his company, he said.

Pubblicato in: Cina, Geopolitica Militare, Geopolitica Mondiale

Cina. Il piano strategico di costruzioni navali la conta lunga.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2018-08-28.

Pechino-Cina

«Without firing any shots, aircraft carriers would help rebuild regional order with China in a leading position.»


Il piano strategico navale cinese potrebbe essere facilmente comprensibile considerando i loro programmi cantieristici. Infatti, tra progettazione, costruzione ed armamento delle moderne navi da guerra, massimamente le portaerei, intercorrono tra gli otto ed i dodici anni di tempo. Questo fattore implica per necessità la esigenza di avere un ben preciso progetto strategico nella mente.

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China’s New Aircraft Carrier Shows All the Signs of a Killer. Here Is What We Know.

«China’s next aircraft carrier is likely to boast a lot more combat power.

According to the aforementioned SCMP article, Chinese engineers believe they solved this problem by developing an integrated propulsion system (IPS), which would generate enough power to use EMALS. “The obstacle … was whether a conventionally powered carrier would be able to support EMALS,” a source whom SCMP said was close the PLA’s equipment department told the paper. “Now that problem has been solved.”

China’s next aircraft carrier is likely to boast a lot more combat power.

On June 20, China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC), the firm that makes China’s aircraft carriers, posted an image on its social media accounts showing three aircraft carriers. On the right and left were the Liaoning—China’s first carrier, which was built by Ukraine—as well as China’s first domestically-built carrier.

Unlike those carriers, which have a ski-jump launch systems, the mysterious third carrier in the middle of the image had a flat flight deck with three catapult-like devices. This suggests it relies on a catapult launch system.

Nonetheless, Chinese state-run media outlets, including the People’s Liberation Army Daily (the military’s newspaper), ran stories about the photo. This suggests that Beijing’s third carrier is almost certain to have a catapult launch system.

If China’s third carrier uses a catapult launch system—making it a Catapult Assisted Take-Off, Barrier Assisted Recovery (CATOBAR) carrier— it will boast far more combat power than Beijing’s current vessels. This type of launch system allows the carrier to launch and recover larger and much heavier aircraft.»

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Will China have aircraft carrier that can match US Navy’s?

«The US Navy’s newest aircraft carrier is regarded as the world’s most-advanced warship — but for how much longer?

A story published Thursday on the English website of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army said the country’s top shipbuilding company is working on an aircraft carrier with an electromagnetic catapult aircraft launch system, something featured exclusively aboard the US Navy’s most expensive carrier ever, the USS Gerald R. Ford.

Aircraft launched by electromagnetic catapults can get airborne quicker and with greater quantities of fuel and ammunition, giving them an advantage over planes launched by standard steam catapult.

For decades, US carriers have used steam catapult systems, where steam explodes into a piston attached to the plane’s landing gear, powering it off the deck. Besides the Ford, the other 10 carriers in the US fleet use steam catapults.

Currently, Chinese carriers launch planes using a use a different, less advanced system, known as the ski-jump, meaning planes rely on their own power when lifting off.»

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China unveils its newest aircraft carriers – and they’ve left experts shocked at how advanced they are

«It could use the 70,000-tonne CV-17 aircraft carrier to assert its dominant in the disputed South China Sea»

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«There are unconfirmed reports of a J-15A catapult compatible fighter being tested on an Electromagnetic (EMALS type) catapult. This is thought to likely have occurred at the Huangdicun facility»

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China is working on a new fighter jet for aircraft carriers to replace its J-15s

«China is developing a new fighter jet for aircraft carriers to replace its J-15s after a series of mechanical failures and crashes, as it tries to build up a blue-water navy that can operate globally, military experts and sources said.

The J-15 was based on a prototype of the fourth-generation Russian Sukhoi Su-33 twin-engined air superiority fighter, a design that is more than 30 years old. It was developed by Shenyang Aircraft Corporation, a unit of state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China.

With a maximum take-off weight of 33 tonnes, the aircraft is the heaviest active carrier-based fighter jet in the world, used on China’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning.»

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How China could move closer to nuclear-powered aircraft carriers – with Russia’s help

«Beijing is expected to use its first home-produced nuclear-powered icebreaker to develop its own nuclear reactors for future aircraft carriers, and its relationship with Russia may help its progress, military experts have said. ….

On June 8, China and Russia signed a deal worth more than 100 billion yuan (US$15 billion) to build four Russian reactor units during a ceremony in Beijing attended by presidents Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin, in what was the biggest ever nuclear pact between the two countries.»

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Cerchiamo di fare il punto della situazione.

– Ad oggi la principale preoccupazione cinese consiste nel rendere saldo il controllo sul Mare Cinese del Sud, per evidenti motivi di difesa. In questa ottica, le portaerei di attacco servirebbero ben poco.

– In un futuro prossimo, l’obbiettivo strategico è il controllo dell’Oceano Indiano. Per questo oceano passano ogni anno quasi quattro trilioni di dollari di merci cinesi: è una linea di comunicazione marittima di somma importanza per la Cina. In questo scacchiere allora saranno necessarie le portaerei di attacco, dotate anche di aerei ben più efficienti dell’attuale J-15. Ma questo obbiettivo sarebbe irraggiungibile senza aver sviluppato un efficiente sistema di catapulte per il lancio degli aerei e di adeguati reattori atomici.

– Lo sviluppo di una flotta oceanica presuppone però il contemporaneo progetto di tutte le navi a corollario della portaerei, nonché dei sistemi di comunicazione e sorveglianza dallo spazio.

– Nel prossimo decennio la Cina sembrerebbe non essere interessata al controllo globale dei mari. Di conseguenza, i paragoni con la flotta americana sarebbero impropri, avendo queste due forze navali obbiettivi differenti.


The Diplomat. 2018-08-18. How China’s New Aircraft Carriers Will Shape Regional Order

Rather than confronting other major navies, these big new ships will go to work boosting China’s prestige.

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The sea trials of China’s first domestically-constructed aircraft carrier have sparked a fresh debate about Chinese naval power. Some have argued that the carriers, while still vulnerable in a clash of major powers, would cement Chinese leadership if the United States withdraws from the region. Others have pointed to growing Chinese amphibious capabilities as being the naval point to watch.

It would be better to expect that China’s new aircraft-carrying fleet need not await a major conflict to be valuable – indeed it may be most valuable in the absence of war. Rather than confronting other major navies, these big new ships will go to work instead boosting China’s prestige and standing in the Indo-Pacific regional order. This may happen in two ways: as the peacetime deployment of such a fleet lets China, without direct conflict, dilute U.S. influence in the region; and as the signals sent by aircraft carriers allow a clean break in regional perceptions of China’s status.

China’s 2015 Defense White Paper embraced a combination of “near seas defense” and “far seas protection,” likely giving China by 2030 a “limited expeditionary” capability encompassing natural disasters, evacuations, counterterrorism, and the security of sea lanes. As a People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) officer stated: “The second carrier will mainly do what a genuine aircraft carrier is supposed to do: running combat patrols and delivering humanitarian aid.” The key is that the humanitarian role is much more than mere rhetoric and deserves close attention.

Humanitarian activities are important because China, along with all the major states of the region, is competing for relative status. This ranking in the regional order is adjusted through competition, including contestation in regional institutions, assertion of responsibilities, and, if not armed conflict, then potentially diplomatic coercion and the threat of force. This process is important because it lets states establish common beliefs about each other’s rights, responsibilities, and the hierarchy of deferense. Using naval power for humanitarian assistance is ideal for this, because it lets states demonstrate raw strength, establish practical international links, and show off moral leadership.

A major instance of this status-building in action was the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, which was met by a multinational relief effort led by the U.S. aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln. Scholars such as Robert Ross argue that the disaster helped set off the popular mood in China in favor of an aircraft carrier. Meanwhile, Andrew Erickson and A.R. Wilson see the incident as a key turning point in the Chinese leadership’s assessment of aircraft carriers’ value. They have pointed to Chinese military publications enviously describing Japan as a “great power of disaster relief,” while the political implications of the disaster response showed the importance of navies not just in conflict, but in “national construction, disaster relief, and rebuilding.”

Beijing is likely to see humanitarian operations in a ruthlessly pragmatic light for at least three reasons. First, humanitarian operations reinforce China’s regional status claims because they are an excellent demonstration of real operational capability. As an adjunct to this, as the United States, Japan, and Australia have found, humanitarian assistance is an excellent avenue for “defense diplomacy.” The need to prepare for such contingencies provides a versatile pretext for gaining access and bilateral cooperation with local partners, irrespective of traditional alliances, while a track record of humanitarian assistance can also justify establishing access rights or even bases overseas.

Second, humanitarian assistance yields quantifiable soft-power dividends. Pew Research Center figures show a measurable improvement in attitudes toward the United States after natural disasters such the 2004 tsunami in Indonesia and the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. Similarly, Japan gained diplomatic kudos in ASEAN after it made its largest postwar naval deployment after the 2013 Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda in the Philippines, while China suffered media criticism for its meager donation.

A third aspect of humanitarian assistance of specific importance to China is the scope for expeditionary naval forces to assist in the evacuation of Chinese nationals from crises abroad. This has long been seen as a key point on which Beijing demonstrates the legitimacy of the Communist Party regime. One study has noted that while there would be practical benefits to air cover, Beijing is also keenly aware of the diplomatic potential of stationing a carrier group near a country where Chinese citizens are under threat.

These strategic motivations indicate the way humanitarian assistance by a rising power can erode the role of established actors, and allow China increased status in the regional order. On the other hand, it will take sustained effort, ongoing funding streams, and the diversion of considerable technical and professional expertise to develop a fully operational carrier force.

Additional factors might for Beijing justify the immense expense – estimated at around $10 billion – of constructing a carrier group.

One of these is the fact that the very expense of aircraft carriers reflects makes them a form of conspicuous consumption. This status symbol argument holds that aircraft carrier construction, like China’s space program and hosting of the Olympic Games, shows off not only a wealthy country, but one with leading technical and organizational capacities.

In addition to this, there is growing research in international relations scholarly circles about the importance of sending clear and dramatic messages in order to boost status. Unlike other status symbols, aircraft carrier deployments carry greater potential to shift observers’ attitudes. As Jonathan Renshon argues, events that are highly visible to all, that are relevant enough to attract the concern of decision-makers, and that convey unambiguous information, are more likely to shift established beliefs about national status. Aircraft carriers are such a widely accepted symbol that they generate immediate mutual awareness – if Beijing deploys one overseas, it can expect that not only will everyone pay attention, but everyone will understand the kind of power being displayed.

The implication is that we could expect Chinese aircraft carriers to appear as soon as possible in nontraditional security roles around the region. This could still be compatible with Beijing reducing expenses by stretching the carrier construction program out to 2050 or beyond. The big unknown is how operational the carrier (or indeed, large amphibious ship) will be, as its role may well be largely symbolic at first. The key is to be aware that the aircraft carrier is there to construct the image that China is a major power. Without firing any shots, aircraft carriers would help rebuild regional order with China in a leading position.

Pubblicato in: Cina, Geopolitica Militare, Geopolitica Mondiale, Stati Uniti

Cina – Sri Lanka. Belt and Road e basi navali. – NYT e China Org.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2018-07-15.

2018-07-06__Cina_Porti__001

Il The New York Times dedica un mastodontico articolo ai rapporti tra Cina a Sri Lanka: la sua lettura è parte integrante di questo articolo.

Questo articolo è stato espressamente citato da un editoriale di China Org, organo di stampa del Governo cinese.

«China will continue to work with Sri Lanka to actively implement the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries and continuously promote the pragmatic cooperation under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiatives»

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«A spokesperson in the Embassy said that China has always been pursuing a friendly policy toward Sri Lanka, firmly supporting the latter’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, and opposing any country’s interference in the internal affairs of the island country»

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«continuously promote the pragmatic cooperations under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiatives following the “golden rule” of “extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits,”to better benefit the two countries and the two peoples,”»

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«The spokesperson further said that the Embassy had noticed the recent New York Times’ article as well as the clarifications and responses by various parties from Sri Lanka, saying the article is full of political prejudice and completely inconsistent with the fact»

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«The New York Times article published on June 25, accused China of acquiring a port in southern Sri Lanka to be used for military purposes. It however has drawn flak from Sri Lankan leaders, who have stated that the article fell under the “fake news” category»

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La presa di posizione del Governo cinese riassume in poche righe i concetti base che ispirano la sua politica estera.

– “pragmatic cooperation“: nei rapporti internazionali bilaterali la Cina promuove una cooperazione sociale ed economica al di fuori di ogni possibile schema mentale ideologico o preconcetto. I partner si accettano senza tentativo alcuno di modificarne tradizioni e comportamenti. Cooperazione implica un reciproco guadagno da questo rapporto: “to better benefit the two countries and the two peoples …. shared benefits“.

– “firmly supporting the latter’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, and opposing any country’s interference in the internal affairs of the island country“. Per meglio chiarire il concetto, Cina Org ricorda il rispetto della indipendenza, della sovranità, della integrità territoriale, ed infine la assoluta non interferenza degli affari interni dei paesi. In altri termini, l’esatto opposto del modo di pensare e comportarsi degli occidentali ed in particolar modo degli europei.

– “accused China of acquiring a port in southern Sri Lanka to be used for military purposes“. China Org riporta in modo molto diplomatico come questa notizia sia stata smentita dallo Sri Lankan. Non avendo detto nulla la China, si potrebbe dedurre che se le cose evolvessero, la essa non si opporrebbe.

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Larga quota delle merci cinesi attraversano lo Stretto di Malacca  e si dirigono in gran parte sulla rotta per Suez. È semplicemente evidente come il controllo dello spazio marittimo del nord Oceano Indiano sia essenziale per i cinesi.

Una ultima precisazione a nostro parere importante.

L’articolo edito dal The New York Times è mastodontico, inusitatamente lungo e dettagliato: da al problema del dominio dell’Oceano Indiano la corretta importanza strategica. Dopo il Mare Cinese Meridionale gli Stati Uniti corrono il serio rischio di perdere anche il controlla navale dell’Oceano Indiano.

Tuttavia, a nostro sommesso parere, l’articolo del NYT non riporta quella che è l’attuale posizione politica e militare degli Stati Uniti, bensì cosa e come ne pensano i liberal democratici. Opinione che deve essere valutata con cura, ma che non è al momento al governo dell’America.


China Org. 2018-07-01. China to continue promoting pragmatic cooperation with Sri Lanka under Belt and Road: Chinese embassy

China will continue to work with Sri Lanka to actively implement the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries and continuously promote the pragmatic cooperation under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiatives, the Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka said in a statement Saturday.

A spokesperson in the Embassy said that China has always been pursuing a friendly policy toward Sri Lanka, firmly supporting the latter’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, and opposing any country’s interference in the internal affairs of the island country.

“Despite any interference from a third party, China would like to work together with Sri Lanka to actively implement the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries, and concentrate unwaveringly on our fixed goals, continuously promote the pragmatic cooperations under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiatives following the “golden rule” of “extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits,” to better benefit the two countries and the two peoples,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson further said that the Embassy had noticed the recent New York Times’ article as well as the clarifications and responses by various parties from Sri Lanka, saying the article is full of political prejudice and completely inconsistent with the fact.

The New York Times article published on June 25, accused China of acquiring a port in southern Sri Lanka to be used for military purposes. It however has drawn flak from Sri Lankan leaders, who have stated that the article fell under the “fake news” category.


The New York Times. 2018-07-01. How China Got Sri Lanka to Cough Up a Port

HAMBANTOTA, Sri Lanka — Every time Sri Lanka’s president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, turned to his Chinese allies for loans and assistance with an ambitious port project, the answer was yes.

Yes, though feasibility studies said the port wouldn’t work. Yes, though other frequent lenders like India had refused. Yes, though Sri Lanka’s debt was ballooning rapidly under Mr. Rajapaksa.

Over years of construction and renegotiation with China Harbor Engineering Company, one of Beijing’s largest state-owned enterprises, the Hambantota Port Development Project distinguished itself mostly by failing, as predicted. With tens of thousands of ships passing by along one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, the port drew only 34 ships in 2012.

And then the port became China’s.

Mr. Rajapaksa was voted out of office in 2015, but Sri Lanka’s new government struggled to make payments on the debt he had taken on. Under heavy pressure and after months of negotiations with the Chinese, the government handed over the port and 15,000 acres of land around it for 99 years in December.

The transfer gave China control of territory just a few hundred miles off the shores of a rival, India, and a strategic foothold along a critical commercial and military waterway.

The case is one of the most vivid examples of China’s ambitious use of loans and aid to gain influence around the world — and of its willingness to play hardball to collect.

The debt deal also intensified some of the harshest accusations about President Xi Jinping’s signature Belt and Road Initiative: that the global investment and lending program amounts to a debt trap for vulnerable countries around the world, fueling corruption and autocratic behavior in struggling democracies.

Months of interviews with Sri Lankan, Indian, Chinese and Western officials and analysis of documents and agreements stemming from the port project present a stark illustration of how China and the companies under its control ensured their interests in a small country hungry for financing.

  • During the 2015 Sri Lankan elections, large payments from the Chinese port construction fund flowed directly to campaign aides and activities for Mr. Rajapaksa, who had agreed to Chinese terms at every turn and was seen as an important ally in China’s efforts to tilt influence away from India in South Asia. The payments were confirmed by documents and cash checks detailed in a government investigation seen by The New York Times.

  • Though Chinese officials and analysts have insisted that China’s interest in the Hambantota port is purely commercial, Sri Lankan officials said that from the start, the intelligence and strategic possibilities of the port’s location were part of the negotiations.

  • Initially moderate terms for lending on the port project became more onerous as Sri Lankan officials asked to renegotiate the timeline and add more financing. And as Sri Lankan officials became desperate to get the debt off their books in recent years, the Chinese demands centered on handing over equity in the port rather than allowing any easing of terms.

  • Though the deal erased roughly $1 billion in debt for the port project, Sri Lanka is now in more debt to China than ever, as other loans have continued and rates remain much higher than from other international lenders.

Mr. Rajapaksa and his aides did not respond to multiple requests for comment, made over several months, for this article. Officials for China Harbor also would not comment.

Estimates by the Sri Lankan Finance Ministry paint a bleak picture: This year, the government is expected to generate $14.8 billion in revenue, but its scheduled debt repayments, to an array of lenders around the world, come to $12.3 billion.

“John Adams said infamously that a way to subjugate a country is through either the sword or debt. China has chosen the latter,” said Brahma Chellaney, an analyst who often advises the Indian government and is affiliated with the Center for Policy Research, a think tank in New Delhi.

Indian officials, in particular, fear that Sri Lanka is struggling so much that the Chinese government may be able to dangle debt relief in exchange for its military’s use of assets like the Hambantota port — though the final lease agreement forbids military activity there without Sri Lanka’s invitation.

“The only way to justify the investment in Hambantota is from a national security standpoint — that they will bring the People’s Liberation Army in,” said Shivshankar Menon, who served as India’s foreign secretary and then its national security adviser as the Hambantota port was being built.

An Engaged Ally

The relationship between China and Sri Lanka had long been amicable, with Sri Lanka an early recognizer of Mao’s Communist government after the Chinese Revolution. But it was during a more recent conflict — Sri Lanka’s brutal 26-year civil war with ethnic Tamil separatists — that China became indispensable.

Mr. Rajapaksa, who was elected in 2005, presided over the last years of the war, when Sri Lanka became increasingly isolated by accusations of human rights abuses. Under him, Sri Lanka relied heavily on China for economic support, military equipment and political cover at the United Nations to block potential sanctions.

The war ended in 2009, and as the country emerged from the chaos, Mr. Rajapaksa and his family consolidated their hold. At the height of Mr. Rajapaksa’s tenure, the president and his three brothers controlled many government ministries and around 80 percent of total government spending. Governments like China negotiated directly with them.

So when the president began calling for a vast new port development project at Hambantota, his sleepy home district, the few roadblocks in its way proved ineffective.

From the start, officials questioned the wisdom of a second major port, in a country a quarter the size of Britain and with a population of 22 million, when the main port in the capital was thriving and had room to expand. Feasibility studies commissioned by the government had starkly concluded that a port at Hambantota was not economically viable.

“They approached us for the port at the beginning, and Indian companies said no,” said Mr. Menon, the former Indian foreign secretary. “It was an economic dud then, and it’s an economic dud now.”

But Mr. Rajapaksa greenlighted the project, then boasted in a news release that he had defied all caution — and that China was on board.

The Sri Lanka Ports Authority began devising what officials believed was a careful, economically sound plan in 2007, according to an official involved in the project. It called for a limited opening for business in 2010, and for revenue to be coming in before any major expansion.

The first major loan it took on the project came from the Chinese government’s Export-Import Bank, or Exim, for $307 million. But to obtain the loan, Sri Lanka was required to accept Beijing’s preferred company, China Harbor, as the port’s builder, according to a United States Embassy cable from the time, leaked to WikiLeaks.

That is a typical demand of China for its projects around the world, rather than allowing an open bidding process. Across the region, Beijing’s government is lending out billions of dollars, being repaid at a premium to hire Chinese companies and thousands of Chinese workers, according to officials across the region.

There were other strings attached to the loan, as well, in a sign that China saw strategic value in the Hambantota port from the beginning.

Nihal Rodrigo, a former Sri Lankan foreign secretary and ambassador to China, said that discussions with Chinese officials at the time made it clear that intelligence sharing was an integral, if not public, part of the deal. In an interview with The Times, Mr. Rodrigo characterized the Chinese line as, “We expect you to let us know who is coming and stopping here.”

In later years, Chinese officials and the China Harbor company went to great lengths to keep relations strong with Mr. Rajapaksa, who for years had faithfully acquiesced to such terms.

In the final months of Sri Lanka’s 2015 election, China’s ambassador broke with diplomatic norms and lobbied voters, even caddies at Colombo’s premier golf course, to support Mr. Rajapaksa over the opposition, which was threatening to tear up economic agreements with the Chinese government.

As the January election inched closer, large payments started to flow toward the president’s circle.

At least $7.6 million was dispensed from China Harbor’s account at Standard Chartered Bank to affiliates of Mr. Rajapaksa’s campaign, according to a document, seen by The Times, from an active internal government investigation. The document details China Harbor’s bank account number — ownership of which was verified — and intelligence gleaned from questioning of the people to whom the checks were made out.

With 10 days to go before polls opened, around $3.7 million was distributed in checks: $678,000 to print campaign T-shirts and other promotional material and $297,000 to buy supporters gifts, including women’s saris. Another $38,000 was paid to a popular Buddhist monk who was supporting Mr. Rajapaksa’s electoral bid, while two checks totaling $1.7 million were delivered by volunteers to Temple Trees, his official residence.

Most of the payments were from a subaccount controlled by China Harbor, named “HPDP Phase 2,” shorthand for Hambantota Port Development Project.

China’s Network

After nearly five years of helter-skelter expansion for China’s Belt and Road Initiative across the globe, Chinese officials are quietly trying to take stock of how many deals have been done and what the country’s financial exposure might be. There is no comprehensive picture of that yet, said one Chinese economic policymaker, who like many other officials would speak about Chinese policy only on the condition of anonymity.

Some Chinese officials have become concerned that the nearly institutional graft surrounding such projects represents a liability for China, and raises the bar needed for profitability. President Xi acknowledged the worry in a speech last year, saying, “We will also strengthen international cooperation on anticorruption in order to build the Belt and Road Initiative with integrity.”

In Bangladesh, for example, officials said in January that China Harbor would be banned from future contracts over accusations that the company attempted to bribe an official at the ministry of roads, stuffing $100,000 into a box of tea, government officials said in interviews. And China Harbor’s parent company, China Communications Construction Company, was banned for eight years in 2009 from bidding on World Bank projects because of corrupt practices in the Philippines.

Since the port seizure in Sri Lanka, Chinese officials have started suggesting that Belt and Road is not an open-ended government commitment to finance development across three continents.

“If we cannot manage the risk well, the Belt and Road projects cannot go far or well,” said Jin Qi, the chairwoman of the Silk Road Fund, a large state-owned investment fund, during the China Development Forum in late March.

In Sri Lanka’s case, port officials and Chinese analysts have also not given up the view that the Hambantota port could become profitable, or at least strengthen China’s trade capacity in the region.

Ray Ren, China Merchant Port’s representative in Sri Lanka and the head of the Hambantota port’s operations, insisted that “the location of Sri Lanka is ideal for international trade.” And he dismissed the negative feasibility studies, saying they were done many years ago when Hambantota was “a small fishing hamlet.”

Hu Shisheng, the director of South Asia studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said that China clearly recognized the strategic value of the Hambantota port. But he added: “Once China wants to exert its geostrategic value, the strategic value of the port will be gone. Big countries cannot fight in Sri Lanka — it would be wiped out.”

Although the Hambantota port first opened in a limited way in 2010, before the Belt and Road Initiative was announced, the Chinese government quickly folded the project into the global program.

Shortly after the handover ceremony in Hambantota, China’s state news agency released a boastful video on Twitter, proclaiming the deal “another milestone along the path of #BeltandRoad.”

A Port to Nowhere

The seaport is not the only grand project built with Chinese loans in Hambantota, a sparsely populated area on Sri Lanka’s southeastern coast that is still largely overrun by jungle.

A cricket stadium with more seats than the population of Hambantota’s district capital marks the skyline, as does a large international airport — which in June lost the only daily commercial flight it had left when FlyDubai airline ended the route. A highway that cuts through the district is traversed by elephants and used by farmers to rake out and dry the rice plucked fresh from their paddies.

Mr. Rajapaksa’s advisers had laid out a methodical approach to how the port might expand after opening, ensuring that some revenue would be coming in before taking on much more debt.

But in 2009, the president had grown impatient. His 65th birthday was approaching the following year, and to mark the occasion he wanted a grand opening at the Hambantota port — including the beginning of an ambitious expansion 10 years ahead of the Port Authority’s original timeline.

Chinese laborers began working day and night to get the port ready, officials said. But when workers dredged the land and then flooded it to create the basin of the port, they had not taken into account a large boulder that partly blocked the entrance, preventing the entry of large ships, like oil tankers, that the port’s business model relied on.

Ports Authority officials, unwilling to cross the president, quickly moved ahead anyway. The Hambantota port opened in an elaborate celebration on Nov. 18, 2010, Mr. Rajapaksa’s birthday. Then it sat waiting for business while the rock blocked it.

China Harbor blasted the boulder a year later, at a cost of $40 million, an exorbitant price that raised concerns among diplomats and government officials. Some openly speculated about whether the company was simply overcharging or the price tag included kickbacks to Mr. Rajapaksa.

By 2012, the port was struggling to attract ships — which preferred to berth nearby at the Colombo port — and construction costs were rising as the port began expanding ahead of schedule. The government decreed later that year that ships carrying car imports bound for Colombo port would instead offload their cargo at Hambantota to kick-start business there. Still, only 34 ships berthed at Hambantota in 2012, compared with 3,667 ships at the Colombo port, according to a Finance Ministry annual report.

“When I came to the government, I called the minister of national planning and asked for the justification of Hambantota Port,” Harsha de Silva, the state minister for national policies and economic affairs, said in an interview. “She said, ‘We were asked to do it, so we did it.’ ”

Determined to keep expanding the port, Mr. Rajapaksa went back to the Chinese government in 2012, asking for $757 million.

The Chinese agreed again. But this time, the terms were much steeper.

The first loan, at $307 million, had originally come at a variable rate that usually settled above 1 or 2 percent after the global financial crash in 2008. (For comparison, rates on similar Japanese loans for infrastructure projects run below half a percent.)

But to secure fresh funding, that initial loan was renegotiated to a much higher 6.3 percent fixed rate. Mr. Rajapaksa acquiesced.

The rising debt and project costs, even as the port was struggling, handed Sri Lanka’s political opposition a powerful issue, and it campaigned heavily on suspicions about China. Mr. Rajapaksa lost the election.

The incoming government, led by President Maithripala Sirisena, came to office with a mandate to scrutinize Sri Lanka’s financial deals. It also faced a daunting amount of debt: Under Mr. Rajapaksa, the country’s debt had increased threefold, to $44.8 billion when he left office. And for 2015 alone, a $4.68 billion payment was due at year’s end.

Signing It Away

The new government was eager to reorient Sri Lanka toward India, Japan and the West. But officials soon realized that no other country could fill the financial or economic space that China held in Sri Lanka.

“We inherited a purposefully run-down economy — the revenues were insufficient to pay the interest charges, let alone capital repayment,” said Ravi Karunanayake, who was finance minister during the new government’s first year in office.

“We did keep taking loans,” he added. “A new government can’t just stop loans. It’s a relay; you need to take them until economic discipline is introduced.”

The Central Bank estimated that Sri Lanka owed China about $3 billion last year. But Nishan de Mel, an economist at Verité Research, said some of the debts were off government books and instead registered as part of individual projects. He estimated that debt owed to China could be as much as $5 billion and was growing every year. In May, Sri Lanka took a new $1 billion loan from China Development Bank to help make its coming debt payment.

Government officials began meeting in 2016 with their Chinese counterparts to strike a deal, hoping to get the port off Sri Lanka’s balance sheet and avoid outright default. But the Chinese demanded that a Chinese company take a dominant equity share in the port in return, Sri Lankan officials say — writing down the debt was not an option China would accept.

When Sri Lanka was given a choice, it was over which state-owned company would take control: either China Harbor or China Merchants Port, according to the final agreement, a copy of which was obtained by The Times, although it was never released publicly in full.

China Merchants got the contract, and it immediately pressed for more: Company officials demanded 15,000 acres of land around the port to build an industrial zone, according to two officials with knowledge of the negotiations. The Chinese company argued that the port itself was not worth the $1.1 billion it would pay for its equity — money that would close out Sri Lanka’s debt on the port.

Some government officials bitterly opposed the terms, but there was no leeway, according to officials involved in the negotiations. The new agreement was signed in July 2017, and took effect in December.

The deal left some appearance of Sri Lankan ownership: Among other things, it created a joint company to manage the port’s operations and collect revenue, with 85 percent owned by China Merchants Port and the remaining 15 percent controlled by Sri Lanka’s government.

But lawyers specializing in port acquisitions said Sri Lanka’s small stake meant little, given the leverage that China Merchants Port retained over board personnel and operating decisions.

When the agreement was initially negotiated, it left open whether the port and surrounding land could be used by the Chinese military, which Indian officials asked the Sri Lankan government to explicitly forbid. The final agreement bars foreign countries from using the port for military purposes unless granted permission by the government in Colombo.

That clause is there because Chinese Navy submarines had already come calling to Sri Lanka.

Strategic Concerns

China had a stake in Sri Lanka’s main port as well: China Harbor was building a new terminal there, known at the time as Colombo Port City. Along with that deal came roughly 50 acres of land, solely held by the Chinese company, that Sri Lanka had no sovereignty on.

That was dramatically demonstrated toward the end of Mr. Rajapaksa’s term, in 2014. Chinese submarines docked at the harbor the same day that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan was visiting Colombo, in what was seen across the region as a menacing signal from Beijing.

When the new Sri Lankan government came to office, it sought assurances that the port would never again welcome Chinese submarines — of particular concern because they are difficult to detect and often used for intelligence gathering. But Sri Lankan officials had little real control.

Now, the handover of Hambantota to the Chinese has kept alive concerns about possible military use — particularly as China has continued to militarize island holdings around the South China Sea despite earlier pledges not to.

Sri Lankan officials are quick to point out that the agreement explicitly rules out China’s military use of the site. But others also note that Sri Lanka’s government, still heavily indebted to China, could be pressured to allow it.

And, as Mr. de Silva, the state minister for national policies and economic affairs, put it, “Governments can change.”

Now, he and others are watching carefully as Mr. Rajapaksa, China’s preferred partner in Sri Lanka, has been trying to stage a political comeback. The former president’s new opposition party swept municipal elections in February. Presidential elections are coming up next year, and general elections in 2020.

Although Mr. Rajapaksa is barred from running again because of term limits, his brother, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the former defense secretary, appears to be readying to take the mantle.

“It will be Mahinda Rajapaksa’s call. If he says it’s one of the brothers, that person will have a very strong claim,” said Ajith Nivard Cabraal, the central bank governor under Mr. Rajapaksa’s government, who still advises the family. “Even if he’s no longer the president, as the Constitution is structured, Mahinda will be the main power base.”

Pubblicato in: Banche Centrali, Cina, Finanza e Sistema Bancario, Geopolitica Mondiale

Aiib. Infrastrutture asiatiche necessitano 1.7 trilioni Usd ogni anno fino al 2030.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2018-07-05.

Pechino-Cina

«Xinhua News Agency or New China News Agency is the official state-run press agency of the People’s Republic of China. Xinhua is the biggest and most influential media organization in China, as well as the largest news agency in the world in terms of correspondents worldwide. Xinhua is a ministry-level institution subordinate to the Chinese central government, and is the highest ranking state media organ in the country alongside the People’s Daily. Its president is a member of the Central Committee of China’s Communist Party.»

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Aiib,( Asian infrastructure investment bank) è la banca di sviluppo dei Brics nata nell’ottobre 2014, a sostegno dell’Obor (nuova via della seta). C’è poi il Silk Road Fund.

Progetto cinese Obor, One belt One Road, coinvolge più di un terzo del pil mondiale, per ora.

«Obor coinvolgerebbe fino a 65 nazioni: più della metà della popolazione mondiale, tre quarti delle riserve energetiche e un terzo del prodotto interno lordo globale, rappresenterebbe il più grande progetto di investimento mai compiuto prima, superando, al netto dell’inflazione odierna, di almeno 12 volte l’European Recovery Program, il celebre Piano Marshall»

Obor. Progetto cinese su di un terzo del pil mondiale, per ora.

Cina. Grande Muraglia contro la Germania. – Handelsblatt.

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«The third annual meeting of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) kicked off in India’s financial hub Mumbai on Monday with the theme “Mobilizing Finance for Infrastructure: Innovation and Collaboration.”»

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«At AIIB Governors’ seminar during the event on Monday, AIIB President Jin Liqun stressed the need to increase the private-sector investment in financing the infrastructure in developing countries of Asia»

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«We are trying to work with the private sector to do infrastructure projects and investments in other productive sectors so that we don’t have to put pressure on the balance-sheet of the government»

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«I believe that we are not just financers, we are problem solver for the government, for the private sector»

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«Lean, clean and green is the way we work. We invest in sustainability and are guided by those priorities. Our bank is apolitical and all projects have to pass our test on sustainability»

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«According to the latest AIIB annual report, the bank has financed 23 projects worth 4.2 billion U.S. dollars, a significant increase from 2016»

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«It was estimated that Asia’s infrastructure needs will be over 1.7 trillion U.S. dollars per year till 2030»

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Aiib è uno dei tanti veicoli finanziari tramite i quali la Cina finanzia il suo piano di infrastrutture asiatiche.

Nella sua globalità, questo progetto abbisogna di circa 1,700 miliardi Usd ogni anno: sono cifre da capogiro.

L’approccio cinese è linearmente semplice ed empirico.

Finanziano progetti che abbiano immediate o future ricadute in termini di resa economica: alimentano soltanto investimenti produttivi, che producano guadagni sia per la Cina sia per i paesi coinvolti. Tutti devono guadagnare qualcosa.

Non solo.

Nello stipulare gli accordi, i cinesi trattano su scala paritetica, non pongono vincoli politici e ben si guardano da vincoli etici e/o morali. Tanto meno la Cina gradisce intromettersi nei problemi di gestione interna degli stati partner.

Non solo.

Come detto, ma sembrerebbe opportuno ripeterlo data la importanza, mentre gli occidentali contraggono debiti sempre più consistenti per alimentare il loro welfare, i cinesi investono quasi soltanto nel comparto produttivo, dando al welfare solo il minimo indispensabile alla dignitosa sussistenza. E questa è la strategia vincente.

Pil 2018 – 2022. – Previsioni dell’IMF. Grandi sorprese in arrivo.


Xinhua. 2018-06-25. Spotlight: AIIB meeting kicks off with focus on private sector investment in infrastructure

MUMBAI, June 25 (Xinhua) — The third annual meeting of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) kicked off in India’s financial hub Mumbai on Monday with the theme “Mobilizing Finance for Infrastructure: Innovation and Collaboration.”

Over 3,000 delegates from over 80 members as well as varied multinational organizations are attending the two-day event, which will see brainstorming sessions on how to mobilize finance for huge infrastructure needs in developing countries in Asia and beyond.

Policy-makers, officials from AIIB members, and participants from partner organizations, private sector and civil society organizations will share their insights on addressing the huge infrastructure-deficit in a sustainable, environment and society-friendly manner.

At AIIB Governors’ seminar during the event on Monday, AIIB President Jin Liqun stressed the need to increase the private-sector investment in financing the infrastructure in developing countries of Asia.

“We are trying to work with the private sector to do infrastructure projects and investments in other productive sectors so that we don’t have to put pressure on the balance-sheet of the government,” said Jin.

He called upon all the governments in Asia in particular to clear hurdles in the way of private-sector investment for building infrastructure.

He also hoped that the private sector will be more than willing to pour money into infrastructure projects if government clears practical hurdles in the way of investment.

He said that AIIB wants to work as a bridge between private sector and governments.

Jin also shared the best practices adopted by the Chinese government in clearing hurdles for building massive infrastructure across China. “We must be innovative and we must be responsive to the needs of the (local) people,” he said.

He also termed the Beijing-based bank as a problem-solver in order to forge a win-win partnership. “I believe that we are not just financers, we are problem solver for the government, for the private sector,” he said.

At a media-briefing during the event, AIIB Vice President Danny Alexander also enumerated priorities and lending norms of the AIIB. “Lean, clean and green is the way we work. We invest in sustainability and are guided by those priorities. Our bank is apolitical and all projects have to pass our test on sustainability and environment,” he said.

He also said that AIIB would consider investing in projects outside Asia as long as they serve to benefit Asian regions too.

This year, AIIB also launched an inaugural Asian Infrastructure Forum during the Mumbai meeting, drawing investors from private companies around the globe. Speakers at the forum called upon multinational companies to follow public-private partnership model in order to build cross-country connectivity in Asia.

On the sidelines of the AIIB meeting, an “India Infrastructure Expo 2018” was also organized by the host country to highlight the tremendous scope of building infrastructure in India.

While inaugurating the expo on Sunday, India’s Finance Minister Piyush Goyal welcomed AIIB guests from around the world. “We’re extremely delighted at the progress that the Bank has made,” he said.

The indian minister has also lauded AIIB for its achievements in a short time-span of three years.

“The Asian Infrastructure Investment bank has really matured in a short period of time, and is rapidly progressing to become one of the most important infrastructure financiers across the world,” said the minister, who is also on the board of governors at AIIB.

Various private companies and international agencies are showcasing their latest solutions, advanced technologies and other offerings in the arena of infrastructure development at the India Infrastructure Expo.

Among others, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), a UN agency headquartered in Rome is also ready to join hands with AIIB in the area of rural-infrastructure in countries like India and China.

Alexander Boehm, IFAD’s representative and technical specialist at the Global Engagement Knowledge and Strategic Division, told Xinhua at the sidelines of the meeting that China and India share the responsibility to lead new international institutions.

“Given their size, given their market size and enormous potential, it only makes sense to these countries to be more active internationally,” he said, while highlighting the potential scope in building rural-infrastructure in India and China as well as other developing nations.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to address the gathering on Tuesday.

During the annual AIIB meeting, 22 seminars focusing on building infrastructure in Asia and beyond, gender and infrastructure and finding ways to fund infrastructure are being organized.

According to the latest AIIB annual report, the bank has financed 23 projects worth 4.2 billion U.S. dollars, a significant increase from 2016.

It was estimated that Asia’s infrastructure needs will be over 1.7 trillion U.S. dollars per year till 2030.

India has emerged as the biggest beneficiary of the multilateral bank with the country already garnering 1.2 billion U.S. dollars of funds. Another 1.9 billion U.S. dollars of fund to finance various projects in India has also been approved by the bank.

While 75 percent of the bank’s capital comes from Asia, some members from non-Asian regions like Europe, North America, and East Africa, among others, have also joined the bank.

Pubblicato in: Cina, Geopolitica Mondiale, Stati Uniti, Trump

Trump, Fbi, Corney ed Hillary Clinton. Punto di vista cinese. – China Org.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2018-06-19.

Pechino-Cina

«China.org.cn
China Internet Information Center

China.org.cn offers broad access to up-to-date news about China, with searchable texts of government position papers and a wealth of basic information about Chinese history, politics, economics and culture.

The authorized government portal site to China, China.org.cn is published under the auspices of the State Council Information Office and the China International Publishing Group (CIPG) in Beijing.»

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«Errors found in handling of Clinton email probe»

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«Ex-FBI Director James Comey deviated from norms of the agency and the Department of Justice (DOJ) in handling the probe of Hillary Clinton’s use of private email server»

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«Comey’s decisions during the 2016 U.S. presidential election race were not driven by political bias to help either side»

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«report found that Comey was insubordinate when making some key decisions with regard to the probe of Clinton’s email use while she was secretary of state, including his public announcement in July 2016 that there would be no charges against Clinton»

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«The former FBI chief was accused of violating DOJ policy by revealing days before the election that the agency was examining new materials possible relevant to the Clinton probe»

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«Comey tweeted that he respects the Inspector General’s office and the “conclusions are reasonable”»

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Come da consolidata abitudine, China Org usa parole misurate e pacate, riportando i fatti senza commento alcuno.

Ma il fatto stesso che abbia riportato la notizia nella finestra destra ed il titolo come articolo di spalla rende bene l’idea dell’importanza annessa alla notiza.


China Org. 2018-06-15. Errors found in handling of Clinton email probe

Ex-FBI Director James Comey deviated from norms of the agency and the Department of Justice (DOJ) in handling the probe of Hillary Clinton’s use of private email server, according to an internal report released on Thursday.

The report, conducted by Inspector General Michael Horowitz, also concluded that Comey’s decisions during the 2016 U.S. presidential election race were not driven by political bias to help either side.

The highly-anticipated report found that Comey was insubordinate when making some key decisions with regard to the probe of Clinton’s email use while she was secretary of state, including his public announcement in July 2016 that there would be no charges against Clinton.

The former FBI chief was accused of violating DOJ policy by revealing days before the election that the agency was examining new materials possible relevant to the Clinton probe, a decision that, as Clinton has argued, contributed to her loss in the race.

In addition, the report was highly critical of two FBI staff members who exchanged highly charged political messages, finding that their texts created the appearance of bias and cast cloud over the FBI.

“While we did not find that these decisions were the result of political bias on Comey’s part, we nevertheless concluded that by departing so clearly and dramatically from FBI and department norms, the decisions negatively impacted the perception of the FBI and the department,” the report read.

In response to the report, Comey tweeted that he respects the Inspector General’s office and the “conclusions are reasonable,” even though he disagreed with some of them. He said that “people of good faith” can see the “unprecedented situation differently.”

Comey was fired by President Donald Trump in May 2017, which led to the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller, who is looking into whether the president obstructed justice in the Russia probe, among other things.

Trump has repeatedly criticized Comey for his handling of the Clinton probe and also targeted the FBI and the DOJ, which analysts say were intended to undermine the Mueller probe.

At the White House briefing Thursday, press secretary Sarah Sanders said the report is reaffirming Trump’s suspicions about the “political bias among some of the members of the FBI.”

Pubblicato in: Cina, Commercio, Geopolitica Mondiale, India

Cina. New Silk Road. Qualche difficoltà nel sud-est asiatico.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2018-06-12.

2018-06-06__Cina. New Silk Road__001

Il Progetto Belt and Road è un piano a livello mondiale: si propone di costruire quasi ovunque nei paesi sottosviluppati infrastrutture di base: acquedotti, reti fognarie, centrali elettriche e relativa rete di distribuzione, strade, autostrade e ferrovie. Lungo il decorso di queste nuove arterie di comunicazione risulta essere conveniente impiantare realtà produttive, collegate in modo decente con il resto del mondo.

L’intero progetto sarebbe valutabile attorno ai 1,500 miliardi di dollari americani, 580 dei quali da spendersi entro il 2020.

La Cina si propone molti obbiettivi.

L’appoggio politico ed economico fornito a paese poveri, se porto con garbo, costituisce materiale cementante i rapporti. Permette di stabilire rapporti cordiali e di reciproca utilità, destinati ad incrementarsi nel tempo via via che questi paesi poveri entrano in una fascia di almeno relativo benessere.

Il progetto cinese è strategico: se sia vero che interessano anche i risultati immediati, sarebbe altrettanto vero constatare come gli obbiettivi reali siano sul lungo termine. In linea generale potremmo dire tra venti – trenta anni.

Se è vero che il progetto Belt and Roda, di cui il Silk Road è una componente, mira ad aiutare le economie al momento misere ad emergere, sarebbe altrettanto vero constatare che i cinesi intendono averne gestione diretta, anche perché i soldi sono i loro. Un caso paramount è la concessione degli appalti, in cui le ditte cinesi sono invariabilmente preferite a discapito di quelle occidentali.

Belt and Road. La Cina rigetta il rapporto C4ADS. Gli Usa fuori dagli appalti: sono liberal.

Cina. Grande Muraglia contro la Germania. – Handelsblatt.

Questa posizione cinese, peraltro ben capibile, è anche facilitata dalle posizioni occidentali, che legano la possibilità collaborativa delle proprie imprese a vincoli che rispecchiano la proprio particolare concezione etica e morale. Che poi le imprese sgattaiolino anche in modo rocambolesco è un altro paio di maniche, ma senza l’ombrello protettivo di una diplomazia aperta ed efficiente le imprese occidentali risultano essere fortemente penalizzate.

Confindustria tedesca ha definito il sistema cinese come una nuova Grande Muraglia eretta contro di lei.

Il nodo è che a cambiare non sarà certo la Cina: l’Occidente dovrebbe cambiare registro se intende lavorare nel progetto Belt and Road.

Poi, vi sono anche tutti i problemi di rapporti diplomatici con i paesi con i quali la Cina sta collaborando.

Con alcuni paesi questi sono chiari e facili, con altri alquanto tribolati.

Per esempio, la Cina ha ancora in essere un contenzioso territoriale con l’India, la quale non vede poi troppo di buon occhio il prorompente sviluppo economico cinese: il suo concreto timore è quello di restare accerchiata politicamente ed economicamente.

Altri paesi si stanno rendendo conto che, pur essendo il Progetto Belt and Road gigantesco quanto mai munifico, verosimilmente avrebbero potuto contrattare condizioni migliori. Questo è per esempio il caso del Myanmar.

Da ultimo, ma non certo per ultimo, il mondo inizia finalmente a rendersi conto a rendersi conto che, proseguendo su questo trend, tra due decenni la Cina sarà egemone a livello mondiale, evenienza questa che non tutti sono disposti ad accettare.

«The economic corridor did not play an important role in Indian development plans, whereas the Chinese attached great significance to it»

*

Ci si pensi bene.

La Cina cura i propri interessi, pur avendo sempre molta attenzione a fare guadagnare anche gli altri: ma tra i due darà sempre priorità agli interessi cinesi.


Deutsche Welle. 2018-06-04. China’s New Silk Road faces resistance from India, partners

The highly ambitious Belt and Road Initiative promises to fortify China as an economic superpower. But negotiations around the Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar Economic Corridor are proving contentious.

*

China’s Belt and Road Initiative, also known as the New Silk Road project, has been featured prominently in the media ever since President Xi Jinping initiated the program in 2013. China has been touting the BRI as the 21st century’s biggest project. By 2020, China plans to have invested €500 billion ($580 billion) into it.

Judging by some ecstatic media reports, one might assume that thousands of cargo trains are already barreling from China to Europe, and that millions of containers are being handled at ports along the New Silk Road. In reality, however, the BRI faces some severe and partially self-inflicted problems — as the Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar Economic Corridor demonstrates.   

The BCIM is one of six planned economic corridors that China wants to promote in the context of the BRI. Initially, however, the BCIM started out as an independent subregional initiative pursued by China’s southwestern Yunnan province. Back then, it was not part of China’s large-scale BRI program.

In 1991, Yunnan established the BCIM Forum. Researchers and experts met to discuss the opportunities and risks involved in creating a direct land route between Kolkata and Kunming. They identified a number of potential benefits: The world’s most populous countries would be connected, a wealth of natural resources south of the Himalayas could be exploited, and hitherto isolated regions — chiefly India’s seven northeastern states, which depend on the Siliguri Corridor to for access to the rest of the country — could be integrated into the global economy. The political scientist Khriezo Yhome, from India’s Observer Research Foundation (ORF) think tank, even expressed hopes that the project could reduce competition between India and China and thereby contribute to peace and stability.

A BCIM Forum in 2013 brought few concrete results. That was mainly because of India’s reluctance to recognize the summit as an official intergovernmental meeting. So, the BCIM Forum remained little more than a place for academics and other experts to engage in dialogue, as the sociologist Patricia Uberoi, who works at the Institute of Chinese Studies in New Delhi, told DW. Uberoi participated in and contributed to the BCIM talks for many years.

2013’s Turning point

Everything changed with the K2K car rally from Kolkata to Kunming. After Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visited India in May 2013, he and his Indian counterpart, Manmohan Singh, issued a joint statement saying that “encouraged by the successful BCIM Car Rally of February 2013 between Kolkata and Kunming, the two sides agreed to … initiating the development of a BCIM Economic Corridor.”

“By issuing this joint declaration,” Uberoi said, “the BCIM Economic Corridor became an official governmental project.” However, India and China had different expectations. “The economic corridor did not play an important role in Indian development plans, whereas the Chinese attached great significance to it.”

At the meeting, it was agreed to author a joint report on how to progress on the economic corridor project, based on four reports written by the individuals states. This was never realized, however, mainly because Myanmar lacks the resources to go ahead with the project, Uberoi said: “Myanmar said it needs more time. The process, started in 2013, still has not been completed and is way behind schedule.”

Competition — not cooperation

In addition to some states’ lack of resources, persistent mistrust and competition between India and China continue to pose a problem. In 2017, tensions came to the fore with the Doklam border standoff.

“India has repeatedly explained that the BCIM project is part of its ‘Look East’ policy,” Uberoi said. Since 1990, that has been all about connecting India with Southeast Asia in order to strength its own position — and weaken China’s.

The BCIM Forum started as a subregional initiative pursued by Yunnan and other western provinces. “But then Beijing took control over the initiative,” Uberoi said, “putting the commission in charge that also oversees the BRI.” Once China’s National Development and Reform Commission took over in 2015 — and began talking about the BCIM Economic Corridor along with the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is hotly contested by India — it had become apparent that the BCIM initiative had been integrated into China’s wider BRI program. That is understandable from China’s perspective: It’s a means of maximizing its influence. But it did not go down well in India. “A new emphasis was lent to the BCIM project when China made it part of its Belt and Road program,” Uberoi said. Now, India feels disadvantaged. From the outset, officials in New Delhi have stressed that India does not want to be included in China’s ambitious BRI program. And they have remained resolute on this matter.

A missed opportunity

Uberoi said it was unfortunate that China had appropriated the BCIM initiative. She argues that the numerous cultural, ethnic, and social commonalities shared by China’s Yunnan province, northern Myanmar, northern Bangladesh and northeastern India can be better utilized and integrated through a regional initiative than through a project run out of Beijing. “Much will depend on whether local authorities will be involved,” she said. “If the initiative were coordinated by Yunnan province, it would not be seen as a big threat,” she added. “That way, at least China’s central government would not be in charge.”

It would be good, Uberoi said, if other projects emerge that are less under China’s control. Initiatives supported by international donors, for instance, would be less humiliating for India. Currently, India’s northeastern regions are set to lose out; many development projects are on hold given the current situation.

Officials in India, meanwhile, must realize that China has already created facts on the ground, Uberoi said: “If India wants to establish a land connection to Myanmar and Southeast Asia, it will be confronted with Chinese infrastructure inside Myanmar.” As an example, she cited an oil and gas pipeline leading from the Bay of Bengal, via Myanmar’s Rakhine state, to the Chinese city of Kunming. Some strategists have expressed hopes of countering China’s north-south pipeline by establishing a link running from east to west. But it’s too late for that. “You can’t turn back the clocks,” Uberoi said.  

Pubblicato in: Devoluzione socialismo, Fisco e Tasse, Geopolitica Mondiale, Stati Uniti, Trump, Unione Europea

G7. Un G6 + 1 ha esiguo potere, conta ben poco, quasi nulla.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2018-06-10.

 _2018-06-10__G7__001

Chi mai si credono di essere? I maestri che interrogano un alunno?


C’è una terribile domanda che pochi hanno il coraggio di porsi:

«A cosa serve?»

Una risposta è data dalla testata Sputnik.

«G7 is supposed to be a meeting between allies and the fact that the trade policy by the union by the Trump-US administration is targeting those supposed allies is creating, obviously, some response both from the European Union side, from Canada and then to a lesser extent from Japan as well. American policy is cremating the G7 format [for coordinating economic and trade policy].  ….

When the G7 was created it accounted more than half of the world’s GDP but today at parity purchasing power it’s about 35% of the world GDP. ….

Russia said it was not very interested and was looking for another kind of format ….

The G20 is a much more relevant format for decisions regarding the economy than the G7 is. It’s no longer able to set the rules, set the standards for the world. And the fact that President Putin and President Xi Jinping are meeting at the same time suggests that on the one hand we have the G7, which is very much split, and on the other side there’s a G-group summit meeting which attracts less attention but which is also very relevant for the world.»

* * * * * * *

Questa è la realtà dei fatti.

Ma se dal pil ppp dei G7 si sottraesse quello degli Stati Uniti, 19,390 miliardi Usd, resterebbe uno scarno 24% della economia mondiale: troppo poco per poter dettare legge.

Non solo.

Le proiezioni al 2020 secondo l’International Monetary Fund World Economic Outlook (October – 2017) danno i G7 al 27.59%, Stati Uniti compresi: un processo involutivo che a maggior ragione rende i G6 troppo deboli per poter imporre le proprie condizioni.

Inoltre, si tenga conto che Mr Trudeau proprio durante il G7 ha subito una terrificante débâcle nell’Ontario, ove i populisti hanno ottenuto 76 seggi su 124 mentre i liberal del presidente Justin Trudeau  sono crollati a 7 seggi, avendone persi ben 41. In parole povere, Mr Justin Trudeau non conta più nulla.

* * * * * * *

Siamo chiari.

I G6 hanno ancora un grande potere economico, che nessuno deve o può sottovalutare: ma questa potenzialità economica non ha la dimensione tale da poter incidere fattivamente. Avrebbero un disperato bisogno di amici, che però non riescono a coagulare attorno a sé. Ma per ottenere un simile risultato dovrebbero intanto essere uniti tra di loro, cosa che non è. Non è nemmeno detto che al prossimo G7, sempre che si tenga, Frau Merkel, Mr Trudeau, Mrs May e, forse, anche Mr Macron siano lì a rappresentare i loro stati.


Ansa. 2018-06-10. Merkel e la difficile mediazione per arginare Trump

Tra i leader europei è sempre stata considerata quella che ha meno legato con Donald Trump. E che la chimica tra i due non sia mai scattata non è un segreto. L’unico passo avanti fatto nel loro ultimo incontro a Washington è stata la stretta di mano: nel precedente confronto, il gelo era stato tale da far saltare perfino quella. Eppure nel difficile lavorio per evitare una rottura totale con gli Usa al G7 canadese Angela Merkel ha avuto un ruolo fondamentale. Spinta probabilmente anche dagli enormi interessi della Germania, la più esposta in caso di vera e propria guerra commerciale tra le due sponde dell’Atlantico. Chi ha seguito i lunghi negoziati che a La Malbaie si sono spinti fino a tarda notte con una coda di vertice improvvisata e sono poi proseguiti il giorno dopo, racconta come la cancelliera abbia lavorato con pazienza per trovare un terreno, anche minimo, di confronto con il tycoon. Lasciando al presidente francese Emmanuel Macron i botta e risposta via Twitter, il ruolo di trascinatore degli altri leader e anche, quando necessario, quello di ‘duro’. “La fortuna dei leader europei quando hanno una posizione unitaria e devono trattare con altri paesi è che sono tanti, e possono giocare la trattativa su diversi piani. Per dirla all’americana, possono decidere chi fa il poliziotto buono e chi il cattivo”, scherza una diplomatico che ha assistito ai colloqui.

E la novità rispetto al passato è proprio nel ruolo scelto dalla cancelliera in questa occasione. Il poliziotto buono. Che non è certo un segno di debolezza, al contrario. Il dossier dei dazi è importantissimo per la Germania, che si gioca una partita cruciale. Già duramente colpita dalle tariffe su acciaio e alluminio, Berlino riceverebbe un colpo letale se Trump andasse fino in fondo con la minaccia sulle automobili. La Germania da sola ogni anno ne esporta in Usa 500mila e ne produce negli Stati Uniti 800mila. Il calo potrebbe arrivare a 5 miliardi sul Pil. Di qui la scelta di occuparsi in prima persona della mediazione, superando l’irritazione per le continue capriole verbali di Trump. L’ultima, al solito improvvisa, la proposta di abolire tutti “i dazi, le barriere e i sussidi”, da una parte e dall’altra. “Partiamo da qui per riprendere la discussione”, ha risposto pazientemente Frau Merkel al tycoon. Riannodando il filo per arrivare ad un documento condiviso, seppure al ribasso e nonostante l’impossibilità di colmare tutte le distanze, che restano a partire proprio dai dazi. Ma una spaccatura plateale del G7 avrebbe rappresentato un punto di non ritorno. Almeno l’obiettivo minimo – e non era scontato viste le premesse – Angela l’ha portato a casa.


Bbc. 2018-06-10. Trump at G7: Who’s who in Merkel’s photo?

It was always slated to be a tense and awkward G7 summit and an Instagram post from the official account of German Chancellor Angela Merkel appears to have captured one of those moments.

Here’s a who’s who of the people pictured, and where they stand on the trade row:

  1. Donald Trump, US president

Mr Trump shocked America’s allies – namely the EU, Mexico and Canada – when he recently announced a 25% tariff on imports of steel and 10% on aluminium from these countries. They are all threatening retaliatory measures and the rift overshadowed the summit, leaving the American president isolated at times. Mr Trump departed early, complaining that America was “like the piggy bank that everybody is robbing”. But his relationship with fellow G7 leaders was at “10 out of 10”.

  1. John Bolton, US national security adviser

It’s been just three months since he was appointed President Trump’s top security adviser but John Bolton has already made an impact. One of the president’s arguments for the tariffs is on “national security grounds” – a view Mr Bolton has stridently backed.

  1. Kazuyuki Yamazaki, Japanese senior deputy minister for foreign affairs

Promoted to the post in July 2017, he recently led a Japanese delegation to Pakistan and took part in joint talks between Japan, China and South Korea in Seoul about a proposed free trade agreement.

  1. Shinzo Abe, Japan’s prime minister

He has come under increased pressure to join retaliatory measures against America’s steep tariffs. This puts him in a difficult position – he has tried hard to cultivate a warm relationship with President Trump and the two are said to have met at least 10 times since he was elected to the White House.

  1. Yasutoshi Nishimura, Japanese deputy chief cabinet secretary

The MP from Japan’s governing party once worked in the ministry of international trade and industry.

  1. Angela Merkel, German chancellor

She has been at the forefront of talks to try to resolve differences at the summit, as is clear in this photo. Mrs Merkel apparently floated an idea to set up a mechanism to resolve trade disputes between the US and its allies on Friday. Asked during the summit about her relationship with President Trump, Mrs Merkel said the two leaders did not always agree but could talk to each other: “I can say that I maintain a very open and direct relationship with the American president.”

  1. Emmanuel Macron, French president

He engaged in a Twitter spat with President Trump over the tariffs just hours before the summit was due to start – leading some to question whether the blossoming “bromance” between the two was over. Despite this, they were seen to be on good terms, and President Macron’s team said his talks with Trump were “frank and robust”.

  1. Theresa May, UK prime minister

In a telephone call last week, she told President Trump she found the US tariffs “unjustified and deeply disappointing”. But she also struck a more conciliatory tone at the summit, urging fellow leaders to step back from the brink of a possible trade war.

  1. Larry Kudlow, director of the US National Economic Council

President Trump’s top economic adviser has defended Donald Trump’s move to increase tariffs and says his boss should not be held responsible for mounting trade conflicts with US allies. Mr Kudlow said the president’s call for eliminating all tariffs between G7 nations was the “best way to promote economic growth”.

Pubblicato in: Bergoglio, Geopolitica Mondiale, Religioni

Vaticano. Concistoro del 29 giugno. Gli esclusi.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2018-05-24.

San Pietro Piazza 001

I Cattolici stanno crescendo nel mondo. Nel periodo che va dal 2005 al 2013, i battezzati sono passati da quasi un miliardo e 115 milioni a un miliardo e 254 milioni, con un aumento assoluto di 139 milioni di fedeli.

Molte cose stanno accadendo, ovattate e silenziose, come da stile Vaticano. La religione non ama il chiasso.

* * *

Questi i fatti curiali.

SS Benedetto XVI ha tenuto cinque Concistori, elevando alla porpora 90 nuovi cardinali.

Solo due nuovi porporati erano tedeschi:

– Reinhard Marx, arcivescovo di Monaco, nominato il 20 novembre 2010.

–  Rainer Maria Woekli, allora arcivescovo di Berlino, nominato il 18 febbraio 2012.

Solo due nuovi porporati sono francesi.

– Jean-Pierre Bernard Ricard, arcivescovo di Bordeaux, nominato il 24 marzo 2006.

– André Vingt-Trois, arcivescovo di Parigi, nominato il 24 novembre 2007.

*

SS Francesco ha tenuto cinque Concistori, elevando alla porpora 61 nuovi cardinali.

– Gerhard Ludwig Müller, arcivescovo emerito di Ratisbona,

* * * * * * *

La Germania ha ventinove diocesi cattoliche. Ha otto porporati.

«“In Germania non ci sono più preti” …. Lo stato catastrofico della chiesa tedesca, capofila del riformismo ma sempre più divisa ….

Quest’anno, nelle ventisette diocesi del paese, saranno ordinati solo 61 sacerdoti. Erano 74 nel 2017 e 58 nel 2015 (punto più basso mai toccato). Nel 1995, poco più di vent’anni fa, il numero si attestò a 186. I sacerdoti attivi sono oggi 13.856, dei quali solo 8.786 “in servizio”.» [Fonte]

La Kirchensteuer, ossia la tassa che si paga dichiarandosi volontariamente cattolici, è una delle rovine della Chiesa tedesca. Per dirla in modo ovattato e sommesso, i presbiteri tedeschi han venduto l’anima al dio quattrino: per un “cattolico” registrato in più hanno denaturato la Dottrina cattolica ad uso del mondo: sono al limitare della franca eresia. Ci sono ovviamente delle splendide eccezioni, sicuramente, ma, tranne alcuni, gli attuali vescovi tedeschi sono da considerasi più atei che protestanti.

*

La Francia ha centocinque diocesi. Ha sette porporati.

«In tutta la Francia, nel 2014, sono stati ordinati ottantadue nuovi preti. Mai la cifra era stata così bassa. Mancano le vocazioni, la crisi è spaventosa, dice il portavoce della conferenza episcopale nazionale, mons. Bernard Podvin, a cavallo delle festività natalizie in un messaggio che di gioioso ha ben poco: “Quando si ordinano cento preti l’anno e ne muoiono ottocento, è chiaro dove sia il problema”». [Fonte]

Dal 2015 si è notata un certa quale ripresa.

«Cento giovani saranno ordinati nel 2016 sacerdoti in Francia. Un numero in lento e costante aumento. 71 erano i sacerdoti diocesani ordinati nel 2015; 79 nel 2016. Cifra a cui vanno aggiunte le ordinazioni di religiosi. Nella sola diocesi di Parigi sono stati ordinati 11 preti.» [Fonte]

Per la Francia vale lo stesso discorso fatto per la Germania. Da decenni i vescovi francesi professano tutto tranne che il cristianesimo, figuriamoci poi il cattolicesimo.

* * * * * * *

Alcune considerazioni, tra le tante possibili e meritorie.

– La storia evidenzia in modo molto chiaro come ad ogni edulcorazione del credo religioso corrisponda sicuramente, almeno agli inizi, un maggior numero di fedeli, numero destinato però a svanire rapidamente nel tempo.

– Sempre la storia dimostra come le organizzazioni che professino un credo ortodosso e si siano date regole rigide, anche molto rigide, riescano a sopravvivere più che bene anche in mezzo a grossolane difficoltà. Si pensi soltanto all’Ordine Benedettino oppure a quello dei Carmelitani.

– Un esempio per tutti potrebbe essere la Prelatura della Santa Croce e Opus Dei. È l’unica organizzazione cattolica ad avere lo stato di Prelatura Apostolica personale, in forza alla Ut sit emanata nel 1982 da SS Giovanni Paolo II. A livello mondiale conta 92,667 fedeli incardinati, oltre 2,109 sacerdoti. Eppure la purezza dottrinale, la rigidità di vita ed una regola rigorosa scoraggerebbero qualsiasi “benpensante“: non a caso ai tiepidi che escono si fanno ponti d’oro. Dei tiepidi non sanno cosa farsene.

– Per molto tempo sia la Chiesa diocesana francese sia quella tedesca hanno minacciato Roma di fare uno scisma. Roma ha risposto secondo il classico canone in vigore da oltre venti secoli: ha tollerato con la pazienza che si conviene. «Se infatti questa teoria o questa attività è di origine umana, verrà distrutta; ma se essa viene da Dio, non riuscirete a sconfiggerli»: queste erano state le parole di Gamaliele (At, 6, 32-33]. Il clero diocesano francese e tedesco stanno infatti scomparendo.

– In Francia ed in Germania le organizzazioni cattoliche laiche, informali, stanno prosperando in modo consistente, al di fuori di ogni più rosea aspettativa. Stanno solo aspettando anche esse con enorme pazienza che questa Gerarchia scompaia, e che scompaia senza discendenza. Poi si vedrà il da farsi.

* * * * * * *

Alla luce di quanto riportato e detto dovrebbe essere evidente il perché SS Benedetto XVI prima e SS Francesco dopo hanno nominato in tutto cinque porporati di quelle due nazioni e dal 2010 nessuno, tranne il card. Woekli, peraltro molto vicino ad un movimento cattolico ortodosso.


La Stampa. 2018-05-20. Concistoro a giugno, ecco i nuovi cardinali di Francesco

Il Papa ha annunciato una nuova “infornataˮ di porporati: sono 14, 11 elettori e 3 ultraottantenni. C’è il patriarca caldeo Luis Sako, il Prefetto della fede Ladaria, l’elemosiniere Kraiewski, il Sostituto Becciu, il vicario di Roma De Donatis.

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Ha fatto come sempre, un annuncio a sorpresa, senza che i nominati fossero allertati in precedenza. Ha tenuto fino all’ultimo segreto l’elenco dei nuovi porporati, per evitare fughe di notizie. Papa Francesco ha annunciato al Regina Coeli di oggi, domenica 20 maggio 2018, festa di Pentecoste, un nuovo concistoro per la creazione di 14 nuovi cardinali: 11 di loro sono elettori, con meno di ottant’anni, e dunque membri votanti in un eventuale conclave. A questi si aggiungono tre ultraottantenni, figure simboliche che il Pontefice argentino vuole aggregare al collegio cardinalizio. 

«Sono lieto di annunciare che il 29 giugno – ha detto Francesco – terrò un concistoro per la nomina di 14 nuovi cardinali. La loro provenienza esprime l’universalità della Chiesa che continua ad annunciare l’amore misericordioso di Dio a tutti gli uomini della terra. L’inserimento dei nuovi cardinali nella diocesi di Roma, inoltre, manifesta l’inscindibile legame tra la sede di Pietro e le Chiese particolari diffuse nel mondo».

Questi i nomi dei nuovi porporati, che riceveranno la berretta rossa dalle mani di Francesco durante il concistoro che sarà celebrato il prossimo 29 giugno. Luis Raphael I Sako, patriarca di Babilonia dei Caldei, in Iraq; Luis Ladaria Ferrer, gesuita spagnolo, dal 1° luglio 2017 Prefetto della Congregazione per la dottrina della fede; Angelo De Donatis, Vicario di Roma; Giovanni Angelo Becciu, Sostituto della Segreteria di Stato; Konrad Kraiewski, polacco, Elemosiniere pontificio; Joseph Coutts, arcivescovo di Karachi, in Pakistan; Antonio dos Santos Marto, portoghese, vescovo di Leiria-Fatima; Pedro Ricardo Barreto Jimeno, gesuita, arcivescovo di Huancayo, in Perù; Désiré Tsarahazana, arcivescovo di Toamasina, in Madagascar; Giuseppe Petrocchi, arcivescovo dell’Aquila; Thomas Aquino Manyo Maeda, arcivescovo di Osaka, in Giappone. 

Insieme a loro ci sono tre ultraottantenni che, ha detto il Pontefice, «si sono distinti per il loro servizio a la Chiesa»: Sergio Obeso Rivera, arcivescovo emerito messicano; Toribio Ticona Porco, prelato emerito di Corocoro, in Bolivia; padre Aquilino Bocos Merino, dei missionari clarettiani, l’unico non vescovo tra le nomine annunciate oggi.

Apre la lista il patriarca caldeo Sako, una nomina significativa nel panorama del Medio Oriente. Come pure è significativa la porpora che raggiunge l’arcivescovo di Karachi, in Pakistan. Ricevono la berretta a sorpresa il vescovo elemosiniere Konrad Kraiewski, e il Sostituto della Segreteria di Stato Angelo Becciu, quest’ultimo destinato a ricoprire nelle prossime settimane un nuovo incarico in Vaticano. Le nomine strettamente curiali sono tre. Tra gli italiani residenziali non si sono l’arcivescovo di Milano (il predecessore Scola, peraltro, non ha ancora ottant’anni) e gli altri pastori di grandi diocesi, ma quello dell’Aquila, Giuseppe Petrocchi, oltre al Vicario di Roma. Mentre il neo cardinale peruviano Pedro Barreto, nel 2012 era stato minacciato di morte dopo la pubblicazione di una lettera in cui chiedeva di fermare le attività estrattive nella regione amazzonica.

Questa la nuova composizione del collegio che il 29 giugno prossimo passa ad essere composto da 115 a 126 votanti in caso di conclave: di questi 59 sono stati nominati dall’attuale Pontefice, il gruppo più consistente (48 sono quelli creati di Papa Ratzinger, 19 da Giovanni Paolo II). I porporati elettori provenienti dall’Europa passano da 48 a 54; quelli dell’America del Nord rimangono 17; quelli dell’America Centrale rimangano 5, quelli dell’America del Sud da 12 a 13; quelli dell’Africa da 15 a 16; quelli dell’Asia da 14 a 17; quelli dell’Oceania rimangono 4.

Tra le sorprese c’è dunque l’inclusione nella lista di monsignor Kraiewski, Elemosiniere dedito notte e giorno ad aiutare poveri, senzatetto, migranti e rifugiati. «Non ne sapevo nulla – ha detto a Vatican Insider pochi minuti dopo aver ascoltato il suo nome dalla voce del Pontefice – stavo per uscire in bicicletta dal Vaticano quando mi hanno avvertito che dovevo ascoltare il Papa al Regina Coeli. Per me è una sorpresa totale…».

«Davvero il papa mi ha nominato cardinale? Ma nessuno me l’ha chiesto!». Così ha reagito, con un sorriso, il neo cardinale Louis Sako, che ha ricevuto la notizia per telefono dall’Editrice missionaria italiana (Emi) pochi minuti dopo l’annuncio in diretta TV. «Questa nomina non è per me ma per la Chiesa in Iraq e per l’Iraq. Tutto il nostro Paese ha bisogno di appoggio. Questa nomina assomiglia a quella del nunzio in Siria Zenari, come segno di sostegno di Papa Francesco alla nostra Chiesa. Sono molto grato a Papa Francesco. Farò tutto quello che posso a servizio della Chiesa».

Pubblicato in: Armamenti, Geopolitica Mondiale, Stati Uniti, Trump, Unione Europea

Nato, America e Germania. I tedeschi al bivio: dentro o fuori.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2018-05-23.

2018-05-18__Trump__001

L’annuncio è stato dato direttamente dalla Nato, North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

NATO Secretary General and President Trump discuss preparations for July summit

«NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg met with US President Donald Trump at the White House on Thursday (17 May). They discussed preparations for the Summit of NATO leaders in Brussels on 11-12 July, including NATO’s growing contribution to the fight against terrorism and fairer burden-sharing within the Alliance.

Speaking after the meeting in the Oval Office, the Secretary General stressed that in an unpredictable world we need a strong NATO. Mr. Stoltenberg thanked the US President for his leadership on defence spending, which is having a clear impact. All NATO Allies have stopped the cuts and started to increase, with the third consecutive year of defence increases across  NATO European Allies and Canada. “It’s very important that we all contribute more to our shared security,” Mr Stoltenberg said.

The Secretary General and President Trump were joined in their talks by members of the U.S. national security team, including Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, General (ret) John Kelly, Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff and Ambassador John Bolton, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs. In that meeting, Mr Stoltenberg also addressed NATO’s contributions to the fight against terrorism, including by boosting its training missions in Afghanistan and Iraq. 

On Wednesday evening, the Secretary General also met with Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Ambassador John Bolton, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs at the State Department for talks on the situation in Syria, Iran and Russia.»

*

Statements by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and US President Donald Trump in the Cabinet Room at the White House

«PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Thank you very much.  And today I’m honored to welcome Secretary General Stoltenberg back to the White House as we prepare for the upcoming NATO Summit in July.  That will be both interesting and exciting. ….

We’re delighted to report that last year, as a result of our joint efforts, we witnessed the single-largest increase in defense spending among European member states and Canada in a quarter of a century.  That really is quite a spectacular achievement, so I congratulate you.  I congratulate you very much. ….

This afternoon, I want to thank the seven NATO nations, in addition to the United States, who will meet their 2 percent NATO defense spending.  Now, unfortunately, we pay much more than 2 percent, which is probably unfair, and unfair to the taxpayers of the United States.

But the 2 percent number that’s met is Poland, Romania, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Greece, and the United Kingdom.  And they are right up to snuff.  They paid.  They were on time.  They paid the number that they’re supposed to be paying.  We have some that don’t — and, well, they’ll be dealt with. ….

And 2 percent is a very low number.  The number really should be 4 percent.  Two percent is a very low number. ….

In particular, Germany must demonstrate leadership in the Alliance by addressing its longstanding shortfall in defense contributions.  Germany has not contributed what it should be contributing, and it’s a very big beneficiary — far bigger than the United States, frankly.

In addition to that, as you know, they’re buying massive amounts of gas from Russia and paying billions and billions of dollars.  So I think that’s something we’ll be discussing later and we’ll be discussing that at our meeting, and probably long before the meeting. …..

Today, the United States reaffirms our commitment to Article 5 and the mutual defense pact. ….

including by increasing their defense contributions under the Article 3 requirement for preparedness and military capacity.  Have to be prepared.  Never know what’s going to happen ….

We need fairness.  We need to be reciprocal.  Countries have to be reciprocal in what we’re doing.  Unfair that some countries pay, and some countries work, and some countries are loyal and terrific, and other countries aren’t.»

* * * * * * *

Cerchiamo di essere chiari, a costo di essere anche impopolari con quanti vivano le realtà odierne in modo viscerale.

– Al mondo vi sono tre superpotenze nucleari e militari: America, Cina e Russia. Nessuna delle tre apparirebbe essere particolarmente bellicosa, ma l’unico modo per continuare a garantire una pace, per quanto instabile, è quello di conservare gli equilibri di forza. Senza mantenimento degli equilibri il pericolo di conflitto aumenta notevolmente.

– All’interno della Nato i rapporti devono essere reciprochi. Solo chi assolve al dovere di pagare le proprie quote si riconosce il diritto ad essere difeso.

– La Germania ha nei confronti della Nato debiti ingenti, pur essendone la maggiore beneficiaria.

*

Mr Trump ha sicuramente molti difetti, ma i fatti hanno dimostrato come sappia mantenere le parole date.


Reuters. 2018-05-18. Trump: Countries not meeting NATO obligations will be ‘dealt with’

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday that NATO members that do not contribute fully to the group would be “dealt with,” and singled out Germany as a country he said was not doing enough.

At a Cabinet meeting attended by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, Trump listed countries he said had paid the amount “they’re supposed to be paying.”

“We have some that don’t and, well, they’ll be dealt with,” Trump said.

He added Germany “has not contributed what it should be contributing and it’s a very big beneficiary.”

“In particular Germany must demonstrate leadership in the alliance by addressing its longstanding shortfall in defense contributions,” Trump said.

Despite often disagreeing with Trump in other areas, German Chancellor Angela Merkel agrees that Germany should contribute more and wants her country to boost military spending to meet the NATO target of 2 percent. She told senior military officers on Monday more spending is needed in light of changing security requirements in the world.

Stoltenberg praised Trump’s work on shoring up NATO, whose continued purpose Trump questioned while campaigning in the 2016 election.

Sitting on Trump’s right, Stoltenberg said: “Your leadership on defense spending has really helped to make a difference.”

“It is impacting allies because now all allies are increasing defense spending,” he said. “No allies are cutting their budgets.”


The Telegraph. 2018-05-18. Donald Trump says Germany must pay more for defence amid Nato spending tensions

Donald Trump told Angela Merkel it was “essential” that Germany pay more for defence amid tensions over Nato spending .

Mr Trump denied having a frosty personal relationship with the German chancellor, greeting her with a kiss on the cheek at the White House, and calling her an “extraordinary woman”.

However, her visit lasted less than three hours, while Emmanuel Macron, the French president, enjoyed a three-day lavish state occasion earlier this week.

In a 30-minute Oval Office meeting Mrs Merkel pressed Mr Trump not to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, and to step back from tariffs on steel and aluminium

But in response Mr Trump said Germany should meet the Nato goal of spending two per cent of GDP on defence.

Mrs Merkel said her country would spend 1.3 per cent in 2019, an increase over previous years.

She admitted it was “perhaps not, from the president’s perspective, fast enough”.

Mr Trump said: “We talked about the security of Europe and the responsibility of European nations to properly contribute to their own defence.

“All member states must honour their commitment to two per cent, and hopefully much more, of GDP, on defence. It is essential our allies increase so everyone is paying their fair share. A lot of countries have stepped up. They have to keep going.”

Mrs Merkel objected to Mr Trump’s decision to introduce trade tariffs on steel and aluminium.

She said: “We had an exchange of views on where we stand on this. The decision lies with the president.”

Mrs Merkel also laid out that Germany was against pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal.

“We will see what decisions are made by the US. We will continue to be in very close talks on this,” she said.

Speaking at a meeting of Nato foreign ministers in Brussels, Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, said “no decision” had been made on the Iran deal but “absent a substantial fix” Mr Trump was “unlikely to stay in that deal”.

Asked if Germany was spending enough on defence, Mr Pompeo said: “No. They should meet the goals that they agreed to.”