Archive for the ‘Realpolitik’ Category

by Yu-Hsuan Chang and Jan Tzschichhold

The South-China Sea has been an area of conflict for many decades but in 2010 has once again become the centre of attention for a variety of Asian countries. The end of the Cold War highlighted the conflict over natural resources. Besides overlapping claims of China and Vietnam over the Paracel island chain, which also involves Taiwan as the representation of the “Republic of China”, there have been  various claims over the Spartly archipelago which are also partly claimed by the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei. The huge interest in mostly uninhabited islands, atolls and sandbanks cannot simply be explained by the territory’s fisheries and related historical claims, but is attributed to the belief that South-China Sea is enormously rich in hydrocarbon as a source of energy. In order to find a solution for this many sided conflict and to preserve the freedom of navigation in the sea, the United States declared in July 2010 that the South-China Sea represents an American “national interest”. While some argue that the involvement of the US might worsen or escalate the whole conflict in the South-China Sea, others argue that America’s involvement can finally create an opportunity for a constructive conflict resolution. (more…)

by Jan Tzschichhold

Everybody knows that there exist strong economic ties between China and Germany, the world’s top two exporters and respectively the second and fourth strongest economies in the world. Approximately 3 months ago, both countries signed deals worth more than $15 billion. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao set a target of doubling annual trade between the two countries by 2015. Historically, Germany’s relationship with China extended beyond solely economics, and this is still true today. There are various example of how German culture has impacted China and its population. (more…)

by Jan Tzschichhold

The Japanese earthquake, that killed tens of thousands of people and caused several nuclear meltdowns in the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, represented such a devastating and horrifying disaster that its impact reached out far beyond Japan. In particular one country on the other side of the World, more than 9000 km away seemed to be put up side down by the event in the far east. Mass-demonstrations, sale increases of ‘radiation blockers’ and a panic decision to shut down 7 nuclear plants are just a few reactions of Germany’s people and its government. And now the decision is final: Germany will be the first major industrialized country that will renounce nuclear energy. (more…)

by Jan Tzschichhold

In general, global companies  have representations and branches all over the world and can provide a variety of products for a host of different countries.  However. even for the biggest company, it is often difficult to provide such a service to all countries. Extremely small  footnotes are often the only indicator that  many countries are excluded. The United Nations, multi-national organisation of world politics, global seller of Human Rights and monopolist of security and peace (at least claim to be) is no exception to this rule of distributing certain goods only to a small selection of countries. The UN however forgets to put this important side note on its newest invention: The Responsibility to Protect (R2P)

When the ICISS (International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty ) developed the R2P in 2001, its main task was to create a global consensus of intervention for human protection purposes in order to prevent future situations of mass killings and genocide in the world. The truly global and well defined concept however, became watered down to such a great extent, when the UN adopted its key principle on the World Summit 2005, that it can not offer any real protection of threatened populations anymore. (more…)

by Jan Tzschichhold

The Japanese will probably never forget the 11. March 2011, when one of the strongest earthquakes in history killed thousands of people, destroyed vast areas in the North of Japan and created a nuclear threat that has not be seen since Chernobyl. It will take more than a decade for Japan to fully recover from this tremendous disaster, that represents not only a humanitarian and economical crisis but a crisis of political leadership as well.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan, failed to declare a state of emergency right after the catastrophe and its huge dimensions were unfolded. It was therefore impossible to establish clear lines of authority for handling the many-headed crisis. It took the government for example more than 10 days to address the severe shortage of fuel in northern Japan, even though the oil companies were holding huge supplies for an emergency. The official nuclear energy consultant resigned under tears, after he criticized the government for its poor performance regarding the situation of the power plant in Fukushima. (more…)

Germany is the country with the most positive influence in the World. This surprising statement is the result of the BBC World Service Country Rating Poll that interviewed more than 28,000 people all around the world. Finally, after endless decades of Hitler and World War II associations it seems that Germany has successfully replaced its image of the “Dark Empire” with a new perception of positivity. People actually start believing that Germans are no longer the goose step walking, power seeking, heartless killing machines from 65 years ago. They have become the nice guys, that are always on time, produce good cars and have a weakness for good old Lederhosen and Wurst.

This marvellous image change is, of course, the result of many varying reasons. Germany for example has become one of the major “Make Love, Not War” nations on the planet, that tries to pacify the whole world whilst keeping its nose out of any possible trouble or conflict. Furthermore, Germany, different to its “evil” twin brother Japan, managed to make up with its neighbours. A close relationship with an avalanche of kisses and hugs like Sarkozy and Merkel are use to exchanging is probably quite unlikely for the leaders of China and Japan. And please don’t let us forget the most important gift that Germany gave to the World: Football! Not just the boring, traditional sport, but a whole new celebration of life, that was never be seen before. (more…)