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Published On: Sat, Jan 28th, 2017

Germany’s New Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel For Multilateralism – Will He Tackle German Sovereignty?

Christof Lehmann (nsnbc) : Germany’s new Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel noted that domestic and foreign policy are today so interrelated that they are interdependent. Gabriel said the main pillars of German foreign policy are Europe, the trans-Atlantic partnership, and multilateralism. Gabriel is indeed taking the helm of German foreign policy at a time where the world experiences drastic changes but will he tackle the issue of German sovereignty, or the lack thereof, now that US President Donald Trump claims to promote national sovereignty and the UK leaves the European Union?

Frank-Walter Steinmeier_Sigmar Gabriel_Jan 27, 2017_Germany_Photo courtesy Auswärtiges Amt_BRDThe outgoing Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, on Friday, handed over his office to Germany’s new Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel. Steinmeier thanked ministerial staffers as well as their families for outstanding work and partnership.

Steinmeier looked back at what he described as intensive years marked by numerous crisis and said “we have achieved things that we can be proud of”.

One of the many achievements Steinmeier will be remembered for is his role in brokering the Minsk Accords which introduced a ceasefire in Ukraine and laid the foundation for a political solution to the civil war in the country.

What many Germans may have found most noteworthy is that the Minsk Accords were negotiated within the so-called Normandy Four format. That is, with participation of the Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany, with the OSCE and the EU on the sidelines and without participation of the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

17 hour diplomatic Marathon resulted in the Minsk II Accords.

17 hour diplomatic Marathon resulted in the Minsk II Accords.

The new Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel praised Steinmeier for his “brilliant work” and stressed that Frank-Walter Steinmeier will be perfect for the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Addressing the audience at Bellevue Castle, Gabriel said his foreign policy would be a continuum of the one led by Steinmeier.

Sigmar Gabriel said we are experiencing a new survey of the dynamics in global politics. He added that the internal and the external are so interrelated in a globally linked world that they cannot be separated any longer.

He added that this globally entangled world is full of opportunities, but also full of conflicts, tensions and risks. Challenges are increasing, he added.

Gabriel stressed that the main pillars of German foreign policy are Europe, trans-Atlantic relations, and multilateralism. He added that the world and contemporary foreign policy is marked by a global longing for a more just and stable globalization, a world that needs more winners and fewer losers.

On Saturday, January 28, Sigmar Gabriel made his first official visit as German Foreign Minister. He said “I’m heading for Paris”. There he’ll meet his French counterpart Jean Marc Aryault. The main focus of their meeting will be the crisis in the European Union but the two will also discuss conflicts in Syria and the eastern part of Ukraine.

Will Gabriel Touch the Hot Potato and the Omitted Issue of Germany’s Lack of Sovereignty?

It is noteworthy that France is the first country Sigmar Gabriel visits, rather than the United States. While most German media (and politicians) either omit or misrepresent the issue, it is a matter of fact that Germany, decades after the end of the Second World War, still has not regained its sovereignty.

With a U.S. President Donald Trump who underpins the importance of national sovereignty and with the UK leaving the European Union, many Germans ask the logical question “isn’t it about time that Germany regained its full sovereignty?”; but will Gabriel touch that hot potato?

The permanent UN Security Council members have, despite a resolution by the UN General Assembly, failed to remove the so-called “enemy state clause” from the UN Charter. The Charter still designates Italy, Japan and Germany as enemy States to the UN.

Moreover, numerous German as well as international historians, political scientists and experts in international law have pointed out in great detail, that the so-called 2+4 Treaty, is no peace treaty and cannot be a substitute for a peace treaty. The 2+4 Treaty and subsequent agreements, as well as changes to Germany’s laws and its interim fundamental law (Grundgesetz) which “substitutes a Constitution until Germans adopt a new constitution in a referendum”, have several and severe consequences that infringe on Germany’s sovereignty.

In practical terms this means that the Federal Republic of Germany cannot make sovereign decisions pertaining its defense policy and posture and it cannot make important foreign policy decisions that could have a bearing on the “special relationship” with London and Washington without the approval of the UK and the USA. It is within this context that Steinmeier’s success with brokering a ceasefire in Ukraine without UK and US participation can be understood as an “extraordinary achievement”.

Moreover, Germany’s intelligence services “have to” coordinate their work with the intelligence services of the USA and the UK. Following the information leaked by ex-NSA employee Edward Snowden, most media (and politicians) touted the eavesdropping as a “scandal”. The omitted fact is that the NSA can “legally” conduct espionage, including industrial espionage in Germany as long as Germany lacks the sovereignty that would be necessary to put an end to it.

It is noteworthy that a “Deutschlandtrend” poll, conducted at the height of the crisis in Ukraine in 2014, despite mainstream media’s sustained pro NATO and anti-Russian propaganda, showed that about half of the polled Germans did not perceive Germany as permanently anchored in NATO and opposed an eastward expansion of the Alliance. Those who are cognizant about Germany’s lack of sovereignty may read between the lines when Sigmar Gabriel said that interior and exterior affairs could no longer be separated and that the world is longing for a more just and stable globalization, a world that needs more winners and fewer losers.

It is also noteworthy that Japan still has no peace treaty with Russia, and that the Russian Federation expects Japan to accept Russia’s annexation of Japan’s northern territories, designated as the “South Kuril Islands” by Russia.

The Russian Federation makes the signing of a peace agreement dependent on Japan surrendering its rights to the territories that were occupied by the Soviet Union after the end of World War II. In all fairness, so as not to single out the UK and USA, the permanent UN Security Council member Russia has, as any other of the self-appointed permanent members, done nothing to comply with the UN General Assembly resolution to remove the so-called “enemy State clause” from the Charter of the UN.

CH/L – nsnbc 28.01.2017

About the Author

- Dr. Christof Lehmann is the founder and editor of nsnbc. He is a psychologist and former independent political consultant on conflict, conflict resolution and a wide range of other political issues. In March 2013 he established nsnbc as a daily, independent, international on-line newspaper. He can be contacted at nsnbc international at nsnbc.wordpress@gmail.com

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