World helper instead of world police?
China could be one of the big winners of the COVID-19 crisis. The country has achieved multiple successes, first and foremost it successfully fought back the pandemic. China quickly built a number of new hospitals, demonstrating its strength – a strength that autocratic systems normally lack. China is now producing protective masks for the world and in Italy, is staging itself as the world’s helper. It is also planning a similar move in Turkey. The economically declining country is looking for economic aid, China could hardly wish for a better bridgehead on the new Silk Road to Europe. China will probably do the same in Africa.
The United States has long been the world police. China, meanwhile, seems to be striving for the role of global helper. Europe and the US should think carefully about where they won’t get involved in the future.
Warm greetings from
– Editor Defensio Briefing –
Separatists declare autonomous rule in south of Yemen: Separatists in southern Yemen have declared self-rule, breaking a peace deal signed in November with the internationally recognized government. The Aden-based Southern Transitional Council, which is supported by the United Arab Emirates, declared a state of emergency, saying it would govern the port city and other southern provinces. The Saudi-backed Yemeni government warned of dangerous and catastrophic consequences. The two sides had signed a power-sharing deal that was described by the UN as an important step towards ending Yemen’s civil war. A Saudi-led coalition launched a military intervention in support of the Yemeni government in 2015, after Houthi rebels seized the capital Sanaa. The United Arab Emirates is a member of the coalition but supports the southern separatists.
Canada’s Prime Minister Trudeau wants to tighten gun laws: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised to push through stricter gun legislation as the death toll from the country’s deadliest mass shooting rose to 22. A gunman opened fire at various locations across the northern part of Nova Scotia, Canada, killing 22, including a police officer and one minor, before authorities could shoot the suspect and take him into custody nearly 12 hours later, when he died. “I can say that we were on the verge of introducing legislation to ban assault-style weapons across this country,” Trudeau said Monday. “It was interrupted when the pandemic caused parliament to be suspended, but we have every intention of moving forward on that measure, and potentially other measures, when parliament returns,” Trudeau added.
Attacks on park rangers in the Congo: Suspected Hutu militiamen have killed 16 people, including 12 rangers, in the Virunga national park, a Democratic Republic of the Congo government official has said, in the deadliest attack in the park’s recent history. About 60 fighters from the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, a Hutu rebel group, ambushed a convoy of civilians that was being protected by 15 rangers, said Cosma Wilungula, the director of the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation. Many others were seriously injured, he said. The park has been repeatedly hit by violence. It was shut to tourists for eight months in 2018 after a series of attacks on staff but reopened after a thorough review of security precautions and reinforcement of the 700 rangers deployed to keep animals and visitors safe.
Germany says China sought to encourage positive comments: Chinese diplomats approached German government officials in an attempt to encourage them to make positive statements on how China is handling the pandemic, the German interior ministry said in a letter. The ministry said the government had not complied with these requests. The German government had acknowledged China’s efforts to contain the pandemic, and reiterated that for Germany, transparency played a vital role in successfully combating the pandemic. Green party politician Margarete Bause criticized these statements and accused the government of a soft-pedal approach to China. The EU’s foreign and diplomatic wing said there was evidence of a coordinated push by official Chinese sources to deflect blame for the pandemic and promote its response to the virus.
US condemns launch of Iranian military satellite: The United States has assessed that Iran successfully launched a military satellite into orbit for the first time on Wednesday, according to two US Defense Department officials. The move is seen as a significant step because the country’s space program utilizes the same technology that would be needed to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile, which would increase Tehran’s capability to strike enemy targets. Although there is technological overlap between space launches and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), Iran denies that the aim of its space program is to pursue ICBM technology. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Iran needed to be held accountable for the launch, which he said violated a UN Security Council resolution. “I think every nation has an obligation to go to the United Nations and evaluate whether this missile launch was consistent with that security council resolution,” Pompeo told reporters. “I don’t think it remotely is, and I think Iran needs to be held accountable for what they have done.”
Trump: Unprecedented demand for weapons n-tv.de
Protests in Lebanon: “Hunger is greater than fear” tagesspiegel.de
Anti-terrorism fight: Doubts about offensive on Lake Chad deutschlandfunk.de
South Africa: With an army against the virus taz.de
Bundeswehr: Soldiers produce disinfectants n-tv.de
NUMBER OF THE WEEK
Up to 300 German Bundeswehr soldiers will take part in the EU’s “Irini” naval mission.
Is the pandemic causing global instability? Robert Malley, who was the Obama administration’s special assistant for the Middle East, believes that the coronavirus crisis will lead to an increasing deterioration in public order in many countries. While the pandemic would require states to work together, for example, on economic aid, coordinating travel restrictions and developing medicines, the crisis could also fuel existing trends in populist narratives in a period of “domestic and international inequalities”. In a worst-case scenario, a long-lasting pandemic could lead states to run out of resources to invest in areas such as development aid or international health and aid organizations. US President Donald Trump has so far done a poor job managing the crisis in his own country and is hardly taking care of his own population. Trump certainly did not show international solidarity. China, on the other hand, has shown itself to be generous in helping other countries. Malley fears that the “pandemic-induced hopelessness” will lead to even more xenophobic views in many countries.
Countries are investing more in weapons: In 2019, countries around the world invested around $1.917 trillion in armaments, according to the Stockholm-based peace research institute Sipri. This is an increase of 3.6 percent compared to the previous year, with researchers anticipating arms expenditures to be lower this year due to the global pandemic. The United States remains by far the world’s biggest spender on defense, after a 5.3% increase in 2019. The US 2019 increase of $732 billion, which accounted for 38% of global military spending, is equal to Germany’s entire military spending for that year. The US spends about 3.2% of gross domestic product on defense annually. Germany’s military spending showed the highest rate of increase the highest of any European country in 2019, up 10% from 2018 to a total of $49.3 billion. China and India in 2019 sported the world’s second and third largest defense budgets last year.
Prepper on trial: German police officer Marko G., who was part of the Special Operations Command (SEK) in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania for a long time, is the head of the Prepper group Nordkreuz and is part of the “Hannibal” scandal. Two members of the Hannibal network are currently under investigation for suspected terrorism. Marko G. himself was convicted of violating the War Weapons Control Act. He was accused of hoarding around 55,000 rounds of ammunition. The judgment of the district court in Schwerin states that it is a fact that G. bought an Uzi submachine gun from the Bundeswehr inventory. At least that’s what the defendant says, on whose testimony the court relies in this case. Marko G. himself was stationed at Panzergrenadier Battalion 421, where the Uzi disappeared. The court gave G. credit for fully admitting to his guilt and was mild in determining his sentence. The court said while G. did own a submachine gun, he did not possess any particularly heavy war weapons such as guided missiles, main battle tanks or warships.
“Then why not choose the most modern aircraft on the market, in this case that would be the F-35, instead of the second most modern aircraft, which definitely no longer has the same kind of future perspective.”
German SPD politician Fritz Felgentreu on the defense ministry’s planned purchase of 45 F-18 fighter jets.
Kim Jong-un apparently in good health: There are new questions surrounding the health of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un after his reported absence from “Army Day” celebrations on Saturday. But South Korea’s minister for North Korean affairs said Kim Jong Un had missed the key holiday because of concerns over the coronavirus, not because he is ill. South Korean officials emphasized they have detected no unusual movements in North Korea and have cautioned against reports that Kim may be ill.