Stratfor: Germany’s Strategy

Sursa informationala+idee+text:

Autor: George Friedman

The idea of Germany having an independent national strategy runs counter to everything that Germany has wanted to be since World War II and everything the world has wanted from Germany. In a way, the entire structure of modern Europe was created to take advantage of Germany’s economic dynamism while avoiding the threat of German domination. In writing about German strategy, I am raising the possibility that the basic structure of Western Europe since World War II and of Europe as a whole since 1991 is coming to a close.

If so, then the question is whether historical patterns of German strategy will emerge or something new is coming. It is, of course, always possible that the old post-war model can be preserved. Whichever it is, the future of German strategy is certainly the most important question in Europe and quite possibly in the world.

Origins of Germany’s Strategy

Before 1871, when Germany was fragmented into a large number of small states, it did not pose a challenge to Europe. Rather, it served as a buffer between France on one side and Russia and Austria on the other. Napoleon and his campaign to dominate Europe first changed the status of Germany, both overcoming the barrier and provoking the rise of Prussia, a powerful German entity. Prussia became instrumental in creating a united Germany in 1871, and with that, the geopolitics of Europe changed.

What had been a morass of states became not only a unified country but also the most economically dynamic country in Europe – and the one with the most substantial ground forces. Germany was also  inherently insecure. Lacking any real strategic depth, Germany could not survive a simultaneous attack by France and Russia. Therefore, Germany’s core strategy was to prevent the emergence of an alliance between France and Russia. However, in the event that there was no alliance between France and Russia, Germany was always tempted to solve the problem in a more controlled and secure way, by defeating France and ending the threat of an alliance. This is the strategy Germany has chosen for most of its existence.

The dynamism of Germany did not create the effect that Germany wanted. Rather than split France and Russia, the threat of a united Germany drew them together. It was clear to France and Russia that without an alliance, Germany would pick them off individually. In many ways, France and Russia benefited from an economically dynamic Germany. It not only stimulated their own economies but also provided an alternative to British goods and capital. Nevertheless, the economic benefits of relations with Germany did not eliminate the fear of Germany. The idea that economics rule the decisions of nations is insufficient for explaining their behavior.

Germany was confronted with a strategic problem. By the early 20th century the Triple Entente, signed in 1907, had allied Russia, France and the United Kingdom. If they attacked simultaneously at a time of their choosing, these countries could destroy Germany. Therefore, Germany’s only defense was to launch a war at a time of its choosing, defeat one of these countries and deal with the others at its leisure. During both World War I and World War II, Germany first struck at France and then turned to deal with Russia while keeping the United Kingdom at bay. In both wars, the strategy failed. In World War I, Germany failed to defeat France and found itself in an extended war on two fronts. In World War II, it defeated France but failed to defeat Russia, allowing time for an Anglo-American counterattack in the west.

Binding Germany to Europe

Germany was divided after World War II. Whatever the first inclinations of the victors, it became clear that a rearmed West Germany was essential if the Soviet Union was going to be contained. If Germany was to be rearmed, its economy had to be encouraged to grow, and what followed was the German economic miracle. Germany again became the most dynamic part of Europe.

The issue was to prevent Germany from returning to the pursuit of an autonomous national strategy, both because it could not resist the Soviet forces to the east by itself and, more important, because the West could not tolerate the re-emergence of divisive and dangerous power politics in Europe. The key was binding Germany to the rest of Europe militarily and economically. Put another way, the key was to make certain that German and French interests coincided, since tension between France and Germany had been one of the triggers of prior wars since 1871. Obviously, this also included other Western European countries, but it was Germany’s relationship with France that was most important.

Militarily, German and French interests were tied together under the NATO alliance even after France withdrew from the NATO Military Committee under Charles de Gaulle. Economically, Germany was bound with Europe through the emergence of more sophisticated multilateral economic organizations that ultimately evolved into the European Union.

After World War II, West Germany’s strategy was threefold. First, it had to defend itself against the Soviet Union in concert with an alliance that would effectively command its military through NATO. This would limit German sovereignty but eliminate the perception of Germany as a threat. Second, it would align its economy with that of the rest of Europe, pursuing prosperity without undermining the prosperity of other countries. Third, it would exercise internal political sovereignty, reclaiming its rights as a nation without posing a geopolitical threat to Western Europe. After the fall of the Soviet Union, this was extended to include Eastern European states.

The strategy worked well. There was no war with the Soviets. There was no fundamental conflict in Western Europe and certainly none that was military in nature. The European economy in general, and the German economy in particular, surged once East Germany had been reintegrated with West Germany. With reintegration, German internal sovereignty was insured. Most important, France remained linked to Germany via the European Union and NATO. Russia, or what was left after the collapse of the Soviet Union, was relatively secure so long as Germany remained part of European structures. The historical strategic problem Germany had faced appeared solved.

Europe’s Economic Crisis

The situation became more complex after 2008. Germany’s formal relationship with NATO remained intact, but without the common threat of the Soviet Union, the alliance was fracturing over the divergent national interests of its members. The European Union had become Germany’s focus, and the bloc had come under intense pressure that made the prior alignment of all European countries more dubious. Germany needed the European Union. It needed it for the reasons that have existed since World War II: as a foundation of its relationship with France and as a means to ensure that national interest would not generate the kinds of conflicts that had existed in the past.

It needed the European Union for another reason as well. Germany is the second-largest exporter in the world. It exports to many countries, but Europe is a critical customer. The free-trade zone that was the foundation of the European Union was also one of the foundations of the German economy. Protectionism in general, but certainly protectionism in Europe, threatened Germany, whose industrial plant substantially outstripped its domestic consumption. The pricing of the euro aided German exports, and regulations in Brussels gave Germany other advantages. The European Union, as it existed between 1991 and 2008, was critical to Germany.

However, the European Union no longer functions as it once did. The economic dynamics of Europe have placed many countries at a substantial disadvantage, and the economic crisis of 2008 triggered a sovereign debt crisis and banking crisis in Europe.

There were two possible solutions in the broadest sense. One was that the countries in crisis impose austerity in order to find the resources to solve their problem. The other was that the prosperous part of Europe underwrites the debts, sparing these countries the burden of austerity. The solution that has been chosen is obviously a combination of the two, but the precise makeup of that combination was and remains a complex matter for negotiation.

Germany needs the European Union to survive for both political and economic reasons. The problem is that it is not clear that a stable economic solution can emerge that will be supported by the political systems in Europe.

Germany is prepared to bail out other European countries if they impose austerity and then take steps to make sure that the austerity is actually implemented to the degree necessary and that the crisis is not repeated. From Germany’s point of view, the roots of the crisis lie in the fiscal policies of the troubled countries. Therefore, the German price for underwriting part of the debt is that European bureaucrats, heavily oriented toward German policies, be effectively put in charge of the finances of countries receiving aid against default.

This would mean that these countries would not control either taxes or budgets through their political system. It would be an assault on democracy and national sovereignty. Obviously, there has been a great deal of opposition from potential recipients of aid, but it is also opposed by some countries that see it as something that would vastly increase the power of Germany. If you accept the German view, which is that the debt crisis was the result of reckless spending, then Germany’s proposal is reasonable. If you accept the view of southern Europe, which is that the crisis was the result of the European Union’s design, then what Germany is proposing is the imposition of German power via economics.

It is difficult to imagine a vast surrender of sovereignty to a German-dominated EU bureaucracy, whatever the economic cost. It is also difficult to imagine Germany underwriting the debt without some controls beyond promises; even if the European Union is vitally important to the Germans, German public opinion will not permit it. Finally, it is difficult to see how, in the long term, the Europeans can reconcile their differences on this issue. The issue must come to a head, if not in this financial crisis then in the next – and there is always a next crisis.

An Alternative Strategy

In the meantime, the basic framework of Europe has changed since 1991. Russia remains a shadow of the Soviet Union, but it has become a major exporter of natural gas. Germany depends on that natural gas even as it searches for alternatives. Russia is badly in need of technology, which Germany has in abundance. Germany does not want to invite in any more immigrants out of fear of instability. However, with a declining population, Germany must do something.

Russia also has a declining population, but even so, it has a surplus of workers, both unemployed and underemployed. If the workers cannot be brought to the factories, the factories can be brought to the workers. In short, there is substantial synergy between the Russian and German economies. Add to this that the Germans feel under heavy pressure from the United States to engage in actions the Germans want to be left out of, while the Russians see the Americans as a threat to their interests, and there are politico-military interests that Germany and Russia have in common.

NATO is badly frayed. The European Union is under tremendous pressure and national interests are now dominating European interests. Germany’s ability to use the European Union for economic ends has not dissipated but can no longer be relied on over the long term. Therefore, it follows that Germany must be considering an alternative strategy. Its relationship with Russia is such a strategy.

Germany is not an aggressive power. The foundation of its current strategy is its relationship with France in the context of the European Union. The current French government under President Nicolas Sarkozy is certainly committed to this relationship, but the French political system, like those of other European countries, is under intense pressure. The coming elections in France are uncertain, and the ones after that are even less predictable. The willingness of France to engage with Germany, which has a massive trade imbalance with France, is an unknown.

However, Germany’s strategic interest is not necessarily a relationship with France but a relationship with either France or Russia to avoid being surrounded by hostile powers. For Germany, a relationship with Russia does as well as one with France. ==>An ideal situation for Germany would be a Franco-German-Russian entente.<== Such an alliance has been tried in the past, but its weakness is that it would provide too much security to Germany, allowing it to be more assertive. Normally, France and Russia have opposed Germany, but in this case, it is certainly possible to have a continuation of the Franco-German alliance or a Russo-French alliance. Indeed, a three-way alliance might be possible as well.

Germany’s current strategy is to preserve the European Union and its relationship with France while drawing Russia closer into Europe. The difficulty of this strategy is that Germany’s trade policies are difficult for other European countries to manage, including France. If Germany faces an impossible situation with the European Union, the second strategic option would be a three-way alliance, with a modified European Union or perhaps outside of the EU structure. If France decides it has other interests, such as its idea of a Mediterranean Union, then a German-Russian relationship becomes a real possibility.

A German-Russian relationship would have the potential to tilt the balance of power in the world. The United States is currently the dominant power, but the combination of German technology and Russian resources – an idea dreamt of by many in the past – would become a challenge on a global basis. Of course, there are bad memories on both sides, and trust in the deepest sense would be hard to come by. But although alliances rely on trust, it does not necessarily have to be deep-seated trust.

Germany’s strategy, therefore, is still locked in the EU paradigm. However, if the EU paradigm becomes unsupportable, then other strategies will have to be found. The Russo-German relationship already exists and is deepening. Germany thinks of it in the context of the European Union, but if the European Union weakens, Russia becomes Germany’s natural alternative.

Comunicat de presa, 16 iunie 2011

Bucureşti, 16 iunie 2011   Președintele Partidului Național Liberal, Crin Antonescu, a avut, joi, 16 iunie a.c., o întrevedere cu preşedintele Comisiei pentru Afaceri Europene în Parlamentul Germaniei, Gunther Krichbaum.

Subiectele abordate în cadrul întâlnirii au vizat programul de guvernare al Uniunii Social Liberale și viziunile lansate de USL, combaterea fenomenului corupției și funcționarea instituțiilor statului de drept, precum și organizarea administrativ-teritorială a României.

Un alt subiect abordat a fost gestionarea domeniului afacerilor europene de către actualul Guvern, precum și stadiul absorbției fondurilor europene.

Departamentul de Analiză Politică și Comunicare al PNL

Analiza Stratfor: V4 un nou bloc militar

La 12 mai s-a infiintat blocul militar V4, care cuprinde Polonia, Ungaria, Cehia si Slovacia. Acest grup militar isi propune realizarea unei aliante militare care se va intinde de la Marea Nordului la Marea Neagra. Comandamentul militar se afla in mana generalilor polonezi.


Visegrad: A New Europe Military Force

Text + grafica + analiza + sursa informationala:

Autor: George Friedman

With the Palestinians demonstrating and the International Monetary Fund in turmoil, it would seem odd to focus this week on something called the Visegrad Group. But this is not a frivolous choice. What the Visegrad Group decided to do last week will, I think, resonate for years, long after the alleged attempted rape by Dominique Strauss-Kahn is forgotten and long before the Israeli-Palestinian issue is resolved. The obscurity of the decision to most people outside the region should not be allowed to obscure its importance.

The region is Europe — more precisely, the states that had been dominated by the Soviet Union. The Visegrad Group, or V4, consists of four countries — Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary — and is named after two 14th century meetings held in Visegrad Castle in present-day Hungary of leaders of the medieval kingdoms of Poland, Hungary and Bohemia. The group was reconstituted in 1991 in post-Cold War Europe as the Visegrad Three (at that time, Slovakia and the Czech Republic were one). The goal was to create a regional framework after the fall of Communism. This week the group took an interesting new turn.

On May 12, the Visegrad Group announced the formation of a “battle group” under the command of Poland. The battle group would be in place by 2016 as an independent force and would not be part of NATO command. In addition, starting in 2013, the four countries would begin military exercises together under the auspices of the NATO Response Force.

Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the primary focus of all of the Visegrad nations had been membership in the European Union and NATO. Their evaluation of their strategic position was threefold. First, they felt that the Russian threat had declined if not dissipated following the fall of the Soviet Union. Second, they felt that their economic future was with the European Union. Third, they believed that membership in NATO, with strong U.S. involvement, would protect their strategic interests. Of late, their analysis has clearly been shifting.

First, Russia has changed dramatically since the Yeltsin years. It has increased its power in the former Soviet sphere of influence substantially, and in 2008 it carried out an effective campaign against Georgia. Since then it has also extended its influence in other former Soviet states. The Visegrad members’ underlying fear of Russia, built on powerful historical recollection, has become more intense. They are both the front line to the former Soviet Union and the countries that have the least confidence that the Cold War is simply an old memory.

Second, the infatuation with Europe, while not gone, has frayed. The ongoing economic crisis, now focused again on Greece, has raised two questions: whether Europe as an entity is viable and whether the reforms proposed to stabilize Europe represent a solution for them or primarily for the Germans. It is not, by any means, that they have given up the desire to be Europeans, nor that they have completely lost faith in the European Union as an institution and an idea. Nevertheless, it would be unreasonable to expect that these countries would not be uneasy about the direction that Europe was taking. If one wants evidence, look no further than the unease with which Warsaw and Prague are deflecting questions about the eventual date of their entry into the Eurozone. Both are the strongest economies in Central Europe, and neither is enthusiastic about the euro.

Finally, there are severe questions as to whether NATO provides a genuine umbrella of security to the region and its members. The NATO strategic concept, which was drawn up in November 2010, generated substantial concern on two scores. First, there was the question of the degree of American commitment to the region, considering that the document sought to expand the alliance’s role in non-European theaters of operation. For example, the Americans pledged a total of one brigade to the defense of Poland in the event of a conflict, far below what Poland thought necessary to protect the North European Plain. Second, the general weakness of European militaries meant that, willingness aside, the ability of the Europeans to participate in defending the region was questionable. Certainly, events in Libya, where NATO had neither a singular political will nor the military participation of most of its members, had to raise doubts. It was not so much the wisdom of going to war but the inability to create a coherent strategy and deploy adequate resources that raised questions of whether NATO would be any more effective in protecting the Visegrad nations.

There is another consideration. Germany’s commitment to both NATO and the EU has been fraying. The Germans and the French split on the Libya question, with Germany finally conceding politically but unwilling to send forces. Libya might well be remembered less for the fate of Moammar Gadhafi than for the fact that this was the first significant strategic break between Germany and France in decades. German national strategy has been to remain closely aligned with France in order to create European solidarity and to avoid Franco-German tensions that had roiled Europe since 1871. This had been a centerpiece of German foreign policy, and it was suspended, at least temporarily.

The Germans obviously are struggling to shore up the European Union and questioning precisely how far they are prepared to go in doing so. There are strong political forces in Germany questioning the value of the EU to Germany, and with every new wave of financial crises requiring German money, that sentiment becomes stronger. In the meantime, German relations with Russia have become more important to Germany. Apart from German dependence on Russian energy, Germany has investment opportunities in Russia. The relationship with Russia is becoming more attractive to Germany at the same time that the relationship to NATO and the EU has become more problematic.

For all of the Visegrad countries, any sense of a growing German alienation from Europe and of a growing German-Russian economic relationship generates warning bells. Before the Belarusian elections there was hope in Poland that pro-Western elements would defeat the least unreformed regime in the former Soviet Union. This didn’t happen. Moreover, pro-Western elements have done nothing to solidify in Moldova or break the now pro-Russian government in Ukraine. Uncertainty about European institutions and NATO, coupled with uncertainty about Germany’s attention, has caused a strategic reconsideration — not to abandon NATO or the EU, of course, nor to confront the Russians, but to prepare for all eventualities.

It is in this context that the decision to form a Visegradian battle group must be viewed. Such an independent force, a concept generated by the European Union as a European defense plan, has not generated much enthusiasm or been widely implemented. The only truly robust example of an effective battle group is the Nordic Battle Group, but then that is not surprising. The Nordic countries share the same concerns as the Visegrad countries — the future course of Russian power, the cohesiveness of Europe and the commitment of the United States.

In the past, the Visegrad countries would have been loath to undertake anything that felt like a unilateral defense policy. Therefore, the decision to do this is significant in and of itself. It represents a sense of how these countries evaluate the status of NATO, the U.S. attention span, European coherence and Russian power. It is not the battle group itself that is significant but the strategic decision of these powers to form a sub-alliance, if you will, and begin taking responsibility for their own national security. It is not what they expected or wanted to do, but it is significant that they felt compelled to begin moving in this direction.

Just as significant is the willingness of Poland to lead this military formation and to take the lead in the grouping as a whole. Poland is the largest of these countries by far and in the least advantageous geographical position. The Poles are trapped between the Germans and the Russians. Historically, when Germany gets close to Russia, Poland tends to suffer. It is not at that extreme point yet, but the Poles do understand the possibilities. In July, the Poles will be assuming the EU presidency in one of the union’s six-month rotations. The Poles have made clear that one of their main priorities will be Europe’s military power. Obviously, little can happen in Europe in six months, but this clearly indicates where Poland’s focus is.

The militarization of the V4 runs counter to its original intent but is in keeping with the geopolitical trends in the region. Some will say this is over-reading on my part or an overreaction on the part of the V4, but it is neither. For the V4, the battle group is a modest response to emerging patterns in the region, which STRATFOR had outlined in its 2011 Annual Forecast. As for my reading, I regard the new patterns not as a minor diversion from the main pattern but as a definitive break in the patterns of the post-Cold War world. In my view, the post-Cold War world ended in 2008, with the financial crisis and the Russo-Georgian war. We are in a new era, as yet unnamed, and we are seeing the first breaks in the post-Cold War pattern.

I have argued in previous articles and books that there is a divergent interest between the European countries on the periphery of Russia and those farther west, particularly Germany. For the countries on the periphery, there is a perpetual sense of insecurity, generated not only by Russian power compared to their own but also by uncertainty as to whether the rest of Europe would be prepared to defend them in the event of Russian actions. The V4 and the other countries south of them are not as sanguine about Russian intentions as others farther away are. Perhaps they should be, but geopolitical realities drive consciousness and insecurity and distrust defines this region.

I had also argued that an alliance only of the four northernmost countries is insufficient. I used the concept “Intermarium,” which had first been raised after World War I by a Polish leader, Joseph Pilsudski, who understood that Germany and the Soviet Union would not be permanently weak and that Poland and the countries liberated from the Hapsburg Empire would have to be able to defend themselves and not have to rely on France or Britain.

Pilsudski proposed an alliance stretching from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea and encompassing the countries to the west of the Carpathians — Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria. In some formulations, this would include Yugoslavia, Finland and the Baltics. The point was that Poland had to have allies, that no one could predict German and Soviet strength and intentions, and that the French and English were too far away to help. The only help Poland could have would be an alliance of geography — countries with no choice.

It follows from this that the logical evolution here is the extension of the Visegrad coalition. At the May 12 defense ministers’ meeting, there was discussion of inviting Ukraine to join in. Twenty or even 10 years ago, that would have been a viable option. Ukraine had room to maneuver. But the very thing that makes the V4 battle group necessary — Russian power — limits what Ukraine can do. The Russians are prepared to give Ukraine substantial freedom to maneuver, but that does not include a military alliance with the Visegrad countries.

===>An alliance with Ukraine would provide significant strategic depth. It is unlikely to happen. That means that the alliance must stretch south, to include Romania and Bulgaria. The low-level tension between Hungary and Romania over the status of Hungarians in Romania makes that difficult, but if the Hungarians can live with the Slovaks, they can live with the Romanians. Ultimately, the interesting question is whether Turkey can be persuaded to participate in this, but that is a question far removed from Turkish thinking now. History will have to evolve quite a bit for this to take place. For now, the question is Romania and Bulgaria.<===

But the decision of the V4 to even propose a battle group commanded by Poles is one of those small events that I think will be regarded as a significant turning point. However we might try to trivialize it and place it in a familiar context, it doesn’t fit. It represents a new level of concern over an evolving reality — the power of Russia, the weakness of Europe and the fragmentation of NATO. This is the last thing the Visegrad countries wanted to do, but they have now done the last thing they wanted to do. That is what is significant.

Events in the Middle East and Europe’s economy are significant and of immediate importance. However, sometimes it is necessary to recognize things that are not significant yet but will be in 10 years. I believe this is one of those events. It is a punctuation mark in European history.

Despre fundamentala componentă diplomatică a regalității

Autor: Principele Radu al Romaniei

Sursa informationala: ACUM

Componenta diplomatică a regalității a fost mereu o constantă, o fațetă importantă a instituției monarhice, în toate timpurile. În programul săptămânal al Familiilor Regale, reprezentarea, ospitalitatea și diplomația sunt fundamente ale activității publice. A fost așa și va rămâne mereu așa. Fiindcă ambientul, cadrul în care Familia Regală trăiește și muncește este dătător de inspirație, mândrie, încredere, confort identitar. Ritualul de zi cu zi al primirilor și vizitelor regale este un prilej de a face națiunea mai bine înțeleasă în lume, el este un fel de carte de vizită vie a unei țări.

În Familia Regală română acest aspect a fost valabil mereu, chiar și în anii exilului. Nenumărate au fost vizitele Regelui Mihai și ale Reginei Ana, ale Reginei-mamă Elena, apoi ale Principeselor în lume, pentru a reprezenta cum se cuvine țara din care veneau. În ultimii douăzeci de ani aceste eforturi de reprezentare externă nu au făcut decât să crească.

Urmând tradiția Reginei Maria, Principesa Moștenitoare a fost reprezentanta Familiei cea mai activă în plan extern. Dacă ar fi să numărărăm deplasările ei externe, din Elveția sau, după 2001, din România, am ajunge la cifre remarcabile.

În iunie 2009 și aprilie 2010 am fost oaspeții Regelui Juan Carlos I și ai Regine Sofia la Madrid. În cea de-a doua vizită, Regele Mihai I și Regina Ana au luat, de asemenea, parte la slujba de Înviere din Piața Columb, în prezența a mii de români. Principele și Principesa de Asturia au fost prezenți la întâlnirea din aprilie 2010.

Regina Elisabeta a II-a și Ducele de Edinburg au fost gazdele noastre în noiembrie 2008, la Palatul Buckigham. Au fost prezenți Principele de Wales și Ducesa de Cornwall. Cu aceeași ocazie, ne-am întâlnit cu Președintele Hamid Karzai al Afganistanului, cu Regele Abdullah II al Iordaniei, cu Emirul Qatarului și cu Regele Bahrainului. Au fost, de asemenea, prezenți majoritatea regilor și reginelor Europei. În noiembrie 2009, Regina Elisabeta II ne-a primit din nou, pe Principesa Moștenitoare și pe mine, la Palatul Buckingham. În anul 2007, am fost oaspeții Principelui de Wales la Clarence House. În mai 2010, Principele Charles a dorit să vină la Palatul Elisabeta, pentru a sărbători alături de noi cei cincizeci de ani ai mei, și numai un detaliu neprevăzut din program l-a împiedicat să o facă.

În noiembrie 2009 am efectuat prima noastră vizită în Statul Qatar, ca oaspeți ai Alteței Sale Emirului.

În aprilie 2010 am fost oaspeții Regelui Abdullah II, în Iordania. Cu acea ocazie ne-am întâlnit cu Principesa Muna, mama Suveranului, și cu Principele El Hassan.

În patru ocazii, în ultimii ani, am fost oaspeții Marelui Duce și ai Marei Ducese de Luxemburg. Cum Luxemburg este, alături de Bruxelles și de Strasbourg, una dintre capitalele Uniunii Europene, vizitele au fost un prilej de a avea contacte cu înalți oficiali europeni.

La Bruxellles, în ultimii ani am fost primiți de Regele Albert II și de Regina Paola, ne-am întâlnit cu Principele Moștenitor Philippe și Principesa Moștenitoare Mathilde, cu Regina Fabiola, cu Principesa Astrid și Principele Lorenz. De asemenea, Principesa Moștenitoare și cu mine ne-am întâlnit cu președintele Parlamentului European, Hans-Gert Pöttering și cu președintele Comisiei Europene, José Manuel Barosso și cu doamna Margarida Barosso.

În anul 2006, Principesa Moștenitoare și cu mine am reprezentat România și Familia Regală la Stockholm, invitați de Regele Carl XVI Gustaf și Regina Silvia, cu ocazia ceremoniilor de Stat prilejuite de jubileul de 60 de ani ai Regelui. În iunie 2010, amândoi am reprezentat Familia Regală română la căsătoria Principesei Moștenitoare Victoria cu Principele Daniel.

În anul 2007 am efectuat o vizită în Senegal, în cursul căreia m-m-am întâlnit cu oficiali parlamentari, guvernamentali și militari, la Dakar și Saint-Louis. De asemenea, am fost oaspetele Primei Doamne a Senegalului, Viviane Wade, la Palatul Prezidențial.

În Turneele Prieteniei din SUA, Principesa și cu mine am fost primiți de Guvernatorii statelor Illinos, Ohio și Nevada.

La Moscova, în mai 2005, Regele Mihai și Regina Ana, însoțiți de mine, am fost prezenți la comemorarea împlinirii a 60 de ani de la încheierea celui de-al doilea război mondial. Atunci am întâlnit pe Președintele Vladimir Putin. Cu ocazia comemorării a 65 de ani de la aelași eveniment, în mai 2010, Regele Mihai, însoțit de mine, a fost din nou prezent la Moscova, unde s-a întâlnit cu Președintele Dmitri Medvedev.

Regele Mihai și Regina Ana, însoțiți de mine, s-au întâlnit cu Președintele Slovaciei și cu Prima Doamnă a Cehiei, Livia Klausova, în mai 2005, la Bratislava și Praga. O nouă vizită la Praga este programată pentru noiembrie 2010.

În anul 2005, am fost primit la Tbilisi, în cadrul primei mele vizite în Georgia, de Președintele Mihail Saakașvili.

La Paris, Prima Doamnă a Franței, Bernadette Chirac, a onorat cu prezența sa Gala Fundației Principesa Margareta a României, în anul 2006.

Regele Mihai și Regina Ana au fost primiți în audiență privată la Vatican, de Papa Ioan Paul al II-lea, în anul 1999. Principesa Mpoștenitoare și cu mine am fost primiți în audiență generală, în aprilie 2003. Regele Mihai a participat la funeraliile Papei Ioan Paul al II-lea.

În diverse ocazii oficiale, am întâlnit în capitale ale Europei înalte personalități statale: Principele Moștenitor Naruhito al Japoniei la Madrid în anul 2004, Principesa Sirindhorn a Thailandei la Luxemburg în 2006, Regina Beatrix a Olandei în 2006, 2007 și 2008, pe Regele Harald V la Londra în 2008, pe Președintele Stipe Mesici la Zagreb în 2004 și la Moscova în 2005 și 2010.

La rândul nostru, am fost gazde la București sau Săvârșin în multe ocazii. Principele Felipe și Principesa Letiția ai Spaniei în 2009, Prima doamnă a Cehiei în 2006, Prima doamnă a Senegalului în 2008, Marele Duce Henri și Marea Ducesă Maria Tereza ai Luxemburgului în 2005, Regele Carl XVI Gustaf și Regina Silvia ai Suediei în 2003, Regele Juan Carlos și Regina Sofia ai Spaniei în 2003, Regele Simeon și Regina Margarita ai Bulgariei în 2006, 2008 și 2009, Arhiducele Otto al Austriei în 2007, Principele Suveran al Ordinului de Malta în 2003, ocazie cu care Principesa Margareta a primit Marea Cruce a Ordinului, Principesa Astrid și Principele Lorenz în anul 2006, Regele Constantin II și Regina Anne-Marie ai Greciei în 2008, Președintele Parlamentului Filipinelor în anul 2006, Principele El Hassan al Iordaniei în 2006 și 2008.

Cu ocazia evenimentului anual numit “România, o călătorie regală”, mulți alți membri ai Familiilor Regale ale lumii, miniștri, parlamentari, politicieni și reprezentanți ai organizațiilor internaționale au trecut pragul Palatului Elisabeta. În fiecare an, la Palatul Elisabeta are loc o seară dedicată Corpului Diplomatic acreditat la București, în luna noiembrie sau decembrie. Este o tradiție pornită în secolul XIX de Regele Carol I și urmată de fiecare generație regală.

Continuăm să susținem, în fiecare an, un număr de angajamente externe, fiind convinși de importanța demersului nostru. De asemenea, suntem convinși de utilitatea lui, de complementaritatea efortului regal față de cel politic, guvernamental sau parlamentar. România are nevoie să câștige încrederea și respectul celorlalți, iar odată câștigate, are nevoie să și le consolideze. „Interventia Europei in Libia”

Sursa informationala:

Autor: George Friedman

Distinct interests sparked the European involvement in Libya. The United Kingdom and France have issued vociferous calls for intervention in Libya for the past month, ultimately managing to convince the rest of Europe — with some notable exceptions — to join in military action, the Arab League to offer its initial support, and global powers China and Russia to abstain from voting at the U.N. Security Council.

U.S. President Barack Obama said March 21 that the leadership of the U.S.-European coalition against Libya would be transitioned to the European allies “in a matter of days.” While the United States would retain the lead during Operation Odyssey Dawn — intended to incapacitate Tripoli’s command and control, stationary air defenses and airfields — Obama explained that Odyssey Dawn would create the “conditions for our European allies and Arab partners to carry out the measures authorized by the U.N. Security Council resolution.” While Obama pointed out that the U.S.-European intervention in Libya is very much Europe’s war, French nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle (R91) and Italian aircraft carrier Giuseppe Garibaldi (551) arrived in waters near Libya, giving Europeans a valuable asset from which to increase European air sortie generation rates and time on station.

Before analyzing the disparate interests of European nations in Libya, one must first take stock of this coalition in terms of its stated military and political goals.

The Military Response to the ‘Arab Spring’

The intervention in Libya thus far has been restricted to the enforcement of a no-fly zone and to limited attacks against ground troops loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi in the open. However, the often-understated but implied political goal seems to be the end of the Gadhafi regime. (Some French and British leaders certainly have not shied from stressing that point.)

Europeans are not united in their perceptions of the operation’s goals — or on how to wage the operation. The one thing the Europeans share is a seeming lack of an exit strategy from a struggle originally marketed as a no-fly zone akin to that imposed on Iraq in 1997 to a struggle that is actually being waged as an airstrike campaign along the lines of the 1999 campaign against Serbia, with the goal of regime change mirroring that of the 2001 Afghan and 2003 Iraq campaigns.

Underlying Europeans’ willingness to pursue military action in Libya are two perceptions. The first is that Europeans did not adequately support the initial pro-democratic protests across the Arab world, a charge frequently coupled with accusations that many European governments failed to respond because they actively supported the regimes being challenged. The second perception is that the Arab world is in fact seeing a groundswell of pro-democratic sentiment.

The first charge particularly applies to France — the country now most committed to the Libyan intervention — where Former French Foreign Minister Michele Alliot-Marie vacationed in Tunisia a few weeks before the revolution, using the private jet owned by a businessman close to the regime, and offered then-Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali the services of French security forces to suppress the rebellion. Though an extreme example, the French case highlights the close business, energy and often personal relationships Europeans had with Middle Eastern leaders.

In fact, EU states have sold Gadhafi 1.1 billion euros ($1.56 billion) worth of arms between 2004, when they lifted their arms embargo, and 2011, and were looking forward to much more in the future. Paris and Rome, which had lobbied hardest for an end to the embargo, were particularly active in this trade. As recently as 2010, France was in talks with Libya for the sale of 14 Dassault Mirage fighter jets and the modernization of some of Tripoli’s aircraft. Rome, on the other hand, was in the middle of negotiating a further 1 billion euros worth of deals prior to the unrest. British media meanwhile had charged the previous British government with kowtowing to Gadhafi by releasing Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, a Libyan held for the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing. According to widespread reports, the United Kingdom’s Labour government released al-Megrahi so that British energy supermajor BP would receive favorable energy concessions in Libya.

The second perception is the now-established narrative in the West that the ongoing protests in the Middle East are truly an outburst of pro-democratic sentiment in the Western sense. From this, there arises a public perception in Europe that Arab regimes must be put on notice that severe crackdowns will not be tolerated since the protests are the beginning of a new era of democracy in the region.

These two perceptions have created a context under which Gadhafi’s crackdown against protesters is simply unacceptable to Paris and London and unacceptable to domestic public opinion in Europe. Not only would tolerating Tripoli’s crackdown confirm European leaderships’ multi-decade fraternization with unsavory Arab regimes, but the eastern Libyan rebels’ fight against Gadhafi has been grafted on to the narrative of Arab pro-democracy movements seeking to overthrow brutal regimes — even though it is unclear who the eastern rebels are or what their intentions are for a post-Gadhafi Libya.

The Coalition

According to U.N. Security Council resolution 1973, the military objective of the intervention is to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya and to protect civilians from harm across all of Libya. The problem is that the first goal in no way achieves the second. A no-fly zone does little to stop Gadhafi’s troops on the ground. In the first salvo of the campaign — even before suppression of enemy air defenses operations — French aircraft attacked Libyan ground troops around Benghazi. The attack — which was not coordinated with the rest of the coalition, according to some reports — was meant to signal two things: that the French were in the lead and that the intervention would seek to protect civilians in a broader mandate than just establishing a no-fly zone.

Going beyond the enforcement of the no-fly zone, however, has created rifts in Europe, with both NATO and the European Union failing to back the intervention politically. Germany, which broke with its European allies and voted to abstain from resolution 1973, has argued that mission creep could force the coalition to get involved in a drawn-out war. Central and Eastern Europeans, led by Poland, have been cautious in providing support because it yet again draws NATO further from its core mission of European territorial defense and the theater they are mostly concerned about: the Russian sphere of influence. Meanwhile, the Arab League, which initially offered its support for a no-fly zone, seemed to renege as it became clear that Libya in 2011 was far more like Serbia 1999 than Iraq in 1997 — airstrikes against ground troops and installations, not just a no-fly zone. Italy, a critical country because of its air bases close to the Libyan theater, has even suggested that if some consensus is not found regarding NATO’s involvement it would withdraw its offer of air bases so that “someone else’s action did not rebound on us,” according to Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini. In reality, Rome is concerned that the Franco-British alliance is going to either reduce Italy’s interests in a post-Ghadafi Libya or fail to finish the operation, leaving Italy to deal with chaos a few hundred miles across the Mediterranean.

Ultimately, enforcing a humanitarian mandate across the whole of Libya via air power alone will be impossible. It is unclear how Gadhafi would be dislodged from power from 15,000 feet in the sky. And while Europeans have largely toed the line in the last couple of days that regime change is not the explicit goal of the intervention, French and British leaders continue to caveat that “there is no decent future for Libya with Gadhafi in power,” as British Prime Minister David Cameron stated March 21, virtually mirroring a statement by Obama. But wishing Gadhafi gone will not make it so.

Endgame Scenarios

With the precise mission of the intervention unclear and exact command and control structures yet to be decided (though the intervention itself is already begun, a summit in London on March 29 will supposedly hash out the details) it is no surprise that Europeans seem to lack a consensus as to what the exit strategies are. Ultimately some sort of NATO command structure will be enacted, even if it is possible that NATO never gives its political consent to the intervention and is merely “subcontracted” by the coalition to make coordination between different air forces possible. Europe’s Libya Intervention: Special Series

U.S. military officials, on the other hand, have signaled that a divided Libya between the Gadhafi-controlled west and the rebel-controlled east is palatable if attacks against civilians stop. Resolution 1973 certainly does not preclude such an end to the intervention. But politically, it is unclear if either the United States or Europe could accept that scenario. Aside from the normative issues the European public may have with a resolution that leaves a now-thoroughly vilified Gadhafi in power, European governments would have to wonder whether Gadhafi would be content ruling Tripolitania, a pared-down version of Libya, given that the bulk of the country’s oil fields and export facilities are located in the east.

Gadhafi could seek non-European allies for arms and support and/or plot a reconquest of the east. Either way, such a scenario could necessitate a drawn-out enforcement of the no-fly zone over Libya — testing already war-weary European publics’ patience, not to mention government pocketbooks. It would also require continuous maritime patrols to prevent Gadhafi from unleashing migrants en masse, a possibility that is of great concern for Rome. Now that Europe has launched a war against Gadhafi, it has raised the costs of allowing a Gadhafi regime to remain lodged in North Africa. That the costs are not the same for all participating European countries — especially for Italy, which has the most to lose if Gadhafi retains power — is the biggest problem for creating European unity.

The problem, however, is that an alternative endgame scenario where Gadhafi is removed would necessitate a commitment of ground troops. It is unclear that the eastern rebels could play the role of the Afghan Northern Alliance, whose forces had considerable combat experience such that only modest special operations forces and air support were needed to dislodge the Taliban (or, rather, force them to retreat) in late 2001 through early 2002. Thus, Europe would have to provide the troops — highly unlikely, unless Gadhafi becomes thoroughly suicidal and unleashes asymmetrical terrorist attacks against Europe — or enlist the support of an Arab state, such as Egypt, to conduct ground operations in its stead. The latter scenario seems far-fetched as well, in part because Libyans historically have as much animosity toward Egyptians as they do toward Europeans.

What ultimately will transpire in Libya probably lies somewhere in between the extreme scenarios. A temporary truce is likely once Gadhafi has been sufficiently neutralized from the air, giving the West and Egypt sufficient time to arm, train and support the rebels for their long march to Tripoli (though it is far from clear that they are capable of this, even with considerable support in terms of airpower, basic training, organization and military competencies). The idea that Gadhafi, his sons and inner circle would simply wait to be rolled over by a rebel force is unlikely. After all, Gadhafi has not ruled Libya for 42 years because he has accepted his fate with resignation — a notion that should worry Europe’s governments now looking to end his rule.

Next: France and the United Kingdom have led the charge on the intervention in Libya. Our next installment in this series examines their role in the crisis there.

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