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German election: first assessment – Germany shifts right

Rise in AfD and fall in support for establishment parties puts German stability in question

Alexander Mercouris

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Though the final result has not yet been confirmed statements from German political leaders – including Merkel herself, who has spoken of a ‘disappointing’ result for the CDU/CSU – suggest that the final outcome will differ little from that suggested by the exit polls.

The final outcome of the election is therefore an end to the ‘grand coalition’ between Merkel’s CDU/CSU and the left wing SPD, which has suffered one of the worst electoral results in its history, but with the CDU/CSU almost certainly lacking enough support to form a majority coalition in the Bundestag with the FDP.

Since bringing either the right wing AfD or the left wing Left Party into the ruling coalition is categorically ruled out – and would be rejected by those parties if it were ever offered to them – that means that the only chance of a majority coalition is one which includes the Green Party.

Such a coalition would be difficult to achieve.  The Green Party emerged in the 1980s as an anti-establishment leftist party well to the left of the SPD.  Whilst it has long since put its origins behind it – today it is very much a part of the German establishment and is indeed by many measures the most pro-US, ‘liberal interventionist’ and anti-Russian party in Germany – much of its electoral support continues to be drawn on the basis of its old anti-establishment past.  How its supporters will react to it entering into a coalition with the arch-establishment CDU/CSU and FDP remains to be seen, and as of the time of writing it is not a foregone conclusion that this will happen.

Needless to say, if a coalition with the Greens cannot be patched up, Germany’s future CDU/CSU/FDP government will lack a majority in the Bundestag, making it even less stable that it would be with the Greens in the coalition, and even less likely to forge ahead with fundamental changes to Germany’s established positions.

The inescapable fact of the German election is that Germany has shifted decisively to the right.  The only two parties which have achieved gains in the election are the AfD, which by German standards is right wing, and the FDP, which is centre-right.

By contrast the traditional standard bearer of the left – the SPD – has fallen back, as has the CDU/CSU at the centre.

The right wing shift has however proved insufficient to dethrone the CDU/CSU from its position at the heart of German politics, increasing the sense of paralysis which is at the heart of Germany’s problems.

That means that some of the changes some people have been willing on Germany are now all but impossible.

With the ruling coalition lacking a stable majority even if the Greens can be induced to join it, and with a strong anti-EU party in the form of the AfD now in the Bundestag and threatening the CDU in its conservative heartlands, it beggars belief that Germany will for example agree to the sort of all-embracing changes to the EU institutions demanded by French President Macron.

Needless to say any prospect of a softening of the German line towards Britain with regard to Brexit, or towards Greece in relation to its bailout, can now be ruled out.

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samo war
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samo war

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DS Analysis
Guest
DS Analysis

The war is lost. The US is doing what the Nazis did in Berlin. They are killing for no reason. Prolonging the killing. Fuck them and they can go to hell

Constantine
Guest
Constantine

The SPD is a neoliberal right-wing party all right, masquerading as a center-leftist social-democratic one. Ditto for the Green Party (unlike the Greens in the US, for example).

DS Analysis
Guest
DS Analysis

The top 2 parties are center left globalist puppets who take their order from DC. One fakes left, one fakes right. Same as the whole of western Europe, Canada, Australia, Scandinavia also.

Constantine
Guest
Constantine

SPD is not center-leftist or anything leftist. Most of the political spectrum in Germany and elsewhere has moved towards the neoliberal right so that neoliberal policies won’t be perceived as the purview of a certain party or coalition, but as a product of consensus between all the ”respectable” and somber democratic parties of the ”Left” and the Right.

DS Analysis
Guest
DS Analysis

These NGO’s who are illegally ferrying illiterate subsistence farmers away from their communities where they are needed and dumping them into the streets of Europe, are doing it at the behest of DC. The whole goal here and of the Ukraine war is to weaken Europe. It was getting too strong.

A guest worker program with a path to citizenship is how you move people. Not through migration anarchy.

Anyway Merkel lost some power but NOT NEARLY ENOUGH. THIS IS SICK ! THIS IS A POLITICAL FAILURE.

Le Ruse
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Le Ruse

Mutti, still in charge…More refugees coming to Mutti ??

JNDillard
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JNDillard

Mercouris is correct: Germany is shifting to the right. This is likely to continue as the US/Atlanticist umbrella which has shielded Germans since WWII is shredded. Add to that the prospect of a long-overdue world-wide depression and you have more reason for a conservative shift. There are, however, two possible mitigating factors: the first is the likelihood that the worst of the influx of immigation, from which the AfD draws most of its strength, is over, meaning the AfD has probably peaked. The second is Chinese/Russian One Belt One Road. Germany is basically run by its industrial base and its… Read more »

Daisy Adler
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Daisy Adler

Angela Merkel CDU-CSU coalition lost 10 points, . compared to the previous election, won with 42.5%, meaning they lost 25% of voters. Besides, she has no partners to put up a coalition in order to govern, which must have at least 51% of the Bundestag. That only proves what a sinister joke the “democracy” is, when a leader with a third of popular approval can impose her will on a whole people and country. The same with Macron in France, where his support was only of 23% in the first round. The second barely counts, because is not based on… Read more »

Keith Smith
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Keith Smith

This is pretty big, 13% of the total vote for the far right is v similar to the numbers UKIP got in 2015 GE. Will the momentum of nationalism be halted here again tho?

hvaiallverden
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hvaiallverden

Wanna bet on any “change”, huh, I bet that absolutely, definitively, and by all historical preferences that nothing, absolutely nothing will change, and this “alt-right” is an scam, and one must never forget Germany is occupied territory where the inhabitants have nothing to say, what so ever.
Merkel is an Israeli bitch, along with the other rotten heap of shit called Trumpstein.

peace

Peaceful Prosperity
Guest
Peaceful Prosperity

There are some troubling news about the Afd from Aangirfan blogger, maybe it’s all just “smokes and mirrors”:

Alice Weidel, worked for Goldman Sachs, is openly gay, is apparently of Jewish origin, “employed a Syrian asylum seeker at her home in Switzerland.”
AfD candidates “claim they are the real defenders of Jews against reactionary Muslim fundamentalists.”

I guess will see who they really are soon…

Marc Leif
Guest
Marc Leif

Very true. Internet censorship is coming very, very fast. The “West” will be locked up behind a “silicon curtain.”

Vera Gottlieb
Guest
Vera Gottlieb

Just because the CDU/CSU and SPD lost voters doesn’t mean a shift to the right. Yes, the AfD comes into the Bundestag, but all other parties stayed about the same, with the FDP back on the scene. The AfD came in with a little over 12% – so this number does NOT represent a shift to the right. However, it will be very interesting to see how all this develops. There is big discord within the ranks of the AfD.

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US-China trade war heats up as surplus hits record $34 Billion (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 136.

Alex Christoforou

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According to a report by the AFP, China’s trade surplus with the United States ballooned to a record $34.1 billion in September, despite a raft of US tariffs, official data showed Friday, adding fuel to the fire of a worsening trade war.

Relations between the world’s two largest economies have soured sharply this year, with US President Donald Trump vowing on Thursday to inflict economic pain on China if it does not blink.
The two countries imposed new tariffs on a massive amount of each other’s goods mid-September, with the US targeting $200 billion in Chinese imports and Beijing firing back at $60 billion worth of US goods.

“China-US trade friction has caused trouble and pounded our foreign trade development,” customs spokesman Li Kuiwen told reporters Friday.

But China’s trade surplus with the US grew 10 percent in September from a record $31 billion in August, according to China’s customs administration. It was a 22 percent jump from the same month last year.

China’s exports to the US rose to $46.7 billion while imports slumped to $12.6 billion.

China’s overall trade — what it buys and sells with all countries including the US — logged a $31.7 billion surplus, as exports rose faster than imports.

Exports jumped 14.5 percent for September on-year, beating forecasts from analysts polled by Bloomberg News, while imports rose 14.3 percent on-year.

While the data showed China’s trade remained strong for the month, analysts forecast the trade war will start to hurt in coming months.

China’s export jump for the month suggests exporters were shipping goods early to beat the latest tariffs, said ANZ’s China economist Betty Wang, citing the bounce in electrical machinery exports, much of which faced the looming duties.

“We will watch for downside risks to China’s exports” in the fourth quarter, Wang said.

Analysts say a sharp depreciation of the yuan has also helped China weather the tariffs by making its exports cheaper.

“The big picture is the Chinese exports have so far held up well in the face of escalating trade tensions and cooling global growth, most likely thanks to the competitiveness boost provided by a weaker renminbi (yuan),” said Julian Evans-Pritchard, China economist at Capital Economics.

“With global growth likely to cool further in the coming quarters and US tariffs set to become more punishing, the recent resilience of exports is unlikely to be sustained,” he said.

According to Bloomberg US President Donald Trump’s new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement isn’t that different from the North American Free Trade Agreement that it replaced. But hidden in the bowels of the new trade deal is a clause, Article 32.10, that could have a far-reaching impact. The new agreement requires member states to get approval from the other members if they initiate trade negotiations with a so-called non-market economy. In practice, “non-market” almost certainly means China. If, for example, Canada begins trade talks with China, it has to show the full text of the proposed agreement to the U.S. and Mexico — and if either the U.S. or Mexico doesn’t like what it sees, it can unilaterally kick Canada out of the USMCA.

Although it seems unlikely that the clause would be invoked, it will almost certainly exert a chilling effect on Canada and Mexico’s trade relations with China. Forced to choose between a gargantuan economy across the Pacific and another one next door, both of the U.S.’s neighbors are almost certain to pick the latter.

This is just another part of Trump’s general trade waragainst China. It’s a good sign that Trump realizes that unilateral U.S. efforts alone won’t be enough to force China to make concessions on issues like currency valuation, intellectual-property protection and industrial subsidies. China’s export markets are much too diverse:

If Trump cuts the U.S. off from trade with China, the likeliest outcome is that China simply steps up its exports to other markets. That would bind the rest of the world more closely to China and weaken the global influence of the U.S. China’s economy would take a small but temporary hit, while the U.S. would see its position as the economic center of the world slip into memory.

Instead, to take on China, Trump needs a gang. And that gang has to be much bigger than just North America. But most countries in Europe and East Asia probably can’t be bullied into choosing between the U.S. and China. — their ties to the U.S. are not as strong as those of Mexico and Canada. Countries such as South Korea, Germany, India and Japan will need carrots as well as sticks if they’re going to join a U.S.-led united trade front against China.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the escalating trade war between the United States and China, and the record trade surplus that positions China with a bit more leverage than Trump anticipated.

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Via Zerohedge Trump Threatens China With More Tariffs, Does Not Seek Economic “Depression”

US equity futures dipped in the red after President Trump threatened to impose a third round of tariffs on China and warned that Chinese meddling in U.S. politics was a “bigger problem” than Russian involvement in the 2016 election.

During the same interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes”, in which Trump threatened to impose sanctions against Saudi Arabia if the Saudis are found to have killed WaPo reported Khashoggi, and which sent Saudi stock plunging, Trump said he “might,” impose a new round of tariffs on China, adding that while he has “great chemistry” with Chinese President Xi Jinping, and noting that Xi “wants to negotiate”, he doesn’t “know that that’s necessarily going to continue.” Asked if American products have become more expensive due to tariffs on China, Trump said that “so far, that hasn’t turned out to be the case.”

“They can retaliate, but they can’t, they don’t have enough ammunition to retaliate,” Trump says, “We do $100 billion with them. They do $531 billion with us.”

Trump was also asked if he wants to push China’s economy into a depression to which the US president said “no” before comparing the country’s stock-market losses since the tariffs first launched to those in 1929, the start of the Great Depression in the U.S.

“I want them to negotiate a fair deal with us. I want them to open their markets like our markets are open,” Trump said in the interview that aired Sunday. So far, the U.S. has imposed three rounds of tariffs on Chinese imports totaling $250 billion, prompting China to retaliate against U.S. products. The president previously has threatened to hit virtually all Chinese imports with duties.

Asked about his relationship with Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin’s alleged efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election, Trump quickly turned back to China. “They meddled,” he said of Russia, “but I think China meddled too.”

“I think China meddled also. And I think, frankly, China … is a bigger problem,” Trump said, as interviewer Lesley Stahl interrupted him for “diverting” from a discussion of Russia.

Shortly before an audacious speech by Mike Pence last weekend, in which the US vice president effectively declared a new cold war on Beijing (see “Russell Napier: Mike Pence Announces Cold War II”), Trump made similar accusations during a speech at the United Nations last month, which his aides substantiated by pointing to long-term Chinese influence campaigns and an advertising section in the Des Moines Register warning farmers about the potential effects of Trump’s tariffs.

Meanwhile, in a rare U.S. television appearance, China’s ambassador to the U.S. said Beijing has no choice but to respond to what he described as a trade war started by the U.S.

“We never wanted a trade war, but if somebody started a trade war against us, we have to respond and defend our own interests,” said China’s Ambassador Cui Tiankai.

Cui also dismissed as “groundless” the abovementioned suggestion by Vice President Mike Pence that China has orchestrated an effort to meddle in U.S. domestic affairs. Pence escalated the rhetoric in a speech Oct. 4, saying Beijing has created a “a whole-of-government approach” to sway American public opinion, including spies, tariffs, coercive measures and a propaganda campaign.

Pence’s comments were some of the most critical about China by a high-ranking U.S. official in recent memory. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo got a lecture when he visited Beijing days later, about U.S. actions that were termed “completely out of line.” The tough words followed months of increases tit-for-tat tariffs imposed by Washington and Beijing that have ballooned to cover hundreds of billions of dollars in bilateral trade.

During a recent interview with National Public Radio, Cui said the U.S. has “not sufficiently” dealt in good faith with the Chinese on trade matters, saying “the U.S. position keeps changing all the time so we don’t know exactly what the U.S. would want as priorities.”

Meanwhile, White House economic director Larry Kudlow said on “Fox News Sunday” that President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will “probably meet” at the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires in late November. “There’s plans and discussions and agendas” being discussed, he said. So far, talks with China on trade have been “unsatisfactory,” Kudlow said. “We’ve made our asks” on allegations of intellectual property theft and forced technology transfers, he added. “We have to have reciprocity.”

Addressing the upcoming meeting, Cui said he was present at two previous meetings of Xi and Trump, and that top-level communication “played a key role, an irreplaceable role, in guiding the relationship forward.” Despite current tensions the two have a “good working relationship,” he said.

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BREAKING: Explosion in Crimea, Russia kills many, injuring dozens, terrorism suspected

According to preliminary information, the incident was caused by a gas explosion at a college facility in Kerch, Crimea.

The Duran

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“We are clarifying the information at the moment. Preliminary figures are 50 injured and 10 dead. Eight ambulance crews are working at the site and air medical services are involved,” the press-service for the Crimean Ministry of Health stated.

Medics announced that at least 50 people were injured in the explosion in Kerch and 25 have already been taken to local hospital with moderate wounds, according to Sputnik.

Local news outlets reported that earlier in the day, students at the college heard a blast and windows of the building were shattered.

Putin Orders that Assistance Be Provided to Victims of Blast in Kerch – Kremlin Spokesman

“The president has instructed the Ministry of Health and the rescue services to take emergency measures to assist victims of this explosion, if necessary, to ensure the urgent transportation of seriously wounded patients to leading medical institutions of Russia, whether in Moscow or other cities,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitriy Peskov said.

The president also expressed his condolences to all those affected by the tragic incident.

Manhunt Underway in Kerch as FSB Specialists Investigate Site of Explosion – National Anti-Terrorist Committee

The site of the blast that rocked a city college in Kerch is being examined by FSB bomb disposal experts and law enforcement agencies are searching for clues that might lead to the arrest of the perpetrators, the National Anti Terrorism Committee said in a statement.

“Acting on orders from the head of the NAC’s local headquarters, FSB, Interior Ministry, Russian Guards and Emergency Ministry units have arrived at the site. The territory around the college has been cordoned off and the people inside the building evacuated… Mine-disposal experts are working at the site and law enforcement specialists are investigating,” the statement said.

Terrorist Act Considered as Possible Cause of Blast in Kerch – Kremlin Spokesman

“The tragic news that comes from Kerch. Explosion. The president was informed … The data on those killed and the number of injured is constantly updated,” Peskov told reporters.

“[The version of a terrorist attack] is being considered,” he said.

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10 percent of American F-22 fighter jets damaged by Hurricane Michael

Part of the reason the F-22’s were left in the path of the storm is that they were broken and too expensive to fix or fly.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Note to the wise: When a hurricane comes, move your planes out of the way. Especially your really expensive F-22 fighter planes. After all, those babies are $339 mil apiece. Got the message?

Apparently the US Air Force didn’t get this message. Or, did they find themselves unable to follow the message?

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The Washington Times reported Tuesday that between 17 and 20 of these top-of-the-line fighter jets were damaged, some beyond the point of repair, when Hurricane Michael slammed ashore on Mexico Beach, Florida, not far from the Tyndall Air Force Base in the same state. The Times reports that more than a dozen of the F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jets were damaged after being left in the path of the extremely fierce storm:

President Trump’s tour Monday of devastation wrought by Hurricane Michael took him close to Florida’s Tyndall Air Force Base, where more than a dozen F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jets were damaged after being left in the path of the powerful storm.

The pricey fighter jets — some possibly damaged beyond repair — were caught in the widespread destruction that took at least 18 lives, flattened homes, downed trees and buckled roads from Florida to Virginia.

The decision to leave roughly $7.5 billion in aircraft in the path of a hurricane raised eyebrows, including among defense analysts who say the Pentagon’s entire high-tech strategy continues to make its fighter jets vulnerable to weather and other mishaps when they are grounded for repairs.

“This becomes sort of a self-defeating cycle where we have $400 million aircraft that can’t fly precisely because they are $400 million aircraft,” said Dan Grazier, a defense fellow at Project on Government Oversight. “If we were buying simpler aircraft then it would be a whole lot easier for the base commander to get these aircraft up and in working order, at least more of them.”

This is quite a statement. The F-22 is held to be the tip of the American air defense sword. A superb airplane (when it works), it can do things no other plane in the world can do. It boasts a radar profile the size of a marble, making it virtually undetectable by enemy radars. It is highly maneuverable with thrust-vectoring built into its engines.

However, to see a report like this is simply stunning. After all, one would expect that the best military equipment ought to be the most reliable as well. 

It appears that Hurricane Michael figuratively and physically blew the lid off any efforts to conceal a problem with these planes, and indeed with the hyper-technological basis for the US air fighting forcesThe Times continues:

Reports on the number of aircraft damaged ranged from 17 to 22 or about 10 percent of the Air Force’s F-22 fleet of 187.

The Air Force stopped buying F-22s, considered the world’s most advanced fighter jets, in 2012. The aircraft is being replaced by the F-35, another high-tech but slightly less-expensive aircraft.

Later in the tour, at an emergency command center in Georgia, Mr. Trump said the damage to the F-22s couldn’t be avoided because the aircraft were grounded and the storm moved quickly.

“We’re going to have a full report. There was some damage, not nearly as bad as we first heard,” he said when asked about the F-22s, which cost about $339 million each.

“I’m always concerned about cost. I don’t like it,” Mr. Trump said.

Still, the president remains a fan of the high-tech fighter jet.

“The F-22 is one of my all-time favorites. It is the most beautiful fighter jet in the world. One of the best,” he said.

The Air Force managed to fly 33 of the F-22s to safety, but maintenance and repair issues kept 22 of the notoriously finicky aircraft on the ground when the powerful storm hit the base.

About 49 percent of the F-22s are out of action at any given time, according to an Air Force report this year.

This is a stunning statistic. This means that of the 187 planes in existence, 90 of them are not working. At their cost, that means that over thirty billion dollars worth of military equipment is sitting around, broken, just in airplanes alone.

As a point of comparison, the entire Russian military budget for 2017 was $61 billion, with that budget producing hypersonic missiles, superb fighter aircraft and tanks. Russian fighter planes are known for being able to take harsh landing and take-off conditions that would cripple the most modern American flying machines.

It would seem that Hurricane Michael exposed a serious problem with the state of readiness of American armed forces. Thankfully that problem did not arise in combat, but it is no less serious.

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