Tag Archives: Germany

Mark Collins – Dragon Devouring Eurotech, German Section–Obama Steps In

Further to this post, the outgoing US president gets tough (our PM noticing?):

Obama Moves to Block Chinese Acquisition of a German Chip Maker

The intervention in a Chinese company’s bid to buy a German semiconductor company, Aixtron [website here], comes after Chinese companies have spent billions to acquire technology in Europe and the United States. American officials have increasingly moved to stop such deals, but Chinese companies have shown growing adeptness in getting around those restrictions to strike up relationships that could someday lead to greater access to technology.

A statement from the Treasury Department said the administration blocked the purchase of the American portion of Aixtron’s business because it posed a national security risk relating to “the military applications of the overall technical body of knowledge and experience of Aixtron.”

It wasn’t clear whether other parts of the deal could be salvaged. Officials at the German chip company and its would-be Chinese buyer, the Fujian Grand Chip Investment Fund [website here], did not immediately comment.

By rejecting the deal, the Obama administration showed how far it would go to keep China from using its wallet to acquire sensitive technology from the West. It blocked previous Chinese technology purchases only indirectly, using an advisory panel of government and intelligence officials who can discourage — but not directly kill — foreign deals. That same panel earlier expressed skepticism over the Aixtron deal.

Last year the United States accounted for more than one-fifth of Aixtron’s sales. And nearly one-fifth of its more than 700 employees are based in the United States.

That indirect strategy kept Mr. Obama from looking like a free-trade opponent, especially when the company in question was not American, and softened any potential response from Beijing. But Aixtron and its Chinese suitor tested that strategy by plowing ahead despite the panel’s concerns, forcing Mr. Obama to act…

Related:

Chicom State-Owned Firms’ Investment in US: a Good Thing?

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – Donald Trump, the People and Universal Suffrage Democracy–and Bertolt Brecht

Further to this post,

Terry Glavin on Trump and Why: “God help us all” or…

consider this:

Letter: Brecht dissolves the electorate

Neal Ascherson [a writer I rather like] writes: “After the East Berlin rising in 1953 [more here], Bertolt Brecht is supposed to have made the ironic suggestion that the Communist regime should dismiss the people and appoint a new one.” (“Are we the electorate they deserve?” 23 March [article here]). There’s no supposed about it. These words are to be found in one of Brecht’s most famous poems, “The Solution”:

“After the uprising of June 17th
The Secretary of the Authors’ Union
Had leaflets distributed in the Stalinallee
Which said that the people
Had forfeited the government’s confidence
And could only win it back
By redoubled labour. Wouldn’t it
Be simpler in that case if the government
Dissolved the people and
Elected another [emphasis added]?”

Philip Hoy
London N8

Bertolt Brecht. Earlier on now president-elect Trump and universal suffrage:

The Donald and Indiana: Truly All Over Now

As for this, omit the “under-assistant West Coast”–but keep the”just how sharp I am”:

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – The Jews, the Holocaust and Poland, Then and Now (and much more)

First a tweet,

plus a post last year:

Jedwabne: A Murderous July 1941 Polish Pogrom–and God?

Then an article at the NY Times Magazine on Poland today more broadly:

The Party That Wants to Make Poland Great Again
In just a year, Law and Justice has shown how a far-right nationalist government in Europe really governs — and how far it can push the limits of democracy.

What liberal “end of history“? And very relevant to the holocaust:

Endlösung

Jews, Twentieth Century Pius Popes and Mussolini

What’s an Intellectual Romanian Jew to do Before WW II?

Boden wenn nicht Blut: Horrible Heidegger, Nazism and Now

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – RCAF Chinook Helos for UN Peacekeeping Mali? Canadian Army?

Further to these posts,

Canadian UN Peacekeeping in Mali? RCAF Helicopters?

Africa: UN’s CAR MINUSCA Mission to be Canadian Forces’ Schwerpunkt?

a Canadian Forces’ operation in Mali is looking ever more likely. Besides CH-147F transport helos will some armed CH-146 Griffons be sent? Though not attack helicopters, they could certainly provide fire support for today’s killer peacekeeping (more here on that)–but how off-putting might such a quasi-combat role be for our government? And will there be a significant Army contingent? Remember the government has committed to supplying some 600 Forces’ personnel to the UN:

Sajjan heads to Mali, Germans consider attack helicopters, Canada might provide Chinooks

There are reports in the German media that the country’s military is looking at providing Tiger attack helicopters [see here] to accompany RCAF Chinooks for an upcoming mission in Mali.

But the Liberal government says it still has to decide on whether those Chinooks, based in Petawawa, Ontario, – or any other units for that matter – would be heading to a mission in Africa.

Meanwhile, the Canadian Press is reporting [story here] that Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan will travel to Mali and Senegal later this week as the Liberal government considers where to send hundreds of Canadian peacekeepers.

International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau visited Mali in September. Sajjan visited the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania.

In September, the Canadian government sent a team to Mali to do a reconnaissance mission for a potential UN operation in that country. The reconnaissance team included members of the Canadian military, Global Affairs Canada and the RCMP.

The UN mission currently involves around 10,000 military personnel taking part in an effort to stabilize Mali [MINUSMA, website here]. Various armed groups, including Islamic insurgents, have been conducting sporadic attacks in that country. The UN plans to boost the mission by around 2,500 personnel.

The UN has also made it known it would like attack helicopters and transport helicopters to fill the void left by the withdraw of Dutch Chinooks and Apaches [attack helos] from Mali.

“We have decided to continue the Mali mission, but with a reduced capacity,” Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte told reporters Oct. 7. “Dutch helicopters will be withdrawn.”

Sajjan has said that by the end of the year the government expects to make its decision on the next peacekeeping mission. But in his interview with the Canadian Press, he appeared to retreat somewhat on his previous statements. “We need to go into this eyes wide open,” Sajjan said. “So based on that, I have not set a deadline as I want to make sure that we do all the necessary work, so that we can have the meaningful impact.”

The French would certainly welcome as large a Canadian contribution as possible, as would the UN.

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – Boden wenn nicht Blut: Horrible Heidegger, Nazism and Now

Martin Heidegger (more here) truly was a nasty piece of work–with nasty foretastes for today? At the London Review of Books:

Great Again
Malcolm Bull

Ponderings II-VI: Black Notebooks, 1931-38 by Martin Heidegger, translated by Richard Rojcewicz
Indiana, 388 pp, £50.00, June, ISBN 978 0 253 02067 3 [see here]

…the truly shocking question posed by the Black Notebooks is not: was Heidegger a Nazi? Or: was Heidegger an anti-Semite? But: would Germany’s greatest 20th-century philosopher have endorsed Donald Trump?

The first two questions have, after all, already been answered satisfactorily. Heidegger joined the Nazi Party in 1933, at a time when few other German philosophers had done so, and as rector of the University of Freiburg in 1933-34 actively sought to align the institution with the goals of the new National Socialist government. His initial enthusiasm waned, but he remained a party member until 1945 and after the Second World War was judged to be a Nazi sympathiser and banned from teaching. Although he was partially rehabilitated in 1951, subsequent scholarship has uncovered nothing that puts the basic facts in a more favourable light, and has served chiefly to highlight the evasiveness of Heidegger and his apologists.

As for anti-Semitism, in 1933 Heidegger wrote to Hannah Arendt that he was ‘as much an anti-Semite today as … ten years ago’; nothing personal of course, but given that, as he told Karl Jaspers, there really was ‘a dangerous international band of Jews’, it was obviously necessary to protect the integrity of German universities. Already worried about ‘Jewification’, he implemented Nazi racial policies in the university, and never expressed any concern about the treatment of the country’s Jewish population. After 1945, he barely referred to the Holocaust at all, save to note that the mechanisation of its production methods set a poor example for postwar German agriculture…

By the end of February 1934, Hitler has been chancellor for a year, and Heidegger is beginning to take stock. There is no self-doubt here: ‘For years I have known myself to be on the right path.’ But there is a nagging sense that the Nazis may not have fully appreciated the importance of his thinking…Nazism can be the vehicle of the coming transformation, but only if it accepts that it ‘can never be the principle of a philosophy but must always be placed under philosophy as the principle’. National Socialism is not a philosophy, it is ‘a barbaric principle. That is its essential character and its possible greatness.’..

…Heidegger sees in Nazism the potential to guide Germany ‘to its greatness’, towards the final goal of ‘the historical greatness of the people in the effectuation and configuration of the powers of being’. How can a barbaric principle like Nazism achieve this? Not directly, but the ultimate goal can only be approached by a series of stages. The greatness of the people assumes ‘the coming to themselves of the people … through the state’ [Holy Hegel!]…

Heidegger maintained that Oswald Spengler’s thesis The Decline of the West [see here], was mistaken not because there was any ground for optimism about the future of the West, but because true decline or ‘downgoing’ is the precondition of the other beginning, the experience of the abandonment of being, and the West as a whole lacks the strength for it [my unterganging posts here]. For the Germans, however, it is a possibility: ‘This people, as a historical people, must transpose itself … into the originary realm of the powers of Being,’ because the acceptance of ‘the distant injunction of the beginning awaits them alone.’ The greatness of the other beginning can only be realised by ‘a seizing of, and persevering in, the innermost and outermost mission of what is German’.

Seizing Germanness means becoming indigenous, becoming ‘the one who derives from native soil, is nourished by it, stands on it’…This may sound like the Nazi idyll of blood and soil, but for Heidegger race is a necessary but not a sufficient condition: the Germans may have a historical essence, but they may still ‘abandon it – organise it away’. He is therefore at pains to distance himself from those who preach race and indigenousness, while being themselves conspicuously ill-bred and deracinated. Indigenousness is something that has to be nurtured ‘from its own resources in poetry and thinking’.

Scientific racism proved to be the issue that forced Heidegger to distance himself from the Nazis – not because it was racist, but because it was scientific…he realised that he had misjudged ‘the type and magnitude of the greatness that belonged to it’. Nazism actually represented the culmination of modernity rather than a move beyond it. The technologism of modernity (scientific racism was only one manifestation) which he sometimes referred to as ‘machination’ or ‘gigantism’, was not the way to greatness but rather ‘the genuine antigod of what is great’.

Nazism, with its rigid scientific racism and unbridled appetite for technological development, may have proved a disappointment to Heidegger, but the more modest, ostensibly post-racial nationalisms of the early 21st century would have seemed to him far more promising…

There follows an analysis of Trumpism and globalization and its discontents, then at the end of the article:

…What makes the current moment unique is that the ontological decline of the West has fallen into step with the decline in income differentials, and attachment to place isn’t just a matter of becoming indigenous and making yourself at home in the world, but of stubborn attachment to a particular position in the global economic order. For anyone living in the West who is not in the highest 1 per cent of global income, there is an economic incentive to think in Heideggerian terms; to stand firm on native soil and claim citizenship rent.

When Heidegger realised that the Nazis were going to be less receptive to ‘spiritual National Socialism’ than he had hoped, he gradually retreated from the political fray. But he nevertheless vowed to ‘remain in the invisible front of the secret spiritual Germany’, one of ‘the future ones’ who would stand ‘simply, silently, relentlessly and deeply rooted’, preparing the transition to the other beginning. The future he anticipated is now…

What is to be done? Earlier at the New Yorker:

Is Heidegger Contaminated by Nazism?
By Joshua Rothman, April 28, 2014

…It’s impossible to disavow Heidegger’s thinking: it is too useful, and too influential, to be marginalized. (A few weeks ago, when I pulled “The Essence of Truth” down from my bookshelves, I found it as compelling as I had a decade ago.) But it’s also impossible to set aside Heidegger’s sins—and they cannot help but reduce the ardency with which his readers relate to him. Philosophers like to play it cool, but the truth is that intellectual life depends on passion. You don’t spend years working your way through “Being and Time” because you’re idly interested. You do it because you think that, by reading it, you might learn something precious and indispensable. The black notebooks, however seriously you take them, are a betrayal of that ardency. They make it harder to care about—and, therefore, to really know—Heidegger’s ideas. Even if his philosophy isn’t contaminated by Nazism, our relationship with him is…

Shame we have no magazines in Canada like those.

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – Der Untergang des Abendlandes, Putin and “transgender bathroom rights” Section

At the end of an opinion piece at the Wall St. Journal:

The Vladimir Putin Test
The strongman’s appeal reveals a lot about today’s liberal democracies…

Under President Obama, Angela Merkel, François Hollande and the like, the liberal vision really has been reduced to fighting for transgender bathroom rights as the world burns. For Mr. Obama, liberal order really does mean endless multilateralism and diplomatic procedure for their own sake. The European equivalent, pressed by the likes of Mrs. Merkel and Mr. Hollande, is the idea of “more Europe,” more European Union “norms” and bureaucracy, as the solution to every crisis.

Liberal leaders couldn’t afford to look so feeble for so long without making the liberal-democratic model look feeble—and the Putinist alternative decisive and strong [via  @FredLitwin]

Though I think the French are perhaps the least feeble, e.g. here and here. They still believe in raison d’etat, don’t you know. More unterganging.

Now consider the WEIRD perspective.

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – History Counter-Factual: No 1917 Lenin Train Ride, No WW II

Further to this post,

Wilson, World War I and Counter-Factuals: No Third Reich, No Soviet Union but…

It’s clear, with a century of hindsight, what a Europe without Wilson and his Fourteen Points would look like. A compromise peace would have allowed the Germans to quickly crush Russia’s nascent Bolshevik thugocracy like a bug, as they planned to do. Without the Bolshevik threat, European politics would have been transformed in positive ways, for without the Communist menace, which was real, with violent Red revolutions in Hungary and Germany in 1919, far-right extremists like Mussolini and Hitler would have enjoyed limited appeal…

how Wilhelmine Germany effectively started the 1917 Bolshevik October Revolution (actually a successful coup d’ état) which, as noted in the quote above, was instrumental in Hitler’s rise to power and thus ultimately to that so much more murderous and dreadful second war–from a book review at The Economist:

The Russian revolution
Missed connection
Vladimir Lenin’s railway journey from Switzerland to Russia changed history


Lenin on the Train. By Catherine Merridale. Allen Lane; 353 pages; £25. To be published in America by Metropolitan in March [more here].

A BRITISH intelligence officer dismissed Vladimir Lenin and his fellow revolutionaries as “fanatical and narrow-minded”. That was an understatement. But by early 1917 power in Russia was there for the taking. That February, 300 years of Romanov autocracy had been ended in a few dizzying days, while nothing had been put in its place. Russia, exhausted and desperate from three years of disastrous war with Germany and its allies, was being run by ineffectual and well-meaning moderates. Lenin knew exactly what he wanted, and he would deploy extraordinary energy and ruthlessness to achieve it.

But first he had to get there. The future Soviet leader had spent the war in Switzerland, marooned on a neutral island in a sea of belligerents [see Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s Lenin in Zurich–Vladimir Ilyich certainly lucked out]. As the news broke of the upheaval at home, he became increasingly desperate…

A mischievous Estonian called Alexander Keskula was the first to suggest to Germany’s spy service that bringing Lenin home could serve a vital strategic goal. Strengthening the anti-war camp there would raise the chances that Russia would stop fighting, giving Germany time to beat Britain and France before America entered the war. Germany was soon convinced. The deal took just two weeks to negotiate: Lenin insisted that the train should be designated an extraterritorial entity. It was not to stop, and its passengers (a motley 32 in all) were not to be checked.

It was not a jolly journey…

Unfazed by the showy and unexpected reception that his Bolshevik colleagues had laid on for him at Petrograd’s Finland Station, Lenin jumped onto an armoured car and gave a fiery impromptu speech. The revolutionary message was hopeful and seductive: peace, bread, power to the masses and not to the plutocrats, radical redistribution of wealth, the transformation of social relations. It was achievable, as a less hungry and desperate people might have realised, only through extreme violence, including mass murder, colossal economic dislocation, the extinction of political freedoms and the eventual creation of a privileged, bureaucratic boss caste…

Pity that “Train Kept A Rollin’“:

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – Dragon Devouring Eurotech, German Section

Chinese  business and government combine to take down and take over a firm–at the NY Times:

Rush of Chinese Investment in Europe’s High-Tech Firms Is Raising Eyebrows

After a customer canceled a large order at the last minute, shares in Aixtron, a German high-tech company [website here], sank fast. Months later, with the stock still reeling, a Chinese investor agreed to buy the company.

If only it were as simple as smart deal-making.

Financial filings and public statements indicate a web of relationships among the customer, the buyer and the Chinese state. The links highlight the blurred lines between increasingly acquisitive Chinese companies and Beijing’s long-term industrial policy.

“The Aixtron case makes it very clear: It is not regular investment that is at work here,” said Sebastian Heilmann, president of the Mercator Institute for China Studies, a think tank based in Berlin. “Instead, we see governmental-program capital working behind the scenes.”

Chinese leaders have made clear their intention of using state funds to acquire technological capabilities overseas and bring them home, and a series of purchases in recent years have highlighted that strategy.

That has led to questions about how to treat bids that cross between private investment and state-orchestrated takeovers. It has also fed into broader suspicions about the fate of the takeover targets, and whether national champions will ultimately be absorbed into the supply chain in China. Aixtron — one of a growing number of European businesses with cutting-edge technologies that have recently been targeted by a surge in Chinese overseas investment — provides a case study…

Chinese companies bearing checkbooks have generally been welcomed in Europe. They have provided a source of fresh capital for ailing European enterprises, like the Swedish carmaker Volvo, the Italian tire maker Pirelli, the French resort operator Club Med, and the port in Piraeus, Greece.

But deals over the past two years — which last year hit a record 20 billion euros, or $22.4 billion, according to a survey by Rhodium Group and the Mercator Institute — have begun targeting leading-edge companies with crucial technologies and iconic brand names.

Anxieties are perhaps most acute in Germany, which has had Aixtron and the well-known robotics company Kuka — whose technology is ubiquitous in German car factories — both go to Chinese bidders this year. Largely because of those two deals, Germany has become the largest recipient of Chinese investment in Europe thus far in 2016, according to the Mercator Institute.

In the United States, a number of Chinese bids for chip companies have been undone by regulatory concerns. Regulators thwarted an overture by San’an for an American semiconductor company, and the Treasury Department’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States is reviewing the Aixtron bid.

By contrast, European laws give politicians few avenues to block acquisitions, though that has not stopped them from trying…

Now see what happened in 2013:

Canadian Government Came Through on BlackBerry No-Go for Lenovo

But what would the investment landscape here be if the current government negotiates a major trade deal with China? Have a look at this article by a very experienced Canadian businessman:

Comment: Why Canada should avoid free trade with China
Gwyn Morgan [more here]…

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – “A Peek into French Signals Intelligence”–with a Canada/CSE Angle

Very interesting, will our media notice what’s at 2.?

France’s former top SIGINT spy confirms an advanced persistent threat and muses about a merger with German intelligence [the foreign intelligence service BND’s website is here–they also do SIGINT as does their French equivalent DGSE, see next para].

Something remarkable happened a few months ago. Bernard Barbier, the former head of signals intelligence (SIGINT) between 2006 and 2014 at France’s foreign intelligence agency (DGSE [website here]), gave a speech at one of France’s top engineering schools in which he reflected on his career and imparted some of his wisdom to students. He also said some things that he probably shouldn’t have, like confirming that France was behind the Animal Farm advanced persistent threat, commenting on the SIGINT capabilities of European allies, and reacting to the revelation that the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA [website here]) had compromised the networks of the French presidency.

Last week, Barbier’s speech surfaced on YouTube but was quickly taken down. However, it was up long enough for French daily Le Monde to transcribe some of the highlights. Here they are, paraphrased and translated from the original French…

2. “And yes, it was a Frenchman”

In 2014, Le Monde published documents from the Snowden archive revealing that Canada’s SIGINT agency, the Communications Security Establishment (CSE [website here]), suspected that Paris was behind a cyber espionage campaign that began in 2009 targeting Iran’s nuclear program but also targeting computers in Canada. CSE was able to attribute the campaign to the French based on some reverse engineering revealing that the malware developer used references to a French children’s cartoon character, Babar the Elephant. That reference also led Kaspersky [US  website here] to baptise the malware Animal Farm. Barbier recalls that CSE “concluded that he [the malware author] was French. And yes, it was a Frenchman.”..

Canadian media do not seem to have noticed these revelations at the time. Lots more on  SIGINT here.

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is  a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – The Wehrmacht, the Eastern Front, Hitler and the General Staff

Two books by WW II German officers that are well worth the read:

1) A German General on the Eastern Front: The Letters and Diaries of Gotthard Heinrici 1941-1942

Gritty, gruesome and the best thing I’ve read about realities of infantry (poor bloody) corps command–and terribly, in that sense, revealing of German attitudes plus the realities of Wehrmacht strengths and weaknesses. As well as the Red Army’s. Heinrici effectively confirms that Hitler was right to order the army to hold fast in face of the Soviet counter-offensive in front of Moscow in December 1941, frightful though the cost was.

2) At the Heart of the Reich: The Secret Diary of Hitler’s Army Adjutant

Major Engel was the liaison between the army high command (OKH) with Hitler (OKW, the nominal overall command of the armed forces, had its own adjutant with Hitler; see here for an outline of the confusing relationship between OKH and OKW). He was effectively the spy of general staff officers and recognized as such by Hitler. Nonetheless he had remarkable access to the Führer who seems to have trusted him to a considerable extent and certainly was very frank with him. The picture that Major Engel portrays of Hitler and of certain events (notably the decision to adopt the  Manstein plan that led to the successful invasion of France in 1940) is illuminating.

One thing, well known but made especially clear here, is the Führer’s profound distrust–indeed contempt for–most general staff officers, forced though he was to rely on them for their technical expertise. He thought most of them timid, unimaginative and (quite correctly) by no means loyal to his regime. One is amazed that Major Engel, a staff officer, stayed in his position for long.

Another striking thing, again well known, in the extent to which Hitler compartmentalized his contacts with senior leaders of the military, SS, government and party–and thus their knowledge of affairs [oddly enough FDR, unlike Churchill, governed in a somewhat  similar fashion].

Hitler was profoundly evil. Yet as this book makes clear he was very intelligent, very knowledgeable in many ways, and very, very capable. Evil should never be under-estimated. Read something about it.

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds