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The militarization of the world’s oceans

Source: German Foreign Policy


The Konrad Adenauer Foundation (CDU) expressed in a current position paper for new “military capacity building” in the German Kriegsmarine. Germany is economically heavily dependent on the sea, according to the paper. This is not just on maritime activities in the strict sense because that at least work it out to three percent of gross domestic product, but also the export industry to transport large parts of their exports by ship. With the steady growth of world trade, to take the “risks of global maritime value chain”; new “vulnerabilities” of the “maritime transport network” – such as West Africa – where also Germany must show in the future presence, caused much like today in the Horn of Africa. The Navy will be upgraded accordingly and will receive shortly the third “use group provider”, which serves as a base for operations against distant shores; more new warships, including submarines and frigates, follow. Military argue about the upgrade, forcing marine initiatives of the NATO and the EU.

The maritime supply chain

In her new position paper, the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (CDU) accounted for the economic importance of the seas for the global economy in General and Germany in particular first.
According to this, around 400,000 people “in the maritime sector” in Germany were employed; It produced approximately 85 billion euros year – approximately three percent of German gross domestic product. This information in “a very narrow definition of ‘maritime’ underlies”. You take into account that “the share of imported and exported goods gross domestic product” currently lies at around 70 percent and foreign trade in turn “will be settled to around 60 percent by sea”, then you get a more realistic impression of the economic importance of the seas. It would “over 20 percent of the German car production overseas exports”; “Exports of German engineering over Lake” is even “at 55 percent”. Because German companies increasingly distributed their production on the cheapest national locations, increasing also the container between the stages. “The key sectors of the production site Germany are (…) Part of a global maritime supply chain”, sums up the Adenauer Foundation.[1]

The maritime trade is growing

This is to be expected of the Foundation according to a further meaning growth of maritime trade.
Already, “the recent wave of globalization since the 1980s” would have been probably “unthinkable without an unprecedented extension of Lake-bound transport capacity”, says the analysis [2]: the increase in the foreign trade quotas [3] worldwide (2008) was made possible by 19.7 (1970) to 53.2 per cent only thanks to the proliferation of sea transportation. The expected increase in world trade in the next few years will allow is expected to continue to grow the merchant shipping. Although supported also the land transport; so, a UN Commission is trying to develop rail connections between Western Europe and the far East or the Southwest China Kunming and Singapore. Meanwhile, there are freight trains, which bring auto parts from Leipzig in the Chinese Shenyang, as well as a regularly-used railway line from Duisburg to Chongqing. However, “predicted transport capacity” on the road “in the future only a fraction of the demand cover can”, says the Foundation. The Hamburgische WeltWirtschaftsinstitut (HWWI) go therefore by a renewed increase in global maritime trade by the year 2030 to 125 percent.

Vulnerable “lifelines”

According to “the vulnerability of maritime lifelines” will continue to judge the Adenauer Foundation.
[4] Already “Weak points” of the “maritime transport network” are known – the Horn of Africa, where currently German warships operating [5], also the Straits of Malacca [6] or the Strait of Hormuz [7]. The growth of maritime trade would probably lead to the emergence of new sensitive “nodes” at sea, such as West Africa, it says further. German Navy circles now discuss about a possible marine applications there (german-foreign-policy.com reported [8]). Other States had granted it “the fragility of their maritime lifelines much earlier and more as part of its national security recognized” and her “a corresponding strategic priority” in foreign and military policy, the Foundation said. As the United States had as “national interest” defined the “freedom of navigation” long time ago and drawn the conclusions: “The deployment of navies in the maritime arteries” was by Washington “since the end of World War II consistently carried”.
Use Group providers, submarines, frigates…
The assessment of appropriate activities in the German Kriegsmarine of the Adenauer Foundation is ambiguous. On the one hand, the Foundation recognizes that “the Bundesmarine in the course of the reorientation of the Bundeswehr has received a more streamlined management structure through the introduction of a unified naval commands”.[9] That the conversion of the Navy of the Defense apparatus to the globally applicable instrument of war (“Expeditionary Navy”) was advanced, the armed forces Research Institute has said already a few years ago.[10] The upgrading progressing also vigorously. So the third of its kind – in service will be made soon the Bonn – usage group provider. Next year, two U-boats of the class to follow 212A. From 2016 on, the Navy will have current four frigates of the new type F125 plans. Marine Inspector Axel Saha added last year: “To be fit for the future, we need to obtain the new type ‘Multipurpose fighting vessel MKS 180′ class prior to the beginning of the next decade.”[11] Also the old Navy helicopters are replaced by new NH90 type. This project has been criticized however last sharp because the NH90 is too expensive and not suitable for the Navy.

Influential military keep all however to be insufficient. The former Navy Chief Lutz Feldt about in the spring in a press release said the Navy will still “relatively neglected” and had limited according to the current plans in the future to “Only 50 floating units, 30 helicopters and eight maritime patrol” – from his point of view clearly too little.[12]

Naval presence in key regions
Feldt called therefore the “imposition” of “knowledge (…), that control of the sea determines the economic prosperity of the State” – and a “reflection on the maritime dimension of German and European foreign and security policy”.[13] Germany about the “expansion of existing initiatives of the EU and NATO for the maritime monitoring” determined to advance; “the establishment of a European coastguard” should also be forcing. In addition one could build a “European Association of carriers”, said Feldt. A carrier group to an aircraft carrier is evidently meant. Such a person does not have the German Navy, could rely on the capacity of France or Britain but over a European Union. Feldts claims now joins the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung and requires new “military capabilities to build”. Also, the stakes of the Kriegsmarine would have to be extended in future: “The political and military presence in Germany in key regions of the global maritime network is increasing.”[14] The claim amounts to a further militarization of the seas to secure economic profits by the Federal Republic of Germany.

[1], [2] Peter Hefele: fragile value chains: the need for a German Maritime engagements. Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung: Analyses and arguments, issue 125, July 2013
[3] The trade ratio is the proportion of imports and exports of goods to the gross domestic product (GDP).
[4] Peter Hefele: fragile value chains: the need for a German Maritime engagements. Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung: Analyses and arguments, issue 125, July 2013
[5] s. to the key sea, U – boats against pirates and Beach war (II)
[6] s. to the Pax Pacifica (III) and a ring of fire to China (II)
[7] s to end the slaughter, (III) and escort for aircraft carriers
[8] s. to the most dangerous coast of the world
[9] Peter Hefele: fragile value chains: the need for a German Maritime engagements. Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung: Analyses and arguments, issue 125, July 2013
[10] s. to the wars of the future
[11] A real “all-man maneuvers”; www.Marine.de 12.11.2012
[12], [13] Lutz Feldt, Carlo Masala, Hans-Joachim Stricker, Konstantinos Tsetos: no land in sight? www.FAZ.NET 01.04.2013
[14] Peter Hefele: fragile value chains: the need for a German Maritime engagements. Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung: Analyses and arguments, issue 125, July 2013


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