The US demand that Germany should also take over military leadership is not meaning well for the Germans. This demand is a step towards the abyss.
In 2017 the NATO states have spent $975 billion for military expenditures.1 Of this nearly $1 trillion, $707.2 billion were spent by the North American NATO states (US and Canada), $610 billion by the US alone. $249.8 billion were spent by the European NATO states. For 2018 substantial increases are announced. In 2017 Russia has spent $66.7 billion for its military, 2.2% less than in the previous year. In 2018 Russia’s military spending will decrease further.2 This means that Russia’s military only received 7% (!) of the joint military spending of all NATO states, only 30% of the military spending of the European NATO states.
This renders incomprehensible the pressure on all NATO states to increase their military spending to at least 2%, a pressure that has been applied for years and has always been justified with the alleged Russian threat. Russia’s arms efforts are not directed towards coming equal with NATO – the Russian President has repeatedly emphasised that he would not repeat the Soviet Union’s deadly mistake – but to be armed sufficiently to make a NATO attack on Russia a deadly risk.
The permanently repeated assertion that Russia has aggressive intentions as had been demonstrated in Georgia, the Ukraine and Syria does not stand up to scrutiny. Constant repetition does not make this allegation more correct.
Hence we have to assume that the motivation for demanding higher armament spending are either aggressive intentions, that more influence and income are to be provided for the military-industrial complex or that the citizens of the NATO states are meant to be disciplined by the militarisation of their countries in face of growing internal problems. It may well be a combination of all three points.
It is a fact that the “elites” of the NATO states still deem their model of politics, economy and society as the best in the world and that they have the wish to impose this model, at least in the long run, on the world. This kind of ambitions is alien to the Russian leadership. The country would be sufficiently busy with its internal issues and most likely its biggest wish is to be able to turn towards these tasks with all its energy.
But for a while the governments of the NATO states have decided that Russia should not come to rest – at least not before it has yielded to the NATO states. This is proven by the past 27 years since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. People in Russia see it the same way.
It is a particularly sad perversion of political morals that it is Germany which is supposed to lead the European front against Russia, the country which, due to its politics in World War II, has incurred the largest guilt towards the Russian people and which yet has received the largest concessions from Russia since the late 1980s.
Many people in Germany are opposing this politics. Thus the “Deutsche WirtschaftsNachrichten” of 8 June 2018 report that the massive US American military transports – these days more than 2000 additional military vehicles are deployed towards Poland during the course of Operation Atlantic Resolve across the roads of Brandenburg –3 are met with opposition from the East German population and also Brandenburg’s state government. Brandenburg’s Minister-President Dietmar Woidke (SPD) was cited with the statement: “I think that, in the long run, it will not help to run tanks up and down the border on both sides.” The article is also citing the economist Waltraud Plarre, well-known in East Germany: “The emotion which many West Germans do not understand is that the East Germans say: The Russians never have done us any harm. […] We have never experienced the Russians having evil intentions. And now trying to give rise to new divisions everywhere is not in the interest of the German people – neither in the West nor in the East.
Nevertheless (or just for this reason) nothing is left undone to urge Germany in a leading role in a confrontation against Russia. The most recent example are the statements of US NATO Ambassador Kay Hutchinson in an interview with Deutschlandfunk from 8 June 2018. The ambassador goes far beyond the demand of the US government (she calls it “request”) having been repeated several times by herself, Germany should expend 2% of its gross domestic product for its military – which would be € 70 billion by todays rate, this alone being more than Russia’s expenditure. The American NATO ambassador concentrates on the Russia enemy stereotype (“[…] we are going to deter Russia”, “There have been malign activities [by Russia] that are trying to disable our NATO Alliance”) and demands exactly in this context: “So I think Germany is ready to take the lead, and we are urging them to do that.” Of course the US NATO ambassador knows about German history and the fundamental attitude of the most Germans saying “never again to war?” being formed after 1945 and continuing to have an effect until today. She jumps at the opportunity when the interviewer explained this fundamental attitude as a German characteristic feature having to do something with German feelings of guilt.
The US ambassador exculpates the Germans. Germany unfortunately does not understand yet, “that it has risen above its past”. Germany today is “democratic” and has “guardians of democracy” – an interesting phrasing. Who might be meant by this? She adds, coming back to the German role of leadership, she believes that “Europe wishes that. Because Germany has successfully overcome its dark history, because it succeeded in the reunification [also thanks to massive US-American support and surely not without US-American interests].” And again: “There is no reason why Germany should not take the leadership in Europe, but this means also that one should be able to defend oneself.” …
But nobody threatens Germany. Is “defense” only a propaganda phrase for a planned aggression against Russia? And will the Germans fall for these paralysing lullabies?
Every German does well to consider the following:
How should it be judged in this context that members of the German government like Minister von der Leyen clearly show that they willingly satisfy the requirements of “leadership”, that German politicians with their double-talk of “taking more responsibility in the world” want to “lead”, the German military expenditures in fact shall be raised to the 2% limit – as said by the German chancellor – and that a continuous military build-up shall take place. For example with a new NATO command centre for quick troop transports to the Russian border near Ulm in Baden-Wuerttemberg. Is this just ice-cold calculation? Or do these politicians after losing two World Wars finally want to stand on the “right side”, the side of the “winners”? How much calculation, but although how much deception are at the basis of such politics? •
1 Indications according to the official statistics in: https://de.statista.com/statistik/daten/studie/5993/umfrage/militaerausgaben-der-wichtigsten-natostaaten/
2 See: https://www.nzz.ch/international/russland-militaerausgaben-sinken-um-20-prozentld.1382315 from 2.5.2018.
3 The Operation Atlantic Resolve (OAR) is an operation started in 2014 performed by the USA of continuous transport of US-troops to the former Warsaw Pact states which today are NATO states. It is claimed this would be a reaction to the Ukraine conflict and Russian politics. It is no NATO operation but it is organised by the USA bilaterally. Since 2014 manoeuvres and schoolings are performed under US leadership in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria.
km. That confrontation against Russia is not without alternative was demonstrated at the end of May 2018 by the International Economic Forum in St Petersburg on which the “Neue Zürcher Zeitung” reported on 26 May.
French President Macron, Japanese Prime Minister Abe, Chinese Vice President Qishan and IMF Managing Director Lagarde had travelled from abroad. According to the “Neue Zürcher Zeitung“, Macron “called for a new beginning in relations [with Russia] – Russia is part of Europe, and one must overcome differences and place common interests on the continent in the foreground“.
The newspaper went on to report: “In the numerous rounds of talks it was repeatedly stressed how strong the mutual trust between German and American and Russian business people was.” However, relations suffered greatly from the sanctions. The report states: “In a politically bleak bilateral environment, American business representatives are hoping almost with desperate confidence for common sense and political dialogue at the highest level as soon as possible.”
German entrepreneurs see “the economic sanctions […] which are bothersome and useless for them as an unnecessary political obstacle to the further flourishing of economic contacts”. Tui‘s chairman of the supervisory board and former long-time chairman of the Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations, Klaus Mangold, suggested that “German and French business representatives should jointly convince European politicians to develop an exit strategy for the sanctions regime”.
(Translation Current Concerns)
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