Is Germany still a reliable partner?

Bundeswehr Leopard 2 tanks in action (picture: Wikipedia)

Germany shrinks its military-budget-plans. One example for many German signals and actions that it does not care about its western allies and eastern neighbours.

Complete diplomatic failure”; the US ambassador in Germany shall be “immediately declared as persona non grata”, that are the harsh reactions in the German parliament that usually tends to be rather boring. But what made Carsten Schneider faction manager of Social Democrats, a government party, doubting the competence of Richard Grenell? And why do parliamentary deputy chairperson and deputy chairman of the Liberal Democrats want him to be expelled from Germany?

It is probably the guilty conscience to be on the wrong way. Minister of Finances Scholz presented his new four years plan for government spending which is a heavy blow for all Nato partners and all servants of the German military. Like all NATO members, Germany made in 2014 the commitment to enlarge the military spending to a level of two per cent within ten years, following Russian aggression on Ukraine territory. That is why the situation was tensely before when the minister of defence Von der Leyen announced to be already satisfied by expanding the budget to just 1.5% until 2024, a clear and criticized break of the commitment.

Germany is not and wants not full fill its NATO commitments

The new budget plans are going even lower than that, the peak of spending is planned for 2020 with 1.37% to be then reduced to 1,25%. Interestingly also planned is to enlarge the federal budget as a whole during the same time.

Grenell tweeted as response: “Reducing its already unacceptable commitments to military readiness is a worrisome signal to Germany’s 28 #NATO allies.” The results of this policy give a dark picture of German and European security. Since nearly 30 years the German military budget is a victim of austerity. This reached the state that some key capabilities – like for the navy tankers – are not available any more. Furthermore, the whole military is focused on supply and carry their international commitments, which absorbs in many sectors all the resources. One result: low rates of combat readiness. For an example of 244 Leopard 2 tanks, just 95 where be able to be used 2017. That is a bad situation if we have a look at the quick response force in the Baltic states. The use of this is to slow down a Russian invasion until European and US forces can support them. But if Germany, for example, has nothing it can send after this whole strategy gets weakened. So an enlarging of the defence budget would not be a luxury, it is a hard necessity.

Insulting and ignoring partners

Kubicki in the other hand had nothing else to do than to remember Grenell that Germany is “sovereign” and the US is not an “occupying” force any more. This and the words of Schneider are just the peaks of a long story of German insults against the US and of ignoring the interests of their other partners. Considering Chinese firms for building the digital infrastructure of the future of Germany is a strategic threat because it gives parts of strategic infrastructure outside of Western hands; Nord Stream 2, a Gas pipeline project that bypasses their eastern Neighbours; openly doubting the reliability of the US for NATO, since Trump’s election are just three dangerous examples of how not to behave in geopolitical partnerships.

Germany´s lonely way to nowhere

But the most frightening aspect of this is that Germany seems just not to have a plan b or at least any plan concerning these topics. “European army”, German-France-Alliance, German aircraft carrier, are not much more than words, that should distract of a big weakness in the middle of Europe. Germany stops looking West, does not look East and lacks a real plan for the South. A big weakness in the middle of Europe by its most capable nation is shown. Now Germany wants to go “sovereign” to nowhere, inside of partnerships that require trust and efforts. That leaves big question marks for Europe and the US.

With Grenell, just the messenger gets killed. The messenger for the unforeseen reality, that Germany is not a reliable partner for Western countries any more.

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