Lithuania

Beautiful German weapon sale of the week (not).

Lithuania

Because somebody has to admire them if they would only be there to admire but not in this case because countries like Lithuania that actually need weapons from countries like Germany can’t have them because that might hurt countries like Russia’s feelings and we wouldn’t want that.

Maybe the Lithuanians would be interested in some German broomsticks instead?

Die baltischen Staaten fürchten russische Aggressionen nach dem Vorbild der Krim-Invasion und des Kriegs in der Ostukraine. Litauen will seine Armee deshalb modernisieren. Hilfe aus Deutschland gibt es dabei nicht.

More Massive Military Might

As if we hadn’t already seen enough yesterday

A German battalion assigned to Nato’s rapid response force used broomstick handles instead of guns on a joint exercise due to chronic equipment shortages.

Broomsticks

Oh, I dunno. Maybe this is just part of Germany’s new security strategy. I mean, if they really know how to use these broomstick handles properly and stuff?

“Sure you can manage that broom, Potter?” said a cold, drawling voice.

Russia Triggering Massive German Military Shift Or Something

Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen has said that she has had it up to here with Russia’s use of unconventional military force to exploit its dominance over former Soviet states and sees no other choice but to begin threatening Russia with Germany’s massive military might or something. In the future sometime perhaps, that is. Maybe.

Ursula

She has even gone so far as to begin plans for the publication of a so-called “white book” as early as next year. Or the year after, these things take time. The Russian military was not immediately available for comment as they were completely out of breath with shock and awe upon hearing this.

What is our reaction to the attempt to establish a geopolitical projection of power through military violence as a form of influence?” she asked no one in particular. “How do I know? I’m just the Defense Minister of Germany. But it’s bound to be in that white book and I just can’t wait to read what it will be.”

Germany And USA Divided Over How Best Not To Do Anything In Ukraine

Although President Obama just went out of his way to stress that Russia’s aggression against Ukraine only reinforces the unity of the US and Europe to not do anything about it, Chancellor Merkel’s visit to Washington today nevertheless made clear once again just how wide their views differ when it comes down to the how-not-to-do-anything-about-it part.

Ukraine

Washington, on the one hand, prefers talking about maybe sending weapons someday perhaps but let’s not rush into things because these are weapons we’re talking about here after all people while Merkel, for her part, categorically rejects the idea of sending weapons that are never going to be sent anyway, preferring instead more negotiations about negotiations with whoever feels like negotiating about anything at anytime anywhere, stressing here how crucial it was “that the West stand up for Ukraine,” provided, of course, that this remain a purely figurative expression devoid of anything that could even remotely be interpreted as meaning “like actually standing up for Ukraine or anything.”

“If we give up this principle of territorial integrity of countries, then we will not be able to maintain the peaceful order of Europe.”

Russian Propaganda? What Russian Propaganda?

The speaker of the Russian Duma has asked a parliamentary committee to study a proposal to condemn the reunification of Germany in 1990.

Annexation

Sergei Naryshkin earlier this week faced scathing criticism of Russia’s annexation of Crimean peninsula when he spoke at the Parliament Assembly of Europe.

Russian news agencies say Communist deputy Nikolai Ivanov on Wednesday proposed a resolution to condemn what he called the “annexation” of East Germany in 1990. Ivanov said that unlike in Crimea, there was no popular vote to support the German reunification.

…Deutsche Welle, an international television and radio broadcaster akin to the British Broadcasting Corp.’s World Service, plans to launch a new multimedia English-language service called DWNews in April. Deutsche Welle President Peter Limbourg has said the new service is designed to “defy [Russian President Vladimir] Putin ’s propaganda.”

Tanks For Nothing, Vlad

The end of the Cold War didn’t necessarily mean the end of war between big countries, and Russia’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine undermines the notion that a quiet Europe is forever free from war. And modern warfare means tanks. Germany recently bolstered their current arsenal of tanks by buying and upgrading 20 Leopard 2A7 tanks acquired from the Netherlands, though originally from Canada.

Tanks

Upgrading old tanks is fairly routine and accounts for the dangers of the present. Developing a new advanced tank, instead, is a bet on the future. In August, German company Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW), makers of the current versions of the Leopard tank, merged with French defense company Nexter. Speaking to the merger, KMW CEO mentioned the idea of a Leopard 3 tank, noting that France has a strategic perspective that stretches decades into the future. In October, when the budget committee of Germany’s parliament put together their draft of a 2015 spending bill, the proposal to develop a new tank was quietly noted, and then debated in an independent German armed forces journal.

It’s Not Just A Club Anymore

The Putin Understanders Club, I mean. In Germany. It’s bound to be an eingetragener Verein (registered society) by now.

Putin

Putin understanders are not confined to the Linke; nor even to Germany. They are the bane of European politicians struggling to contain a troublesome Russia, found everywhere – particularly among the far right and left, and the energy lobbies. Some are ordinary people who see the Russian president as a strongman standing up to a feeble and imperialist America; others are stuck in a mix of nostalgia and sympathy for Russia’s historic sacrifices. Even after a year of geopolitical turmoil, they construct flawed comparisons to support their narratives – arguing that Russia’s actions are no different from the 2003 US invasion of Iraq or the 1999 Nato bombardment of Serbia.

 

Germany’s “Save Vlad’s Face” Movement Picking Up Steam

If you have ever had any doubts about just how deep of an understanding German Putin-Versteher (Putin understanders) have with the current Russian czar, you won’t have to look any further than here.

Platzeck

Former Brandenburg Minister President Matthias Platzeck (SPD) wants the West to resolve the Ukraine crisis by recognizing Russia’s annexation of Crimea. He’s clearly thought this through, too. Recognition is the highest form of flattery, you know. Or the second highest. I forget.

Well at least one of them finally had the decency to come out and just say it. Crimea, I mean criminy! It’s like pulling teeth with you people sometimes.

“The annexation of Crimea must be retroactively arranged under international law so that it’s acceptable for everyone.”

Gazprom Gerd Pushing To Pass More Russian Gas

To Germany, that is. Not less (less was yesterday).

Gerd

And being chairman of the Shareholders’ Committee of Nord Stream, the Russian-German natural gas pipeline (51 percent owned by Gazprom, the Russian state gas monopoly), has absolutely nothing whatsoever at all in the slightest to do with this push one itty-bitty tiny little bit.

Former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder (SPD) said Wednesday that Germany should deepen energy ties with Russia and urged an end to sanctions. Schroeder, who served as Social Democratic chancellor from 1998 to 2005, retains close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin and celebrated his 70th birthday this year in St. Petersburg, where he was photographed in a bear hug with the Russian leader.

“We would be well-advised to further expand this energy and raw materials partnership with Russia.”

And In Other News: Germany Unable To Deliver On Its NATO Promises

Ain’t no big deal. It’s not like NATO partners could ever get attacked or anything.

Bundeswehr

And besides, it’s not the Bundeswehr’s fault. “Industry” let them down again (or the lack of it?).

Germany could not currently fulfill its NATO commitments in the event of an attack on a member of the alliance, owing in part to severe backlogs in replacement parts for its aircraft.

“With our airborne systems we are currently below the target figures announced one year ago, defining what we would want to make available to NATO within 180 days in the case of an emergency,” Defense Minister von der Leyen told the “Bild am Sonntag” newspaper. “Delays for replacement parts for our planes and the missing helicopters are the reason for this.”

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