Olaf Scholz has not delivered on his sweeping vision for a more modern, more active German military.
And anybody who thinks will ever live up to their promises about defense spending is a fool.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz summarized his country’s approach to the war in Ukraine. “Despite all the pressure to take action,” he said, “caution must take priority over hasty decisions, unity over solo actions.” The line provided Scholz’s most explicit defense to date of Germany’s cycle of denial and delay.
A year ago, Scholz announced a special investment fund of more than 100 billion euros to strengthen the German military, but less than a third of those euros have been assigned to contracts. Defense Minister Boris Pistorius recently aired concerns that Germany’s stockpiles have been depleted by its generous transfers to Ukraine. These comments strain common sense when most of the “special funds” remained unspent until December, when lawmakers finally approved the first procurements. This month, Scholz also abandoned plans to establish a National Security Council, a body that would have been well suited to manage an expanded role in the defense of Europe.