History Really Does Repeat Itself

The German navy does this regularly, I guess. Commit suicide, I mean.

Suicide

So I suppose you could call the one going on presently a ritual suicide, albeit slower than those of the past (look what’s been going on with the Bundeswehr for the past thirty or forty years or so and you’ll get my drift).

One hundred years ago, the German High Seas Fleet committed suicide. On June 21, 1919, the crews of seventy-four German warships attempted to scuttle their vessels in order to prevent the Allies from taking them. Over the course of a few hours, fifty-two modern warships sank. In the modern history of naval combat, there has never been an event as devastating as the self-destruction of the German fleet at Scapa Flow. The scuttling immediately became legendary, closing one chapter of German naval history and opening another…

Indeed, the Germans had prepped the ships for scuttling over the previous several months, removing doors and taking other steps to reduce watertight integrity. They waited for motive and opportunity. As the Paris Peace Conference dragged on, both the French and the Italians had made claims upon the fleet. As the deadline for signing the treaty approached, both the Germans and the British made their preparations, the latter to seize the ships and the former to scuttle them.

On June 21, a comedy of errors ensued. The signing of the treaty was postponed two days, although it is unclear how aware the German sailors were made of this fact. The British commander decided that the fabulous early summer weather offered a great opportunity for practice, and the bulk of the Grand Fleet left Scapa Flow for maneuvers on the morning of June 21. Only a few patrol and utility ships remained.

Admiral Ludwig von Reuter gave the order for scuttling, and every German ship obeyed. The British didn’t notice until around noon, when the battleship Friederich der Grosse began to list noticeably. At this point, the rest of the fleet raised the Imperial German Naval ensign, which the British had officially forbidden. At that point, the scuttling became a race between the water and the Royal Navy. The Grand Fleet, notified by radio of the sinking, began to return immediately. The few Royal Navy ships in attendance picked up survivors, but were unable to save very many of the sinking ships.

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Why Did The German Warship Cross The Taiwan Straight?

To get to the other side? To get repaired?

Taiwan

No. To 1) show the world that it actually has a warship, 2) demonstrate that it can actually travel this far without sinking or being towed and 3) demonstrate Germany’s formidable military power. No, all three are true. You don’t have to pick just one. But remember folks, this is all a purely hypothetical construct.

Why a German Warship Would Head To the Taiwan Strait – A naval mission to the region would be a low-risk way for Germany to show that it’s committed to alliances – and that it still has a navy.

No low-risk, no fun.

German Commitment And A Couple Of Bucks Will Get You A Cup Of Coffee

“Germany wholeheartedly supports @NATO. We will stand by our commitments. True solidarity is measured in terms of commitment, not Euros.”

Coffee

NATO’s German Problem: Who Needs Soldiers or Weapons?

Berlin had promised to hike expenditures to two percent of GDP by 2024—subsequently downgraded to 1.5 percent—but new budget figures indicated that the real amount would be lower still. Germany’s government evidently lacks the political will to put Europe’s defense first.

I love reading these articles but I’ve lived here quite a while so there’s no need for me to spend much time doing so. People who don’t live here should really come to understand that the Germans have absolutely not intention of fulfilling their NATO “commitments.” Not unless they are forced to do so at gunpoint, I mean.

“It is simply unacceptable for Europe’s largest economy to continue to ignore the threat of Russian aggression and neglect its own self-defense and our common defense.”

Germany Is NATO’s Biggest Freeloader

That was a Washington Post headline, not mine.

NATO

There’s a German word for freeloader, by the way. Sounds worse in German, too.

As Nato commemorates its 70th anniversary in Washington this week, Germany seems to be labouring mightily to reassure the 29-member alliance that it will never threaten anyone militarily again — because it is in fact its own worst enemy.

How else can you qualify an ally that has announced it won’t be meeting its own pledge to increase defence spending to 1.5 per cent of gross domestic product by 2024, even when it has formally committed to a target of 2 per cent, like everybody else?

Eines kann man Donald Trump nicht vorwerfen: Dass er mit seiner Meinung hinter dem Berg halten würde.

German Of The Day: Sollte, Müsste, Könnte, Würde…

These are examples of the infamous German Konjunktiv or conjunctive mood. They mean, in essence, should, ought to, could, would but… It ain’t gonna happen.

Spending

Take this example here: Why Germany Should Further Boost Defense Spending, and Why It Probably Won’t. Of course, the Germans know that they should, ought to, could, would spend more on defense but they just won’t because… It ain’t gonna happen. This grammatical subtlety has always worked nicely in the past, whether they were in a conjunctive mood or not. So, hey. Never touch a running system.

The United States is bristling at the suggestion Germany might miss its own defense spending target, which is already short of the NATO goal, prompting comments from officials, including U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell.

NATO countries have pledged to move toward spending 2 percent of GDP on defense and Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government had pledged to increase spending to 1.5 percent by 2024. Last year, at the NATO summit in Brussels, Trump criticized Germany’s contribution to the NATO and Merkel countered that the European country is the organization’s “second largest providers of troops,” according to The Guardian.

“NATO members clearly pledged to move towards, not away, from 2 percent by 2024. That the German government would even be considering reducing its already unacceptable commitments to military readiness is a worrisome signal to Germany’s 28 NATO Allies.”

On Course, Of Course

Don’t anyone ever tell you that Germans aren’t reliable.

Bundeswehr

As noted yesterday, the equipment used by the German army is still as inadequate as ever, despite repeated promises by the German defense minister to make improvements.

And now, despite claims by the German government to one day reach the official NATO target of 2 per cent GDP on defense spending it agreed to years ago, it won’t even be able to make the 1.5 percent it set for itself by 2024. This is “round,” as the Germans say. It all fits like a glove.

Germany is on course to miss its self-declared target for defence spending in a development that threatens to trigger a new row with the US and raises further questions over Berlin’s military contribution to Nato.

The government of Angela Merkel agreed last year to raise the German military budget to 1.5 per cent of gross domestic product by 2024 — a marked increase but still short of the official Nato target of 2 per cent. 

But the 1.5 per cent target is now under threat after Olaf Scholz, the Social Democrat (SPD) finance minister, rebuffed plans for an ambitious increase in military spending in the years ahead, citing a worsening economic outlook.

Secret Report Not Much Of A Secret

It was just leaked, as secret reports so often are, and now it’s come out that – get this – the Bundeswehr’s equipment is still inadequate.

Tiger

Yawn. Been there, done that. Top inadequacies this time? Of the Bundeswehr’s 53 Tiger combat helicopters only 11.6 of them are operational (they would never get me in that .6 one). With the NH90 transport helicopter it’s 17.5 from 71 and only 15.9 of the 71 CH-53 transport helicopters are ready for combat.

But not to worry (as if anybody is). German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen promised a “turnaround” in the Bundeswehr’s equipment department – a year or two or three ago. Other defense menisters would have been fired for this long ago, of course, but 1) she’s a girl and 2) she’s one of Angie Merkel’s bosom buddies.

Die Ausstattung der Bundeswehr ist laut einem Zeitungsbericht weiterhin mangelhaft. Das zeige der neueste, als geheim eingestufte “Bericht zur Materiallage der Hauptwaffensysteme der Bundeswehr”, schreibt die “Welt am Sonntag”.

Number Four Has Issues

But it doesn’t really make much sense, does it?

Four

How can the world’s fourth largest exporter of arms (don’t worry, they’ll be back up at third place again in no time) have “issues with readiness of submarines, aircraft” for its own army? Year in and year out, I mean. One could almost think it’s intentional.

The readiness of Germany’s weapons systems stood at about 70 percent in 2018 overall, but its submarines, heavy-lift helicopters and Tornado fighter jets faced continued challenges, the German Defence Ministry told lawmakers on Monday.

Germany is the fourth largest arms exporter in the world, according to a report released by the Stockholm Peace Research Institute on Monday.

Germany Reassures NATO Partners It Will Continue To Miss Defense Spending Goals

Worried that the German government’s tax revenues are likely to decrease in coming years due to a slowing economy, German defense officials were quick to explain to their NATO partners that this will have absolutely no effect on the country’s continued failure to increase defense expenditures.

Defens

“Whether tax revenues increase or not is really not the issue here,” these officials stressed. “We have absolutely no intention of raising our defense spending under any circumstances. We do this to ensure that our NATO partners will be able to plan effectively for future increased defense spending on their part and thus continue to protect us as they have done so in the past, pretty much free of charge. For us, anyway. But still.”

“We have time until the end of March. Let us negotiate.”

Why Germany’s Army Is In A Bad State?

Duh. Because that’s the way Germany wants it. This isn’t rocket science, folks.

Army

DONALD TRUMP says it is “not fair” for Europe’s largest economy to spend proportionally so much less on defence than America does. Germany spends just 1.2% of its GDP on defence, and it shows. A report released in February showed that less than half the country’s Leopard tanks, 12 out of 50 Tiger helicopters and only 39 of its 128 Typhoon fighter aircraft were fit for action. At the end of last year, none of the country’s six submarines was at sea. In short: Germany’s armed forces are barely fit for purpose. Why?

Just 15 per cent of all Germans agree with Angela Merkel that the country should increase its military spending to 2 per cent of GDP by 2024, with 36 per cent saying the country’s already spends too much on its military.