A Promise Is A Promise

Not.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz promised two months ago to deliver a substantial increase in defense spending. Where is that money now? Funny you should ask, since Mr. Scholz’s waffling on his signature pledge is a growing controversy in Berlin.

The “turning point” speech Mr. Scholz delivered on Feb. 27 included two promises: increase the annual military budget to at least 2% of GDP, in line with North Atlantic Treaty Organization targets, and create a one-time €100 billion ($105 billion) special fund for procurement. Crucially, the procurement fund would be exempt from the constitutional limit on government debt, although the regular military budget wouldn’t be…

Yet Mr. Scholz is struggling to say what he meant by his twin promises. His February speech neglected to specify whether he meant he’d spend 2% of GDP plus €100 billion, or whether he’d spend 2% of GDP including the €100 billion. The distinction matters.

Germany Introduces Radically New Defense Concept

It’s never been tried before but the times they are a changin’ and call for desperate measures.

It goes like this: Instead of developing their own comparable European weapon system that will take three times longer to develop and cost three times more than planned (and then not work), Germany will buy a fully-functioning weapon system from US-Amerika that already exists and is immediately deliverable instead.

Germany to buy F-35 warplanes for nuclear deterrence – Germany will buy up to 35 copies of the U.S.-made F-35 fighter jet, reversing years-long plans that saw the fifth-generation warplane eliminated from consideration, defense leaders announced Monday.

Good Times

The old days. When Germany could elegantly or less elegantly wiggle out of paying for its own defense (spending 2% GDP for defense like it had promised to pay many, many years ago).

Suddenly, inexplicably, now it’s possible after all. Mysterious, don’t you think? We need to find some experts to explain to us just how this change of heart was made possible.

Putin Accidentally Started a Revolution in Germany – The invasion of Ukraine is triggering a dramatic reversal of Berlin’s grand strategy.

In seven days, Germany has axed its biggest Russian energy project, imposed sanctions that will cause significant pain at home, and instituted a course that will make Germany the largest European defense spender, with the most advanced aircraft and a growing forward presence in Central and Eastern Europe. One can wonder whether Germany’s dedicated detractors in Washington will notice. How did it happen so quickly, when German officials had so tenaciously defended their status quo policies for so long?

German Of The Day: Kehrtwendung

That means u-turn.

In U-Turn, Germany Will Send Weapons to Ukraine – Germany will send weapons to Ukraine including antiaircraft missiles and tank-busting rockets in a reversal of earlier policy, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Saturday.

The U-turn was triggered by the Russian invasion, which Mr. Scholz said marked a turning point. “It is our duty to support Ukraine to the best of our ability in defending against Putin’s invading army,” Mr. Scholz said in a statement. “That is why we are delivering 1,000 antitank weapons and 500 Stinger missiles to our friends in Ukraine.”

This Could Mean War

If China won’t let a German warship into one of their harbors who else is going to fix it over there? They may have to blast their way in.

China denies German warship entry into harbor, Berlin says – China has denied a German warship on a mission to the contested South China Sea entry into a harbor, a German Foreign Ministry spokesperson said on Wednesday.

The ship involved is the frigate Bayern, the spokesperson told a news briefing, but did not identify the Chinese harbor. The vessel set sail from Germany last month for a six-month mission to the South China Sea.

“China has decided that it does not want a harbor visit, and we took notice of that.”

Germany Rewarded For Not Living Up To Agreement

Do you remember? Way back when, many presidents ago, when Germany promised to spend 2 percent of its GDP on defense?

The Germans don’t either.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced Tuesday that the US military will increase its presence in Germany, recommitting the US to the NATO alliance in a reversal from the previous administration’s plans to withdraw troops from the country.

The US will permanently station “approximately 500 additional US personnel in the Wiesbaden area” of Germany and will be on the ground “as early as fall,” Austin said during a news conference in Berlin.

“This planned increase in US personnel underscores our commitment to Germany, and to the entire NATO alliance,” he added.

France

Beautiful German weapon sale of the week.

Bombs

Because somebody has to admire them.

German defense contractor Rheinmetall on Wednesday announced the sale of MK-82-EP general purpose aircraft-dropped bombs to France and Germany.

The order, for about 2,000 bombs, totals $42.3 million, Rheinmetall said in a statement.

The 500-pound bomb bodies will be used by France’s Mirage 2000 and Rafale fighter planes, the Direction General de l’Armament said, and as the warhead of the GBU-54 Laser Joint Direct Attack Munition system for Germany’s Tornado and Eurofighter platforms.

German Of The Day: Abziehen

That means to withdraw.

Germany

US to withdraw 12,000 troops from Germany in ‘strategic’ move – The US is set to withdraw almost 12,000 troops from Germany in what it described as a “strategic” repositioning of its forces in Europe.

About 6,400 troops will be sent home, with the rest moved to other Nato countries such as Italy and Belgium.

President Donald Trump said the move was a response to Germany failing to meet Nato targets on defence spending.

So schnell wie möglich.

German Of The Day: Beschlossene Sache

That means it’s a done deal.

Troops

President Donald Trump has selected an option for withdrawing U.S. military personnel from Germany and redeploying those forces elsewhere, the Pentagon announced Tuesday night.

The movement of 9,500 U.S. service members from Germany resurfaces claims made by the Trump administration that the NATO ally has been “delinquent in their payments” to the alliance.

Der Abzug von rund 9500 US-Soldaten aus Deutschland ist beschlossene Sache.