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.”

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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”.

A German Aircraft Carrier Makes Sense To Me

It’s not like the Bundeswehr‘s aircraft can fly anywhere now. This way they can at least ship them from A to B.

Flugzeugträger

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is endorsing the idea of developing a joint European aircraft carrier, as suggested by her party’s leader. Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who succeeded Merkel in December as leader of the Christian Democratic Union, made the proposal in a weekend response to French President Emmanuel Macron’s proposals for European Union reform. She noted that Germany and France are already working together on a future European combat aircraft.

Uhm, have they maxed out on her medication? I guess it really is time for her to leave.

Mit Merkel ist die Fantasie durchgegangen.

Political Paralysis?

That’s my thing now. That’s what I do.

Merkel

On the one hand, I could screw it up with this side. On the other hand, I could screw this up over here first. Decisions, decisions…

The global order that underpins German prosperity is unraveling, and Angela Merkel doesn’t know what to do. President Donald Trump’s America First policy is forcing Germany to make an impossible choice between the U.S. and China — pitting the force behind the country’s modern economic success against the key to its future growth…

For decades, the country profited from an international trading system run by the West and backed up by the military might of the U.S. The government just got out of the way and watched exports roll. Those days are over…

“Germany is caught up in a dilemma of changing trade patterns and doesn’t know how to react.”

Trump hin oder her – die USA bleiben Deutschlands wichtigster Absatzmarkt.

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.

What Army?

Nobody wants to join Germany’s army.

Army

Germany’s armed forces are struggling to attract much-needed recruits, with the number of new soldiers joining the Bundeswehr falling to an all-time low last year. The shortages are an urgent challenge for the German military, which has tried to boost its strength and capabilities at a time of record-low unemployment, and against fierce competition from both the private sector and institutions such as the police.

The need to build up the Bundeswehr reflects at least in part the recent pressure from the U.S. and other allies to raise German defense spending to 2 percent of gross domestic product, in line with a longstanding commitment given by all NATO members. Berlin spent 1.2 percent of its budget on defense last year, a figure that is expected to rise to 1.5 percent by 2024. Still …

JUST 20,000 RECRUITS JOINED THE ARMED FORCES IN 2018, DOWN FROM 23,000 THE PREVIOUS YEAR, AND THE LOWEST IN THE HISTORY OF THE BUNDESWEHR.

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.”

German Of The Day: Milliardenloch

That means a billion-euro hole. You know, as in the ones that will be appearing in the coming German federal budgets?

Loch

The money has been rolling in to Berlin for years but it looks like those days are about to end. Germany’s current finance minister, Olaf Scholz (SPD), warns that the government will be missing some 25 billion euros by 2023. No new expenditures possible, folks. Not unless there are cuts somewhere else. Right. Good luck with that, pal. You’re with the SPD, for crying out loud (that stands for Spend other People’s Dough).

And it sure would be a shocker if Germany now used this as an excuse not to live up to its defense spending commitments, wouldn’t it? See how this works, folks?

Nach Jahren sprudelnder Steuereinnahmen droht dem Bund wegen der abflauenden Konjunktur ein 25-Milliarden-Loch im Haushalt bis 2023.

German Of The Day: Mangelhaft

That means inadequate.

Mangelhaft

And that’s what Germany’s Wehrbeauftragter (Defense Commissioner) has to say about the conditions of Germany’s Bundeswehr. It’s still inadequate. I know this isn’t news or anything but it’s a cool word, don’t you think?

Funny, the Bundeswehr has been inadequate for as long as anyone can remember. At what point can you safely conclude that this inadequacy is intentional?

“Die Lage der Bundeswehr als „nach wie vor mangelhaft.”