Promise?

Do you promise that “relations with the US will never be the same after Trump?”

Gabriel

Because that would be great if you made sure that was the case, German Foreign Minister Gabriel (SPD). And I couldn’t agree more with what you just said in that context; that Germany needs to be more confident about defending it’s own interests and draw red lines where it needs to draw red lines. Germany first? By all means. It’s not the most original idea but we can all see where you’re coming from. Stay tuned, everyone.

Deutschland müsse künftig selbstbewusster seine Interessen vertreten, verlangt Gabriel. “Wir müssen selbst unsere Positionen beschreiben und notfalls rote Linien ziehen – unter Partnern, aber an unseren eigenen Interessen orientiert.”

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German Of The Day: Unfassbar

That means unfathomable or mind-boggling. And, well, actually, it isn’t.

Unfathomable

Not at all. It is in fact not in the least unfathomable that of the 244 Leopard II tanks the Bundeswehr has at its disposal (244 tanks for an entire army?) only 95 of them are acutally, well, disposable. That’s, uh – let me do the math here – less than half.

What was I saying the other day about Germany living in a parallel universe (comments)? Do you believe me now?

Please note: These are also the same tanks that are Exportschlager. Another German word. This one meaning export hits. See how it all fits together (not)?

“Das ist unfassbar.”

 

German Of The Day: PESCO

That’s actually English and stands for Permanently Stalled Cooperation, I think. It is the EU’s attempt to move closer to having permanent joint European armed forces.

PESCO

But they’ll never manage this, of course. Most European nations don’t even live up to their NATO obligations right now.

Seit vielen Jahren ringen die Europäer um eine gemeinsame Verteidigungspolitik, der Erfolg war bisher äußerst überschaubar. Das aber könnte sich nun ändern: Am Montag haben die Außen- und Verteidigungsminister von 23 der 28 EU-Staaten dem Europäischen Rat mitgeteilt, in der Verteidigung künftig gemeinsame Wege zu gehen. Zumindest vorerst nicht dabei: Dänemark, Irland, Portugal, Malta – und natürlich Großbritannien, das ohnehin die EU verlassen will.

PS: Is she sexually harassing those guys up there?

What The SPD Stands For

Stop Paying for Defense, for one thing.

SPD

It’s election time, you see. And Germans like to pretend they are pacifists (as the world’s third largest weapons exporter). So the SPD, once again, is going to take an unpopular stand (not) and rule out their country’s obligation to meet NATO’s two percent defense spending target – a target the Germans agreed to years ago and still refuse to meet. You’ve got to have backbone in politics.

The parliamentary leader of Germany’s Social Democratic Party (SPD) rejected NATO’s 2 percent of GDP defense spending target and called for strategic investment in the German armed forces in an interview published Thursday.

“We think this is the wrong way, and with the SPD in the government there will be no such thing.”

It’s Not Just About The Two Percent We Promised To Spend On Defense As A NATO Country

And still aren’t spending (1.3 percent the last time I checked), Angela Merkel explained to Donald Trump.

Trump

It’s also about “what a country makes available to NATO and what capabilities we have,” whatever that means. The Oktoberfest and world class table tennis talent or what?

Citing this week’s attack in the English city of Manchester, Trump told fellow alliance leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel that NATO should focus its efforts on combating terrorism. Yet of the 28 member nations, 23 “are still not paying what they should be paying and what they’re supposed to be paying for their defense,” he said.

“Wir freuen uns auch, dass in Zukunft nicht nur gefragt wird, wie viel wird für Verteidigung ausgegeben, sondern auch, was stellt man als Land der Nato zur Verfügung, welche Fähigkeiten haben wir und welche Beiträge leisten wir. Ich glaube hier kann sich Deutschland sehen lassen, und das werde ich auch hier deutlich machen.”

But Germany Would Defend Its NATO Allies If US-Amerika Attacked

This just in: Majority of Germans wouldn’t support defending NATO allies in Russia conflict. Why doesn’t that surprise anybody?

NATO

According to the US think tank, which interviewed people in European countries, the US and Canada, “NATO’s image is improving on both sides of the Atlantic.” The Alliance enjoys high approval ratings in Poland and the Netherlands (both on 79%). Germany ranks third in the list on 67%, followed by Canada (66%), the US and United Kingdom (both 62%), France (60%) and Spain (45%)…

The results showed that Germany would support military intervention by NATO less than any other country. Only 40% of respondents would back military support for a partner in “serious military conflict” with Russia.

Auch in Deutschland stehen die meisten Befragten hinter der Allianz – bei einem Konflikt mit Russland würde jedoch nur eine Minderheit ein Partnerland verteidigen.

Bundeswehr CIS

No, not CIS as in Crininal Investigative Service. That’s CIS as in Cyber and Information Space Command.

CIS

That’s the name of Germany’s new “cyber commando” group, some 260 crack nerd troops who have now begun defending their country against cyber attacks (over 284,000 such attacks were registered during the first nine weeks of this year alone, according to the German defense ministry). As soon as they get funding for computers and other cyber stuff like that, that is (this is the Bundeswehr after all).

IT specialists have cast doubt over the ability of the Bundeswehr as currently configured to keep up: its procurement processes are notoriously slow, for example. It will need to show itself to be much more flexible and agile in future.

Living Up To Contractual Obligations Causing Angst

Concerned about possibly turning Germany into a military superpower again by raising its defense spending from 1.3 to 2 percent of its gross domestic product (as agreed to by Germany many years ago in NATO), Germany’s foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel (SPD) says that this could cause angst elsewhere in Europe, and most certainly at the German ministry of finance, and therefore maybe ought to be put off for an other 10 to 15 years or so. Or maybe longer. It all depends.

Gabriel

Angst is a terrible thing, people. And so is Verarschung (being bullshited). But angst is worse, I guess.

“Für Deutschland unrealistisch.”

Russia Scared?

Of 17 German officers and 30 Belgian troops who have just arrived in Lithuania?

Troops

I’m scared, too. Or at least I was. That I hadn’t read that right, I mean. But now I’m scared again because I checked once more and I did read that right: German troops land in Lithuania amid Russia fears.

Though political parties within Germany – whose national history makes it a hesitant military leader – clashed over the deployment of German troops, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite greeted Germany’s decision to lead the NATO forces as a “breakthrough” for the future of European defense.

Moscow, on the other hand, has criticized the move as an example of NATO aggression against Russia.

Germans Worried American Tanks Could Be Dangerous

The “risky roadshow” now rolling across Germany toward Poland could be, I dunno, an “embodiment of the United States’ commitment to deterring aggression and defending our European Allies and partners” or something.

Tanks

And who could possibly want that?

Some 3,500 troops from the 4th Infantry Division in Fort Carson, Colorado, will join up with the equipment, which includes 87 tanks and 144 Bradley fighting vehicles, over the next two weeks… The new forces will gather first in Poland, then fan out across seven countries from Estonia to Bulgaria. A headquarters unit will be stationed in Germany.

Bedrohliche Musik, Bilder bewaffneter Milizionäre in der Ukraine, Karten eines sich nach Westen ausbreitenden Russlands: Die US-Armee in Europa hat auf ihrer Website ein Video über ihre Operation “Atlantic Resolve” (“Atlantische Entschlossenheit”) veröffentlicht: Die Botschaft: Nach der Besetzung der Krim und der Destabilisierung der Ostukraine könnte Russlands nächstes Opfer ein EU-Land sein, weshalb die US-Armee Europa zur Hilfe eilt.