German Of The Day: Heimlicher Wortbruch

That means secret breach of promise.

Wortbruch

Mr Trump accused Berlin of falling short of its NATO commitments during a meeting with Polish President Andrzej Duda at the White House yesterday (June 12). The US President demanded that they increase their defence spending from one percent to two percent of gross domestic product (GDP).

NATO set a target for every member to spend two percent of GDP on defence by 2024.

But Berlin has only pledged to increase spending to 1.5 percent by that date.

Deutschlands heimlicher Wortbruch gegenüber der Nato.

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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.

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.

Shame On Him!

Trump treats Germany like ‘America’s worst ally.’

Worst

Especially because, well, like, you know… They are.

North Korea, China, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela: America currently has disputes with a lot of countries. Europeans, meanwhile, have done quite well at keeping their heads down. A US-EU trade truce is still holding. And Nato’s 70th anniversary festivities in Washington came and went in early April without tweet fireworks from the president threatening US withdrawal.

There was one notable exception to this queasy peace, however: Germany.

At a think-tank event during the Nato celebrations, vice-president Mike Pence castigated Germany for its inadequate defence spending and for being a “captive of Russia”. A few weeks later, presidential daughter-in-law Lara Trump opined on Fox Business that Angela Merkel’s welcome of refugees in 2015 had been Germany’s “downfall” and “one of the worst things to ever happen” to the country.

Germany is, in fact, having a bit of a moment in the roiling imagination of the Trumpian nationalist right. It has been denounced as “selfish” and “America’s worst ally” by Ted Bromund, a scholar at the Heritage Foundation. Jakub Grygiel, until last year a member of the State Department’s policy planning staff, called it “a source of fear and resentment”. And Michael Anton, a former senior White House adviser for strategic communications, just published an essay on the “Trump Doctrine” which contends that the EU is “a fraud” and Germany “treats the EU as a front organisation”…

Like I said. All of this is outrageous. And, well, I dunno, like, how should I put it? True. It’s actually much worse than all of that but nobody wants to hear it so, shame on you, President Trump!

Germany’s Once Mighty Air Force?

That must have been a long, long time ago.

All of the Reasons Germany’s Once Mighty Air Force Is Dying – The German magazine Spiegel recently revealed that most of the Luftwaffe’s—the modern German air force’s—128 Eurofighter Typhoons are not flightworthy.

In fact, only about ten of the aircraft are ready for operations, Spiegel said. This raises doubts about Germany’s ability to meet its NATO defense commitments.

“The problem is complicated.” Uh, no it’s not. This is nothing new. The Germans simply don’t care.

Our Next Promise Will Show More Promise

Not.

Defense

The longer Germany’s grand coalition stays in power, the more doubtful it is that Berlin will raise defence expenditure to the levels that it has promised its US and European allies. A failure to meet Germany’s commitments will corrode the mutual trust that is the essential ingredient of a successful international military alliance.

Inadequate German defence spending weakens Nato, the foundation stone of the nation’s security for 70 years. It damages US-German relations, which are at a post-1945 low because of the Trump administration’s disruption of the liberal world order. Ultimately, it undermines the credibility of the government’s claim that Germany stands for a robust, autonomous European security and defence strategy less reliant on Washington.

The Christian Democrat-Social Democrat coalition that assumed office in 2017 informed Nato at the start of this year that it would spend 1.5 per cent of gross domestic product on defence in 2024. This figure was below the 2 per cent to which Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor, and other national leaders had committed themselves at a Nato summit in 2014.

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.”

Bundeswehr Update: This One Doesn’t Fly, Either

The Bundeswehr doesn’t have any money, remember?

But the little it has it burns as fast as it can. Among numerous other spending scandals, this one went originally like: The German navy will continue operations with its Lockheed Martin P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft until 2035, with Berlin having signed a $158 million contract for modernisation work to be performed over the next five years.

Now the word is that the costs have run out of control. What would the Bundeswehr do without Miss Management herself (Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen)? She’s that good. Just like her buddy Angela Merkel, she’s too big to fail.

Es werde “kaum gelingen, alle Flugzeuge bis Ende 2025” flottzumachen, urteilt der Bundesrechnungshof.

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.”