A Positive Development

But nowhere near what the Germans pledged to do long, long ago.

NATO

Germany to match US contribution to NATO budget – From 2021, Germany will increase its contribution to the NATO budget to be in line with what the US pays. NATO officials hope the move will diffuse tensions surrounding the cost of maintaining the military alliance.

Gee. I wonder what – or who? – finally got the Germans to act?

Starting in 2021, the share of the NATO budget covered by Germany will increase from 14.8% to 16.35%, while the share covered by the US will decrease from 22.1% to 16.35%…

NATO officials hope the new agreement will alleviate some of the tension around the topic of NATO financing. US President Donald Trump has complained that the US covers more than its fair share of the costs for the alliance. He has demanded that other member states make good on their pledges to increase their NATO contribution to 2% of GDP by 2024 (pledged nearly twenty years ago), a goal that Germany will not reach.

Merkel on Wednesday vowed to reach the 2% mark by the “early 2030s.”

Country Without A Functioning Army Needs A National Security Council

Like a hole in the head. No, really. It makes sense, sort of. And by 2031 they won’t need it anymore anyway.

AKK

The German defense minister, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer AKA AKK, AKA Mini-Merkel, who also serves as head of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), says she plans to move forward with the formation of a national security council in recognition of Germany’s strategic interests.

In an earlier interview with the Süddeutsche Zeitung, she urged Berlin to take an increasingly active role in military engagements abroad.

Germany must “openly deal with the fact that we, like every other country in the world, have our own strategic interests,” Kramp-Karrenbauer told the Süddeutsche Zeitung.

Germany commits to NATO spending goal by 2031 for first time.

Isn’t That Special

Germany Isn’t Special – To pull its weight, it needs to start seeing itself as a normal country, subject to the same pressures as all its neighbors.

Germany

Polls before this weekend’s elections in states in the former East Germany show the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) comfortably capturing 20 percent or more of the vote. This is just one of the ways in which the country at the center of Europe is confronting a new state of affairs.

Ever since reunification, Germany has built its liberal democracy on a few key pillars—a disavowal of the extreme right, a focus on economic performance, and a steadfast relationship to the United States—to avoid a return to the conflagrations of the past. By following these guidelines, the country has won itself respect around the globe. But it has also persisted in treating itself as a special case, not subject to the pressures affecting its Western peers. That, in turn, has led to resentment among its partners. It is time for Germany to buck its postwar policy traditions and begin to see itself for what it is: a normal power.

A German friend of mine summed it up more succinctly: Die Deutschen wollen immer eine Extrawurst haben. The Germans always want “an extra sausage” = special treatment. Are those days finally over? In the real world, I mean? Stay tuned.

Germans Too Busy Killing Hitler To Help Allies

It’s another German oddity kinda thang. And one of my personal favorites.

Hitler

Germans hide from responsibility today by routinely ritualizing  how they hid from responsibility in the past. And don’t kid yourself. They are perfectly aware of what they are doing.

Germany will not join US naval mission in Strait of Hormuz – Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Germany will not be taking part in a US-led mission to secure oil tanker ships sailing near Iran. The US ambassador in Berlin slammed the decision, saying Germany has responsibilities.

“Hardly any other country is as dependent on the freedom of international shipping as export champions Germany.”

An Absolute Shocker!

That the US would even waste time asking Germany in the first place, I mean.

Germany

Germany rejects US request for help in the Gulf – Foreign ministry focuses on ‘de-escalation and diplomatic efforts’ as tensions rise.

And dialogue. The journalist here forgot to mention dialogue. Whenever Germany shirks its responsibility as an ally (and this happens with astounding regularity) the German foreign minister du jour suggests opening a so-called dialogue instead – knowing, of course, that this dialogue will never lead anywhere but that it will enable Germany to shirk its responsibilities in a more subtle, indirect manner.

Tensions in the Gulf have reignited a German debate over the country’s readiness to take on a larger role in global affairs with critics charging that Berlin should step up its involvement by taking part in a possible naval mission to the region.

Berlin has come under pressure from the UK and the US to increase its engagement in the Gulf after Iran seized a British-flagged tanker in the Strait of Hormuz this month.

But on Tuesday Germany rebuffed a formal Washington request for support, saying it would not contribute to a US-led naval mission in the region.

“This is a classical case of ducking your responsibility. You see that something has to be done but you say: Not me.”

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.”

Method Merkel

Although eight out of ten Germans feel that it’s time for Germany’s national trainer Joachim Low to go (his recent failures have been breathtaking), an all-time low for Low, Low won’t go.

Low

But, then again, why should he? He’s in good company. The numbers are very similar with regard to Chancellor Angela Merkel and nobody can get her to leave, either. She, like Low, refuse to face the consequences of their actions (or lack of action) while depicting themselves as being alternativlos (without alternative). There always is an alternative, however, as we all know, and the clock is ticking for both of them.

The coach could change things but he isn’t doing so. The team needs new blood.

German Of The Day: Kristallklar

That means crystal-clear. You know, like Germany’s policy of backing the airstrikes in Syria as “necessary and appropriate” – immediately after they have taken place?

Germany

This “hat Hand und Fuß” (has hand and foot = rhyme and reason) as immediately before they took place Germany made clear that it would not participate or support these airstrikes in any way. Being a responsible ally with clear conviction beforehand was apparently neither “necessary” nor “appropriate,” you see.

No one here or anywhere else bats an eye at this strange logic (some would call it a contradiction) much less critisizes it because German policy in matters like these where something is asked or expected of them is always contradictory – and no one here or anywhere else very much seems to care. The German conviction is to freeload, in other words. Or perhaps this confusion is not a contradiction at all, just another complex nuance of the German language.

“We support the fact that our American, British and French allies have taken responsibility in this way as permanent members of the UN Security Council.”

I Would Rather Have Venezuela

Well received? “Berlin’s bid for UN Security Council seat was well received, but questions remain.”

UN

I don’t have any questions. No way. Go with Venezuela. At least you know where the Venezuelans stand when it comes to the question of shouldering responsibility. They don’t stand there very well, of course, but at least you know where they stand. Germans just talk the talk. And don’t even get embarrassed when they get caught doing so.

Maas highlighted the fact that Germany is one of the largest UN contributors. He also expressed how grateful he was for the trust he felt was given to Germany at the UN, describing Berlin’s bid for a rotating Security Council seat as a way to try to give back some of the trust.

“We are shouldering responsibility already and we are prepared to shoulder responsibility in the future.”

“Not Deployable For Collective Defense”

Three years ago, Germany’s military made headlines when it used broomsticks instead of machine guns during a NATO exercise because of a shortage of equipment. The lack of real weapons in the European Union’s most populous nation was seen as symptomatic of how underfunded its military has long been.

Germany

One Russian annexation later, if anything, the state of affairs has only gotten worse, according to the parliamentary commissioner for the country’s armed forces.

He has now reached the conclusion that the German military is virtually “not deployable for collective defense,” at the moment. Independent commissioner Hans-Peter Bartels also indicated in a recent interview that Germany was unprepared for the possibility of a larger conflict even though smaller operations abroad may still be possible.

Meanwhile… Rising exports, Turkish tanks fuel German arms sales debate.

Again: Germany’s army is an alibi army that will never be used for anything other than to make Germans feel better (less worse?) about being 1) pacifists while being at the same time 2) the world’s third largest weapons exporter. Remember this when the next demand for them to spend 2 percent GDP on their defense comes up and they start to fidget – and get away with not spending it again.