This Could Mean War Or Something

Tariff war. World War T. You know, the end of the world as we know it? Then it’s all over but the crying. And the Zombie Apocalypse. It’ll be  Zombie Apocalypse Now, so-to-speak.

Steel

Yawn.

Berlin holds little hope that the EU will be granted a further exemption from US metals tariffs beyond a May 1 deadline. Washington has offered the bloc a reprieve to speed up talks on a series of trade issues.

The German news agency DPA reported on Thursday that the upcoming meeting between Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Donald Trump — scheduled for the weekend — was unlikely to win the EU a further exemption from higher steel and aluminum tariffs planned by Washington.

Citing government sources, DPA said the Trump administration’s plans to impose a 25 percent tariff on steel and 10 percent on aluminum imports to the United States would likely come into effect on May 1.

But maybe something miraculous will happen at the absolutely very last second to hold off trade war Armageddon. Maybe it won’t. Hard to say for sure so be sure to stay tuned.

Bundesregierung befürchtet Handelskrieg mit den USA

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German Soldiers To Put Even More Blitz In Blitzkrieg

They have to. No more overtime will be allowed during regular wartime hours so get ‘er done quick, men. I mean persons.

Overtime

The German military, once the most feared fighting force in Europe, is being forced to lay down its weapons by restrictive new overtime limits.

German soldiers taking part in a four-week Nato exercise in Norway earlier this year had to leave after just 12 days because they had gone over their overtime limits, it has emerged…

Under the latest reforms, in force since January, the military working week has been reduced to 41 hours and troops can no longer be paid for working overtime.

Stell dir vor, es ist Krieg, und die Bundeswehr muss Überstunden abbauen.

German Tornadoes Useless At Night?

So what? They’re pretty worthless during the day, too.

Tornadoes

In a new humiliation for Germany’s defense ministry, the six Tornado airplanes that had been touted as a much-needed German contribution to the fight against “Islamic State” terrorism are outfitted with lighting far too bright for pilots’ eyes.

Meanwhile… Ursula von der Leyen: “The Bundeswehr fights against ISIS in Syria and the Taliban in Afghanistan.”

Fights?

Germany stands in the way in the fight against ISIS!

In Syria the Bundeswehr does not “fight” at all. The Bundeswehr leaves the fighting to others (politically intended), for instance to the Kurds or the Americans, the French and the British. Kurdish troops fight on the ground against ISIS, having been furnished arms by Germany…

Nor does the Bundeswehr “fight” in Afghanistan, not for a long time now. It has pulled out of all contested areas. Since then the Taliban rules there – undisturbed by the Germans…

Many German soldiers have fought and died or ruined their health in Afghanistan. It is simply not fair to them to claim that the Bundeswehr “fights” anywhere against the Islamic threat.

Dear Hollywood

It’s Christmas season so here’s my wish. I know your first and foremost priority is to bash everything time-honored and traditional about us (as in US). I understand and respect that (actually I don’t, that was just a figure of speech). But seeing what’s going on in the world at this moment I would really appreciate it if you could possibly consider bringing back one of your own time-honored genres: The wartime drama. You know, like Casablanca? You could refer to it as a wartime propaganda film if that makes you feel better about it, of course.

Casablanca

I would like this Casablanca to have a Muslim hero in it, however. A Muslim Rick, so-to-speak. The reason being that one of the obvious intentions of the ISIS attacks in France (coming to Germany soon!) is to incite hatred against the Muslims living here and to hopefully, from their point of view, have this hatred lead to some form of civil war in ze Europe.

This may have seemed far-fetched a short time ago but a thoughtful look at the current atmosphere in Germany, for instance, should convince you that this is well within the realm of the possible.

The Traumfabrik (dream factory) needs to give us a positive Muslim role model here, in other words. The “normal,” moderate Muslims living here need one erst recht (all the more). This Ric, too, will need to do the right thing and combat the evil that is terrorizing us all and explain to everyone how it doesn’t take much to see that the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world, of course.

I know you’re busy and all these days and I really hate to bother you (another figure of speech) but I’m just thinking out loud here.

PS: Scarlett Johansson would make a great Ingrid Bergman character. No head scarves or anything, though.

Who Woke Up Insulation Nation?

Like how rude is that? Even if they’re only awake for a few minutes it’s still uncalled for.

War

* Germans long felt insulated after opposing 2003 Iraq war

* Germany-France soccer game was one of Paris targets

* Cancelled match this week brought threat closer to home

* Vice chancellor shuns war rhetoric favoured by Hollande

After years of feeling insulated from militant Islamist threats, Germans are worrying that they too could be subject to attacks like those suffered last week in Paris.

Ain’t no big deal, though. They’ll be back to sleep in no time, folks. War? What, me worry? The answer is always…

“Die ganz klare Antwort ist nein.”

Germany To Double Its Presence In Mali to 18 Men

Eager to help its neighbor France redistribute its military forces in the wake of the terrorist attacks on Paris, and keen to stay out of harm’s way while pretending to have a real military of its own, Germany has generously volunteered to increase the number of its already sizable forces presently stationed in Mali. Some sources close to the chicly coiffed head of the German war machine herself have even suggested that she may even actually double the number to a full 18 men (that’s a 1 and an 8). Personen (persons), I mean.

War

Meanwhile… Earlier on Tuesday, French President Francois Hollande said the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle would head to the eastern Mediterranean offshore areas of Syria and Lebanon, instead of the Persian Gulf as previously announced, to support military operations against the Islamic State (IS) extremist group.

Die Bundeswehr beteiligt sich an der UN-Mission Minusma in Mali derzeit unterstützend mit neun Soldaten.

PS: When Germans say nein they mean nine, damn it.

German Of The Day: Bündnisfall

That means casus foederis in Latin. OK, OK, and that means a “case for the alliance.” The NATO alliance, that is. Article 5. And that’s the case we have in Paris right now.

NATO

The Islamic State just attacked us. This isn’t rocket science, folks.

The coordinated terror attacks across Paris that left more than 120 dead and hundreds wounded have prompted calls for global intervention from France’s allies against the Islamic State group, which took responsibility for the attacks. As world leaders decried the attacks as an “act of war” and international media trumpeted the arrival of World War III, security experts said Saturday a perfect storm could be brewing for an invocation of the NATO’s Article 5, the clause declaring an attack against one ally to be an attack against all.

“Das war ein Kriegsakt einer feindlichen Armee, des ‘Islamischen Staates,'” Wir befinden uns im Krieg mit dem ‘Islamischen Staat'”

This Takes Putin-Understanding To A Whole New Level

Despite recent drawbacks regarding German esteem levels for Russia, Putin-Understanding still seems to be alive and well in Germany. It’s even become more, I dunno, active-like. More than 100 German citizens have joined the ranks of pro-Russian rebel fighters in eastern Ukraine.

Putin-Understanders

Unlike German jihadis who went to fight with the “Islamic State” in Syria, German citizens participating in the conflict in eastern Ukraine did not have to worry about facing prosecution back home…

There are currently many German youths who post pictures of themselves with weapons and uniforms in the Internet, boasting of their participation in the Ukraine struggle. One German has lost his life fighting for the separatists on February 12, research by the German weekly (Die Welt am Sonntag) revealed.

Tanks For Nothing, Vlad

The end of the Cold War didn’t necessarily mean the end of war between big countries, and Russia’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine undermines the notion that a quiet Europe is forever free from war. And modern warfare means tanks. Germany recently bolstered their current arsenal of tanks by buying and upgrading 20 Leopard 2A7 tanks acquired from the Netherlands, though originally from Canada.

Tanks

Upgrading old tanks is fairly routine and accounts for the dangers of the present. Developing a new advanced tank, instead, is a bet on the future. In August, German company Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW), makers of the current versions of the Leopard tank, merged with French defense company Nexter. Speaking to the merger, KMW CEO mentioned the idea of a Leopard 3 tank, noting that France has a strategic perspective that stretches decades into the future. In October, when the budget committee of Germany’s parliament put together their draft of a 2015 spending bill, the proposal to develop a new tank was quietly noted, and then debated in an independent German armed forces journal.

“Rethinking German Pacifism”

Would the Germany of today help liberate the Germany of 1944? You don’t need to tap Angela Merkel’s phone to find the answer: It’s no.

Peace

Defense-minded politicians in Berlin rail against this picture, arguing that postwar Germany has participated in major military operations. Take Kosovo! Take Afghanistan! Big missions! Don’t be fooled. It is perfectly clear by now that these interventions hardly represent the rule; rather, they are two exceptions from a convenient and holier-than-thou foreign policy attitude, one the Germans have cultivated over the past 70 years.

Jochen Bittner is a political editor for the weekly newspaper Die Zeit.