BERLIN (Own report) – For the first time since 1990, the Bundeswehr will be increased in size, provided new capabilities and have its budget massively expanded. This was announced by Germany’s Minister of Defense, Ursula von der Leyen. According to her announcement, from now on, the German military’s “human resources” will be flexibly determined. For now, an additional 14,300 military personnel and 4,400 civilians will be added by 2023. The military budget, which, in 2000, was still at 23 billion Euros, will be increased to 39.2 billion by 2020. This is the materialization of Berlin’s geopolitical ambitions, which have been massively propagated since the fall of 2013, with the energetic participation of Germany’s President, who has repeatedly called for a more offensive German global policy with the inclusion of its military. In the process, Germany aims to take control of a ring of countries bordering on Europe – some, rich in natural resources – that can constitute, above all, a “cordon sanitaire” designed to shield the prosperous European empire from all sorts of problems. Because the EU’s original plans to use political-economic means to dominate this ring of states have proven unsuccessful, the German government is now turning to an open show of military force.
To enhance “the Bundeswehr’s capabilities” in this sense, von der Leyen plans 96 “separate measures,” including the creation of an independent branch of the service specializing in cyber warfare. For this, highly qualified IT specialists will be recruited. Furthermore, “Special Forces in the infantry and the navy” will be reinforced, as well as new “boarding companies” being assigned to the sea battalions for combat in coastal regions. The “capacities for the management of more extensive weapons projects” must be expanded, along with an enhancement of the Bundeswehr’s medical units – both at home and abroad. All this is tied in with a massive military budget increase. Whereas the German military budget, with 33 billion Euros in 2015, was already 40 percent more than the budget in 2000 (€23.1 billion), it is now scheduled to swell even further. Already for 2017, €36.6 billion have been planned; by 2020, the Bundeswehr is supposed to dispose of €39.2 billion, which, along with the growth in the number of personnel, will also finance numerous weapons projects. In January, the defense minister had already announced that, by 2030, she wants to spend around €130 billion to procure new weaponry – twice the amount originally planned.
A Ring around Europe
German policy strategists’ plans clearly suggest which regions of the world Berlin’s global ambitions will require ever more extensive military operations in the years to come. For example, a strategy paper, published in October 2013, the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) proposed – in reference to the United States’ intensifying focus on the power struggle with China – that, “to relieve” the USA, Germany “should primarily concentrate on the increasingly instable periphery of Europe extending from North Africa to the Middle East to Central Asia.” This would also necessitate “military interventions.” Similar proposals were made in an intervention in the debate on the new “White Paper” of the Bundeswehr. An “arc of crisis,” stretching “from the Baltic, through the Middle East to the Maghreb” surrounds Germany and Europe – and this is “why we have an armed forces.” Some of the countries making up this arch of crisis are the countries Berlin and Brussels want to have as suppliers of raw materials and serve as markets in a neo-colonialist manner – the oil-rich countries of North Africa and the Middle East. Some of these should be controlled to create a “cordon sanitaire” preventing the entry of refugees, as well as to armed attacks inside the EU and against European interests (Mali, Libya and Syria).
War Rather than Policy
In reference to the current “arc of crisis,” the “European Security Strategy” adopted in Brussels in December 2003, stated: “Our task is to promote a ring of well governed countries to the East of the European Union and on the borders of the Mediterranean with whom we can enjoy close and cooperative relations” – a rampart of controllable, stable client states surrounding a prosperous EU. This objective has been completely missed, concluded Wolfgang Ischinger, Chairman of the Munich Security Conference at the beginning of this year. The “vision of a European Union that would be surrounded by a cordon sanitaire of stability, growing prosperity and cooperation south of the Mediterranean and in Eastern Europe,” has “completely failed.” To shield the German-European empire from all sorts of problems and facilitate economic access to interesting neighboring regions, soldiers are now being deployed in the respective countries, ranging from Mali and Syria to Iraq – for the wars of the near future.
How the Bundeswehr is preparing for the wars of the near future by growing larger, restructuration, and rearmament, can be read in an intermittent succession of articles over the next few weeks in german-foreign-policy.com.