Europe at the Crossroads

MUNICH/BERLIN(Own report) – The organizers of the Munich Security Conference (MSC), one of the world’s most important military policy conferences, are urging that the EU’s transformation into a war alliance be accelerated. The European Union of states should be able to take on “missions,” similar to the 2011 military operation against Libya, at any time, according to a recent report by the Munich Security Conference, the McKinsey management consulting firm and the elite Hertie School of Governance. Not only drastic increases in the military budgets are being demanded of the EU members, but, above all, investments in modern military equipment. The authors of the report not only emphasize the harmonization of European weapon system standards but are also demanding that EU-states invest more in research, and to a growing extent, involve universities, branches of civilian industries and so-called start-up enterprises. According to the MSC Chairman, the German diplomat Wolfgang Ischinger, these are “essential” decisions, because it is “unsustainable” for the EU to continue to rely on US “protection.”

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Russia wants to form new Collective Security Bloc that replaces NATO

President Trump appears to understand that NATO is not the best solution to the emerging challenges. Tom Sauer suggested that although Washington will remain committed to the bloc, the current US administration will pay less attention to it. If true, this will create a unique opportunity for Europe to invest into its own security.

 

United States President Donald Trump was correct in his assessment that the North Atlantic Alliance is outdated, Associate Professor in International Politics at the Universiteit Antwerpen Tom Sauer asserted, saying that the bloc should be replaced by a new security organization that will encompass countries in Europe and Asia.

“NATO should be transformed or even be replaced by a new Eurasian-Atlantic collective security organization that includes Russia. That will also be in the interest of Ukraine and the Baltic states,” the analyst wrote for the National Interest. Continue reading

Is Germany Ready to Fire Shots?

Caption: U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the 2017 Munich Security Conference on February 18 (Johannes Simon/Getty Images)

 

Bundeswehr officials expect a more active and a more lethal role for Germany in the Middle East.

German military leaders are preparing to take on a more active role in the fight against the Islamic State in the Middle East. This news emerges following the February 17–19 Munich Security Conference. Spiegel Online reported on February 20 that German diplomats and military officers left the conference feeling that some major challenges ahead of them go far beyond merely increasing the nation’s military budget. The feeling was that Germany must get ready to fire shots.

German generals expect future missions to include air strikes against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq and possibly an increased deployment of the Bundeswehr in Afghanistan. Spiegel Online quoted a German military general who attended the conference as saying, “[United States President Donald] Trump doesn’t only want more money from us but he also wants us to finally fire shots” (Trumpet translation throughout). Although former President Barack Obama had previously insisted on a more active NATO involvement, the quoted general believes that the tone is sharper now and that Germany must prepare to pull the trigger. Continue reading

Germany to Be a Bigger Military Power Than Russia

Caption: Bundeswehr soldiers (CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP/Getty Images)

 

Even a modest boost to German defense spending means radical changes to the world order.

Germany will boost the size of its military to nearly 200,000, hiring an additional 20,000 soldiers by 2024, Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen announced on February 21.

Germany had already announced plans to increase its army to 193,000 by 2023, so this is merely an incremental increase compared to earlier plans. However, it does confirm the radical change in direction for Germany. Its army had shrunk to a low of 166,500 last June and has only just begun turning around. Now, each new announcement about the German military is an increase. Continue reading

On a Par (II)

MUNICH (Own report) – At the Munich Security Conference last weekend, the German government assumed the role of an ally “on a par” with the United States. The chancellor and several ministers of Germany formulated conditions for continued cooperation with the US government, while holding out the prospect of a “stronger Europe,” which, according to Germany’s Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, should be capable of independently “coping successfully” with the “reality of crises and wars outside the bounds of the European Union.” Appropriate rearmament measures are being prepared. The chancellor conceives of a military budget increase of around eight percent annually, while the discussion on German-European nuclear arms is continuing. Publicists are hinting at the possibility of Berlin sharing influence over the Force de Frappe through co-financing France’s nuclear arms arsenal. Berlin is still relying on the alliance with Washington, at least for the time being, because rearmament and access to nuclear arms take time. Continue reading

America Is Pushing Germany to Become ‘the Leading Military Power in Europe’

Caption: Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis hosts a joint press meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, Feb. 15, 2017. (Brigitte N. Brantley/Flickr)

 

Europe doing more means Germany doing more.

United States Defense Secretary Jim Mattis gave European nations a blunt ultimatum a meeting of NATO defense ministers on Wednesday: Spend more, or lose U.S. support.

“No longer can the American taxpayer carry a disproportionate share of the defense of Western values,” he said. “Americans cannot care more for your children’s future security than you do.”

“America will meet its responsibilities, but if your nations do not want to see America moderate its commitment to this alliance, each of your capitals needs to show support for our common defense,” he warned. Continue reading

Torchbearer of the West

BERLIN/WASHINGTON (Own report) – In the run-up to the Munich Security Conference this weekend, leading German foreign policy experts are calling on the EU to reposition itself on the world stage, replacing the United States as the West’s “torchbearer.” Since Washington’s change of government, the United States no longer “qualifies as the symbol of the West’s political and moral leadership,” according to Wolfgang Ischinger, Chair of the Munich Security Conference. It is therefore up to Europe “to make up for this loss.” Chancellor Angela Merkel will hold a programmatic speech at this weekend’s conference, focusing on the future relationship between the EU and the USA. In anticipation of the looming power struggle, in the German capital, the EU is already being warned not to allow itself to be torn apart by outside rivals. Deputy Foreign Minister Michael Roth cautioned against “special deals” being made between individual EU countries and the new Trump administration. If there is sufficient coherence necessitating, for example, majority decisions in foreign policy, “we Europeans” could become an “impressive political and military power,” Ischinger cajoled. Continue reading

German Army Continues to Swallow Its Neighbors

So far from what we’ve seen over the years, a European Army is shaping up with the following countries being participants or having some level of cooperation/integration:

  • Germany
  • France
  • the Netherlands
  • Romania
  • Czech Republic
  • Luxembourg
  • Poland

 

 

Czech Republic and Romania are sending major chunks of their armies to the Bundeswehr.

Czech and Romanian brigade will be integrated into divisions of the German army. The agreement is to be signed at a meeting of NATO defense ministers tomorrow. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), which broke the story on February 2, wrote, “The Bundeswehr is developing into the leading NATO army in Europe.”

The agreement is the most dramatic of a series of arrangements Germany is negotiating to deepen its cooperation with other countries. The EU Observer summarized the FAZ’s report, noting, “The longer-term strategy would turn the Bundeswehr into the leading NATO army in Europe, with small countries integrating their military forces into the German command structures.”

Two thirds of the Dutch army’s command structure began to integrate into the German army last year. Continue reading

Leader and Followers

BERLIN (Own report) – Leading German media are demanding that the German government transform the EU into “an effective counterforce to Trump” and, thus become “the savior of the free world.” Berlin must assume “a leading function” in the EU and assure that the rest of the member states “follow.” Germany must take the “responsibility for leadership.” It is “Europe’s last powerhouse,” one journal writes, in a snub to France, which, over the past few years, was unable to contend with Germany in the power struggle, and has lost much of its influence. Non-German observers doubt that Berlin will be able to sustain its claim to leadership within the EU. In Germany’s capital, an abundance of “triumphalism and sense of mission” is felt, reported an experienced foreign policy expert. There is a widespread conviction that “Germany has a mission in Europe, to lead the others down the right path.” Berlin refers particularly to France “with contempt.” “The French have no idea and must be disciplined.” The expert sees the possibility of coalitions in opposition to Germany being formed among EU countries. The German government is launching a new appeal for a common military policy and for “sticking together against Russia and the new US administration.” Continue reading

The Moment of the Europeans

BERLIN (Own report) – Germany’s top politicians are calling on the EU to close ranks behind Europe’s “central power,” Germany, following President-Elect Donald Trump’s recent declarations in an interview. Trump suggested the possibility of “deals” with Russia, predicted the further disintegration of the EU and pointed to Germany’s dominant role within the EU. A new Russian-American world order is looming, according to Elmar Brok (CDU), Chairman of the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, it is therefore imperative that the EU “close ranks.” Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier expressed a similar opinion. Wolfgang Ischinger, Chairman of the Munich Security Conference, called for Russian and US disarmament and for enhancing the EU’s militarization. He recommended that “German nuclear armament” not be discussed – at least “at the moment.” Continue reading

Shock as Opportunity

BERLIN (Own report) – Thanks to Donald Trump’s electoral victory, Berlin sees its opportunities for pushing for the creation of EU military structures and possibly European nuclear armed forces growing. Wolfgang Ischinger, the influential diplomat and Chairman of the Munich Security Conference, is “hoping” that the “Trump shock” has “dramatically increased” the willingness to militarize the European Union. Last week, the European Parliament adopted a resolution that includes setting up an EU Operational Headquarters, establishing a “political leadership” for EU military operations, and raising the military budgets of all member states to at least 2% of their GDP. EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security, Federica Mogherini, continues to promote the idea of an “EU superpower.” Leading politicians and commentators are beginning to pick up the idea, previously launched by a number of experts, of the EU developing its own nuclear military forces on the basis of French and British nuclear weapons. However, for this, the French and British arsenals would be insufficient, according to a suggestive article published in one of Germany’s leading opinion-forming dailies. Continue reading

An Essential Part of the West

WASHINGTON/BERLIN (Own report) – After Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential elections, the German government announced that it will continue its close cooperation with the United States and is calling for enhancing Germany’s position in the transatlantic relationship. Chancellor Angela Merkel “offered” President-elect Donald Trump “close cooperation” on the basis of particular conditions. Jürgen Hardt, the German government’s Coordinator of Transatlantic Relations, spoke of the “necessity for us Europeans, and particularly for us Germans, to assume more responsibility.” This “responsibility” would “grow” under a US President Trump and this concerns “all … instruments of foreign and security policy.” The call for more German influence reiterates positions recently voiced in Berlin’s foreign policy establishment, demanding “not to leave stability policy proposals up to the USA,” but to independently evaluate how to “shape the future global order.” German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen and Chairman of the Munich Security Conference, Wolfgang Ischinger, are linking this demand to a call for significantly increasing the German military budget.

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Three Years New Global Policymaking

BERLIN (Own report) – At this years German “Unification” celebrations in Dresden – three years after his first public appeal for an extensive German global policy – German President Joachim Gauck can look back on a successfully concluded phase. October 3, 2013, Gauck first called on Germany to become more involved – also militarily – in international affairs. The campaign initiated with his speech had been carefully prepared and was aimed at incorporating members of the German elite, such as university professors and journalists from leading media organs. The Bundeswehr’s recently adopted new White Paper is somewhat the official crowning of this campaign. In this paper, Berlin explicitly announced its commitment to global leadership, and, if necessary, to its enforcement by military means. At the same time, Berlin is pushing for the Bundeswehr’s arms build-up and the militarization of the EU. Germany is increasing its military involvement in the “Arc of Crisis,” as it is often called, meaning the arc of countries ranging from Mali, to Libya, Syria and Iraq.

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The Wars of the Near Future (I)

The Fourth Reich rising:

 

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.

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EURO TERROR CRISIS: German diplomat calls for creation of EU FBI to tackle extremists

A LEADING German diplomat has called for the creation of a Europe-wide law enforcement agency similar to the American FBI with powers to arrest and detain terror suspects.

Wolfgang Ischinger warned the current security arrangement on the continent amounted to a “fair-weather” police force that is ill-equipped for the threat from Islamic State.

Mr Ischinger, chairman of the Munich Security Conference, said the attacks in Paris and Brussels had laid bare the flaws in national security agencies and their ability to share intelligence.

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