Friday, 18 May 2012

The German dilemma

Being fair to the Germans, the renunciation of military means in favour of economic and political means to realise German extra-territorial ambitions is a good thing. As long as the problem of lebensraum remains (as it still does), as long as Germany is still too big for her borders, then European federal union remains the only game in town. However, so terrified is Germany of any hint of a return to her militaristic past that, as Der Spiegel reports, she risks being sidelined by an unwillingness to join the gung-ho big boys' adventures such as Libya.

My sympathies really do go out to Germany on this. She's sticking fast to the extra-territorial use of the Bundeswehr solely for either peacekeeping or post-conflict reconstruction; this was stretched a little by then Defense Minister Peter Struck for operations in Afghanistan, who extended not the extra-territorial remit but the Bundeswehr's Home Defence remit, characteriused as 'Defence in the Hindu Kush' against an asymetric threat. However, Libya was a step too far. There was no credible threat to Germany, and the mission didn't fit either the peacekeeping or reconstruction remits. So Germany declined to join-in. 

Der Spiegel reports;
In January, representatives of the NATO member states attended the traditional Defense Planning Symposium at the NATO school in the Bavarian town of Oberammergau. The figures that German Brigadier General Ansgar Rieks presented to the partners were greeted with amazement. The attendees wanted to know why, after completion of the Bundeswehr reforms, only 10,000 of up to 185,000 German troops are to be available for foreign missions.
But take a look at Germany's other commitments. As part of the 'European Headline Goal' - the ability to respond to an international crisis without the USA - she provides 32,000 troops (18,000 at any time) to the European Rapid Reaction Force.  The German contribution includes armoured, air assault, and light infantry brigade headquarters and seven combat battalions. The Air Force provides core elements of air component headquarters, six combat squadrons with 93 aircraft, eight surface-to-air missile squadrons, and air transport. The Navy makes available maritime headquarters, 13 combat ships and support elements. Furthermore, the Bundeswehr is manning a permanent military operations headquarters at Potsdam, which can be transformed into the core element of a multinational operational headquarters.

Germany also had 7,000 troops committed to Bosnia heading the SFOR reconstruction efforts there, and maintains a large number under EUFOR, and had some 3,000 committed to Afghanistan. 

The loud noises now coming from NATO are around Germany's contribution to something that came out of the 2002 NATO Prague summit, at the USA's suggestion, of a NATO Response Force (NRF) of some 21,000 troops capable of being airlifted long distances at short notice. Not only does an unconditional commitment to such a force not chime with Germany's extra territorial remit, but the troops Germany has allocated to the Prague Commitment are, erm, exactly the same troops committed at the same time to the European Rapid Reaction Force. And she's made clear that their extra-territorial deployment must be cleared in advance by the German Parliament. Not what an economically-challenged US-dominated NATO wants to hear, clearly, from Europe's strongest economy. And hence, I suspect, the whispering campaign that has given us the Der Spiegel piece. 

You'd need a heart of stone not to sympathise with this particularly German dilemma.


Anonymous said...

Nato is; USoA, Britain, Canada, Denmark, Holland.

Leave the Germans be, don't want to open that can of worms.

G. Tingey said...

Anonymous is talking lying, ignorant bollocks.

There are 28 states in NATO- and the full list (NATO's own website) is here ....

Now take your prehistoric ignorant prejudices elsewhere, please, before I rip you a new orifice!

Cascadian said...

Well, the "gung-ho big boys' adventures such as Libya" only accentuated how inept and ill-prepared the United States of Euroland really are. That should not have been necessary after the Bosnia debacle.

Displaying weakness when the intention is to project power was the genesis for the attacks on New York and Washington.

Euroland's (and the free-world's) continuing existence is only guaranteed by hiding under the petticoats of the USA.

Germany's ability to avoid telegraphing it's weakness at least shows some ability for strategic thinking.

Anonymous said...

"Now take your prehistoric ignorant prejudices elsewhere, please, before I rip you a new orifice!"

I was making contrast with the fighters in Nato. In my opinion, the Germans should be allowed to formulate a position within a North Atlantic defensive alliance that takes into consideration the wishes of the German people and if that is a neutral stance: then so be it.

You should make an occasional attempt to make noise reasonate from the correct hole.

"Prehistoric Ignorant Predjudice"?

I thought that was your thing, isn't that how morally superior socialists equivocate their rigid and jaundiced mindset? Rip me a new whatever - how prehistoric of you dahling!

Now, go and stick your head back up your arse where it usually resides.

Love and XXX's lol!!!!

G. Tingey said...

Anonymous - too cowardly and lying to show a name ....

In no particular order - what gives you the entirely WRONG idea (AGAIN) that I am some sort of "scialist".
I'm not.
You made a specific claim as to NATO membership, which I have demonstrated, courtesy of NATO's own information to be completely WRONG.

If you can't do better than at least 100% wrong, I suggest you shut up.
You may not like being PROVEN WRONG, bu that's just too sad, isn't it?