German Chancellor Olaf Scholz does not hide it anymore: Germany is at war with Russia and the nation that killed some 25 million Russians in World War II and destroyed much of Europe is ramping up its military spending.
In a speech at the Bundestag last Thursday, Scholz said, “One does not achieve peace when one shouts ‘never again war’ here in Berlin, and at the same time demands that all weapons deliveries must be stopped.”
Two weeks ago, again denouncing peace talks, Scholz declared that “The Russian president currently accepts only one form of negotiation, namely unconditional surrender, allowing him to push through all of his goals.”
Scholz said Germany holds a special responsibility in Europe—as the continent’s biggest economy—to stand up to outside aggression, without naming Russia. He has also become one of the top supporters of Ukraine in its effort to expel Russian forces from the country.
“You can’t negotiate with a gun to your head—except for your own submission. There will be no military victory for Russia, also because we and our partners continue to support Ukraine,” he said.
Scholz told the Bundestag last week that German assistance for Ukraine was paying off. He said Germany played a key role in Kyiv’s success on the ground by providing more than €14 billion in the past year to help the country “defend itself and persevere.”
“And we continue to expand our support: since the beginning of the year alone with the Patriot air defense system, the Marder armored vehicle, and the Leopard 1 and 2 battle tanks,” he said.
Indeed, Germany is reportedly sending Ukraine 200 tanks, which adds pressure on other European allies to up the ante, in particular Switzerland, which has 96 Leopard 2 tanks that are not being used. It is Germany’s hope to provide Ukraine with two battalions.
“We are working with industry on reliable supplies of ammunition and spare parts,” he said.
Berlin has already earmarked $107 billion for military projects and will now spend 2 percent of its GDP on its military. Politico reported that Scholz said Berlin would “permanently” adhere to NATO’s goal of alliance members spending 2 percent of their GDP on their defense.
Scholz also noted that, like the U.S., Germany has been training Ukrainian soldiers. He said the Bundeswehr has trained more than 3,000 soldiers and will soon train another 1,000. He said the numbers mean Germany is the “central training ground for Ukrainian soldiers in Europe.”
TRENDPOST: Liana Fix, a fellow for Europe at the Council on Foreign Relations, noted in an interview with Politico that Scholz and U.S. President Joe Biden have vowed continued support for Ukraine, but 2023 may well be “the best chance Ukraine has.”
“Biden can say the U.S. will support Ukraine ‘as long as it takes’ if he can keep getting Congress to approve funds, and the idea with that rhetoric is to send a clear message to Moscow. But there’s also a U.S. election in 2024, and a German election in 2025, which will make things far more complicated.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin has noted Germany’s active role in the conflict and its decision to provide Ukraine with its Leopard 2 tanks.
Putin told a crowd earlier this month, marking the 80th anniversary of Russia’s victory in the Battle of Stalingrad, that Russia finds itself once again being threatened by German tanks.
“It’s incredible, but it’s a fact: They are threatening us again with German Leopard tanks with crosses painted on their armor,” Putin said. “And they are again going to fight Russia on the territory of Ukraine with the hands of Hitler’s followers, the Banderites.”
Scholz continues to say he does not want a NATO war against Russia and is merely helping Ukraine to “defend the European peace order.”
Stern, the WSWS scribe, noted that Scholz said he does not want Germany to become a party to the war, but it is too late. He wrote that the U.S. and Germany have “long been ‘war parties.’”
He wrote, “Scholz claimed in his speech that there was ‘only one man who is solely responsible for this war’ and could end it, ‘and the man’s name is Vladimir Putin.’ This claim is utterly preposterous. The Russian invasion is reactionary, but it has a history and historical causes, and it was prepared and provoked by the imperialist powers,” noting NATO’s relentless expansion despite Russia’s warnings.
Germany/U.S. Partnership in Weakening Russia
The Trends Journal reported extensively on the diplomatic failures that led to the Russian invasion, with the failure of the Minsk agreements playing major roles in why Putin invaded. (See “ZELENSKY SAID HE REFUSED TO HONOR MINSK PEACE ACCORD WITH RUSSIA,” 14 Feb 2023, “RUSSIA SAYS NO UKRAINE WAR IF KYIV ABIDED MINSK AGREEMENT” 17 Jan 2023, and “MERKEL ADMITS THAT MINSK AGREEMENT WAS A RUSE, RUSSIA CALLS FOR TRIBUNAL” 13 Dec 2022.)
We noted that it was former German Chancellor Angela Merkel who slipped late last year and said the Minsk agreements were an effective ruse to give Ukraine time to “get stronger” for its next conflict with Russia.
“The Ukraine of 2014/15 is not the Ukraine of today. As you saw in the battle for Debaltseve in early 2015, [Russian President Vladimir] Putin could easily have overrun them at the time. And I very much doubt that the NATO countries could have done as much then as they do now to help Ukraine,” she said.