The magical 2% NATO target and the German parties at the turning point (Zeitenwende)

The magical 2% NATO target and the German parties at the turning point (Zeitenwende)


As early as February 2021, Annalena-Baerbock categorically rejected the 2% NATO target:

“Completely absurd debate” NATO: Baerbock questions the two percent target

February 24, 2021, 12:36 a.m

NATO should not fixate on rigid numbers, says Baerbock. NATO member states should invest two percent of their gross domestic product in national defense. Germany is taking baby steps towards this goal. Green Party leader Baerbock believes it is time to say goodbye to the rigid guidelines. Green Party leader Annalena Baerbock has questioned NATO’s target for the level of national defense spending of its member countries. “I think this orientation towards this two percent target is a completely absurd debate,” said Baerbock in a live interview with “Zeit”. The background is an agreement from 2014. It stipulates that by 2024 all NATO member states will approach the benchmark of spending at least two percent of their gross domestic product (GDP) on defense. According to the latest public NATO calculations, German defense spending last year amounted to 1.57 percent – after 1.36 percent in the previous year. The increase is also due to the Corona-related contraction in GDP. The USA in particular is urging the federal government to increase it. Baerbock pointed out that a country may find it easier or more difficult to achieve this goal depending on the economic situation. In the midst of the current economic crisis, the federal government is spending significantly more, but nothing has changed in terms of equipment and capabilities.

Baerbock does not rule out the use of drones

 It is more important to clarify what the alliance needs for its own security. NATO has not discussed this enough in recent years. In a conversation with the new US President Joe Biden, she would offer that Germany could play a greater role in dealing with cyber attacks. When asked whether Germany’s obligations would no longer be reliable with a possible Chancellor Baerbock, the Green Party leader said that with a change of office, decisions made by a previous government could also be reversed. This was also the case in the USA after former President Donald Trump was voted out. Baerbock did not categorically reject the use of armed drones, on which the grand coalition has so far been unable to agree due to resistance from the SPD. Armed drones have been used in wars by the USA, among others, to carry out killings that violate international law, and there has been an automation of the war. Under these circumstances, she rejects the technology. “But they could also be used to protect soldiers, defensively.” For this purpose, clear deployment criteria would then have to be laid down.

Till now Baerbock hasn´t changed her mind. Yesterday evening, Annalena Baerbock at Maischberger’s ARD talkshow continued to categorically reject 2% NATO target, although she may have changed her attitude towards weapons and drones somewhat, including with regard to “defensive weapons”.

Baerbock is still against “the fixation on numbers”. Every government can change the numbers as it sees fit, Trump did that too. That this is a NATO decision, that perhaps pacta sunt servanda could apply, that Trump is fixated on this number and that if Trump were re-elected or with a Republican president, the issue would definitely come back on the agenda, with all possible consequences for Germany and the alliance,the fact that Biden is possibly “the last European US president”, that the special fund is probably not even suitable for rehabilitating the Bundeswehr, is limited in time, is not discussed there and doesn´t bother Baerbock. It seems that other NATO members do not reach the 2% either (while the Eastern Europeans far exceed it), that Germany is the second largest donor of aid to Ukraine, that this also has to be included in the expenditures like other items, and that one can also “get involved” more in cybersecurity, for example are other smashing arguments.  There are enough arguments to reject a fixed defense budget, but Trump and the Republicans as many Democrats  see all that  as just lazy excuses, shirking and social parasitism at the US expense. Perhaps, in addition to all the other bellicose and verbal militarism, there is also the Green fear that social cuts and other budget cuts will have to be made if one does not get further into debt or increase taxes, which could cause extreme discontent among the population, including among one’s own party clientele ( e.g. the topic how many Daycare centers and kindergartens could be built for 100 tanks, etc., especially since Baerbocks is always so specifically concerned with women and children), and the previous broad support for arms deliveries to Ukraine seems to be eroding, as people are increasingly getting used to and tired of Ukraine war , just as the hope for a quick peace, which would then supposedly eliminate inflation and the costs attributed to the war, is slowly spreading.

This is likely to be the case with the SPD, which fears a second Schröder agenda including the abrupt dismantling of the welfare state, especially since this made its decline and the rise of the Left Party possible. In addition, there still seem to be forces in the SPD who are hoping for a kind of Ostpolitik 2.0 after the Ukraine war and perhaps also partial normalization with Russia and do not want irreversible rearmament and militarization. But perhaps one would also like to remain flexible should Trump be re-elected and one would then choose Macron’s “European sovereignty” under nuclear protection from the Force de Frappe, for which Sigmar Gabriel is already initiating inquiries in France and within the Atlantic Bridge. For the latter perhaps also parts of the Greens, a Wagenknecht party (“European Security Architecture” “Lafontaine: “Ami go home”) and other Europeans and Eurasians in the Union could become interested, although this would also raise the question of how this European army will be able to provide European nuclear protection, how such a sovereign European armed force would have to be structured, who would have supreme command, how extensive the range of weapons to nuclear weapons and personnel and members would have to be in order to provide a credible deterrent against Russia, then also the USA and China, and whether one would also have to arm all that and how this would then be financed.

The Christian Union and AfD, on the other hand, are clearly in favor of the 2% NATO  target (and perhaps even more), and are not afraid of social cuts, especially since they would like to use this for a second neoliberal agenda against unions, the unemployed and Hartz recipients, from compulsory work as Linnemann demanded it to Wage reductions, especially as well as the mobilization of the hoped-for idle workforce potential, even with less migration. Strictly speaking, the Christian Union and the AfD would fit together well if it weren’t for the AfD’s previous Russia-friendly and Eurasian orientation and the flaw of Höcke fascism, including Dexit demands and possible exit from the EU, Euro and NATO. Perhaps one hopes that Weidel will become a transatlantic “post-fascist” Giorgia Meloni, if Höcke doesn’t take power first since he actually already has the say in the AfD. . Or perhaps such a black-brown-blue coalition could stay transatlantic in a Union/AfD alliance with a US President Trump, no longer as a community of values, but as a naked military alliance, insofar for Trump this is all too multilateral and he is leaving NATO and relying on bilateral treaties. Marine Le Pen had already tried, despite being close to Putin at the time, to speak to Putin’s friend Trump in his Trumptower  in New York with unknown results. In the meantime, Marine Le Pen has mutated from a Putin supporter to a Zelensky supporter. But it is questionable whether this is set in stone if the geopolitical constellations would change – also to the detriment of “the West”, which then would no longer exist in its old form with Trump.

The FDP, especially Strack-Zimmermann, would support the 2% NATO target, insofar as there should not be a revival of the Genscherists and the hope for new Eastern trade and a New Ostpolitik 2.0. Lindner would only care that this is not financed by debt, but rather through budget cuts, especially in the social sector.

The Left Party and a possible Wagenknecht Party are likely to categorically reject the 2% NATO target, as they both reject NATO itself. But maybe Wagenknecht and Oskar Lafontaine, might rethink their pro forma pacifist positions  at the prospect of a “European security architecture” with an  European armed force that is independent of the USA. without NATO and “Eurasisan peace” with Russia and China.

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