Although Berlin has been seeking for a decade to assume more responsibility in the world, and the war in Ukraine has convinced it to strengthen its defense capabilities, these capabilities are not developing at a sufficient pace, and this is what made Defense Minister Boris Pistorius promise to devote his efforts to this development, which faces many pitfalls. This will make the German army capable of deterrence, efficient and prepared.
In this sense, the French newspaper Le Figaro opened an analysis written by Pierre Avril and Nicolas Barot, in which they explained that NATO is following what they called German procrastination just as it is following what is called (Zeitwende) – a “turning point” – announced by Chancellor Olaf Schultz – with interest. In the hope that Germany will become a military power to be reckoned with.
What are the capabilities of the German army?
The German army (Bundeswehr) is one of the largest armies in Europe in numerical terms after France, as it has 184,000 active soldiers, more than Italy and Poland, and on paper it has 284 Leopard tanks, 674 infantry fighting vehicles and 121 caliber artillery pieces. 155 mm, 8 frigates and 226 Eurofighter and Tornado combat aircraft.
However, MP Eva Hügel, the parliamentary commissioner for the armed forces, said that the German army, in order to be ready for action, needs “personal equipment such as helmets, backpacks and flak jackets. Small and large equipment, from radios and ammunition to tanks”, meaning that it lacks all Almost nothing.
The two analysts pointed out that this situation is the legacy of decades of lack of investment, as Berlin significantly reduced its defense spending after the end of the Cold War, especially since the German army (the Bundeswehr) suffers from some restrictions and is prevented from carrying out combat missions outside Germany, even if the NATO intervention in Kosovo was the beginning. To be published abroad, after which he participated in missions in Mali and in the international coalition against the Islamic State.
Does Germany want to have influence in NATO?
Since the beginning of January, Germany has assumed, for the first time, the leadership of the “High Readiness Joint Task Force” (VJTF) within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and the leadership of its special forces, which means that it must assume military responsibilities, whether it likes it or not, and thus demands Its officers who understand this have the necessary resources and capabilities.-
And if the political hesitation was strong before the invasion of Ukraine to allocate more resources for defense, the German parliament’s vote on an extraordinary fund of 100 billion euros and the allocation of 2% of GDP for defense creates a compatibility between Berlin’s political will and its financial means.--
Germany launched the “Sky Shield” initiative (European missile defense) at the beginning of the year with the support of 14 NATO countries, but France seems disturbed by this project, but Torpan Arnold, an expert at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, says that providing funding will not be sufficient for Germany. To overcome the political and strategic difficulties of the project.
What is the military relationship with the United States?
A third of the special fund amounting to 100 billion euros – according to the newspaper – will be allocated to the purchase of American aircraft, and Chancellor Olaf Schultz says, in this regard, that “NATO needs a credible deterrent,” and “German participation in deterrence – according to the newspaper – is part of the security link.” The very strong link between Germany and the United States.
In addition, more than 30,000 American soldiers are permanently deployed in Germany, and there are 5 centers for the American army, which Berlin sees as a guarantee of security, and a high-ranking French diplomat comments on that bitterly, saying: “The Germans act as a subcontractor for the Americans.”
In this context, Franco-German cooperation is witnessing a significant weakness in the military fields, especially since many projects such as the naval patrol boat, the joint helicopter, and the future tank are still stalled.
Why is Germany reluctant to help Ukraine?
Olaf Schultz presented some arguments for his country’s refusal to send offensive equipment to Kyiv, the first of which is that the delivery of heavy weapons to Ukraine, especially Leopard 2 tanks, may provoke an escalation of the war, and the second is that Germany refuses to go it alone and waits for the Allied agreement, and the third is that Berlin needs first to evaluate the German military fleet .