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The German authorities exploited the 65th anniversary of Bundeswehr's creation to once again stress the need of building up its combat power by thoroughly re-equipping it through green field investments. Thus, CDU Chairman and Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer told the ARD broadcaster that the increased number of foreign anti-terrorist operations necessitates the German armed forces to have advanced weapons systems and adequate equipment. Owing to the US government's urgent demand for Germany to increase defense spending, the Minister said the following: "We will undoubtedly have to do more, but for our own security, not for the American President."
The former Commissioner for the Bundeswehr in the German Parliament, Social Democrat Hans-Peter Bartels, also spoke about the German armed forces' distress. He complained that "only a minor part of the army's equipment and vehicles stay operational." According to the politician, Germany will be only able to deepen its contribution under the allied obligations to protect Europe if the equipment of its army is improved. This apparently refers to NATO obligations and Russia as the one Germany is going to protect Europe from. The implication makes perfect sense. By the way, current President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, in her tenure as German Defense Minister, regularly advocated for increasing Bundeswehr's budget, claiming that nearly all the equipment in its service, including, for instance, armored personnel carriers and aircraft, requires urgent replacement as "outdated, rust-eaten and refusing to start".
Speaking before the Bundeswehr recruits in observance of the anniversary (and there were only nine of them present in the park in front of his official Bellevue residence due to Covid-19 pandemic restrictions), German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier also pointed to the need for increased investment in equipping the country's armed forces. He linked the necessity with the hope of "renewing transatlantic partnership" under new US President Biden, noting that the Bundeswehr has never had such a profound responsibility: solidarity with allies in Central and Eastern Europe, foreign operations from the Balkans via Afghanistan and Mali to Iraq and the Indian ocean, cyberspace defense, domestic humanitarian activity – for instance, amid the present-dayCovid-19 pandemic.
By the way, Steinmeier admitted that even under President Biden, Europe will no longer be at the forefront of US interests. That is why, he believes, investing in a strong Germany means strengthening the European Union, which is a contribution to the development of NATO's European flank and to transatlantic relations. "In this case alone will our partnership with the United States regain a strategic lynchpin that will withstand differences," Steinmeier said. However, in the long term, the European Union will stay unable to single-handedly guarantee safety of its members and will therefore need the strongest and largest partner as represented by the United States.
In the German President's long and heartfelt speech there is a lot of good words about how soldiers and officers of the Bundeswehr, alongside their NATO allies, will have to globally "defend the freedom and independence" of people in Europe. However, there isn't a word about why does the Bundeswehr regularly take part in NATO exercises next to the borders of Russia. Meanwhile, TASS reported that in late October, the defense attaché at the German Embassy in Moscow was invited to the Russian Defense Ministry. The German military representative was informed of the Russian stance as regards the German side's engagement in the NATO Steadfast Noon and Resilient Guard drills, with elements of using American tactical nuclear weapons being worked out, TASS wrote. This runs counter to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and instigates heightened tensions along the line of Russia-NATO contact, as well as negatively affects credibility in Europe, Moscow believes. And this is just one example.
Apparently, Germany intends to keep boosting its combat potential, referring to the interests of the EU and NATO, as well as pressure coming from the United States. The Bundeswehr's anniversary seems to have been used by Germany to signal the new US President about its readiness to boost the military spending, to ride the coattails of America. However, Germany will most probably expect that Biden waive US sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline in response, since cheap natural gas from Russia should guarantee a strengthened economic foundation of both Germany and Europe for a pretty long period.