Do We Really Want a Huge German Military Buildup?
Because this is where Trump’s attack on NATO is taking us
This is the kind of headline that we have avoided for 70 years and that NATO was supposed to rule out.
“A vermilion-colored locomotive slowed to a halt, its freight cars obscured in the blinding snow. A German captain ordered his troops to unload the train’s cargo. “Jawohl!” — “Yes, sir!” — a soldier said, before directing out the first of 20 tanks bearing the Iron Cross of the Bundeswehr, Germany’s army.”
Evocative of old war films, the scene is nevertheless a sign of new times. Seven and a half decades after the Nazis invaded this Baltic nation, the Germans are back in Lithuania — this time as one of the allies.
“As the Trump administration ratchets up the pressure on allied nations to shoulder more of their own defense, no country is more in the crosshairs than Germany. If it meets the goals Washington is pushing for, Germany — the region’s economic powerhouse — would be on the fast track to again become Western Europe’s biggest military power.”
For 72 years, the Germans have played by the rules. When Trump demands that the rest of NATO ‘pay up’ he misses the forest for the smallest tree. The whole point of NATO was for America to take the premiere role in terms of defense.
Sure you can argue it’s ‘no fair’ that Germany doesn’t do more, except that after the Germans had taken the world down that terrifying rabbit hole twice, we didn’t want them pulling their weight anymore.
But if we’re going to renege on our commitments to our allies, then our allies will have to do more to defend themselves. Such a scenario leaves Germany as the most powerful military in Europe again. This is exactly what we’ve endeavored to avoid for 72 years.
It’s amazing. The Germans don’t want to be bully boys again but Trump is literally pushing them into that position.
“Any renaissance of German might has long been resisted first and foremost by the Germans — a nation that largely rejected militarism in the aftermath of the Nazi horror. Yet a rethinking of German power is quickly emerging as one of the most significant twists of President Trump’s transatlantic policy.”
Three quarters of a century ago, FDR defeated the forces of isolationism. But now they’re back with a vengeance. Trump wants to rollback the State Department and back out of the UN. The Germans don’t want to go down this road themselves as they understand Europe simply cannot go to war again.
This was the basis on which NATO was built. But this is the problem with success. Because NATO has been so successful in time people forget why we have it and where we would have been without it.
“Since the November election in the United States, the Germans — caught between Trump’s America and Vladimir Putin’s Russia — are feeling less and less secure. Coupled with Trump’s push to have allies step up, the Germans are debating a military buildup in a manner rarely witnessed since the fall of the Berlin Wall.”
“Perhaps nowhere is the prospect of a new future playing out more than here in Lithuania — where nearly 500 German troops, including a Bavarian combat battalion, arrived in recent weeks for an open-ended deployment near the Russian frontier. The NATO deployment marks what analysts describe as Germany’s most ambitious military operation near the Russian border since the end of the Cold War. It arrived with a formidable show of German force — including 20 Marder armored infantry fighting vehicles, six Leopard battle tanks and 12 Fuchs and Boxer armored personnel carriers. “
We will have only Trump to thank:
“Maybe, with respect to the United States, you need to be careful what you wish for,” said Lt. Col. Torsten Stephan, military spokesman for the German troops in Lithuania. “Mr. Trump says that NATO may be obsolete, and that we need to be more independent. Well, maybe we will.”
Be careful what you wish for.
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