- Germany has released new defense policy guidelines for the first time in over a decade to strengthen its military capabilities and make it the central element of European defense in light of the Russia-Ukraine war.1
- The Federal Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) must become 'the backbone of deterrence and collective defense in Europe,' German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius said as he presented the 19-page document on Thursday.2
- This comes after Berlin unveiled a €100B ($107B) special fund last year to boost its military as part of Chancellor Olaf Scholz's major defense policy shift — the 'Zeitenwende' — and reach the NATO threshold of spending at least 2% of the GDP on defense from 2024.3
- Furthermore, Germany's first defense doctrine since 2011 highlights Russia as 'the greatest threat to peace and security in the Euro-Atlantic area' and adds that Berlin must become 'war-ready' and focus on national and NATO defense rather than foreign missions.4
- With regard to assuming greater responsibility amid the Russia-Ukraine war that he claims has altered the Bundeswehr's role, Pistorius referred to Berlin's commitment to permanently deploy Germany's first combat brigade in Lithuania.5
- Meanwhile, Scholz said on Friday his government would adjust the national defense budget 'in such a way that the (military) gets the resources it needs — even after the special fund runs out,' citing a joint fighter jet project with France and Spain as examples of European defense cooperation.6
- Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by Internationale Politik Quarterly. In light of Russia's ongoing war against Ukraine, it was high time that Germany committed itself to a leadership role within NATO as part of the 'Zeitenwende.' Europe's NATO allies must no longer rely on the US for the continent's defense, while Germany must ensure that it permanently meets the 2% GDP target for defense spending. Furthermore, Berlin must present a timetable to deploy a permanent combat-ready brigade to Lithuania as quickly as possible. Berlin has set the right course; now, it has to deliver.
- Establishment-critical narrative, as provided by Boston Review. With the new guidelines on so-called 'defense policy,' the militarization of Germany as part of the NATO war alliance is in full swing. The notion that Germany must become 'fit for war' raises uncomfortable associations with the country's darkest times, with recent events proving yet again that it's not Russia but NATO and the US that pose a threat to peace worldwide. Under the pretext of defending Europe, Berlin is making a dramatic turn to put its own geostrategic and economic interests first, which must be carefully analyzed within the context of an evolving multipolar world.