In response to the Ukrainian crisis, Germany has introduced a new national security strategy, altering its longstanding policies.
The stable and economically successful Germany sought a better life for its people and aimed to contribute more to European confidence, a Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and prosperity.Though Scholz said Putin is jeopardising this security, he also said, ‘in the long term, security in Europe cannot be achieved in opposition to Russia’. Given this contradiction, he laid out five action points. First is to extend firm support to Ukraine to preserve its freedom and democracy. This includes supplying weapons to Ukraine, a major policy change for Germany. Second, to increase efforts to divert Russia from its warpath. This implies the unprecedented sanctions cutting Russia from the financial system, from new technology and targeting their oligarchs and investments in the EU. energy was not mentioned in this but Germany would hurt enough from the dislocation of SWIFT services. The third is preventing the war from spilling over into other countries in Europe. Interestingly, this is similar to what Chinese President Xi Jinping told the EU leaders in their summit in April. Scholz spoke about NATO holding together and how the Bundeswehr would be more potent in its support for Eastern allies including Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and the Baltics. He committed Germany to contribute to NATO efforts in a spirit of solidarity, marking a major change from his pre-election promise and the coalition compact. Building a reserve of coal and gas to reduce dependence on Russia for energy supplies is necessary. Germany, along with the EU, is looking for alternate sources. Two LNG terminals, which were earlier declined, would now be created in Brunsbüttel and Wilhelmshaven. With the emphasis on renewables, the LNG terminals will be convertible to store green hydrogen.
Funds for climate, development cooperation and domestic infrastructure, employment, and health services could be impacted by increased allocations to national security, and the increasing likelihood of higher energy prices particularly if supplies from Russia are actually disrupted.Germany has for long been a functional civil society carrying the guilt of the Second World War. It kept defence preparedness low and sought wider issues like climate change and European values. It is the leading economy in Europe, but not an effective military partner to NATO. Germany’s NSS will now be based on collective defence efforts with NATO and increased complementarity between them. Germany believes that NATO's presence in Eastern Europe is inadequate, and it would have to do more to supplement that. The NSS would not only be defence preparedness, but include diplomatic initiatives, a larger development compact, and continuing support to the climate agenda. These will remain German objectives but with higher allocation now to defence spending. The challenge will be how to fund other objectives. Funds for climate, development cooperation and domestic infrastructure, employment, and health services could be impacted by increased allocations to national security, and the increasing likelihood of higher energy prices particularly if supplies from Russia are actually disrupted.
The Future Combat Air System (FCAS) jet programme that Germany is developing with Spain and France may suffer delays now. Other equipment expected to be ordered are heavy lift helicopters, air defence systems, submarines, frigates and minesweepers. Several of these, as in the case of Japan, will be ordered form the USA to assuage it.Where would the enhanced budget of German defence go? Analysts believe that initially issues which were ignored over several years, like military preparedness, essential supplies of military ammunition, weapons, support and logistics will perhaps get a fillip in a quicker timeframe. This will depend on how prepared the Bundeswehr plans for this are, since over several years, they have got used to doing with much less than what they thought they required. Major procurements will take a longer time and need planning for induction of new weapon systems, replacement of older ones, and the development of new ones, either imported or as European alternatives. It is interesting that Germany which was always a votary of a European option, had bought Tornado fighters, and has now decided to buy 35 F-35’s from the US. Thus, the US will be the immediate beneficiary of Germany's enhanced expenditure. Germany was to order 15 Typhoons before the crises and had rejected the F-35 in 2018 and 2020. The Future Combat Air System (FCAS) jet programme that Germany is developing with Spain and France may suffer delays now. Other equipment expected to be ordered are heavy lift helicopters, air defence systems, submarines, frigates and minesweepers. Several of these, as in the case of Japan, will be ordered form the USA to assuage it. Ukraine at various levels keeps calling for Germany to do more straight away, but Germany is unable to do all that Ukraine demands. The popular mood has altered over time too. A month ago, a narrow majority of Germans opined that the government's reaction was appropriate, but now only 37 percent concur. In contrast, 45 percent now believe that the government is not doing enough. The ‘Ukrainisation’ of opinion is causing problems to the German coalition. Partnership with Russia has been a part of the German policy for decades. They need to create their NSS quickly and announce first steps more cogently. The quick response to the Ukraine crisis has led to the move to a new NSS. In this, managing energy supplies, accommodating divergent preferences of coalition partners and the capability of the Bundeswehr to now be a lead player in German polity and policy are important steps. Germany is not used to these and will now cope with the situation at home and in Europe.
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Gurjit Singh has served as Indias ambassador to Germany Indonesia Ethiopia ASEAN and the African Union. He is the Chair of CII Task Force on ...Read More +