In the news over the weekend: The nation that produced von Moltke, Bismarck, von Schlieffen, von Manstein, Guderian and Rommel, now we have a German Army that is effectively useless. Excerpt:
There are so few German army helicopters available for the troops that pilots have been forced to train in bright yellow civilian choppers leased from the German Automobile Club.
A chronic shortage of spare parts and assorted technical woes have grounded 29 of the Bundeswehr’s 130 camouflage-green helicopters. Acute shortages of parts have also left only 39 of the Luftwaffe’s 128 Eurofighter jets combat-ready — idled along with nearly half of the armed forces’ 224 Leopard tanks and five of its six submarines.
No country in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization alliance has savored the “peace dividend” as much as Germany, which slashed military spending in half after the Cold War. And no country in NATO has drawn more criticism from President Trump for not carrying its own military weight than Germany.
The country’s embarrassingly long laundry list of inoperable fighter jets, grounded helicopters, idled tanks and dry-docked submarines has exacerbated tension between Germany and the United States, which — like other NATO allies — worries about the threat of Russian aggression after its annexation of Crimea in 2014.
That’s the what; here’s the why:
But for all the tough talk, there appears to be little pride in the country’s armed forces among many Germans.
“We don’t need weapons,” said Anja Kruger, a 51-year-old Berlin travel agent. “Instead of spending money on arms, it should be spent on education and making people’s lives better. Maybe it sounds naive, but the world needs more empathy and not war — never, ever.”
It has been more than 70 years since World War II ended, and many Germans have little or no memory of wartime.
“They’re more interested in their own welfare and their prosperity, and don’t feel threatened,” said Gero Neugebauer, a political scientist at Berlin’s Free University. “After generations of living in peace, the idea of war is too abstract, it’s too far away from their lives.”
If history tells us anything, it’s that there is always another threat. This isn’t 1945 and the Soviet Union isn’t invading Germany, but there is always another threat, one that Germany won’t be prepared to meet.
“But Animal,” you may ask, “why should we worry about Germany’s readiness, being as we are on the other side of the Atlantic?” Well, NATO, for a start; Germany is a NATO partner and has NATO obligations that they aren’t meeting. If – when – trouble comes, I can see it coming plain as the nose on my face, that the Germans will screech to the USA for help.
And, once again, Europe will look across the Atlantic for our help in bailing them out of a mess.