German government has decided to bump its military from 160,000 troops to 200,000 over the next 7 years. Hey that’s a big increase. What is the reason? Is the old enemy France up to no good? Is Poland getting ready to cross the Oder? Are the Soviets looking to resurrect the DDR?
Nope, not exactly. And yet Germany’s defense minister Ursula von der Leyen believes “the Bundeswehr has rarely been as necessary as it is now”. Because:
“Whether it is the fight against Isil terrorism, the stabilization of Mali, continuing support of Afghanistan, operations against migrant smugglers in the Mediterranean or with our increased Nato presence in the Baltics.”
Let’s recount that. The key enterprises that make the German military so relevant and necessary these days are:
- Fighting ISIS (in Syria and Iraq)
- Stabilizing Mali (in Africa)
- Occupying Afghanistan (in Central Asia)
- Countering smugglers (in the Mediterranean)
- Detering Russia (in Lithuania)
In other words not a single of its key tasks of today has anything whatsoever to do with actually defending its own country.
First of all, the idea the eastern Mediterranean or Syria and Iraq could not do without the miniscule German contribution is laughable. Citing smugglers as the reason you need 40,000 more soldiers is particularly desperate.
In addition to that von der Leyen’s list of German entanglements abroad shows the sad moral decline of post-war Berlin. The country which for obvious reasons was for decades famously resistant to have its soldiers carry rifles abroad has — through interventions in Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan — transformed its military into another US Marine corps, which is to say into a global auxiliary for the US Army and Navy.
Now all the new global Bundeswehr needs is a new hymn. Perhaps the original Marines can offer their own.