Zeitenwende means “turning point”. That is the word that explains the historic decision taken in Germany before the invasion of Russia a Ukraine and that will lead to changing its Constitution.
After modifying the arms export rules, a policy that the country maintained for decades and by which it undertook not to supply war weapons to any of the parties to a conflict, Germany now approved the highest spending for the Department of Defense in the last 83 years.
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Together, both measures represent the biggest change in the country’s foreign and security policy since World War II.
Germany’s leader, Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who replaced Angela Merkel in December, he has achieved something that a few years ago seemed impossible.
Parliament agreed modify the Constitution and create a fund of 100,000 million euros (just over US$107,000 million) that will allow it to allocate 2% of its GDP to Defense.
A massive rearmament.
The largest in the history of Germany modern, soon to become the greatest military power in Europe and the third largest in the world, behind China and the United States.
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Before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, such a militaristic stance would have been unacceptable, but in recent months, German politicians across the parliamentary arc began to realize that the army is not going through its best moment.
Much of its equipment is outdated or poorly maintained.
The chancellor himself acknowledged that the Bundeswehr –the German armed forces – has been structurally underfunded from 2010.
This has “restricted our overall defensive ability“, said.
“By attacking Ukraine, [el presidente ruso Vladimir] Putin not only wants to eradicate a country from the map, but he is destroying the European security structure,” he said in a parliamentary session.
“It is clear that we need to invest significantly more in the security of our country to protect our freedom and our democracy,” he added.
Experts believe that the problem does not only affect Germany, but that the invasion has shaken many other European countries.
“The Ukrainian War has served Europe to rediscover its security needsunderestimated for a long time,” explained Olgerd Eichler and Alexander Lippert, economists and managers at the firm MainFirst.
“In our opinion, the preservation of the Western system of values is also at stake. European states are willing to make greater efforts now. Democratic nations take it very seriously,” they added in a market analysis.
Diplomacy and dialogue
With the signing of the agreements that ended World War II, Germany was demilitarized and without an army.
A situation that continued until the creation of the Bundeswehr in 1955.
After the end of the conflict, Berlin always sought diplomacy and dialogue, and has repeatedly desisted from using its military power.
“The dialogue and cooperation with Russia they have not worked… we have entered a new era of European security,” said Nils Schmid of the Social Democratic Party (SPD).
“It is bitter to admit that for 30 years we have emphasized dialogue and cooperation with Russia,” Schmid added. “Now we have to admit that it didn’t work.”
The truth is since German reunification, Berlin and Moscow They had a very close historical relationship.
But since 2014, when Russia invaded and annexed the province of Crimea, Germany’s perception of the energy giant has been changing.
It has done slower than in other neighboring countries like the United Kingdom or the Baltic nations, which tend to have a tougher stance against Russia.
It should not be forgotten that the country is, together with Italy, one of the members of the European Union more dependent on Russian gas.
A factor that, according to analysts, delayed severing its important ties with Moscow.
“Germany and Italy probably will be among the most affected in the EU space. They have a greater direct dependence on Russian gas and a larger industrial sector, where energy consumption is higher than in the service sector,” Evelyn Herrmann and Ruben Segura-Cayuela, economists at Bank of America, explain in an analysis.
ready to buy
Under the agreement, the plan will be put into effect immediately to accelerate the acquisitions necessary to better equip the armed forces.
This extraordinary game for the modernization of the army It will also meet NATO’s goal of spending 2% of GDP on defense. In recent years, German investment in defense has hovered around 1.5% of GDP.
The Ministry of Defense has already drawn up a list of the necessary equipment, which includes night vision devices, radio equipment and heavy transport helicopters.
“The €100 billion will enhance our defensive capabilities and our responsibilities to our allies,” he told the magazine. Der Spiegel German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock of the Green Party.
“That includes the purchase of 35 US F-35 fightershelicopters that actually fly, ammunition worth billions, radios that are safe and compatible with our allies, and much more to provide our armed forces with state-of-the-art equipment,” he revealed in the interview.
The Greens party, a government partner, requested that part of the funds be allocated to humanitarian aid and cyber security.
I, Ronald Payne, am a journalist and author who dedicated his life to telling the stories that need to be said. I have over 7 years of experience as a reporter and editor, covering everything from politics to business to crime.