German Chancellor Backs Down to Warmongers
At the meeting of the Ukraine Contact Group Jan. 20 in Ramstein, Germany, the new German Defense Minister, Boris Pistorius, responded with a “no” to the request to send Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine, sparking a barrage of attacks on both him and Chancellor Scholz for “letting Ukraine lose the war”. Four days later, Berlin capitulated, agreeing to send a few Leopard 2 tanks and to allow other countries to do so. It is not yet clear how many will be sent and when, but Moscow had already signaled that it would be considered as an escalation.
The reality is that Chancellor Scholz was isolated within his own government and was facing a majority against him in the Bundestag. Both his government allies, in fact, the Greens and the FDP, made clear that they would stand with the opposition CDU-CSU in the event of a vote.The leadership of the Chancellor’s Social Democrats, on the contrary, including from Bundestag faction leader Rolf Mützenich and SPD general secretary Kevin Kühnert, had backed the refusal to send tanks.
Thus, evidence is mounting that there are actually two governments-in-one in Berlin: on the one side, the Greens and the Liberals (FDP), and on the other the SPD. Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock of the Greens is the most outspoken proponent of escalating the conflict, to the point of openly contradicting the Chancellor’s policy.
His critics accuse Olaf Scholz of having “totally isolated Germany” in the West, but that is not quite the case for Switzerland, a leading producer of military equipment which has blocked the supply of ammunition produced in Switzerland for German vehicles sent to Ukraine. Zeitgeschehen, a leading Swiss journal, ran a lengthy interview on Jan. 18 with the former inspector of the German Army, General Harald Kujat, in which he denounced the absence of diplomacy to end the war. He stressed that there cannot be a solution on the battlefield, referring to similar assessments by U.S. Chief of Staff Mark Milley, and he refuted the narrative that Russia refused to negotiate, pointing out that the talks held in April-May had been sabotaged by then UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Then on Jan. 23, Switzerland’s leading news daily, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, pointed to an aspect of the debate that has been hushed in Germany’s mainstream media, namely that the depleting of the weapons stocks of the German armed forces to send them to Ukraine would be welcomed by the U.S. “military-industrial complex” as a magnificent opportunity to sell their equipment to the Germans. The French experienced this attitude of the U.S.,the NZZ writes, when the Australian government suddenly tore up its already-signed contract with France, in order to buy submarines made in the U.S. This article came one day after the Franco-German Ministers Council, where French President Emmanuel Macron clearly stated his opposition to depleting French armed forces for Ukraine, and warned against an escalation of the war.
Domestically, Scholz’s original position was implicitly supported by an assessment of the BND Foreign Intelligence Service given to a meeting of Bundestag members in charge of defense matters. The officials said that, contrary to the prevailing propaganda, Ukraine has suffered enormous losses, which must be taken into account in any discussion on support for Kiev. This information was leaked by Der Spiegel on Jan. 20, the day of the Ramstein meeting. It buttresses General Kujat’s view that now is “the best time to resume talks” on a ceasefire in Ukraine, putting an end to the bloodshed there.