The Core of the West

Green Party foundation promotes increase in military budget and nuclear sharing - flanked by NATO generals.

BERLIN |

BERLIN (Own report) - The German Green Party foundation published an appeal calling for a "substantial increase" in the German military budget and for maintaining US nuclear weapons in Germany. "Nuclear-sharing is a core element of the strategic connection" between the USA and Germany, according to the appeal, published on the webpage of the Green Party's Heinrich-Böll-Foundation on the occasion of US President Biden's inauguration. The "authors and signatories" include the chairwoman of the Green Foundation as well as a retired Bundeswehr lieutenant general, who, in 2014, as a high-ranking NATO functionary was in charge of NATO's realignment against Russia. The Greens, who are still reputed to be able to integrate and politically neutralize certain factions formerly involved in the peace movement, have for some time been increasingly reaching out to the Bundeswehr. For years they have been particularly popular among those in the top income bracket. Spearheading the defense of western hegemony in the global power struggle, the Greens have positioned themselves as adversaries of Russia and China.

"Innovative Concepts"

Since some time, the Greens have been, in principle, receptive for any sort of military operations. In its governance, the party has never opposed the Bundeswehr's participation in wars. This was evident in its approval of the deployment of German troops in Afghanistan, at the end of 2001 and particularly in its approval of German participation in NATO's war on Yugoslavia in 1999. That war was waged without a UN mandate, thereby, in violation of international law - as Gerhard Schröder, Chancellor at the time, has, in the meantime, publicly admitted. The willingness to operate without the approval of the Security Council has now been explicitly spelled out in the party's most recent basic program from November 2020. "If multilateral processes in the United Nations (…) are permanently blocked, pioneers and innovative concepts" are needed.[1] Shortly after the party's congress, Annalena Baerbock, the Greens' National Chair, was a bit more precise. Asked about a hypothetical case of "genocide" being committed, and the UN Security Council being "blocked," the party's chair answered, "there is an international responsibility to protect."[2] The Concept "Responsibility to Protect", or R2P, is supposed to legitimize wars without UN mandates. However, under international law, it is not universally recognized.

"Of the Highest Priority"

The Greens do not oppose a further increase in armaments for the Bundeswehr either. As early as 2019, two high-ranking party politicians, Cem Özdemir and Tobias Lindner, sought to win sympathy for the troops. Following their joint participation in a "service information event" of the German armed forces, Özdemir - who for PR purposes had had himself photographed, while a riding in a Leopard 2 battle tank - spoke of a "fantastic program" and having "very positive impressions."[3] In the Greens basic program, the endorsement for the arms buildup is referred to as the "parliament's obligation to insure the welfare of the active ... servicemen and women" and as the "duty, to adequately equip them to fulfill their mandate and their mission."[4] The troops' mandate, according to Baerbock, may also include combat operations ("robust military operations") that legitimize any arms projects.[5] In a recent appeal, published by the Green Party-affiliated Heinrich Böll Foundation, it is explained that now "the European NATO countries - first and foremost Germany -" must increase "their conventional defense capacity considerably;" This presupposes "substantial increases in the defense budget."[6] "A readily deployable military must be of the highest priority" for the German government.

The Greens and the Generals

The appeal is noteworthy in various aspects. Among its authors and signatories - besides the Chair of the Heinrich Böll Foundation, Ellen Überschär - are various employees of transatlantic foreign policy think tanks (the Atlantik-Brücke, the German Marshall Fund of the United States, the Aspen Institute Germany, and several others). But above all, Patrick Keller, Vice President of the Federal Academy for Security Policy (BAKS), the German government's main strategy center, is among the signatories along with two high-ranking military officers: Ret. Brig. Gen. Rainer Meyer zum Felde from the Institute for Security Policy at Kiel University (ISPK) and Ret. Lt. Gen. Heinrich Brauß, of the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP). Brauß, possibly a co-author, but at least a signatory of the Böll Foundation's appeal, had, in the course of his long and successful carrier, also served from October 2013 to July 2018 as NATO's Assistant Secretary General, responsible for Defense Policy and Force Planning, and, as such, played a leading role for NATO's realignment against Russia in 2014. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[7]) Such an openly displayed programmatic alignment with high-ranking ex-NATO officers is, in the current form, new for the Green foundation.

The Nuclear Sharing

Another noteworthy aspect of the Böll paper is its demand to expand NATO. On the one hand, the "authors and signatories" call on the transatlantic military pact to reinforce "not just a military but also a political alliance."[8] On the other hand, they call for NATO to "bring strategic partners worldwide closer to the West’s core," which applies particularly to countries "in the Indo-Pacific," especially "Australia, Japan, and South Korea." Last, but not least, the Böll paper openly insists that "Germany must continue to be included in NATO nuclear-sharing arrangements, and, it will need to carry out necessary modernization steps." Nuclear disarmament had traditionally been considered an indispensable core demand for the Greens. However, observers have been noting, since quite some time, that they have been cautiously turning their backs on the issue. For example, the current policy paper does not call for an "immediate" but rather merely "a rapid abrogation of the nuclear sharing policy."[9] "Rapid" is not defined. Tobias Lindner, Spokesperson on the Defense Committee for the Green Parliamentary Caucus, clarified in November that he was counting on there being a possible "window of opportunity" in "2030 or 2035," when nuclear disarmament could be discussed with Moscow.[10] The Böll appeal is now declaring the stationing of US nuclear weapons in Germany and the provision of German fighter jets for their delivery to the target to be a "core element of the strategic connection between transatlantic partners."

Spearhead of the West

The Green's party foundation's lunge into questions of militarization and nuclear sharing is occurring parallel to an intensification of the party's foreign policy, aggressively mobilizing to a growing extent against China and Russia - and making a name for itself as the spearhead in the struggle to shore up the West's sinking global hegemony. "Putin's Russia is not a partner for us, but an adversary," declared recently Green parliamentarian Cem Özdemir.[11] The Green EU Parliamentarian, Reinhard Bütikofer, is considered to be one of the most extreme anti-China agitators. He was, for example in league with an ex-CIA specialist, as well as far right-wing hardliners from the Republican Party in the United States to form an international alliance of parliamentarians, which is now actively orchestrating public campaigns against China.[12]

Darling of the Elites

For years, the Green Party has been seen as a "party of the higher income bracket," who would have more to lose than others from the West's global decline. As early as 2004, surveys showed that the average income of the Green Party membership had already clearly surpassed that of the Free Democratic Party of Germany (FDP) - which had previously been the party of the highest incomes.[13] In 2013, another survey confirmed that the share of Green Party supporters in the top income bracket was significantly greater than the share of their counterparts in the FDP.[14] About a year ago, political scientist Wolfgang Merkel noted that the Greens have "very little presence in the lower half of the society."[15] A recent survey of an "elite panel" comprised of 517 top representatives of politics, business, and administration, showed that the German elite clearly favors a coalition government of Greens and CDU/CSU. In second place - with 25 percent - would be a CDU/CSU and FDP coalition, and a coalition comprised of CDU/CSU, FDP and Greens placed third, with 14 percent. For their preferable government resulting from the next parliamentary elections, in first place at the top of the wish list of Germany's elites (with 36 percent) is a government coalition of CDU/CSU and Greens.[16]

 

[1] "... zu achten und zu schützen...". Veränderung schafft Halt. Grundsatzprogramm Bündnis 90/Die Grünen. November 2020.

[2] See also "Damit Gewehre schießen".

[3] See also Militärpolitische Multiplikatoren.

[4] "... zu achten und zu schützen...". Veränderung schafft Halt. Grundsatzprogramm Bündnis 90/Die Grünen. November 2020.

[5] See also "Damit Gewehre schießen".

[6] Transatlantisch? Traut Euch! Für eine Neue Übereinkunft zwischen Deutschland und Amerika. boell.de 18.01.2021. Vollversion auf: anewagreement.org.

[7] See also Mehr Truppen gegen Moskau.

[8] Transatlantisch? Traut Euch! Für eine Neue Übereinkunft zwischen Deutschland und Amerika. boell.de 18.01.2021. Vollversion auf: anewagreement.org.

[9] "... zu achten und zu schützen...". Veränderung schafft Halt. Grundsatzprogramm Bündnis 90/Die Grünen. November 2020.

[10] Ulrich Schulte, Tobias Schulze: Atomwaffen raus! Oder? taz.de 05.12.2020.

[11] Merz: Laschet mit aller Kraft unterstützen. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 19.01.2021.

[12] See also Der grüne Kalte Krieg and In the Transpacific Cold War.

[13] Grüne werden Partei der Besserverdienenden. spiegel.de 14.08.2004.

[14] Besserverdiener wählen besonders gern die Grünen. welt.de 11.09.2013.

[15] Jan Bielicki: "Mit Sicherheit reifer, als es die FDP ist". sueddeutsche.de 11.01.2020.

[16] Eliten gespalten über CDU-Vorsitz. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 14.01.2021.