|10mm is The|
Boom of Doom
Are you trying to punish the Germans or the French, or both?
The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People again must learn to work, instead of living on public assistance. ~ Cicero 55 BC
The Dhimocrats love America like ticks love a hound.
Ha! My cousin was a weapons officer on the 58's. He and his crew actually flew theirs out to Arizona when they mothballed them.
Reports that Germany intends to acquire 45 F-18 variants for the ECR and nuclear delivery role. The rest of the current ca. 90 Tornados will be succeeded by air-to-ground-capable Eurofighters (in addition to replacing the first EF tranche which was air-to-air only, so a total buy of 90 of the latter).
|On the DL|
Ja, und dem Fokkers were flying Messerschmitts.
Ah yes, German defense minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer reportedly confirmed to her US colleague Mark Esper on Thursday that Germany intends to buy 30 x Super Hornet and 15 x Growler. It's being jazzed up as somewhat controversial since the parliamentary caucus of the Social Democrats, the junior partner in the coalition government, has complained that they were not consulted; an official announcement of the plans was supposedly cancelled on Thursday for this reason. There is a bigger political background to this, which might end up influencing the next national election.
AKK has pointed out that she coordinated with her appropriate SPD colleagues in cabinet, and parliament gets only involved when the budget needs to be allocated after agreements with Boeing are ready in two years or so. But critics say she repeated a mistake she has made before - not involving important figures before announcing her plans - by not calling SPD caucus leader Rolf Mützenich. The truth is that Mützenich is opposed to continued German participaction in NATO's nuclear sharing, least of all with American aircraft, and was probably going to try and obstruct the deal no matter what.
But two years from now is on the other side of the next elections even if the current term runs to its regular end in late 2021, and the Christian Democrats of AKK and Chancellor Merkel are currently profitting from an unexpected windfall of poll hikes caused by the corona crisis. It's said that crises are the hour of the executive, and that's certainly true in the current situation where CDU/CSU have gained 12-13 points in the last six weeks, to numbers approaching 40 percent, not seen since before the last election.
At the same time the SPD has been barely holding at 16-17, and the two opposition parties profitting most from previous political polarization - the Greens on the one hand, and the right-wing AfD on the other - have both dropped below them for the first time in a year. So while the SPD has flirted with leaving the unloved grand coalition government basically for all this term, for the first time CDU/CSU could not only afford, but would benefit from it happening now while the wind is behind them and in the face of everybody else who would become either future opposition or junior coalition partner.
If they were cynical to a degree they haven't demonstrated under Merkel so far, they probably should let the government fail and go for snap elections as soon as deciding on the succession of AKK as current party head, and on the candidate to run for chancellor after Merkel, who has long announced to not seek reelection after this term. That process is currently also on corona-related hold, as the special convention to determine the first has been postponed indefinitely from the planned date on the next weekend (I'm reminded to update the Merkel succession thread, since the crisis is also impacting the leadership race).
The F-18 buy might be one issue to force this, though a much bigger one would be a suggested delay of introducing the basic pension scheme painfully agreed upon recently at the demand of the SPD. That was when the latter was pushing for stuff under threat of leaving the coalition otherwise though; more recently folks in CDU/CSU have called for putting it off due to the cost of the current crisis. I'm not seeing anybody blowing apart the government in the middle of it right now, but if current poll trends persist as the crisis subsides, it might happen.
Well, Mützenich has now launched an initiative for Germany to get out of nuclear sharing in coordination with the SPD's new left-wing national co-leader Norbert Walter Bojans - on the grounds that the storage of US nukes in Germany was worse than useless, and the Trump administration was now viewing nuclear weapons as a means of warfare rather than deterrence. Which is in contradiction to the coalition agreement with CDU/CSU, and also being criticized by defense and foreign affairs politicians from their own party.
This comes on the heels of an inner-party controversy about the position of parliament's defense ombudsman, somebody who soldiers can turn to with grievances directly outside the chain of command, and tasked with submitting an annual report on conditions and problems in the armed forces, elected every five years. The post is currently filled by the SPD's Hans-Peter Bartels, who is widely respected across party lines and very much wanted a second term; per the coalition agreement, the Social Democrats have the nomination right.
However, Bartels' co-partisan Johannes Kahrs, the powerful speaker of the party of the Bundestag's budget committee, was also interested in the job. Which was seen with reluctance, since Kahrs has a long history of pushing through defense pork projects - like five additional corvettes which the Navy didn't even ask for, but happen to be built by shipyards in his district - and had already appropriated additional positions to the ombudsman's office, again unasked by the incumbent; supposedly for his own retinue.
As caucus leader, Mützenich uniquely cut through the conflict by officially putting forward a third candidate - Berlin MP Eva Högl, who hasn't ever dealt with defense issues (though that is no prerequesite for the job, either). Her qualifications seem to be that like Mützenich, and unlike Kahrs, she's of the party's left wing and won't obstruct his initiative against nuclear sharing or for other arms reductions. She also needs a new job since the Berlin state party chapter pressured her not to run again for her seat, which is supposed to go to current Berlin mayor Michael Müller, who in turn they want succeeded by the younger popular current family minister Franziska Giffey in next year's state eletion ...
Incumbent Bartels wrote an exasperated letter asking for the reasons of this scheming to the caucus, and how he was supposed to handle it (promptly leaked to media, of course). The reasons are pretty clear though if seen in connection with the nuclear sharing issue; in addition to the inner-party job carousel, ever since Gerhard Schröder turned around his re-election campaign to victory in 2002 in large part on opposition to intervention in Iraq, the SPD has been dreaming of repeating this feat and rising again from the depths of the post-Schröder years on a public image of a peace party.
One has to acknowledge the whole question of nuclear sharing is of political rather than practical importance. Most would agree that old-fashioned gravity bombs dropped by tactical aircraft coming all the way from Germany are not really an adequate means of deterrence against a Russian attack on NATO's new eastern borders these days. Unless some still suggest, participation in the sharing scheme is not a condition to be part of NATO's nuclear planning group which sets joint policy for use, either.
In the end it's a token of mutual trust and commitment between alliance members, particularly the US and participating countries, but also the Eastern European partners which cannot base such weapons themselves per the NATO-Russia Founding Act, in the face of the much bigger Russian tactical arsenal. Which is why security experts even from the SPD are so up in arms about the proposal to get out. Of course in view of the improved poll numbers for CDU/CSU, SPD party leadership may just go for the Schröderian approach of sacrificing relations with allies for sharpening their profile by opposition to never-popular nukes, tinged with ever-popular anti-Americanism - particularly with a president as thoroughly unpopular here as Trump.
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