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Konrad Werner: We are not NATO’s bitch

Why do we keep thinking that NATO is going to solve our problems?

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This week, Der Spiegel ran a series of “scandal” articles about “shortfalls” in the German military, and the rest of the German media, like seagulls following Cantona’s trawler, began feeding off them, cawing and squawking and demanding that Germany expand its defence budget so that it can meet “NATO requirements.”

In other words, without questioning the sense or purpose of these requirements, the German media has decided the country has to be NATO’s bitch. Unlike other international organizations. When it’s European Union requirements – on environmental or consumer standards – everyone raises hell about the threat to national sovereignty, oh, Germany should be allowed to make its own decisions, and fuckity fuck … but when NATO comes knocking and demands that Germany spends more of its money on weapons, and sends more of its sons and daughters to feed the war-kraken in the Middle East – we’re all supposed to bend over and take it.

And the German government agrees. If it’s not the warmongering President Joachim Gauck saying Germany should “take more responsibility” in the world – (in other words, bomb the shit out of some brown people so that America doesn’t have to do it all), it’s Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen saying Germany should think about “breaking some taboos”, (in other words, we should kill more people). It’s absurd and maddening.

For one thing, it’s bollocks in the first place. Germany’s defence budget has increased every year in the past decade and a half – from €24.3 billion in 1999 to €32.26 billion in 2013. The reason that the planes are running out of spare parts is because money has increasingly been diverted to foreign missions. The Bundeswehr is currently involved in 17 operations abroad, which means that only €4.4 billion of the above budget can go to re-equipping the army and making it able to defend Europe. If you want more working war-planes, the answer is not sending more soldiers to northern Iraq or wherever. If you want to defend Germany – or the Baltic States or Ukraine (that’s what the present scare is about) – it might be an idea to stop sending all those planes to pointlessly bomb a patch of sand thousands of miles away.

NATO is not the solution. It’s part of the problem. It’s a relic from an old age that stirs old paranoias. It’s a fuzzy, brain-frying hangover we can’t shake off. It’s an enslavement, and according to the German media we HAVE to do whatever it says. It’s a security organization that sows insecurity, because it excludes countries we don’t like (Russia, Iran, China) but who we need the help of if we have any chance of solving the problems in Iraq and Syria and Libya. But no. Apparently we have to do it the NATO way once again – throwing billions of tax dollars’ worth of munitions on the same patch of earth we’ve been throwing bombs at for centuries and expecting a different result. What was that definition of insanity again?