Chancellor Olaf Scholz has repeatedly justified his refusal to supply German tanks to Ukraine with agreements between NATO partners. A statement by the US embassy casts doubt on that.

The US embassy smashed the German chancellor’s hesitant tactics with a single sentence: “Ultimately, the decision on the type of aid lies with each country.”

That means nothing less than: From now on, Olaf Scholz can no longer justify his refusal to supply German tanks to Ukraine with an alleged NATO agreement. The Social Democratic chancellor can no longer hide.

“No German solo efforts.” That was Olaf Scholz’s mantra for months, basically since the beginning of Vladimir Putin’s criminal Ukraine campaign. Not going it alone, that meant: German politics takes place in a NATO convoy.

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But according to the US embassy, ​​this NATO convoy no longer exists, if it ever existed. Instead, a different doctrine applies: the leading Western power gives its allies a “free hand” – it lets Germany decide how it will help.

That doesn’t change everything, but it does change a lot: If Olaf Scholz, with his authority to issue directives, decided today to deliver German battle tanks and armored personnel carriers to the Ukraine, it would be Germany going it alone.

But not one for which Scholz would have to fear criticism from the leading Western powers – on the contrary. The new American ambassador to Germany, Amy Gutman, said in her first TV interview that she wanted Germany to provide more support for Ukraine than before.

And it was no coincidence that the most recent meeting of Western defense ministers at the US base in Ramstein leaked out that Washington was seriously considering supplying its own tanks (Abrams) to Ukraine.

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In this respect, the current message from the US embassy is at the end of a chain. Her political goal: Germany should finally take the lead in Europe. And thus – also this unspoken – relieve the Americans in Europe, who are increasingly focused on security in the Pacific and the looming conflict with China.

Washington’s action of having a serious influence on German domestic politics via social networks, with the help of a tweet, and nothing else is happening here right now, is unusual enough. But isn’t it also legitimate?

Because: Scholz in particular always justified his refusal to equip Ukraine with German tanks with American politics. In this respect, a “return” of the Americans is taking place here.

Washington evidently no longer wants to play the scapegoat for a German policy of appeasement towards Russia, which is also felt by the most loyal Ukraine aides, the Eastern Europeans.

Although it must also be said that Germany has supplied substantial weapons since the beginning of the war, such as the Gepard anti-aircraft gun tank or rocket launchers, which were used so skilfully by the Ukrainian military that with their help remarkable military successes against the Russians were possible.

Only: Germany delivered late and usually only under pressure – and mostly lagged behind the Ukrainian wishes, which were well justified in terms of military tactics. Too late, too little, that was the accusation leveled most frequently against the federal government – ​​not only by Ukraine, but also by NATO allies such as Poland and the Baltic states.

This accusation always hit one person: the Federal Chancellor and his social democratic comrades. Their motive: not to provoke Russia to expand the war in NATO territory or even use weapons of mass destruction by supplying more weapons.

Scholz always “framed” this story with the word: “prudence”. The social democratic defense minister gave a new justification for not having to deliver more powerful weapons to Ukraine.

Christina Lambrecht, flanked by SPD General Secretary Kevin Kühnert, argued yesterday that this is a pity for national and alliance defense. However, the NATO Secretary General – the Norwegian Jens Stoltenberg – had previously contradicted this.

It is more important for Western security to defend it in Ukraine than to defend the West on its own alliance territory. Stoltenberg thus argued – strategically logical – that military “prevention” in the Ukraine is more important than the subsequent “reaction” to further Russian aggression.

Basically, Stoltenberg was defending NATO’s old deterrence doctrine, which, if you take the NATO double-track decision at the end of the 1970s as a reference, has proven itself over more than 40 years as an instrument for securing peace.

Now the question is: Is Lambrecht, in anticipation of the American “release” of national solo efforts, putting up the next hurdle to not supplying arms to Ukraine? The next “sorry”? Olaf Scholz is now coming under more and more pressure.

He can no longer use the Americans as an argumentative shield. And he is getting more and more on the defensive against his own coalition partners. Free Democrats and Greens, on the other hand, can feel encouraged. If you like it pathetic: also encourages you to be on the right side of history.

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