If Olaf Scholz really wanted “leadership” then he could act accordingly. Because after the Marder decision is before the Leo decision. Here are three suggestions to the Chancellor.
After the tank decision is before the tank decision. So it was always in the Ukraine war. The West light tanks that the US, France and Germany will now deliver to Ukraine – it will take some time before they are there, yet it is only an announcement – relieve Ukraine. But the armored personnel carriers will not help them to win against Russia. You need a different caliber for that.
As a reminder: Eight months ago, the German Bundestag backed the federal government to supply Ukraine with the weapons it needs to defend itself against Russia. Eight months have now passed since the German armaments industry informed the federal government that it was able to deliver 100 Marder tanks. The Federal Chancellor has not made this decision for eight months. Although nobody could have stopped him.
Olaf Scholz prevented himself from doing so. He said he didn’t want to provoke, he didn’t want to escalate, no third world war, no nuclear war. These were the glasses through which the Chancellor viewed the world. It was Russian glasses that made one’s own actions dependent on what Russia could do if it wanted to. It just didn’t want to.
Germany has long been supplying potent western-style weapons, old ones, like the cheetah. An anti-aircraft gun tank, which is just taking down the Iranian drones in rows, with which the Russians want to bomb the Ukrainians back to the Stone Age. Or the Iris-T anti-aircraft system, which is new. And what happened, apart from the rumble of thunder from the Putin empire? Exactly: nothing.
It will be the same this time. The Russian US Ambassador is now accusing the Americans of wanting to prolong the war and of not being interested in peace. Nothing but clumsy propaganda that pursues the same goal: to divide the West and to look for a scapegoat for its own transgressions. As a matter of fact, such a thing is completely insubstantial.
If Russia wanted peace, it could have it tomorrow – it would only have to end its criminal and imperialist, revisionist and chauvinist war of aggression, withdraw its troops and enjoy Christmas. Speaking of the Orthodox Christmas truce, the Christian Christmas did not prevent the Russians from shelling Ukrainian hospitals and kidnapping Ukrainian children.
Putin’s “kind of deputy” Medvedev is now insulting the German foreign minister, calling her an “uneducated woman”. Which says more about Russia these days than about the Green politician. Medvedev describes Russia as he sees it: as a country where women are worth nothing if they don’t say what men expect of them.
Whatever Germany is supplying to help Ukraine, the Russians will not “escalate” – not against Germany, not against Europe, not against NATO. And why? Because they can’t, they’re too weak for it, as the course of the Ukraine war so far is convincing proof of. You don’t need to be afraid of these Russians.
If Germany now wanted to strive for a leadership role in this specific situation, and that is ultimately what the Federal Government is demanding of itself, there are three options.
First, the Chancellor could put himself at the forefront of a diplomatic movement to have Europe provide Ukraine with the equipment it needs. The Americans expressly encouraged the Germans to do this, the Germans now only have to have this courage themselves.
In the end there would be what Olaf Scholz supposedly always wants: no German solo effort, but a delivery of main battle tanks coordinated with the West – from the USA the Abrams, from France the Leclerc, from Germany the Leopard.
Second, the Chancellor could order his supposedly “top” Defense Minister to start training Ukrainian soldiers on these tanks – right now. So that months don’t go by when Ukrainian soldiers die unnecessarily.
Third: The diplomacy that so many people in Germany expect from the federal government. The Chancellor could make a phone call to Vladimir Putin and make it clear to him that Germany, along with the rest of Europe plus the United States, will decide to supply Ukraine with main battle tanks — and fighter jets too.
But that Putin has the chance to avert this disastrous development for his soldiers and for his country – through a ceasefire, through the withdrawal of his troops from Ukraine and through subsequent negotiations on a peace treaty.
It would be the logic of the NATO double-track decision, and that worked in the early 1980s when it came to upgrading with medium-range nuclear missiles. Back then, the communist soviets understood this language, why shouldn’t the mini-Stalin from the Kremlin understand it today?
One thing is clear. The Greens and the FDP would have Olaf Scholz on his side immediately. It’s his own people he still has to convince, but in the end he didn’t let that stop him from correcting his Marder decision. Because that was the correction of a misjudgment by the SPD, as the liberal defense politician Marcus Faber notes.
As the SPD still thinks, Scholz made it clear immediately after the Marder decision. The marten is a defensive weapon, says SPD spokesman Wolfgang Hellmich. The delivery of the Leopard 2 is out of the question, because: “These are assault tanks.” Which is almost funny.
The defense professor Carlo Masala rightly asks “Mr. Hellmich” this: “Why does Germany have an assault tank if the Basic Law only allows us to defend ourselves?” We better keep quiet about what Mr. Masala said. Or maybe not. “Perhaps to reconquer the occupied Baltics?”
Info and pictures – leopard, marten, cheetah: why heavy weapons are called predators