German Defence Minister Admits Military Not Capable of Defending Country

01 February 2023, North Rhine-Westphalia, Augustdorf: Boris Pistorius (SPD), Minister of D
Federico Gambarini/picture alliance via Getty Images

Minister of Defence Boris Pistorius admitted this week that the German military is incapable of defending the nation if needed.

Pistorius, who assumed the role of the commander-in-chief of the Bundeswehr last month, said that the German armed forces as they are currently constituted would not be able to defend their homeland or protect NATO allies in Europe should they be forced into a direct war with a power such as Russia.

The defence minister said in comments reported by the Bild newspaper: “We have no armed forces that are capable of defence, i.e. capable of defending against an offensive brutally conducted war of aggression.”

The frank admissions from Pistorius come in contrast to some of his predecessors at the Defence Ministry, including Christine Lambrecht, who resigned in January. Prior to leaving office, Lambrecht reportedly attempted to withhold documents on military readiness from the German parliament, or Bundestag.

Under former chancellor Angela Merkel’s former defence minister Ursula von der Leyen — now President of the European Commission — such documents were initially classified as top secret. Members of the Bundestag were forced to visit a secure room in the parliament building in order to read the data.

Responding to the comments from Pistorius, the former chairman of the Bundestag Foreign Affairs Committee, Norbert Röttgen, said: “What Pistorius says is the bitter truth. It is courageous and good that the Minister of Defence does not gloss over them, but pronounces them clearly. But he also describes his task: to change that, to get the political support of his own party.”

Despite Chancellor Olaf Scholz of the leftist Social Democrat Party (SPD) pledging a 100 billion-euro special fund to replenish the military last February following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Pistorius has argued that this is insufficient, as it does not cover purchases of munitions or planned salary increases for members of the military.

The defence minister has called for at least 10 billion euros to be added to the 2024 defence budget, which currently stands at around 50 billion euros. Even still, this would likely fall short of the two per cent of GDP required by NATO agreements, which would need Germany to spend around 75 billion euros.

Last year, Germany spent just 1.44 per cent of GDP on defence spending, compared to 3.47 from the United States, according to NATO figures — actually down from the previous year’s 1.53 per cent.

Stunningly, this year’s defence budget is expected to decline yet again, by some 300 million euros.

This shortfall comes despite promises from Chancellor Scholz last February when he vowed that Germany would finally meet its NATO obligations “from now on“.

Admitting Germany’s failures to meet their spending requirements, Pistorius said this week: “We must fulfil our alliance obligations, fulfil them again. We haven’t done it in the past.”

Germany’s persistent failures in meeting NATO targets was consistently highlighted by the Donald Trump administration. In 2018, then-American Ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, told Breitbart London that Berlin’s performance has been “woeful” in terms of living up to its alliance obligations.

“Germany is the largest economy in Europe. They made a commitment to NATO, and they should be serious about that commitment; it is a multilateral institution that guarantees the allies, guaranteeing freedom,” Grenell said.

President Trump often highlighted the issue of Germany’s delinquency as well, saying in 2018:  “We’re protecting Germany, we’re protecting France, we’re protecting all of these countries.

“We’re paying a lot of money to protect, this has been going on for decades… it’s very unfair to our country, it’s very unfair to our taxpayers… these countries need to step it up, not over a ten-year period, but immediately.”

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka


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