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Ramstein summit on weapons aid for Kyiv: Scholz narrowly missed going it alone

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All’s well that ends well? Not yet. Germany has not broken the alliance consensus. But it came close to being perceived as a kind of second Turkey. As a country that presumes to block the military aid many Allies see fit by denying them permission to export their German-made main battle tanks to Ukraine. Now it is checked. That’s not a yes, but a sign in the right direction.

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Germany can certainly decide not to supply certain weapons itself if it considers this to be wrong or even dangerous. But it should, first of all, not prevent allies from acting. And, secondly, have very good reasons for wanting to deviate from the consensus of the majority.

The chancellor had previously failed to do this. Shortly before the meeting in Ramstein, he gave the impression that he wanted to make the agreement to hand over the German Leopard tanks dependent on the delivery of American Abrams. That was a serious mistake. Who advised Scholz wrong?

Cross with EU partners, cross with US

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The Abrams are unsuitable for Ukraine for a number of reasons, from fuel to ready availability. The Leos are the best solution. The linking of both deliveries ended embarrassingly for Germany. It seemed like an excuse. The USA felt compelled to publicly reject the request.

Scholz drives a zigzag course that is difficult to understand. First he said: no going it alone. When more and more European allies wanted to deliver to Leo, the chancellor let it be known that coordination with the USA was crucial for him.

Even that was tricky. But at the same time a position determination that seemed to be soberly oriented towards the reality of security policy. The Europeans depend on the support of the USA for their security.

But if Scholz shows his partners in Europe so clearly that they count less than the USA, he must certainly not allow any fault lines with the leading power. But now they are visible. US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin did not openly criticize Germany, but he did not mince his words either. Time is short, but Germany has not yet made a decision. The impatience was easy to hear.

European partners like Poland announce that they will give their Leos to Ukraine even without permission if in doubt. Olaf Scholz let it get that far. Respect for Germany is terminated.

The chancellor, who did not want to allow anyone to go it alone, has led Germany into a lonely corner as an alliance. Even if he should give in soon: The damage will last beyond the meeting in Ramstein.

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Source: Tagesspiegel

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