Skip to comments.Germany slashes military spending (US taxpayers will continue to protect their sorry asses)
Posted on 12/06/2002 9:20:28 AM PST by dead
Germany has announced sweeping cuts in its military spending in a move that will infuriate NATO and hamper plans to reshape the army for modern warfare.
The Defence Minister, Peter Struck, said on Thursday that the German army, air force and navy had to make drastic cuts in equipment and slim down their organisational structures to save resources.
The news emerged a day after Mr Struck told parliament that Germany would reduce its order for A400M Airbuses being developed with its European partners from 73 to 60, leaving the other countries to shoulder the surplus costs.
"This is embarrassing in the extreme for Germany," said a diplomat in Berlin. "The cuts are being made at exactly the wrong time and will send exactly the wrong message."
Mr Struck admitted that the poorly performing economy and a huge budget squeeze were to blame for the cuts.
On Thursday the European Central Bank cut interest rates for the first time for more than a year, in part to help prevent Germany from sliding into a full-scale recession.
Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder welcomed the move but said that the bank should have acted sooner.
Germany's hope of capping its military budget at 24.4 billion euros ($43.5billion) contrasts with plans to increase military spending by its main allies amid heightened security concerns over Islamic militants and the possibility of a war with Iraq.
Germany's own military focus has switched to peacekeeping, crisis management and the "war against terrorism", rather than defending itself from Cold War attacks.
"The task of the German Army is being remoulded and we are adjusting to new demands, particularly in the wake of September 11," Mr Struck said. The army's focus in the coming years would be "far beyond our borders".
But Mr Struck resisted calls from within the Government to scrap conscription, saying it was "indispensable even under the new security circumstances".
Mr Schroeder has staunchly resisted German participation in a war against Iraq. But he has sought to counter criticism that Germany is not pulling its weight in military action abroad, pointing out that it has more troops taking part in peace missions, about 8700, than any country apart from America.
However, the peace missions have only reinforced how underfunded and outdated the military is.
The Government has been under pressure from NATO to increase its military budget, which is 1.5per cent of GDP compared with the NATO average of 2.3per cent.
The Telegraph, London; The Guardian; and agencies
With the Soviet Union dead, we are no longer protecting Germany. We are simply using Germany as a forward deployment staging area just as we use the British island of Diego Garcia in the middle of the Indian Ocean for the same purpose.
You can focus anywhere you want to, but three guys with slingshots and subway tokens ain't a-gonna get there.
Germany as a country is headed south. Their socialist welfare state is a millstone around their neck. Of course the fear is another monster will promise the Germans an easy way out if they give him complete power.
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