British Defence Chief: NATO Absolves Germany Of Nazi Past
While British Defence Secretary Philip Hammond was in Berlin earlier this week touting global NATO ahead of the military alliance's summit in Chicago two weeks from now, he urged Germany to overcome its "historic reluctance" to waging military aggression in Europe and around the world. Regarding the West, a case of what oft was thought, but ne'er so - candidly - expressed.
After meeting with his German counterpart Thomas de Maiziere, Hammond told the British press that World War II "was quite a long while ago" and as such Germany must cast off whatever residual misgivings it may harbor about reassuming an international military role within NATO, as "it is self-evident that there is still huge potential in the German defence structure to deliver more useful firepower to the alliance." Germany must "significantly increase its military capability," Hammond advocated.
As Europe's major economic force, it must also be its main military contributor.
The deadliest war in history is yesterday's news, old hat. Time to get over it and move on. To new wars. Concerns about the 1945 Potsdam agreement on the demilitarization of Germany, the Nuremberg principles and the German constitutional ban on preparing wars of aggression are, to use contemporary colloquial language, like so 20th century.
Hammond's remark about Germany's hesitance to get back into the war business, though, is outdated, as the country did so thirteen years ago in support of NATO's air war against Yugoslavia in 1999.
The United Kingdom's defense chief also delivered an address at his country's embassy in Berlin on May 2, co-sponsored by the German Council on Foreign Relations, entitled "Shared Security: Transforming Defence to Face the Future," which reiterated the common Western position of internationalizing NATO for a broader range of missions outside of the Euro-Atlantic area.
His comments included these unequivocal assertions:
"The responsibility of European nations to defend their citizens can no longer be discharged by a strategy of homeland defence and a Fortress Europe.
"The threats we face are no longer territorial, so a passive defence of national territory is no longer adequate protection for our citizens.
"Our security requires that we do not sit back and let threats come to us - but that we project power to meet them - wherever in the world they are forming."
Global NATO, led by its major, its only significant, powers - the United States, Britain, France, Germany and sometimes Italy - will unilaterally and arbitrarily define threats that must be confronted; will practice alleged defense of its territory by going on the offensive half a world away if desired, as the reasons for war are "no longer territorial"; will not let largely chimerical dangers present their calling cards in Brussels, London, Washington, Berlin and Paris, but will anticipate them before they even exist, if they are even capable of existing, and "project power" to preempt them, whether the threats are real or fancied, imminent or remote, latent or without foundation either in the present or the future.
Hammond further stated, "we need to take that final step up from the defensive posture of the Cold War, to respond to a future in which threats can originate thousands of miles away..."
As such, "the NATO Alliance, and the European part of it in particular, must continue to develop together the capability and the political will to act when necessary - to project power, including, but not limited to, military power, and to deploy it rapidly when we must."
And where. And against whom. And under whatever contrived rubric it chooses. Hammond was disabusing Germans of any lingering, antiquated illusions that their armed forces are designed to protect their nation's borders and population.
Hammond applauded the six-month NATO bombing campaign against Libya last year as "a coalition success" within the context he discussed. For as "it is in Europe's interest that the United States rises to the challenge that the emergence of China as a global power presents and we should support the decisions the US has made," then the inextricable correlate of that is Europe's "Shouldering the major burden in the Balkans and the Mediterranean, but also being prepared, if necessary to take a bigger role in relation to North Africa and the Middle East."
The major NATO powers divide up the world.