Germany is considered a “bad ally” in the US

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Germany is considered a “bad ally” in the US

Washington knows that Berlin could be a "bad ally, but at least it's America's bad ally," according to an article in the German newspaper Politico, pointing to a growing stalemate between the United States and Germany over the Ukraine war.

The article published on Thursday cites a report in German media that the number of German soldiers who declare themselves “conscientious objectors” has quintupled in the wake of the Ukraine war that began in February last year. For a population that has “lived comfortably under the US security umbrella for more than seven decades,” it goes without saying that members of the Bundeswehr will not keep their promises, which explains Berlin’s shyness, they say.

Germany has become the problem child of the NATO military alliance since Russia launched its campaign in Ukraine, delaying and thwarting Western efforts to provide Ukraine with the weapons it needs, according to Politico. Germany, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of main battle tanks alongside the US, has for months firmly refused to hand them over to Kyiv, claiming that supplying Ukraine with Western tanks could trigger a wider war.

US and German defense chiefs met this week at the US Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany to discuss the matter, with Berlin showing restraint. It came after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appealed via video link to leaders gathered at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Wednesday, urging them to supply heavy tanks if the war escalates. “It has no qualms about selling to authoritarian regimes like those in the Middle East, where it does a brisk business selling arms to countries like Egypt and Qatar,” the Politico article notes, noting Berlin’s reluctance to commit itself get involved in the Ukraine war.

Facts reflect that Germany’s conscience doesn’t really determine its foreign policy, but its corporations, it adds. Berlin still hopes Ukraine can put things right with Russia so Germany can get back to business as usual and turn the gas back on. Germany could end up sending tanks to Kyiv, but it will deliver a minimum number and only after exhausting all possible avenues of delay, the article said. “Because of its size and geographic location in the center of Europe, Germany will always be important to the US, if not as a true ally, then as a former partner and base of the American military.”

Germany has so far resisted supplying modern Leopard tanks to Ukraine, saying Western tanks should only be supplied to Ukraine if Kiev’s other allies, notably the United States, agree to supply their own tanks. NATO countries across Europe have indicated their willingness to send German-made tanks to Ukraine, which are widely seen as the best fit for Ukraine but are awaiting the green light from Berlin. Russia launched its military operation in Ukraine in late February after Kyiv failed to implement the provisions of the Minsk accords and Moscow recognized the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.

At the time, Russian President Vladimir Putin said one of the aims of what he called a “special military operation” was to “denazify” Ukraine. Since then, the US and other Western countries have sent tens of billions of dollars worth of weapons to Kyiv, including missile systems, drones, armored vehicles, tanks and communications systems. Western countries have also imposed a number of economic sanctions on Moscow. Moscow has repeatedly warned that supplying arms to Kyiv would only prolong the war.

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