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Great time to offload the small handful of useless Aussie F-18s we bought...
He can’t. He’s just trying to get out in front of the plane issue that is next months topic for donation.
Scholz wants no more than stalemate in UKR, as he doesn’t want the Ukrainians to be successful in kicking Russia out of their home, as he’s concerned his buddy Vlad will go to the Nuclear option. He’s got the Polish buffer, so he likes to live with his head in the sand.
I suspect that most Western Governments feel like a slow roll is the best way forward, gradually increasing the support and level of pain Russia feels. More support is added to keep Ukraine viable, but not dominating. With the goal that eventually Russia sees their efforts are futile and goes home.
I don’t think that’s a great solution as at some point Russia is going to decide their commitments and losses require a win no matter what.
Better to provide more firepower now, and have Russians understand immediately that they are in a losing situation and need to leave.
Of course I’m also the guy that wanted to drop a NATO Corps into Ukraine mid Feb last year to stop this back then from even starting.
The Cold War roots of Scholz’s tank traumaOlaf Scholz’s long dithering before sending tanks is symptomatic of a deep-seated mindset that détente won the Cold War, not Reagan’s belligerence.
In early January of 1984, an aspiring young West German socialist with a shoulder-length curly mane traveled by train to East Berlin with his comrades for an important meeting.
It was a tense time in the Cold War with the arms race between the U.S. and the Soviet Union at a fever pitch. Even so, the young man’s entourage was welcomed with open arms and even spared the rigors of East Germany’s border guards; after all, he was a friend.
At the meeting between the young socialists and East Germany’s communist leadership, the young man, a Hamburg law student in his mid-20s named Olaf Scholz, could be seen sitting directly across from Egon Krenz, the protégé of East German leader Erich Honecker.
Details of the visit featured prominently on East Germany’s main TV news program and the next day it was front-page news in Neues Deutschland, the communist regime’s newspaper.
Scholz is once again front page news this week over his reversal on sending tanks to Ukraine. To understand that decision — and the stubborn refusals that preceded it — one needs to delve into his past.
Back in the early 1980s, Scholz and the communists shared a common goal: to block the U.S. from stationing mid-range nuclear missiles in Europe. The U.S. plans, triggered by a similar step from the Soviets, had unleashed some of the largest and most violent protests West Germany had seen in decades. The organizers of the protests, including Scholz, who was then a deputy leader of the socialist youth movement, viewed then-U.S. President Ronald Reagan as a loose cannon and worried he might start a nuclear war.
In their meetings with the East German officials, Scholz’s group called on the USSR to respond in kind by “putting something on America’s doorstep,” i.e. nuclear weapons, because the Soviet missiles pointed at Europe “were not an adequate threat to the U.S.A.,” according to a detailed report on the visit complied by East Germany’s Stasi secret police.
Throughout the 1980s, Scholz made at least nine trips to the DDR, according to the records, including a 1986 visit to Krenz, who succeeded Honecker as East Germany’s leader shortly before the fall of the Berlin Wall. (In 1997, Krenz was convicted of manslaughter in four cases connected to the killing of East Germans trying to flee the country.)
Scholz, who was finance minister in Angela Merkel’s last government before succeeding her as chancellor at the end of 2021, has largely dodged questions about his dealings in East Germany (including the circumstances around a visit to a sauna he made during a weeklong retreat with communist youth leaders in 1983).
Scholz’s supporters have characterized his history as a Marxist trying to undo capitalism as a youthful indiscretion and point to his later political career during which he was regarded as a moderate.
Yet there are strong echoes between Scholz’s steadfast refusal to take a more resolute stance on Russia over Ukraine and his youthful enthusiasm for socialism and the Soviet-led sphere which was accompanied by fervent anti-Americanism.
After months of stubborn resistance, Scholz has cleared the way for Germany and other countries that own German-made Leopard tanks to send them to Ukraine. As welcome as his about-face is, it comes only after Scholz triggered a massive row both within NATO and in his own German coalition over the issue.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz ahead of their meeting over Ukraine security at the Kremlin, in Moscow, on February 15, 2022 | Mikhail Klimentyev/AFP via Getty Images
For Scholz and his cohorts in the 1980s, the communists were allies and NATO the aggressor. Scholz, who was regarded as a leftist within the Social Democratic Party, pushed his party to consider a West German exit from NATO, which he characterized as “aggressive and imperial.”
In recent weeks, as Germany’s allies tried to pressure Berlin to lift its veto on sending German-made battle tanks to Ukraine, some western officials and analysts have posited that the resistance is rooted in the country’s World War II history and its invasion of the Soviet Union. That argument rings hollow, however, if one considers the millions of Ukrainians the Germans killed in the war. If Germany’s World War II ghosts were really driving Scholz’s policy, he should equally be doing whatever he could to defend Ukraine.
Nonetheless, the Nazi card has been an effective tool for Germany to shirk its responsibility for Europe’s security and Scholz knows better than anyone what buttons to push at home and abroad
That doesn’t change the fact that his own views and actions are shaped more by the Cold War and a fear of antagonizing Russia.
He’s not alone. Rolf Mützenich, the leader of Scholz’s Social Democrats in the German parliament who came of age at the same time as the chancellor, has spent decades trying to rid Germany of American nuclear weapons. Amid the tank debate, he played a crucial role in playing defense for his old comrade.
The Scholz-Mützenich approach to Vladimir Putin’s Russia is rooted in the prevailing German narrative about what ended the Cold War and led to reunification. In the German mind, it was Ostpolitik, the détente policies introduced by Chancellor Willy Brandt in the early 1970s. It was Germany’s engagement with the Soviets, both economic and diplomatic, that led to a peaceful end to the Cold War and not Reagan’s belligerence.
That view is not just at odds with America’s historical understanding of the period, it also runs counter to what most eastern Europeans believe. For Poland, it was the courage of the Solidarity movement to stand up to their communist masters that ushered in change, for example.
Yet Germany’s perception of how and why the Cold War ended has become its reality and informs both policy-making and public opinion. Remember ex-Chancellor Merkel’s years-long insistence on pursuing fruitless “dialogue” with Putin instead of standing up to him?
Scholz too has shown that the only thing allies can count on Germany for is that it will drag its feet, parse every decision large or small and then play what Germans like to call a “beleidigte Leberwurst” (an offended liver sausage), demanding more “respect.”
Yes, Scholz is now willing to send Ukraine tanks, but only after a year of pressure and in numbers (14 in total) that leave something to be desired
Putin’s erstwhile socialist comrades in Berlin may not be willing to ignore the atrocities he has committed in Ukraine, but as the German chancellor has proved over the past year, the Russian leader can at the very least count on them to buy him more time. Scholz’s spinmeisters are now declaring “All’s well that ends well.” That may provide some comfort to the chancellor and his inner circle.
But considering the daily carnage Ukrainian forces face on the front lines as a result of the delays, it shouldn’t.
Maybe he needs to fall out a window onto an icepick.Politico's take on Scholz as an anti-Reagan Marxist in the SPD with close ties to East Germany and opposed to both Intermediate Range Missiles and NATO.....
Olaf Scholz’s long dithering before sending tanks is symptomatic of a deep-seated mindset that détente won the Cold War, not Reagan’s belligerence.www.politico.eu
As the crisis deepens, more cooperation and unity will be needed between European countries. If the UK truly wants to pursue a global future and retain a good relationship with its neighbours, the next PM will have to further adapt to the rest of the continent’s stance on the war and show a united European front to support Ukraine’s struggle for freedom.
WORDS AND ACTIONS: UNDERSTANDING THE UK’S CONTRADICTORY STANCE ON UKRAINE16 September 2022, by Martin Penov
The United Kingdom is a country which has historically prided itself on its support of humanitarianism. Thinking globally is the basis of Boris Johnson’s post-Brexit vision of a “Global Britain”. It may seem bewildering then that the UK is the only country in Europe which does not accept Ukrainian refugees without a visa. While Eastern European diaspora communities have come together to organise rallies, launch fundraisers and host charity events, many are wondering why Britain has been so cautious. While Central & Eastern European countries such as Poland, Romania and Moldova have opened their borders to accept over 5 million refugees, the UK only begun to ease visa restrictions on the 14th of March after a petition to the Parliament passed one thousand signatures. The response has been disappointing to say the least, and there is an evident gap between what the government says and what it actually does. While many buildings across the country have been lit up in the colours of the Ukrainian flag, such symbolic gestures do not compensate for the fact that the government has refused to waive visas. Instead, the government has opted for a new “Homes for Ukrainians” scheme, allowing Brits to apply to house Ukrainian visa-holders if they so wish.
One Foot In, One Foot Out
The UK has a history of supporting Ukraine militarily. It was one of the original signatories of the infamous Budapest Memorandum, the now void agreement on security assurances made between Ukraine and the permanent UN Security Council members to strip Ukraine of its Soviet-era nuclear arsenal. Following the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea, the British military has helped train 22,000 Ukrainian soldiers with ‘Operation Orbital’ and supported the country’s aspiration to join NATO. Prior to the invasion on the 24th of February, the British, Polish and Ukrainian governments signed a trilateral pact to enhance their strategic cooperation. The British government continues to be one of Ukraine’s biggest supporters, providing billions in military aid and announcing in June a program to train up to 10,000 Ukrainian soldiers on British soil. Former PM Boris Johnson has made numerous trips to Kyiv, with the most recent being on Ukraine’s Independence Day on the 24th of August. It is all the more puzzling, then, that the government has been so wary of allowing Ukrainians to enter the country.
Hostility towards migration is nothing new for British politics, with Eastern Europeans all sharing a history of being targeted by British populists and the infamous right-wing media. Polish, Bulgarian and Romanian nationals were for a long time the favourite scapegoat of politicians, with wild accusations against Eastern Europeans of stealing jobs and criminality running rampant, especially in the country’s most read tabloids. This was especially prevalent in the election campaigns of Nigel Farage’s UKIP prior to the 2015 Migrant Crisis, and once again during the run-up to the 2016 Brexit Referendum. It can be argued that this xenophobia towards Eastern EU nationals among parts of the electorate is what pushed David Cameron to organise the referendum. Following the results of the Brexit vote, the ruling Conservative Party styled itself as the part to get Brexit done. From the countryside to the affluent towns and hamlets, conservative voters have an expectation that the government will put an end to what they viewed as uncontrolled migration, so allowing a large number of Eastern Europeans, Ukrainian or otherwise, would be antithetical to the party’s promises.
The Conservative Party’s relationship with Russian oligarchs is also complicated to say the least. The party has a long history of accepting donations from wealthy Russian backers, disincentivising the government from following the EU’s sanctions regime, earning it much criticism during the initial months of the war. This was only worsened in 2019 by the government’s delay of the so-called ‘Russia Report’, inquiring about possible Russian interference in the Brexit Referendum. Ever since the fall of the Soviet Union, London itself has been a safe haven for Eastern European oligarchs to hide their dirty money and live comfortably in luxurious houses in prime boroughs such as Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster. Eaton Square in Belgravia has become almost synonymous with this phenomenon, earning it the nickname of London’s very own ‘Red Square’, while ‘Londongrad’ has been used to describe the city itself. Since the start of the war, measures have been taken to curb Russian influence in British politics, but the damage to the UK’s reputation will be hard to overcome.
Good Friends in Times of Need
In a very cynical twist of fate, Mr. Johnson could not have been any luckier with the war’s timing. The string of controversies finally started catching up with the ex-PM as leaks of lockdown parties began emerging in late-2021 and early-2022, leading to the infamous ‘’Partygate’’ scandal which saw the PM lose the support of many of his fellow party members and colleagues, as well as face an unsuccessful no-confidence vote. This was only exacerbated by the 2022 local elections in May which saw the Conservative Party lose 487 seats. The Ukraine war, in turn, seemed like a saving grace for the PM’s battered reputation. In a sharp shift in rhetoric, Johnson painted himself as Ukraine’s greatest ally, pledging large amounts of military aid, visiting Kyiv whenever a domestic scandal was brewing and adorning the facades of numerous British landmarks with the colours of the Ukrainian flag. The firm support has been an opportunity to both mask ongoing controversies, as well as flex the UK’s diplomatic muscles in front of Brussels. While this may have helped the then-PM’s reputation, it only slowed down the inevitable. In July 2022, allegations emerged of a history of sexual misconduct by Johnson’s Deputy Chief Whip, Chris Pincher, which led to the PM announcing his resignation on the 7th of July. During his resignation speech, Johnson stated:
“Let me say now to the people of Ukraine, I know that we in the UK will continue to back your fight for freedom for as long as it takes.”
The question remains, however: How will the next British PM approach the conflict? Support for Ukraine is high among the British public. Any moves by the new leadership to reverse the current course of action would be viewed as political suicide. Prior to her appointment as PM, Liz Truss and her opponent, Rishi Sunak, both showed support for the country and claimed they will continue the country’s current approach – increasing economic sanctions and military aid. Truss has not changed course yet, having chosen Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy for her first official correspondence since becoming PM. Direct confrontation with Russia remains off the table. However, the ongoing energy crisis has become a leading topic in British politics, one which both candidates have done their best to avoid. Whether UK leadership will continue its large financial support of Ukraine in light of the mounting economic challenges is yet to be seen.
The apparent duality of the governments’ response has been openly criticised by many, including French President Emmanuel Macron who noted that Britain should live up to its “grand statements”. The “Homes for Ukrainians” scheme has also received a fair amount of criticism for putting the responsibility on British citizens who have been asked to volunteer to house refugees, making Ukrainians dependent on the goodwill of strangers and opening them up to the possibility of exploitation. Regardless of the criticism, the government is unlikely to change its stance soon. As the crisis deepens, more cooperation and unity will be needed between European countries. If the UK truly wants to pursue a global future and retain a good relationship with its neighbours, the next PM will have to further adapt to the rest of the continent’s stance on the war and show a united European front to support Ukraine’s struggle for freedom.
Looks like an announcement on the leopards today. 4 initially with up to 14 total in time.
I heard 4 tanks and the only way more can be sent is if there is enough spare parts available for them, along with our remaining tanks - this speaks volumes of how bad things have gotten. If we can only spare 4 tanks now because we need to ensure that there are enough spares parts for the remaining ones, wow.Guessing some working units were found and maintainers are going to be working over time to get more ready , too bad the CAF does not pay over time.
Canada is sending four combat-ready battle tanks to Ukraine and will be deploying 'a number' of Canadian Armed Forces members to train Ukrainian soldiers on how to operate them.www.ctvnews.ca
The sad thing is Russia invaded Ukraine 11 months ago. From that date everyone in NATO has realized that our forces need to be brought to high readiness to face any potential escalation. What has been done with that 11 months to get as many tanks as possible ready for potential combat in case things go pear shaped? Is a full scale Russian invasion of a European nation and threats of nuclear escalation against NATO not enough to have us do everything possible to get our forces on a war footing? If not, then what the hell must it take?I heard 4 tanks and the only way more can be sent is if there is enough spare parts available for them, along with our remaining tanks - this speaks volumes of how bad things have gotten. If we can only spare 4 tanks now because we need to ensure that there are enough spares parts for the remaining ones, wow.
no it isn't. Need to study the issue first and bring in the consultantsThe sad thing is Russia invaded Ukraine 11 months ago. From that date everyone in NATO has realized that our forces need to be brought to high readiness to face any potential escalation. What has been done with that 11 months to get as many tanks as possible ready for potential combat in case things go pear shaped? Is a full scale Russian invasion of a European nation and threats of nuclear escalation against NATO not enough to have us do everything possible to get our forces on a war footing? If not, then what the hell must it take?
Happiest interpretation of "we can only send four" is that everything else has been evaluated and sequestered to support exactly that sort of move.The sad thing is Russia invaded Ukraine 11 months ago. From that date everyone in NATO has realized that our forces need to be brought to high readiness to face any potential escalation. What has been done with that 11 months to get as many tanks as possible ready for potential combat in case things go pear shaped? Is a full scale Russian invasion of a European nation and threats of nuclear escalation against NATO not enough to have us do everything possible to get our forces on a war footing? If not, then what the hell must it take?
How many tanks in a Squadron? So.if shit hit the fan and NATO asked us to deploy a square combat team, would we have enough functioning tanks to do so?I heard 4 tanks and the only way more can be sent is if there is enough spare parts available for them, along with our remaining tanks - this speaks volumes of how bad things have gotten. If we can only spare 4 tanks now because we need to ensure that there are enough spares parts for the remaining ones, wow.