New German Security Strategy is an Important Step Forward
‘The new German security strategy is clear-eyed about the Russian threat. And in light of hard-learned lessons, it prioritizes reducing dependence on foreign energy and integrating economic and security policy… Ultimately, the biggest question for our German allies is whether their strategy sufficiently defines the priorities of their government, and whether it provides the resources necessary to execute it.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding national security:
“As I’ve discussed all week, war in Ukraine has forced some of America’s closest allies to sober up and start investing more seriously in their own defense. And Germany is Exhibit A.
“Yesterday, Germany’s government released a comprehensive security strategy – another important step forward for a key member of the trans-Atlantic alliance.
“But as I mentioned at the Munich Security Conference, questions remain about whether the encouraging changes in German security policy will be sufficient or enduring.
“Some of these questions are being answered.
“Germany’s national security strategy is an incremental shift. It’s the product of a rather divided government like our own reaching difficult consensus – except with three different, sometimes internally divided political parties rather than two.
“But just consider where our German allies were before Vladimir Putin’s escalation. Europe’s most powerful economy had let major portions of its military fall into literal disrepair.
“German military spending reached barely halfway to NATO’s member target of 2% of GDP. And the country’s precarious reliance on Russian energy was only increasing.
“But as Ukraine dug in for a fight last February, Germany changed course. In the last eighteen months, Berlin has made major contributions of key lethal capabilities to the Ukrainian cause and is on track to provide even more.
“The new German security strategy is clear-eyed about the Russian threat. And in light of hard-learned lessons, it prioritizes reducing dependence on foreign energy and integrating economic and security policy.
“As Foreign Minister Baerbock put it this week, ‘We paid for every cubic metre of Russian gas twofold and threefold with our national security.’
“None of us should want to make the same mistake when it comes to Beijing. And in this regard, Germany’s strategy indicates incremental progress towards a more realistic understanding of the challenge a revisionist power and systemic rival like China poses not only to its neighbors, but to the West.
“Germany’s governing coalition continues to debate its approach to the PRC, and answers to how Germany plans to manage it are still forthcoming.
“The world will want to know how Germany will balance growing realism about Beijing’s behavior with its stated desire for economic partnership with China.
“They will want to know what Germany is prepared to do to assist vulnerable Asian countries who are most threatened by the PRC’s military aggression, espionage, and economic or diplomatic pressure.
“Of course, these same questions can still be asked about our own government’s approach to the PRC.
“More broadly, I’m encouraged that Germany’s strategy explicitly recognizes ‘robust’ defense as a pillar of German security.
“I’ve criticized Germany’s slow pace of defense spending to meet urgent threats. But I am encouraged by Germany’s new Minister of Defense Boris Pistorius’s focus on rebuilding Germany’s military and cutting through its calcified military procurement bureaucracy.
“To be successful he will need cross-party political support and sustained defense spending above 2% of Germany’s GDP. This new strategy does not necessarily guarantee such a commitment.
“Ultimately, the biggest question for our German allies is whether their strategy sufficiently defines the priorities of their government, and whether it provides the resources necessary to execute it.
“The very same question still applies to America’s own national security strategy.”
Related Issues: NATO, Ukraine, China, National Security