In November 2017 Der Spiegel published leaks from the German Army’s latest planning paper – Strategic Perspective 2040. The plan was a watershed. Not since the Second World War has the German Army contemplated a future outside NATO’s command structure. The author, Katrin Suder, worked for McKinsey. The core message was that Europe cannot rely on the Americans. I didn’t agree. Involving the Americans with Europe’s defence kept the peace until Ukraine was invaded. A Trump victory may prove Katrin Suder right, so far, she’s been wrong.
The paper warned that break-up of the European Union could bring about the collapse of the economies surrounding Germany, kill off these valuable export markets. Consequent unemployment could lead to civil disorder, even another Weimar crisis. The Army planners were convinced that Germany must look after its own security. They still are – nobody has publicly scrapped the 2040 plan. An obvious start was to concentrate on binding together the inner core of Euro Zone countries, economically, politically and militarily. An outer ring of satellite economies, which includes Britain, must be kept within the political and economic orbit of the Euro Zone and its sun, Germany.
Ursula von der Leyen was the German Defence Minister who commissioned that plan and adopted it as Germany’s strategy. Far too many British politicians fail to read the fine print and grasp the detail in the diet fed them by Whitehall. Ursula’s running rings round them as well as round Joe Biden.
Sky shield is more than just defence
Explanations of Britain’s role and contribution to Sky Shield are difficult to find among public sources. Our fleet of Typhoon fighters are being refitted with the European Common Radar System made by Hensold of Munich – cost £870 millions – which I presume has something to do with Sky Shield as well as simple modernisation. The Swiss have just agreed to sign up despite concerns about their neutrality. The neutral Austrians already are on board. Sky Shield now forms a band of countries from the Black Sea to the North Cape. Poland hasn’t joined nor France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and the Balkans. On the Continent, Sky Shield is presented as a German plan which will ensure that Europe has strong defences for protecting its airspace and that all countries will purchase common equipment to do this. In other words, Germany will dominate a single market for much of this defence equipment. One wonders if Ground Shield and Sea Shield will follow.
Carried to its ultimate possible destination, Germany eventually takes over a large chunk of what NATO does today. At that point Germany’s ambitions and those of Macron’s France draw rather closer. The EU superstate – Germany and its economic satellites including France – distances itself from the USA though still hopes to control and hobble Britain. A form of neutrality becomes possible. Macron’s middle ground between the Americans and China is within reach. Some form of engagement with China’s Belt and Road project is possible. The Chinese are buying part of the port of Hamburg at the moment. A blind eye and business as usual with Russia also becomes an option.
Where does that leave Ukraine and NATO?
Ukraine is thrown to the Russian wolves. No more nagging from the White House whoever wins the American presidential election. NATO becomes North America, Britain and the Scandinavians, the Poles and maybe the Italians, Greeks and Portuguese. And, possibly Ukraine should the rump of NATO keep up the supplies of weapons, ammunition, training – and supply some fighters. Is that really what the White House wants?
The American Democratic establishment appear not to understand what drives Ursula and her political allies. They should see the thumb screw pressure applied to the Swiss, day after day, month after month, year after year. Politicians in Switzerland get caught out regularly making deals with the EU behind the peoples’ backs. Switzerland like ourselves still enjoys a very lively print and online media. They spot each little nudge towards EU absorption.
We should start distancing ourselves from this hungry monster. By all means keep the exports to Europe at their present rate – obviously being in the Single Market was a disadvantage – but most trade growth should be aimed at the rest of the world. As for our security, the Americans with the Brits should start building a global alliance of democracies, such as Japan, South Korea and the Commonwealth, indeed Switzerland. We’ll need a new kind of diplomat for that task. Dare I suggest a bit more like the old ones!
How’s that for a new job, Ben Wallace?