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November 28, 2014 By Joseph P. Farrell

There's some rumbling in NATO, and it's coming, predictably, from Germany, or to be much more accurate, from everyone else in NATO looking at Germany:

Is NATO Back? That Depends on Germany

There's two key themes here; theme one:

But there’s one more crucial change for NATO: For the first time, Germany, more than the U.S., may hold the key to NATO’s effectiveness.

With the largest population and economy in Europe, Germany has the heft to drive the alliance’s security agenda. NATO’s European members stretch from Iceland to Romania, and the U.S. has shouldered the bulk of security responsibilities since NATO’s 1949 founding. But amid budget cuts at home and an increasingly isolationist public, the U.S. is winding down its European footprint. The only other NATO country with the military size, industrial might and economic wherewithal to fill the gap is Germany.

Indeed, when reports surfaced Aug. 22 of Russians firing artillery at Ukrainian forces, the foreign leader President Barack Obama called first was German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

And theme two:
It comes amid growing pressure from the U.S. for its European allies to increase defense spending. NATO has set a threshold for country defense budgets at 2 percent of GDP, but few achieve it. Spending on Germany’s armed forces, the Bundeswehr, has gone from 1.4 percent down to 1.3 percent of its GDP in recent years, according to World Bank data.

"Speaking in Riga, the Latvian capital, on Aug. 18, Merkel acknowledged that Europe needs to recalibrate its security strategy given Russia’s unexpected aggression. She sought to reassure the Baltics that Germany would come to the defense of its NATO allies. She also acknowledged that preparations for such a scenario “must be stronger than we thought necessary a few years ago.”

"Among other things, the Germans are now contributing to stepped-up air policing flights over the Baltics. Benitez says Merkel’s remarks in Riga also indicate Germany is likely to support plans for a new “alliance assurance force,” one of the top initiatives expected from next week’s summit. According to Defense News, the “force would be maintained at a high state of readiness” across the continent “and intended for rapid deployment before a conflict erupts.”

"But Merkel did not say what Latvian leaders wanted to hear most — that she supported NATO stationing troops permanently on its turf."

The context required here for these ambiguous messages lies, I believe, with statements made over the last year by German Interior Minister, Herr de Maziere, and more recently by the German Defense Minsiter, Ursula von der Leyen. In de Maziere's case, you'll recall that he, a firm "Atlanticist" and pro-West/NATO backer, gave stern warnings to the USA about its spying within Germany. More recently, von der Leyen stated - doubtless with her tongue firmly implanted in her cheek - that the German Luftwaffe had only a few operational aircraft, the Marine only a ridiculously small amount of u-boats, and the army would not be capable of meeting any NATO emergencies, like (and these were her words) a war in the Baltic states.
All of this suggested to me then, and Frau Merkel's refusal to sanction NATO bases in Eastern Europe, even under pressure from the Ukrainian situation suggest to me even more strongly now, that Germany is in the catbird seat right now in NATO, and knows it. But Frau Merkel and her government also know something else, and they know this in spite of what they may be saying publicly: the USA is ultimately responsible for the mess in the Ukraine,  as it, and not Mr. Putin's Russia. was the driving force backing the Fascist coup in Kiev. She also well knows that German bases, even under the cover of NATO, in Eastern Europe would open up old wounds.
So what's the speculation of the day? I suspect Germany will mouth obedience to Washington's dictats, and even offer up tokens of "going along", but these will not amount to much. Germany will be content to let the USA continue to mangle its reputation and standing in the world, and within the NATO alliance, and in the long term, that will only enhance Germany's position within the alliance. When that day comes, expect that talk of a permanent seat with veto on the UN Security Council to be revived (with some help and similar insistence from Japan).
See you on the flip side...

(Thanks to Mr. K.L. for sharing this article)