Due to high poll numbers, Bündnis 90/Die Grünen are considered the ruling party in spe. In whatever federal political constellation: no one can get past them. Prospectively, the Green Party is adapting to this, including foreign and military policy.
Robert Habeck pleaded after a conversation with the Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelenskij on Deutschlandfunk: “Weapons for defense, for self-defense, in my opinion, defensive weapons, Ukraine can be difficult to deny.”
At one time, consistent pacifism, such as that vehemently advocated by Petra Kelly and Gerd Bastian, was part of the party’s core brand, but so were demands for a demilitarization of politics, the dissolution of the military blocs in the West and East, and the dismantling of enemy images. Currently, chairmen Habeck and Baerbock are disposing of the last remnants of this pacifist heritage on their way to the levers of power.
It is true that the current election programme of the Greens states: “We are committed to civilian crisis prevention and want to end European arms exports to war and crisis areas as well as to autocrats with restrictive export controls.“This is already formulated spongily. But Habeck goes even further with regard to Ukraine – a country whose east is a constantly smoldering hotbed of crisis and thus without a doubt a war and crisis area. The co-chairman of the Greens thus risks fueling the military conflict and an intensifying confrontation with Russia.
It follows the line of the Centre Liberal Modernism (LibMod), think tank of once influential Green politicians, that the EU should intensify the “military and armament industrial cooperation” with the states of its “Eastern Partnership”-Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine – by providing funds for the procurement of armament equipment from European production and supporting armourers in Ukraine. In contrast, the black and red federal government still rejects arms exports to Ukraine in order not to further fuel the conflicts.
Habeck justified his political pivot on Deutschlandfunk with the remark: “Ukraine feels left alone in terms of security policy and it is left alone”. Is this political naivety, or is there more to it? It should not have escaped him that the US has supplied Ukraine with military equipment and weapons systems since the beginning of the fighting in eastern Ukraine.
Weapons systems have also been supplied to Poland, the UK and France, according to the Stockholm Research Institute SIPRI. In addition, in 2018, the Czech Republic participated in the upgrading of the country with 50 used BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicles and 40 used self-propelled guns. Turkey delivered six combat drones to the Ukrainian military, the purchase of another 48 copies is agreed. Habeck acknowledges that it is more than the self-defense of a clearly inferior state by identifying the required supply of military equipment as part of the Western power struggle against Russia: “Ukraine also defends the security of Europe.”
In another interview with Deutschlandfunk, Habeck cited “night vision devices, reconnaissance devices, explosive ordnance disposal, medevacs (medical transport aircraft)” as examples of his demand (27.5.2021). But the emphasis that he meant “only” defensive weapons is misleading: German arms control does not distinguish between offensive and defensive weapons.
In an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, President Zelenskyj promptly formulated specific wishes for deliveries from Germany: Ukraine needed missile speedboats, patrol boats, assault rifles, radio equipment and armored military vehicles. And added: “Habeck understood that”. Already in mid-April, the Ukrainian ambassador in Berlin, Andrij Melnyk, claimed in a Deutschlandfunk interview (15.4.2021), “the Kremlin” seeks to “wipe out Ukraine as a state and people”; therefore, Kiev expects not only “expressions of solidarity”, but “state-of-the-art weapons systems” from Germany. And he added a downright adventurous threat: if not, Ukraine would be forced to " have a nuclear status … think about”.
Even Ukraine’s accession to NATO is no longer ruled out by the Green co-chairman on Deutschlanfunk: Only “at the moment” can “not do that”; Ukraine must be patient. “The idea of taking Kiev into NATO is as clever as throwing a match in a petrol warehouse to see what happens,” writes Stefan Reinecke in the taz. But even this position comes as no surprise, because the Greens of today are transatlantic with clear Western ties: The party calls for close cooperation with the Biden administration and Habeck demands from the party DIE LINKE a commitment to NATO membership as a prerequisite for future coalition talks.
Also some interviews with the green “candidate for Chancellor” Annalena Baerbock reveal in foreign and military policy an agreement with the practice of the political and military elite in Germany. With a view to a black-green coalition, it advocates a continuation of armament and considers wars without a UN mandate. If the UN Security Council is “blocked”, it may be necessary to comply with an “international responsibility to protect; “in the past, the term was used to legitimize wars without or without breaking a UN mandate-such as the war in Libya” (CFP 1.12.2020). Abolishing the right of veto in the Security Council and advocating global interventions to “defend human rights” would significantly lower the “political deployment threshold of armed forces in international operations”.
But in the meantime, parts of the former Peace Party themselves do not stop at a plea for the “nuclear participation” of Germany, as an initiative of the party-affiliated Heinrich Böll Foundation showed earlier this year. With another 18 transatlanticists, the head of the foundation, Ellen Ueberschär, had campaigned against the new US president for “nuclear participation”. In the paper “Transatlantic? Dare! For a New agreement between Germany and America” is postulated, the “nuclear shield of the USA is indispensable for all non-nuclear NATO states in Europe”, namely “as long as there are nuclear weapons”.
Since Germany, the United States, the entire NATO and the other nuclear-weapon states persistently refuse to sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which entered into force on 22 January 2021, nuclear weapons are permanently placed. The adherence to” nuclear participation " means: US nuclear weapons are to continue to be stored indefinitely in the Rhineland-Palatinate Büchel, and new nuclear-capable warplanes are to be procured for the Bundeswehr.
On the other hand, the basic program of Alliance 90/The Greens on the nuclear weapons question contains the demand for “Accession of Germany to the UN Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty and … Strengthening the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty”, as well as the comments: “For this, work must be done together with international and European partners towards the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free Europe. This requires a Germany free of nuclear weapons and thus a speedy end to nuclear participation.“However, observers immediately noticed that these formulations are quite ambiguous in order to possibly be able to accommodate both the CDU and the SPD in future coalition negotiations. In fact - " expeditiously “does not mean"promptly”.
Currently, the signs in the East-West relationship are on escalation. Russia increased its military presence on the border with eastern Ukraine in April, and the NATO “Defender 21” maneuver is still taking place until June 14. 28,000 soldiers from 26 nations are also involved in Ukrainian Nazi wines. In this largest NATO maneuver since the end of the Cold War, the US Army is testing its ability to move troops on a larger scale to the east, to the border with Russia. Not only, but especially at this stage, foreign policy does not lend itself to olive-green rearmament exercises in preparation for a new governing coalition.