Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has unified the West and reinvigorated NATO, with Germany in particular undergoing historic policy shifts.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has announced that the country will send 14 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. Shortly after Germany’s announcement, U.S. President Joe Biden said his country will send 31 Abrams tanks to Ukraine.
Notably, Germany will also allow other nations that operate the tank to sell their own stocks to Ukraine.
Since the tanks are German made, countries like Poland – who have long-wanted to give some of their Leopards to Ukraine – have had to wait for legal permission to do so.
Now, that permission has been given.
You can watch Scholz’s announcement below:
An historic shift in Germany
For decades, Germany pursued a policy of “Wandel durch Handel” (change through trade) with Russia.
They sought to deeply integrate their economies – and allowed significant Russian influence over their political system. Germany also became heavily dependent on Russian energy.
The hope in Germany was that they would profit while Russia would be disincentivized from any military action in Europe.
Germany also severely underfunded their military, not wanting to be seen as an aggressive power following their defeats in both WW1 and WW2.
Now, Germany is overturning all of that.
Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine has made it clear that there was no change in Russia, with Putin seeking to rebuild the empire that existed during the days of the Communist Soviet Union.
Other European countries – notably Poland and the Baltic States – are well-aware that a Russian victory in Ukraine would expand Russia’s military-industrial-complex and could lead to further invasions. Thus, ensuring Ukraine is able to win helps to preserve the broader peace in Europe and makes the likelihood of broader conflict less likely.
Germany has been harder to convince of that, but has now come around.
Germany has announced significant increases to military spending and has made a stunning pivot from dependence on Russian energy (Canada could have benefitted from this but Trudeau rebuffed Germany when they came asking for LNG, leading to Qatar, the U.A.E., and other countries signing big contracts with Germany instead).
Now, with the announcement that they will give some of their tanks to Ukraine, Germany’s historic policy shift is now largely complete.
A unified Western world and a stronger NATO
Germany’s move – and the decision by many other European countries to send their tanks – shows the continued reinvigoration of the NATO alliance and the Western world.
Rather than being split by Russia, NATO has become far more unified following Russia’s decision to invade Ukraine.
NATO countries have also begun to ramp up military spending, which is notable because the combined GDP of NATO countries dwarfs that of Russia.
Thus, just as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has solidified Ukrainian national identity and turned Ukraine decisively against Putin’s idea of the ‘Russian World,’ the invasion has also reminded NATO countries and the Western world why unity between democracies, escaping reliance on energy from authoritarian states, and well-funded military forces are essential to navigating a dangerous world.
Photo – YouTube