Ukraine War, January 17, 2023: Germany’s timorous and calculating leader, “Kein Alleingang” Scholz, apparently blockng transfer of Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, names former member of German-Russian Parliamentary Friendship Group to be Defense Minister

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To see a list of previous articles, enter “Ukraine” in the Search Box on the upper right, and you will see a list in chronological order.

To understand the broad context within which current developments in Ukraine should be considered,see

“Ukraine War, October 26, 2022: The context for analysis of current developments; The “dirty bomb” as a Russian propaganda distraction from current war crimes,” The Trenchant Observer, October 26, 2022.

Dispatches

1) Joe Barnes, James Crisp, and James Rothwell, “Germany won’t act alone in sending tanks to Ukraine, says Olaf Scholz; Comments come after economy minister says Germany likely to approve export declarations only if US sends battle tanks first,” The Telegraph, January 17, 2023 (7:15 p.m.);

2) Elena G. Sevillano (Berlin), “Scholz nombra a Boris Pistorius nuevo ministro de Defensa de Alemania en sustitución de Lambrecht; El socialdemócrata, de 62 años, es actualmente responsable de Interior en Baja Sajonia. Su nombramiento acaba con la paridad del Gabinete del canciller,” El País, el 17 de enero dev2023 (actualizado a las 05:50);

3) “Elena G. Sevillano (Berlin), “Schools appoints Boris Pistorius as the new Minister of Defense of Germany to replace Lambrecht; The 62-year-old Social Democrat is currently in charge of the Interior in Lower Saxony. His appointment ends with the parity of the Chancellor’s Cabinet,” El País, January 17, 2023 (updated 05:50):

4) Elena G. Sevillano (Berlin) y María R, Sahuquillo (Estrasburgo), “Alemania se abre a suavizar el veto al envío de carros de combate a Ucrania; Los aliados esperan un giro en la posición de Berlín que permita suministrar el material solicitado por Kiev,” El País, el 17 de enero 2023 (14:03);

5) Elena G. Sevillano (Berlin) y María R, Sahuquillo (Strasbourg), “Germany opens up to soften the veto on the shipment of tanks to Ukraine; The allies expect a turn in Berlin’s position to supply the material requested by Kiev,” El País, January 17, 2023 (14:03);

6) Marina Kormbaki, Veit Medick und Christian Teevs, “Der rote General: Olaf Scholz gelingt mit der Nominierung von Boris Pistorius ein Überraschungscoup. Der scharfzüngige Niedersachse will seit Langem nach Berlin, jetzt wird er Verteidigungsminister. Ist er dem Amt gewachsen?” Der Spiegel, den 17. Januar 2023 (14:31 Uhr);
Von Marina Kormbaki, Veit Medick und Christian Teevs
17.01.2023, 14.31 Uhr

7) Marina Kormbaki, Veit Medick and Christian Teevs, “the red general; Olaf Scholz succeeds in a surprise coup with the nomination of Boris Pistorius. The sharp-tongued Lower Saxony has wanted to go to Berlin for a long time, now he is becoming Minister of Defense. Is he up to office?” Der Spiegel, January 17, 2023 (2:31 pm):

Analysis

Barnes, Crisp, and Rothwell report on the latest moves by the duplicitous German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz:

Olaf Scholz, the German chancellor, said on Tuesday that the country would never act “alone” as Berlin hinted that it was waiting for the United States to send battle tanks to Ukraine before following suit.

Mr Scholz said his support for Kyiv would only be ramped up if it avoids “escalating” the war in Ukraine – something his officials believe sending Leopard II tanks could do.

In response to questions over his reluctance to sanction tank donations, Mr Scholz said one of his aims was to avoid the conflict “escalating” to become “a war between Russia and Nato”.

“One message above all – we will always act together with our allies and friends,” he added. “We are never going alone, because this is necessary in a very difficult situation like this.”

Officials in Washington have warned that they are unlikely to send Abrams battle tanks because they are notoriously hard to operate and maintain.

Any decision will involve Boris Pistorius, Germany’s new defence minister, a dark horse candidate chosen to replace Christine Lambrecht after she resigned on Monday following a series of gaffes.

The appointment of Mr Pistorius, 61, is likely to raise eyebrows in Kyiv because he was a member of the German-Russian Friendship parliamentary group before it was dissolved following the invasion of Ukraine.

Scholz has now apparently signalled that his priority is satisfying the pro-Russia-leaning elements of his SPD party, not helping Ukraine win the war quickly. Scholz seems coldly indifferent to the fact that his diltory decision making and dragging of feet on supplying urgently-needed weapons to Ukraine has cost and will cost thousands of Ukrainian lives.

After what it did to Ukraine in World War II, one might expect Germany to do more to help Ukraine defeat military aggression by the 21st century successor to German fascism, the Russian fascist state of Vladimir Putin.

Scholz seems to be planning to continue his duplicitous show, setting out a hapless Defense Minister to absorb the blame for executing his own policies, as he did with Christine Lambrecht, the former Defense Minister who resigned on Monday.

This is the first time Pistorius has held a cabinet position at the federal level.

Whether Pistorius will be more than a shield for Scholz remains to be seen. One of his political qualifications seems to be that he was a member of the German-Russian Parliamentary Friendship Group in the Bundestag, a group which brought together pro-Russian members of the legislature.

But Pistorius has also served in the Bundeswehr, and brings 10 years of experience as Interior Minister in the State of Lower Saxony to his new job. To name him, Scholz had to abandon his policy of gender parity in his cabinet.

One must hope that Pistorius will be successful and also be able to stand up to Scholz  on questions relating to arms deliveries to Ukraine.

Still, Scholz’s duplicity is blatantly obvious with the tired repetition of his old refrain, “Kein Alleingang” (no going it alone).

How Scholz can sing his “Kein Alleingang” refrain with a straight face, after Britain (a NATO member) has promised to send Challenger 2 battle tanks to Ukraine, and other countries have indicated a willingness to transfer Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine provided they get authorization from Berlin, strains the imagination.

Moreover, by posing as a condition that the U.S.must send its Abrams battle tanks to Ukraine before he authorizes the transfer of German Leopard 2 tanks, when he knows this is unlikely, Scholz is committing a perfidious betrayal of the Ukrainians.

We can expect nothing but more of the same from Scholz.

His abject fear of Putin leaves life and death decisions on whether to transfer needed weapons to Ukraine in the hands of arch war criminal Vladimir Putin. His demeaning groveling before the “Putin Versteher” (those who understand Putin”) and the pro-Russian elements in his Social Democratic Party is disgraceful and places him clearly on the path of appeasement.

Infinitely calculating, and lacking any vision other than to survive in the middle, Olaf Scholz cannot be viewed as an honest and reliable partner by Joe Biden or other NATO leaders.

Ukraine will probably not get the weapons and munitions it needs within the time frame it needs them, so long as Scholz remains Chancellor. Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbach has a much firmer grasp of the realities of the Ukraine war and what military and other aid Ukraine needs.

It may be time for the Greens to head the governing coalition.

The Trenchant Observer

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