BERLIN, (BM) – What the German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer recently said about the US presidential election did not go down well in France. “The illusions of a European strategic autonomy must come to an end. The Europeans will not be able to replace America’s crucial role as a security provider,” wrote AKK in an article in Politico magazine published the day before the US election, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing the German news agency Heise.
That was an “attack with a flamethrower on the French doctrine,” said the renowned French journalist Renaud Girard a week later in the Figaro. France has always preached European strategic autonomy.
Illusion of the German Defense Minister
The German defense minister herself is subject to an illusion, according to Girard: that the USA under Biden’s leadership would reliably return to the kind of support Germany has been used to since the post-war years. That is “possible, but not certain”. France has had different experiences with the USA when it comes to security guarantees.
With their attack, which torpedoed French initiatives to revive European sovereignty, Kramp-Karrenbauer was targeting French President Macron, without naming him. He now reacted without mentioning the long German name.
“Not at all” he shares the position of the German Defense Minister. “I think that’s a misinterpretation of the story,” said Macron in an interview with the publication Le Grand Continent yesterday, where he is given plenty of space to explain the “Macron Doctrine”.
Fortunately, the German Chancellor does not follow AKK’s line, “if I have understood correctly,” said the French President. He can’t be quite sure about that. Merkel keeps options open. Compared to the election winners Biden / Harris, she emphasized that the transatlantic friendship was irreplaceable and then later even more personal, that America was and will remain the most important ally.
Sometimes I urge against it
When it came to the binding implementation of Macron’s European projects, Merkel usually took cover. She dived. Sentences like Macron said about NATO that she was “brain dead” or, as is currently the case in the conversation mentioned, that NATO is a superego that defines geopolitical relationships and is more present with others than with him, do not fall with Merkel.
When Merkel says: “But America expects – and rightly – more of our own efforts to ensure our security” and Macron says: “But the United States will only accept us as allies if we take ourselves seriously and if we are sovereign in our own defense,” it may sound similar at first. But it’s not the same.
There are different points of view and different interests that compete with each other when it comes to business. “Sovereignty” and “strategic autonomy” are central concepts of the Macron doctrine as he expounded them in the Elysée Palace Homestory.
At Macron, a move towards sovereignty is characteristic and less the motive to fulfill requirements, as the German addresses to the US government determine. Good to see in reports on today’s keynote address by Kramp-Karrenbauer, with which she is campaigning for higher defense spending. The Tagesschau report is entitled “No security without the USA”.
“We remain dependent on the United States for security policy and at the same time, as Europeans, we have to do more of what the Americans have taken from us in the future Guaranteeing security, stability and prosperity in Europe without NATO and without the USA” Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer says.
Is it realism or devotion? The government in France does not have to ask itself such typically German questions, but others do. All of this is about a lot of money for the arms industry and France needs a lot of money to keep its nuclear weapons and conventional arsenal up to date in the arms race.
While European countries, especially Germany’s closest EU partner, are wondering what exactly is meant by “strategic autonomy”, the matter is clear to France. This is the conclusion of a publication by the Belgian research group GRIP: Paris needs money that can only be obtained through collective cooperation.
“France must examine ways and means of exercising its autonomy collectively, if not within the Union, then at least within a group of European states that are willing and able to do so. This is undoubtedly the purpose of the European Intervention Initiative” President Macron said.
What the competitive situation is like, became apparent in the spring when the German Defense Minister in the USA ordered new aircraft, 30 F-18 Super Hornets and 15 US E / A-18 Growle fighter jets. It has been argued that this is understandable for reasons of cost, but other reasons also played a role, not least nuclear participation.
In France, the national-conservative publication Marianne commented on this as “following a US dictation”: “The Americans made them an offer they could not refuse.” That can certainly be explained by the political location of the magazine. The argument that Germany thereby preferred its transatlantic competitor over its European partners is not only raised there.
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