Germany’s Hesitance to Send Tanks to Ukraine

Germany Reiterates No Supply Of Weapons to Ukraine, Social Democrats Struggle for Leadership Amid Rapid World Changes.

The chancellor of Germany, the Social Democrat, Olaf Scholz (SPD), does not allow himself to be pressured. Faced with the demands to deliver battle tanks to Ukraine, the German government reiterates that it follows three principles: support Ukraine as much as possible, avoid a direct conflict between NATO and Russia, and not make decisions alone, but “in consultation and coordination with our friends and allies”, as Scholz reiterated in Berlin.

Parallel to this debate, a group of Social Democrats presented a document in Berlin, proposing that Germany assume a stronger leadership in the world. Lars Klingbeil, SPD co-chairman, presented it with the title “Changing Times for Our Foreign Policy: Social Democratic Responses to a World in Upheaval”, with 23 pages. Klingbeil asked questions such as: “What does the turning point mean from a social democratic perspective? How do we define our relationship with Russia, with China, with the United States? How do we redefine a self-confident and sovereign Europe and what should Germany’s role really be in this rapidly changing world?”.

Klingbeil insists he is pushing for leadership, but this has nothing to do with supplying tanks. For decades, “the German position was to contribute to conflict resolution and not supply weapons to either side”, according to peace and conflict researcher Nicole Deitelhoff.

Scholz is accused of hiding behind the Americans when facing doubts of supplying Ukraine with weapons. For Klingbeil, this has to do with German’s limited military potential. Deitelhoff believes that it will take Germany a long time to “translate leadership into operational policy and strategic planning”.

In a recent poll, 46 percent of the participants are in favor of delivering tanks to Ukraine, while 43 percent reject it.

The aim of the document is to regain the “moderation of decades” that Germany has followed and to take on more leadership. It is not defined as acting alone, as Klingbeil maintains, but as “a cooperative leadership style”.

The German arsenal consists of Main Battle Tanks (Leopard 2), Panzerhaubitze 2000 self-propelled howitzer (with a shell range over 60km), Infantry Fighting Vehicles (Marder and Puma), Armored Personnel Carriers (Fuchs), Armored Reconnaissance Vehicles (Fennek) and specialized armored vehicles, for rescue and bridge-laying purposes.

The Ukraine crisis is getting more complex as time passes by, and Germany must make the best decisions for their nation.

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