By Malik Miah and Barry Sheppard
After weeks of pressure from the Biden administration, Germany has agreed to send 14 German-made Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine in order to fight Russia.
Germany agreed to allow countries in Europe which already have these tanks to also send them.
Britain and the U.S. announced that they too would be sending tanks, as part of the deal, so Germany wouldn’t look like it was alone.
This is the second time German tanks will have rolled into Ukraine to fight Russia. The first was in the Nazi German attack against the Soviet Union in 1941, when they went on from Ukraine to fight the Russian Soviet Socialist Republic.
This is a further escalation of the current U.S.-led NATO war against Russia, but it won’t be the last.
In an article titled “Ukraine sets sights on fighter jets after securing tank supplies”, Reuters reports the following:
“Ukraine will now push for Western fourth generation fighter jets such as the U.S. F-16 after securing supplies of main battle tanks, an adviser to Ukraine’s defence minister said.”
The U.S. Lockheed Martin corporation “has said it’s ready to meet demands for F-16 fighter jets if the U.S. and its allies choose to ship them to Ukraine”, reports Dave DeCamp in the Antiwar online magazine.
“So far, the US and its allies have been hesitant to send fighter jets to Ukraine due to concerns that they could be used to target Russian territory. But the Western powers seem less and less concerned about escalation as the US and Germany have now pledged to send their main battle tanks”, DeCamp argues.
A View from Germany
Sevim Dagdelen, a Kurdish-German member of Germany’s parliament since 2005 from the opposition Die Linke (Left Party), and a member of the parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, was interviewed on Democracy Now! by Amy Goodman:
“This decision, sending battle tanks to Ukraine from Germany and giving the decision that Poland and others can send Leopard 2 German tanks to Ukraine, is a historic wrong decision. It comes only because of the pressure, the heavy pressure, of the Biden administration,” Dagdelen said.
“Several months ago, Chancellor Scholz, in the German Parliament, in the Foreign Affairs Committee, said it was a red line. It’s a line of escalation, sending battle tanks from Germany to Ukraine. That would cross a red line.
“But the pressure was too heavy, too strong from the Biden administration to send Germany to the frontline of this war. And there was pressure from the Greens and the liberals [of the Free Democratic Party] — they are actually the neocons in this [coalition government with the Social Democratic Party of Scholz]. They officially said they would [bring down the coalition government] if these battle tanks wouldn’t be sent by Chancellor Scholz to Ukraine….
“According to recent polls the majority in Germany is against sending battle tanks to Ukraine. The majority is in favor of diplomacy, for a negotiated peace in Ukraine.” She said this was another reason why the decision to send the tanks was wrong.
“And another thing, the 31st of January will be the 80th anniversary of the battle of Stalingrad. Every family in Russia lost loved ones in the battle of Stalingrad. You do not have to be a prophet to know that sending German tanks against Russia in this proxy war of the United States will way more increase mobilization of Russian society in this war.”
When asked about the German mainstream media, Dagdelen said, “We have a really extremely warmongering atmosphere in Germany, caused by the media.”
She noted that when she was in the U.S. in March and April of last year, “representatives of the State Department, Pentagon and the national Security Council all said that the German media did such great work in pushing the German government [to spend] 100 billion euros for militarization and sending weapons to Ukraine….
“The problem is, the German mainstream press is so much involved with the Atlantic Council, transatlantic think tanks and so on…. We have the policy of supporting the interest of the United States.
“I believe it is not the interests of the people in the United States. It’s the interests of an elite, of neocons in the U.S., who have the position that Europe is like Latin America for the United States in the 1970s, a continent where you can do whatever you please….”
Later in the interview Dagdelen argued the U.S. doesn’t have allies, but vassals:
“It’s good business to have a war in Europe for the U.S. fracking industry and the military-industrial complex in the United States. Sending tanks from Germany to Ukraine is a concrete example.
“They’re pushing us, Germans, into this fire … and to have the situation that Germany and Russia will have no relations at all. When you see the books by [former Secretary of State Zbigniew] Brzezinski and so on, it was always the aim of the United States elites to destroy the relationship between Germany and Russia.
“And this is my concern, because already, last night, the Green foreign minister of Germany, Annalena Baerbock, said officially that we are fighting a war against Russia. We are already in a war against Russia.
“It concerns me a lot also that many so-called progressives in the United States are supporting this line by the Biden administration to push Germany more and more into this proxy war, and taking the risk that it can extend into the Third World War.”
Juan Gonzalez, co-host of Democracy Now, said “Most Americans are not aware of the enormous profits that are being made by U.S. natural gas companies as a result of this war, and the impact it is having on the energy needs of Europe. Could you talk about what’s happening in Germany in terms of gas prices and the necessities for heating there?”
Dagdelen replied, “According to the new publications by several economic institutes in Germany, we have a real loss of wages of about five percent, the biggest loss in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany since 1945.
“People cannot afford to pay their rents, to pay the [natural] gas prices, the energy prices, the petrol, and they can’t afford to pay for food. Two million people, the first time in Germany last year, had to go to the public food services to get food, and this in one of the most economically powerful countries in the world.
“And on the other side, we have huge profits of more than 100 billion [Euros] by the German energy and oil industries and other big companies as well. And the U.S. fracking industry is a big profiteer of this crisis, of the sanctions. It is all caused by the sanctions against Russia, these energy sanctions.
“And it doesn’t harm Russia. The Russian Gazprom firm made in the first half of 2022 more than 40 billion euros in profit. And the same at the end of the year…. The only ones who are suffering is the populations in Europe, because sanctions are turning into an economic war against our own population.
“The U.S. fracking industry are sending now tanks of their [liquified] dirty gas from the U.S., which is against the climate, as well. One tank can mean profit of up to 200 or 300 million euros…. The need for Germany for gas is approximately 1,100 tanks per year. I can’t see that we can afford to pay this to the United States, in comparison to the cheap and less dirty gas from Russia.”
Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman asked about those that say “If Ukraine doesn’t get these heavy weapons, Russia will succeed in taking more land.”
Dagdelen replied, “I really have to warn: all these illusionists, all these people who are fantasizing about a victory against Russia, they are underestimating Russia like Napoleon and Hitler did in the past.
“And, it is one of the most powerful nuclear powers in the world. There is no way to win a conventional war against such a nuclear power.
“This is the dangerous part of the discussion. On the one hand they are all saying the President Putin is insane and he’s crazy, he’s a monster … but on the other they say, ‘Well, it’s a bluff. We don’t think Putin is so irrational to use nuclear weapons.’
“We cannot seriously debate the use of nuclear weapons, because if they will be used once, it’s the end of human civilization, at least in Europe, maybe not the United States, but in Europe definitely. And that makes me really worried.”
A Deliberate U.S. Policy
A New York Times article titled “How Biden Reluctantly Agreed to Send Tanks to Ukraine” is subtitled “The decision unlocked a flow of heavy arms from Europe and inched the United States and its NATO allies closer to direct conflict with Russia.” But there was nothing “reluctant” about the U.S. pressure on Germany.
A recent article for Responsible Statecraft, published by the Quincy Institute, named after John Quincy Adams, the sixth president of the U.S., is titled, “Mission Creep? How the U.S. Role in Ukraine Has Slowly Escalated”.
In it, Branco Marcetic outlines the ways the U.S. has “serially blown past their own self-imposed lines over arms transfers,” over and over again relenting to war hawks and requests from Ukrainian officials to supply weapons which it had previously refrained from supplying for fear they would be too escalatory and lead to hot warfare between nuclear superpowers.
It should be noted that it is not the Ukrainian tail that is waging the U.S. dog. All major military decisions of Ukraine are made in conjunction with and require the approval of Washington.
Marcetic notes the way previously unthinkable aggressions like NATO spy agencies conducting sabotage of Russian infrastructure are now accepted, with more escalations being called for as soon as the previous one was made.
“By escalating their support for Ukraine’s military,” he writes, “the U.S. and NATO have created an incentive structure for Moscow to take a drastic, aggressive step to show the seriousness of its own red lines. This would be dangerous at the best of times, but particularly so when Russian officials are making clear they view the war as one against NATO as a whole, not merely Ukraine, while threatening nuclear response to the alliance’s weapons deliveries.”
Marcetic added on Twitter, “Moscow keeps saying escalatory arms transfers are unacceptable and could mean wider war; U.S. officials say since Moscow hasn’t reacted on those threats, they can freely escalate. Russia is told it has to escalate to show it is serious about those lines.”
A recent example of this dynamic is a recent New York Times report that the Biden administration is considering backing a Ukrainian offensive against Crimea.
The Biden administration has assessed that Russia is unlikely to reciprocate with an escalatory aggression, according to the article. But that assessment apparently comes from nothing other than the fact that Russia hasn’t done so yet — against NATO countries.
“Crimea has already been hit many times without a massive escalation from the Kremlin,” the Times quotes a RAND Corporation “thinker”.
But there already has been such a massive reaction from Russia, in the ongoing targeting of Ukrainian infrastructure that began right after the Ukrainian bombing of the bridge connecting Russia with Crimea.
A NATO-backed invasion of Crimea would most certainly result in a direct Russian attack on NATO.
Is Washington actually hoping for such an attack as an excuse for all-out war? Or is Chris Hedges, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, and a former New York Times reporter for 15 years, correct when he writes:
“Empires in terminal decline leap from one military fiasco to the next. The war in Ukraine, another bungled attempt to reassert U.S. global hegemony, fits this pattern. The danger is that the more dire things look, the more the U.S. will escalate the conflict, potentially provoking open confrontation with Russia”.
Years ago, Washington said that Russia and China were the main threats to U.S. hegemony. Its war against Russia aims to weaken it to the point where a new government subservient to Washington is established. Right now that would take NATO troops invading Russia.
It is also ramping up its military aggressive stance against China with new bases in the Philippines and Okinawa.
Increasing U.S. aggression is playing with fire – a nuclear fire.
It is important for a movement to be built in the United States and Western Europe to stop the war against Russia and push for unconditional negotiations to end the war in Ukraine.