The German government plans to buy 138 fighter jets and prepare for nuclear war
Gregor Link and Johannes Stern
May 7, 2020
The German government is preparing to buy 93 Eurofighters and 45 US-made F-18 fighter jets at a total cost of nearly € 20 billion. Eurofighter is manufactured by Airbus, while Boeing makes the F-18.
Among the latter types are 30 “Super Hornet” jets, the aim of which is to guarantee German involvement in atomic warfare and to allow the spread of US nuclear weapons located in German territory in the event of a nuclear war. Tornado strike bombers have been used for this purpose, but they must be removed from service by 2030 and replaced.
Der Spiegel reported last month that German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (Christian Democrat, CDU) offered the deal to US Defense Secretary Mark Esper via email. Extra-parliamentary steps seem to have taken place with the agreement of CDU’s coalition partner, Social Democrats. In a statement, the Ministry of Defense noted that the SPD had been involved in the process for weeks. Der Spiegel also reported that a secret agreement was made with Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (both SPD).
On Monday, government officials reiterated Germany’s commitment to “nuclear participation” as part of NATO. This is “an important component of a prevention strategy that can be trusted in an alliance,” stressed government spokesman Stefan Seibert in Berlin.
Foreign Minister Maas distanced himself from other SPD members, including SPD co-leader Norbert Walter-Borjans, who had criticized German purchases of US-made aircraft and a nuclear alliance close to Washington for several days earlier. “Unilateral steps that undermine the confidence of our close partners and European neighbors weaken our alliance,” Maas said.
On Sunday, SPD parliamentary group leader Rolf Mützenich told the German daily Tagesspiegel“Nuclear weapons on German soil do not improve our security, on the contrary.” It is time for Germany to rule out placement in the future. Other countries have done this without making NATO questionable. “He then added,” As Germans, we must confidently demand to influence NATO’s nuclear strategy, even when there are no nuclear weapons stored on our territory. “
Critics of the government from the SPD sections, which are supported by the Left, have nothing to do with pacifism. The aim is to develop a foreign and nuclear policy that is more independent from the United States and dominated by Germany and the EU. In the past, the SPD demanded that the Tornado be replaced exclusively with Eurofighters which were reused to “promote domestic production and prevent over-dependence on the United States,” as reported by the N-TV news channel.
Regardless of which fighter jet model the German government ultimately chooses, what happens is the largest German air force weaponry since the end of the Second World War, and, in the final analysis, German nuclear weaponry. According to the Ministry of Defense, the government’s desire to buy F-18 fighter jets is only seen as “a temporary solution for nuclear participation and electronic-supported electronic combat.” Development of “[Future Combat Air System (FCAS)] do not be endangered. “
FCAS is a European system consisting of multi-function manned fighter jets, several unmanned aircraft (long distance carriers), and new weapons and communication systems. The plan is for an integrated combat system that combines drones, fighter jets, satellites, and command and control aircraft, potentially related to independent nuclear capabilities.
In a foreign policy speech in February, French President Emmanuel Macron appealed for a “strategic dialogue” on European nuclear prevention. In the face of the nuclear arms race, Macron stated that Europeans could not limit themselves “to the role of the audience.”
FCAS is part of the Franco-German leadership’s effort to turn the European Union into a military force capable of waging war independently, and if necessary, in contrast to the United States. Under conditions of mounting conflict between the main powers, project development was aggressively encouraged. After Germany, France and Spain officially launched FCAS last June, “there will now be a shift to technology development and demonstrations over the next 18 months with German investment of € 78 million,” noted a report from the Ministry of Defense on February 13.
In a press statement from April 22, Kramp-Karrenbauer also noted that fighter jets were “a transition … to goal-oriented FCAS technology in the future.” The problem with the replacement of the Tornado fleet is to “equip future air force armed forces so that all Tornado capabilities, air combat capability, reconnaissance, electronic warfare, and also the ability for nuclear participation, can be included in the future.” In this process, it is important that we maintain industrial policy capability here in Germany and Europe. We need a solution that ensures that Europe’s main air system in the future, namely FCAS, is not at risk in the period after 2040. “
The amount of money set aside for this project is very large. With the cost for each F-18 standing at $ 93 million (€ 85 million) and each Eurofighter for $ 170 million (€ 156 million), the total cost for 138 jets amounts to $ 20 billion or € 18.5 billion, despite the costs for new weapons the program generally produces many multiples of the original number.
The cost of European air systems is much higher. In total, costs will rise above € 100 billion. Handelsblatt reported last year that by the middle of this century, the system would swallow “up to € 500 billion.”
In the midst of the rampaging COVID-19 pandemic, funding for this project is a social and political crime. As the International Campaign for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons and the International Doctor for the Prevention of Nuclear War noted, the cost for an F-18 jet alone (€ 7.47 billion) would be enough to build 100,000 intensive care beds, buy 30,000 ventilators, and pay 60,000 nurses and 25,000 doctor for one full year.
The purchase price for weapons of mass destruction is enough to finance the work of the World Health Organization for four and a half years.
The German government’s plan explains that 75 years after the end of the Second World War, German imperialism and militarism have once again revived its criminal traditions. The ruling elites in Germany responded to the buildup of nuclear weapons by the United States and rising tensions between the major powers by preparing their own plans for destruction.
Think tanks, commentators, newspapers and influential politicians have been demanding weapons of Germany’s own mass destruction for some time.
Recently, the president of the German Society for Foreign Policy (DGAP) and former head of Europe’s second big arms company EADS, Tom Enders, said, in an article entitled, “We must talk about nuclear weapons” to collaborate with France or the creation of a nuclear deterrent Germany itself. “Responsible German security and foreign policy” must consider “the nuclear choice of the Federal Republic of Germany wisely and with regard to reapolitics.” This discussion must “not exclude options from the start as taboo,” including “which seems inconceivable: does Germany need its own nuclear weapons?” “Building a European defense union ready for combat is difficult to imagine without nuclear support.”
The only way to prevent this arms race and the annihilation of humankind in the third world war fought with nuclear weapons is to mobilize the working class against rearmament, war and its source – the capitalist profit system. Workers and young people must fight for expropriation without compensation from weapons companies, banks and oligarchs who are very rich so that this vast resource can be used to fight a pandemic and meet the social needs of the majority. These demands cannot be separated from the formation of workers’ power and the socialist transformation of society.
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