Celebrities mobilize against German rearmament
03/22/2022, 2:59 p.m
Chancellor Olaf Scholz wants to make 100 billion euros available for the Bundeswehr. This is to be secured as a special fund in the Basic Law. But not everyone agrees with the massive rearmament. Many celebrities also sign an appeal.
The German government has described Russia’s attack on sovereign Ukraine as a “turning point” in Europe. The consequences that are to be drawn from this include the massive build-up of the Bundeswehr, as Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced in his speech in the Bundestag on February 27.
The traffic light wants to invest 100 billion euros in the military and enshrine the amount as a special fund in the Basic Law. But that’s not all: from now on, Germany is to continuously spend two percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) on armaments.
Under the shock of the outbreak of war, Scholz initially received a lot of approval. After all, the opposition Union does not want to fundamentally block investments in the military budget. But meanwhile there is also increasing resistance to the armament plans.
From Ströbele to Bela B
Around 600 celebrities from politics, science, church and culture have now published an appeal directed against government plans. Among the first to sign were Andrea Ypsilanti, the former leader of the SPD in Hesse, Julia Schramm from the Left Party Executive and Hans-Christian Ströbele, a former member of the Green Party.
Other supporters of the appeal come from the social sector. The former chairwoman of the council of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), Margot Käßmann, is one of them, as is the IG Metall board member Hans-Jürgen Urban and the sociologist Klaus Dörre. Finally, musicians like Die-Ärzte-drummer Bela B and Die-Prinzen-singer Sebastian Krumbiegel as well as actresses like Katja Riemann and Corinna Harfouch joined the protest against the armament plans.
“Nothing Justifies It”
With a view to what is happening in Ukraine, the initiators make it very clear: “There is no justification for this war. Putin bears full responsibility for the dead and the people fleeing. Putin’s justifications for the war are lies and propaganda . We are very concerned about the future of peace and security in Europe and the world.”
However, this does not justify “a package of measures that envisages the largest rearmament in Germany since the end of the Second World War,” it said. “A massive upgrade of the Bundeswehr will not help the people in Ukraine.”
The supporters of the appeal state that “the ‘defense expenditures’ of all 30 NATO countries are already almost twenty times higher than those of Russia. And further: “The acquisition of conventional weapons such as combat aircraft and weapon-capable drones as a deterrent under nuclear military blocks is pointless.”
“Danger of massive cuts”
The expenditure now planned for armaments corresponds to that of several federal ministries, it says – “including such important departments as health (16.03 billion), education and research (19.36 billion), interior, construction and homeland (18.52 bn), family, seniors, women and youth (12.16 bn), business and energy (9.81 bn), environment (2.7 bn), cooperation and development (10.8 bn), and Food and Agriculture ($6.98 billion).” In connection with the future two percent target for armaments, measured in terms of GDP, this also “entails the risk of massive cuts in the social, cultural and public sectors”.
Such a political course should be rejected “in the name of democracy,” says the appeal. Instead, they call for a “broad democratic discussion about a comprehensive security concept that includes security against military attacks as well as pandemic and ecological aspects”. From the point of view of the signatories, it would be “a democratic-political scandal” if the “180-degree turnaround in German foreign policy” outlined by Olaf Scholz were to be decided without “broad social debate, without parliamentary, even without any internal party debate”.
While the appeal is making the rounds, the Bundestag has started deliberations on the federal budget. Finance Minister Christian Lindner justified the planned special fund in order to strengthen the “Bundeswehr, which has been neglected for many years”.