Today (3 April), Foreign Minister Maas is meeting his NATO colleagues in Washington. The North Atlantic Alliance is celebrating its 70th anniversary. This is a reason to celebrate –and to continue doing everything we can to support the Alliance.
The most successful military alliance in history
Since the Second World War, the world has been plagued by upheavals, dangerous escalations and conflicts. However, NATO has succeeded in safeguarding peace and freedom in Europe over seven decades. NATO is rightly often called the most successful military alliance in history. Germany in particular has benefited from the solidarity of the Alliance: both as a country at the Iron Curtain and later after Germany was reunified, something which would not have been possible without NATO.
A time full of threats – a time for a strong Alliance
Unfortunately, the end of the Cold War was not the end of the threats to our security. Today, the danger no longer stems from the East West confrontation. Instead, the risks have become more complex and unpredictable – and, in the view of many experts, even more dangerous.
The new global security landscape does not inspire us with much confidence: Russia’s hybrid warfare in Ukraine ranges from fake news to the military occupation of Crimea, and by violating the INF Treaty, Moscow has destroyed painstakingly negotiated disarmament successes. Since the digital revolution, almost every sphere of our lives is a possible target of cyber attacks. China’s unchecked rise is radically altering the global balance. Without a doubt, Germany will only be able to withstand the risks of the future if it is part of a strong alliance such as NATO.
Germany’s contribution to NATO
A strong and efficient NATO is in Germany’s vital interest. The Alliance can rely on Berlin to stand by its commitments. The German Government has committed to investing more money in security, thereby reversing the falling defence expenditure trend. Since 2014, Germany has increased its defence expenditure by almost 40 percent.
True solidarity is measured in terms of commitment, not euros
Germany’s engagement in NATO cannot be simply measured by its defence budget. Germany demonstrates its solidarity with Alliance partners when it really counts: the Federal Republic is the second largest troop contributor to Alliance missions.
In Afghanistan and in Kosovo, Germany has long since provided strong military contingents in major NATO areas of operations. Furthermore, Germany is one of four framework nations which as part of NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence give the Baltic States and Poland a guarantee that they can rely on NATO’s protection. Moreover, Germany is the only European Alliance member to set up a new operative NATO command as part of the reform of the NATO Command Structure.