NATO warning from German Chancellor hopeful amid plot to axe in favour of bloc with Russia
'Biden made NATO look impotent' says Alastair Campbell
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Angela Merkel’s 16-year tenure as Chancellor of Germany will come to an end next week as the country goes to the polls for the federal election on Sunday. Ms Merkel, the leader of the centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party, is not seeking re-election for a fifth term in office. The outgoing Chancellor has been a staunch defender of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the 30-nation military alliance.
However, several people vying to succeed Ms Merkel as Chancellor have taken brutal swipes at the security bloc and have even suggested disbanding it altogether.
Annalena Baerbock, the leader of the Greens – who has emerged as one of the frontrunners to lead Germany – once warned of rising “tensions” within the alliance.
While her party has described NATO as “indispensable”, many in its ranks believe Germany should abandon the defence spending target of 2 percent, while others want Germany to sign the United Nations’ nuclear ban treaty, according to POLITICO.
The far-left Die Linke go even further, however, and want to axe the security bloc entirely in favour of a new alliance involving Russia.
In an unearthed interview with German news magazine Der Spiegel from 2018, Ms Baerbock was pressed on the idea of the creation of a European army.
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She said: “The US leadership is increasingly withdrawing from its role as guarantor of European security.
“Tensions are growing within the NATO alliance. And we have to take seriously the concerns of the Eastern European countries about Russia.
“So, the Europeans increasingly have to take care of their own security.”
The politician also defended the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy, which she said allowed EU member states to “pool military capabilities”.
However, she added: “But it is also about a European strategy on cybersecurity, for example.
“We are not equipped for this, but that is the task of security policy in the 21st century.”
Ms Baerbock was elected co-leader of the Greens parliamentary alliance in 2018 alongside Robert Habeck.
Since then, she has been credited with helping keep the environmentalist party popular among a significant portion of the German public.
Her main rivals at Sunday’s Bundestag election are Armin Laschet from Ms Merkel’s CDU party and Germany’s current Vice-Chancellor Olaf Scholz of the Social Democratic Party (SPD).
Mr Scholz has signalled his willingness for his centre-left SPD to enter into a parliamentary coalition with the Greens.
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The far-left Die Linke – The Left – is also positioning itself as a potential partner for a three-way coalition with the two parties.
However, the SDP may find it difficult to form a government with Die Linke, given its plans to scrap NATO.
The party wants to replace the alliance with a new collective security bloc involving Russia.
It also calls for the end of all foreign deployments of Germany’s military, the Bundeswehr.
The party has also demanded the end of all arms exports and the removal of US nuclear weapons from German soil.
Die Linke’s president, Gregor Gysi, has admitted that its anti-nuclear stance could prove too much for the SPD and Greens to agree to a coalition.
On Monday he was quoted by Politico as saying in an interview: “If the SPD and the Greens absolutely want nuclear weapons in Germany, there will be no coalition with us.”
However, he stressed that the policy would not be brought in “tomorrow” and equally described Die Linke’s NATO plans as a “vision”.
He added: “We have to withdraw soldiers, but the timeframe of withdrawal is up for discussion.”
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