When everything goes wrong


Murphy’s law says: “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” The German government gave proof last week of this adage.

The so-called traffic-light coalition headed by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz did not miss an opportunity to become ridiculous in its behavior concerning the war in Ukraine. Mr. Scholz has now managed this in the political and diplomatic fields, as well as in leading the air force and in the grey areas of secrecy and espionage.

When President Emmanuel Macron of France wondered aloud about the possibility of sending soldiers to Ukraine, Mr. Scholz immediately criticized the idea and pledged to never permit such a step. In doing so, he offended the country’s most important partner in the European Union, while ignoring the fact that sending troops abroad is not within the remit of the federal chancellor but solely that of the Bundestag, Germany’s parliament.

Spurning allies

Ukraine badly needs German Taurus cruise missiles for its defense against Russia. These could attack and destroy Russian supply lines within a radius of 500 kilometers, and can be programmed to precisely hit the right targets. After a painful decision-making process, waffling between raising expectations and dashing them, Mr. Scholz declared that the missiles would not be made available to Ukraine.

His argument – that using them would require the German military to operate directly in Ukraine, allowing Russia to consider itself officially at war with Germany – appears to be wrong. Experts say that Ukrainian troops could easily be trained to work with the weapons themselves. This was discussed both in the German parliament, which heavily criticized the chancellor’s decision, and in the United Kingdom. London today considers Germany to be unreliable, both in politics and in protecting military secrets, as will be seen below.


The recent blunders might discredit Germany as an ally, a partner and an adversary for some time.


Mr. Scholz has lately upset not only Ukraine and the German opposition but also two critical allies, Britain and France. However, the government’s blunders did not stop there; it seems that the concept of espionage is not fully understood in the country.

Intelligence blunders

The English author Jeffrey Archer wrote a wonderful spy novel, “The Eleventh Commandment.” Its title refers to the cardinal rule that “thou shall not get caught.”

Intelligence, including espionage, is a necessary preventive tool in security policy and strategy. Every state pursues it, although in most cases it is illegal in the country where it is carried out. Espionage is not only directed toward foes; it is also typical to apply it to friends and allies, to verify their intentions. In these cases, especially, the 11th commandment applies.

When Wikileaks revealed in 2013 that U.S. intelligence had tapped Chancellor Angela Merkel’s telephone, the German leader made a huge fuss. This was both naive and hypocritical: German intelligence, which is directly overseen by the chancellor, had itself tapped Austria’s president, chancellor and the ministries of foreign affairs and the interior, as a leak later disclosed.

It seems, strangely, that the plain fact of espionage happening in all directions is often ignored. This neglect apparently trickles down from government to administration and even to the military.

This has been fatally shown in the context of the Taurus cruise missile debate. Russian intelligence managed to tap a secret meeting of the German air force, which included its commander. One participant had even used his cell phone from a hotel room in Singapore. The officials were openly discussing the deployment of Taurus missiles in Ukraine, as well as the prospect of how to destroy the key bridge from Russia to the Crimean Peninsula. It apparently did not cross their minds that the conversation could be intercepted – an error approaching criminal negligence.

The Kremlin was not even embarrassed to have flouted the 11th commandment. Rather, they published it the next day – surely with a big grin and a helping of schadenfreude – on the RT outlet.

In his usual noncommittal way, Chancellor Scholz declared that the leak would be investigated. He appears to be more shocked about the Russians committing such an “immoral” act than about his own negligence.

The government of Mr. Scholz has already provided sufficient proof of a lack of economic competence and a poor foreign policy strategy. But these unacceptable diplomatic and security blunders confirm the view that this government is a disaster. They might discredit Germany as an ally, a partner and an adversary for some time. Unfortunately, it comes at a very critical time.

This could, however, prove a lesson for German voters – as well as opposition parties – to find out what is really necessary for the long-term good of the country. It may lead to a turning point for German politics: to abandon ideological and socialist doctrines and return to realism and pragmatism.



This comment was originally published here: https://www.gisreportsonline.com/r/when-everything-goes-wrong/

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