In the “Maybrit Illner” round, the guests talked about all sorts of things: Ukraine’s war targets, German nuclear power plants and Joe Biden. However, it was less about the cohesion of NATO and the EU.
At the NATO summit in Madrid that just ended, the focus was clearly on the demand for unity and joint action. According to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, the world has become more dangerous. Maybrit Illner included the summit as a program topic and wanted to know: “Crisis summit against Putin – how long can the West hold out?”
Guests at “Maybrit Illner” were:
More and better, more modern weapons for Ukraine
In an interview recorded that afternoon with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, he explained that NATO’s task in the “hot war” was to support Ukraine and prevent an escalation. And the support must be of an ongoing and enduring nature, we will “have to do more,” said Stoltenberg. How exactly these achievements look like should be clear by now: More weapons, more equipment, better, more modern weapons, heavier guns. It must and will be delivered faster and for Stoltenberg the message of this summit was that the decision was made together to “do more” in every respect.
It is “probable” that the war will end at the negotiating table and until then Ukraine must be enabled to achieve the best possible negotiating position. And that is only possible with sufficient arms deliveries. In fact, such statements are of course important and correct, and yet political talk shows often lack a classification for those who are not military experts. Two experts were guests at Maybrit Illner, who also prudently took on this role. At the same time, however, it is hard to bear on some days when moderators repeatedly conjure up the next catastrophe, draw attention to the dangers of war and the effects on one’s own life and continue to probe how much worse it could be.
“Germany leads in an exemplary manner”
The NATO Secretary General explicitly praised Germany’s role in NATO. “Germany is leading in an exemplary manner,” he said, pointing out that the allies recognize what Germany has achieved in the past week. “If the world becomes more dangerous, we have to invest in our security,” said Stoltenberg, once again emphasizing his satisfaction with the outcome of the NATO summit.
Strange rush of euphoria
Former NATO chief strategist Stefanie Babst found this “euphoria intoxication” disconcerting. Everyone is “very enthusiastic about their own decisions,” but the key questions, such as how Putin can be pushed back from Ukraine, remained unanswered. In addition to this urgent question, Nicole Deitelhoff was concerned that although NATO has not yet become a party to the war, the “balancing act” is becoming increasingly difficult. There are no NATO troops in Ukraine, but there are NATO equipment. And with that, Germany would also be getting ever closer to this war.
There are no clear goals
What the director of the Hessian Foundation for Peace and Conflict Research was missing, however, was the clear common goal of NATO and the EU with regard to this war. Like all guests, she would personally wish that Ukraine would once again act with complete sovereignty and that the Russian military would no longer set foot on Ukrainian soil. However, it is more realistic to negotiate the limits of February 23rd. It should also be possible to negotiate sub-goals. According to Deitelhoff, it is completely “nonsensical” to lift sanctions only when maximum targets are reached. Instead, milestones should be formulated, for which parts of the sanctions will be lifted in order to “be able to enter into a dialogue again”.
How many guns does Russia have?
Claus Kleber also pointed out that it was a “general vagary about the war aims”. Calling for Russia to fail is also difficult given the fact that no one knows how Russia’s weapons are doing. Nicole Deitelhoff dared to predict that Russia could have massive supply problems in four to six weeks. However, Stefanie Babst pointed out that it is currently difficult to supply Ukraine with weapons and equipment because the reconnaissance on the Russian side is working so well that it is clear what will be delivered. These deliveries would have been even easier a few weeks ago, which is why it makes sense for NATO to work out a military concept in close cooperation with Ukraine.
NATO resolutions, a “sporting endeavor”
The former NATO chief strategist Stefanie Babst explained very impressively why the measures that have now been decided, especially in terms of the operational readiness of 300,000 soldiers, are a “sporting undertaking”. Even if these forces from all NATO countries come together, it is an enormous challenge to get this up and running in the next few years. The ammunition depots, which were well stocked and numerous during the Cold War, no longer exist either. One had “slipped into the catastrophe with one’s eyes open” and must now act as quickly as possible. That requires a strong Germany and a strong NATO, which can do more than just make decisions. A start has been made after this summit.