PEACE campaigners formed a human chain around Germany’s Bundestag yesterday opposing plans to increase the military budget.
Activists carried placards declaring “No Killer Drones,” “Achieve Peace without Weapons” and “No New Cold War,” pointing to the United States’s attempt to dragoon European states into its attacks on the Chinese economy.
German Trade Union Confederation president Reiner Hoffman told the demo Germany should walk away from the Nato commitment to spend 2 per cent of GDP on the military.
“We need to break the armaments spiral,” he said. “Armed conflicts don’t solve any problems.”
The left-wing Die Linke backed the demo and is opposing proposed increases in arms spending that include diverting €3.2 billion (£2.9bn) of coronavirus relief funds to the armed forces which are backed by Angela Merkel’s coalition government (the Christian Democrats, their Bavarian wing the Christian Social Union, and the Social Democrats), as well as by the Greens.
Germany has been embroiled in a US row over the deployment of US troops in the country, with President Donald Trump attempting to reduce the number from its current 36,000, a move the German government opposes.
Last week, the US Congress passed a National Defence Authorisation Act which among other provisions said the number of US troops in Germany should not fall below 34,500. Mr Trump has threatened to veto the Act, though for unrelated reasons (he objects to plans to rename military bases currently named after Confederate leaders).
Journalist Joerg Kronauer warned in the Junge Welt newspaper that a new Nato report suggested the alliance would involve Germany in military co-operation with the “quad” — the US, Australia, India and Japan — in encircling China.