Over this period, the rising tension between the United States and Russia, the withdrawal of U.S. from Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and Brexit, largely affected the world. These events influenced von der Leyen to devise the military and security strategies of Germany based on the new changes in international power balance and focus on improving Germany’s national defense by trying to develop the power of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and establishing new air and space-based forces.
Von der Leyen tried to change the national and international defense system of the country to the point that she even offered making changes in the constitution.
Von der Leyen altered Germany’s military and security strategies based on the new changes in the world and especially in the Middle East; Germany started playing a more active role in protecting its security and addressing international crises. In doing so, she tried to use German army as a backup for running the foreign policy and opened a new chapter of political militarism in German’s history after World War II.
To reach her goals, von der Leyen even suggested spying as an influential method for pre-emptive military actions and offered €200 billion for modernizing German military facilities.
In 2016, she presented the Parliament with a plan to invest €130 billion to upgrade the military forces by 2030.
Over her time, she tried to revive German army once again after the World War II. For achieving this, some sources claims, she went as far as acquiring nuclear weapons for her country.
German financial institutions denied claims of their $10 billion investment in nuclear infrastructures, but on March 6, 2017 German weekly magazine, Der Spiegel revealed that some German banks had made huge investments on producing nuclear weapons.
Von der Leyen also showed enormous support for NATO and made major shifts in its structure even though Donald Trump believed that NATO was an obsolete treaty. Over NATO’s annual meeting in 2017, the member states agreed that NATO opens its main ruling base in Germany.
The base is supposed to coordinate NATO forces in Europe. By this agreement, U.S. nuclear weapons will be kept in Germany and will be modernized over the new few years.
Over Von der Leyen’s administration, German army has assumed many important missions, including air protection of Baltic States, investigative operations in Syria and Iraq, military presence in Afghanistan as well as defense and supervision missions in the Mediterranean Sea and Africa.
Von der Leyen also received complete support from German Parliament who agreed to her plans, including operations against ISIS, areal and navy missions, technical help and investigative missions in the Mediterranean Sea. Parliament even agreed that German Army enhance its Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) from Syria and Iraq to the Persian Gulf region as well.
Over the last few years, the German air force has run more than 1500 investigative flights over Syria. The German tanker aircrafts have run about 800 sorties to refuel over 4000 fighters that belonged to western coalitions.
Von der Leyen also opened a military base in Azraq in Jordan where AWACS and Panavia Tornado aircrafts are located. In exchange for having military bases in Jordan, Germany paid about €1 billion to Jordan government under the name of funds for developments.
Over the last four years that von der Leyen was the defense minister, Germany became one of the biggest exporters of military equipment, sending weapons worth billions of dollars to Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and United Arab Emirates (UAE).
By Von der Leyen’s strategies, fighting terrorism and ISIS became a very serious matter to Germany and the country started a military coalition with European allies and the U.S., this coalition has been the most comprehensive and concentrated joint operation that Germany has ever launched after the World War II.
Over von der Leyen administration, Germany used fighting terrorism to justify its presence in the Middle East and the region was greatly affected by Germany’s security and geostrategic paradigms.
It seems that German officials are now adopting their policies toward Middle East solely based on “countering security threats” and “fighting terrorism”; rather than looking at the region as a real community with its own geo-economic parameters.
With becoming the president of European Commission, von der Leyen gains some great advantages; her military background will enhance Germany’s economic power in the European Commission and make it harder for London to leave the European Union.
Obviously, with von der Leyen as the president of the European Commission, Britain has only three options, the next Prime Minister may continue the polices of Theresa May and will be forced into resignation that leads into more frustration for Britain; second, it can leave the European Union without an agreement that is a lose-lose situation; third it can run a new referendum. In any of these three scenarios, London will have a very little chance of success if Germany rules over the European Commission. In conclusion, if von der Leyen becomes the president of European Commission, Britain will have to relive the nightmare of World War II.
- source : Tehrantimes