Over recent days, as NATO celebrates its 70th anniversary, Germany has taken flak from US President Donald Trump and his Vice President Mike Pence for missing a 2 percent spending target of gross domestic product (GDP) on defence. However, in Germany, not only the increase of spending but the alliance’s very existence is seen critically.
Member of the German Parliament, the Bundestag, Alexander Neu, representing the left-wing party Die Linke, has lambasted NATO as an outdated organisation during a summit, celebrating the alliance’s 70th anniversary.
According to Neu, imperialist competitiveness and the fear of losing its supremacy economically and ideologically are driving NATO towards more confrontation, and this pattern “must finally be broken”. He stated that Die Linke is calling for Germany’s withdrawal from NATO’s military structures and, then, the dissolution of NATO.
In his point of view, it should be replaced by a collective security system that includes Russia, with disarmament as a central goal, while the freed up funds should be used to curb climate change and its consequences.
The lawmaker wrote in an article for the independent portal Die Freiheitsliebe that the alliance poses a significant security risk to the world, using its military force solely to safeguard its own imperial interests, systematically breaks existing law and discredits the UN.
The politician insists that NATO’s anniversary is no reason for celebration, but rather an occasion to rethink “before it is too late”. He points out that NATO member states account for more than half of the world’s military spending with $1 trillion by 2018.
According to Neu, the planned rise of funding to 2% of the country’s GDP would mean spending more than 80 billion euros a year on the armed forces for Germany alone, which is completely “disproportionate and excessively exaggerated” in comparison to Russia and China’s budgets.
“Especially over the last 20 years, NATO has shown its true face, starting with the war of aggression against Yugoslavia in violation of international law or the almost equally long-lasting war in Afghanistan and numerous other foreign missions that claimed countless victims. It is always solely about maintaining and securing resources”, he stated.
This call to withdraw and criticism against NATO echoed earlier statements by US President Donald Trump, who criticised the alliance before he became president and even declared NATO to be “obsolete” at one point.
Although he later revised that statement, saying he no longer believed that to be the case during NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg’s visit back in 2017, he is still persistent in criticizing other member states, especially Germany, for missing the 2% guideline and insisting that they should pay even more. Before the summit celebrating the alliance’s 70th anniversary began in Washington, he took aim at Berlin once again saying it is not doing enough, as the German government now plans to spend 1.5% by 2024, which is lower than the 2% target.