Germans go back to sparring over NATO’s 2-percent spending target,

Germany is back at quarrelling over a defense budget equal to 2 percent of gross domestic product, thanks to the new defense minister, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer. […]

While she reiterated the 2-percent spending pledge approved by all NATO members as a German objective, she left open when exactly Berlin would meet it.

Ursula von der Leyen, Kramp-Karrenbauer’s predecessor and now president-elect of the European Commission, pursued a similar strategy, but the emphasis appeared fuzzier during the latter part of her tenure. That is because latest Cabinet spending proposal has defense spending fall to somewhere around 1.3 percent of GDP in the early 2020s. […]

The SPD on Wednesday signaled again that it would not carry the budget increase envisioned by Kramp-Karrenbauer. Rolf Mützenich, a member of the party leadership who sits on the parliamentary defense committee, argued Germany’s posture for security policy should include a greater share of non-military means to counter crises. […]

The comment goes to the heart of a problem that analysts here have decried for some time — that troop requests from the United States for Syria, for example, are so mired in domestic politics that there is little room for larger geopolitical considerations.

When allies ask Germany to contribute forces, “We can’t approve them hastily, nor deny them reflexively,” Kramp-Karrenbauer said. Instead, the requests should be weighed in coordination with allies, resulting in rules of engagement that “make sense militarily,” as required by the coalition, she said.

Mützenich shot down that idea, too. Alliance considerations are ill-suited to judge the merits of sending German troops abroad, he said, “since a racist sits in the White House.” Läs artikel