In the debate about Germany’s position on Russia’s war against Ukraine, security experts and academics from the Realpolitik camp warn against reducing military support for the country under attack. They are in favor of a qualitative and quantitative expansion of arms deliveries. In doing so, they are reacting to the repeated demands of a group of German intellectuals for a negotiated solution between Moscow and Kyiv. “It would be dangerous to fall into defeatism and believe that peace could be achieved with a hasty ‘diplomatic solution’,” said more than 20 German-speaking security experts.
“Such a policy would signal to Putin that military invasions would be rewarded with land gains, the obliteration of sovereign states and geopolitical expansion of power,” warn the authors of the text first published in the FAZ. Among them are Joachim Krause from the Institute for Security Policy at the University of Kiel, Gustav Gressel from the European Council on Foreign Relations, Carlo Masala from the Bundeswehr University in Munich and former Brigadier General Klaus Wittmann from Berlin.
The text also describes the danger that a reduction in Russian gas deliveries could cause massive damage to the economy and society in Germany and thus also undermine political support for Ukraine. Russia is trying to “get the upper hand in a long-lasting war of attrition,” according to the security experts’ text. And further: “This strategy can only work if Russia succeeds in weakening Western support for Ukraine, for example by triggering a recession – especially in Germany – by shutting down the natural gas supply.”
The West must adapt to the consequences of a possible shortage of natural gas and mitigate the economic and social consequences. “The next two years will be very difficult, and it requires political agreement and concerted action by all relevant social and political forces to help get through the crisis,” the experts judge. Western countries would have to “make themselves completely independent of fossil Russian energy” by decarbonizing their economies in line with the EU’s “Green Deal”, alternative energy sources such as liquid gas and nuclear power and revitalizing large-scale projects such as the solar company “Desertec”.
The Western community of states “currently has no other option than to give Ukraine massive military and economic support”. Militarily, “the firepower and counterattack capability of their armed forces should be strengthened in particular”. It is about using external support “to enable Ukraine to avert a dictated peace by increasing the costs for Moscow and to gain time for the sanctions to take effect”. Otherwise there is a risk of the country being subdued and Russian attacks on other countries. “In particular, the level and quantity of Western arms supplies to Ukraine must be increased,” the authors write.
The appeal declares the calls for negotiations to end the war to be currently illusory. “Unfortunately, as long as Russia wants to enforce the complete submission of Ukraine by force of arms, there is currently no scope for a serious diplomatic solution,” say the security experts. The West has “realistic options” that allow it to limit the resurgence of the menacing Russian military power “and to provide Ukraine with a military position from which it can conclude a ceasefire on acceptable terms”.