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What in the World?

Germany pays high price for supporting Ukraine

Oct 14, 2022


Peter Zeihan

Geopolitical Strategist


Germany has been criticized for not supplying more weapons to aid Ukraine’s military, despite leading the EU in total financial support for Ukraine. Specifically, Ukraine has asked Germany for more Western-made tanks and infantry vehicles to aid in its counteroffensive. Straight Arrow News contributor Peter Zeihan argues that even if Germany could supply more weapons, the sacrifices its made are higher than any other nation.

Excerpted from Peter’s Oct. 14 “Zeihan on Geopolitics” newsletter:

I’m frequently asked why the Germans aren’t doing more to support Ukraine. My response is: are you fully aware of how much they’ve already put on the line? 

The industrial heart of Europe has already severed – economically, politically, physically – with its largest foreign energy supplier. Berlin’s economy is unlikely to recover in the short to medium term, and their demography makes a strong case that Germany will never return to the level of economic stability seen during Angela Merkel’s long tenure as chancellor.

With that being said – don’t count out the Germans just yet. Germany has already increased its level of materiel support following a series of Russian missile strikes, including one that hit its visa office in Kyiv. I suspect we’ll see more supplies heading to Ukraine from Germany as Kyiv continues its push to retake territory from Russia this winter.

Hi, everyone, Peter Zion here coming to you from Orlando. Again, I just wanted to take a couple of minutes to talk about what’s going on in Germany, I’ve had a lot of people write in with some less than kind things to say about the Germans, because they’re not providing what is perceived to be the appropriate level of weapons support to the Ukrainians. There’s a strategic reason for that. But I wanted to talk about the economic sacrifice that the Germans are making right now. Now, unlike the United States, which is relatively agnostic about where we get our industrial inputs, the Germans have to have a plan because they don’t have any of that local. So what they do is they cut deals with the Russians to bring natural gas in it large volumes and reasonable prices, that provides not just the basis for their entire electricity sector, but also their entire manufacturing sector, because that of metric that natural gas is processed into petrochemical goods, which are then the basis of manufacturing. So if something happens to the natural gas flows, the entire German manufacturing model fails. Now back on September one, the Russians cut off supplies through the Nord Stream pipeline, excuse me, getting over laryngitis. And told the Germans publicly that until you cease participating in the NATO coalition supporting Ukraine, and until you lift all sanctions, we’re not turning this back on. This was 40% of their supply. And that meant that the Germans had to replace that 40% with marginal suppliers. And so natural gas prices in Germany have gone through the roof to the point that it’s no longer economically viable to generate electricity, or the petrochemicals that undergird the entire economic model. The Russians basically told the Germans, you can be modern and industrialized, and neutral, or you can choose to be Western and lose everything. And the Germans went with Option B. And now that Nordstrom has been blown up, there’s no going back, even if we had a government shift in Germany and Russia today. So we are looking at nothing less than the complete collapse of the German manufacturing model in just the next year or two. So could the Germans have done more with weapons maybe. But the sacrifice that they’ve chosen to make is higher than what anyone who else who is supporting Ukraine has done? Now, even with the bombings that we had a couple of days ago, and key of the German consulate got hit by one of those missiles. And the Germans sat up notice that real quick and I’ve already delivered air defense systems to the Ukrainians. So now that the damage is done economically, and they know exactly what’s in front of them and what’s at stake. I think we’re going to see a lot more of this moving forward. So Germany may very soon be not just the country that is sacrificing the most, but one of the countries that has also donated the most. Okay, that’s it for me. Until next time, bye.

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