Un-German behaviour

The Americans have that derogatory word "un-American" to describe that something done by certain Americans is (supposedly) very untypical and unworthy. The literal equivalent "undeutsch" is not nearly comparable, so I stay in English and call the behaviour that I'm going to call out "un-German".

There's political behaviour in the topic of German defence policy that's so strongly un-German that it deserves to be called out.

You may now think of the far right's and far left's eerie Putin and Russia fandom, but that's not what I'm going after this time. It's true that our far right appears to be even more "vaterlandslos" (un patriotic, literally 'without fahterland', a derogatory term usually used against socialists in Germany) than the far left, despite their opposite self-image, but that may be covered another time in its full ugliness.

The REALLY un-German behaviour violates something very central to the German way of life.

- - - - -

There's a comical view / caricature of Germans as people who are zealous about "wörk! wörk! wörk!", and this could not be farther from the truth. We are passionately lazy, well almost all of us. Very few of us are pitiful workaholics indeed. The ordinary German is very lazy. This laziness drove us to value efficiency very, very highly. We despise wasting time, we despise wasting work, we despise wasting materials. We despise that someone wastes our time by being late to meet us. Simply put, we despise the waste of resources. The wasteful and embarrassing large-scale infrastructure projects of "Stuttgart 21" and "BER" were incredibly shameful and un-German, and accordingly received much hate and ridicule.

Now have a look at people with (often even non-professional) interest in defence policy: The dominant opinion is that we need to spend more on the Bundeswehr. Supposedly, we underfunded it and need more, more, more. These people appear to seek an emotional satisfaction from feeling that the national armed forces are powerful, regardless of whether there's excess power and thus excess spending (waste of resources).

The current military spending of about € 50 billion per year is supposedly not enough, even though Ukraine seems undefeatable to Russia (the only significant threat to NATO in Europe) after never spending even only € 10 billion on an annual military budget and receiving material assistance much smaller than € 50 billion.

An ordinary German should inevitably come to the conclusion that we should spend LESS, not more, after having a close look at the issue. Hardly anyone does look closely, and those who do seem to be thoroughly un-German and irrational because of a pro-military emotional bias.

The vested interests of armed bureaucracy (especially the professional officer corps, which I simply like to blame for many ailments) and arms industry are pushing for more spending, and that's absolutely no-brainer ordinary and to be expected. More military spending isn't a waste of resources to them; they are obvious net beneficiaries of increased military spending.

The un-Germanness of others who comment on defence policy and of our politicians on the other hand is extremely repugnant. They deserve no better than the shamed managers of Stuttgart 21 and BER.





  1. The whole German military is very un-German in its bad planning, insufficient communication, and waste of resources that have put it into a pitiful state.

  2. This ignores the elephant in the room, namely that the Ukraine was 99% armed by the collective sacrifices of the citizens of the Soviet Union for 45 years, to the tune of 3 field armies and an enormous amount of supply depots as THE staging area of Soviet war planning. Compared to this legacy the sum total of Western military equipment aid is pitiful. The true significance of Western "support" is political, financial, ISR as well as of course direct control over the pitiful puppet in Kiev. Since no such supply of weapons exists in the West and what was in Ukraine as of 24.02.2022 has largely been exhausted, NATO is faced with the problem that it is very much naked. Of course merely pouring money into "defense spending" in a panic won't work and is designed to corruptly make huge profits - but that's A) intended profiteering (and German big business has a colourful history of just such corruption) and B) because the morons in charge don't understand that military production is not an elastic function of inputs in the short term - for which there is a cure only in the sense that decline is a cure for decline.

    In short, waste and corruption, particularly in mil-ind affairs, is as German as it gets and fear of being undersupplied and unprepared is truer now than ever (regardless of how much one wants to believe NATO propaganda about RF mil incompetence).

    1. To others: Please ignore his "puppet" nonsense.

    2. To others: Please ignore the "puppet" nonsense.

  3. Military combat power is simply proportional to the amount of money spent on the military.

    Conversely, one has to conclude from this that the extreme inefficiency of the Bundeswehr means that the significantly larger sum that is spent on the Bundeswehr cannot simply be equated with the sum that other countries spend on their military.

    Let's assume (purely theoretically; numbers are simply taken freely from the space; it's just a matter of the principle itself) that the Ukrainians' performance per monetary unit is 1, and the German performance per monetary unit is 0.1, then the Bundeswehr would need 100 billion per year to achieve the same performance as the Ukrainians.

    So just looking at the funds is completely insufficient, you have to put the funds in relation to real performance instead.

    The primary problem of the Bundeswehr is therefore in no way the funds, but solely the efficiency.

    Spending less money is therefore just as pointless as spending more money, instead you should focus solely on increasing efficiency.

    Because if you follow the ideas of Last Dingo and invest less money in the equally inefficient and systemically corrupt Bundeswehr, you can also dissolve it completely, because even with less money it will not be of any use for anything.

    1. I have offered plenty opportunities for better efficiency, amongst them calling for more arty munitions many years ago already, opposing gold-plated Boxer & Puma, proposing disbanding the useless navy, proposing radical reduction of army aviation and medical branch.

      Blog texts have to be concise, so they cannot cover everything at once.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. i generally agree with this point, but i think there are two weaknesses to the argument in the way you present it.
    1. Comparing german and ukrainian military budgets is completely meaningless if you dont factor in conscription as a non-monetary cost. If the average person works for 40 years, then 1 year of forced military service is equivalent to 1/40 of the countries economy being spend on the military. Even more because ppl generally consider a year of conscription much worse then one year of freedom. Notice that this cost is proportional to the countries GDP, so not easier to afford for richer countries.
    2. If Russia was a rational actor, a military that could prevent a russian victory would be enough for deterrence. The current war however shows that the Kremlin makes some very bad, uninformed decisions. That mean if we want to prevent bucha happening in riga or kaunas, nato must not only be strong enough to prevent a russian victory but to actually eject all russian military presence from all nato territory (optimally fast enough to prevent nuclear escalation). That is a far harder task.

    1. 1) The 50 vs. 10 billion point is not comprehensive evidence, but it's a pointer. NATO spends more than a trillion € per year on "defence". So anybody who gets curious and follows the pointer in good faith will agree with my point.

      2) It was a Cold War tragedy that the West thought the post-Stalin central comittee was intent on attacking the free world. They actually feared a capitalist world attack, counterrevolution from outside.
      Likewise, Russian kleptocrats do not intend to attack the West, even not Estonia. They fear Western erosion of their position. They hate NATO accepting new members because all of those are now safe from Russian subjugation intents.
      Thus I disagree with your point #2; I think deterrence is much easier than you appear to communicate.