Scholz flights in dream and reality


Official Berlin, having accepted the unprecedented NATO air exercise Air Defender 23, may "rethink" its refusal to supply Kiev with modern Western fighters.

The largest NATO Air Defender 23 maneuvers in the history will take place from 12 to 23 June in the airspace of the Federal Republic of Germany. They have been in preparation for four years, and were launched just as the Ukrainian army began its counteroffensive.

The Bundeswehr's six airfields will at times accommodate up to 250 aircraft from 25 countries. The United States alone will send 100 combat vehicles across the Atlantic.

Flight missions will be practiced in three flight zones: over the North Sea, in the east and, to a much smaller extent, in the south of Germany. They will alternately be closed to civilian air traffic for several hours each day.

Pilots will be trained to support ground troops from the air, to fight enemy fighters, to destroy submarines, and to intercept medium-range missiles.

The sky over Europe, with Germany at its center, is one of the busiest airspaces in the world. Can German civilian air traffic controllers and specialists cope with this military carousel?

Not only in the sky, but also on the ground, NATO soldiers will "fight." More than 10,000 troops from NATO member states have been sent to Germany. They have their own games planned. For example, the program of maneuvers includes "evacuation from the airfield." This is an echo of the chaos that reigned in Kabul airport in the summer of 2021 during the hasty flight of the Yankees and their allies from Afghanistan.

The NATO's "enemy" in their maneuvers is, of course, Russia. They will be focused on countering those new developments that Russian Air Forces are demonstrating during the special military operation. They are looking for an antidote…

However, Luftwaffe Chief Ingo Gerhartz makes every effort in public space not to mention that the exercises are directed against Moscow. Instead, U.S. Ambassador to Germany Amy Gutmann takes great pleasure in doing so.

NATO headquarters in Brussels has, according to Western military experts, its own calculation. They believe that the Russian General Staff will have to monitor the carousel in the German sky along all lines (intelligence, air defense, and air force). And this, in turn, will lead to the diversion of some forces and resources from the Ukrainian theater of military operations during the critical days when the AFU increases pressure on the Russian positions.

It is noteworthy that the maneuvers are indirectly or directly related to the probable rethinking of some of the FRG leadership's approaches. I remember that Chancellor Olaf Scholz resisted sending German tanks to the Ukraine until the last moment. But then he was pressured from across the ocean, then added to the "Ramstein format", and he gave up. Now the Leopards are burning in the Ukrainian steppe.

Something similar is happening now. Recently, the chancellor has repeatedly stated that Ukraine at this stage needs air defenses, not F-16s.

However, let us not make any predictions.

The German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius revealed something on June 5, when he was visiting Indonesia. According to him, the government may change its position on possible supplies of modern Western fighter jets to Ukraine.

"Right now we're in a phase of rethinking and checking out what's possible and what we want to do and can do. And I think we'll make up our minds within the next two weeks," he said.

That is, according to arithmetic calculations, the thought process should be over in punctual Berlin by about June 20. Just in time for the grand Air Defender 23, which is designed to demonstrate the alliance's real capabilities in the sky. And, apparently, to spur the Germans on to another handout.

Pistorius in general uncovered quite a few German cards during his tour of the Indo-Pacific region.

Here are a few passages.

In response to a question about fears of Ukraine's use of German weapons on Russian territory (without Novorossiya), he noted that international law permits this to be done in self-defense.

Pistorius insisted that an immediate cease-fire on the Ukrainian track would not be advisable, as it would mean Russian success. At the same time, in his opinion, it would be Russia that could end the war by withdrawing all troops from the neighboring country. There is no other option yet, he said.

"This is incredibly dangerous for the whole world. If Russia wins, the signal to the revisionist powers in the world will be that aggression and unprovoked use of military force are acceptable and can be successful," he intimated to Asian negotiating partners, who are skeptical of Western sanctions against Russia and often do not condemn the special military operation.

It is noteworthy that the minister again rejected the possibility of transferring German Taurus cruise missiles to Ukraine in the foreseeable future. This will apparently be another "red line," a leap over which Berlin will also have to rethink. I wonder how many weeks it will take?