German politics are way more screwed up than ours right now. And that is saying something.
Germany held elections on September 24th of last year. They still don’t have a government. The SPD (center-left party) is voting by mail to decide if they should join another “grand coalition” with Angel Merkel’s CDU/CSU party block in forming a government. The 400,000 some odd members are not too happy since the leadership said they wouldn’t join a coalition – and then they did. The leadership is meanwhile arguing about whether they need to listen to people. Of course this is why the SPD has had its worst election result in decades. SPD ‘has no plan’ if members reject Merkel coalition deal.
If there is no coalition, then there will either be a minority government (which won’t outlast the first no-confidence vote, and people are not confident), or there will be new elections. There is probably a betting pool and odds somewhere.
To show the nature of the change, consider that CDU and SPD had support from 90% of the population in 1970s. That is down to about 49 percent, and falling. That is like the Democrats and Republicans losing half the House and Senate to the Greens and Libertarians. And others.
On the subject of NATO, Germany still can’t get its act together. Germany grand coalition clash: CDU and SPD in furious NATO row
Germany signed a non-agreement to spend 2 percent of their GDP on the military. Currently they are spending about 1.2 percent. The ink wasn’t dry on the 2 percent document before they started walking it back.
Mr Roettgen, conservative head of the foreign affairs committee in parliament, told Reuters in an interview that Germany could and should increase military spending to around 1.4 percent or 1.5 percent of economic output by the end of the next four-year legislative period, up from around 1.2 percent now.
And they need to do something, because the Bundeswehr (and perhaps particularly the Deutsche Marine) is in a bad way. Lacking in materiel and manpower, the German Military isn’t quite falling apart, but they aren’t exactly in fighting trim, either. And for 60 years – or more – they’ve been able to ignore military spending because the USA was always ready to carry the freight. (And we probably still are, but as the largest economy in Europe, a lot of people think they should be doing more to pay-their-own way and not be a freeloader.)