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‘Third World War Possible’

General (Retired) Erich Vad, the former National Security Adviser (NSA) of Germany, has warned against the continuation of supplying weapons to Ukraine in the absence of diplomacy.

Talking to German feminist magazine EMMA in mid-January 2023, General (Retired) Vad said that sending more battle tanks to Ukraine would only lead to a higher death toll on both sides, including the civilians. He also said that the move would not help Kiev take control of territories in Donbass and Crimea. According to the former NSA, the war would be a blood mill, like Verdun during the First World War. He believes that there is no solution on the battlefield, as (Mike Milley, the US Chief of Staff, has also stated) the crisis should be resolved only through diplomacy. General (Retired) Vad is of the opinion that Washington DC and Moscow should hold direct talks; as it (the Ukraine War) is basically a Proxy War between the US and Russia.

When asked what he would have suggested Chancellor Olaf Scholz had he been his NSA, General (Retired) Vad, who had served as the NSA of former Chancellor Angela Merkel from 2006 to 2013, replied that he would have urged the Chancellor to convince the US to hold talks with Russia. “If the war drags on, without a diplomatic effort emerging, if – as some believe was possible – Russia’s positions became untenable under the buildup of Western weapons, the danger of sliding into a nuclear strike, a Third World War, would become imminent,” warned General (Retired) Vad. As far as the Greens are concerned, he stressed that he was shocked by the fact that a single party successfully pulled entire Germany into a war.

EMMA is published by Alice Schwarzer, herself an initiator of an Open Letter for Diplomacy in the spring of 2022. The letter was signed by more than 500,000 Germans, but was discarded by Chancellor Scholz. Schwarzer is also in the CCD black list.

Meanwhile, Germany, after weeks of hesitation, announced on January 26 that it would send Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine. Earlier, Berlin decided not to supply Leopard to Ukraine, despite NATO’s request in this regard. A section of Defence and Diplomatic observers opined that Berlin rejected the US’ request, as the Government of Chancellor Scholz was not ready to irk the Kremlin. Reuters reported that the Social Democrat Party of Chancellor Scholz was traditionally skeptical of military involvements and wary of sudden moves that could prompt Russia to escalate attacks. It may be noted that Germany is heavily dependent on Russian gas even in a war situation. However, the Scholz Administration has changed its decision, after considering the scenario in Ukraine. France is the first country to welcome the decision of Germany (as well as Spain) to send Leopards to the war-ravaged nation.

A couple of weeks ago, the Joe Biden Administration in Washington DC announced that it would soon deliver Stryker, an eight-wheeled armoured fighting vehicle, to Kiev. NATO has already deployed large numbers of Leopards across Europe. Defence experts believe that Leopards would have been handy for the Ukrainian Forces to counter-attack the Russian T-90 tanks. Leopards, the 60-tonne battle tanks developed by German weapons manufacturer Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW), are armed with a 120mm smoothbore cannon. They can maintain a speed of up to 70km per hour, with a striking range of 500km. They also provide “all-round protection” for troops from threats, such as mines, anti-tank fire and Improvised Explosive Devices (IED). The L37A2 anti-aircraft automatic cannon of Leopards could effectively deal with Russian drone attacks.

On January 19, 2023, the Pentagon released its latest aid package for Ukraine valued at USD 2.5 billion. The package has more armoured vehicles, including Stryker, additional air defence missiles and thousands of rounds of artillery. Stryker is used to safely send troops to the battlefields, avoiding opponent shelling and bombing. Stryker is also capable of launching attacks on the enemy. In a rare first, the US has decided to send this armoured vehicle to Ukraine. It is believed that the Russian Forces would face a tough challenge in eastern battlefields due to this decision of the Biden Administration.

Soon after Germany made the announcement regarding Leopards, the Kremlin stated that the Russian Forces would eventually destroy Leopards and Strykers on the battlefield. Dmitry Sergeyevich Peskov, a Russian diplomat and the Press Secretary for President Vladimir Putin, described German and US intentions with the tanks as a “rather disastrous plan”, stressing: “I am convinced that many specialists understand the absurdity of this idea. Simply because of technological aspects, this is a rather disastrous plan. The main thing is, this is a completely obvious overestimation of the potential (the supply of tanks) would add to the armed forces of Ukraine. It is yet another fallacy, a rather profound one.” The senior Kremlin official added: “These tanks will burn down just like all the other ones…. Except they cost a lot, and this will fall on the shoulders of European taxpayers.” According to Peskov, Berlin’s move will have long-term implications on ties between Germany and Russia.

Moscow has also warned Berlin of historical responsibility, with the Russian Embassy in Germany saying that Berlin (with this decision) abandoned its “historical responsibility to Russia” arising from Nazi crimes in the Second World War. In a statement, the Embassy mentioned that the delivery of German tanks would certainly escalate the conflict to a new level and lead to “permanent escalation”.

This article has been co-written by Christopher Lewis of Schiller Institute, Frankfurt, Germany and Koushik Das. The Schiller Institute is a Germany-based political and economic think tank founded by Helga Zepp-LaRouche, with stated members in 50 countries.

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