Manuel Ochsenreiter, editor in chief of ZUERST magazine told Sputnik that many in Germany’s political and media establishment have been calling for an increase in military spending for the German army, the Bundeswehr, in an apparent shift in the national psyche.
Mr. Ochsenreiter says that this concerning trend is being driven by the mainstream media, who are singling out Russia as being a threat to Europe’s safety.
He says the development in supporting increased German participation in NATO is quite unique for Germany, particularly given the previous lack of political support for military rearmament, and the country’s generally pacifist mentality, which has seen the Bundeswehr consistently reduced in capabilities since the end of the Cold War.
"This is quite an interesting, but also disgusting development in our media," he said.
"When we check the developments and when we see how the media and mainstream politics are handling the crisis with Russia, I think that it’s very likely that huge parts of the political establishment really see Russia as a military threat.
"Meanwhile, we see a lot of fear mongering and a lot of aggressive announcements towards Russia coming from the German mainstream politics and mainstream media."
'Hate Mongering’ and German Contradiction
Mr. Ochsenreiter believes this is quite a contradiction for a society that prides itself on having a very liberal mentality.
"The main source of this fear mongering in Germany is the liberal mainstream media. This is mainstream media who say they are against racism, for multiculturalism and liberal values, but when it comes to Russia, there is a very, very clear racist sentiment."
He also pointed out the change in political rhetoric, which has predominately been against lobbying for more funds to boost the German Army’s resources.
Mr. Ochsenreiter told Sputnik that this stemmed from a longstanding national mentality that believed Germany didn’t need a substantial army in Europe due to good relations across the continent.
"With the development that we have, with the hate mongering against Russia and the imagination of the so-called Russian threat, those forces, which have always gone against the army are now pro-army, because they are much more anti-Russian.
"Now all of a sudden you listen to politicians of the Green party, politicians who call themselves pacifists, saying that we have to re-arm the Bundeswehr and that we have this Russian threat. We have all of this fear mongering against Russia and all of a sudden we have the enemies of the army becoming the biggest friends of the army."
Calls to Increase Military Spending
This comes after German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen called for a mothballed tank battalion to be re-activated amid the perceived threat posed by Russia.
In an interview published by the German army, von der Leyen said that Germany must consider increasing the 'breadth' and 'depth' of its military capabilities in the wake of recent events in Europe.
"The security situation has changed noticeably with the crises of 2014," she said, in reference to the conflict in Ukraine between Kiev government forces and groups of eastern Ukrainian separatist movements.
"We have to give new and honest answers to the question of what we must really be able to do and what the army needs and what it doesn't."
The West has accused Russia of supplying anti-Kiev groups based in the Donbas regions of Donetsk and Luhansk with military resources, however Moscow has consistently denied the allegations.
The calls for Germany to increase the Bundeswehr’s resources also coincide with demands from NATO member states to increase the capabilities of their armed forces.
Since 2010, there have been ongoing attempts at reducing the German army’s capabilities, with the abolishment of military conscriptions and a decrease in Bundeswehr personnel from 250,000 to 180,000.