Following the deployment of the frigate Bayern last year, Germany’s Luftwaffe (Air Force) is now also expanding its operations to the Indo-Pacific.
In recent days, six Eurofighters from Tactical Air Wing 74 in Neuburg an der Donau, four A400Ms from Air Transport Wing 62 in Wunstorf and three A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport from the Eindhoven-based Multi Role Tanker Transport Unit have been deployed “for the first time from Germany to the Indo-Pacific,” according to the Bundeswehr (Armed Forces).
The German squadron arrived in Australia yesterday and will participate in large-scale military exercises in the region over the next few days. These bear a decidedly offensive character and are part of the war preparations of the United States and its allies in the region against China.
The Bundeswehr’s official website says: “During the Pitch Black air combat exercise, the Eurofighters will practice air strikes and defence with international partners in larger formations.” The Eurofighters would be “deployed in air-to-air and air-to-surface roles during this exercise.” The Kakadu multinational naval combat exercise, he said, was about protecting “ships from the air.” In total, the manoeuvres involved “about 250 airmen and women,” he said.
According to the Australian armed forces, these are the largest manoeuvres of their kind. Pitch Black alone would involve “up to 2,500 soldiers and up to 100 aircraft from around the world.” One report highlights that “Germany, Japan and the Republic of Korea are participating fully for the first time.” The Kakadu exercise would also be “the largest to date,” with 19 ships, 34 aircraft and more than 3,000 troops from 25 countries, it said.
According to the German Defence Ministry, the exercise will be followed by “short visits” by the Luftwaffe squadron to “East Asian partners with shared values”—Japan, South Korea, and Singapore—all countries that play a key role in the US-led anti-China alliance in the region. And apparently, the next deployments are already planned. “The Bundeswehr’s stiffened presence will continue in the coming years,” the ministry writes.
The showing off by the Bundeswehr in the Indo-Pacific underscores how aggressively German militarism is behaving again after two lost world wars and the horrific crimes it was responsible for in the 20th century. The present operation was “the largest and most challenging deployment ever seen in the Luftwaffe,” boasted its most senior officer, Luftwaffe Inspector Ingo Gerhartz, before take-off.
The Lufwaffe chief, who recently threatened the use of nuclear weapons against Russia, emphasized the global claims of German militarism. “The Luftwaffe can not only protect NATO’s eastern flank in the Baltic, but also cooperate with friendly nations in the Indo-Pacific. For us, there is no either-or! We are sending a clear signal that the Luftwaffe can be deployed quickly and worldwide, even with multiple missions to be fulfilled in parallel.”
That is unequivocal. Germany is not only taking a leading role in the course of the war against Russia, but now also against China. Taking the Luftwaffe’s provocative posturing in the Indo-Pacific to the extreme, Gerhartz announced that he himself plans to fly a Eurofighter from Australia to Japan. His route passes directly by the South China Sea and Taiwan.
German intervention will further escalate the situation in the region. Since House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan earlier this month, the Indo-Pacific has come to resemble a powder keg, and a direct military confrontation between the United States and China is emerging as an imminent threat.
The Chinese military has indefinitely extended exercises around Taiwan that began immediately following Pelosi’s departure. The US has deployed an aircraft carrier battle group led by the USS Ronald Reagan near the island and plans to send warships through the Taiwan Strait. Another US delegation arrived in Taipei on Sunday. The One China policy, which had been the basis for diplomatic relations between the People’s Republic of China and Washington since 1979, has effectively ended.
Washington’s offensive aims to subjugate the former semi-colony of China and thus secure the supremacy of US imperialism. Although this project would mean a devastating third world war, German imperialism does not want to stand aside when it comes to controlling and dividing up this resource-rich and geostrategically pivotal region. Despite its close economic ties to China, the German ruling class is swinging onto a war course.
Leading government and opposition figures in Germany had already thrown their weight behind Pelosi’s Taiwan trip and called for a more aggressive approach toward China. The tone was set by Green Party Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock. In a foreign policy keynote speech at the New School in New York, she called Beijing a “competitor and systemic rival.” She said it could not be in Germany’s “interest for China to create excessive economic dependencies in its region.”
The media is also beating the war drum. “Germany must prepare for a conflict with China” and “free itself from dependence on the People’s Republic--even if it costs prosperity,” demands Germany’s most-read news weekly Der Spiegel. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung warns, “The open conflict with Russia is currently overshadowing the systemic competition with China. In the long term, however, the confrontation with Beijing is the more difficult task.”
This is not about defending “values” and “democracy” against the Russian and Chinese “aggressors,” as the official propaganda would have us believe, but about tangible imperialist interests. It is the NATO powers—first and foremost the USA and Germany—that have launched murderous wars for raw materials, sales markets, and spheres of influence in the Balkans, the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa over the last 30 years. Now, the imperialist redivision of the world is directly about the subjugation of Moscow and Beijing.
Like the NATO proxy war against Russia, the German military offensive in the Indo-Pacific was systematically planned. At the last NATO summit at the end of June, a new NATO strategy was adopted that explicitly gears up the military alliance toward a military confrontation with nuclear powers Russia and China. Germany’s Foreign Ministry published its so-called “Guidelines on the Indo-Pacific” back in September 2020, in which it declares the Indo-Pacific region “key to shaping the international order in the 21st century.”
The strategy paper then explicitly formulates German imperialism’s claim to leadership in the region: “The Himalayas and the Strait of Malacca may seem far away. But our prosperity and geopolitical influence in the coming decades will be based precisely on how we cooperate with the states of the Indo-Pacific.” As a globally active trading nation, Germany should “not be content with a spectator role” there, including militarily.