January 28, 2023

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Debate on Tank Supply: Klingbeil: “Preventing World War III Is Important”

Discussion of tank distribution
Klingbeil: “Preventing World War III is important”

Germany, along with other Western countries, must stand united behind Ukraine, SPD leader says. In this context, solidarity means not daring to go it alone when it comes to arms distribution. Klingbeil overestimates the war’s potential for expansion.

SPD leader Lars Klingbeil pledged support for Ukraine even after some Russian mobilization. “We will continue to support Ukraine. At the same time, it is clear that World War III must be prevented,” Klingbeil told Germany’s (RND) editorial network. A well-coordinated action by the West is crucial in this situation. And a signal to Putin that unity in the Western alliance is and will remain.

Discussing the supply of other heavy weapons, such as the Panther 2 tank, Klingbeil said: “After the start of the war of aggression against Russia, Germany broke a decades-old taboo: that is, we do not supply weapons to war zones. .” Ukraine’s current successes are largely related to the support of the Western alliance. “The German-supplied Panzerhaubitze 2000 is one of the most successful weapon systems used in Ukraine,” Klingbeil emphasized. It is sticking to what Germany has done since the beginning of this war: “We will continue to coordinate with our partners on a daily basis what the next steps are to help Ukraine.”

Klingbeil also pointed out that Germany is not rushing into the arms delivery issue, but is coordinating with its allies. He continued: “Putin is a war criminal who launched a brutal war of aggression. The partial Russian mobilization shows how much pressure Putin is under. We will not let that stop us.”

Klingbeil also questioned the gas surcharge and described Uniper’s nationalization as the best option. “There has never been a federal government that has had to make such drastic decisions from day one. In such a situation, a government needs the strength to reassess and correct course,” Klingbeil said. That is what has happened at Unibur. “I support the path suggested here by Robert Habeck. But I will also say clearly: the gas tax must now be put to the test,” the SPD leader insisted.

Severe criticism of Weber

In the SPD, there were concerns about the gas tax from the beginning. The goal behind it was right and still is. “It’s about supporting the gas distribution infrastructure. Uniper needs to be confirmed as a key supplier to the public utility,” explained Klingbeil. But it should be fair. “Now it turns out that the best option is to nationalize Uniber.”

Klingbeil has also criticized CSU politician Manfred Weber for his support for Forza Italia, the party of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, and warned the union that he was “the holder of a right-wing insurgency in Europe”. “I would have expected Friedrich Merz to clearly distance himself from the right-wing populists in Italy,” Klingbeil continued. But that didn’t happen: his EPP boss Manfred Weber is campaigning in Italy with Berlusconi’s party and a right-wing coalition. Klingbeil added: “There should have been a clear stop sign from the conservatives in Germany. The Union should not turn itself into the insurgents of the right in Europe, as we are currently observing with the conservatives in Sweden.”

Voting in Italy next Sunday. The danger of right-wing populists leading the government in Italy is real, Klingbeil said. But he also believes many voters will make different decisions in the last few meters. “Unfortunately, there is a tendency in many countries to have only one promising candidate from the middle of democratic elections against right-wing and left-wing populists.” In Italy, Enrico Letta fights against the neo-fascist Giorgia Meloni.

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