By Rick Rozoff, Global Research, July 19, 2009
The reunification of Germany and the start of NATO’s post-Cold War expansion, drive east and beginning of its transformation into a global military force occurred on the same day, October 3, 1990.
On that date East Germany was absorbed into the Federal Republic and simultaneously into NATO, the first of thirteen additions to the bloc from that time to the present year.
United since 1990 within its pre-1938 borders, Germany has cast aside most all post-Potsdam Agreement and Nuremberg Principles constraints and become a military power engaged in wars on the European and Asian continents (Yugoslavia in 1999, Afghanistan since 2001) and naval surveillance and interdiction operations in the Mediterranean Sea and the Gulf of Aden.
NATO membership was the gateway for Germany to send troops, warplanes and warships outside its borders and overseas for the first time since the end of World War II; to date to Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Sudan and off the coast of Somalia as well as deploying AWACS, Tornado warplanes and tanks to the US since the activation of NATO’s Article 5 in 2001. The latter also led to the participation of the German Navy in the nearly eight-year-old Operation Active Endeavor monitoring and interdiction patrols throughout the Mediterranean Sea.
The nation has the third largest military budget of all European states, only surpassed by Britain and France. Germany’s military spending is larger than Russia’s, for example, even after German spending dropped and Russian increased last year. The numbers were $46.8 and $40 billion, respectively.
It also has the third largest army of any exclusively European state (Russia and Turkey excluded from this category) with some quarter of a million troops.
Though not itself a nuclear power, Germany hosts an undisclosed (for apparent reasons) number of the estimated 350-480 US nuclear warheads deployed in Europe to this day under NATO arrangements.