/ Polish-German Reconcilliation Seminar
At its' peak Germany had a contingent of 5500 soldiers in Afghanistan. Germany also undertook offensive operation in which it suffered casualities. It is true that initially German soldiers were very much restrained in what they were allowed to do, but those legal restraints - which were in place partly due to the experience of WWII - have been gradually lifted. Afghanistan certainly was an important learning experience for Germany and in the end they lead a large Counterinsurgency Campaign.
German special forces also participated in military operations with the USA and others:
We can argue about numbers all we want. And I am not going to downplay American involvement in Europe during the Cold War, because it was certainly crucial and expensive (although I would argue that the wars America fought elsewhere, e.g. the Vietnam War were significantly more expensive). That being said, the USA didn't protect Europe out of charity, but because it realized that the Cold War would be won in Europe. It's commitment there lead to the downfall of the SU and American global hegemony for more than a decade. And my point is, that the USA are the only member state who asked others to come to there defence, to which every country obliged. American soldiers didn't die in Combat Operations in Europe during the Cold War, but European soldiers died in Afghanistan on behalf of the USA. I understand that the USA wants higher defence spending in Europe, but I find it disrespectful to the soldiers who died in Afghanistan to marginalize their efforts. Btw. Germany will probably again increase its' number of soldiers again for mission Resolute Support.
Both of these "solutions" don't provide any value added. And the 3rd one...
It just shows you how nonsensical a firm adherence to the 2% target is. Not that paying soldiers more to attract the number of recruits needed is a bad idea mind you. The question is not how to spend more money, but how to spend it more efficiently.
- push Yanks out of Europe.
I very much doubt that this is the plan of the German political elite. I don't think hardly anyone is more unhappy about the decrease of American investment in Europe than the German politicians. That being said, we must be realistic. Even without Trump, even without the 2% debate, I believe that it would have been only a matter of time until the USA were to reduce its' activities in Europe in order to deal with the rise of China in Asia. The USA is not being pushed out, but decided to curb its' engagement in Europe of its' own free will. So down the line, Europeans will have to learn how to defend themselves, and a proper European army would be the best way to do it. As for the equipment part, it is way too soon to make any speculations about this. Fact is, that French and German military equipment, including tanks are already vastly used by many European Nato members, and e.g. Germany has recently sold a lot of armored vehicles to the Baltic states, so its' not like we need this competetive advantage. Furthermore even if things turned out like you describe - what I very much doubt - it would still be benefical for the smaller states, since they would not able to afford most of the stuff otherwise, and in a shared battalion would not have to pay in full for maintenance. Again, the main problem of European defence spending is not that it is too low, it is simply spread too thin because every country has to pay for their own air force et al.
- buy wind turbines from Siemens, tanks from Rheinmetall, airplanes from Airbas and (here goes a long list...) or else "EU army" will not defend you.
Aside from the fact that this would violate so many EU regulations that no sane government would try to attempt this, it is also very unlikely. It is not like the USA tried the same during the Cold War when Europe very much depended on it, so it is no realistic scenario for a European army, in which France and Germany would play a significantly smaller part, (there are e.g. other major countries like Italy and Spain) that their governments would use economic blackmail on other fields as well.
And even If we do, max 10 years later instead of Belarus and Ukraine, we will have Greater Russia (or whatever they will call it) across the bprfer as Russians will simply laugh at "EU army"
I very much doubt that. Ideally an EU army would also include nuclear weapons (by France) and should be large enough to deter Russia from any agression. it doesn't need to be as large as Russia's, it should simply be enough to mount a serious defence that would make an invasion far too costly to consider.
Also I contest that Germany and Poland have no common security interests. Poland wants security towards Russia. Germany wants Poland secure, because it is an important trading partner, and more importantly protects its' Eastern flank. Berlin is less than 100km from the Oder river away, and nobody wants the Russians on our border. The problem is however that their attitude towards Russia differs. Poland has lived under Russia's heel for more than 4 decades and is thus very hostile. It doesn't help that Poland's most powerful man believes in conspiracy theory that Russia killed his brother. Germany on the other hand was Russia's potential enemy during the Cold War, but it also made the experience that negotiations, diplomacy and trade policy can significantly reduce the risk of war and ease geostrategic rivalries in general (Ostpolitik). Of course we can argue that Putin's Russia is far more belligerent than the SU, but this experience is still important. We have to make a stand against Russia, but we also have to make sure that there is room for a diplomatic solution.
There are measures we can introduce that have a purpose, and those that are needlessy antagonistic. We stationed an international brigade in each Baltic state. This would be enough to combat any attempt of Russia to replicate the "Hybrid warfare" concept tested in the Ukraine. But it would not be sufficient to deter a full Russian invasion. However, not even a significantly larger group of soldiers (let us say 10.000 instead of 1000) would be enough in this case. Russia would close the Sulwaki gap, overrun the Baltics and probably try to defend its' new territory without invadind Poland. By stationing soldiers in the Baltics the Nato send a mesage that it would be willing to fight and die for those countries, but it did so in a size that would not be seen as provocation to Russia. The latter point is important because we must be honest here: Particulary in Western Europe, not only in Germany, public opinion is very much divided on those issues. Nato made a compromise that so far worked out.