According to Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (CDU), Germany and its armed forces must assume a stronger leadership role in Europe and the Western world. Speaking to participants in the general staff course at the Bundeswehr leadership academy, the minister said that in the new technological and geopolitical age characterized by climate change, digitization and the strengthening of China, the Germans and the Bundeswehr were facing new leadership tasks. Kramp-Karrenbauer said, "We have to give muscles to the struggle for values". She recalled that the memory of National Socialist barbarism had long been seen as an obstacle to Germany's stronger military engagement and admitted that “history never lets us go”.But if Germany's neighbors knew today that it was democratically stable. Germany is allowed to accept the leadership role she describes "with a clear conscience".

Johannes Leithäuser

Political correspondent in Berlin.

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    The Defense Minister said "we must and will do more" to uphold security and the rule of law. The security of Europe is now more threatened than ten years ago, she said, and named new threats such as "thousands of cyber attacks" on European people and institutions, but also changed geostrategic conditions as a reason: the United States is now more oriented towards Asia . Kramp-Karrenbauer said, “For us Europeans there is a lot of space for more personal responsibility”. She cited as examples "our eastern neighborhood", where Russia wages open or covert wars, the "southern neighborhood" with the Arab crisis arc, but also the efforts of China, which is now using the "blue man" in the South China Sea according to the pattern,that Russia used in the Crimea with its "green men". The minister said that Germany had “a lot to lose in this world”, that it was about “freedom, peace and prosperity”.

    She also spoke of a moral price that could be associated with a greater commitment to security policy. Kramp-Karrenbauer said anyone who wants to use security policy room for maneuver up to the threat of - and, if necessary, use of - military force must be able to make decisions in a moral gray area. She asserted that “we can trust ourselves to do this with the strength of prudence” and stated that those who are “linked to the west” of the democracies “never have to make difficult decisions alone”.

    In the opinion of the Defense Minister, Germany's greater commitment to security policy has consequences for its own defense capabilities. On the one hand, Germany should not forego nuclear participation within NATO. She appealed to the members of the Bundestag in the new parliamentary term to ensure by purchasing new fighter planes that Germany could continue to use American nuclear weapons in the future and thus remain part of NATO's nuclear deterrent scenario.

    On the other hand, according to Kramp-Karrenbauers, the defense budget must continue to rise. In the next year it will have a volume of more than 50 billion euros, but this figure is still a long way from the volume of two percent of economic output, i.e. from the quota that the NATO states have agreed as a common goal. She said that “massive investments must be made in state-of-the-art defense,” the budget was “still too frugal”.