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Joschka Fischer: "We need to restore our deterrence capability"

Photo: Kay Nietfeld / dpa

Former Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer (Greens) has called on Europe to arm itself. "We have to restore our deterrence capability," Fischer told Zeit Online. Although he doesn't like the idea of it "at all," he says, there is no way around it: "As long as we have a neighbor Russia that follows Putin's imperial ideology, we cannot refrain from deterring this Russia."

Asked whether deterrence also included Germany acquiring its own nuclear weapons, he said: "That is indeed the most difficult question. Should the Federal Republic of Germany possess nuclear weapons? No. Europe? Yes. The EU needs its own nuclear deterrent." After all, the world has changed, and Russian President Vladimir Putin is "also working with nuclear blackmail."

Fischer calls on the German government to invest in armament with conventional weapons. However, this could not be achieved "with a debt brake and balanced budgets".

Hope for "Homo sapiens"

Fischer's party, the Greens, has been closely linked to resistance to nuclear armament since its founding. Fischer went on to say that he hoped that America and Europe would remain connected. "But what will happen if Donald Trump is re-elected? With this scenario in mind, too, Europe must seriously ask itself the question."

A reference to the arsenals of the Western European nuclear powers France and Great Britain as a response to the changed situation would be "too simple and too short-sighted," the 75-year-old continued. For now, however, the priority is deterrence capability in the conventional sector."

In the current crisis situation, "Homo sapiens" gives him hope: "When it gets really hot in the buttocks, we have always moved. Then we were always smart enough to find solutions."