Germany, Pistorius is the new defense minister: Lambrecht overwhelmed by gaffes

Germany, Pistorius is the new defense minister: Lambrecht overwhelmed by gaffes

by Paolo Valentino

The election of Chancellor Olaf Scholz after the resignation of Christine Lambrecht, in the midst of a management riddled with gaffes. Interior Minister of Lower Saxony, the little-known nationwide chosen one. The Leopard armor knot

FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
BERLIN – Olaf Scholz surprises with the appointment of the new Minister of Defense Boris Pistorius, the previous Minister of the Interior of Lower Saxony and little known in state politics.

The German Chancellor quickly ended the mini-crisis sparked by the resignation of Christine Lambrecht, riddled by management riddled with gaffes and clearly inadequate to face the serious challenges of the moment.

Scholz described Pistorius, who will be sworn in before the Bundestag tomorrow, as a politician with great experience who has worked a lot in administration and has been dealing with security issues for years. With his expertise, his assertiveness and his big heart, he is the right person to lead the Bundeswehr in this epochal turning point.

62 years old, widower, two daughters, a life of social democracy, former mayor of Osnabrück, Scholz’s hometown and place of signing of the Peace of Westphalia that ended the Thirty Years’ War, Pistorius valued locally as a pragmatic politician and efficient. In the ten years that he was Minister of the Interior in Hanover, he distinguished himself above all in the field of cyber security and civil protection.

But the path to the national spotlight is a very risky leap full of unknowns for him. And not just because the Ministry of Defense in Germany is traditionally the grave of many political ambitions, including the ejection seat. Compared to only nine chancellors in 70 years, the federal government has seen up to twenty defense ministers. In addition, the Bundeswehr, for years the Cinderella of the federal budget, is now the focus of the Chancellor’s interest, who announced an extraordinary allocation of 100 billion euros for modernization after the start of the war in Ukraine. The renewal for Mark’s time, apart from some long-term decisions like buying F-35 fighters and Chinook transport helicopters. It is therefore the task of the new minister, after Lambrecht’s failure, to accept the challenge and turn the Bundeswehr into a modern, functional and combat-ready army. Analysts credit him with doing his military service, so he knows the military inside out.

In reality, Pistorius will experience his baptism of fire almost immediately. In fact, Berlin is under pressure to supply Kyiv with Leopard heavy tanks, which are deemed essential for Ukrainian forces to resume the offensive after the successes of recent months. Scholz has so far refused, fearing that the conflict would escalate and arguing that Germany, because of its past, cannot be the first Western country to hand over such offensive and sophisticated weapons. However, after Great Britain and France also announced the delivery of their tanks, the German position changed, also because within the federal government the Greens and Liberals were pushing for the delivery of Leopards or at least for approval (necessary because the systems were made in Germany) to those who want to give them, like Poland and Finland. There are currently about 2,000 Leopard 1 and 2 specimens in the arsenals of European countries.

The decision rests with the chancellor. But Pistorius is now the face of German defense policy, and it will be he who will meet with Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin in Berlin on Thursday, on the eve of a crucial appointment: the summit of defense ministers of the Contact Group for the Defense of Ukraine, along with about fifty donor countries, which is scheduled for the next day at Ramstein Air Force Base. The delivery of heavy tanks to Ukraine will be high on the agenda and everyone is waiting to see what the German response will be.

For the time being, the appointment of Pistorius changes gender parity within the federal government, where the number of ministers was previously the same, which was an election promise made by Olaf Scholz.

Jan 17, 2023 (change Jan 17, 2023 | 5:31 p.m.)