Germany Must Play Active Military Role, Says Defense Minister
(Source: Deutsche Welle German radio; issued Nov. 07, 2019)
The German armed forces should be deployed more proactively in foreign missions, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer has said. But a key Cabinet colleague warned against unilateral action.

German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer warned on Thursday that Berlin needed to take an active role in military engagements abroad.

Germany must "openly deal with the fact that we, like every other country in the world, have our own strategic interests," Kramp-Karrenbauer told the Süddeutsche Zeitung.

Strategic shift

In a speech delivered later Thursday at the Bundeswehr University in Munich, she said Germany greatly benefits from the rules-based global order and should do more to secure its success.

Kramp-Karrenbauer noted that when she travels abroad, allies often ask her if Germany could do more.

"A country of our size, with our economic and technological power, our geostrategic position and global interests, cannot just stand on the sidelines and watch," she said. "Germany must participate in international debates and drive them forward."

She said she plans to move forward with the formation of a national security council in recognition of Germany's strategic interests.

'Our responsibility'

But her proposal was met with caution from other Cabinet members. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said the idea of a more assertive German military required robust support from European allies.

"Above all, we must define our responsibility on a European basis," Maas told public broadcaster ZDF. "That means that we don't just take care of our own issues alone, but rather that we as part of Europe play a leading role in competition between superpowers."

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