Köhler resigned


The President of the Federal Republic of Germany Horst Köhler (mostly representative head of state) has resigned because of the strong reactions to an interview he gave just a few days ago (transcript).

The interview has been interpreted as championing the aggressive use of military force to further national interests (= in my opinion a possible interpretation of his words).
The reactions pointed out that this would be way beyond the constitutional limits and that the Federal Republic of Germany has military forces for self defence, not for Banana Wars.

Federal presidents tend to have more integrity than common top politicians and it's to be respected that he resigned that quickly because he felt that he hadn't enough respect and support any more.

I interpret his speech as the latest step of an multi-party salami tactic that was employed since about 1993 in order to increasingly get used the Germans to distant and even offensive use of military power. A normal politician would have proposed a stupid mission, got resistance and have postponed the accustomization till a later date.

I wrote in 2009/11:

(...) Then came the end of the Cold War.

German politicians proceeded with a salami slice tactic for so-called "out of area" missions of German troops, one step at a time. It began with a field hospital in Cambodia, then logistical support troops in a safe place in Northern Somalia and so on. Peacekeepers here, peacekeepers there, finally some purely anti-radar missions of Tornados in the 1999 Kosovo Air War and then more peacekeeping in Afghanistan coupled with up to 100 commando soldiers on AQ hunt.

Well, now we're in the stupid business of small wars - with a strong popular majority rejecting this policy and at the same time re-electing the conservatives for domestic policy reasons.

Sven Ortmann

photo: Roosewelt Pinheiro/Agência Brasil

1 comment:

  1. Even though I favor a restrained use of military force, I'd say, that it was necessary to break the isolationist view of the Germans on security and defence matters and at least get them to think about these things. Germany does have national interests, among them are stability and the protection of trade routes, since we're an "economic empire". We don't control territory, people or governments, but we import and export goods. You can find German companies and their products all over the world, and if you look at goods produced in Germany, you'll see that components were made in places as far away as South East Asia or that raw materials were mined in Africa.

    If a civil war causes regional instability and thus makes it difficult for us to import and export to that region or country, a military option, of course with the backing of the United Nations, should not be ruled out as it is not just legitimate but also legal under the German constitution. However, that doesn't give us the right to invade and occupy a sovereign state because it refused to sell mining rights to a German company.

    Of course, we should always consider the pros and cons of a military action, even if it's difficult to anticipate the effects.

    Regarding the Germans' stance on the use of the military:
    While many people oppose the Afghan mission, the majority approves of our operations in the Balkans. And these were conducted because of regional instabilities and their negative effects on Germany's security and economy.