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German Defense Minister Demands ‘Serious National Debate’ on Bundeswehr’s Future

In Berlin, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius has called for a “serious national debate” about the future of the country’s military, arguing that in its current state it is not fit to tackle the (alleged) array of security policy challenges facing Europe. “Are we seriously ready to defend this country?” Pistorius asked during a speech at the German military academy in Hamburg. “And who is this ‘we’? This debate has to be had.” Pistorius, sounding much like his colleagues in London and Stockholm, claimed that the peace and freedom that most of Europe had enjoyed for decades was “no longer an irrefutable certainty” and that Germany was being “more strongly and actively challenged than ever as an active participant in security and policy.”

Pistorius is not alone in Germany in calling for national mobilization to meet the phantom of a Russian invasion of NATO. Lt. Gen. Alexander Sollfrank, the head of NATO troops in the southern German city of Ulm, who would be responsible for coordinating the movements of European troops in the event of an attack on a NATO member, said the German military needed not only resources but also “the visible resolve to deploy them.”

“Credible deterrence requires preparation for war and needs to include the population,” Sollfrank said in an annual state of security speech on Jan. 24.

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