MBoris Pistorius will not have seriously expected a grace period. Anne Will shows no mercy when she interviews the secretary of defense, who at the time has been in his new post for less than a hundred hours, in a pre-recorded one-on-one interview. It’s about the tank question and about what the federal government and especially the chancellor actually want. Will asks the man, who has just been brought to Berlin from Hanover, with short, precise questions: In view of the long-running debate, why has the government not checked how many tanks are available, what the industry can also supply and what can be done to ensure the so-called interoperability with the alliance partners?
Pistorius replies that the facts are not static and that some alliance partners are not yet ready to make a decision on the battle tank issue, as Ramstein showed. He points out that in the local population supporters and opponents of such a step were more or less balanced, to immediately add that such mood pictures should of course not be “decisive for action” for politics. And that decision, he adds, will be made in the Chancellery when the time comes.
The fact that Pistorius’ complexion looks quite ruddy while being grilled by Will may be due to the unfavorable lighting in the Paris television studio, from which the Minister of Defense is connected. The discomfort with his role in this conversation is palpable anyway. And that is precisely what gives hope that the new man could become a good defense minister. Because he doesn’t give the impression that he wants to expose himself to such situations on a regular basis.
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The Bundeswehr soldiers can hope for the time being that this man, who is known for being power-conscious and straightforward, will not be as long-suffering as Christine Lambrecht, who is overwhelmed and stranger to the office, with his own inactivity, the hesitation of the Chancellor in the matter and his inability to mediate decisions to coat. There are small signs of this: where Scholz only says that Ukraine must not lose the war, his new defense minister says that she should win it. And Pistorius’ announcement that there will soon be a decision on the tank issue makes it quite clear that he intends to have a say when future military issues are decided in the Chancellery.
The decision on the tank question should have been made long ago. “Everyone knows that it will be a ‘yes’, just nobody is saying it yet,” says Nicole Deitelhoff, head of the Hessian Foundation for Peace and Conflict Research. No one disagrees in the round, which is about how far the turning point and the country’s new defensive readiness have come. And nobody would consider the “yes”, if it comes, to be wrong. The danger of an escalation of the war cannot be ruled out in this case, but it is improbable, is the unanimous tenor. The residual risk, so the general calculation goes on implicitly, is to be taken in view of the price that would otherwise have to be paid.