The Ukraine crisis shows that Chancellor Olaf Scholz made the wrong appointment to the defense portfolio. But even Angela Merkel did not attach much importance to competence.

If Chancellor Olaf Scholz sometimes looks around in Parliament and honestly thinks to himself, he could turn yellow with envy. He could regret – really only to himself – that he does not have a member in his parliamentary group like Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, who belongs to the FDP.

And he might feel unhappy that party tactical necessities compelled him to appoint comrade Christine Lambrecht as Federal Minister of Defence.

Always informed: The course of the war in Ukraine in the ticker – Ukraine: Russian troops attack liberated settlements in Cherson and Mikolajiv

The difference between these two women is huge. One is responsible for an area in Germany that the other knows a lot about.

The competence gap is becoming more visible with each passing day that Putin’s war goes on.

While the social democrat has to avoid the risk of embarrassment in every open discussion, the liberal impresses with her specialist knowledge.

When she took office in December, Lambrecht worried that she would not be able to tell the ranks of the soldiers apart. Completely different problems have plagued them since the war in Ukraine. She has no idea which type of tank that Germany is now supplying might not be able to be deployed until Christmas. She has to rely on the speaking slips that the generals hand her.

Strack-Zimmermann can have a say from his own knowledge. She was already a member of the Defense Committee of the Bundestag in the previous legislative period. Now she directs him. She chairs 37 MPs. Eleven are members of the SPD. Christine Lambrecht is not one of them.

How important the committee is to the parties is shown by the fact that it has three party chairmen as deputy members.

The CDU leader Friedrich Merz, the SPD leader Lars Klingbeil and the spokesman for the Greens Omid Nouripour sit in Strack-Zimmermann’s security circle. The second row is also well represented. Alexander Graf Lambsdorff is one of the deputies for the FDP and Jürgen Trittin for the Greens. They are all well versed in defense matters but have to keep a lot of information to themselves. The reader might ask why Scholz did not appoint the knowledgeable Lars Klingbeil as Minister. Probably because he’s not a woman.

The fact that the CDU had similar selection problems is evident from the current war debates. When Angela Merkel surprisingly appointed Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer Defense Minister, many experts regretted that the CDU MP Johann Wadephul had been ignored.

Recently, the reserve major has been heard more often in discussions and, through his knowledge, demonstrates that Angela Merkel made the wrong decision.

I could be extremely rich in my thoughts, a multiple millionaire, if I were naive enough to trust a letter from Canada. At least the letter landed on my personal fax. A lawyer from a law firm in Canada tells me about an alleged death.

A German citizen of my name, employed by the Oil and Gas Company, died in an accident in Toronto. His heirs are entitled to an insurance sum of eleven million and eight hundred and forty thousand US dollars. The law firm can’t find any heirs and has now found my name. She suggests donating ten percent to charity. She wants to share the rest with me.

The great thing is: I recently received a very similar letter from an African country – death and inheritance. The scammers work intercontinentally.

FOCUS founding editor-in-chief Helmut Markwort has been a FDP member of the Bavarian state parliament since 2018.


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