No matter what the defense minister brings to the table, it will be beaten into her ears. It would be better to distinguish between content and form.
What AKK does right or wrong should not be measured by party-political interests Photo: reuters
It may feel unfamiliar, but it’s still not wrong: to make a distinction between content and form in day-to-day politics. In times of domestic and foreign policy turmoil like these, the German defense minister’s foreign policy push for an international protection zone in northern Syria may seem like an impossibility, a dangerous solo effort. But this does not mean that it would be impossible to implement just because Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer proposed it.
Whatever the still-new minister brings to the table, it is reflexively beaten around her ears and examined for party-political usability. Social democrats roll their eyes because no ten-horse team has driven up to the Foreign Office to deliver Heiko Maas’s dispatch from the Defense Ministry. The Greens are puffing out their cheeks because Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer just doesn’t get it. And the head of the left-wing parliamentary group, who is not exactly known as a foreign policy expert either, is using the fine old word Aberwitz.
And what does Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer do? She quickly realized that it doesn’t pay to go it alone and organized support. Angela Merkel, the most effective foreign policy expert in her field, has jumped in to help her. The chancellor prominently ignores anti-AKK reflexes and calls the idea of a protection zone "very promising." Friedrich Merz, rather unsuspicious of too strong sympathies for the CDU chairwoman, calls the proposal a strong signal "that we are ready to take responsibility in foreign and security policy."
This also explains why the minister was able to confidently say before the Bundestag’s Defense Committee that there must be a United Nations mandate for the mission and that the troops should also be supported by the United Nations. It can safely be ruled out, however, that she did not have her own profile in mind.