You wake up in the morning and realise: there is war in Europe. Yesterday the army held a ‘Day of Values’. The core question was ‘what do we serve for?’ It has never been easier to explain this to the generation that did not live through the Cold War. In my 41st year of peacetime service I would not have believed that I would have to experience another war.
And the Bundeswehr, the army that I am privileged to lead, is more or less empty handed. The policy options we can offer in support of the alliance are extremely limited. We all saw it coming and we were not able to get through with our arguments, to draw the conclusions from the Crimean annexation and implement them.
This does not feel good! I’m pissed off! Nato territory is not yet under direct threat, even if our partners in the East feel the constantly growing pressure. When, if not now, is the time to put the Afghanistan mission behind us structurally and materially and to reposition ourselves? If we don’t, we will not be able to implement our constitutional mandate and our alliance obligations with any prospect of success.
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The above was posted on LinkedIn by Alfons Mais, the head of the German army.