Christine Lambrecht will resign from her post as Federal Defense Minister. She should have realized much earlier that she wasn’t the right person for the job.
Politicians are people too. And people make mistakes. That has often led to a resignation, to a respectable departure. There can be no talk of this when Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht leaves.
The resignation of the social democrat is more like an escape than an orderly retreat. Basically, the lawyer, who was overwhelmed from day one, should have felt that she was not the right person for this task at the latest after Chancellor Olaf Scholz proclaimed the “turn of the era”.
Lambrecht has well earned the dubious reputation of never leaving a blunder. Barely in office, she floated away on a skiing holiday instead of visiting German soldiers in Afghanistan.
Apparently generous, she promised Ukraine, which had been invaded by Russia, 5,000 helmets. In the embarrassing helicopter affair, her inability to separate business from private life was revealed.
Even their own press office distanced themselves from their New Year’s Eve video, which was as ridiculous as it was embarrassing, by declaring the absurd appearance “private”. Lambrecht’s self-portrayal at the turn of the year was one mistake too many.
Even Lambrecht, who was apparently caught in her own bubble, had to realize that not a single SPD politician made even an attempt to explain or even defend her grotesque rhetorical firecrackers.
Much worse than Lambrecht’s personal bankruptcies and mishaps was her inability to familiarize herself with the matter, which was completely new to the short-term Minister of Justice (2019-2021).
The fact that she didn’t know the ranks even months after taking office showed just how alienated she was with the Bundeswehr.
The generals and top officials in the Ministry of Defense did not have the knowledgeable interlocutor in her that they urgently needed for the general overhaul of the Bundeswehr. And the troupe sensed that their top employer wasn’t putting her heart and soul into it.
Of course, the actual responsibility for Lambrecht’s blatant failure rests with the chancellor. Scholz had appointed her to by far the most difficult ministry because he was following his own completely irrelevant slogan of “gender parity” in the cabinet.
Only because gender was the decisive criterion for the appointment did Lambrecht come into play at all. She actually wanted to stop politics after the 2021 federal election. In addition, she benefited from the fact that she is firmly anchored on the left wing of the SPD. All secondary arguments, but not for Scholz.
Just four weeks ago, in an interview with the “SZ”, he demonstrated how much Scholz had maneuvered himself into a dead end with this personnel decision.
“The Bundeswehr has a first-class defense minister,” he praised Lambrecht. And added: “I can only wonder about some of the criticism.” Indeed: Lambrecht gave a lot of reason to be surprised – not least about Scholz himself.
The Lambrecht case is a lesson in two respects. On the one hand, it is almost negligent not to primarily ask about the specialist knowledge and skills of possible candidates when filling top political offices, but to pay more attention to gender or membership of a party wing.
Second, it’s disastrous to stubbornly cling to a decision when everyone can see that it was wrong. It was irresponsible for Scholz to let Lambrecht muddle along when the most radical changes in the Bundeswehr were pending.
Christine Lambrecht failed as Minister of Defense – due to a lack of substance and bad style. She alone is responsible for the latter, but the chancellor for the former.