For once, Karl Lauterbach did not focus on Corona but China. He claims that Germany can continue to look towards Asia with self-confidence – the dependency on the totalitarian superpower in the east will decrease.

He’s back: Markus Lanz, who last week had to call in sick for the first time in 14 years as a talk show host, is speaking again. At first glance, however, the occupation of the Tuesday round seems as if ZDF had not really expected the talkmaster’s recovery. Three journalists, two of them from the public service house itself, are invited – people who could have been unloaded without any problems if Lanz had remained speechless.

The only political celebrity that evening is Karl Lauterbach, who is probably someone who could easily have been uninvited if necessary. In return for coming, the SPD politician can express his view of the current situation in the country and worldwide without any other party representatives. An opportunity not to be missed as a politician. But the evening will be less comfortable for Lauterbach than he might have hoped.

According to Lauterbach, the fact that Chancellor Olaf Scholz allowed the Chinese company Cosco to acquire almost 25 percent of the container terminal in the Port of Hamburg has “symbolically an unfavorable component”, but he praises his chancellor for the efforts “in a world where already so there is a lot of discord and so many problems, maintaining a stable but not uncritical axis where trade is.” Lauterbach sums up, “I don’t think that’s stupid. And for that you have to pay a small price here and there.”

However, Elmar Theveßen, head of the ZDF studio in Washington, makes it clear that the price of dependence has long since been paid: “In the USA and to some extent also in Europe, it will no longer be possible to produce antibiotics without the ingredients from China.” If the West didn’t meet China or got in the way of the country – for example on the Taiwan question – the tap of the precursors for medicines could be turned off very quickly. Parallels to Russian gas can be seen at this point.

“In the past we had a completely naïve attitude,” admits Lauterbach himself at this point. But these medical active ingredients could also be produced in Germany without any problems, but unfortunately they were a bit more expensive. He already sees the first signs of this. “The fact that we’re swimming free is unaffected,” believes Lauterbach.

Elmar Theveßen, on the other hand, lists how consistently the USA has kicked itself free of its dependence on China when it comes to lithium, at least since Barack Obama was in office. Compared to this, the German declaration of intention with an announced free swimming not only seems very small, but also quite late.

However, Lauterbach sticks to his hopeful prognosis: “The importance of China will decrease.” And for the simple reason that the innovative power and know-how are still at home in the West: “Scientifically, we are not dependent on China.” The rare earths , which are still absolutely necessary today, for example for building batteries and most of which come from China, would soon no longer be needed because technical progress soon replaced them with simple soils that are available in this country. “The brain as a raw material,” says Lauterbach optimistically, “will not lose its value.”

However, this raw material could soon be in danger because the traffic light coalition wants to legalize the cultivation of cannabis and its sale to over 18-year-olds. At this point, even without other party representatives, it will finally be very tight for Lauterbach. Not only Kerstin Münstermann, political expert of the “Rheinische Post”, argues eloquently against the “pro-pot” minister, but also Lanz tackles him harshly: and “You sit here and talk about drugs!” He accuses Lauterbach.

He gets more and more entangled in his own defense strategy. He argues that because the state has now realized that it cannot put a stop to dealers, it must bring hash onto the market itself. A strategy that one would rather not think through to the end, for example in the direction of black market trade in weapons, forced prostitution or hard drugs.