Schäuble proposes citizens' assembly on security policy

07. July 2021
Deutscher Bundestag, Achim Melde

Bundestag President Wolfgang Schäuble (CDU) would like to see a citizens' assembly for a "really serious debate on Germany's security policy role in the world". Society must learn more understanding for the special life and professional world of soldiers. This is "not a profession like any other."

Referring to the Bundeswehr's experiences in Afghanistan and Mali, Schäuble called on Germans to engage in the "uncomfortable" and "unpopular" social debate about their relationship with the military. In view of the "precarious world order", this question becomes "even more relevant". Sometimes "violence must be ended with violence".

Gap between citizens and military?

Soldiers are not "street workers in uniform". Germans like to ignore the fact that "fighting and, if necessary, killing" is part of being a soldier. "There seems to be a blind spot here in our postheorical society," Schäuble complained on 6 July 2021 in Berlin at the presentation of the book "German Warriors: From the Empire to the Berlin Republic - a Military History" by historian Sönke Neitzel to the Bundeswehr Association.

Schäuble asked with concern whether, with the abolition of compulsory military service 15 years ago and the conversion to an operational army, the "friendly disinterest" of Germans in their military had now become a "gap"? And a "lack of understanding and ignorance towards the troops" has become "entrenched" in society? He referred to suspected cases of right-wing extremism and disturbing incidents such as those that recently occurred with the Special Forces Command KSK. Here, too, the public debate in a citizens' assembly should help.