Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht has begun her first official trip to the United States in Washington. Its agenda is heavily influenced by Russia’s war in Ukraine and its consequences for international cooperation. The significance of the war for Germany, Europe, and NATO was addressed and discussed by Ms Lambrecht at the Atlantic Council.
Russia’s attack on Ukraine, war on European territory, the breach of the UN Charter, all this has an impact that goes far beyond the borders of Ukraine. It marks the start of a historic turnaround, a Zeitenwende, of security and defence policy. For the first time, Germany is developing a National Security Strategy. It is investing heavily in Bundeswehr equipment, increasing defence spending and will implement NATO’s two-percent target. Last week at the EU summit, all 27 Member States formally approved the Strategic Compass and have thereby, for the first time, jointly defined global European security interests, adopting a catalogue of measures for the coming years.
Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht will address and discuss a broad range of topics during her first official visit to the United States. Europe has assumed a new role in security and defence policy. “In all our endeavours, Germany will always remain a peace force. There will be no militarisation of German politics”, Lambrecht stated. “Yet there is no doubt that being a force of peace today means something different than it did 70, 30 or 10 years ago. Or even two months ago.” Early in her address, the Minister underlined the significance of the transatlantic bond: “We will always remain firmly anchored in the European Union, in NATO and the United Nations. And Europe needs America, as a friend and as an Ally.”
The Atlantic Council is a Washington-based think tank focusing on the role of the transatlantic community in mastering the international challenges of our times. The war in Ukraine already has global effects that will take the international community a long time to deal with – not only in terms of defence policy, but also in terms of global economy, global trade, energy supply and aid for those in need of protection. These aspects will change international cooperation for years to come. While talking to Wall Street Journal reporter Vivian Salama and during the subsequent discussion with online participants, Defence Minister Lambrecht clearly stated that Germany would face up to its responsibility in this crisis and to all the long-term consequences involved: as a reliable partner and as the backbone of deterrence at the geographical heart of Europe.