Als Boris Pistorius drove to work in Hanover on Monday, the social democrat had no idea that three days later the Berlin guard battalion would march up for him. Shortly thereafter, Pistorius would welcome the defense minister of the world’s largest military power, and meet dozens of new colleagues in Ramstein the next day. At the Ukraine supporters’ conference, 24 hours after taking office, he was to suffer his first setback.
Pistorius, who bills himself as decisive, babbled on the earth-shattering issue of Leopard tank deliveries: “There are good reasons for it, there are good reasons against it,” and was forbidden to have an opinion because the Chancellor wouldn’t allow it. That was not so nice for the maker Pistorius.
That’s why he told the waiting journalists that he had commissioned his company to check the German tank stocks. A “test order” for simulating action – that was reminiscent of the in-house recipes from the press office, which his predecessor had always dutifully read. Only that it sounded more pithy with him and was also presented in English. Pistorius became German defense minister overnight, in charge of a quarter of a million soldiers, civil servants and employees armed forces. A big task, a heavy burden. And already the apparatus and constraints begin to swallow him up.
Threads to become a web
Compared to what the Osnabrück lawyer has experienced in recent days, a roller coaster is a slow train. Pistorius, previously Minister of the Interior in Lower Saxony, received his certificate of appointment from the Federal President at Bellevue Palace on Thursday. Frank Walter Steinmeier, whose career also began in Hanover, explained all the qualities Pistorius is said to have that are now necessary: a cool head, good nerves, leadership skills, clear language and political experience. Then the new man rushed to the Bundestag for the oath of office. And even before he met his American colleagues shortly thereafter Lloyd Austin in fluent English, he had already spoken to French Defense Minister Sébastien Lecornu. A subtle Franco-German gesture.
Since Pistorius by Chancellor Olaf Scholz was nominated, he constantly ties threads in the capital that are to become a network: Pistorius met the military commissioner, the chairmen of the defense committee and various other Berlin politicians and military experts. On Friday we went to the Ukraine conference, on the weekend there was a Franco-German anniversary meeting in Paris. He only needs an interpreter for the technical terms, because he speaks French. The next day the inspectors of the armed services arrive, and soon Pistorius himself will travel to places where men and women in uniform serve the country and NATO. Pistorius also pays the price for the ticket to Berlin at the breakneck speed that his life will now take up.