Germany: Minister under attack for gunboat talk
11 November 2010
German Minister of Defence is “Admiral of Trade,” announces Frankfurter Rundschau. On 9 November, Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg asserted that “the protection of trade routes and sources of raw materials should be considered from a military perspective.” The remark has sparked controversy because it is similar to a statement made by the then President Horst Köhler last May, which sparked off his resignation amid a flurry of accusations that he was promoting gun-boat diplomacy. “The country, which is the world’s third largest arms exporter, is at pains to insist that the debate on war and peace should be solely determined by ethical criteria,” remarks the daily, which deplores the hypocrisy of German society. According to experts, the only ongoing military campaign which has been undertaken in defence of German economic interests is the anti-piracy operation on the Somalian coast.