Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen (CDU)

Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen (CDU)

The CDU politician Friedrich Merz has warned of a drift from the police and soldiers to the right-wing populist AfD and thus initiated a discussion about the government’s security policy. “We are obviously losing parts of the Bundeswehr to the AfD. We are losing parts of the Federal Police to the AfD,” said the former parliamentary group leader in the Bundestag of “Bild am Sonntag”. In order to counter the trend, the CDU must be a party that stands behind the security organs with no ifs or buts. “You can only successfully fight any political extremism with clear political backing.”

In his assessment that more and more soldiers and federal police officers are becoming AfD supporters, according to the report, Merz relies on talks with members of the Bundestag from the Defense and Interior Committee. His private environment also pointed out such grievances to him: “I have close relatives and a great many friends and acquaintances who are in the armed forces and the federal police. They tell me how the mood is there, how many abandon their employers feel relaxed. “

Don’t be surprised at sympathy for this party

The chairman of the federal police union, Ernst Walter, said he shared the concern of the CDU politician. “I can definitely confirm the statements made by Friedrich Merz. I have been worried for a long time that more and more colleagues feel they are no longer represented by the established parties and are thinking about” alternatives “,” Walter told the “Handelsblatt”.

As long as this party is the only one to take up the issues that policemen deal with every day, one should not be surprised that sympathy for such a party is growing. “If, for example, as a federal policeman you catch the same pickpocket, drug dealer or other criminal day after day at the train station, but the courts immediately release the perpetrators because of supposedly good social prognoses, then that can be very frustrating in the long run.” This also applies to failed returns of rejected asylum seekers because they had previously gone into hiding. This affects more than half of all returns announced to the federal police.

Bosbach takes Merz under protection

And the CDU internal politician Wolfgang Bosbach also took his party colleagues under protection after the statements about AfD sympathies with the police and the armed forces: Many police officers had expressed “their disappointment over political undesirable developments” in recent years, said Bosbach to the “Passauer Neue” Press”.

It is not the politicians, “it is our police who feel the consequences of these developments day in and day out”. Bosbach spoke of a lack of respect for police officers, increased attacks, including violent ones, and a lack of political support.

In the past few years, the Bundeswehr has not always received the support “that the troops deserved,” said Bosbach. “Then you shouldn’t be surprised when some of the established parties turn away and cross the AfD in protest.” It is not uncommon for this to happen with the hope that the other parties will change politics.

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer: The CSU politician distributes heavily against Merz. (Source: Christian Spicker / imago images)

“Do not abuse the police as a stepping stone for your career”

Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) firmly rejected Merz’s criticism. “He shouldn’t abuse the federal police as a stepping stone for his political career planning,” Seehofer told the “Bild” newspaper. “The Federal Police have been protecting our country for many decades. You can rely on them,” said Seehofer. “The Federal Police is firmly rooted in our free democratic basic order. It is not owned by a party, but part of our open society.”

Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen (CDU) made a similar kill a mockingbird essay assignment The police and the armed forces are solely committed to the constitution and do not belong to any party, said the minister of “Bild”. 

News block on Lübcke murder: Maaßen sees no reason for self-criticism Islamists: More than 160 German IS supporters have disappeared Protests against the right: Village buys crates of beer

 Federal Police President Dieter Romann emphasized there: “The Federal Police have accompanied and protected our country since 1951. Our women and men stand firmly on the ground of the free democratic basic order, even if they are insulted and attacked for it.”

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Editor-in-chief Florian Harms’ newsletter

Good morning, dear readers,

here is the annotated overview of the day’s topics:


Friedrich Merz does not have the finest feeling for moods. But he knows how to use the verbal foil to stab a stab that will tear a wound as large as a sword cut. “We are apparently losing parts of the Bundeswehr to the AfD,” he teased in the direction of the CDU’s own corps and immediately added another stab: “We are losing parts of the Federal Police to the AfD.”

You don’t even know what you should first be surprised about as an observer: About the fact that a leading CDU politician is experiencing this development just now noted – or about the succinct answer from Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, who snapped at Merz that he should “not abuse the federal police as a stepping stone for his political career planning.” Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen also gave Merz a saber on the lid in response : Close your visor, close your ears, attack!

Now one might say: That’s just how it is in a Union that is plucked by poor election results, shaken by a lack of programmatic orientation and shaken by a meandering debate about the candidate for chancellor. You don’t waste time thinking or doubting yourself. It is better to grab the saber quickly, let it down on friend and foe and leave a deep blow.

But the problem goes deeper than that. The reactions to Mr. Merz’s statement are so sharp because most of those involved at least suspect: There is something to it. Only what exactly is wrong does not seem to be revealed to many princes of the Union so far. Perhaps they should talk to federal police officers and soldiers more often. Yes, maybe they should even have the heart to exchange a few words with one or two AfD MPs. You don’t have to form a coalition with them right away. But in this party there are not only weirdos, agitators and right-wing extremists. For example, you can find former police officers there who think anything but radical, but are immensely disappointed. Disappointed that the federal authorities temporarily gave up control of public authority in the wake of the refugee crisis. Disappointed that the Chancellor did not explain her migration policy at all, or explained it too late. Disappointed that ministers are making good-sounding speeches about internal security, while many officials feel left alone when they go on patrol at train stations or in city centers at night. When they, they report, pick up foreigners who have already been legally expelled twice, but are still allowed to enter a third time and stay temporarily.

Sure, these may be individual cases, but in some conversations you get the impression that there are quite a few individual cases in this country in which the political speeches do not match the dreary reality. Not just now, but for years. And now Mr. Merz comes along, notices the problem and gets a nice headline for it. And then two federal ministers come along, put him in the lace and also get nice headlines. I’m not a psychologist, but I suspect: Such a political exchange of blows will probably not allay the frustration of those police officers and soldiers who have turned away from government policy.

Does the Interior Minister not see this problem – or does he not want to see it? It is much worse, says the FDP politician Konstantin Kuhle: People like Mr. Seehofer have systematically downplayed the politics of their own government, but also democracy. This is another reason why the trust of many security forces in the rule of law has been shaken. Kuhle already stated his thesis a year ago in a guest post for Worth reading. Maybe someone at the Home Office will print out the article for the boss.


Republican supporters outside Parliament in Oregon. (Source: Sarah Zimmerman / AP / dpa)

And what else is going on in the area? Let’s leaf through the regional section. Aha, careless smoking started an apartment fire. A change at the sports club. Somebody knocked over a street sign while drunk. This and that. Typical news from the provinces. Nothing going on. Wait, here’s something else: large-scale police manhunt! We are looking for eleven senators. Everyone who sat as a representative of the opposition in the upper house of the state parliament. Now they have disappeared without a trace. They are … yes, that’s what it says here, they went into hiding. 

The news is tough. It does not come from some corrupt dwarf state. And no, she’s not a provincial farce either. In the US state of Oregon, the Republican senators, Donald Trump’s party friends, no longer appeared at their workplaces, but went on a diving station. The police are supposed to catch them and bring them back to the state capital Salem – while it is widely believed that the fugitives have fled to the neighboring state of Idaho, where they are safe from the access of the Oregon police. One of those who went underground marked the thickest of all Maxe and recommended to the police: “Send bachelors. And come heavily armed.” Even the representatives of the people who remained on site no longer dared to enter parliament. The police had warned them about armed militias.

What’s going on there? Climate change is to blame. I beg your pardon? Yes exactly. The local Senate is to approve an ambitious climate protection program with which the ruling democrats want to radically reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. In doing so, they rely on emissions trading. The Republicans go to the barricades or, better still, go into hiding at the thought of a CO2 limit. Because even if the Democrats are in the majority in Oregon: As long as the opposition does not show up in the hall, the assembly is too small to pass resolutions under current law. Well

One can shake one’s head at the absurdity of this argument, but the background is deadly serious. The rift between the political camps has become so deep in the USA as we – despite all the controversies in this country as well – cannot imagine in our wildest dreams. A reasonably orderly debate is hardly possible on future issues such as climate change. The positions have taken on religious traits, fueled by the relentless fireworks on Facebook, fueled by the 280-character attacks by the top twitterer in the White House.

Do you remember? It wasn’t until Friday that I wanted more decency at this point. I meant all of us, not the politicians across the Atlantic, especially not in distant Oregon. There we see where one comes when the limits of what is acceptable no longer apply to any stunt, no matter how theatrical, no matter how bizarre. Parliamentarians in hiding, wanted by the police, threats of armed violence. Let us be grateful that we can look at the admonishing example from a safe distance. It shows us what is important: the shared belief that the ends do not justify the means. If we ask for it – from ourselves as well as from anyone who takes the political stage – we can keep the distance to the chilling example in Oregon that great.



Eric Carle. (Source: Kristin Angel / The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art / dpa)

Everyone has their childhood icons. The first cuddly toy. Favorite toy. A book that we have looked at countless times, carried around with us, perhaps nibbled a little out of love. For my generation of West Germans born in the early 1970s, the very best children’s book could really only be one. Back then there weren’t any books that made sounds or blared cheesy baby songs if you press on them long enough. Back then there were simple picture books to look at and read aloud. But then suddenly there was a book that not only had colorful pictures, but also holes through which you could look and guess secrets.