During her visit to German troops stationed in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan, German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen had soldiers singing Christmas carols. When she addressed several hundred of them in her characteristically cheerful manner, she expressed her utmost “respect and appreciation” and honored the soldiers’ “exceptional service” to ensure Germany security at home. Von der Leyen’s talk, however, was met with tepid applause and derisive remarks quietly whispered by numerous soldiers. The relationship between the defense minister and her troops could certainly be better. Many still haven’t forgiven von der Leyen for accusing Germany’s armed forces, the Bundeswehr, of having an “attitude and leadership problem” on German TV back in April. She had made her remarks after news broke of a scandal surrounding a far-right army officer. Andre Wüstner, who heads the German Armed Forces Association, later responded to von der Leyen’s remarks by saying she must have an attitude problem for leveling such sweeping accusations at the Bundeswehr. A luckless minister Despite these tensions, von der Leyen remains Germany’s defense minister. She’s held the position for over four years now — an impressive feat given that several who served as minister of defense before her soon saw their political… Read full this story
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