Photo: German politician, Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann (FDP).

Who Is Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann?

The talk-shows wants her. She is the Ukraine war expert. She is not afraid of Putin, or anyone. Germany must send more weapons, she says. It’s the right thing. Weapons, weapons, weapons. Why weapons, and why not negotiations?

Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann (FDP) is the honorary chair of Germany’s defense committee, a mandatory committee according to the Basic Law and, as a parliamentary body, an official institution in the country. Her voice counts. She defends herself as an objective voice on the war – a sober and factual authority whose reputation is beyond reproach.

Of course, it does not have to mean anything that Ms. Strack-Zimmermann also holds a few other positions that are less official. The FDP war expert also happens to be very well connected to the weapons industry and why this is never openly put on the table on the talkshows remains a complete mystery.

Ms. Strack-Zimmermann is a member of the Executive Committee of the German Society for Defense Technology/Wehrtechnik (DWT) and of the German Army Support Group/Förderkreis Deutsches Heer (FKH). Germany’s LobbyControl association accuses these two organizations of being “strongly influenced by the armaments industry”. The fact that one of Germany’s most prominent voices on the war is involved in armaments lobbying organizations is by no means trivial information about a politician who claims to know what’s best for Ukraine – sending more weapons.

Last year, at the peak of her expert status on the war, Strack-Zimmermann seized the moment to call for easier access to capital for the armaments industry. “How naive are we?”, she said. “I want my children and grandchildren, like me, to be able to live in peace throughout their lives. This will not work by dreamily watching the sun rise or set on the horizon with white doves in hand.”

To the accusation of providing lobby services for the armaments industry, Strack-Zimmermann always reacts offended. She is not neither an opportunist, nor a weapons lobbyist. Nevertheless, it is a fact that Strack-Zimmermann holds high positions in organizations that represent the interests of the armaments industry to those in government.

She calls for military escalation against a nuclear power with the gesture of complete seriousness. Her position on the Ukraine war would not be so odd if in her position as Chair of the Defense Committee of the German Bundestag, which is responsible, among other things, for the procurement of equipment for the German Armed Forces, she would also happen to be quite useful to the armaments industry looking for a favourable ear.

AfD boss Alice Weidel raised Strack-Zimmermann’s ties to the armaments lobby on the talk-show Maischberger last September. It was one of the rare times this was openly evoked on public television. Weidel called Strack-Zimmermann a “weapons lobbyist” on the show.

In addition to her executive committee role in the German Society for Defense Technology which is dominated by the armaments industry according to LobbyControl, Strack-Zimmermann is a board member of another lobby group, the German Army Support Group. The purpose of the association “includes the joint effort to create an efficient national industrial base for the equipment of the German Army and the German land forces as a whole”, according to its website.

Peace Negotiations: “The Wrong Signal”

Meanwhile, one year into the war, the momentum for peace negotiations is building up, as the most likely outcome is a military stalemate, despite the increasing weapons deliveries.

The former head of the Munich Security Conference, Wolfgang Ischinger, has called on the West to prepare the framework for peace negotiations between Russia and Ukraine now.

Strack-Zimmermann rejected Ischinger’s proposal to prepare for possible peace negotiations.

“It’s the wrong signal at the wrong moment,” she told the Tagesspiegel.

“The call for peace negotiations at this point in time – even if, like Mr. Ischinger, one only wants to prepare them for the time being – does not serve Ukraine at all, nor the free western world at all,” she continued.

Who is Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann when she speaks on the Ukraine war? Ah, that’s a secret.

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