Cem Özdemir

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Person.png Cem Özdemir  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(politician)
16-09-02-Cem Özdemir-RalfR-RR2 4940.jpg
Born21 December 1965
NationalityGerman
SpousePía María Castro
Member ofAtlantic Initiative, Atlantik-Brücke, European Council on Foreign Relations, German Marshall Fund, WEF/Global Leaders for Tomorrow/2002
German Green war-loving politician who experienced rocket career after being taken under the wings of transatlantic influence networks.

Employment.png Germany/Minister of Food and Agriculture

In office
8 December 2021 - Present

Employment.png Leader of Alliance 90/The Greens

In office
15 November 2008 - 27 January 2018
Succeeded byAnnalena Baerbock

Employment.png Member of the Bundestag Wikipedia-icon.png

In office
22 October 2013 - Present
Preceded byGuido Westerwelle

Employment.png Member of the Bundestag Wikipedia-icon.png

In office
10 November 1994 - 17 October 2002
Succeeded byJürgen Möllemann

Cem Özdemir is a German politician of the German political party Alliance 90/The Greens. He is of part of the carefully nurtured party fraction that brought The Greens from a pacifist party to a strongly militaristic ('olive green') stance, stating that "we Greens have lost our fear of departments that deal with security issues."[1].

His career foundered badly in 2002 after an expenses scandal, but recovered spectacularly after he was taken under the wings of transatlantic think tanks.

After that, he has spoken in support of the wars, 'humanitarian interventions', in Kosovo, the 20-year occupation of Afghanistan, participation in the war on Libya in 2011, a military campaign in Syria and a hard line against Russia.

The Green party's image as peace-loving is immensely useful to create an altruistic image for modern wars, and Özdemir is one of the top candidates for Defence Minister in a future German government. He has mused on the "exciting question" of whether it is "actually a law of nature that conservatives always end up at the top of the defense ministry." and with false modesty "there is nothing that speaks against a female green defense minister."[1] He is one to watch after the 2021 German parliamentary election, in which he himself won a direct mandate in the city of Stuttgart.

First peculiarity in Özdemir's CV

When Cem Özdemir was still a young member of parliament, he was told to pay 80,000 D-Mark income tax on what he had claimed was "official expenses". But he had already spent the money on other things - a new car for his father and on furnishing his parliamentary office, according to himself; or for expensive designer suits and an otherwise luxurious way of life, as critics claim. What is certain is that he could not pay the tax office's claim from his salary and this is where the first peculiarity in Özdemir's résumé begins.[2]

He did not try to arrange an installment payment with the tax office or get a bank loan, but took a private loan on preferential terms from the controversial PR company and lobbyist Moritz Hunzinger.This affair was also associated with Rudolf Scharping, former German Minister of Defence (1998 – 2002). He was criticized by his Green colleagues, and resigned as spokesman for domestic affairs and as a member of the Bundestag.[3][4]

Second peculiarity in Özdemir's CV

As a highly indebted ex-politician with no steady income, Özdemir was facing the end in autumn 2002. At that very moment the helping hand came from Washington. The man who up until this point was a fringe politican of the "realist" wing of the party, was suddenly asked to become a foreign policy specialist by the transatlantic think tank the German Marshall Fund (GMF).

As a "Transatlantic Fellow" he was initially sent to Washington D.C for "training" and then deployed to the Brussels branch of GMF a few months later. Özdemir was not only able to pay off his debts, but was even nominated by the "realist" faction of his regional party association in 2004 for a mandate in the European Parliament that was not particularly suitable for publicity purposes, but was financially quite lucrative. There he quickly made a career as a transatlantic foreign politician.

He was hardly in parliament before he signed - as one of the few Germans next to Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg - an open letter of the neoconservative Project for the New American Century, which, with such notorious members as Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Robert Kagan, Richard Perle and William Kristol, played a key role in preparing and orchestrating the US invasions in the Middle East. The open letter is also of historical interest because as early as September 2004, shortly after the hostage-taking in Beslan, it addressed Russia's President Putin in an aggressive tone, which was completely unusual at the time and at least linguistically marked the resumption of the Cold War.[5]

Rocket Career

Now the career of a man, who two years earlier had been named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in Davos, zoomed ahead. As a “Young Leader” he became a member of the Atlantik-Brücke and was able to deepen his understanding of transatlantic relations alongside Friedrich Merz, Kai Diekmann and his future coalition partner Alexander von Lambsdorff. [2]

Despite being sidelined in the European Parliament, Özdemir was soon present everywhere again in German media and soon no one was writing about the “Miles & Moritz” soft loan anymore. Özdemir helped found the European Council on Foreign Relations and was involved in the Atlantic Initiative. In 2008 he became federal chairman of the Greens and since 2013 he has been represented in the Bundestag again. Özdemir is seen as a staunch transatlantic champion who stands completely behind doctrines such as the “responsibility to protect”, which has dominated the Greens' foreign and security policy orientation since the abandonment of détente and peace policy in the late 1990s[2].

Five-day internship at the Bundeswehr

In 2019, he completed a five-day internship at the Bundeswehr, where he was appointed First Lieutenant, cited the oath and had to stand to attention. The Bundeswehr wrote in a report about the course that it wanted to win the participants as "multipliers", to further the cause of the army. Özdemir said "as a parliamentarian, I decide on mandates for military operations. It's about existential issues, life and death. That is a huge responsibility. So I thought it was good to get a deeper insight into the work of the troop myself."[1]

He is for building a pan-European army and an EU military-industrial complex, saying "it would be more effective than this abstract goal if each army did not cook its own soup in terms of equipment. Defense policy should not be industrial policy. How about a tank that is standardized across Europe, for example?", and more than implying that this combined army will be used in wars abroad: "we will live in a world where Americans no longer feel responsible for anything. Even the question of what is happening in North Africa, whether countries are destabilizing there, whether Islamists are settling down or autocrats rule, will interest only a few in the USA. But we must be interested."[1]

Other activities



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