A withdrawal in installments, which may then take place much faster if French air security ceases to exist from autumn: The Bundestag has extended the deployment of the Bundeswehr in a UN mission and an EU training mission in Mali by a year – but with foresight even earlier Exit clause if the deployment should become too dangerous for German soldiers.

As always undecided and half-hearted, no trace of strategy. This has characterized the Mali mission from the very beginning.

The deployment of the Bundeswehr in a country that Germany is completely unfamiliar with was an annoying obligation to prove to France and the world that Germany is a reliable partner in security policy issues and that it also lends a hand from time to time.

Participating in UN blue helmets and an EU training mission is actually the German ideal – you can’t really do anything wrong and don’t have to fight.

France has been obediently followed, they know their way around West Africa and also have an experienced army. But this is not yet a multilateral concept.

And France also has its own complex history in its former colony, and French domestic politics sets the direction: since the terrorist attacks in France, every government has had to demonstrate that it is taking decisive action against terrorism. The mission in Mali served this purpose.

In the hunt for reports of success, however, France sometimes acted too robustly, formed questionable alliances and sustained stabilization of Mali became secondary.

Uncertainty increased, as did acts of revenge. Finally there was a coup and the mood turned against the foreign soldiers. Germany could have analyzed this long ago and discussed it with its French partner. But you prefer to lag behind.

The German engagement in Mali is being extended for a short time in order to prepare for the exit. Hopefully at some point the lessons will be learned.