German Foreign Policy on Autopilot, in the Wake of NATO

Germany seems to have dismissed any diplomatic paths to solving the Ukraine conflict, including the Chinese proposal. Thus, as Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived for talks in Berlin on May 14, the government announced the biggest supply of weapons ever to Kyiv, in the range of €2.7 billion.

The list includes another 20 Marder infantry fighting vehicles, 30 Leopard-1 A5 tanks, 18 wheeled howitzers, 15 Gepard anti-aircraft tanks, 200 reconnaissance drones, four additional top modern IRIS-T anti-aircraft systems complete with ammunition, more artillery ammunition and more than 100 armored combat and logistics vehicles. Shortly before this announcement, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz chose of all occasions May 9 — the day marking the end of World War Two — to denounce the celebration in Moscow as one big propaganda show, while assuring Ukraine “whatever it takes” in terms of assistance. Moreover, reflecting the support of a good part of the German elites for NATO’s the war drive against Russia, the city of Aachen awarded Zelensky on May 14 the prestigious Charlemagne Prize for his alleged “outstanding effort to defend European values”.

At the same time, the German government has opened a second front against China, evidenced in the open clash between Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (of the Greens) and her Chinese counterpart Qin Gang following their May 9 meeting in Berlin. Baerbock expressed her total disagreement with the Chinese view on Ukraine, insisting that Beijing give up its neutrality (as well as its peace initiative) and abstain from weapons deliveries to Russia — or face EU and German sanctions. Qin Gang responded by recalling that China is a sovereign nation, that does not allow “foreign interference” in internal affairs. He also firmly opposed any EU sanctions against Chinese companies, and warned of consequences.

During her visit to China three weeks before, Baerbock had been demonstrably provocative, in delivering lectures on human rights and democracy, provoking Qin to quip at the joint press conference that “what China needs least, is a teacher from the West”.

Inside Germany, the Greens’ drive for confrontation and war is also increasingly rejected, including by a significant share of its their voters base, as reflected in the May 14 elections for the state parliament of Bremen. The Green Party lost almost a third of its vote, ending up with only 11.9%. In the young voter segment, traditionally a party stronghold, it lost 14%.

For several weeks in a row, the popularity of the German government, in which the Greens control the powerful foreign and economic ministries, has been on the decline. Were national elections held now, this government would definitely be voted out. If it continues to reject ongoing diplomatic attempts to put an end to the Ukraine war, it could be forced to make a rough landing on highly unfavorable terrain.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email