: :inin Kyiv (EET)

Merkel’s lack of regrets illustrates the fallacies of Germany’s Russia policy

By Constanze StelzenmüllerRussia’s war of annihilation against Ukraine and the unhinged rhetoric of its elites raise urgent questions about the future for Europeans, for the trans-Atlantic alliance, and for global order.
For a generational cohort of German politicians, some of whom are retired and some still in power, it also raises urgent questions about the past. What could they have known, or at least predicted? What bloodshed could they have prevented?
Indeed, there has been something of a public parade of regrets lately. Certainly not from the Russian energy lobbyist Gerhard Schröder, who served as chancellor from 1998 to 2005 and is a flinty, unrepentant apologist for Vladimir Putin. But Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who is Germany’s president and a former foreign minister, has admitted “errors” in his dealings with Russia. So, too, has Sigmar Gabriel, his successor in the foreign ministry.
Their contrition appears sincere. Nevertheless, one could wish it were a little less abbreviated, especially given the duration and extent of their commitment to the mistakes they now deplore.
Steinmeier was a key enabler of Germany’s naively boosterish Russia policy from 1998 onwards, when he became Schröder’s top wingman in the chancellery. As for Gabriel, who was economic affairs and energy minister at the …read more

Source:: Brookings


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