The new German government will hold the first talks with Russia : Annalena Burbock is coming to Moscow . The Minister of Foreign Affairs will fly to the Russian capital from Kiev, which in itself speaks of the priorities of German policy. Ukraine – first of all, that is, the theme of the mythical threat of Russian invasion remains the most important for Berlin .
Speaking in Kiev , Burbock declared her readiness for a serious dialogue with Russia, but not at the cost of Ukraine:
“Our message is that Europe is committed to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, this cannot be discussed.”
No country has the right to dictate to others which direction to take, Burbock stressed, responding to Moscow’s demands for assurances that NATO will not expand eastward. That is, the Germans do not want to hear our concern: “drang nah osten” will continue – albeit with assurances that it will not be in the near or even medium term? And then what is there to talk about, why diplomatic courtesies?
It is clear that dialogue is needed in any case, especially with the largest country in Europe, a state that largely determines the policy of the European Union . In addition, a new coalition came to power in Berlin last month, dominated not by the overtly pro-Atlantic Greens of Burbock, but by Chancellor Scholz’s Social Democrats. Who recently stated again that it is necessary “to open prospects for Europe to build a common security architecture with Russia”, that is, the SPD seems to understand the futility of building a united Europe in confrontation with Russia?
They understand, but, alas, they publicly play the same games as the green ones. After all, Scholz also says that the threat of a conflict around Ukraine is not decreasing and that Russia should be made clear that “a high price will have to be paid if it comes to military action.” The Social Democrats, who back in the Soviet years were the architects of the new “Eastern policy”, who established mutually beneficial relations between our countries, are now trying to combine the incompatible: the hard pressure applied by the Atlanticists on Russia (let Moscow recognize the geopolitical loss of Ukraine and not rock the boat) and the desire to have versatile relations with the Russians. How does this fit in the minds of German politicians?
Of course, there are realists among the Social Democrats who talk about the need to take the Kremlin’s concern for its security very seriously – former chancellor Schroeder has already criticized Burbock, reminding her that “we need to think European in security policy, we need to maintain reasonable relations with China , with Russia. But what kind of reasonable relationship can we talk about if we continue to threaten Moscow with “hellish sanctions” in the event of an invasion of Ukraine? Such threats can lead to the fact that opponents of the normalization of Russian-European relations will arrange some kind of provocation in the east of Ukraine, for example, on the border with the DPR , in order to expose the response to it as “Russian aggression” and demand that the Europeans join the Anglo-Saxon “hellish sanctions” .
The consequences of which for the same Germany will be more than serious, even such a far from sympathetic politician for our country as Friedrich Merz , the future leader of the CDU (he will officially head the party at the end of this week) , recalled this. He compared Moscow’s disconnection from the SWIFT system of interbank payments to “an atomic bomb for the capital market, as well as goods and services” that will cause a “massive economic downturn”, hit Russia and significantly harm Germany. Merz urged not to touch SWIFT , it is clear that he is concerned about the future of the German economy.
At the same time, Merz is a convinced Atlanticist, but still a reasonable Atlanticist. But his party is now in opposition, and formally he could afford loud irresponsible statements: the CDU is not now responsible for foreign policy.
In the SPD, along with realists who understand the importance of relations with Russia, there are also Atlanticists, who are in no way inferior to the most consistent pro-American politicians in other parties.
This, on the one hand, is not surprising: the entire post-war Anglo-Saxon policy of educating the German political elite meant the training of the right personnel in all the main parties of the FRG. Those should carry the right ideology on both domestic and international issues. But, on the other hand, it was the Social Democrats who used to be relatively more independent than others on geopolitical issues, especially in terms of relations with Russia.
Suffice it to recall the Social Democrats who were foreign ministers in the past decade – and since the beginning of the Ukrainian crisis, Steinmeier and Gabriel have always followed very closely what they say about relations with Russia. Even such a “deconstruction of the German” as the pro-Atlantic Heiko Maas , and he tried to be extremely correct.
Now Chancellor Scholz himself is the head of foreign policy of the SPD, and in the Bundestag the party has regained its foreign affairs committee. It was led by former Minister of State for European Affairs in the Merkel government (essentially Deputy Foreign Minister) Michael Roth . The politician has been sitting in the Bundestag for 22 years already, has a fairly pro-Atlantic reputation (and same-sex “marriage” consecrated by the Protestant Church), but his very first big interview on the Eastern problem raises many questions.
In an interview with Handelsblatt, Roth says that Nord Stream has always been a political project (although the same Scholz emphasizes its commercial nature), and “Germany did not fully consider this gas pipeline as a project of pan-European energy security.” But “we in the EU must follow a single line in relation to Moscow, of course, and here the federal government must make its contribution,” that is, “if Russia continues to escalate military aggression against Ukraine, <…> the Nord Stream — 2 “.
Almost all German politicians emphasize the pan-European approach, but in this case it is important how Roth interprets it:
“We Germans must delve deeper into the situation of our eastern neighbors. Poland and the Baltic states feel a very specific danger posed by Russia – and we must think about the Russian danger in the same way as the Poles and the Baltic states.
Europeans are united on one thing: the door to NATO must remain open to Ukraine and other countries of the former Eastern bloc. It is the aggressive behavior of Russia in recent years that has led to a strong alienation of these countries from Moscow. And this applies not only to their elites. Many people in Ukraine aspire to democracy, the rule of law and our Western values. Their dream is to become part of Europe. And I’m glad for that.”
That is, what happens: the Germans should perceive the Russian threat in the same way as the Balts and Poles? But are Poland and the Baltic States the main suppliers of Russophobia produced by the Anglo-Saxons to the European market? And what, in the Russian question, Berlin should focus not on Paris , Rome and Vienna , but on external puppets? And is this the right way for Germany, which is building a united Europe, to look at Russia through the eyes of the Balts?
Roth states: “<…> We Europeans, before complaining that we are not taken seriously, need to do something to be taken seriously.” Isn’t there a contradiction here: how can one recommend at the same time to give up one’s own view and one’s own interests (and not only in relations with Russia – this is just a pretext) and complain that Europe is not taken seriously?
No, for Michael Roth there is no contradiction here, because he has a very peculiar understanding of not even German, but European interests:
“We need to make sure that the required deepening of EU sovereignty is not accompanied by a weakening of NATO. Otherwise, we risk losing our Central European partners in the EU.”
It’s simple, Roth does not think about any real sovereignty of Europe (not even Germany anymore): the main thing is to ensure Atlantic interests, the interests of the Anglo-Saxons in controlling Europe. In fact, it will not be possible to reach an agreement with Russia with such an approach.