German foreign policy is going throu-gh difficult times. The media claim that the chancellor faces resignation due to “indecision” in supporting Ukraine and confronting Russia. The head of state is criticized from all sides, including coalition allies. In place of the pragmatic and cautious Scholz, a real hawk is aiming – the head of the CDU, Friedrich Merz.
Olaf’s Chill Adventure
Opponents of the head of state may once again raise the topic of deliveries of heavy weapons to Ukraine in order to shake the chair under Scholz. According to Spiegel, the initiator will be the head of the Christian Democratic Union, Friedrich Merz, and this will lead to the need to reconsider Berlin’s policy towards Kyiv. According to the publication, many in the country are dissatisfied with the unwillingness of the chancellor to arm Ukraine.
Earlier, German media reported that Germany cut the export list for Ukraine by half, removing heavy weapons. Moreover, Bild emphasizes that they did this on the initiative of Scholz, although the German military-industrial complex is ready to satisfy Kyiv’s request. As a result, the Ukrainians will receive only three of the 15 declared positions. Tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, self-propelled artillery mounts, helicopters and air defense systems passed by.
But Germany has almost run out of stocks to share. Scholz expressed this idea in a conversation with the leaders of the G7, which, in addition to Germany, includes the USA, Japan, Great Britain, France, Italy and Canada. True, the reluctance to help the Ukrainians is not at all due to the fact that the chancellor wants the Russian special operation to be completed as soon as possible. On the contrary, he is worried that Moscow will attack NATO and then the Germans will need weapons, which are now being offered to be transferred to Kyiv.
Scholz is a cautious politician. For example, the radicals demand to ban all gas and oil supplies from Russia as soon as possible, but the chancellor warns that after that peace will not reign in Ukraine, but his country will fall into a serious economic crisis. “The point is that we want to avoid a dramatic economic crisis, the loss of millions of jobs and factories that will never be able to open again. This would have serious consequences for our country, for all of Europe, and would greatly damage the ability to finance the recovery of Ukraine,” the German leader explained.
Meanwhile, according to the results of 2022, Germ-any can pay Russia three billion euros more for oil than in 2021, and twice as much for gas, according to Greenpeace. In total – a re-cord 33.9 billion euros. A-ccording to the Federal Cu-stoms Service (FTS) of R-ussia, in 2021 Russia sold 19.2 million tons of oil to Germany for $9.3 billion. Gas – 48.2 billion cubic meters.
While the exalted part of German society is calling for the abandonment of Russian energy resources, business representatives are seriously concerned about this prospect. The head of the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry predicted a “real disaster” in the event of an embargo. According to him, the German economy will become incapacitated. Adolf Bauer, president of the German Social Association, also speaks of the “dramatic consequences” of such a decision.
The Social Democratic Party of Germany rules the country not alone, but as part of a coalition that includes the Greens and the Free Democratic Party (FD-P). Their union was immediately called a “traffic light”, referring to their dissimilarity to each other. But party leaders said they wo-uld bridge differences by w-orking together on importa-nt issues. The Ukrainian crisis has become a test of strength. Against the background of many colleagues, Scholz is hardly a dove of peace. This is especially noticeable against the background of the representative of the Greens, Annalena Berbock, who heads the German Foreign Ministry. Even before the start of the special operation, she said that Berlin would not be an intermediary between Moscow and the West. Now she insists on the supply of heavy weapons to Ukraine and calls for intensified efforts, although, following Scholz, she is forced to admit the lack of the necessary stock of weapons in warehouses. In addition, Burbock is in favor of a complete ban on Russian oil supplies by the end of 2022. And when that happens, Germany, she said, will quickly begin to phase out Russian gas.
Moreover, politicians call for building a new security system in different ways: Scholz – together with Russia, Burbock – against Russia. And we are talking about the long term. The head of the Foreign Ministry is especially concerned about the situation of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia: although they are part of NATO, they cannot yet count on the prompt deployment of alliance troops in the event of a Russian invasion.
Burbock has already earned political points with such rhetoric: she became the most popular politician according to the results of a study conducted by the sociological institute INSA. For it – 50 percent of res-pondents. In second place is another representative of the Greens, Vice Chancellor Robert Habek, who is liked by 46 percent of respondents. And almost half (49 percent) are dissatisfied with the work of Olaf Sch-olz. For him, 38 percent – the Bild newspaper calls th-is the chancellor’s anti-rec-ord. However, in general, only 35 percent approve of the government’s activities, while 55 percent are against.
Coup in the Bundestag
More than half of the participants in the survey of the sociological institute Infratest dimap support the supply of heavy weapons to Ukraine. Most of Scholz’s coalition allies also agree with this decision. The more willingly, the opposition in the person of Friedrich Merz exploits the theme of the chancellor’s indecision and even hints at betrayal. In particular, Scholz is allegedly constantly hiding something about helping Ukraine, which leads to the international isolation of Germany. At the same time, according to Merz, the chancellor pays too much attention to the relations of the SPD with Russia. Although the head of the CDU does not specify what exactly it is about.
Scholz’s supporters are trying to play on the fact that German offensive weapons may be too difficult for the Ukrainian military. For example, the management of the Leopard tank is taught for two years. But these arguments don’t seem to work very well. In addition, several SPD deputies admitted to Der Tagesspiegel journalists that they did not want to become a “belligerent” in the eyes of Moscow.
In Germany, all political forces condemn Russia’s sp-ecial operation in Ukraine, but each has its own reasons for this, explains Alexei K-uznetsov, head of the Center for European Studies at IMEMO RAS. “For example, the left condemns only the methods of Moscow, but not the essence of its actions, while others oppose not only the special operation, but the existence of Russia in general as such. In this palette, Scholz can be called a moderate politician. He is well aware that the supply of heavy weapons will lead to escalation of the conflict, to even greater suffering and the flow of refugees,” says Kuznetsov.
Scholz is unpopular, his coalition is as motley as possible, but the chancellor is a tough nut to crack, he has no fundamental disagreements with Vice-Chancellor Robert Habek (The Greens) and Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP), points out Vladislav Belov, head of the Center for German Studies at the Institute of Europe. “There are speculations about a confrontation between Burbock and Scholz over heavy weapons for Ukraine, but until Khabek joined their dispute, there is nothing to worry about. As for Merz, immediately after being elected head of the CDU, he took a tough anti-Russian position and began wave a saber. Of course, the probability of Scholz’s resignation is above zero, but it is still very small, “the political scientist notes.
The chancellor is against drawing NATO into the conflict, so he does not want to supply Kyiv with weapons, but offers to buy everything you need from German concerns, Belov continues. Friedrich Merz, Scholz’s opponent, on the contrary, is eager to fight. “He is not only a hawk, but also a transatlantic,” the expert emphasizes. In this sense, the head of the CDU differs from Annalena Burbock. Both are for the supply of heavy weapons to Ukraine. However, she is convinced that in this way it is possible to prevent the loss of life. Merz, on the other hand, wants to fuel the conflict more.