May 24, 2022

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This war changed German foreign policy

between different Archaeology unexpected For the war in Ukraine, there is also a radical change in Germany’s approach. Until a few days ago, it was one of the countries most reluctant to take tough positions against Russia, on which it depends so much for its energy supplies: among other things, it opposed the imposition of the most severe sanctions and refused to send arms to Russia. Ukraine. But over the past week, it seems that the German government has changed its mind about practically everything: it joined the very strict sanctions of other European countries, decided to send lethal weapons to Ukraine and allow other countries to do so. He also expressed his willingness to re-evaluate the use of nuclear facilities that Germany has been busy getting rid of for years.

These are not isolated or unrelated issues: in a few days Germany appears to have changed or rethought many of the principles that have guided its foreign policy for the past 30 years.

– Read also: Germany’s primary wisdom in the Ukraine crisis

Shift in foreign policy» Germany, as defined by The New York Timesappears in a series of decisions made by the German government since last Monday, when Russian President Vladimir Putin began the invasion of Ukraine.

First of all Germany He decided The lack of authorization of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which was built in recent years to bring Russian gas to Germany and the rest of Europe: in recent years, the construction of the pipeline has been at the center of various disputes, but Germany has continued to defend it and support it with conviction. With the onset of the crisis on the Ukrainian border, the new German government has taken more positions caution There was a delay in activating the infrastructure. But the firm decision not to authorize its use came only after Russia recognized the breakaway territories in Donbassin eastern Ukraine.

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Then came Putin’s order to start a programlarge scale invasion Ukraine, identified “moment 1939 [data d’inizio della Seconda guerra mondiale]From Sudha David-Wilp, Analyst at the German Marshall Fund Study Center: In the immediate following days, as the conflict progressed, Germany gradually rethought many of its traditional policies.

Yes he is lonliness For example the decision of other European countries to be excluded from the system Swift (Allowing many international transactions) Some Russian banks. Exclusion – one of the harshest sanctions identified so far in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine – was talked about a lot in the previous days, also because of Germany’s initial opposition to its implementation: opposition explicitly repeat Until the day of the invasion itself, e abandoned after two days.

So Germany announced – one of the most surprising and historic decisions – aboutsend 1,000 anti-tank weapons and 500 surface-to-air missiles in Ukraine authorized Sending German weapons to Ukraine by other countries: the German government is sending weapons to Ukraine I strongly oppose it Even a month ago, when the crisis had already reached its climax: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said: “Germany has not supported the export of deadly weapons for years,” and banned Estonia from sending nine German howitzers (artillery pieces) to Ukraine. .

Sunday the German government also announce Huge investment, worth about 100 billion euros, in military spending: it raised its defense spending to more than 2 percent of GDP, thus reaching the standards that Boy Asked past time, and regarding what Germany has always kept below the threshold. Schultz announced the increase in military spending during a special session of the German parliament, in which he said that “on February 24, 2022 [giorno dell’invasione russa dell’Ucraina] It was a historic turning point in the history of our continent: “These are the words of political scientist Daniela Schwarzer, of the Open Society Foundations,”It has been strategically repositionedGermany, which since the end of World War II has always maintained a staunchly anti-military stance.

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It’s hard to underestimate the scale of Schulz’s decision on military investment: for decades, Germany was one of the few economic powers in the world without a strong military, and has historically been reluctant to engage in military missions abroad. This traditional policy, which has held for a very long time, appears to have changed in a matter of days.

Finally, Germany has also made it clear that it wants to make itself less dependent on the Russian gas it constitutes More than half From all that was used in Germany which is the main reason for the German government’s initial warning towards Russia.

Schulz said this week that Germany would take action to build two terminals to receive and process LNG (mainly methane in liquid form, at a very low temperature), given that for the time being he does not have (It would still be a long, expensive, and far from instant process.)

The German government has also shown itself to be more open to the use of nuclear energy, among them Germany, after the Fukushima disaster, he decided want liberation. Until a few weeks ago, the German government seemed to convinced to dismantle all of its nuclear facilities on Sunday, in response to German journalist, German Vice Chancellor and Economy Minister Robert Habeck He saidAlthough with great caution, which “does not rule out” the postponement of the dismantling of the factories that are still operating.

This is also surprising: Reliance on Russian gas (as well as other options made by the German government) has been one for years A very specific political choice, aimed at bringing Russia ever closer to Europe and creating a bond of interdependence which, according to the plans, is intended to encourage conditions of peace and stability. The German government’s statements illustrate the extent to which the ongoing war – an outcome quite contrary to what had been hoped – is prompting Germany to re-evaluate these positions in depth.

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Indeed, Germany’s decisions over the past week relate to areas and issues in which caution – and in some cases, categorical refusal, as in the case of sending weapons or nuclear energy – has not been limited to the crisis alone. As a result of a long-standing political orientation, the so-called Policy: That is, German foreign policy during the past thirty years on the basis of the openness of the German Federal Government to the countries of Eastern Europe. It was devised by Willy Brandt, German Chancellor from 1969 to 1974, and then followed by his successors.

It’s a political line that Germany seems to have at least suspended, and the turning point was precisely the war in Ukraine. how he wrote The The New York TimesThe invasion of a nearby sovereign nation took threats of nuclear attacks [ci si riferisce qui all’ordine di Putin di mettere in allerta le forze di deterrenza russe]He depicted civilians facing Russian tanks and a wave of shame on the part of the Allied nations to shake Germany’s decades-old faith in a foreign policy against military solutions, born of crimes committed by the Third Reich.”

– Read also: How much do we depend on Russian gas?