Germany in the world | Public Agenda

Dear readers, dear readers,

there are events that mark the course of history, that shake the foundations of a reality that seemed immovable, at least in the short term, and open the doors to an uncertain future. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has been one of those turning points, although its triggering was part of a gradual process. Its causes, its development and its multidimensional consequences have been widely written in Public Agenda (see the special Putin invades Ukraine), but we want to pay attention to the repercussions that the war has had in a country that is the nerve center not only of Europe and its Community institutions, but also the world: Germany.

At the beginning of the invasion, the eyes were directed to the German country to see the position that the new Executive led by the Social Democrat Olaf Scholz and his green and liberal partners was going to adopt. Since its recomposition after the Second World War, Germany had traditionally opted not to attach much importance to defense issues. Therefore, when Putin crossed the Ukrainian border, the German response was not as forceful or immediate as that of other European partners. Criticism and pressure increased and there were many who accused Berlin of not doing enough, calling for a more assertive and determined role. In fact, there were even some diplomatic frictions with Ukraine, such as Zelensky’s refusal to receive President Steinmeier in early April. About these pressures and German caution he wrote in Ideas Jürgen Habermas, to whom Vicente Palacio responded in this house.

Since then, Germany has had to rethink its strategy in order to meet its own and others’ expectations, which placed the country as an important global player. This has sparked great internal debates that have shown the undoubted interconnection between the domestic and foreign policy of a State. Finally, Germany has increased the budget of its Armed Forces, has ended up delivering weapons to Ukraine and has yielded in energy matters, accepting, among other things, to reduce its imports of Russian oil to achieve independence from this source and origin this year. Thus, the change in actions and discourse has broken with a crucial feature of German national identity: the decades of rejection of a strategic foreign policy, as Bernardino León wrote in The country.

East Blick It is headed by Lars Klingbeil’s reflections on this matter. The German politician and co-leader of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), who was already interviewed last week in The country, advocates a realistic view of the international system and a European sovereignty that does not leave aside the countries of the East. Germany would have to strengthen its role in seeking to strengthen inclusive structures and strategic alliances that face the challenges arising from the new international situation, the end of the end of History. For this, it is key to achieve a European strategic autonomy that does not limit, but does not isolate either, that takes into account other parts of the world. Examples of this, Scholz’s trip to Senegal so as not to leave the Global South isolated and thus lose geopolitical relevance.

There is more: the summary of the week.

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New! What the current crossroads mean for German foreign policy. The co-leader of the German Social Democrats compares the current situation with historical episodes such as the fall of the Berlin Wall and the subsequent German reunification, as well as with the September 11 attacks. In this text, he breaks down the “great political task” that lies ahead, from the point of view of his country, the European Union and social democracy.

This analysis is part of SocialDem Agendain collaboration with the Friedrich Ebert Foundation

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Good weekend and good reading,

Paula Alonso
Public Agenda

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