Germany’s zigzags on Ukraine policy spark criticism

Berlin agrees to send heavy weapons to Ukraine, take hard line against Russia, but experts warn of dangerous escalation.

Germany’s zigzags on Ukraine policy spark criticism

The German government is coming under increasing criticism for the zigzags in its Ukraine policy.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s coalition government had long pursued a cautious policy toward Moscow and remained reluctant to block the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, despite repeated calls from the US and NATO’s eastern members to take a harsher stance with Russia.

But Berlin began to change its policy after Russia’s launch of a military attack against Ukraine in February, imposing heavy economic sanctions against Russia and agreeing to send heavy weapons to Ukraine following pressure from the US.

For some experts, the government’s foreign policy zigzags and its moves to meet US demands over Ukraine risk a dangerous escalation with Russia and are likely to create more instability in the region.

According to Willy Wimmer, a former German conservative lawmaker, the US has adopted a new foreign policy under President Joe Biden, started to fight political rivals like Russia and China and also increased pressure on the German government to accept its demands.

Wimmer, who served as a parliamentary state secretary at the German Defense Ministry in the early 90s, said the US has long pursued a policy “to hinder good cooperation on the Euro-Asian continent between Germany and Russia” and also used the Ukraine war for this goal.

“One has the impression that one of the aims in connection with the Ukraine war is to keep Germany away from any cooperation with its best trading partner and to make cooperation impossible in the long run,” he told Anadolu Agency.

The experienced politician heavily criticized Scholz’s coalition partner the Green Party and Annalena Baerbock, its candidate for chancellor, who is now Germany’s foreign minister, for their policy toward Russia and for their insistence on sending heavy weapons to Ukraine.

“So the Greens as a party have to answer that themselves first of all. And then the voters have to decide whether they agree with this line or not. But in the general public image, you have to assume that the Greens have just become the war-mongering German formation,” he said.

Publicist and author Wolfgang Bittner, who has been intensively studying the geopolitical situation in the post-Soviet space for years, has also warned about the potential consequences of Germany’s foreign policy zigzags and its involvement in the Ukrainian conflict.

“That Germany supplies heavy weapons and trains soldiers of Ukraine here in Germany -- that is in my opinion an entry into war. That should not happen,” he told Anadolu Agency.

The German expert said the war could have been prevented if the US had addressed Moscow’s security concerns but President Joe Biden wanted this war to ruin Russia.

He said Scholz is still trying to pursue a cautious policy but he has been under growing pressure from his coalition partners, especially the Green politicians, who advocate harsher economic sanctions against Russia and the delivery of heavy weapons to Ukraine.

“Yes, what Annalena Baerbock and Robert Habeck -- especially these two Green politicians -- are doing is economic suicide,” he said.

Bittner warned that some demands of the Green Party could drag the country into a military conflict.

“The fact that the German government allows itself to be tied up without any contradiction for this aggression policy of the US, I consider that to be a unique catastrophe,” he added.