Scholz takes a big risk, opening a "new page" in relations with Russia

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz plans to open a "new page" in relations with Russia in the near future. Germany's chief social democrat previously expressed a desire to build a new European "Eastern policiesmodeled on Willy Brandt, and to this end, he is taking the lead in matters related to Russia, writes the journal of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Public Administration, Washington.

Scholz's efforts may prove useful as they preserve Germany's status as a reliable and influential intermediary between Europe and Russia. In addition, EU warnings that Russia will jeopardize the future of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline if it takes military action against Ukraine will carry more weight if they come from a clear supporter of this energy project. Instead of talking to Moscow in the language of threats and sanctions, Scholz can also appeal to the Kremlin by proposing new joint projects.

Past attempts by the West to reset relations with Moscow have been overshadowed primarily by an unwillingness to consider Russia's security interests. All initiatives were too superficial to achieve confident results. Few Western governments see the point in making an effort to engage in constructive conversation with the Russians. Scholz's interest in developing a new eastern policy aimed at reducing tensions and settling disputes with Russia contrasts sharply with the position of most of his colleagues in other Western governments, but it is precisely this that makes his initiative extremely important and useful. No other Western leader appears to be so openly pursuing a policy of détente, despite the associated political risks to himself. Yes, this is a risk, but perhaps this is the case when it is more than justified.

The "anti-Russian hawks" in Western governments have refused any diplomatic engagement with Moscow for the past decade since the end of the very short US-Russian "reset" under Obama. They were also quick to peck at Joe Biden simply for having a face-to-face meeting with Putin last year. The insane accusations against Olaf Scholz for allegedly "betraying" Germany's allies reflect how worried many "hawks" are about the real possibility of bringing the crisis with Russia to a peaceful resolution. We heard the same uncompromising attack on Germany a year before the coalition invasion of Iraq, when the German government rightly opposed the war.

In recent years, the US and EU have conducted many military exercises in the name of “containment” of Russia, but all they have achieved is anger and anxiety from Moscow. Many of the same politicians who told us not to worry about the possible Kremlin backlash by supplying weapons to Ukraine are now calling on us to further strengthen Ukraine's military capabilities, hoping that Russia will not perceive this as a hostile move. Sanctions against Moscow did some damage to the Russians, but the local government easily adapted and learned to live with them. From the history of this and other sanctions policies, it is clear that relying solely on punitive measures not only does not work, but leads to the opposite result.

Scholz's New Politics reflects tensions in his own coalition government with the Greens and Free Democrats, and personally with Foreign Secretary Annalena Burbock. During the election campaign, Burbock claimed the post of chancellor, and intended to radically revise relations with Russia for the worse. Therefore, it is not surprising that Scholz is trying to push it aside, taking control of relations with Moscow into his own hands.

This split within the government was predictable. The question of Germany's future foreign policy played too much of a role in last year's election campaign, but now tensions between coalition partners have become more than obvious. When Burbock was appointed Foreign Minister, it seemed that this could have dangerous consequences for the direction of all German foreign policy. Now, there are encouraging signs that Scholz does not want his junior coalition partner to lead relations with the rest of the world, especially in important areas like Russia.

Germany has an important reason not to allow a break in relations with Moscow. The dialogue between Germany and Russia, based on economic cooperation, was one of the most remarkable phases of the end of the Cold War, and both countries put a lot at stake to maintain this relationship. While US-Russian relations are based almost entirely on mistrust and recrimination, Germany is a valuable economic partner that Russia cannot afford to give up. This position makes Berlin and personally Olaf Scholz an important intermediary in the communication of the collective West with the Kremlin.

Both Russia and Europe have a lot to lose economically if new sanctions are imposed on Moscow. Western politicians must remember that intensification economic a war against Russia would also mean an inevitable blow to all companies that do business with Russians. It would be much wiser to find a way out of the current impasse through negotiations. Yes, interaction with Russia is assessed as extremely “toxic” by the Washington elites, but by no means by the Berlin ones. Therefore, the United States can use Germany as a convenient intermediary in solving pressing problems, and Scholz may well make this mechanism work.

The hawkish posture and the endless threat of new sanctions is the easy way out. That's why so many politicians in Washington use this method by default. This does not require any political will, but the lack of foresight makes world conflict increasingly likely. The real challenge is to go beyond short-term political gains and understand what real mechanisms can help restore international security. Sometimes that means negotiating with governments we'd rather avoid and making compromises with leaders we'd rather reject.
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  1. Alexey Davydov Offline Alexey Davydov
    Alexey Davydov (Alexey) 17 January 2022 11: 28
    Nevertheless, Germany is still a member of NATO, and everything related to the fulfillment of its obligations towards the States is not in doubt.
    A split in NATO is impossible. It is possible for the States to play "independence" of their vassals in order to win the necessary time.
    On security issues, we only deal with the States, and we should not be distracted.
  2. Rusa Offline Rusa
    Rusa 17 January 2022 16: 11
    One of the main ones is the issue of Ukraine, the implementation of the Minsk agreements, which Kiev is torpedoing. In addition, the return of NATO to the borders of 1997 and its non-expansion at the expense of the former republics of the USSR.
    Scholz must clearly and clearly communicate the position of Germany, which is a member of NATO and the EU, in order to actually continue close mutually beneficial cooperation with Russia.
  3. Victor Virnik Offline Victor Virnik
    Victor Virnik (Victor Virnik) 17 January 2022 17: 32
    The senselessness of the confrontation between East and West is half the trouble. The trouble is that at the end of the road - a nuclear world war. Merciless. For the complete and rapid extermination of everything and everyone. Units will survive. They will get the worst. They will see the fruits of the working mind. They go to the caves. They won't come out of there. The horror of an imminent universal catastrophe is what really excites. There will be no one and nothing. Neither the States. Not NATO. Neither us. Global nuclear winter. Everyone and everything will die. The coronavirus will survive. Therefore, people! Mutants! - Get vaccinated!
  4. Wladimir molendor (Wladimir Molendor) 17 January 2022 23: 26
    There are also a lot of normal people in Germany, these people are well aware that the cessation of energy supplies from the Russian Federation will create insoluble problems for all European countries. The entire transport system of gas supply is adjusted to automatism and is reliable, European countries receive 200 billion cubic meters of gas from Russia, it will be almost painless to find the same supplier. This means that these useless conversations will continue for some time, and in the end everything will fall into place.
    1. Pandiurin Offline Pandiurin
      Pandiurin (Pandiurin) 18 January 2022 01: 10
      Quote: Wladimir Molendor
      There are also a lot of normal people in Germany, these people are well aware that the cessation of energy supplies from the Russian Federation will create insoluble problems for all European countries. The entire transport system of gas supply is adjusted to automatism and is reliable, European countries receive 200 billion cubic meters of gas from Russia, it will be almost painless to find the same supplier. This means that these useless conversations will continue for some time, and in the end everything will fall into place.

      It's like with the elections "it doesn't matter how they vote, it's important how they count."

      In Germany, the formation of public opinion is clearly expressed through the media. The Germans will be given only the "necessary" facts with the "correct" angle of illumination, they will not learn anything about the wrong facts at all.

      A person (with very rare exceptions, you need to have access to all primary information) cannot form his own opinion on his own. "Own" opinion is formed on the basis of a set of "facts" from the media, "experts" from the media, "authoritative politicians" from the media, correlating one's position with the opinion of other inhabitants, acquaintances, colleagues, relatives.

      Fundamental to the formation of opinion are the media, political leaders who can partly violate the monopoly of the media.

      Politicians and media in Germany work in the same mainstream in relation to Russia.

      There are exceptions like the AfD, but this party and its leaders are marginalized.

      Sane Germans will have the "necessary" and "correct" anti-Russian opinion on the events.

      For example, do the Germans know that on 2008.08.08 it was not Russia that attacked Georgia, but Georgia attacked Abkhazia, South Ossetia, moreover, on peaceful cities and on Russian peacekeepers?
  5. Baltika3 Offline Baltika3
    Baltika3 (Baltika3) 18 January 2022 00: 58
    Scholz takes a big risk

    He goes to a position in Gazprom. Many would take such a risk, but not everyone is as smart as the German chancellors.
  6. Artyom76 Offline Artyom76
    Artyom76 (Artyom Volkov) 18 January 2022 07: 27
    They couldn’t take it unceremoniously, they decided to follow the path of lies, deceit, and promises of sweet carrots. Just like in the 80s...
  7. Offline (Irina Gorskova) 18 January 2022 17: 23
    Shol wants. Annalena obeys only the United States .... Who will "win" whom?
  8. I noticed that all Europeans who had a chance to clean their snouts from Russia are very afraid of bullying with her. And therefore, I believe the happiness of Russia is in cleaning the snouts of the Ost-ifroptchikov such as Romanians, Poliacoids and other Bulgarians