Anti-Imperialism/Foreign Policy

Donald Trump’s shadow hangs over the tensions in Ukraine and Germany.

Abbie Hoffman referred to the New York Times as the “voice of the ruling class” for a reason. It makes perfect sense for Germany to distance itself from US imperialism and work to develop friendlier relations with Russia, particularly given the history of conflict between the two countries. It makes perfect sense from a geopolitical perspective. Germany and France are essentially the co-CEOs of the European Union and the European wing of NATO. What they need to be doing is carving out a more independent position for Europe that is less subservient to US imperialism. Of course, that would mean taking more responsibility for their own defense, both militarily and financially, so that is the dilemma they are in. Either keep free-riding on US hegemony or bear the costs of greater autonomy.

By David Leonhardt New York Times

Germany, apart

Donald Trump has made a habit of deriding the U.S. alliance with Western Europe. He described NATO — the American-led alliance with Europe that dates to the 1940s — as “obsolete” and said that Americans were “schmucks” for financing it. He mused about withdrawing the U.S. from NATO and often spoke more positively about Russia than about longtime American allies like Germany and France.
These comments were a radical departure from the policies of every U.S. president, Republican and Democrat, for 75 years. Still, because Trump did not make good on his biggest threats, the tangible effects were not always clear.
Now they are becoming clearer.
Russia has massed about 125,000 troops on its border with Ukraine, threatening an invasion that would be the most substantial ground war in Europe since the end of World War II. To prevent that, President Biden, Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain and several other leaders are trying to present a unified front and tell Russia that it would suffer severe economic consequences. But one crucial country is missing from that united front: Germany.
As Katrin Bennhold, The Times’s Berlin bureau chief, writes:

Denmark is sending fighter jets to Lithuania and a frigate to the Baltic Sea. France has offered to send troops to Romania. Spain is sending a frigate to the Black Sea. President Biden has put thousands of U.S. troops on “high alert.”

And then there is Germany. In recent days Germany — Europe’s largest and richest democracy, strategically situated at the crossroads between East and West — has stood out more for what it will not do than for what it is doing.

Germany’s government, under its new chancellor, Olaf Scholz, has ruled out any arms exports to Ukraine. It is also delaying a shipment of howitzers from Estonia to Ukraine. It may have kept British planes from using German airspace when sending military supplies to Ukraine last week.


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