Why German politicians want to make peace with Putin

Frank-Walter Steinmeier

Frank-Walter Steinmeier  

2016/06/22 • Analysis & Opinion

Article by: Vitaliy Portnikov

German politicians from the ranks of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) are increasingly inclined to the idea of restoring mutual understanding with Russia even if the aggressive nature of the Putin regime continues.

And now the issue is not only the plans of the German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier to “gradually” remove the sanctions against Moscow if Putin’s regime begins to implement the Minsk agreements. Steinmeier’s recent column in (the German newspaper) Bild am Sonntag has puzzled many by its categorical misunderstanding of NATO’s assignment in its confrontation with the Russian aggressor.

Simply put, Steinmeier stubbornly refuses to see Putin as an aggressor and prefers to accept what is happening in Eastern Ukraine and Crimea as a misunderstanding that can be resolved.

And this is not only the personal position of an experienced politician. It is the party’s position as well.

Those Social Democrats who are trying to return to party to reality have turned out to be marginalized in their own ranks. In fact, the SPD has become hostage to a distorted understanding of the “New Eastern Policy” of its great leader Willy Brandt. But Brandt had viewed the Soviet Union as a constant and was developing mechanisms for coexistence with an authoritarian state and its “sphere of influence.”

Where did Steinmeier and other leaders of the current SPD get the idea that Putin’s Russia is the same kind of constant? And that the West must create a “sphere of influence” for this anachronistic state with its own hands?

After all, the sphere of influence of the USSR was paid for by millions of lives of the citizens of this country — including Ukrainians and the massive destruction of Ukraine, Belarus, Baltic States and the other destroyed Europeans territories of the former empire. And now what — again?

This foreign policy approach makes Steinmeier an obvious antagonist of the Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel. And there is nothing unnatural in this. Elections are approaching in Germany and the SPD is trying to move away from its coalition partners.

After all, this coalition is not a love match but a marriage of convenience. And each party strives to rule without its partner. Or with a different partner. However, the pro-Putin position may play a dirty trick on the Social Democrats. Until recently, their “natural” coalition partners were the “Greens” (Green Party of Germany). The recent green-red coalition that was the last one where SPD received the federal chancellor portfolio (which was held, unfortunately, by the odious Gerhard Schroeder, who has been turned into a retired relic by Vladimir Putin).

And, theoretically, if SPD aspires to power it can also expect a new “red-green” coalition. For the Greens, it will be much easier to get into the Bundestag than for the Free Democratic Party (FDP), the traditional partners of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU, the party of Angela Merket — Ed.) and the Christian Social Union (CSU).

But it turns out that the positions of the Greens and the CDU on the danger of Russia are beginning to merge. I would even say that the Greens in their assessments of Putin’s regime and the methods of resisting authoritarianism and aggression are more radical than the Christian Democrats and more honest than the  Social Democrats.

This is why in Germany today people are beginning to think about another coalition — CDU and the Greens. In that coalition a representative of the Greens would take the post of foreign minister and then instead of Steinmeier we would see a responsible politician in the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs who would be thinking of how to strengthen sanctions and not how to help Putin avoid retaliation.

And this would not only be better for Ukraine. It would be better for Germany.


 

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Translated by: Anna Mostovych
Source: Espreso TV

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  • http://www.britsincrete.net/ BritsinCrete

    As someone who lived the Cold War days growing up, I am horrified at the stated position of Frank-Walter Steinmeier . You cannot achieve appeasement with Putin. Period. Mr Steinmeier’s position is traitorous to the values I hold. You can never negotiate with a Hitler nor a Putin. They only know strength of bullying and obsession with power. Mr Steinmeier what planet are you living in?

    • Quartermaster

      Alas, Steinmeier has the leftist’s disease and is utterly deluded. No one can o-exist with Putinist Russia anymore than they could co-exist with a Stalinist Soviet Union. You can only resist such entities if you wish to maintain your honor and freedom.

    • Geralt von Riva

      we have actually a grand coalition which is poison for a democracy as so extremist parties grew.
      what happens now, steinmeyer as social demorat (actually 20%) needs new partners. so he takes far left positions to become aceptable for our left (die linke) a merger of the former socialists and a spin off from the social democrats. anoither former partner of the social democrats, the greens, are also a bit socialistic but transatlantican and supporter of the ukraine. but to attack merkels CDU he need a red, red, green coaliton.
      so what will happen now. both mainstream parties (SPD and CDU) will become more extremist to integrate extremist voters in their party. but what will happen after the elections is a different story. i assume, their more extremist voters will become unsatisfied

  • Patrick

    I hope Steinmeier is fired soon. He is a weak foreign minister. See my YouTube video posted on Steinmeiers Facebook account after the attacks in Paris. Of course after this video I was no longer welcome on his site (as a Dutch person I spoke to Steinmeier in his native language, if you don’t understand my body language said enough !). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7SfbFNamqI

  • Dirk Smith

    Paid and bought for by the Crime-lin.

  • Alex George

    It seems clear that Steinmeier hopes to get a personal reward from Russia as well. Not direct cash, but a cushy consultancy with a Russian state-owned enterprise after he retires, and perhaps for members of his family as well.

    It would not be the first time this has happened.

    • Agrajag

      A corner office in Rosneft HQ with a 6 figure salary is the going rate for German politicians these days.

  • Volker Trauth

    All over Europe, Putin has to rely on extremist parties to get a hold and forward his agenda of destabilization and breaking up the EU. Germany is one rare example, here the Russian influence in one of the two major established mainstream parties, SPD, seems great and it is founded on – money. You mentioned Schroeder, the most prominent exponent who became a major gazprom figure after his term as chancellor (and granting gazprom big business while in office) and still voices as pro-Putin agitator. SPD chairman and current minister of economy Sigmar Gabriel follows his path, he pays visits to Putin in Moscow and promotes gazprom’s Nord Stream 2 project against Ukainian and European interests. Steinmeier attacks NATO for stationing (a very few) troops up front to protect allies, but fails to criticize division-scale Russian maneuvres meantime, not to speak about all aggressions and invasions the Russians do. His OSCE chairmanship is a joke. He is a personal friend of Russian minister Lavrov and gladly accepts any humiliation done by ‘Seryosha’ with a smiling face (this is documented). Symptoms indicate Steinmeier is either bribed or blackmailed into Russian service, to say it frankly. However, there is hope. A new platform inside SPD has begun to question the servile ‘Russian-understanding’ course of this leadership and it could all accumulate to a party revolution if they get strong enough to challenge Gabriel, Steinmeier and what else collaborators put Germany and EU at risk. If Steinmeier would not happen to be an important SPD figure, Merkel would have him dismissed meantime, I am sure. But she can’t do so without risking the coalition. What is left is, she can override him publicly in actions. The elections next year will probably see a dangerous grouping of SPD + Die Linke + Greens versus CDU/CSU + FDP, if all of them make it over 5 percent. That adds another dangerous pro-Putin force on SPD side: Die Linke is much more entangled in support for Russia, particularly for the terrorist republics in Donbas, where their members have paid visits. It is related with the socialist nature and the past of this party, it used to be the SED state party of GDR before the end of the East German satellite state of USSR back in cold war. So an alliance SPD + Die Linke is most devastating for the defense of freedom. Hopefully the Greens can be moved to join the other side, CDU/CSU, as they are not in line with pro-Putinism at all. And in my outlook I even did not mention AfD at all, the new populist right wing party, which is even more so connected to Russian influence. It is terrible seeing Putin infesting several political forces at the same time, to make sure one or several bring him with them into government. That is what his enormous hidden wealth is used for, and where are Western defense mechanisms? Against bribing and influence making, with the aim of destruction resistence towards Putin’s Russia?