@DmitriTrenin seems to argue that Germany's energy interdependence with Russia has made the Kremlin more open to compromise in Ukraine and Belarus. Yet Russian aggression against Ukraine since 2014 and the current silent takeover of Belarus suggests the opposite.
Germany reacts to changes in Russia: a more authoritarian system leaving less space for opposition; no compromise in Ukraine; war crimes in Syria; the propping up of the Belarusian dictator. The old strategy of interdependence has produced the opposite of what was intended.
A big cyber attack on the German parliament and the killing of an opponent of the regime in plain sight in Berlin has demonstrated to Germans that the Kremlin has no respect for German sovereignty -- that it doesn't consider Germany a partner.
If there has been hostility in the last years, then certainly not from the German side.
Germany remains to be willing to engage with Russia if the Kremlin is interested in meaningful dialogue. But German red lines have been crossed many times, and Berlin increasingly thinks that deepening German energy dependence on Russia isn't in Germany's and Europe's interest.
Therefore Germany is increasingly moving from modernisation theory / liberalism towards a more muscular realpolitik. Something that should be familiar to Moscow.

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More from @ulrichspeck

24 Oct
You hear it everywhere: "There's no going back to the good old days of the transatlantic relationship even if Biden wins". But is it true? A thread.
First, the premise is questionable. There are no "good old days" in transatlantic relations. They have never been harmonious. Just like intra-European relations are never harmonious. There have always been clashes between worldviews, interests, personality.
Secondly, what we would see with Biden is a return of Obama people into leading foreign policy positions. The Obama administration was a time when transatlantic relations were good, or very good, when cooperation was largely successful, from the financial crisis to Ukraine.
Read 10 tweets
23 Oct
Putin's view of Germany as an emerging superpower is surprising. He may just want to saw a bit of confusion. Or he may really believe it. If it's the latter, why should he?
He may think that Russia is facing two economic powerhouses limiting expansion and at least indirectly challenging its spheres of influence (or control), China and Germany.
Indeed while it has been cautious not to offend Russia, Germany nevertheless has strongly supported Ukraine and played an important role in NATO's return back to territorial defense and deterrence.
Read 6 tweets
16 Oct
Belarus, Nagorno-Karabakh: The Kremlin seems to loose its iron grip on its neighborhood. This begs the question: How successful has Putin's foreign policy been? A thread.
Starting point: Putin has two major foreign policy goals:

a) Control of the neighborhood, ie Eastern Europe, Southern Caucasus, Central Asia, parts of Middle East and North Africa. Pretty much like during the times of the Soviet Union.
b) Standing on eye level with the US: be respected globally and have a seat on the table when global issues are being negotiated, one way or the other.
Read 8 tweets
25 Sep
EU foreign policy: ending the unanimity requirement by introducing some sort of majority voting (QMV) on foreign affairs has become the next holy grail in the debate. Quick thread.
Yet we have to get rid of the idea that some sort of institutional arrangement will end the disagreement and produce magically a united, coherent EU capable and will to act like a great power on the world stage.
We have been there before. Once it was the introduction of a Brussels-based diplomatic service and a foreign minister-like figure that would end the „gridlock“. Yet we have both now, and still no broad consensus, rather the opposite.
Read 10 tweets
15 Sep
Germany feels more uncomfortable with NS2 more than ever, but it feels equally uncomfortable with abandoning the project. And the reason for this is geopolitical.
It feels uncomfortable because it is concerned about Navalny and about Belarus, which are seen just the last points in a long list of aggressive acts by Russia. Ukraine was the wake-up call, the gamer-changer, 2020 is the confirmation that Russia is not really a partner.
Yet it's difficult to change course after years of pushing NS2 through against the will and views of EU neighbors. And US pressure doesn't help, as bowing to it would look as if Germany had become a vassal of Trump.
Read 10 tweets
8 Sep
Es gibt einen Konsens der Russland-Kenner, dass die von Deutschland maßgeblich mitinitiierten und immer wieder erneuerten westlichen Sanktionen gegen Russland wegen der russischen Militärintervention im Donbas erheblich dazu beigetragen haben, den russischen Vormarsch zu stoppen.
Wirkung ebenso wie Nichtwirkung von Sanktionen lässt sich im übrigen nie zweifelsfrei nachweisen; beide Vermutungen beruhen auf kontrafaktischen Szenarien, wie der Sanktionierte / Nichtsanktionierte sich verhalten hätte, wenn es keine Sanktionen / Sanktionen gegeben hätte.
Bei den Einlassungen von Altmaier geht es offenbar um eine grundlegendere Frage: lässt sich Wirtschaft im Zeitalter geopolitischen Wettbewerbs abkoppeln von der Gesamtstrategie, oder müssen wirtschaftliche Entscheidungen geopolitisch überprüft werden?
Read 5 tweets

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