The Biden administration sees Europe as partly "unfinished business" - while the Obama administration was reluctant to play a role in the regional order, namely in Central/Eastern Europe, and the Trump administration was handicapped by the Russia-friendly course of the president.
While support is welcome in a region that Moscow still considers its natural sphere of influence, the fact that the US comes back into its former role also shows that the big European countries, namely Germany, have failed to play a bigger role in the region beyond business.
It would be wise if Germany would join the US in playing a much bigger role in Central Europe. Matching the US contribution of one billion USD for infrastructure in the context of the Three Seas Initiative would be a good start.
For Central Europe, Germany is not just the key country with regard to economic development, it is also a pillar of "the West" in the political, cultural sense. Yet Germany keeps looking almost exclusively west itself, instead of taking on its historic responsibility in the east.
Unlike the US, Germany cannot provide security on all levels to Central Europe, but it can do far more to make the region feel safe. And it can do far more to engage politically and culturally with Central Europe, show real interest and engagement.
In 2009, incoming German foreign minister Westerwelle called on Germany to develop a relationship with its eastern neighbors that has the same quality as the relationship with its western neighbors, namely France. This hasn't happened yet.…

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More from @ulrichspeck

18 Feb
Macron on tensions with Russia: “We continue sometimes to fight against an ideology or an organisation that no longer exists with a geopolitical logic that no longer exists and that has continued to fracture Europe.”…
And on Nato: “Nobody can tell me that today’s Nato is a structure that, in its foundations, is still pertinent. It was founded to face down the Warsaw Pact. There is no more a Warsaw Pact.”
In other words, the partly confrontational policy of the West towards Russia is anachronistic.
Read 10 tweets
18 Feb
Sigmar Gabriel 2021 zu Nord Stream 2: "Ich finde, das ist eine europäische Entscheidung – mit allen Chancen und Risiken. Aber es ist keine amerikanische."…
Gabriel 2015 zu Nord Stream 2 gegenüber Putin: "What’s most important ... is that we strive to ensure that all this remains under the competence of the German authorities .... then opportunities for external meddling will be limited."…
Wäre NS2 "eine europäische Entscheidung", dann gäbe es die Pipeline wahrscheinlich nicht.
Read 5 tweets
17 Feb
Hintergrundstück zu Frankreichs Mali-Einsatz.…
Die zentralen Frage allerdings werden auch hier umgangen:
- Funktioniert der "war on terror" in der französischen Variante, oder treibt er gerade erst jenen Widerstand hervor, den er dann militärisch bekämpft?
- Was ist die "exit strategy"?
Die USA haben aus dem Scheitern in Irak und Afghanistan die Konsequenz gezogen, sich auf solche Großeinsätze, in denen fremde Truppen die Staatsgewalt zumindest teilweise ersetzen, nicht mehr einzulassen.
Read 5 tweets
28 Jan
It's not just Germany. France and the rest Europe isn't keen on a world divided in two blocs either. Nor are, as far as I can see, India, Japan, ASEAN.
Full economic decoupling isn't going to happen. But a lot can be done to make sure that China isn't going to derail the global market economy, uses only fair instruments in its competition, and respects rights and sovereignty of others.
Plenty of space for many coalitions between like-minded partners such as Europeans, US, Canada, Japan, India, Australia, others in Asia.
Read 7 tweets
27 Jan
That's wrong. What Merkel says in her remarks at the WEF is that she doesn't want the world to be split into two blocs, one around China, the other around the US.
For Merkel, such an arrangement sounds like a replay of the Cold War, with China taking over the role of the Soviet Union.
Merkel's core goal is not to be drawn back to a Cold War constellation. As someone who has been politically socialized in the 1990s, she wants to preserve and protect what has been gained: the vision of a "new world order", of globalisation, of cooperation across borders.
Read 5 tweets
30 Dec 20
Key questions about the EU-China investment agreement (CAI) have not yet been discussed. Quick thread.
Is the conclusion of CAI a strategic move by EU governments, led on this issue by German chancellor Angela Merkel, or is it just path-dependent “business as usual”?

What are the strategic implications?
Will the CAI increase Europe’s (Germany’s) considerable economic dependency on China, making it even harder in the future to say “no” to China? Will it move Europe further towards the position where Beijing wants to see it -- politically neutral between the US and China?
Read 8 tweets

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