“We are superior to Putin in this regard”

To this day, parts of the Russian elite have clearly not gotten over the loss of the former empire. Could a military defeat in Ukraine change Russia’s political culture for the better?

Putin will certainly not win from war because it will further weaken the already marginalized opposition and civil society and encourage further aggression from Putin. However, we should be modest in all subsequent hopes. If the force gains ground among Russian power elites who recognize that Putin’s policies are catastrophically harmful to Russian interests, much will be gained. Russia has threatened to become a satellite of China if Putin has his way.

In Germany, however, there are now increasing calls for a softening of the tough stance against Russia A number of left-wing SPD politicians have spoken out against further supplies of heavy weapons to Ukraine and called for a ceasefire. What do you do with it?

It is presumptuous to ask the invading Ukrainians to tell them how and when to end this war. They have a right to defend their country. The federal government under Olaf Scholz said in no uncertain terms that no one could impose peace on Ukraine and that Germany would support them with arms as long as necessary. It is good and right.

Vladimir Putin and Angela Merkel: The former German chancellor called it quits because of Germany’s high dependence on Russian gas. (Source: Yevgeny Odinokov/Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/TASS)

The SPD left also views critically the consequences of the “turning point” initiated by Chancellor Scholz. It must bring back the Bundeswehr to be able to defend federal territories and NATO partners.

The turning point has been occurring since the annexation of Crimea in 2014 and has intensified since the attack on Ukraine on February 24, 2022. Germany can no longer retreat behind the chancellor’s speech of February 27 this year without losing its credibility globally.

In his keynote speech in Prague, Scholz called for a rapid EU intervention force with a headquarters and its own European air defense. Given the fragmented military structure in the EU, is this even realistic?

The Prague speech outlines a series of concrete demands for the future on which the EU of 27 is unlikely to agree for now. Some things are equivalent to squaring the circle, such as the demand for more representatives, i.e. “equal” electoral laws for the European Parliament. Until the EU as a whole can agree on fundamental reforms, states that agree on essential goals need to work as closely as possible. This applies above all to foreign and security policy, which plays an appropriate role in Scholz’s speech.



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