Berlin, or rather the new German Foreign Minister, Annalena Baerbock, has finally begun to use the appropriate language to describe the current international standoff between East and West over the fate of Ukraine.
On February 18, the Minister tweeted on the German Foreign Ministry’s Twitter page:
“With its massive troop deployment, Russia poses an absolutely unacceptable threat. Against Ukraine. But also towards all of us and towards our peace architecture in Europe. This crisis is therefore not a Ukrainian crisis. It’s a Russian crisis.
Representing the German Greens in the new coalition, Baerbock has always taken a tougher stance towards Russia’s menacing behavior and has been more openly supportive of Ukraine than his colleagues from the Social Democrats (SPD) and their new German Chancellor Olaf Scholtz.
That doesn’t mean he’s managed to get things exactly the way she and her party would like in the outer sphere – coalitions involve compromises – but she certainly has an impact on the tone and delivery of foreign policy. from Berlin.
On February 18, Baerbock gave a keynote speech at the Munich Security Forum alongside US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in which she explained Berlin’s view on issues and needs.
Here are the key excerpts.
“The choice we face as Europeans, the choice between a system of co-responsibility for security and peace based on the Founding Act of Helsinki and the Charter of Paris which we have all signed, or a system of rivalry for power and spheres of influence, for which the 1945 Yalta Conference stood. And for me, and I believe for everyone in this room, this is the key question because what is at stake for us Europeans and the international community is not just a question of how we are going to resolve the crisis today is the question of how we are going to defend our rules-based order in the future, an order based on the charter of the United Nations, on the principles of self-determination, respect for freedom and the rights of man, and the principle of international cooperation…”.
“For me, three elements are essential: determination, solidarity and reliability. This applies to the Russian crisis, but also beyond. We are determined in view of the actions and measures that we are preparing in case Russia takes action against Ukraine. These sanctions are – or would be unprecedented and have been coordinated with all our partners and have been prepared with them. In Germany, we are ready to pay a high price for this economically. That’s why all options are on the table – also Nord Stream 2….
“We are showing solidarity because we support and are committed to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine, and I am very clear here. Especially in pressure situations like these, solidarity means sending a clear message because the road a country would like to take is – can only be determined by the country itself and the people who live there. We are not going to negotiate over Ukraine’s head. Solidarity means that we take seriously the concerns of our neighbors in Central and Eastern Europe. That is why we are strengthening our commitment to NATO together…”
“But solidarity is also – and this is very important to me because foreign policy is not just politics between politicians, not just back and forth between the capitals of countries. Foreign policy is about the people, our people. And that is why solidarity means, in the current situation, not only to be in solidarity with Kiev, but also with the Ukrainian people, and in particular with the people who live near the line of contact. And here, the OSCE is decisive because they are observers who are our eyes and ears there. We need to make sure together that they can do their job effectively, especially now, when violence along the line of contact has increased dramatically over the past 48 hours…”
“Now is one of the most dangerous times, where provocation and misinformation could turn into escalation. I am very clear here. This is a game we are not going to play. Quite the contrary. With all our efforts, we are working to find constructive solutions from – from the crisis, in the Normandy format, in the EU and in NATO. Every step towards peace is laborious. We are fighting for every millimeter, but every millimeter is better than no movement at all….”
“A reliable foreign policy based on clear values. What is at stake for the Ukrainian people is their right to freedom, their right to determine their own future. And for all of us, what is at stake is nothing less than peace in Europe and whether or not we will defend our rules-based order, even if it goes through crisis. We live in a world where this rules-based order is not only under pressure in Eastern Europe. We are faced with growing geopolitical tensions, with competition between authoritarian forces and liberal democracies. We see and realize that if we withdraw from this competition as liberal democracies, then others will fill these gaps. We see it with private groups of mercenaries or with a view to the great infrastructure project in Africa.
But we also saw this in Europe, in the EU, when we left a vacuum in terms of solidarity when it came to investing in electricity networks, highways or digital infrastructure. And we even saw it even more strongly at the start of this pandemic when it came to the distribution of vaccines. If others interfere, it will not happen for altruistic motives, but it will be based on true geostrategic calculation.
That is why, as far as I am concerned, we, as liberal democracies, must be part of this competition between liberal forces and authoritarian forces. We must clearly lead by example and show what we stand for. The common recovery from the pandemic, which has been summed up by US President Biden and also the United Nations under this wonderful label of Build Back Better – which has been defined there also represents a huge opportunity for all of us, for the international – that international cooperation really does things right when the crisis is over: invest in a solution to the Ukrainian crisis, invest together in infrastructure, but also invest together to find a way out of this pandemic.
And that is why our German G7 Presidency this year will also focus on this motto. We will show what our values are. We show that international cooperation is stronger than individual national efforts. And we show that an order based on international law, fair coexistence and unity, democracy and human rights will bring more than closing borders and then reintroducing international borders… »
“And that’s something, an idea that I took home when I was on the nip, because the mother said if women were safe, everyone would be safe. And it is our task and that is why I am convinced that our global challenges, like the climate crisis, the fight against the pandemic, will not be manageable for a single country. We can only solve this crisis with a clear compass of values. We have to be aware of that. We are in the middle of a difficult crisis, especially here in Europe, being transatlantic parties. After this crisis, the world will be different and it is now up to us. is in our hands. It’s time to stand up for peace and rights here in Europe.
Read the full text of Baerbock’s speech and discussion here.