By launching its brutal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and threatening the West with nuclear escalation, Russia has shaken the very foundations of the postwar order – and jolted Germany from its dream of effecting change through trade. But can Germany's resolve withstand the economic pain to come?
MADRID – Russian President Vladimir Putin’s barbaric war on Ukraine seems to have awakened Germany from its post-Cold War slumber, with a dramatic shift in foreign and defense policy indicating a newfound recognition of Russia’s unreliability as a partner and the broader security challenges Europe faces. But can Germany’s tougher approach withstand a painful and protracted crisis, or will accommodationist voices regain traction, urging acceptance of the realities on the ground?
There is no doubting the resoluteness of Germany’s response to the Russian invasion. Beyond halting the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project, Chancellor Olaf Scholz has announced a €100 billion ($109 billion) increase in defense spending this year and agreed to send weapons – not just helmets – to Ukrainian fighters.
Moreover, Germany has participated in the imposition of sweeping Western sanctions aimed at isolating Russia and inflicting maximum economic pain. More fundamentally, Germany seems finally to have abandoned its long-held belief that dialogue is the only way to deal with the Kremlin.