søndag 2. mai 2021

Stand up to China and Putin? Foreign policy at heart of Germany vote

After German federal elections in September, Europe’s largest economy is likely to be led either by a human rights champion sending steely messages to Russia and China, or a dovish politician who wants Vladimir Putin to be given more respect. Surprisingly, the former hails from a Green party founded by peace activists during the cold war arms race, and the latter chairs a conservative party that traditionally sees itself as America’s most loyal ally in German politics.

With a coalition between Annalena Baerbock’s Greens and Armin Laschet’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) one of the likelier electoral outcomes in the autumn, a foreign policy clash could define Germany’s early days in the post-Merkel era. Under the outgoing chancellor, Germany has mostly trodden a middle path, speaking up about human rights violations and democratic ideals, while also heeding its ravenous industry’s appetite for Chinese export markets and Russian energy supplies.