tirsdag 27. juli 2021

Lure of China and Russia divides Germany from allies

Last week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Joe Biden concluded a face-saving deal that permits the conclusion of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany. For Merkel, it was a diplomatic triumph. She overcame ferocious opposition from former president Donald Trump and halfhearted objections from Biden to get the US$11 billion project done. She had only to promise to place economic sanctions on Russia should Moscow cut off fuel supplies to Ukraine, through which passes an old alternative gas line.

For Biden, the agreement was a cave-in, forcing the American president to suspend his assertion that, because Russia represents a threat to both Europe and the NATO alliance, the pipeline should not be completed. Rather than an insignificant blip on the international scene, Merkel’s insistence on finishing Nord Stream 2 displays a face of German foreign policy that irritates not only the United States but also some of Berlin’s European allies.