Germans Must Now Back Painful Sanctions - Even if they Hurt Us (SueddeutscheZeitung, Germany)
"The German approach is only credible if threats now turn
to sanctions - sanctions no longer limited to symbolic acts. It isn't enough to
cancel participation in the G-8 summit or German-Russian intergovernmental
consultations. Unless Putin intervenes at the last minute, sanctions must now be imposed on the regime in Moscow as well as those who support it, even if they hurt our economy.."
A Norweigian soldier participates in operation 'Cold Response', a military exercise involving 16,000 troops from 16 countries, now taking place along Norway's west coast. The authorites say it is only a coincidence that they are talking place at a moment of high tension with Russia. United are from units from Belgium, Germany, Denmark, France, the U.S., the UK, Lithuania, Estonia, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, Ireland, Spain and Canada.
course of action regarding the Ukraine conflict has so far come under criticism
in mainly two areas. First, the federal government treatment of Vladimir Putin is
alleged to have been too gentle. This is supposedly why Putin felt no obligation
to change course. Second, critics say, efforts to lure Moscow into talks and
diffuse the situation came to naught and were therefore diplomatically
pointless. Such criticism can be heard from the United States as well as from
the Baltic states. And at first glance, it sounds plausible. It is nonetheless wrong.
it's true that the German government, unlike the Americans, British and Baltic
states, has warned about deciding on sanctions prematurely. Instead, Berlin
argued that sanctions should first be used as a threat, thereby making the
consequences of Putin's course of action clear to him before sanctions are implemented.
It was wrong to assume that early and harsh sanctions would boost the
likelihood of Putin changing course. A look at the mood in Russia shows that America's
aggressive tone played right into Putin's hands, making it considerably easier
for Putin to depict himself as a bulwark against perceived Western aggression.
second point of criticism deserves closer look. It's true that Berlin's efforts
to persuade Putin to accept an “international contact group” were unsuccessful.
Nonetheless, that doesn't mean such efforts were wrong or useless. On the
contrary, not to have made such an effort would have been irresponsible. In
other words, anyone living in the 21st century who doesn't believe conflicts
should be resolved through force of arms must inevitably offer talks alongside
Sanctions must impact
course, this approach is only credible if threats now turn to sanctions - sanctions
no longer limited to symbolic acts. It isn't enough to cancel participation in
the G-8 summit or German-Russian intergovernmental consultations. Unless Putin intervenes at the last minute, sanctions must now be imposed on the regime in Moscow as well as those who support it, even if they hurt our economy.
means that the task of the German government now must change. However correct
the actions of Angela Merkel and Frank-Walter Steinmeier
may have been so far, they are now obligated to defend sanctions, even if they
have consequences for their own population or others in Europe. There are many
indications that Putin's counter reaction may be to target individual E.U.
word “solidarity” will then have new weight in the European Union. Delivering emergency
supplies to states experiencing shortages, ours being one, no one has discussed
so far. Should this situation arise, we will see how energetically Merkel and Steinmeier fight, not just for talks, but for tough
sanctions and a very concrete solidarity within the European Union.