The Cold War did not end in 1989 with the fall of the Wall, nor in 1991 with the disappearance of the Soviet Union. According to Angela Merkel, it was not possible to finish it then and it is still alive. Since the first Chechen war in 1993, Russia has gone from bad to worse, increasingly threatening to Europeans. Merkel’s explanation shares the responsibilities. They correspond to all those who had to build a collective security system in Europe to prevent an atrocity like the invasion of Ukraine.
This voice was missing, in silence since he left the Foreign Ministry and especially since February 24, when the invasion began. Vladimir Putin’s condemnation of the war was discounted and it was only necessary to gauge the disgust and the exact harshness of his words. The rejection is blunt, but also prudent, without harsh words. But the rain of criticism leveled at her for her growing energy dependence on Russia during her 16 years as chancellor and for her lack of vision in the face of the war threat lurking behind the authoritarian drift of the Kremlin could not go unanswered.
He relied on diplomacy. Everyone trusted her. If it worked for three decades, why wouldn’t it continue to work? It has not been. The time when only the word ruled is over. Weapons speak and will continue to speak for a long time. Is he Zeitenwendethe epochal change defined by Chancellor Olaf Scholz that forces Germany to rearm.
There is sorrow but no contrition in his words. Ukraine could not join NATO in 2008, when George W. Bush proposed it and met with his and Nicolas Sarkozy’s opposition: corroded by corruption and dominated by oligarchs, the country was neither ready to join the Alliance nor Putin would have accepted it. Perhaps things had been rushed, as happened with the war in Georgia. The moderate reaction to the annexation of Crimea and the war in Donbas, as well as the Minsk agreements, gave Ukraine seven years of respite so that today it would have a prepared Army that it did not have then.
Merkel embodies a German sentiment with deep and contradictory historical roots. She confessed that she is fascinated by Russia and feels this barbaric war as a huge tragedy. They are the first and still incomplete explanations of it. There should be more. If she could have done anything to prevent the war, she didn’t acknowledge it. She also did not admit her lack of agility when it comes to reducing energy dependence on Russia. There is little use in crying over spilled milk.
It follows from Merkel’s words that she shares the ideas of Emmanuel Macron. Russia will not disappear from the map. She will always be where she is, so close in her geography and her culture, and so far away in her system of autocratic domination. Now there is little to discuss with Russia, but it must not be humiliated. The time for dialogue will come, but in no case can it be done without Ukraine.
Exclusive content for subscribers
read without limits