Angela Merkel leaving office in the fall will also have consequences for Russia. Vladimir Putin’s government will be tempted to test the mettle of her successor—and the EU’s willingness to engage in its Eastern neighborhood.
Already attacked as someone too soft on the likes of Bashar al-Assad, Vladimir Putin, and Xi Jinping, new CDU leader Armin Laschet’s world view and foreign policy outlook is much in line with the German mainstream.
COVID-19 has forced Europeans to confront a twin shock to their worldview, with a philosophical crisis overlaid by a geographical one. The EU now needs to embark on a broad-based effort to ensure its strategic sovereignty.
Donald Trump’s departure could be a heavy loss for the Nationalist International. But the likes of Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan are playing a game that is robust, ruthless, and highly adaptable.
The French president is strengthening his military and wants Berlin to do the same. But real “sovereignty” in security is for the future. When it comes to getting stuff done, Emmanuel Macron is betting on the United States rather than Germany.
Germany should stop worrying about becoming a “normal country.” Rather, it should learn to address the new forms of geopolitics with the best version of Germany’s post-war incarnation—for the benefit of Europe.
Germany needs to improve its capacity to act in the realm of foreign and security policy. This includes reaching the NATO 2-percent goal more quickly. There are also structural changes required, including the setting up of a National Security Council.