Annalena Baerbock’s Foreign Policy: Humanitarian Bellicist or Pacifist Appeaser?

Annalena Baerbock’s Foreign Policy: Humanitarian Bellicist or Pacifist Appeaser?

 There is a lot to read about possible government coalitions – from black-green, to the traffic light coalition to R2G (Red2Green) . The latter variant is less likely, even if it is painted on the wall by Germany’s right-wing parties as a specter for the purpose of the election campaign. While SPIEGEL, Stern, SZ, FR and other media are very Baerbock-friendly, Springer’s BILD and Welt, Burdas Focus in combination with Jan Fleischhauer and Sahra Wagenknecht; Yippens Merkur now fire at the Greens and Baerbock and the conservatives try to portray the Greens as unpatriotic, neosocialist and unexperiemced left radicals. .Furthermore, the unity and harmony of the Green party, which has been proudly displayed up to now, is clouded by the supposed negroe-dick satires of Boris Palmer, who feels misunderstood and quotes the spirit of rebellion of his Jewish father against the Nazis and in the post-war period for his cause and wants to identify cancellation culture and opinon dictatorship on the part of the Greens. Further alleged attacks in the form of fake nude photos of Annalena Baerbrpock on social media cause excitement, although some commentators behind closed doors believe that this could even increase the chances of the very sexy-looking young chancellor candidate and possibly some pin-up photos would already be in sports cabins or stick to bombers of the German Air Force and the Greens and their sporty female trampoline jumper thus could tap into untapped electorate up to the otherwise allegedly hostile and much-cited angry white old man. So much for the more right-wing campaigns that are already seeing R2G coming.

The main point of dispute between the Left Party and the Greens and therefore a Red2Green coalition is the question of the relationship with NATO, as well as foreign and security policy. While Janine Wissner, who calls NATO a „war alliance“, demands the ban on all foreign military missions, even under UNO umbrella and arms exports, the Greens see the transatlantic alliance more as a pillar of the West and don´t reject foreign military missions principallyy,  would ideally see them under a UN mandate, even though they wamt promote more a European military and are not as friendly to Russia and China as the Left Party., but sperceive them as systemic rivals. Sections of the Left Party, especially around Sahra Wagenknecht, are trying to portray the Greens and the “Lifestyle-Left” as high- income neoliberal bellicists and neocons who want cuts in the social welfare system and  to plunge Germany and NATO into new wars such as in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan or Libya- the Greens as a kind of German neocon variant and humantiarian bellicists. While it remains unclear with the Greens to what extent they, as the party of high income- hippsters, will care about social justice, although they also demand a wealth tax for people with assets of 2 million euros and more and will shape climate protection and the economic and transport turnaround socially or not, Baerbrock is eloquent and sure about those soft topics, while the lack of need for geo, foreign and security political hard topics stands out as a contrast, which is why Baerbock now gave an interview to the conservative FAS. One should read the interview of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung with Annalena Baerbock on foreign and security policy, which formulates a more moderate line than parts of the left claim.

“FAS: Ms. Baerbock, Russia has just put pressure on Ukraine with a huge military deployment. The troops now seem to be withdrawing again, but in order to be able to better resist such blackmail, Kiev is now asking for anti-aircraft weapons and other defensive weapons. As Chancellor, would you grant such wishes?

AB: The threat to Ukraine from Russia is still great. The most important thing is to ensure that the Minsk Agreement is implemented now. The OSCE observer mission needs access to all parts of the Russian-occupied territory and must no longer be exposed to sabotage. It also desperately needs more funds for aerial reconnaissance

. FAS: A few unarmed observers against a hundred thousand highly armed soldiers? Is this realistic?

AB: One should not underestimate what kind of clout a working international mission can have, even without armament. Because Russia has agreed to this mission and many nations are represented, a Russian president would think twice about wanting to endanger these people in a military advance ”.

Actually Merkel’s old line regarding Ukraine and Russia. Apparently there is nothing bellicose about it, unless one interprets an OSCE mission as a tripwire for an intervention for NATO or a possible air reconnaissance as a back door to a no-fly zone, which is probably not meant. A new Yugoslav war for Ukraine on the part of the Greens is hardly to be expected.

 “FAS: His supporters in Eastern Ukraine do that all the time anyway. But since you are talking about international missions, your election manifesto says that armed operations by the Bundeswehr need a UN mandate. It also says that if a member of the Security Council abuses his right of veto, there is a dilemma. If you are in government, you still have to decide. How?

AB: The choice between action and inaction is sometimes a choice between plague and cholera. There are moments when military action can prevent the worst, but there are also moments when military operations increase the damage. You always have to check in a specific case whether an operation will lead to more or less suffering and whether it is based on international law. And the decisive question, see Afghanistan, is also the question: What happens after troops have withdrawn? How do you get out of a conflict? All of this cannot be said theoretically in advance, but rather has to be decided in a specific case. „

Bundeswehr operations, whether European or NATO, are possible with the Greens, preferably with a UN mandate, but a coalition of the willing is also not rejected in principle. At least the Right to Protect is not explicitly mentioned, which was claimed in Libya by Obama and Hillary Clinton. Nevertheless, the Greens‘ inhibition threshold for humanitarian operations / human rights wars is likely to be lower due to their strong human rights orientation, but Baerbock’s statements indicate that the disasters in Libya, the Iraq war in 2003 (in which Germany did not take part) and Afghanistan are taken into account as a lesson one should not repeat, and that she does not intend to react too Pavlov -like in the future and imposes some restraint on it. In addition, as the US is now more likely to withdraw from the Greater Middle East and concentrate on China and Russia, new humanitarian interventions or foreign missions are likely to become rarer, insofar as the Europeans and the Greens are not embarking on a new adventure in Africa, especially the eroding Sahel and get drawn into some sort of European Afghanistan. Another possibility would be operations in the Balkans, where the German military is already deployed, if national tensions there increase and other great powers want to expand their influence in favor of the West. But in the future the spectrum of foreign military missions is likely to remain rather limited, even if most politicans call for more and more „responsibility for Europe“.Baerbock pretends to be an international lawyer, while she admits to her Robert Habeck that he is intellectually mainly familiar with „pigs and chickens“, whereupon Habeck demands defensive weapon deliveries for Ukraine. The AfD ,which Lavrov has officially invited to the Kremlin as an anti-fascist alternative for Germany and Russia in turn, sees this as a threat of war against Russia, , although these weapons are already being delivered by the USA and now also drones from Turkey to Ukraine without Russia bothering too much about it and a German contribution would have to be understood more politically than militarily. But Gauland, fascist Höcke and the like would rather be Putin’s „Gauleiter“ and „Blockwarte“ in Europe.

“FAS: Georgia and Ukraine have wanted to join NATO for many years. However, she turned down an admission program in 2008, and after that both countries fell victim to Russian attacks within a few years. Now the Ukrainian President Zelenskyi has repeated the request for a “Membership Action Plan”. Shouldn’t one learn from experience and offer him the support he has asked for?

AB: The most important thing at the moment is to increase the pressure on Russia to ensure that the Minsk Agreement is respected. Stabilization right now is a priority. Anyway, steps towards NATO membership are not realistic beforehand. And as hard as it is with regard to Russian action: We must not cut off all talks with Moscow.

 FAS: What to do You reject deterrence through the delivery of defensive weapons. You reject a NATO admission program. So what is the way to get Russia to comply with current agreements?

AB: The message to Moscow must be: Sovereign states decide for themselves about their alliances. This also includes the perspective of a Ukraine in the EU and in NATO. But you cannot take the third step before the first, and certainly not in a situation where there is a tough conflict with Russia. I think it makes sense to support Ukraine in clearing mines. In addition, there are sanctions as tough measures, but they are constantly thwarted because the German government is sticking to the Kremlin’s most important prestige project, the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. I would have withdrawn political support for Nord Stream 2 long ago. „

 That’s something like squaring the circle. Putin intervened militarily in Ukraine in order to destabilize it in order to prevent NATO and EU membership in the long term. As long as one sticks to the prospect of Ukraine joining NATO and the EU like Baerbock, the situation will never change in Ukraine. Insofar as one does not embark on a New East Policy / Neue Ostpolitik with the perspective of defining Ukraine as a neutral bridge state between the EU and the Eurasian Economic Union, which belongs neither to Russia, nor to the EU or NATO, this can only change if one looks to a regime change and the overthrow of Putin in Russia, with uncertain consequences, what seems implicitly the green foreign policy line.

“FAS: Is that a red line for coalition negotiations? All conceivable coalition partners ultimately support the project.

 AB: I don’t believe in red lines, but dealing with authoritarian regimes differently is a key issue for me in a future federal government – for our security and our values. We are currently in a competition of systems: authoritarian forces versus liberal democracies. This is also about China. The New Silk Road project, with its global direct investments in infrastructure or energy networks, is not just about niceties. This is tough power politics. As Europeans, we mustn’t fool ourselves.

FAS: In this contest you advocate cooperation with America and the containment of China. At the same time, the fight against global warming cannot be won without Beijing. How does that work?

AB: With dialogue and toughness. China is such an emerging economic power that we cannot completely isolate ourselves from it. On the other hand, our liberal democracies, the European Union is strong because it is a union of values. It would have to act accordingly. In the case of the new EU-Chinese investment protection agreement, for example, the European side did not adequately address the issue of forced labor in relation to the oppressed Uighur minority.

FAS: Can Europe enforce human rights for the Chinese through an investment agreement?

AB: The sovereignty of all states is a cornerstone of international law. But Europe is also sovereign. As a common internal market, Europe can define which products come onto our market, and we can say: Products from forced labor do not come onto our market. We can also define how we deal with technology manufacturers from third countries with regard to our critical infrastructure. This is highly relevant for our security. We see attempts by foreign governments to infiltrate the digital arena. And for me that means: If the Chinese government requires Chinese corporations such as Huawei, for example, to pass on European data and information, we cannot integrate products from such manufacturers into European infrastructure. „

 What is apparently hoped for is an investment agreement that makes concessions to human rights, especially those of the Uyghurs. The extent to which the consultation meetings between the German and Chinese governments will continue to take place remains open, decoupling and trade wars do not seem to be meant, but certain sanctions and conditioning of foreign trade, which Beijing criticizes as interference in internal affairs and protectionism and might be responded with countermeasures . But neither side wants an open trade war like Trump.

 “FAS: You want to work closely with America in the competition between systems. Doesn’t that assume that Germany adheres to existing agreements and, as discussed, spends two percent of its economic output on defense?

 AB: What I’m hearing from the Americans right now is that they want to jointly invest huge sums in climate neutrality and in the future viability of democracy. This is the moment when a transatlantic alliance for climate neutrality should be brought into being that not only serves the climate, but also a modern state, a modern America, a modern European Union. In the competition of the systems we could create an economic area together – that welds the USA and Europe together. With a view to NATO, I do not think it makes particularly sense to now discuss proposals that are more than 15 years old.

FAS: The NATO two percent decision is seven years old and still applies today.

AB: Yes, but it is based on the 2002 fundamentals and was only confirmed in 2014. The world has changed since then.

FAS: As an international lawyer and advocate of a rules-based order, you would have to say that you have to keep agreements, right? If you now say, “That was a long time ago”, then you might as well be questioning the protection of civilians under the Hague Land Warfare Regulations. After all, it is more than 100 years old.

AB: There is a difference between legally binding international treaties and targets in NATO final declarations. And if organizations are unable to learn, they will get stuck. Yes, Germany and Europe have to worry more about their own security. But strategically up to date. That is why I consider a European cyber defense center, for example, to be an important contribution to burden sharing that we Europeans can make. The general two percent target, on the other hand, does not create more security. It is based on the gross domestic product. In view of the pandemic, we are currently in an economic crisis. According to this logic, our expenditure planning would then have to be shut down. That shows how absurd this is. „

Baerbock thus centrally questions the 2% for NATO, but does not criticize the current government’s increased defense spending in Germany and also spoke in another interview for a strengthening of the military. It remains to be seen whether this necessarily means higher arms spending, because Baerbock and the Greens seem to be interested in transforming the Europeans‘ already large defense budgets into military clout by eliminating duplications and inefficient procurement and military structures. The idea of ​​an EU army or a European pillar in NATO reappears, with Baerbrock envisaging an EU parliamentary army:

 “FAS: The green basic program proposes to create“ EU units ”with a joint command structure. Is that the blueprint for a European army?

 AB: These are steps in that direction. From my point of view, we need to pool our skills as Europeans more closely. Europe’s military spending is three to four times that of Russia, but our capabilities are limited because we duplicate a lot. It’s not efficient. I think it makes sense to further develop the European Security and Defense Union.

FAS: Who should control a European army? The European Parliament?

AB: That is one of the big sticking points on the way there. As Europeans, we have different historical experiences: Around 80 years ago, Germany brought the worst suffering to Europe and the world through the Shoah and its war of aggression. Part of our historical responsibility is to strictly control the deployment of our own military. What history has taught our European neighbors above all else is that we must be able to defend ourselves. All of this means that we have to discuss parliamentary control of the military intensively. My suggestion is to strengthen the European Parliament here.

 FAS: The Greens want a Germany without nuclear weapons. Are you demanding the immediate withdrawal of all American nuclear weapons from German soil?

AB: A world free of nuclear weapons is a safer world, this also applies to Europe and Germany. But mere trumpeting of visions will not make Germany any safer. To move forward, you have to know how, and a window of opportunity is opening up for important first steps. The new US government and Russia have just extended the New Start Treaty on nuclear disarmament by five years. We want to build on this and, in the process, talk about American nuclear weapons in Europe. A new German federal government must also get involved from the start, but that can only be done in a NATO process.

FAS: Should Germany remain under the US nuclear umbrella for so long? Or should one, if that takes longer, look for a European deterrent?

 AB: Germany is only strong in terms of foreign policy if it acts in a European concert. Our Eastern European neighbors in particular have the situation in Ukraine in mind. Therefore, the security and protection of these states must be central to any disarmament effort. In the course of a disarmament initiative, one would have to talk about NATO waiving the nuclear first strike option. With that one could take a step towards Moscow and ask Russia: OK, what about your missiles that you stationed near Kaliningrad?

FAS: And do you really believe that Russia will suddenly become a peace power through unilateral preliminary efforts?

AB: No. It is about mutual disarmament steps. But this attitude, we don’t even do it because we’re afraid it won’t work, it hasn’t led us into a safer world. On the contrary. The gap created by the foreign policy passivity of the current federal government is being filled by authoritarian forces such as Russia and Turkey directly in our neighborhood. That is why I am promoting an active German and European foreign policy. „

Apparently Baerbock and the Greens don’t just want to negotiate from a position of strength, toughness and dialogue, but also to provide unilateral preliminary disarment steps. That should in turn be entirely in line with the Left Party which portrays Baerbock as a bellicist. To a large extent, the proposal, as a unilateral advance performance of a disarmament initiative, is NATO’s abolishing the nuclear first strike option. Especially since NATO has offically no first strike option at all, but only a first use option as a strategy, the illustrious international lawyer and military expert seems to confuse some of the terms. The US is unlikely to agree to either case, especially since Russia’s military doctrine provides for a Russian first nuclear use, especially since under the premise „escalate to deescalate“ and the USA might see Baerbock as a pacifist appeaser, especially since the NATO decision in the 80s was the opposite of preliminary disarment steps, but was by the opposite very successful, since the armament and ultimately the arms race ultimately caused the dissolution and capitulation of the opponent, the Soviet Union at that time. US strategists might see this as a dangerous destabilization of the nuclear deterrent balance. It is questionable whether something like this would ever get through in NATO and whether a consensus on a disarmament initiative or even preliminary disarment steps, perhaps of a different kind, could be achieved at all.

A former German NATO and Bundeswehr general commented:

“Just 2 comments:

2% NATO target: yes, you can discuss it. Are there any better suggestions ??? The UP and DOWN of the real numbers is intentional, which she wants to make ridiculous because she did NOT understand it. That means: percent remains percent. in good and bad years. This is deliberate flexibility – and enables each allied to shoulder his contribution according to his national finances.

NT: well … wishful thinking from student movements … and more recently from FFF. Madame confuses FIRST STRIKE with FIRST USE. That is a capital mistake. Unacceptable – especially for future members of the government. „

In German Bundeswehr officers‘ clubs, jokes are already circulating that a new Commander-in-Chief Baerbock would replace the red atomic button with a green one with gender star as a first official act in order to be able to carry out first strikes, whereby the nuclear war would then be carried out in a climate and gender neutral manner and the E -tanks would shoot unleaded. Provided they had enough electric charging stations on their way to Putin- Stalingrad.

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