Professor Stimpin, a little over three months ago, Putin’s army invaded Ukraine. How do you assess the situation now?
We must assume that Ukraine will not win the war to the extent that it is desirable. Thus, the West faces a political dilemma: how to come to terms with the situation and how to deal with an undefeated Russia in the future.
Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger proposes ceding Ukrainian territory to Russia. A lazy but realistic compromise?
There will always be compromises. You should try to push a scenario down Kissinger’s suggestion. Crimea cannot be reoccupied militarily or at the green table. Ukraine will also have to say goodbye to the Donbass region. In this respect, Kissinger is strategically and politically right; The timing of his statement can only be morally challenged.
How morally clean would Germany be with such an outcome? Is military conservatism part of the blame for Ukraine’s failure to win?
Germany undertook to deliver heavy weapons to Ukraine, which is why one must put restraint in quotation marks.
Promised yes, but not delivered.
It is not possible to know if this was intended or not. Worse, however, the outcome of such a settlement may deepen discord within the West. The USA, Great Britain, Poland, and the Baltic states would not want to head toward such a compromise, but France, Germany and Italy would likely do. This threatens a new conflict within the European Union.
It looks like another regional gain for Putin.
yes. that’s right.
What responsibility does former Chancellor Angela Merkel, long the most powerful woman in the Western world, bear for this seemingly hopeless situation?
Merkel pursued a rational foreign policy. I have always tried to associate Putin with Europe so that he does not drift towards China. Unfortunately it happened anyway.
The former chancellor continued the Nord Stream deal with her predecessor, Gerhard Schroeder, which cemented dependence on Russia in the energy sector. Was that reasonable?
One has to distinguish between Nord Stream 1 and 2. Nord Stream 1 would not have created such an energy dependence that it would have served as Putin’s carte blanche to attack Ukraine. Warnings were issued for Nord Stream 2. However, Merkel supported this project so that Putin would not turn away. In hindsight we know she was wrong.
Was she also wrong about Ukraine’s membership in NATO, which she did not advocate?
In hindsight, it is always easy to diagnose perceived omissions or omissions in a politician. I think that Merkel made a realistic assessment of the political and economic coordinates of Ukraine. Thus, it cannot be accused of not providing adequate protection to Ukraine. She did not and could not agree when it came to Ukraine’s accession to NATO.
How about a picture of Angela Merkel who is currently in Poland? Has the reputation of Gerhard Schroeder, who remains steadfastly loyal to Putin, been as damaged?
You cannot compare the two people. Schroeder was morally disavowed not only as a politician, but also as a person. Merkel has never allowed corruption. As an active politician, but also now retired, she follows political principles alone. Of course, Merkel’s image has been affected, but what does that mean? As a general rule, public opinion does not reflect rational decisions but only waves of feelings.
Has Merkel always assessed Putin correctly?
Yes she has. What you didn’t expect was that Putin could become a driver down the wrong path, as we are seeing now. This was also not expected or suspicious.
Why aren’t we hearing from Angela Merkel now?
This wouldn’t be her style. Her registration was canceled in the fall of 2022. She’s sticking with that. To claim that she hid would just be an exaggeration.
Let’s say we do see negotiations soon for a compromise. Would Merkel be a good candidate as a neutral negotiator?
It certainly would not take such a role because it does not see itself as a neutral force.
Then who can do that?
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was hit by Russian bombs in Kyiv.
yes. On the other hand, the United States will certainly reject China as a mediator.
Another look at Poland. Former Prime Minister and current opposition leader Donald Tusk has been subject to a great deal of criticism in some media for his pro-Russian policies. How justified is this criticism?
As prime minister, Tusk didn’t have as much leeway as Merkel or Brussels, but he was on the same page. He tried to formulate a rational policy towards Russia. At that time, a strategic partnership for Ukraine was offered by Brussels and specifically from the Polish inspiration. So you can’t blame him for that. I don’t think the criticism is relevant, but a purely ideological motive.
Which brings us to PiS. Polish President Andrzej Duda and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki have rarely had as positive a reputation abroad as they do during the war. Will it stay that way?
Domestically, PiS can score points with its constituents, but in terms of foreign policy, positions have been agreed upon or at least coordinated with the United States. One should not overestimate the gains of this image.
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