(FreedomBeacon.com)- In a column in Foreign Policy, writer Jeff Rathke argues that Putin’s actions in Ukraine triggered a reversal in Germany’s long-maintained foreign policy strategy.
Over the last week, Chancellor Olaf Scholz and the German government reversed the direction of Germany’s slow-moving, cautious foreign policy and began setting on a course of a possible confrontation with Russia.
On Sunday, while speaking at the German parliament, Chancellor Scholz called Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a “turning point” that required Germany to preserve Europe’s political and security order. He announced that Germany would invest 100 billion euros into its military and also committed to spending 2 percent of Germany’s GDP on defense.
While the Chancellor stressed Berlin’s responsibilities to NATO, he also defined those measures as Germany ensuring its own national security which Rathke explains is a significant departure from Germany’s former defense policy.
Chancellor Scholz’s address, Rathke writes, was met with applause from the mainstream parties in parliament while out on the streets of Berlin, a half-million German citizens were erupting in pro-Ukrainian chants.
In short, Putin’s decision to start a war in Ukraine made Germany wake up from its 30-year stupor.
On Saturday, the German government dropped its opposition to excluding Russian banks from the SWIFT financial messaging service.
Meanwhile, in a significant shift, the German defense ministry announced on Saturday that it would be sending Ukraine 1,000 anti-tank weapons and 500 Stinger surface-to-air missiles “as quickly as possible.”
In announcing the move, Chancellor Scholz called Russia’s invasion a threat to “our entire post-war order,” adding, “it is our duty to help Ukraine.”
It is impossible to overstate how significant that is. Germany had long stuck to the policy of not sending weapons to any conflict zone. Just the day before the weapons transfer was announced, German officials were still reiterating that they would stick with that policy.
Also on Saturday, the German government announced that it would be sending 14 armored vehicles and up to 10,000 tons of fuel to Ukraine.
Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and Economy Minister Robert Habeck said in a joint statement that Ukraine must be able to defend itself after Russia’s “shameless attack,” therefore the German government would provide “urgently needed material.”