(FreedomBeacon.com)- Germany’s new chancellor Olaf Scholz is planning to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin as part of his efforts to “reset” Germany’s strained relations with Moscow.
On Wednesday, Germany’s new foreign minister Annalena Baerbock traveled to Washington for talks with Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other US officials where the current tensions between Russia and Ukraine were part of discussions. Baerbock favors a tough approach to both Moscow and Beijing.
But on Monday, the German outlet Bild reported that Chancellor Scholz wants a “qualified new beginning” in Germany’s relations with Russia and is eager to meet with Putin sometime this month.
Scholz’s softer stand toward the Kremlin has many in Germany concerned. The Green Party, of which Foreign Minister Baerbock is a part, believes Scholz is willing to sell out Europe to Moscow.
Russian opposition activist Garry Kasparov remarked on Twitter that Scholz’s “reset” amounts to Germany’s appeasement to Putin’s dictatorship.
But some in Germany have more of a “wait and see” attitude. Ulrich Speck, a senior visiting fellow at the German Marshall Fund in Berlin argued that world leaders have to be able to engage with each other. Whether or not Scholz’s move can be viewed as “appeasement” depends on what it is he hopes to achieve by resetting relations with Moscow.
As Germany is now the G7 president, it will be a key participant in any talks with Russia.
Like his predecessor Angela Merkel, Scholz supports the Nord Stream 2 pipeline while Germany’s Greens and FDP parties are skeptical.
The Nord Stream 2 project is vehemently opposed by Ukraine and by EU member states in the former Soviet Union who believe Russia will use Nord Stream 2 as leverage in its political disputes with both Ukraine and Europe.
Many US lawmakers agree. And while the President has expressed concerns over Nord Stream 2, the Biden administration chose to waive Congressional sanctions imposed on Nord Stream’s central players, ostensibly to curry favor with Germany.
Foreign Minister Baerbock was recently asked about Germany’s internal disagreements over Nord Stream 2 and chose her words carefully.
She conceded that she and Chancellor Scholz have different ways of describing “this state of affairs,” adding that Germany’s previous government and the United States were clear that “energy should not be used as a weapon.” Doing so, she added, “would have serious consequences.”