To be in the Zwickmuhle is to be in a predicament, to be on the horns of a dilemma.
As in Germany’s neighbors (see Ukraine and Poland) despising the pro-Russian policy it has been following forever, bypassing and ignoring them in the process. The punch line: Now the Germans are surprised, even offended that everyone is so upset about it. But it’s not much of a “dilemma,” if you ask me. It’s quite straightforward, really: The Germans went it alone, yet again, placed all their money on Putin & Co., and lost.
The reason for the rejection (for German President Steinmeier being unwelcome in Ukraine) is clearly Steinmeier’s course in recent years, which Kiev considers too Russia-friendly. As foreign minister, he had, among other things, always pushed for the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. “The warnings, it’s true, from our Eastern European partners we should have taken more seriously. Especially as far as the period after 2014 was concerned and the expansion of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. And that’s why holding on was certainly a mistake,” Steinmeier had admitted last week. But despite the admission of mistakes and errors: The extent to which Germany’s Russia policy in recent years has caused disquiet and upset in Kiev is only now becoming really clear.
A US Senate bill aimed at toughening sanctions on Russia has been slammed by leading members of the European Gazprom lobby as a dirty American trick to promote bad American liquefied petroleum gas and squeeze out good Russian gas from the European market.
The two outraged Gazprom spokespersons, German foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel (SPD) and German chancellor Angela Merkel, reminded the Americans that “Europe’s energy supply is a matter for Germany, that is, Europe to decide and not for the United States of America! We, as Germans, would never put our own economic interests before those of other countries or continents so like stop doing it immediately already. Did I just say we, as Germans? I meant we, as Europeans, of course.”
Ex-Kanzler Gerhard Schröder (SPD) leitet den Verwaltungsrat des Unternehmens Nord Stream II, das dem russischen Energiekonzern Gazprom gehört. Kürzlich erst hatten sich Gabriel, Schröder und der russische Präsident Wladimir Putin am Rande des russischen internationalen Wirtschaftsforums in St. Petersburg getroffen. Schröder hatte auf dem Forum für den Bau der Nordstream-Pipeline geworben.