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Sat Apr 23, 2022, 12:14 PM

Interesting analysis of why German Chancellor Scholz's support for Ukraine is wavering








https://www.zeit.de/politik/deutschland/2022-04/olaf-scholz-foreign-policy-ukraine-russia-english


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Who is this 54-year-old lawyer and career diplomat? Really part of a "Steinmeier web"? And how much influence does he have on the German chancellor, whose Russia policy is criticized by many as hesitant and arrogant toward Ukraine?

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Plötner probably felt the same way. He, too, sees himself as a cool-headed analytic thinker. Ideologies are alien to him, especially the idea that a war could be started over one in the 21st century. Scholz, Plötner and Co. were slowly opening up to the idea that this unthinkability must be conceivable after all, and were rushing to understand it – to the surprise of those experts who had been warning about it for years. The realization undoes years of Russia policy. Putin doesn't care about his country's economy. He cannot be contained by interdependent relationships. He is prepared to shed blood in order to realize his ideology. This turns all of the certainties of "change through interdependence" upside down.

Jens Plötner is not a "Russophile," nor is he nostalgic for Germany's postwar Ostpolitik. But his role at Steinmeier's side went beyond that of chief of staff, at least that is how the Ukrainians perceive it. Plötner almost always accompanied Steinmeier at meetings with the Ukrainian government, Ambassador Melnyk recalls. He was "Steinmeier's shadow." Unlike other high-ranking diplomats, Plötner did not cut his teeth in Russia. Between his activities as a bureau chief and later as political director under the next foreign minister, Heiko Maas, he was ambassador to Sri Lanka, then on the Mediterranean, in Tunis and Athens.

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Steinmeier always believed himself to be in possession of higher reason. His mediation activities in Ukraine were marked by a certain condescension. One senses an intellectual condescension in Plötner. He seems annoyed by the emotionally charged insistence of the Ukrainians, especially Ambassador Melnyk; he perceives the Ukrainians as difficult friends. The fact that the country is locked in a struggle for existence does not seem to register with him.

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Much more at the link.

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