Ulrich Speck: History however is teaching us that the failure to confront aggressive neighbors does not turn them into peaceniks

Ulrich Speck: While talking with Merkel, Putin has invaded Crimea and is very likely to annex it.

Source: https://www.facebook.com/ulrich.speck/posts/10201264980576197

How good is Germany’s Russia policy? Unfortunately we don’t know what Merkel and Putin are discussing in their hour-long phone calls every two days.

Therefore we can only judge Merkel’s efforts by their results. These results don’t look good. While talking with Merkel, Putin has invaded Crimea and is very likely to annex it. Nothing Merkel has told him has prevented Putin from acting – violating key international norms and undermining Europe’s peace order.

Yes it’s good to talk. But talking as such cannot replace foreign policy. Germany has many foreign policy tools it could use, beyond talking. But it’s afraid of using them, because it’s afraid of confrontation.

History however is teaching us that the failure to confront aggressive neighbors does not turn them into peaceniks. Each time they get a free pass they feel emboldened. Each time the price for non-confrontation is growing.

If the West would have reacted more decisive to Putin’s de facto-annexation of Georgian territories, he might have thought twice before invading Ukrainian territory. Now it’s much harder to stop him. Next time it will be even harder.
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