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Image damage due to Ukraine trend: Ishinger: Berlin is in “bad, bad light”.


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Ishinger: Berlin is in a “bad, bad light”.

In the Ukraine crisis, reluctance in Berlin is causing annoyance among coalition partners. Defense expert Ishinger complains that German politics has tarnished his reputation. “Germany has already lost the confidence of many allies or is in danger of losing it.” He is terrified.

Security expert Wolfgang Ischinger has strongly criticized the federal government’s restrictive action in the Ukraine crisis. The Munich leader says Germany is now “in a worse, worse light” in the United States and other allies over the “inconvenience” in dealing with the issue of the controversial North Stream 2 gas pipeline and arms supply to Ukraine. Security Conference.

Wolfgang Ischinger is “worried and anxious.”

“Germany has already lost the trust of many allies or is in danger of losing it,” Ishinger said. He also lamented that German control was playing into the hands of Russia. “Of course, the wobble of various German politicians was accurately recorded in Moscow,” said the former German ambassador to Washington. “Reputation damage has already occurred.”

President Olaf Scholes hesitated for a long time over the crisis in Ukraine before taking a clear stand. Until mid-January, the SPD leader put the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline on the table as a tool of sanctions during the Russian invasion of Ukraine – only in a vague way. At the same time, he clearly rejected the supply of dangerous weapons to Ukraine, unlike other allies. It was criticized by Ukraine, but also by countries like Poland and the Baltic states. In the United States, the question also arises as to whether Germany is still a reliable partner.

“Some embarrassments”

Ishinger said everything that had been said about Germany in Washington, Brussels and Kiev over the past few days and written in the international press had caused him “fear and anxiety.” “There have been some glitches. I don’t think they can be fixed. But the damage to reputation has already been done.” A lot needs to be done to repair this damage.

According to Ishinger, Germany’s worst case scenario is related to Nord Stream 2. The former top ambassador describes the controversial gas pipeline as the “thorn in the flesh” of German foreign policy. “I doubt that in German politics in Berlin we underestimated the size of this thorn and its negative impact. And this thorn has now erupted in the arms supply affair.”

Open the sidebar in North Stream 2

In view of the German mediating role in the conflict in Ukraine, a certain restriction on the supply of arms makes sense. “But that doesn’t mean the world’s public should allow us to be teased,” Ishinger said. But it is happening now, for example, that Estonia plans to export nine artillery pieces to Ukraine, which originally came from Germany. Ishinger says it is strange that the federal government has been considering approval for several weeks now. “Let the Estonians decide.”

When it came to arms distribution, Ishinger complained that “the impression was created that we were folding hands at the end of the convoy.” Given Germany’s open side in North Stream 2, he would have thought it wise to position himself in the middle, if possible, because of the EU decision.

Ishinger did not consider the criticism of Germany to be entirely justified, and noted the comprehensive German economic and financial assistance to Ukraine and the diplomatic commitment to resolving the years-long Ukraine conflict. “But the federal government’s communications policy is not in line with the importance of this process,” the security expert said. It is also not clear to the public that Germany is trying to find a European position on the Ukraine crisis. The federal government has not fulfilled its self-imposed mission of European leadership.

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