“This is not foreign policy, this is an ego trip”

Only toxic people could have written an article with such an important topic. Two such men did it Berliner Zeitung (BZ) from 10 February: First, Thomas Fassbender, Dr. Phil., worked as a manager and entrepreneur in Moscow from 1992 to 2015. Among others, “Vladimir Putin” is the author. A Political Biography” and “The Unknown Century”. Second, Moritz Eichhorn: He studied international relations and philosophy in Great Britain. Political editor at FAZ and FAS. He has been deputy BZ editor-in-chief since September 2023.

Fasbender and Eichorn cast a green ex-presidential candidate, frequent flier, self-proclaimed international law activist, feminist-inspired world savior with geography, history, geometry, physics and English skills.

For example, Fassbender and Eichhorn note that Baerbock's favorite word is “must”. Hospitals in Gaza “must function.” Hamas' terrorism “must stop immediately.” Addressed in Moscow: “The bombing must stop.” Also: “Drowning in the Mediterranean must stop.” “We must work on reforms. UN .” “COP28 should have gone one step further.” In supply chain law: “Europe must rely on Germany.” On Sudan: “We need to increase the pressure on both sides.” Human rights imperialism a la Baerbach! But, according to Fasbender and Eichorn: “Disciplining foreign policy is a zero-sum game.”

Bareback has only definite imperatives that Little Erna can sign. But what do they bring? Well, with 35 percent approval ratings, Baerbach is doing significantly worse than most foreign ministers of the past, with even tailor-made Heiko Maas having better ratings in 2018 with 47 percent. But Beyerbach is doing at least better than Chancellor Scholz (20 percent), opposition leader Friedrich Merz (29 percent) or party colleague Robert Habeck (26 percent). Only Defense Minister Boris Pistorius was “more popular” (50 percent).

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Baerbock's “Politics” Without Consequences

Fasbender and Eichhorn write: “As with Beerbock's public statement that Chinese President Xi Jinping is a dictator, Beerbock's appeals fall on deaf ears or are damaging. Beerbock is still considered impossible to obtain in China. Their statements did not change the situation in China.

Hence the problem: all of Baerbock's imperatives have no consequences. Why? Because Germany's foreign minister is not taken seriously in the world. What the most intelligent, failed football player could say about most German foreign ministers of the 21st century applies to them: First we were unlucky, then we were unlucky.

There are pictures after pictures: Baerbach, above all, always on the gangway – like a catwalk: at a fuel stop in Djibouti; While meeting refugees in South Sudan; At COP28 in Dubai; x Live Baerbock not only via Twitter/X in Israel and Ukraine; On the border between South and North Korea; In Nigeria; Scattering of rose petals in New Delhi in memory of Mahatma Gandhi; UN in New York Ovalum, while transporting bowlers to Niger; In Palau in the South Pacific. And so on… In 2023 alone he traveled on (CO2 neutral?) 73 foreign trips and 13 in January 2024. Here you can – for once – trust Wikipedia.

Baerbock's problem: calculable in its simplicity

Beyerbach is very predictable in his intellect, emotion and rhetoric. Fasbender and Eichorn also write: “The people you talk to know what to expect in their discussions and press conferences. But she doesn't seem to mind. The impression she makes in newsreels and daily news seems to matter to her: barefoot on the Pacific islands of Palau, carrying jugs of water in Niger, or emerging from a military plane with aid supplies. to Gaza in Egypt. The decisions of the platform are secondary… Realpolitik – bargaining and balancing common and opposing interests, including petty secrets and blind-spotting, is not their thing.”

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Max Weber would say: He practices the ethics of trust instead of the ethics of responsibility from his high horse. And instead of real politics. Watch Baerbock's legendary press conference with Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang in April 2023. Twice he approached his colleague critically — China's control of the Ukraine war, China's Taiwan policy — and twice he responded unimpressed. For the third time – civil society and human rights – Qin made it clear: “The least China needs is a teacher from the West.”

Fasbender and Eichorn summarize: “Behind closed doors there are tempers among seasoned German diplomats. you say Trust has been built up so hard, sometimes over years, in the host country, and then the minister comes along and shows where the moral hammer is. German diplomats on site are allowed to suffer. After the third Mai Tai, you ask what people think of the lady from Berlin.

Appearances are everything

However, Baerbach has his “fan bubble”. Young people in the Foreign Office in particular will appreciate this style. Of course, Beerbock has already gathered around him a group of related “green”, “woke” boys and girls. She comes there. In Yellow press on ARD and ZDF anyway. She also does a lot for her clothes. For example, she employs her own make-up artist at taxpayers' expense – 137,000 euros a year. Your most important person in the Foreign Office is Dominik Butzmann, a professional photographer from the “Phototek” agency. Hearts fly to her in the oh-so-enlightened jungle of newspapers from “taz” to “Süddeutsche” with the most professionally staged photocall. “Feminist foreign policy inspires—” comments Bayrischer Rundfunk, “and that's why we need it.” Beyerbach also has his own fan club in the office. A German diplomat says he was surrounded behind closed doors by a group that “believed that Baerbach could walk on water.” Behind closed doors, famous diplomats also say: We never told each other blonde jokes, but now we tell each other jokes about Beerbach. He is providing opportunities for this every week.

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TE readers interested in reading more about the Secretary of State's “performance” are referred to several TE analyses. Here are just a few examples from the past ten weeks:

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