A bimonthly magazine on international affairs, edited in Germany's capital

overview


Greece’s new Syriza government may alarm Brussels, but there is more behind Greece’s affinity for Russia than can be explained by party alliances alone – as polls have shown, keeping Athens in line on Russia policy may be trickier than expected.


Europe needs to craft a short-term strategy to contain Moscow’s power and a long-term strategy to reengage with Russian interests. As the poet Rainer Maria Rilke said, “To endure is all.”


It will be hard for the EU to admit that its postmodern dream of an eternally peaceful European security order is out of reach. But given Russia’s aggression, that is what it must learn to do – while bolstering its defenses.


Setting a positive agenda, reaching out to Russia’s remaining civil society, and pursuing a mixture of containment and engagement can build a more effective relationship with Russia over a long time frame.


If the West really wants to build a new relationship, then it has to understand Russia much better than it does today. Here are a few recommendations on what to avoid when patching up relations with Moscow.


China’s proposals to facilitate the Afghan reconciliation process – and signals from Kabul and Islamabad that peace talks may soon be underway – pose the question of what a more serious Chinese diplomatic role in Afghanistan can be expected to achieve.


On April 2, 2015 in Lausanne EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif presented parameters for an agreement about Iran’s nuclear program. What kind of deal is in the making? (2 of 2)


Germany’s old Russia policy, an attempt to build a “modernizing partnership,” is dead and should be buried. The beginning of 2015 saw Berlin searching for a new way forward, informed by recent events.


On April 2, 2015 in Lausanne EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif presented parameters for an agreement about Iran’s nuclear program. What kind of deal is in the making? (1 of 2)


Since reunification Germany’s partners have prodded the country to take on a leadership role in security policy. Now Germany’s finally agreed to take a seat at the table – as long as it is not the head.


Syriza’s election in Greece turned discussion in Europe once more to 
the possibility of a Grexit. Cutting Athens loose, however, would not help Greece, and do little to repair the eurozone’s remaining problems.


The United Kingdom has been accused recently of stepping off the international stage, leaving Germany and France to run the show. The notion of British retreat, however, needs a more nuanced assessment.


Mainstream politicians need to stop pressing the snooze button and 
wake up: Protest politics and xenophobic populism are endangering Europe’s liberal democracies and open societies. They must be addressed.


Under the leadership of Xi Jinping, Chinese foreign policy is 
becoming more ambitious. Consequently, new China policies are 
needed. Europe should build on past German successes.


German Chancellor Angela Merkel turned down Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invitation to attend the huge military parade planned for the 70th anniversary of the Allied victory over Germany. Instead, she will travel to Moscow one day later to take part in a ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier – an unexpected hopeful sign.


Even as the future of the European Union’s neighborhood remains under threat, a few developments on the EU periphery – in Ukraine, Romania, and Serbia – show that civil society and rule of law are making inroads in post-Communist kleptocracies.


An impending June decision by the EU’s Court of Justice will likely tip the balance between free trade and fundamental rights. Arguments were heard last week in Luxembourg in a privacy rights case lodged by Max Schrems, an Austrian law student, against five international tech giants.


A new incentives initiative seeks to complete Germany’s transition to renewables with an appeal to business and a focus on a long-neglected area: the heating and cooling sector. Government support for solar and biogas heat may give the Energiewende a further push in the right direction.


Deputy chancellor Sigmar Gabriel argued this week that it was time to turn the page on austerity policies. But there is little chance of him bringing about a change of course. Rather, the return of the Greek crisis has underlined how little influence Germany’s Social Democrats have shaping euro-saving policies.


“Nuclear disarmament” has always sounded better in theory than in practice. With more countries flexing their nuclear muscle – especially Russia – a more realistic strategy to manage nuclear arms is necessary. The West must fundamentally re-think means and ends.