Germany puts Germany first

Berlin’s paeans to multilateralism and reproaches to nationalism, however, mask a foreign policy that is often itself unilateral and nationalist. An example of such hypocrisy was unintentionally provided by Gabriel himself. Among a litany of American policies supposedly undermining the liberal international order, he included newly introduced U.S. sanctions on Moscow that may affect German gas pipelines to Russia. Such measures, Gabriel warned, “pose an existential threat to our own economic interests.”

Nord Stream is but the most blatant example of how German foreign policy forsakes its own Central and Eastern European EU and NATO allies to the benefit of Russia, an adversary that, with its seizure of Crimea, perpetrated the first armed annexation in Europe since Hitler.

A recent Pew poll of publics in NATO countries found Germans were the least likely to support defending fellow allies against Russian attack, as mandated by Article 5 of the alliance’s charter…

Shrouding nationalism behind a façade of internationalist rhetoric has long been a feature of post-war German foreign policy. Practitioners of Cold War Ostpolitik eventually came to see the “stability” of Communist regimes as the ne plus ultra of West German foreign policy, shunting aside the people-powered demands for change rising from below. By advocating the withdrawal of American nuclear-tipped Pershing missiles from West German soil — a move that would have put its fellow European NATO allies at risk of Russian nuclear blackmail — the West German peace movement of the early 1980s was, as a Social Democratic academic later confessed, “national in the guise of anti-nuclear.”

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