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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

A series of foreign policy crises awaits the new chancellor.

Rarely has a German leader come to power with so many acute crises.

When Olaf Scholz is sworn in as chancellor in early December, he will have to deal with a growing pandemic, tensions on the Polish-Belarusian border, a mobilization of Russian presidential troops near Ukraine, a more confrontational China and a less reliable United States.

“The pressure is tremendous,” said Yana Pulierin of the European Council on Foreign Relations. “The new government is taking office in a situation that is heating up in many ways.”

Foreign policy was hardly discussed during the election campaign, but it could well have been dominant in the first months of the new administration. With Germany assuming the G7 Chairmanship in January, Scholz will immediately draw attention to many pressing international issues.

Few analysts expect Mr Scholz to significantly change Ms Merkel’s course.

For those of Germany’s allies hoping for a firmer stance on China and Russia and increased military spending, this promise of continuity can only be partially reassuring.

“Many of our allies yearn for a stronger German leadership, but they are unlikely to get it,” said Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff of the German Marshall Fund.

With so many wildfires on the international stage and some structural geopolitical shifts, circumstances – and his more aggressive coalition partners – could force Scholz to hand, Kleine-Brockhoff said.

In Europe, one of the first tests Mr. Scholz will face is how to deal with Poland, which has violated some of the democratic principles that underpin EU membership but is also under pressure from neighboring Belarus, a Russian ally.

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Scholz’s Social Democrats have traditionally viewed Russia as a “dovino”, supporting projects such as the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. But if Moscow launches a new offensive in Ukraine, it will be a serious test.

For China, the picture is more complex.

Analysts believe that as Beijing grows more confrontational and German industry increasingly reveals its dependence on the Chinese market, German policy towards China is ripe for development out of the mercantilist soft touch of the Merkel era.

“Germany’s stance on China will become tougher for structural reasons,” said Mr Kleine-Brockhoff. “Mr. Scholz is not a hawk. But he is not Merkel either, and he will face pressure from other parties in his government,” he said.

In the United States, Mr. Scholz does have a seeming center-left ally in President Biden.

But no one knows how long it will last.

“We don’t know how reliable the Biden administration is, and we don’t know how long it will be in power,” said Ms Poullierin of the European Council on Foreign Relations.

As one of Mr. Scholz’s advisers said: “Biden is America first, only more polite.”

As a result, according to his advisers, Mr. Scholz will focus most of his energy on strengthening the European Union. His first overseas visit will be to President Emmanuel Macron in France, who faces a difficult election campaign next year.

“We will talk much more about European sovereignty. We will speak more French. But in reality, it will be difficult to turn this into real politics, ”said Ms Poullierin.

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
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