Between the lines is his offer of peace: Chancellor Scholz’s government statement offers the Russian ruler the opportunity to end the war face-saving.
Olaf Scholz is not a hit-and-run politician. We already know that. But we know even more since his government statement today: the German chancellor is leaving a back door open for Putin to end the war in Ukraine face-saving. Two points he made, and one he deliberately left out, are an offer to the Kremlin ruler.
First, when describing the war aim, Scholz paid more attention to his choice of words than anyone else. “Russia must not win, Ukraine must survive,” he said this time. What he expressly did not name as a war goal was the victory of Ukraine.
Scholz knows that anything that looks like it would be unacceptable for Russia and its clique of rulers. In order to end the war, Putin needs a result that he can at least declare a victory with his propaganda. Scholz obviously does not want to block this possibility.
Secondly, Scholz, together with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, is playing for time when it comes to Ukraine’s EU accession. His words this time: “Ukraine is part of the European family.” It’s a nice picture, but it doesn’t have any consequences. On the contrary: the chancellor thereby underpinned the common European position that there would be no short cuts on the way to the EU.
That too is a compromise signal to Putin: no matter how long his reign lasts, Ukraine’s EU accession process will take longer and will not get in the way of Putin.
Third: Scholz welcomed the planned NATO accession of Sweden and Finland. The real issue that has been simmering on the NATO table in Brussels for months is Ukraine’s accession to the western military alliance. He is obviously more utopian than ever, Scholz did not even mention such an accession and thus also sent a signal to Moscow that he was willing to talk.
If Putin, who says he likes to watch German television, thinks like this: he could live with what he saw in the Bundestag today. It was a disguised peace offering to him.
*The article “Between the lines, Scholz makes a disguised offer of peace to the warmonger in the Kremlin” is published by WirtschaftsKurier. Contact the person responsible here.