Chancellor Scholz will now apparently travel to Ukraine after all. Does he bring host Selenskyj what he urgently wants? And what influence would that have on the further course of the war? In “Maischberger” a political scientist comes up with a surprising alternative proposal.
Considering that there is not yet any official confirmation, this small travel group to Kyiv already employs quite a lot of people: together with the French President Emmanuel Macron and the Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz will – allegedly – soon be on his way, to – finally, finally – also make personal representations in the Ukraine.
In view of the diplomatic turmoil in recent months, the expectations of this meeting are high on all sides. In the ZDF interview with the journalist Christian Sievers, the Ukrainian President had already formulated what he expected from Chancellor Scholz and Germany without much clarification: a clear commitment to Ukraine without a diplomatic back door towards Russia. You don’t have to be a political expert to suspect that this can also be expressed in heavy weapons.
Just don’t bring anything? It’s almost impossible “when three heavyweights come together as a trio with four fists,” jokes comedian Oliver Kalkofe on “Maischberger”: “It would be like Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney and Bruce Springsteen standing together in a sold-out stadium and announcing them there that they will not sing, but will always be there for the people.” Those who come to visit cannot stand at the door empty-handed. Especially not when that door belongs to a house that’s already pretty much shot up.
FDP politician Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, once Federal Minister of Justice under Helmut Kohl, has been in politics for a good four decades and is familiar with the old tradition of checkbook diplomacy. “Yes, that was a very good way back then,” she says at “Maischberger”. Now, on the other hand, she has co-signed an open letter demanding that the Germans supply arms to Ukraine. The current approach is that Ukraine’s negotiating position can only be strengthened with weapons.
Political scientist Johannes Warwick sees things differently: More and more arms deliveries would only lead to Russia tackling its goals with ever greater brutality. A political solution with which Russia also agrees would be the much better alternative – even if this means sitting down at a table with the aggressor Putin. “We should think of this war from the end,” he warns. Seen from this perspective, European arms deliveries could lead to the possibility that all of Europe will soon be at war with Russia.
So what could the alternatives to arms shipments be? Warwick is leading here with diplomatic energy, economic pressure and, in the end, perhaps “ensuring Ukraine’s ability to defend itself”. Unfortunately, the expert does not explain how this should work without arms deliveries. “Solidarity yes, but not a suicide mission,” he says simply. And he has another, hitherto largely ignored solution that he proposes: “Freezing instead of permanent escalation”. In other words: wait internationally until Putin’s reign ends in a completely natural way.
Wait, continue drinking tea with regret and wait for Putin’s demise? Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger is definitely going too far: “Then the Ukraine will be broken and gone.” And even Maischberger is indignant: “With all due respect, Ukrainians are also listening to us.”
Textile manufacturer Wolfgang Grupp later explained that the tactic of sitting out could also result in collateral damage: In 2020, his family business still consumed gas worth 100,000 euros per month. Today, five to six times the amount would have to be paid for the same amount of gas. Yarn prices have also risen by up to 80 percent, as have transport costs. “That’s not sustainable in the long run.”