Conversation with Dr. Norbert Röttgen
The Ukrainian crisis has dominated the transatlantic dialogue, emphasizing the need for further trust and cooperation between the U.S. and Germany in dealing with Russia. The U.S. fears that Germany is becoming complacent and avoiding active participation in easing the conflict. The general German public does not want to get involved, partly for fear that gas prices will rise. Chancellor Angela Merkel is seen to be “muddling through” the crisis step-by-step as she approaches it cautiously and gauges public opinion. The fear is that this slow progress will sustain the crisis for much longer than it needs to, putting Ukrainian citizens in the area in danger, as well as certain Germans involved.
Through his actions, Russian President Vladimir Putin claims that the EU is politically weak. Germany needs the assistance of the U.S. to prove itself as a global force in this situation. The U.S. has engaged in rhetoric, but must now follow up with economic assistance to Germany in order to support Ukraine. Without resistance, Russia is capable of extending its reach into Europe, beginning in Ukraine, and Germany and the EU must help stabilize the situation before it escalates.
Germany needs further help from the U.S. by means of enforcing more sanctions on Russia, offering economic aid to the European efforts, and speeding up the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations. Moreover, Germany and the U.S. should create a transatlantic support package. Both countries need to make sure that they have a clear structured reform package and expectations for Ukraine. A transatlantic energy pact can help Germany and the U.S. aid Ukraine in finding stability without access to Russian gas. Overall, the European outlook needs to change now that the reality of its relationship with Russia is not as it was two decades ago.
Please direct any questions to Kimberly Frank at firstname.lastname@example.org.