Before the USA-Russia summit, Gerhard Schröder strikes against US President Biden. The former chancellor criticizes his plans to break away from China – and speaks about the possible consequences for Germany.
Photo series with 16 pictures
In a few days, US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet in Geneva. The summit in Switzerland is considered to be prone to conflict – because Biden wants to endeavor to cut the increasingly intensive cooperation between Russia and China. Will he succeed in doing this? Gerhard Schröder (SPD) doubts this and comments on it in his podcast “Die Agenda” (listen here).
“I also don’t think that can or should be his strategy,” said the former chancellor. Russia is a sovereign state that independently defines its relations with China. Biden wants to separate Russia. “This is a form of politics that I cannot get used to at all,” Schröder criticized the US president.
“Our economic relations with China are huge and we need them too”
Instead, it’s about getting back into conversation with each other. “You need these governments to solve international problems. That applies to Russia, that applies to China and when this insight returns, to America under President Biden, you can only find it good,” said the former chancellor in the podcast. Schröder hoped that the talks would not be disturbed too much, “possibly by forces in the American Congress who do not necessarily think this is right.”
The topic also affects Germany. “Our economic relations with China are huge and we need them too,” said the SPD politician. The Chinese market is particularly important for the automotive industry. It is not in the German interest to fuel the trade war between China and the USA. Germany as “a middle power with considerable export interests (…) and jobs attached to it” needs the dialogue. In addition, Germany is dependent on trading and “maintaining reasonable political relations”. “Also and especially with Russia or China – and as a sovereign country we must not allow ourselves to be lured into the trap,” demanded Schröder.
It is good and right that Russia and the USA should be able to enter into dialogue again, stressed Schröder. Too often people made the mistake of imposing sanctions instead of talking to each other. It is necessary to create more balance than uncover differences. Last but not least, Russia is also important for Germany in terms of energy resources. It is not just about oil and gas, but also about hydrogen, which is needed for the energy transition. “This strange thinking, when I do something friendly, engage in dialogue, then results from the fact that I, so to speak, prevent the same dialogue that my partner has with others – that’s nonsense,” warned Schröder.
The US way of breaking away from China is dangerous. The country has rare earths that are important for the automotive and chip industries. For Germany, too, said the former Chancellor: “That is why we have to be careful that the immense political power that America undoubtedly has now does not lead to us (…) being the ones who get on the wrong track in global trade . ”
Harsh criticism of Habeck
With a view to the NATO summit on June 14 in Brussels and the reform initiative 2030, which demands more money for combat units on NATO’s eastern flank, Schröder shot in his podcast against Green leader Robert Habeck: “We are in our 80th year the attack by the Nazis on the Soviet Union at that time and then I see Mr. Habeck posing with a steel helmet on the Ukrainian-Russian border. I don’t know if there is anyone who works at this level who is so forgotten about history and so little sensitive to it, what that does in Russia. He wants to be something – I hope not too much, I can only say. ”
Schröder was referring to one Visit to Habeck in Ukrainewhich sparked a debate about arms exports. The co-chairman of the Greens had spoken out in favor of supplying the Ukrainian military with weapons for defense.