This time Olaf Scholz is not traveling to the US as a procrastinator, but as a driver: Americans should finally help Ukraine again.
SEDAN taz | Basically, the journey that Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz undertook on Thursday afternoon is not a spectacular journey. The third visit to the United States since the beginning of his term as chancellor comes without much fanfare. He will be in Washington for only 24 hours; A press conference with Joe Biden is not planned. Immediately after his meeting with the president of the United States in the Oval Office, Scholz will return to Berlin on Friday afternoon.
And yet, it is a special trip, because the visit is carried out with reversed roles. For years, representatives of the German government have had to justify themselves on such occasions for investing too little money in the military and doing too little for security in Europe. This time it could be the other way around.
“When it comes to the issue of burden sharing, Europe has no reason to hide,” the Foreign Ministry said, making special reference to Ukraine's support in the war against Russia. In a guest post for the Wall Street Journal Scholz personally calculated to the Americans on Wednesday what this means: in terms of military aid, Germany would be second only to the United States, the EU's financial aid to Ukraine since the beginning of the war would even exceed that of the USA and amount to another 50 billion euros that the Member States have just agreed.
Now, according to Berlin's friendly demands, Washington must finally fulfill its responsibility again. According to a government advisor, it is important for the Chancellor that all states do their part for Ukraine and provide sufficient budgetary resources for this. “In this sense, the conversation comes at exactly the right time.”
A bill to increase aid to Ukraine finally failed again Wednesday in the US Congress. The Democrats had obliged the Republicans and agreed in exchange to implement more isolation measures against immigrants. In the spirit of their designated presidential candidate, Donald Trump, Republicans in the Senate voted no.
Warning of consequences
If the blockade continues, Ukraine's military situation could soon worsen. The Ukrainian military is already complaining about a lack of American weapons supplies and having to make do with far less ammunition than the other side.
“Ukraine could soon face a serious shortage of weapons and ammunition,” warns Scholz Wall Street Journal. This warning is not directed at President Biden. The Chancellor finally agrees with him. Scholz wants to influence public opinion and the United States Congress, even though German influence is limited. The first date after landing in Washington is a dinner with representatives of both parties.
Scholz as a driver, no longer a hesitant: Before his trip to the US, the Chancellor was already working on this image of himself within the EU. In recent weeks, he has repeatedly called on European partner countries to do more in terms of arms deliveries. In a guest article for the Financial times wrote with four other European heads of government: “The burden is so high that all states have to do everything in their power.”
On the one hand, the numbers agree with the Chancellor. Compared to other large EU states, such as France, Spain and Italy, Germany is doing a lot for Ukraine. However, even among the traffic light coalition partners the accusation persists that Scholz is doing too little. Relative to its economic power, Germany is by no means the biggest supporter of Ukraine within the EU, and the long-requested delivery of Taurus cruise missiles continues to fail at the Chancellery.
Scholz's people want to summarize the debate on the matter: They say the issue probably won't play a major role in Washington.