Is there a new Berlin-Moscow axis developing? A few weeks ago Gerhard Schroeder, the former German chancellor who serves on the board of Gazprom, was photographed giving Russian president Vladimir Putin a bear hug. Another former Social Democratic chancellor, Helmut Schmidt, declared in the weekly Die Zeit that the uproar over Putin’s expropriation of the Crimea was so much piffle. It was, he said, “entirely understandable.” And the German public itself has no appetite for confrontation with Ukraine.
All this is creating some consternation inside and outside Germany among foreign policy elites.