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January 25, 2021

Time for International Sobriety

Thomas Bagger
Thomas Bagger

Diplomatic Adviser to the President of the Federal Republic of Germany

Kadri Liik
Kadri Liik

Senior Policy Fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR)

The world of yesterday is gone or rapidly eroding, and it makes it hard to establish foreign policy directions. In the great power competition, Europe seems to be confused because Russia today is not the Russia that the West imagined it to become after 1989. Politics is driven by bold announcements and exaggerated expectations instead of relying on careful analysis and long-term strategy, cool headedness, and strategic patience.

In this session of Lennart Meri Conference Talks, Senior Policy Fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations Kadri Liik and Director of Foreign Policy in the Office of the Federal President of Germany, Dr. Thomas Bagger discuss the challenges of calibrating foreign policy in today’s world, the policymaking and legacy of Chancellor Angela Merkel, German-Russian relations, and how to interpret and relate to Russia.

Kadri Liik:

  • In Germany I get that feeling that Germany wants Russians as Russians to do well, and I find it very touching, and very nice.
  • The best way for us to help Russia’s transformation is to take a step back and leave them to their own devices.
  • Let us not confound normative preferences and analytical truth.
  • Let us have less toxic discussion about Russia, less emotional.

Dr. Thomas Bagger:

  • We are all becoming too personalised in our perspective on politics. I don’t want to belittle that, but I think we have a tendency to disregard structural factors.
  • Russia has been extremely passive, and you have to wonder why that is.
  • There is clearly a continued need for European unity as we move forward, a sense of strategic patience.
  • How normative, how moralising a foreign policy do you actually want?

Sit back, relax and enjoy the food for thought. Share your thoughts on the talks on Twitter using #LMC_Talks and/or on Facebook. You can find us on Twitter @ICDS_Tallinn and on Facebook @ICDS.Tallinn.

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