| 27 September 2022, Tuesday |

German should send Ukraine weapons, says Munich Security Conference chief-designate

In an interview, Christoph Heusgen, the future chairman of the Munich Security Conference, argued that Germany should increase its worldwide leadership and liberalize its arms export policy, even considering providing weapons to Ukraine.

Germany has been chastised for declining to supply arms to Ukraine, in contrast to other Western allies, amid worries of a new Russian invasion. Germany has a long-standing policy of avoiding sending weapons to conflict zones, which stems in part from the country’s brutal twentieth-century history and resultant pacifism.

Heusgen stated that Berlin is demonstrating political leadership in the issue by reinstating the Normandy format of discussions with officials from Ukraine, Russia, France, and Germany.

But, according to Heusgen, the former top German diplomat who will take over the MSC after the end of this year’s event on Feb. 18-20, Germany should consider supplying weapons so that Ukraine can protect itself as well. He stated that using history as a justification was no longer appropriate or even reasonable.

“We make it too easy on ourselves by saying we’ve always done it that way, therefore we’ll keep doing it,” he told Reuters. “We need to have a discussion about a more active German participation in foreign policy, including security policy and (arms exports policy).”

Heusgen said that Russian President Vladimir Putin appeared to be stoking a crisis with Ukraine to boost his popularity back home but did not yet appear decided to act.

“He is looking closely how we will react,” Heusgen said.

Germany, the second largest donor to the United Nations, had already shown more foreign policy leadership under former Chancellor Angela Merkel, said Heusgen – for example, being more active in Africa.

Asked if Europe should keep troops stationed in Mali, he said the West needed to draw lessons from the Afghanistan debacle and focus on supporting governments that respected good governance and human rights.

Europe must set an ultimatum to Mali’s government, he said: either it starts implementing a previous peace deal with northern tribes and organized democratic elections “or we go out.”

  • Reuters