To The Editor:
With Ukraine now signing up for membership in the European Union, Germany’s soft but firm approach to Russia’s aggression sets a global standard in how to wield influence in the 21st century.
A refreshing new master of this “soft power” is Chancellor Angela Merkel. Since 2009, she has helped Europe out of its financial crisis by holding fast to Germany’s high economic standards and in offering relief to other countries.
As Britain and France have faded, Germany is now European’s undisputed leader.
Since November, when the Ukraine crisis began, Germany’s strong adherence to the values of democracy and national sovereignty has given it a starring role in standing up to Moscow and its use of “hard power,” which included sending Russian troops to take Crimea.
Ms. Merkel has led the effort to tie economic sanctions on Russia because of that nation’s trampling of those values in Ukraine. But she also keeps the door open for Russia to reverse course. Germany will increase economic sanctions if Russia does not back off from attacking Ukraine.
Germany’s emergence as a world leader comes as the United States seeks to share more power with allies in order to tend to its domestic problems.