Germany does big business with Russia and it is understandable that German business leaders do not want the boat rocked. You would think Vladimir Putin would be of a similar mind.Instead Putin has chosen to stick an expansionist thumb in his big trading partner’s eye. The Wall Street Journal reports:
In most countries, it would be highly unusual for corporate executives to inject themselves into geopolitics and matters of national security with the forcefulness that a number of German business leaders have. But many of Germany’s largest companies have substantial Russian operations, built in some cases over decades, and worry that tough economic sanctions would rob them of a key growth market when their home market—Europe—is stagnant.
That has led to intense pressure on Berlin. Germany’s chancellor has repeatedly criticized Russia for its actions in Ukraine and warned the Kremlin it would face serious consequences if it doesn’t change course. Yet Ms. Merkel has stopped short of endorsing broader economic sanctions, opting instead to impose travel bans and asset freezes on individuals with close ties to the Kremlin.
“Merkel is coming knowing that she faces a heavy debate with the Americans,” said John C. Kornblum, a former U.S. ambassador to Germany who also previously served as U.S. assistant secretary of state for European affairs.