Germany is the weak link in the Western effort to hit Russia with a tough array of sanctions if it invades Ukraine. How did that happen? Blame Angela Merkel.
The former chancellor who led the German government for 16 years until her retirement in December, always took a pragmatic, not ideological, approach to ties with Russia and Vladimir Putin, its President.
She wanted Russian natural gas and received it in abundance, to the point Germany became dependent on Russian energy to power its economy, Europe’s largest.
At the same time, she abandoned Germany’s nuclear program and agreed to phase out its coal burners so the country could meet its net-zero greenhouse gas emissions goals. Not by 2050 or 2060, as many wealthy and developing countries have pledged, but by 2045, a goal that seems increasingly difficult to achieve.