Economist Paul Krugman slams Germany as the 'weakest link' in sanctions of Putin’s 'aggression' against Ukraine

Economist Paul Krugman slams Germany as the 'weakest link' in sanctions of Putin’s 'aggression' against Ukraine

Liberal economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman has been applauding the Biden Administration and its allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) for the economic sanctions they have imposed on Russia in response to its brutal invasion of Ukraine — which has resulted in thousands of deaths and more than 4.3 million Ukrainian refugees fleeing to other countries, according to the United Nations. But Krugman, in a scathing column published on April 7, is vehemently critical of NATO member Germany.

As Krugman sees it, Germany — the largest economy in Europe — is still much too reliant on Russian oil. And he slams Germany as the “weakest link in the democratic world’s response to Russian aggression.”

“(Russian President) Vladimir Putin’s war of aggression runs on the money Russia gets by selling fossil fuels to Europe,” Krugman explains. “And while Ukraine has, incredibly, repelled Russia’s attempt to seize Kyiv, Putin won’t be definitively stopped until Europe ends its energy dependence. Which means that Germany — whose political and business leaders insist that they can’t do without Russian natural gas, even though many of its own economists disagree — has, in effect, become Putin’s prime enabler. This is shameful.”

Germany, Krugman notes, has been “warned for decades about the risks of becoming dependent on Russian gas.”

“On the eve of the Ukraine war,” Krugman observes, “55% of German gas came from Russia. There’s no question that quickly cutting off, or even greatly reducing, this gas flow would be painful. But multiple economic analyses — from the Brussels-based Bruegel Institute, the International Energy Agency and ECONtribute, a think tank sponsored by the Universities of Bonn and Cologne — have found that the effects of drastically reducing gas imports from Russia would be far from catastrophic to Germany.”

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, according to Krugman, lacks a “sense of urgency” when it comes to sanctions against Russia.

“To be fair,” Krugman writes, “Germany has moved on from its initial unwillingness to help Ukraine at all. Ukraine’s ambassador to Germany claims, although the Germans deny it, that he was told there was no point in sending weapons because his government would collapse in hours. And maybe, maybe, the realization that refusing to shut off the flow of Russian gas makes Germany de facto complicit in mass murder will finally be enough to induce real action. But until or unless this happens, Germany will continue, shamefully, to be the weakest link in the democratic world’s response to Russian aggression.”


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