“A statesman cannot create anything himself,” observed the “Iron Chancellor,” Otto von Bismarck. “He must wait and listen until he hears God’s footsteps resounding through events; then jumps up and grabs the hem of his garment. A century and a half later, Chancellor Olaf Scholz apparently heard those footsteps. By canceling a critical gas deal with Russia and reversing a long-standing policy of not sending lethal weapons into war zones, Mr Scholz has grabbed hold of the garment and transformed Germany’s role in the world.
Of even greater importance to the world order, Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine could also be providential for President Biden. Like it or not, the withdrawal of the United States caused a stir in the chancelleries and ministries of Europe, Asia and the Middle East for many years. Even before Barack Obama’s failure to live up to his Syrian “red line” and Donald Trump’s betrayal of Iraqi and Syrian Kurds, the word on the streets was loud and clear: America is unfaithful to its friends and seriously risks to be challenged by a new axis of China, Russia and even second-tier adversaries like Iran.