For a long time, the Munich Security Conference was a place of controversial geostrategic discussions. This time it was staged more nostalgically as a military science conference, as self-assurance of a West, which in reality never existed. The problem wasn't those who were invited, like Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. The problem was the attitude of those present. Munich was bursting with false self-confidence.
The speech by Kamala Harris was an example of this. The US Vice President called for an end to impunity for war crimes – and remained silent, that the US should block any attempts by the International Criminal Court, to punish crimes committed by Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan.
It's this double standard, with which the USA and Europe are weakening their position in the world. Harris especially emphasized, the United States would support Ukraine "as long as it takes" - while government officials in Washington scattered, Aid cannot be given indefinitely.
Indeed, the debate, how long is "long"., started long ago. It should not have been left out of Chancellor Olaf Scholz's most recent conversation with US President Joe Biden - especially since China has signaled, having no interest in an endless war.
This becomes clearest at that point in Beijing's position paper 24. February, where concern for global supply chains is formulated. The target issued by the People's Congress, the economy is expected to grow by around five percent this year, takes precedence over “boundless” friendship with Russia.
The Insurance of Americans and Europeans, Kiev alone will decide on the timing of negotiations with Moscow, is at best half the truth. Because without the material help of the West, Ukraine's gains in territory would have been impossible, without this support, Ukraine would not be able to militarily counter Russia's war of attrition.
That the US and Europe financial, provide military and humanitarian aid, is in their own security interest. Because the desire for further military adventures must be taken away from the aggressor Vladimir Putin. Nevertheless, the aid is not unconditional, at least from the point of view of the USA and Germany. condition is, that NATO does not get into a military confrontation with Russia and that military support for Ukraine is only provided jointly within the alliance.
The help is obviously limited in time. Donald Trump's acclaimed performance before right-wing conservatives in the state of Maryland, that the US Republicans are making support for Ukraine a top issue in the election campaign – the Democrats, on the other hand, are unlikely to want to be accused, “Wasting” money in distant Ukraine, that is missing at home in the USA.
Those were the signals from the US administration, who flanked Harris' speech in Munich. As the war progresses, Biden will have an important say.
Putin must not achieve his maximum goals
All of this also has consequences for Germany. One of the reasons, why the chancellor is so stubborn about US involvement in the supply of main battle tanks, is the danger, Trumpism coming back to power in the US. With "tanks on the ground" it should at least be more difficult for the USA, to completely withdraw from the front of support for Ukraine.
Contrary to what the left-wing politician Sahra Wagenknecht demands, there will be no quick end to hostilities. Russia has already announced a bloody spring offensive. But with the coming autumn, the USA will, China and also Europe are increasing the pressure, to end the fighting. Germany should rise to this challenge.
There will only be an end to hostilities under two conditions: that Putin will not achieve his maximum goals militarily and that Russia will be isolated internationally, also from China, If, Brazil and South Africa. Europe should push China, to actually enforce the demilitarization of the area around the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, as demanded by Beijing. The export of grain from Ukraine was to be intensified, as was the exchange of prisoners of war. Brazil's offer, to act as an intermediary, should be recognized and not hastily dismissed.
These would all be steps towards the goal, to be able to negotiate an end to the fighting - even if this end would not mean a ceasefire or even a peace treaty. For Germany, an end to hostilities cannot mean the end of aid to Ukraine. Ukraine needs reliable security guarantees. The Europeans and above all the Germans will have to pay for such guarantees and bringing Ukraine closer to the EU – it doesn't matter, who will soon be sitting in the White House.