What Butscha reveals about German economic policy

SAt the latest after the terrible pictures from Bucha and other Ukrainian cities, the conviction should spread in Germany that there can be no way back to economic cooperation with Vladimir Putin like before February 24th.

All illusions that, after the end of the war, it would be possible to go back to what was wrongly called “Realpolitik” in recent years should have vanished.

The Green Ministers Annalena Baerbock and Robert Habeck quickly spoke out in favor of further sanctions by the Europeans. We agree with that, but we will have to see how far the courage of the SPD and FDP goes.

Government and industry have barricaded themselves

Effective sanctions would have to include energy supplies, but on this terrain the federal government and parts of the industry have barricaded themselves in a self-made wagon complex in a way that is difficult to understand and from which they will find it difficult to get out again.

Advocates of tougher sanctions also accept objections that are raised against the use of this remedy for natural gas. But with the instrument of an import duty, which has been discussed for weeks, there is an alternative that should at least be open to discussion. Rapid oil sanctions, on the other hand, are more justifiable, but here too the government has been hesitant, at least so far.

Contrary to what is sometimes claimed, the demand for sanctions is not an expression of touchy-feely ethics. In the long years leading up to the war, Germany ignored the economic costs of external security and felt as wealthy as it was. With war, these costs become apparent; they also lead to welfare losses in Germany.

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