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U.S. Hits an Old Germany Problem as It Tries to Squeeze Russia

Diplomatic ties between Berlin and Moscow are raising some concern in Washington. But Cold War history shows that’s always been the case. 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other European leaders turn a wheel with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to symbolically start the flow of gas through the Nord Stream gas pipeline in 2011.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other European leaders turn a wheel with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to symbolically start the flow of gas through the Nord Stream gas pipeline in 2011.

Photographer: Sean Gallup/Getty Images Europe

When Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock travels to Russia this week she’ll be following a path well-trodden by German officials, and it’s one that’s shown can lead to friction with its biggest western ally.

As U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration looks to deter Russia from invading Ukraine, doubts are being raised about Germany’s readiness to confront President Vladimir Putin. Baerbock’s task will be to demonstrate that any questions over the new Berlin government’s resolve are misplaced.