Germans do not particularly like Russia-they never really have. Distrust vis-à-vis the Kremlin is high, and there are no illusions about the nature of the regime in Moscow, as a recent poll by Germany’s leading news outlet has confirmed. Eighty-one percent of those asked believed that Russia is not a trustworthy partner.
But 58 percent thought the same about the United States. It comes as no surprise, then, that in another poll by the same outlet, 49 percent of Germans stated that their desired political position is equidistance between the West and Russia. Only 45 percent believed that Germany should be firmly embedded in the West.
None of this would matter much if it were the mindset of a smallish country on the fringes of Europe. But when it’s the big fat thing in the middle of the continent that harbors these leanings, it becomes a geopolitical issue of some consequence.
The old saw about NATO is that its real mission was to “keep the Americans in, the Russians out, and the Germans down.”
Now that we’re not so “in” anymore, the “out” and the “down” become more problematical.