The AtlanticThe Atlantic

Europe’s Sleeping Giant Awakens

By Noah Barkin

01 Mar 2022 · 5 min read

Late last year, when Angela Merkel was still German chancellor, I asked one of the most astute foreign-policy thinkers in her government about the country’s worrying dependence on authoritarian powers and the reluctance of its political class to reconsider these relationships.

At the time, Berlin was poised to inaugurate a new gas pipeline from Russia, and Germany’s biggest companies were announcing major new investments in China. But Merkel was on her way out, and the question on many minds was whether a leadership change might bring about a shift in Germany’s approach. The German official was skeptical.

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