Six minutes – that’s how long Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) had when she answered questions on the US broadcaster Fox News. Your statements caused some question marks in Germany.
Somewhere between the reporting on Hunter Biden and the current indictment against the son of the US President and a report about extraterrestrials, Annalena Baerbock’s face appears on the screens in US living rooms: During her US trip, Baerbock speaks in the program “Special Report with Bret Baier” about the war in Ukraine, but it also directly addresses the sensitivities of Americans.
The right-wing conservative channel Fox News was for a long time the house and court station of Donald Trump, who is currently trying to get back into the White House. The fact that Baerbock doesn’t go to CNN like the Chancellor, but to Fox, has a serious background. At the same time, her statements raised some question marks there in Germany.
Large sections of US Republicans are against weapons for Ukraine
In Europe, one of the most important issues is the war in Ukraine and the country’s support in its fight against Putin and the Russian army. In the USA, however, support for Ukraine is anything but popular, especially among hardcore Republicans.
The Grand Old Party is increasingly skeptical about the support. The reason for this is Donald Trump, who has ensured that a deep divide has opened up between his, the populist part of the party, and the more moderate ones.
Trump’s Russia-friendly and NATO-skeptical stance can already be found in many parts of the Republican Party, and suspicions about the current government’s support run deep there. Not only Trump, but also his opponent Ron DeSantis and Vivek Ramaswamy, also part of the Trump base, have already spoken out against further aid.
Baerbock speaks on Fox News about help for Ukraine
So is Europe perhaps alone after the presidential elections? In the midst of the US primary election campaign, Baerbock was probably also concerned with sensing this mood among the Republicans; an interview with Fox could help with this.
In her six minutes, she made a strong case for continued support for Ukraine and also explained why it was important for US interests – a strategy that surprised some in Germany.
“Putin is also fighting democracies around the world and that’s why we have to stand together,” explained the Green politician. You are stronger “than Putin’s brutal aggression.” She spoke about her visit to Ukraine and the misery there. “Children who can no longer go to school, children who have been deported to Russia.” People wanted to live in a “free world”.
The term “Free World” already shows that Baerbock is trying to get Americans on the screen with her: “If Putin wins this war,” she continues, “what a message that would be for other dictators in the world – like Xi, the Chinese president?” China is considered a major threat to the USA, not just to the Republican Party.
Amazement and criticism of Baerbock after his US appearance
Politics is about people, she told the TV audience. People who get up early, work two shifts, and look after the children in the evening. “And I wanted to see the diversity of this beautiful country.” Sentences that were likely to be well received by Fox News viewers – but caused astonishment in Germany.
Excerpts from the interview were widely shared on social media. The criticism from many users: Baerbock is running the US election campaign, some refer to her as the “American Secretary of State”. They expressed incomprehension that she was speaking on Fox News of all places.
“Is Baerbock German Foreign Minister or Assistant to the President of Ukraine?”
“Grotesque: Baerbock gives an interview to Fox News in which she appeals to US Republicans to hold on to arms deliveries to Ukraine. She really seems to think she can influence US politics and the primary campaign,” it says.
“Is Baerbock actually the German Foreign Minister or the assistant to the President of Ukraine?” asks another user.
However, Baerbock is primarily concerned with one thing: preventing Europe and the United States from taking different paths after decades of consensus. She is also concerned with preventing NATO from crumbling after the presidential election in the face of a prolonged war in Ukraine.