More than ever, the German public's distaste for military intervention abroad is shaping policy.
"Better this than nothing" was the reaction after Vladimir Putin's first visit to Germany since the Ukraine crisis. But it's unclear whether the meeting will yield any concrete results on either that conflict or Syria.
At the EU summit in Brussels, Germany and France have called for Russia to be punished for its military actions in the Syrian city of Aleppo. Achieving unity, however, will be difficult.
The German parliament has subjected the country's intelligence service, the BND, to increased government scrutiny. But critics object that it also gives the BND wide-ranging new powers to spy on foreign nationals.
The West is barely flexing its muscles, and Russian President Vladimir Putin is already signaling a willingness to talk. His visit to Berlin is no more than tactical maneuver, thinks Andrey Gurkov.
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