Sunday Talks, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz Discusses Ukraine, NATO, The Economy and His Conversations with Russian President Putin


Posted originally on the conservative tree house on July 3, 2022 | Sundance 

If you look beyond the condescending, sanctimonious and unintelligent questioning and pantomime from CBS News Margaret Brennan, there are some very interesting aspects outlined by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.  [Transcript Here] I was looking for how CBS would inject the pending global food shortage into the interview, and what narrative angle they would use.  The coordinated media political talking point, ‘Russia starving the world‘, comes up in the last third of the interview.

Germany is the largest and most heavily industrialized economy in the European Union (EU). As a result, Germany makes most of the decisions about how the EU operates. Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel always played the role of supporting NATO; however, her approach to government was one of the most closed, controlling and nationalist hypocrisies within the European Union.  If it was in Germany’s interest it was done. If it was not directly beneficial to Germany, it was never done.

Merkel’s replacement, Olaf Scholz, is not that different from his predecessor in regard to the economics of nationalism, the predominant view for any German leader. However, Scholz is more of a collaborator, an outward looking Chancellor; seemingly more globally and communally minded than Merkel. Scholz is more accepting of Biden (USA) influence than Angela Merkel was.  Scholz is also spending more on German military than Merkel would ever consider.

In this interview, Scholz outlines the conflict in Ukraine while overlaying his perspective of Russian President Vladimir Putin as an outcome of their discussions.  WATCH:

[Transcript] – MARGARET BRENNAN: Mr. Chancellor, thank you so much for making time in your busy schedule for us.

OLAF SCHOLZ: Good morning.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So I read your biographer says you don’t often answer directly, but I’m going to try my best today. You speak with Vladimir Putin. Do you think that Russia is a terrorist state as president Zelenskyy says?

OLAF SCHOLZ: Russia started a very brutal aggression against Ukraine. A lot of people are dying in Ukraine, citizens, men, women, children, elderly people. And this is what we call a really brutal, unjustified war that has- that Russia started. And we have to do all to support Ukraine, and to give Ukraine the chance to defend its own integrity and serenity. And that is what we are doing when we support the country.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But calling it a terrorist state, in your view, doesn’t achieve anything?

OLAF SCHOLZ: It achieves something when we support Ukraine with all the financial means we give to the Ukraine, with all the humanitarian aid, with all the weapons we deliver. And we will continue doing this as long as it is necessary for supporting Ukraine, and for avoiding that the outcome of this war is what Putin is looking for: a dictated peace. And this is something that neither the Ukraine nor we will accept. So it is necessary that we continue with this very strong support. And it is necessary that we also continue with all the sanctions we imposed on Russia. And this is an important aspect from my- as I see it. We impose sanctions against one Russia after the election of Crimea, not too many, but we did–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Back in 2014–

OLAF SCHOLZ: And they are still in place. We imposed sanctions against Russia when they organize the uprisings in the east of Donbass in Ukraine, and they are still in place. And all the very heavy sanctions we impose on Russia now will be there, if there is not a real fair piece from the perspective of Ukraine, and this is the message I sent to Putin and many others do the same. And we make it very clear, you cannot look for a dictate piece against Ukraine.

MARGARET BRENNAN: When you speak to Putin, does he acknowledge the sanctions? Does he acknowledge how much his economy has been hurt? Or does he just not care?

OLAF SCHOLZ: I think he cares, But he will not really admit it. So you get some-

MARGARET BRENNAN: Because it hasn’t stopped him.

OLAF SCHOLZ: –idea – you get some idea that it really is hurting him and that he understands the deep impacts of our sanctions on his economy. And I’m always mentioning it because it’s necessary to say it. Just to give you a view on this question, if a very advanced country like the United States, or Germany, with a very progressive economy with high tech industries, would go out of the world and would just stick to itself, we would go down in economic growth very, very soon. But this is now happening to a country that is not that advanced, that is really – needing all the technologies from the rest of the world for having a similar standard of living, and for having the chance to be part of growth in the world economy. And this is now the real damage to the Russian economy that they have no chance to do this. And it’s also hurting them because many of the things, even the military weapons they produce themselves are in one or the other way- Just linked to the economic and technological progress of the world. And so they will go back very, very far.

MARGARET BRENNAN: When Will Russia know- when will Russia no longer have the ability to continue this fight? When will Putin run out of weapons, run out of funds? Or can this continue for years?

OLAF SCHOLZ: No one really knows he has. He has– he is perhaps the leader of a very great country with a lot of people living there, with a lot of means, and he is really doing this brutal war with– and he prepared for it (for) very long. I think the decision to- to do this war was taken one year before it started or possibly earlier, because he prepared for it. And so he will be able to continue with the war really a long time. But this is the message we say to him. We are able to support the Ukraine as long as necessary for defending its serenity, the democracy, the rule of law and all the things the people in Ukraine are looking for.

MARGARET BRENNAN: President Zelensky has said that he would like to see the war end by the end of the year. How does it end? And Is that realistic?

OLAF SCHOLZ: It is very difficult to judge whether this is realistic, because this is something that is decided on the ground. And even more, is this one of the reason why we are so active supporting the Ukraine with all the different means I already discussed on financial humanitarian support, sanctions and delivery of weapons.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been called a 9/11 moment for Europe, a big wake up call. Do you think that Europe, and do you think Germany, was just too complacent for too long?

OLAF SCHOLZ: I think too many in the world were hoping that we are living in a different world that is different to the experiences of the last century and the centuries before, where might and power, were deciding on the future of countries and not the rules and the agreements we have between states, and we have had an agreement that there should be no attempt to change territory to, to change borders, to invade the neighbor. And this agreement is now canceled by Putin. And this is what I called site and vendor in German, a watershed moment of international politics. Peace is a danger. And this is why it is absolutely necessary that we spend more for defense, and Germany is going in elite in this question in Europe

MARGARET BRENNAN: So it was too complacent?

OLAF SCHOLZ: I think we should have been prepared for that situation. And- but it is really a big, big disaster for the expectations of all of us looking at peace, the chances we have in the world are better if there’s no attempt to change borders with war and things like that. But now we are in that situation, and we have to be realistic. And this is why we have to do more.

MARGARET BRENNAN: What is the fundamental nature of this conflict? Because the head of the British army called it a 1937 moment? Is that how you see it? Is that the moment in history we are in right now?

OLAF SCHOLZ: I think this is a moment where we have to make absolutely clear that we are strong enough that no one should just think about attacking, for instance, NATO territory. And this is why I said to my parliament, that we are ready and willing to defend- any centimeter, every centimeter of NATO territory in- in Europe, and that we are together with our allies. And this is a very clear message to our eastern–

MARGARET BRENNAN: And that’s a clear message. That’s a clear line. But there are plenty of territories around Russia that aren’t members of NATO. Do you think Vladimir Putin has his goal set as going into Moldova or surrounding countries?

OLAF SCHOLZ : Let me just stick one second to what I already said. Because of this, I decided to- to establish an extra budget for spending for military- 100 billion euros, and that we will increase our spending up to approximately 2% all the years to come. And this will really create an army that has the strongest funding between the NATO allies and Europe, and this is what we are sticking to and we will continue to do this.

MARGARET BRENNAN: –which was a big change for Germany.

OLAF SCHOLZ: This is something where we are acting realistically in a different time now. And this is necessary to do it. What is Putin thinking of? He is thinking like the imperialists in the 17th, 18th, 19th century. He is thinking that all about the nation is power, and that if you are mighty enough, you can just take territory of your neighbors. And this is an activity and an idea we cannot accept and we will not accept and this is why we are so strong on this question. He was always very, very critical about NATO and the European Union. And when I talked to him, I said, you have to accept the European Union. And that a big alliance of democratic states is building a very strong federal group of states- the union, a union, outside of you. And he was very much thinking about NATO. And I told him NATO is not aggressive. It’s just about defense. But he thinks he has just to spend all the money he earns for the- for his military abilities and sometimes using it and this is what should fail now and this is why we are doing the right thing when we support the Ukraine–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you believe that Vladimir Putin will stop at Ukraine?

OLAF SCHOLZ: I think that all what we do will help to give him the view that this is not working and that he will not be successful.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So open question on that: When it comes to NATO territory, you now have these two new members, Finland and Sweden potentially joining the Alliance, it looks like they will. Will Vladimir Putin view that as provocative, as more of a threat?

OLAF SCHOLZ: All wondered how he would react to the application of Finland and Sweden for NATO. But in the end, he accepted it – this is how I see it, and he has to, because it is the decision of these countries that they want to join. And it is our decision that we take them because they are really much fitting to the concept of NATO democratic states that are very strong with their own activities in defense. And this will strengthen the alliance.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Let me ask you about Germany. Your country has earned this reputation of over promising and under delivering when it comes to Ukraine. You know that, you’ve heard that criticism. Ukraine received its very first delivery of German Howitzers artillery last week? Why did it take that long? we’re in the fifth- fifth month.

OLAF SCHOLZ: So we took a very, very hard decision to change political strategies we followed for many decades–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

OLAF SCHOLZ: –never to deliver weapons into a country that is in a conflict. And when we decided, when I decided to change that practice of our country, a lot of other European countries followed, and this made it that the group, big group of countries, are now supporting the Ukraine with weapons and do the best. Germany sent all the weapons we had our our stocks in our military infrastructure. And we decided also to deliver new weapons from our industry, which takes a longer time because they have to be produced. But we did all these things. And we continue to do so. And when we decide, for instance, to send the most modern howitzer, which you can buy on the world market, which is in use in Germany, it was very difficult to organize that this could be used in the war, because you have to have some training. And we had Ukrainian soldiers in Germany. And when the training ended, in the end, they came with the weapon, with with the howitzers to Ukraine, and the

MARGARET BRENNAN: But United States is doing that. They’re providing weaponry within 48 hours sometimes of the President signing and carrying out training.

OLAF SCHOLZ: I think–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Why did it take this long for Germany?

OLAF SCHOLZ: I think you should understand that there is a difference if a country like the United States spends that much for defense, which is a very big (long pause) investment, and you have a lot of weapons at your stocks. the howitzers many other countries delivered to Ukraine were not the most modern one, but they were the stocks. So we had to do this. And this is how we are continuing, you should know we are doing right – this things which are necessary for helping now in this very situation in the east of Ukraine. And this is why we sent the weapons that were necessary, and that are necessary, there. Together with the United States, and the United Kingdom, we decided to deliver multi rocket launches to Ukraine now, which are

MB interjects: those haven’t been delivered yet.

OLAF SCHOLZ: We are sending them and we are doing it with the means and ways we have and with the training. And once again, there are a lot of very experienced people who yesterday looked at Google and today they know how to do things. But I will tell you there are weapons but you have to have your training. And you have to have- to have it- not in Ukraine, you have to have it here in our countries. And so the soldiers have to come to get the training and they are doing it. This is what we do with many other things. And if you look at this, what we are sending, from the perspective on- of two weeks, three weeks, four weeks from now, we will always see that Germany is one of the countries that is doing the most because what we are sending now is the most sophisticated technology you can use. There is also (long pause) anti ballistic- there are also weapons we give to the- to the Ukraine that they can defend the air.

MARGARET BRENNAN:The anti aircraft missiles you’ve promised, radar you’ve promised

OLAF SCHOLZ: That they can defend the city from- against the rockets and missiles that were sent there from Putin. And this is very expensive and very effective technology but they will get it.

MARGARET BRENNAN: When?

OLAF SCHOLZ: And this will help a country like Odes- to support to to defend the country, a city like Odessa or Kyiv–

MARGARET BRENNAN: But I ask you when because you know that the delays have led to speculation that it’s not about getting the supplies, it’s about the will of the government to actually deliver them. And whether there’s fear of provoking Putin, or whether it’s years of budget cuts to your defense industry and to your defense budget that have made it just not possible for the German military to act quickly. How do you respond to that?

OLAF SCHOLZ: –those who are looking to the facts, see that we are doing what is feasible and that we are doing the same things as our allies are doing. And that we are using all the means we really have. And when you compare what we are delivered to the Ukraine, and compared with activities of others, you will find that we are very much aligned with all the others. But the most important thing is that we are not just now supporting Ukraine, we are changing the way how we spend money for defense. And this is the big increase, which will change the situation and will give us the chance to be more quick in reaction to a threat that is coming to NATO, the alliance or to our country. And this is why I decided to do this- to do this. And I will continue to follow this policy making Germany strong enough for being the partner all our alliance- allies in Europe are looking for and all our allies in the transatlantic partnership.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But you’re moving as fast as you can?

OLAF SCHOLZ: We will move as fast as we can. And we are doing.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to ask you about German finances. Do you know how much right now Germany is spending on Russian energy?

OLAF SCHOLZ: It’s decreasing, the money we are spending. And this is why we are- why we have decided to change all the imports we have from fossil resources. Different to the United States, we are not producing them ourselves, we have to import them. And we get them from many places of the world. But we change- we decided to go out of the import of fossil resources from Russia. And we did so with the import of coal, which is not that difficult, because we already imported most of it from other places. We decided so- to do so with the import of oil. And we will go out of this imports in the end of this year, which is also something which is now, we are preparing for and which is from some region, if we just- if we look at the whole country will be, will be relatively easy because oil is shipped and we are also working on some refineries in the east of Germany that are not getting the oil by ship. So we are making this feasible for them also. And then we are- we decided that we will build pipelines to the shores of the north of Germany for importing LNG. This is-

MARGARET BRENNAN: liquefied natural gas.

OLAF SCHOLZ: -liquefied natural natural gas. And this is something I was looking for, even when I was the mayor of Hamburg, because I thought it could be useful to have always the ability to change the the suppliers of your, of- of what you buy from- in case of gas- and this is why we are now doing it

MARGARET BRENNAN: When we looked at the numbers though– when we looked at the numbers, Germany is providing about 2 billion in aid to Ukraine. That’s roughly what you spend per month on gas from Russia, on coal, on energy supplies. So while you’re helping the Ukrainians financially, you’re also essentially giving Vladimir Putin a financial lifeline.

OLAF SCHOLZ: He cannot buy anything from the money he’s getting from us because he will- he has all these sanctions on imports for modern technologies and things he is looking for. So this is what is making very angry. But to be very clear, when we decided on sanctions, together, and with all our allies, we said always, we will do it in a way that we harm Putin more than us. And many countries in Europe are depending, for historical reasons and because they are near to the place, and it is the nearest place to get the gas on the inputs of gas, and when now, whole Europe is deciding to go out of this dependence, this will change the scenario, even on the world market.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But Vladimir Putin can use that money elsewhere. Just not in the West.

OLAF SCHOLZ: But he cannot buy-

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, is it still 2 billion a month that Germany is sending to Russia?

OLAF SCHOLZ: It is always decreasing, and I once again say that we decided that we do the sanc- that we draft the sanctions in the way that they hurt Putin and this is what we do. And once again, we are now doing real investments into technology, in pipelines, imports, and I know that there people that sometimes think that when you are having taken a decision one afternoon, the next morning you have a port and a 40 kilometers pipeline.

MARGARET BRENNAN: No, it takes time–

OLAF SCHOLZ: But in the real life, this is not happening. But what we did is deciding on legislation, we already did, which makes it easy to build these pipelines with the own- without any legal restrictions in the shortest time to come. And we really hope that the first of them will be able to work in the beginning of the next year. And if you see that things like this usually take 2, 3, 4, 5 years, and we do it in possibly six months or a bit more, in the first part- in the first pipelines that are going to work, you see that we are very, very strong and doing the necessary things for making us independent. And this also is- and but let me add this, when Europe is deciding to go out of the import of- of gas from Russia, this will have consequences.

MARGARET BRENNAN: It’ll have huge – I mean, this is the equivalent of them declaring-

OLAF SCHOLZ: 100

MARGARET BRENNAN: –war on you

OLAF SCHOLZ: this–

MARGARET BRENNAN: –by cutting gas supplies to Germany, this isn’t just your choice. They’re using that as a weapon against you.

OLAF SCHOLZ: This is obviously the case. And this is why I was starting to discuss the question what to do if the gas delivery will be reduced. Right when I entered office, it was my political decision to say that I want to know exactly what we have to do for in case of that, and this is why we are not prepared for years, but prepared since I am the chancellor of this country. And this is why I was able, after the war started, to go to the parliament and say we will build this pipelines, we will build this new ports for liquid- liquefied natural gas. And just to repeat this, when whole Europe in some years will be not dependent on the gas from Russia, it will get gas from other places. But this is all together more than 150, nearly 160 billion cubic meters of gas that is now as a new request coming to the world market. And this is one of the reasons why we should be very much prepared that we will have high energy prices all over the world in all countries because of the fact that the gas that Russia is now supplying will, to a certain extent, which we will understand in some years, will not be able to be sold. And so we have to get it from other resources. But this is a very tough time for global economy when we did this change.

MARGARET BRENNAN: It is. It is and you run the largest economy in Europe. What happens in Germany matters to the rest of the world. So if you are looking at gas supplies, potential shortages, you could have freezing homes, you could have shuttered factories, have you decided when and which industries you prioritize? Which factories get shuttered first?

OLAF SCHOLZ: We prepare for the situation of having the difficulties may come up because of the energy supply. And this is why we decided to make new legislation on storage capacities for gas, legislation that is forcing the participants of the market that there should be 90% in the storages- storage capacities of Germany, in the- at the beginning of winter. And this is now already taking place and the storages are becoming- are now filled more than they were one year ago at that time. We also decided to change legislation that we make it possible to say we will not use that many gas at- in the summer, for instance, and we will use coal plants for producing electricity. And so a lot of decisions are already taking and we are preparing our selves for a very difficult situation as many other European countries do. And obviously, countries all over the globe are doing thinking about what might come up.

MARGARET BRENNAN: When will you have to start rationing natural gas and will you have to shut down factories in the months ahead?

OLAF SCHOLZ: I think we will see how things are now moving, how things are- how the development will be in the future. What we can do at this time is preparing ourselves for being ready to take the necessary decisions. And this is what we do. And we are all the time preparing with the necessary legislation that we are able to do what is necessary and not just looking for what we could do if we would have the right legal framework. We will have it when it’s necessary.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So Germany’s Heavy Industry Association, BDI, warned a halt in Russian gas deliveries would make recession inevitable. The World Bank economists say it’s going to be very hard to avoid a recession. Is it inevitable?

OLAF SCHOLZ: It is not- it will be very tough if we will have a shortage of energy supplies. Obviously, all our countries, all our- all our life is depending on the supply of energy. And obviously, a lot of countries, the most countries of the world, are depending on the supply from abroad. And so we have to prepare for a difficult situation. And as I explained to you very detailed, we are preparing and we are prepared.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But you are still preparing for energy prices to stay high for years? How long?

OLAF SCHOLZ: I’m sure that this will be a time where the energy prices will be high, all over the globe, because of the request. And this is one reason why we accelerate our way out of the use of fossil resources. You should know that Germany decided that we will be a co2 neutral country in 2045, which is less than 25 years. And this means that we are now expanding the production of electricity and of en- with offshore wind, with onshore wind, with solar energy, that we are expanding the investment into our grid, so that we are able to have a completely different industry doing steel, doing chemistry, doing- producing cement with the use of electricity and hydrogen in the end. And so we are just going faster into the better world we are already looking for.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right. But inflation is crushing standards of living around the world. Vladimir Putin is weaponizing inflation, he’s weaponizing food. Is he right to bet that he can fracture the Western alliance by making it harder for Europeans and Americans and everyone else to afford food in these months ahead?

OLAF SCHOLZ: You’re very right. The shortages of food many people in the world are seeing now as a threat to them, are the direct consequence of what Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and the war, he is imposing on the country. You’re right that all the rising energy prices are also a direct consequence of his doing. And he is- he is the one that is doing the wrong things. And we are always discussing this with our partners on the globe. We are starting an initiative to support countries that have not enough food with food. We’re supporting the general secretary in finding a way how to get out all the wheat out of Ukraine

MARGARET BRENNAN: How?

OLAF SCHOLZ: through the World War- he is discussing intensely on ways how this could happen, not just with trains, what we are organizing together with the Ukrainians, but also with shipping. Because this is something where we will find in the next one or two weeks, if an agreement between Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, the United Nations will be feasible, MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you really think-

OLAF SCHOLZ: but coming back to-

MARGARET BRENNAN: -that Vladimir Putin is going to allow grain to be shipped out of Ukraine? He’s shut down the black sea ports. This is a really powerful weapon against the West. Why would he give that up? Why would he agree to let the grain out?

OLAF SCHOLZ: There is one question the general secretary is asking to all, and also to Putin: will you be responsible? And the one that is responsible, that there is the wheat that is necessary in Africa and Asia and other places, is not going there. And so this is why he is working so hard to find a solution and we are supporting him.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But you-

OLAF SCHOLZ: Once again, I think we will face a situation of high prices. And we will face a very difficult situation. But this we knew right from the beginning when we decided to support Ukraine. And now it is necessary that we stand united and the outcome of this NATO meeting here in Madrid, the outcome of the g7 meeting we had in Germany in (Weimar?) and the outcome of all the meetings we had in the European Union is we stand united, we are united and he will not be able to fracture us.

MARGARET BRENNAN: If you can’t reopen the black sea ports, if Putin doesn’t agree to let the food out of Ukraine, how do you lower global food prices?

OLAF SCHOLZ: We are now collecting money for supporting the poorest countries that they will be able to deliver food to the people. And this is our international initiative, we- we organized together with others for food security, and we will continue to do that.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But it risks global instability.

OLAF SCHOLZ: It is a real problem, and it is a real consequence of Putin’s war, and this is why it is even more necessary that we support the people.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So it also puts pressure to end this conflict sooner. What is your timeline for when this can end?

OLAF SCHOLZ: The conflict will end when Putin understands that he will not be successful with idea to conquer part of the territory of his neighbor.

MARGARET BRENNAN: He controls 20% of Ukraine right now, according to U.S. intelligence.

OLAF SCHOLZ: This is why we are supporting Ukraine with financial means, with humanitarian aid, but also with arms deliveries and why we are doing our sanctions regime together on Putin.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So it has been a hard lesson to learn. But as you’ve laid out here, you know, members of the German government have admitted it was a mistake to be so dependent on Russia for so long. I wonder, do you look at that and wonder about China and see the same type of risk that the West is so financially intertwined with Beijing that it poses a threat, a direct threat?

OLAF SCHOLZ: Coming back to the first aspect of your question, I think it was not right that we were not prepared to have at any time the chance to change the one that is delivering gas, oil and coal to us. So we should have invested all over Europe in infrastructure that gives us the ability to change the supply, from one day to the other. And I think this is the lesson that has been learned in Europe and in many other places that you have to be prepared- be prepared for a situation like this. And this is also the answer to all the other questions coming up. If, for instance, if you look to China, it is more the answer- just understand that you should have supply change imports not just from one or two countries, but from many. And that even your business is looking for many other countries. So the answer to what we are discussing with China is not to go away from China. The answer is to go to the other Asian countries. And there are very, very big nations, which I think we have to look at. And it was very good when we at G7 came together with the leaders of Indonesia and India, for instance, and they are representing two very strong nations, nations with a good and important future in the world to come. And if we look around them, we find many others. And so the answer we all together should give is, just do your business with many countries so that you can live with a situation when trouble comes up with one.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And trouble may come up with China. I mean, the United States sees it as a threat. Does Germany see China as a threat?

OLAF SCHOLZ: I think- I think the world we are going to live in 2050 will be multipolar. Many countries will be important. The United States, (long pause) Russia, China, the European Union and the countries in this Union, but also Indonesia and India, or South Africa, countries from the south of America. And the big task of all of us is to make this work, not just multipolar, with many influential countries looking to- to have to- looking for their own interests and what- what is useful for them, but making it the world that is working together. So multipolar is not enough. Multilateral, working together for a better future, this is what we are should- what we should aim for. And it is now the time to work for that

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

OLAF SCHOLZ: -better future. When we are looking at the midst of this century we are in.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But you are being diplomatic there. NATO, in this latest statement, identified china as a- as a threat, the secretary general said it poses challenges to our values, to our interest and to our security. Does that mean the West is on a path for a clash with Beijing?

OLAF SCHOLZ: No. And exactly. If you look at the decisions we took here and we are working on it, is that we are just aware of problems that might come up and we are aware of these problems because we are democracies and we are not an aggression to our neighbors, to- to the rest of the world. And we are not aggressive against them.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And China might be towards Taiwan–

OLAF SCHOLZ : –and this is why we say that we are working for a world where aggression is not working. And this is why we are making our alliance strong. But this is also why we say developing a strategy, this gives us the chance to be not dependent. And I come back to what I said, part of this answer is to look at many other countries in the world that will be strong in the future and make them their partner- our partners, especially when they are democracies. And this is, I think, the strategy we should follow.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I’m told we are running out of time. Before I let you go, President Biden also talks about this potential conflict between democracies and autocracies. Is that the biggest threat on the horizon? What keeps you up at night?

OLAF SCHOLZ: First, I- I think the democracies are very strong and they- because they have the support of their people, they are really having also the future on their side. We should be- We should look at these things from this perspective. But we should be clear about these threats that are coming to our future. And this is coming from autocracies, Yes, because they tend to be aggressive. And this is an aspect we should be very much aware of. And I am. And this is why I organized our meeting we had in Germany with the G7 group of democratic- economically successful democratic states that we invite partners from all over the globe that are also democracies for making it happen, that the democracies are strong.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And by strong it also comes with 100,000 U.S. troops in Europe and 300,000 NATO response forces in Europe. This isn’t just diplomacy. This is muscle.

OLAF SCHOLZ: This is. And it’s necessary.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mr. Chancellor, thank you for your time this morning.

OLAF SCHOLZ: Thank you.

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