Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock’s address to the Lowy Institute this week highlighted the significant changes in German foreign and security stance over the last 18 months, especially when it comes to dealing with authoritarian states. It was quite unlike any of the politicians’ speeches I sat through as Australian Ambassador in Berlin during the Merkel era. There was none of the usual caution and caveats as she highlighted threats to the international order in the Indo-Pacific. And she certainly didn’t pull her punches about China, which she described flatly as a competitor and strategic rival “when it comes to the very fundamentals of how we live together in this world”.

Baerbock first came to the attention of most international observers in January last year. Russian troops were massing on Ukraine’s borders and Vladimir Putin was demanding guarantees that Ukraine would never join NATO. Baerbock, the leader of the German Greens, was less than two months into her role as foreign minister in Germany’s new “traffic light” coalition. Her head of government, Chancellor Olaf Scholz of the Social Democrats, stood accused of weak, vacillating leadership at what was a dangerous moment for the global order.

Please click here to read the full “Whether on Russia or China, clearly Baerbock is driving Germany’s change” article published at The Interpreter, written by Griffith Asia Institute Industry Fellow, Ian Kemish AM.