“Is Germany a Reliable American Ally?” That’s the question asked in the headline of an opinion piece published recently in the Wall Street Journal. It joins a chorus of similar inquiries—most notably in the US media. The reason these questions are being raised now is because of the Ukraine crisis. On several high-profile issues, Germany seems to be hesitant to cooperate fully with NATO partners in supporting Ukraine against what looks to be the threat of Russian aggression. So commentators are asking: Can we count on Germany?

The reality is much more complicated than that. Both with respect to foreign and defense policy as a whole and in the context of the current crisis surrounding Russia and Ukraine, there are layers of nuance that often aren’t fully understood or accounted for. In this episode of the MWI Podcast, John Amble is joined by Dr. Ulrike Franke, as senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations. She explains how German public sentiment, history, Germany’s relationships with both Russia and Ukraine, and dynamics within NATO all influence the way in which Germany approaches the current crisis and how that approach is perceived.

You can hear the full conversation below, and be sure to subscribe to the MWI Podcast wherever you get your podcasts—Apple PodcastsStitcher, Spotify, TuneIn, or your favorite podcast app. While you’re there, please take a moment to leave the podcast a review or give it a rating—doing so helps new listeners with an interest in the subjects we feature on the MWI Podcast to find us.

Image credit: Staff Sgt. Ray Boyington, US Army