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REFLECTIONS

Novosti - Croatia | 15/09/2014

Boris Rašeta on the US's true goals in Ukraine

The US is unabashedly pursuing a hypocritical global policy in Ukraine, columnist Boris Rašeta writes in Novosti, the left-leaning weekly paper of the Serb minority: "The goal of all these operations is not democratisation but the strategic encirclement and then 'Yugoslavisation' of Russia. We've seen what happened here after the collapse of the centralised state: Western businesses moved in and took over anything with any value, they destroyed any industries that might compete with their own and reduced an entire region to the level of the last century. A small - and poor - region in comparison to the huge and rich Russia. And that would be Russia's fate as well: a series of ethnic wars, endless processes of separation, a war of all against all. Just like in the Arab world, where America destroyed Libya and Iraq. ... The attempt to topple Assad allowed the IS to emerge, the fall of Gaddafi and Hussein resulted in the balkanisation of the region. What would happen if Putin were to fall?" (15/09/2014)

Slate - France | 16/09/2014

Jacques Attali warns West against humiliating Russia

If the West humiliates Russia it will face a permanent enemy, publicist Jacques Attali writes in the online magazine Slate: "In relations between nations - just like those between people - humiliation can lead to insane acts and interminable wars. So it's essential not to humiliate others but to respect them. And, if they are humiliated and ties have been broken, to renew them. At least as long as the one who has been humiliated is open to dialogue and has not become a firm enemy who can only be reined in through force. ... The West must approach the Arabs, the Turks and the Russians with the same attitude it had towards Germany in 1945. It must show them consideration, maintain contact, include them in the circles of power, and undertake joint projects. In particular, regarding the Russians, it must end the sanctions that only harm Europe, and let them participate in the military efforts against radical Islam, which the Russians face on a daily basis in the Caucasus." (16/09/2014)

Le Temps - Switzerland | 15/09/2014

Switzerland must shoulder more responsibility, says Sylvain Besson

Important international decisions are increasingly taken by groups of states like the EU or the G20. But instead of complaining about such resolutions Switzerland should take a more active part in bringing them about, the deputy chief editor Sylvain Besson writes in the liberal daily Le Temps: "Behaving like a victim doesn't get you very far - as we saw with the debate of bank secrecy. It's time to drop this attitude and learn to take an active role. Switzerland is one of the most open countries and the nation that benefits the most from globalisation. The size of its economy makes it a mid-sized player in numerous areas. That brings responsibility, namely to participate, to play the game, to engage with a world in which sovereignty does not mean the ability to wall yourself in or to block decisions, but to influence the ones that affect us. Which implies finding partners, supporters and allies. A quest for influence that necessarily involves having privileged relations with Europe." (15/09/2014)

forum.tm - Croatia | 10/09/2014

Zlatko Dizdarević on the West's invasion of Russia's back yard

The West is obscuring the facts in the debate about the Ukraine conflict because it alone is to blame, columnist Zlatko Dizdarević writes on the liberal web portal forum.tm: "Put simply, the West entered Russia's 'back yard' and penetrated right up to its national border. It was not Russia that crossed the border into the West's sphere of influence, or 'back yard'. ... The peaceful relations between Russia and the West lasted a quarter of a century, and were ended unilaterally by Washington. The precise agreement reached with Gorbachev was trampled underfoot. In the course of the fall of the Berlin Wall and reunified Germany's accession to Nato, the US secretary of state at the time, James Baker, declared very precisely that Nato would not move 'one inch' eastwards towards the Russian border. With the prompt accession of the former 'Eastern countries' to the EU and Nato this promise was betrayed step by step. The debate about Ukraine joining the EU was only aimed at opening Ukraine's door to Nato, and that was the famous last straw for Russia. Thus Russia's entire security strategy has changed." (10/09/2014)

Libération - France | 10/09/2014

Emma Bonino on Europe's need for a Mediterranean Commissioner

In view of the crisis in the Middle East the EU must establish a stronger presence in the Mediterranean Region by creating a new EU post, former Italian foreign minister Emma Bonino writes in the left-liberal daily Libération: "In spite of the situation in Ukraine, the EU should shift its attention to its southern border of the Mediterranean. And we need a radically new approach in the region. We must bolster and support those countries that are trying to save themselves: Morocco, Tunisia, Jordan, and Lebanon. Europe should also resume Turkey's accession process. A new approach can only be pursued through courageous choices, resolution, and perseverance. Europe needs a figure to be accountable for the Mediterranean. The new commissioner must have a regional vision but a mandate flexible enough to draw up policies appropriate to different countries. In Egypt as well as in Iran and elsewhere, Europe rather than Saudi Arabia is the point of reference for civil society." (10/09/2014)

Kristeligt Dagblad - Denmark | 09/09/2014

Anders Ellebæk Madsen on the evil in man

In view of the terror and cruelty of the IS militia, journalist Anders Ellebæk Madsen warns in the Christian daily Kristelig Dagblad that simplistic explanations of human evil can result in false assessments of political conflict: "Claiming that evil is created by its environment was a favourite intellectual ploy during the Marxist wave 40 years ago. Now it's making a comeback as social constructivism. The idea, that is, that man is nothing but a social construct and can be fully explained as a product of his environment. But social constructivism has its limits, because it's based on an image of man that turns a blind eye on the abyss over which we have no control. The consequence: solutions for political and psychological conflicts fail to take proper account of reality, as the blind optimism of the last few years over the Arab Spring made abundantly clear." (09/09/2014)

El Huffington Post - Spain | 05/09/2014

Stavridis und Lindley-French call for strong Nato forces

The crises of the 21st century can only be solved through civil-military cooperation, former supreme commander of Nato James G. Stavridis and defence expert Julian Lindley-French write in the online newspaper The Huffington Post, hoping that Nato will emerged strengthened from its summit: "September 2014 will thus be remembered as a Nato 'schwerpunkt,' the decisive moment at which Nato decided to be strategically relevant or irrelevant. ... Indeed, most crises in what will be a very dangerous century will require first and foremost soft power tools and political solutions. This reality places ever more importance on an effective EU-Nato partnership and civil-military co-operation. However, without the hard underpinning of credible hard military power that is Nato's essence, soft power is as Thomas Hobbes once wrote, 'covenants without the sword' and is as such 'mere words'. This dangerous 21st century will be safer if the West is strong together. A strong West means a strong and legitimate Nato built on strong and credible armed forces. Wales is the place and the time to act." (05/09/2014)

Lietuvos Žinios - Lithuania | 04/09/2014

Saulius Spurga on the reasons for Russia's aggression

Russia couldn't continue on its path of economic progress and modernisation, political scientist Saulius Spurga writes in the conservative daily Lietuvis žinios, arguing that this is why Moscow has become so aggressive since the start of the Ukraine crisis: "The Putin regime had exhausted all its possibilities and the country was facing stagnation. Living standards in Russia had improved, but only energy exports of economy were keeping the economy going. The country had nothing else to export and had become totally dependent on the situation on the energy markets, which doesn't look promising. ... The majority of the Russians saw the switch of posts between Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev as a huge fraud. Then at the end of 2011 the country was rocked by the biggest wave of protests since 1990. ... The only  way for the authoritarian president to secure his power and regain his popularity was a war. And Putin knows from personal experience how effective war can be. Back in 1999 he consolidated his power thanks to the second war with Chechnya." (04/09/2014)

Kristeligt Dagblad - Denmark | 03/09/2014

For Anders Ellebæk Madsen dialogue is not a magic formula

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has spoken out against a military solution to the Ukraine crisis and called for dialogue between the conflict parties. In the Christian daily Kristeligt Dagblad journalist Anders Ellebæk Madsen argues against using the word dialogue as a mantra: "If it's supposed to be the solution to all the world's problems it runs the risk of becoming devoid of content and nothing but a cliché. Especially if it's not subject to critical analysis. Holding up dialogue as the answer to the mass murder of religious groups like the Yazidis and Christians in the Middle East is giving it too much weight. We're talking about crimes here, and it's the task of the politicians - or in Iraq's case of the army - to tackle this problem. ... That also goes for the harassment of Jews in Denmark. If Jews are not guaranteed safety during public events, the authorities must step in to ensure their safety, not initiate some kind of dialogue about the Jews. In this culture of dialogue we risk turning the word dialogue into a magic formula that's evoked every time new problems arise." (03/09/2014)

Neue Zürcher Zeitung - Switzerland | 03/09/2014

For Dominique Moïsi IS conflict and Ukraine crisis are linked

US President Barack Obama has confined himself to trying to halt the advance of the IS and contain the Ukraine crisis, but these two threats are too closely bound up with each other for this strategy to work, political scientist Dominique Moïsi writes in the liberal-conservative daily Neue Zürcher Zeitung: "Had Obama not failed to enforce his chemical-weapons 'red line'in Syria a year ago, following an attack on a suburb of Damascus, Russian President Vladimir Putin probably would not have been as daring as he was in Ukraine. Likewise, helping the Kurds to confront the Islamic State could send the right message to the Kremlin. Confronting this dual challenge presupposes a combination of long-term, coordinated strategic thinking and pedagogical skill. Leaders must explain and clarify. To say, 'I don't do stupid things,' as Obama did recently in an interview with the New York Times, is not enough, given the complexity, urgency, and scale of the threats America and the West are facing." (03/09/2014)


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