World News: Russia and The New Frontier

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Between Russian stubbornness, Ukrainian heroism, European sanctions and North American interventionism, the conflict that has shaken Europe since February 24 following the invasion of Ukraine by Russia seems to be on the verge of getting bogged down.

The risk of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict crystallized in the Donbas highlights the appearance of a new border in Europe that Ukraine embodies. Far from being discouraged, Russia is pursuing its policy of rehabilitation on a global scale with arms. And it doesn't matter the consequences.


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From both a military and diplomatic point of view, the opposition between the Eastern bloc composed of Russia and Belarus, and to a certain extent China, and the Western bloc composed of the European Union, NATO and the United States now seems fixed on the Donbass, a strategic space claimed by both parties. However, beyond the geographical aspect, this conflict imposes on Europe a new geopolitical dimension that had been disparu since 1989.

In just a few weeks, Ukraine has become the new border between Western and Eastern Europe. It would be anachronistic to evoke a new Iron Curtain, but it is clear that the former Soviet republic, starving for Stalin in 1933, constitutes a new geopolitical point that, once the conflict is over, should be closely monitored.


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Membership and Glacis

Because if Vladimir Putin will inevitably end up disappearing one day, the tensions that now agitate the continent, and in particular the border areas between Eastern and Western Europe, will be the subject of new demands born of the will, among other things, to join NATO or the European Union.

 

To date, there is no indication that Ukraine will remain Russia's only target because other countries bordering or close to Russia (Baltic States, Poland, Finland, Norway, Sweden,... ) may very well one day be coveted by Moscow whose objectives are multiple. First of all, to create a glacis of neutral territories, if possible not affiliated with NATO that would allow it to restore without so-called lost or damaged security. A kind of no-man's land pro-Russian or failing that, not allied with the West.


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Second objective, weak on a global scale because it lacks sufficient political influence to influence global decisions (a form of Russian soft power), Vladimir Putin's Russia then wants to weigh in Europe by using energy weapons, a weak point of Western nations to try to regain its political and diplomatic aura again.

 

Pax Americana

Last point, to oppose the United States head-on and undermine the Pax Americana desired and imposed by the various North American governments for more than thirty years. And no matter if these goals let out a Cold War scent or undermine difficult Sino-American relations, Moscow intends at all costs to become a leading power again.

Vladimir Putin's gamble is almost successful because if the operation in Ukraine does not meet initial expectations, the same bet has managed to put Russia back in the global diplomatic game hitherto dominated by the Sino-American opposition and the avatars that result from it (Influence in the Indo-Pacific zone, pressure on Taiwan).

But like any gamble, this one can be very risky because slowly weakened by global economic sanctions against it, gradually deprived of the financial resources conveyed by the sale of oil and gas to the Europeans, Vladimir Putin's Russia is taking the risk of imploding as was the case for the Soviet Union. For the time being, far from disarming, Russia is continuing its offensive animated by goals visible to all without a clear orientation on the future of the conflict.


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Bio: Olivier Longhi has extensive experience in European history. A seasoned journalist with fifteen years of experience, he is currently professor of history and geography in the Toulouse region of France. He has held a variety of publishing positions, including Head of Agency and Chief of Publishing. A journalist, recognized blogger, editor, and editorial project manager, he has trained and managed editorial teams, worked as a journalist for various local radio stations, a press and publishing consultant, and a communications consultant.

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