World News: Moscow-Ukraine Tensions Rise

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By purposely increasing pressure on Ukraine's borders, Vladimir Putin intends not only to hinder Ukraine's integration into NATO but also to restore the Soviet Union's sphere of influence. Protective instinct or race to omnipotence?

Between nostalgia for the USSR and a desire to establish a sphere of influence around Russia, Vladimir Putin has the art, like any former member of the KGB, of irritating his international partners. Thus, by massing thousands of soldiers and their equipment on the Ukrainian border for several months, the head of the Kremlin has slowly but surely increased the tension between him and his North American counterpart Joe Biden.

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Because it is the Ukrainian question that is at the heart of the debates, a question that refers at the same time to the role of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO - 1949) and the European Union. Let us summarize the geopolitical reality.

Ukraine, a fertile country, composed of a pro-European and pro-Atlanticist majority (understand close to NATO) is opposed to a Russian-speaking minority, close to Moscow by definition and therefore supported by Vladimir Putin who sees in this situation the way to establish his influence in Eastern Europe.

Two key elements emerge from this situation of which Europeans and North Americans are fully aware: the limits of NATO designed to fight against the Soviet Union and the limits of the European Union totally excluded from the negotiations with a view to avoiding any possible but unlikely invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

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Common Defense and Epicenter of Tensions

If this possibility is swept away by Vladimir Putin, it remains the haunting of westerners who would not know how to react both from a diplomatic and military point of view.

For his part, Vladimir Putin, aware of the embarrassment of the Europeans, unable to set up a common defense capable of weighing diplomatically and militarily, inability moreover witness to the political limits of a Union that is not a federation but an association of states, also knows that NATO has limits in its action because it is unsuited to the current geopolitical situation.

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The United States, long concerned about China's growing power, is thus seeing a new epicenter of tensions crystallize in Eastern Europe from which it would have liked to free itself.

Unable to count on the European Union, humiliated and ignored, the United States finds itself alone in confronting Vladimir Putin's Russia, anxious to avoid Ukraine's entry into NATO and the European Union. If the Soviet Union had satellite countries, intended above all to play the role of cordon sanitaire, a cordon in which Ukraine was fully integrated because it was considered a Soviet Republic, Vladimir Putin now intends, and has for many years, to restore this area of influence which was that of Moscow before 1989.

Its disputed and certainly questionable position corresponds to that of Beijing and Washington, both of which have their own area of influence, the United States and China being in direct confrontation over the Pacific and Indo-Pacific area, the SEVENTH Fleet of the US Navy sailing regularly in the China Sea ( : ).

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Proof of this is Australia's rallying into the military-strategic alliance (AUKUS) initiated by the United States, with the help of the United Kingdom, and relating to the manufacture of submarines to thwart Chinese expansion in the Indo-Pacific area.  

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More simply, it now seems obvious that Vladimir Putin's Russia intends to be among the world powers in the same way as China or the United States, that the depolarization of the world in the nineties and the appearance of an a-polar world has de-structured international relations to the point of leaving the field open to new ambitions, less costly than during the Cold War but based on the same principles of intimidation and carefully nurtured tensions.

By threatening Ukraine and consequently the Western bloc, Vladimir Putin diverts the points of attention essentially oriented for nearly twenty-years towards Asia (Afghanistan, Pakistan, China) and the Middle East (Israel, Occupied Territories, Syria) towards Eastern Europe, territory familiar to it, with known reflexes and proximity sufficient to fully express its influence. And with all due respect to the Europeans and the United States, it seems that we must now count on a new player long dormant, namely Russia.



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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