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War for Ukraine and the Rediscovery of Geopolitics: Must the EU Draw New Battlelines or Keep an Open Door?

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Just like many Allied leaders during World War One could only see what was right in front of them, i.e., the continuous line of trenches in Belgium and France, so many EU leaders today see only the land war in Ukraine. They disregard, at their peril, that for Russia, one of the vital interests at stake is control over the Black Sea and access to the Mediterranean. For years, in fact, Russia has been doing what Churchill advocated the Allies do in the Great War. In the face of the perceived frontal onslaught of EU and NATO enlargement into Eastern Europe, Putin has been turning Europe’s flanks. Russia has forged a special relationship with Turkey; it has intervened successfully in Syria, safeguarding its naval base in Tartus; and it has established a military presence from the shores of the Mediterranean to Central Africa. Europeans are forever debating which flank, East or South, should receive priority. Seen from Moscow this is one vast theatre, where Russia constantly acts as a spoiler, thwarting Europe’s plans, with the aim of weakening the EU and NATO and diverting them from Eastern Europe.



(Photo credit:  Sven Biscop)