MOSCOW, 25 Sep 2021, RUSSTRAT Institute.
The possible rapprochement of France with Russia after the treacherous blow from the AUKUS “triumvirate” causes a stir in a number of European capitals, primarily in Poland, the Baltic states, Georgia and Ukraine. Paris is being pushed to rapprochement with the Russians not only by the cooling of relations with Washington, but also by the increasingly hostile position of London.
Having got rid of the EU restrictions, the UK seeks to rise in the confrontation of the great powers and does everything to suppress its competitors in Europe, primarily France. This makes the Fifth Republic see Moscow as an ally, especially in the Eastern Mediterranean, where the British act in close conjunction with Turkey.
This is stated in the sensational article “The Submarine Row Marks the Dawn of the Franco-British Rivalry” written by Professor Ali Demirdas, published on September 22 in the American The National Interest. The author draws a picture of the new geopolitical reality emerging in the Old World after Brexit, and concludes: “Europe is increasingly resembling what it was before 1939”.
Indeed, as RUSSTRAT has already noted, the long-term plans of the British crown, which broke out into the operational space after decades of “vegetating” in the shadow of the United States and the European Union, are visible behind the project of the new global alliance AUKUS. At the same time, London, as our institute pointed out, actively uses the Commonwealth of Nations to promote its national interests in various parts of the world.
It is significant that through one of the Commonwealth countries, tiny Malta, the British masterfully play the “African game” against France. It was Malta that blocked the EU naval mission in May 2020, designed to stop the supply of Turkish weapons to the Libyan Government of National Accord, which was opposed by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, supported by Paris (and Moscow). And the same Malta later vetoed the Franco-Greek EU resolution, which was supposed to impose an arms embargo against Ankara for its actions in Cyprus.
In other cases, London intervened itself – for example, by supporting the Turkish “gunboat diplomacy” off the coast of Greece or Ankara’s management in northern Syria, which caused discontent in Paris (and Moscow). The positions of Britain and France on the Kurdish and a number of other issues turned out to be opposite.
Thus, before our eyes, great alliances are being formed in Europe again, as in all past centuries. The British have found in the Turks their natural allies in deterring France, while the Fifth Republic, experiencing the growing influence of Germany, is trying to find common interests with Russia in several regions at once: from Syria and the Caucasus to North-West Africa.
Today, such coalitions cannot be limited to the Old World alone. And if the United Kingdom, regaining its naval power, is looking for an exit to the Indo-Pacific bridgehead with the help of Anglo-Saxon allies in readiness to grapple with China, then France will sooner or later face the need for rapprochement with the continental bloc of states along the Paris-Berlin-Moscow-Beijing axis, as RUSSTRAT also warned. The creation of AUKUS only adds fuel to the fire, tearing France not only from the “heartfelt British friend”, but also from the United States.
Of course, in the limitrophic countries of Eastern Europe, such tectonic shifts are perceived with horror. It does not bode well for Ukraine if Moscow and Paris, along with Berlin, finally agree on Donbass within the framework of the Normandy Four. And it’s time for other American satellites along the perimeter of the borders of the Russian Federation against the background of the goal-setting crisis in NATO and the shift of Washington’s main attention to the Chinese direction to think about where to look for a new owner.
Perhaps the only thing in which we disagree with the respected Professor Demirdas is the conclusion about the “repetition of 1939”. Yes, there is a conflict of interests in the Old World, the contours of new coalitions are emerging in it instead of the amorphous North Atlantic Alliance and even, perhaps, the EU. However, there is no question of any premonition of a big war in Europe yet — even the leading powers of the continent have too little military potential today compared to the power of the United States and Russia.
Elena Panina – Director of the RUSSTRAT Institute