Can we keep pace with the changes in geopol­i­tics?


Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

In other times, when a coun­try would re­main steadily ded­i­cated to its poli­cies and strate­gies, it would be con­sid­ered a sta­bil­is­ing fac­tor. Cyprus, how­ever, has very of­ten found it­self at a stand­still, not least now, with the rapidly chang­ing geopo­lit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion in our area.

Apart from the oc­ca­sional suc­cess on the diplo­matic front or the truly his­tor­i­cal agree­ment signed in Cairo last week that should not be un­der­mined, ev­ery­thing else seems to have sim­ply sunk into a huge bucket of quick-dry ce­ment.

We have our daily dose of scan­dals and the au­thor­i­ties’ in­abil­ity to pun­ish th­ese scoundrels, a slow-mov­ing ad­min­is­tra­tion that is still plan­ning pub­lic sec­tor re­form that will prob­a­bly out­pace its present term, and the un­con­trolled Turk­ish provo­ca­tions within the Cyprus EEZ, which the UN me­di­a­tor claims Ankara has ev­ery right to do so, as long as the Turk­ish navy does not in­vade Cyprus ter­ri­to­rial wa­ters.

In other words, we are on our own, yet again, and Cypriot politi­cians are strug­gling to hang on to any­one who of­fers us a glim­mer of hope of an al­liance or de­fen­sive agree­ment, ba­si­cally so we can tell Turkey to push off!

Un­for­tu­nately, though, Turkey will con­tinue to have a ma­jor say in all en­ergy-re­lated mat­ters, both to­day and in the fu­ture. This is not a de­featist state­ment, but one of prag­ma­tism. Which brings us to the next sub­ject of, then, what should our strat­egy be, if we have one?

The staunchly “pro-Cyprus sovereignty” Rus­sians have left the is­land’s for­tune on the back-burner as they have more im­por­tant is­sues to deal with (Ukraine con­flict, en­ergy ex­ports) which is why the con­cern about de-off­sho­ri­sa­tion that Pres­i­dent Putin wants to im­pose on his rich ex­pats from next Jan­uary should be ad­dressed im­me­di­ately, if we ant Cyprus to con­tinue to ben­e­fit from Rus­sian busi­nesses.

The Euro­pean Union and the UK are deal­ing with im­plod­ing is­sues that could could jeop­ar­dise the in­tegrity of the Union, while the Americans are busy watch­ing every­body else and do not want to shoot them­selves in the foot, as was the case in Iraq and now Afghanistan.

And if the Arab world is also at a crit­i­cal junc­ture, does that leave us with only Is­rael to turn to? Per­haps. After all, that is why Avig­dor Lieber­man vis­ited the is­land last week, ba­si­cally to tell us “for­get the LNG plant, build a pipe­line go­ing north or south and solve your po­lit­i­cal prob­lem, as we need to ex­port our own gas to the rest of the world.”

So, let’s start re­build­ing our pre-en­ergy al­liances once again, boost sec­tors where we have a strong pres­ence (shipping, ser­vices, etc.) and strengthen our bridges with Egypt, Is­rael and Le­banon, be­fore his­tory over­takes us, once again, an we find our­selves at a stand­still, even ten years from now.

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