Putin is no ally against ISIS
security fund is running out of money and has to be merged with the government’s infrastructure fund in order to be replenished. These and other developments will have a negative effect on living standards and opinions of the electorate before the parliamentary election in the fall.
The most effective way that Putin’s regime can avoid collapse is by causing the EU to collapse sooner. An EU that is coming apart at the seams will not be able to maintain the sanctions it imposed on Russia following its incursion into Ukraine. On the contrary, Putin will be able to gain considerable economic benefits from dividing Europe and exploiting the connections with commercial interests and anti-European parties that he has carefully cultivated.
As matters stand, the EU is set to disintegrate. Ever since the financial crisis of 2008 and the subsequent rescue packages for Greece, the EU has learned how to muddle through one crisis after another. But today it is confronted by five or six crises at the same time, which may prove to be too much. As Merkel correctly foresaw, the migration crisis has the potential to destroy the EU.
When a state or association of states is in mortal danger, it is better for its leaders to confront harsh reality than to ignore it. The race for survival pits the EU against Putin’s Russia. ISIS poses a threat to both, but it should not be overestimated. Attacks mounted by jihadi terrorists, however terrifying, do not compare with the threat emanating from Russia.
ISIS (and Al Qaeda before it) has recognised the Achilles’ heel of Western civilisation – the fear of death – and learned how to exploit it. By arousing latent Islamophobia in the West and inducing both publics and governments to treat Muslims with suspicion, they hope to convince young Muslims that there is no alternative to terrorism. Once this strategy is understood, there is a simple antidote: Refuse to behave the way your enemies want you to.
The threat emanating from Putin’s Russia will be difficult to counter. Failure to recognise it will make the task even more difficult.