Putin is no ally against ISIS

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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