LV 226: Near and Middle East: stabilisation or future crises in sight? | Prudence and strategy | Lorgnette: Elections in Moldova

Letter from La Vigie, dated 4 October 2023


Near and Middle East: stabilisation or future crises in sight?

The recompositions underway in the Middle East, between Syria’s normalisation of its international position, the safeguarding of Turkish influence in the Caucasus and the re-establishment of Saudi Arabia-Iran relations under the auspices of Beijing, are tending to safeguard the strategic triangle of Russia, Turkey and Iran to the detriment of American and European influence.

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Prudence and strategy

Prudence has a bad reputation, yet it is a necessary quality for a strategist: discerning, forward-looking and informed by experience, it supports the two strategic principles of freedom of action and adaptation. Is there any need to stress that France should adopt a more cautious strategy than it does today?

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Lorgnette: Elections in Moldova

Last Saturday, Slovaks went to the polls and Robert Fico’s party came out on top with 23% of the vote. It should not be too difficult for him to form a coalition and run the country for the legislature. A populist accused of corruption, he managed to convince voters with a surprising foreign policy line: while Slovakia had consistently supported Ukraine, the new prime minister explained that peace negotiations with Moscow were necessary.

In so doing, he joins Hungary’s Victor Orban, who is also paying lip service to Kiev. It should be noted that these two countries, along with Poland, are at the forefront of the controversy with Kiev over cereals, which led to a row between Warsaw and Kiev a fortnight ago. The Visegrad group (which also includes the Czech Republic, which remains a loyal supporter of Ukraine) brings together Central European countries that exemplify what some observers describe as illiberalism.

Yet the question they raise is not simply that of Ukraine and its relationship with Moscow, but also that of European balances. While some were congratulating themselves on European solidarity 18 months ago, it is about to be sorely tested.

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