GEOPOLITICA DEL MONDO MODERNO

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Ukraine, waiting for Minsk

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Germany and France try to dialogue with Russia. In opposive direction to Minsk meeting scheduled for 11st February, Putin remains in his position while Nato has announced to strengthen its defences.

Looking forward Minsk meeting between Merkel, Hollande, Poroshenko and Putin scheduled for 11st February, three geopolitical players’ group is playing on Ukrainian table. The first one puts together Usa (Nato) and Eastern Europe countries as Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The second one includes Russia. The last one consists of Germany, France, Italy and Great Britain.

The civil war between Ukrainian army and pro-Russian has produced several killed every day from January, when the situation has started to get worse. While Putin is still accused of helping separatists with armaments, troops and financial support, Usa and Ue are thinking to increase economical sanctions and to widen russian oligarchs black list.

But some European countries and Nato are also devising two different solutions to conflict resolution. Merkel and Hollande, on behalf of majority of Ue, are convinced that the dialogue with Putin is the true way. Instead, Nato has announced to establish six command and control units in Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania and to strengthen its defences on 5th February: “The enhanced NATO Response Force will count up to around 30,000 troops”, said Secretary General Stoltenberg.

The next meeting on 11st February will be a critical moment for the destiny of Ukrainian civil war. Three different point of views on the table. Franco-German initiative is based on Minsk Pact: separatists must immediately call back troops, Moscow must immediately recall its armaments, the immediate creation of a humanitarian corridor, openness to Donbass region partial autonomy.

Conversely, Putin and Poroshenko have different sights. The first one wants to respect Crimea, Donetsk and Lugansk republics complete independence. The second one wants to protect Ukrainian national unity and has often asked Obama a military support to fight separatists, but President of United States is hesitating about it.

However, we have to remind that Ukranian crisis is still a continuation of Cold War. So Washington and Moscow must return to talk about a common geopolitical strategy together. Obama’s “Atlantic” interest and Putin Eastern Europe gain must necessarily meet.

Giacomo Pratali

Andrew Spannaus: “Greece’s challenge to the Euro”

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After Alexis Tsipras triumph in the Greek elections e and the birth of new government, a new political match is in operation between Athens, which would delete its economical debt, and Bruxelles, which demands the observance of austherity. European Affairs asked Andrew Spannaus, journalist and editor-in-chief of Transatlantico.info, his opinion about this new circumstance.

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“The victory of the Syriza party in the recent Greek elections has brought Europe to a crossroads: it is clear that the politics of austerity must be abandoned, but the institutions of the European Union cannot allow themselves to admit that their model is a failure. The result is a tension between appearances – which the EU aims to save at all costs – and the actual needs of the economy and the population.

During the election campaign, Alexis Tsipras laid out a clear position regarding the renegotiation of Greece’s debt, which essentially leaves only two alternatives: either he will hold the line and force Europe to accept a partial default, or he will give in to the pressure from the supranational institutions and be considered a failure by those who elected him.

The new Prime Minister worked hard to reassure everyone that he has no intention of abandoning the Euro, partially in response to fears around Europe of a market crash in reaction to his party’s victory. Yet the message sent by Greek voters is clear: no to the memorandum, no to the austerity policy that has caused so much suffering.

Tsipras’s debt proposal directly challenges the fundamentals of EU economics, calling for ignoring the restrictive budget parameters until the economy has returned to sustained growth. And some members of the new government have supported establishing a firewall between ordinary finance and speculation on the international markets, along the lines of the Glass-Steagall law in force in the United States until the 1990s.

This is diametrically opposed to the policy implemented over the past twenty-five years, from Maastricht, to the Stability Pact, to the Fiscal Compact.
Thus, the scenario before us calls into question the very existence of the Euro as we have known it.

It is clear that an attempt will be made to find a solution that salvages the image of the EU, by devising a compromise applicable only to the “special case” of Greece, and insisting that no broader changes are necessary.
The first requirement for such a solution would be that Greece accept something less than what it is asking. Europe will demand an act of submission, to make sure that other countries don’t seek to take advantage of the opening.

Indeed what the other countries do will be crucial. If the facade of the austerity policy dissolves, what will the Italians say? And the Spanish? And the Portuguese?

Will they continue to defend the impoverishment of the population because the recovery is “just around the corner,” or will they seize the chance to stand up and demand a more profound change?

Will they settle for throwing even more money at the financial markets through Quantitative Easing, and for the shell game of the Juncker Plan, or will they restore badly needed public investment?

Recent battles over European economic policy have led to only modest changes; some leaders promised to raise their voice, and others swore they would oppose the rules on deficit spending. But the basic framework has remained the same since the beginning of the 1990s, since the erosion of national sovereignty began, accompanied by policies increasingly favorable to international financial interests.

As we have all seen since 2008, such a policy cannot survive for long: it will have to change, either in an orderly way, or by the more messy route of social and political upheaval.

The Greek elections offer an opportunity to begin a process of rational change, but this will require courage on the part of numerous governments, a quality which does not seem to be in great abundance nowadays”.

Giacomo Pratali

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Ukrainian violent escalation, repartee between Kiev/Nato and Moscow

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The level of fighting in the east of Ukraine has come back at the highest levels during January 2015. At the same time, the verbal confrontation between Kiew/Nato and Moscow is not subsiding

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After direct engagement between Ukrainian and separatist armies in Donbass region during January 2015, where several civilians had died, Kiev has decided on allert warning for all nation on 26th January: “We must ensure the safety and the protection of civilian population”, said Prime Minister Yatseniuk validating this choice.

This violent escalation circle, after December cease of fire, has caused an exchange of accusations between Kiev and Moscow. Ukraine government has always charge with separatist to be liable for every carnage in the Eastern territories. While Putin, about regular army, has said: “Is not an army, but a foreign legion, in this case a foreign Nato legion, which, of course, doesn’t pursue the national interests of Ukraine”.

These words are at odds with Nato Secretary General speech after the Mariupol fighting, where the shelling of residential areas in the city from separatist-controlled territory has cost the lives of at least 20 civilians, and injured many more: “For several months we have seen the presence of Russian forces in eastern Ukraine, as well as a substantial increase in Russian heavy equipment such as tanks, artillery and advanced air defence systems. I strongly urge Russia to stop its military, political and financial support for the separatists, stop destabilising Ukraine and respect its international commitments”, said Stoltenberg on 24th January 2015.

Giacomo Pratali

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Italian Marines Case, Indian media talks about a behind scene dialogue between two governments

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The three-years deadlock about Italian Marines Case. Indian Government looks up to negotiation. However the decision is “judicial competence” in Government spokesman’s opinion

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“The Government of Delhi has changed attitude and talks behind the scenes with the Italian government”. This is the Indian media’s opinion about Marines Case. And to prove it would be the different behavior held by the executive and the Supreme Court in September when Massimiliano Latorre was sent back to Rome for serious health reasons

Neverthless, the newly appointed Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni talks about “absolutely disappointing results” in the negotiations on last three years. While the former head of the Foreign Ministry , now the EU High Representat ive of Foreign Policy Federica Mogherini, interviewed to ‘La Repubblica’ on 27th December, has very clearly claimed: “As I already said in the past, when I was Ministry, I tried to complete preliminary procedure of international law arbitration, but it’s too long. Now, I keep following this case along with Italian Government”.

“The EU – continues – has repeatedly been asking over a right solution for everyone for the last three years. Neverthless, but we’re waiting for a solution so this situation is not just painful for the two marines, their families and Italy , but it can also affect the EU – India relations and the global fight against piracy in which the EU has been strongly committing”, said Lady Pesc.

But the Indian Media optimism opposes Government spokesman Syed Akbaruddin, who has said on 26th December: “It’s very difficult to explain the question as it’s judicial competence. The Indian Government could have its opinion, but we have to wait judicial decision”.

This spokesman’s speech is in line with Salvatore Girone’s Christmas greetings to his family and friends and Massimiliano Latorre’s possible comeback in India after his healing in Italy. In the last few days, Italian President Giorgio Napolitano has told about “lack of cooperation by India” and “malfunctioning of the Indian justice system in the case of two marines” accused of killing two Indian fishermen during an anti-piracy mission in 2012.

Giacomo Pratali

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Ukraine: events and apparences on the international law battlefield

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Poroshenko has told about real ceasefire on 14th December 2014. Putin try to find new economical partnership with India and China. And Nato has a care about Minsk pact

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“I have positive news. Today is the first 24 hours for seven months … when we have a real ceasefire in Ukraine”, said Poroshenko on 14th December 2014. If this probably means a decrease of nervous tension between Kiev and Mosca, therefore what’s happenened in December alluded other intentions.

After agreement on 30th October between Ukraine, Russia and European Union, Kiev has started to receive gas from 9th December. Instead, on 11st December, Putin, within Crimean leader Aksionov, has a uproared meeting with Prime Minister India Modi. So they agreed to build ten new nuclear reactors. After gas agreement with China, Moscow strategy is respond to economical penalties by Nato and Ue.

Poroshenko’s words and Putin’s behavior mean that Ukrainian crisis is on international battlefield. It’s clear in statement of the NATO-Ukraine Commission, which charges of Moscow of “destabilization of eastern Ukraine in breach of international law, including the provision of tanks, advanced air defence systems and other heavy weapons to the separatists, and military activities, which violate the agreements reached in Minsk in September”.

The release goes on reminding the most important points of Minsk agreement: “To withdraw its forces and military equipment from Ukrainian territory and along the Ukrainian border; to provide for effective international monitoring of the border and restore Ukrainian sovereignty over its side of the border; to allow for a political and a diplomatic solution to be negotiated, which respects Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and internationally recognized borders”. In closing, Secretary General Of Nato Stoltenberg has disclosed Trust Funds and projects on command, control, communications and computers, logistics and standardization, cyber defence, military career transition, and medical rehabilitation.

Whereas, by the Russian point of view, the Nato assistance looks like a new offensive against Moscow, as told by Chief Foreign Commision of Russian parliament Morozov: “Nato has had only one strategy throughout 2014: a forceful political crash into East. To increase anxiety, Nato makes annoying releases against Russia”.

Giacomo Pratali

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Moldova parliamentary elections, the pro-Ue coalition noses out pro-Russia parties

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Liberals reach 48% of costituency, opponents 38. Stoltenberg congratulates the people of Moldova but warns Putin not to meddle with Chisinau internal policy

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The last elections in Moldova underline a not clear situation. Infact, the socialist party results the first one in the country (21%), but the first coalition is liberal electoral roll (48%). Instead, the coalition near Moscow earns about 38%. With 54 or 55 seats, negotiations about new executive branch could be difficult.

“I congratulate the people of Moldova for the parliamentary elections held this Sunday – says Jens Stoltenberg, Nato Secretary General – that were carried out generally in line with European standards. The Moldovan people made their choice and everyone must respect it”. These words seem an advertisment to Putin, who alerted Chisanau about Ue approach last october.

“Moldova is a valued partner of the Alliance, including as a contributor to our mission in Kosovo. We will continue our cooperation with Moldova in the framework of the Individual Partnership Action Plan, and we look forward to working with the new authorities with a view to make broad use of our new partnership initiatives launched at our Wales Summit in September”, closes his speach.

Giacomo Pratali

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Rome: Foreign Affairs Committee of the Italian Senate Pier Ferdinando Casini meets Marzouq Alì alGhanim

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They talked about the perfect ties between Kuwait and Italy and discussed about global Islamic terrorism. They agree how to shut down Isis in Middle East: not only a military battle, but also a cultural action

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Pier Ferdinando Casini, Foreign Affairs Committee of the Italian Senate, met Marzouq Alì al Ghanim, Speaker of the National Assembly of Kuwait, on 27th november 2014 in Rome. Kuwatian ambassador e some member of Italian Parliament took part too.

The discussion was about global Islamic terrorism and battleground in Siria e Iraq. Al Ghanim would wish a common action within Usa and European Union against new Caliphate. Instead, Casini remembered him he special friendship relationship with Kuwait since the First Gulf War and arranging with Speaker of National Assembly of Kuwait told: “It’s not necessary only a military action, but we’d search an action at the cultural and educational levels”.

Giacomo Pratali

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The historical point of view about Ukrainian crisis

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During the past two years, Ukraine became the scene of clashes on several levels. From the internal regions of Western and Russian-speaking, from struggle between Kiev and Moscow, up to the war of position, or even cold, between Russia and NATO. In order to better address these issues, we interviewed Elena Dundovich, Teacher of History of Eastern Europe in the Department of Political Science of the University of Pisa.

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Prof. Dundovich from the historical point of view, how are true the Donbass e Crimea’s reasons? Are they culturally closer to Russia?

“Nowadays, the contrast between Ukraine and Russia, especially regarding the East, can be understood by the linguistic e religious differences. In its history, Ukraine ha shared in two parts for several centuries. The western area has long been part of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, united in 1569 in the Polish-Lithuanian Confederation. When it disappeared in 1795, part of the Western Ukraine went to Austria. The Eastern part, instead, has always belonged of the Russian Empire, and consequently, has always been inhabited by Russian-speaking citizens of Ukraine. Currently, Ukrainans understand both language. In the Eastern Ukraine, especially in the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk, 65-70% of population speakes Russian; on the other hand, in the West this percentage decreases to 10%. By the social and cultural point of view, the Ukrainian national unity begins in mid-nineteenth century and so it’s very recent. Surely, the majority of Russian-speaking citizens of Ukraine lives in Donbass, as there are many in the Crimea. And by economic point of view, these areas depended from Soviet Union mining industry up to 1991”.

Since the Orange Revolution, through the Yanukovich deposition, up to the referendum in the Crimea: has Ukraine become the battleground of the new Cold War between the US and Russia?

“Ukraine has become the battlefield of Usa and Russia disagreement at the moment. But now we can’t understand how it’s desired by these two countries or not. This anxious situation began when Ukraine received proposal of Association Agreements by European Union. I don’t share this decision because the European Union didn’t fail to take of economic and social hard ship, weakness of political institutions, influence of the oligarchs on institution and party of Ukraine after the independence in 1991. Moreover, Russia has always considered East Ukraine almost like its country and Crimea has become an important military base of Russia since 1999. I think that this European behaviour changed Ukraine in battleground of new Cold War. The United States are also trying to expand Nato to the borders of Ukraine, next

to the frontiers of Russia: ukrainans shouldn’t welcome this project. Furthermore, Russia is the most important trading partner of Ukraine and has always discount its gas to Kiev since 1991”.

What is your opinion about sanctions increase from European Union to Russia?

“I disagree with this decision because we European almost totally depends on Russian gas. It’s politically trivial if Russian oligarchs are not allowed to travel in Europe. Instead, United States are not so addicted to russian gas. And then we have many different kinds of trade relations with Russia, which has been quickly responding by blocking the import of many European and Italian products. The annexation of Crimea was a strong gesture but understandable because Putin could not leave the most important basis in Crimea to a weak government. Also Poroshenko is a powerful oligarch, but oligarchs are used to continuously changing their political position: some of them are pro-European Union because this could improve their business, while others are pro-Russia. I want to remind that in Ukraine an average pension is about 80 euro and an average salary is about 120 euro, but the cost of living is similar to ours. A strong reaction from Europe and the United States would make true at the begin of the Crimean question. But right now, I don’t understand these sanctions. In addition, we have to consider why Ukrainians have really interested to join the European Union: thanks to the Schengen Treaty, they could have moved vacantly in Europe. And disputes in Maidan Square were against the Yanukovych’s corrupt government. International press has misunderstood real ukrainian situation”.

What do you think about the recent elections in Donetsk and Lugansk districts? Are they different from Crimean referendum?

“I think that there are two different situations to individualize. The first one, which began on the 28th November 2013 and finished with Crimean referendum, when European Union overlooked risks and Putin made an iron fist. The second one, when Putin has lost the control of situations and other eastern regions have tried to make like Crimea. European Union and Usa could have avoided this situation if they had discussed with Putin at the beginning. For all the reasons I have explained before, Ukraine is strongly influenced by Moscow. ”

Giacomo Pratali

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