Europe has a Russia problem, as Herman van Rompuy, the president of the European council, recognised on Friday by sending out the latest draft of the proposed sanctions. Nick Clegg is right that Russia should lose the 2018 World Cup, but that is Fifa’s call. In those areas where it has clout, the EU is going to be tougher than most predict. The shooting down of MH17 has dramatised Russia’s role, and made it harder for European leaders to duck the consequences.
Astonishingly, the MH17 incident does not appear to have even interrupted Russian arms supplies to the Ukrainian rebels. Petro Poroshenko, Ukraine’s new president, believes Russia is continuing to supply weaponry – and according to western intelligence sources, he is right.… Seguir leyendo »
One of the greatest problems with foreign and defence policy is understanding the real motives for a state's action. No one knows Vladimir Putin's real intentions over Ukraine – perhaps not even the Russian leader himself. Any good liberal may hope that Putin is as respectful of international law as he claims, and that his interests extend merely to protecting the Russian-speaking minorities. However, the Geneva deal agreed between Russia and the west on Thursday is a thin reed that can mean too many things to too many people.
Start with the phrase: "All illegal armed groups must be disarmed." Who by?… Seguir leyendo »
It is humbling to see protesters in Kiev's Independence Square prepared to lay down their lives for freedoms we take for granted. At its simplest, the Ukraine tragedy is a fight for democratic rights at the frontier of autocracy. It is like Beijing's Tiananmen massacre or Caracas's Altamira Square. In the sound of their gunfire, there is the echo of so many through history who fought against oppression: "Freedom or death!"
But Ukraine is also different because it is suffering the rival magnetic pulls of Russia and the European Union. For Russia, the dynastic suzerain of much of Ukraine since 1686, Ukrainian independence is seen as a historic humiliation.… Seguir leyendo »
The Philippines's Typhoon Haiyan and its appalling death toll is a terrible example of the increasing force of extreme weather events. Will it shatter complacency about climate change, and electrify the laborious UN ministerial negotiations that are taking place in Warsaw? Do not bank on it, but do not despair either.
Hurricane Katrina came and went in 2005, and Gallup found that Americans worried about climate change jumped from 51% to 62%. Since then, recession focused people on survival, and climate worries receded. In Maslow's hierarchy, basic needs always trump the far-off threat. With recovery and Hurricane Sandy, American public concern is rising again, and it's now at 58%.… Seguir leyendo »
Les efforts actuellement déployés par l'Europe pour sortir de la récession ne doivent pas nous faire oublier la question urgente du modèle économique que nous désirons construire.
Si nous ne faisons pas en sorte que la reprise économique mette nos pays sur la voie d'un modèle durable à faibles émissions de carbone, l'incertitude demeurera et nous devrons faire face aux coûts significatifs engendrés par la volatilité des prix de l'énergie et par un climat de plus en plus instable.
Pourtant, une formidable occasion s'offre à nous : celle du renforcement de notre propre reprise économique, de l'amélioration de notre sécurité énergétique et de la lutte contre le changement climatique par le développement des secteurs énergétiques à faibles émissions de carbone et de l'exploitation de nouvelles sources d'emplois et d'exportations.… Seguir leyendo »