Mutual Understanding Between Broader West and Greater Eurasia. Presentation of the Valdai Club Report in Vienna

Interdependence will remain as the necessity of joint reaction to non-systemic threats. Despite big differences on many issues Broader West and Greater Eurasia understand each other better, than regional forces.

On January 28, 2016, at Bruno Kreisky Forum for International Dialogue headquarters in Vienna the Valdai Discussion Club presented its annual report entitled War and Peace in the 21st Century. International Stability and Balance of the New Type.

Presenting the report, Fyodor Lukyanov, Research Director of the Valdai Discussion Club, pointed out that the system of two big groups of countries - Broader West (United States, EU, Japan) and Greater Eurasia – was not a fixed configuration and had nothing to do with the bipolarity of the past.

According to the report, interdependence will remain as the necessity of joint reaction to non-systemic threats. Despite big differences on many issues Russia, USA, France and some European countries understand each other better and are closer to each other in defining the priorities of threats on Syria crisis, than regional forces. Russia, USA, Germany and France all identify ISIS as the biggest threat, which is not obvious for some countries of the region, like Saudi Arabia and Turkey. They have other priorities, Lukyanov said.

The old configuration of the Middle East created by the colonial powers in the 20th century is gone away. There is a real need of Broader West and Greater Eurasia to be more consolidated. The ambition of the European Union to become an independent global player like the USA, China and others, is unachievable. According to Lukyanov, Eurasia is a very comfortable place for China because this country does not meet big resistance in that area.

Ambassador Wolfgang Petritsch, Member of the Board of the Bruno Kreisky Forum for International Dialogue and former High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, said during the presentation that the European Union was based on very different principles than the USA and Russia in terms of sovereignty and decision making sharing. The European Union has a challenge to deal with Russia or the USA in terms of the global governance. During the whole history the EU demonstrated a rational way to treat different problems and challenges which helped the unification. Now the identity of the EU is under crisis. The refugees have split the EU, there’s no solidarity, there’s a different perception of what to do with the refugees. In any case with all such problems and challenges, Europe is still the richest and the wealthiest region in the world. Enough stamina and resilience will be needed to overcome the crisis and then to move to even closer Union.

The European security strategy for the first time goes far beyond the immediate neighborhood, even beyond the Atlantic partnership. There are basically five broad sets of challenges, and the first one concerns the European neighbors, where Russia occupies a specific place. The Eastern dimension will play the most important role in this new strategy, Wolfgang Petritsch said.

The second point is North Africa and the Middle East. Brussels is finally realizing that actually the Middle East is European neighborhood. We see where the refugees come from. We see that the problems in the Middle East have a direct influence on the way of life of Europeans. The refugees’ crisis has one grave potential consequence - the union of the European states is going to be put under heavy pressure, it’s already under heavy pressure.

Africa is the third issue, in the fourth place comes the Atlantic partnership. Then comes Asia, with a special role of China.

Another issue is human rights and challenges to the European Union constitutional norms from the inside. Prime minister of Hungary openly speaks about illiberal democracy. There is a fragmentation not only on the global scene, but also in the EU itself.

According to Wolfgang Petritsch, sanctions sometimes are politically effective. It’s a way to avoid a real military confrontation. In Iran, like in South Africa, sanctions played a role in achieving progress - they produced a policy change in Teheran. This is a prime example that in the age when things are getting worse, things can also get better. Fyodor Lukyanov added that in the situation of interdependence and competition sanctions can be imposed and lifted. Sanctions are the way to regulate the relations between countries. They were used numerous times in history.

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Download Report WAR AND PEACE IN THE 21st CENTURY: International Stability and Balance of the New Type in English, Russian and French (PDF)

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Image Gallery: Рresentation of a report entitled "War and Peace in the 21st century. International Stability and Balance of the New Type" in Vienna