Europe

Baltic Sea as a “NATO Lake” Signals Strategic Shift in Regional Dynamics
Europe

Baltic Sea as a “NATO Lake” Signals Strategic Shift in Regional Dynamics

  By José Carlos Palma* , April 8, 2024 The Baltic Sea, once a contested maritime domain at the intersection of Russian and NATO interests, is increasingly being referred to as a "NATO Lake," marking a significant shift in the region's strategic landscape. Following Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the Baltic Sea region witnessed a palpable transformation as Sweden and Finland, long-standing neutral nations, joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). This pivotal development has tilted the balance of power in favor of the Western alliance, reshaping the dynamics of security and cooperation in the area. The term "NATO Lake" underscores the newfound strategic advantage enjoyed by the alliance in the Baltic Sea. With Sweden and Finland's access...
Neo-Fascist Salute Raises Alarms: Calls for Disbandment and Political Fallout in Italy
Europe

Neo-Fascist Salute Raises Alarms: Calls for Disbandment and Political Fallout in Italy

By ISSG Staff ROME, Italy — Italy has been thrust into a state of shock and outrage as a video emerged, revealing a group of individuals engaging in a neo-fascist salute during a political rally. The incident has sparked widespread condemnation, with calls for the disbandment of neo-fascist organizations and concerns about the country's political landscape. The video captures a disturbing scene where participants, dressed in black, stand in unison while performing the fascist salute. This display, reminiscent of Italy's dark history under Benito Mussolini, has raised deep concerns about the resurgence of far-right ideologies in the country. Francesco Vezzoli, a prominent Italian contemporary artist, expressed his distress, stating, "You see them all moving as one, and that’s very up...
Navigating the Global Power Shift: Europe’s Imperative for Resurgence
Europe, Regions

Navigating the Global Power Shift: Europe’s Imperative for Resurgence

By José Carlos Palma* In the ever-shifting landscape of global power dynamics, Europe finds itself at a critical juncture. The rise of an assertive China, coupled with an increasingly protectionist and unpredictable United States, presents a formidable challenge to Europe's traditional position as a global leader. To maintain its relevance and influence, Europe must undergo a transformative process, embracing a more centralized foreign policy, strengthening economic competitiveness, and forging cohesive alliances with like-minded partners. The Rise of China and the Challenge to European Hegemony China's rapid economic growth and assertive foreign policy have significantly altered the global power balance. China's Belt and Road Initiative, a vast infrastructure development program span...
The Strategic Importance of the Dnipro River in the Russia-Ukraine War
Russia and Eurasia, Defense Strategy and Capabilities, Europe

The Strategic Importance of the Dnipro River in the Russia-Ukraine War

By José Carlos Palma* The Dnipro River, the longest river in Ukraine, has played a pivotal role in the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine. The river's strategic importance stems from its geographical position, its role in transportation and logistics, and its symbolic significance for both sides. Geographical Significance Flowing from north to south through the heart of Ukraine, the Dnipro River divides the country into eastern and western halves. This geographical feature has significant implications for both military operations and civilian life. For Russian forces, controlling the Dnipro River would provide a natural defensive barrier and facilitate the movement of troops and supplies. Ukrainian forces, on the other hand, have sought to prevent Russian control of the river, re...
New Political Parties in Europe: Kremlin’s Tactics to Infiltrate Agents into the European Parliament
Europe, Russia and Eurasia

New Political Parties in Europe: Kremlin’s Tactics to Infiltrate Agents into the European Parliament

By José Carlos Palma* In recent years, Europe has witnessed the emergence of a plethora of new political parties, many of which espouse populist, nationalist, and anti-EU sentiments. While some of these parties stem from genuine grassroots movements, others are believed to be mere fronts for Russian interests aimed at undermining the European Union and its institutions. This article delves into the Kremlin's sophisticated strategies to infiltrate its agents into the European Parliament and influence European politics. The Kremlin's Strategy of Political Influence The Russian government has a long-standing history of employing political influence to advance its interests abroad. In the context of Europe, the Kremlin has forged ties with far-right and Eurosceptic parties, provid...
Hungarian Prime Minister’s Visit to Georgia Raises EU Candidacy Questions
Europe

Hungarian Prime Minister’s Visit to Georgia Raises EU Candidacy Questions

By ISSG with agencies  The Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, recently visited Georgia in a show of support, sparking concerns about the impact of Hungary's influence on Georgia's aspirations to join the European Union (EU). Orban's two-day visit on October 11 and 12 marked the strengthening of a partnership between Hungary and Georgia. He has notably formed a close relationship with Georgia's Prime Minister, Irakli Garibashvili. Both leaders have increasingly emphasized social conservatism, embracing the idea of a European identity based on Christianity and traditional values, while diverting from the conventional European emphasis on liberalism and democracy. Georgia and Hungary signed a strategic partnership agreement last year, and Garibashvili was a keynote speaker at the ...
Russia’s influence in the Balkans
Russia and Eurasia, Europe

Russia’s influence in the Balkans

By José Carlos Palma* Russia's influence in the Balkans is a complex and long-standing phenomenon. It dates back to the Ottoman Empire when Russia saw itself as the protector of Orthodox Christians in the region. Russia intervened militarily in the Balkans on numerous occasions and played a key role in the independence of several Balkan countries in the 19th century. After the Second World War, Russia established communist governments in a number of Balkan countries, including Bulgaria, Romania, and Albania. These governments were close allies of the Soviet Union and played an important role in the Cold War. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia's influence in the Balkans declined. However, in recent years, Russia has sought to expand its influence in the region, part...
Geopolitical and Technocratic: EU International Actorness and Russia’s War Against Ukraine
Europe

Geopolitical and Technocratic: EU International Actorness and Russia’s War Against Ukraine

Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022 marked the start of the largest and most brutal war at the heart of the European continent since World War II. It inevitably came as a "cold shower" for the EU and Member States' politicians, demonstrating with absolute certainty the fragility of the international and European security order. The EU responded to the invasion with unprecedented sanctions against Russia and Belarus and multi-faceted resolute support to Ukraine. The latter included the breaking of many previously existing taboos, such as the first ever use of the European Peace Facility to procure weapons for a third country at war or offering collective protection to about 8 million Ukrainian citizens and residents, fleeing the war. The war prompted EU le...
Geopolitics in the Baltic Sea Region
Europe

Geopolitics in the Baltic Sea Region

  By Göran Swistek and Michael Paul / Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik The “Zeitenwende” in the context of critical maritime infrastructure, escalation threats and the German willingness to lead. Due to its strategic immensity and opportunities for covert action, the maritime domain has become the most prominent arena of modern-day great power rivalry. In the shadow of this confrontation and the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, the Baltic Sea is now the focus of geopolitical interest and conflict. An expression of this is the increase in hybrid activities, from acts of sabotage to the use of unidentified drones. For the Western states of the Baltic Sea region in particular, all of this highlights their dependence on fossil resources, critical maritime infrastructur...