Europas schwierige Nachbarschaft

PARIS – Die Geografie hat Europa gute und schlechte Karten zugeteilt. Einerseits können die Europäer froh sein, sich in relativ sicherer Entfernung von jenen Spannungen zu befinden, die der Aufstieg von Mächten wie Indien, Brasilien und vor allem China mit sich bringen mag. Im Süden und Osten jedoch grenzt Europa an zwei große Regionen, die Anlass zu einiger Besorgnis geben.

Weder Russland noch der islamischen Welt gelingt bislang eine gute Anpassung an die Globalisierung. Deren jeweilige Volkswirtschaften sind nach wie vor im Übermaß von Öl- und Gasexporten abhängig. Im Nahen Osten verschärft sich dadurch das Problem der Arbeitsplatzschaffung für die stark wachsende junge Bevölkerung. Auch Russland steht vor echten demografischen Problemen, wenn auch in die entgegengesetzte Richtung, da die Bevölkerung Russlands in den nächsten 15 bis 20 Jahren um 10 Prozent schrumpfen soll.

Trotz der verständlichen Bedenken der Finnen, Polen und anderer Nationen in Mittel- und Osteuropa sollten die Verbindungen mit Russland jedoch leichter zu steuern sein als jene mit der islamischen Welt. Seit dem Ende des Kalten Krieges gleichen die Beziehungen zwischen dem Westen und Russland dem Zusammentreffen zweier tektonischer Platten, wobei die eine zunehmend unter die andere gedrückt wird. Der Georgien-Konflikt im Jahr 2008 war ein Beben, das den erheblichen Widerstand gegen die ostwärts gerichtete Bewegung der westlichen Platte anzeigte.

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