Europe’s Troublesome Neighbors

Geography has dealt Europe a mixed hand. While Europeans can congratulate themselves on being a relatively safe distance away from whatever tensions may accompany the rise of powers like India, Brazil, and, especially, China, they are bordered to the south and east by two great regions that give cause for significant concern.

PARIS – Geography has dealt Europe a mixed hand. Europeans can congratulate themselves on being a relatively safe distance away from whatever tensions may accompany the rise of powers like India, Brazil, and, especially, China. But Europe is bordered to its south and east by two great regions that give cause for significant concern.

Neither Russia nor the Islamic world is, thus far, adapting well to globalization. The economies of both remain over-dependent on oil and gas exports. In the Middle East, this exacerbates the problem of creating jobs for ballooning populations of young adults. Russia, too, faces real demographic difficulties, though in the other direction as Russia’s population is projected to shrink by as much as 10% over the next 15 or 20 years.

Despite the understandable concerns of Finns, Poles, and others in Central and Eastern Europe, the relationship with Russia should be the easier of the two to manage. The West’s relations with Russia since the end of the Cold War have resembled the meeting of two tectonic plates, with one progressively forced beneath the other. The Georgia conflict of 2008 was the tremor that signaled substantial resistance to the western plate’s eastward movement.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.

required

Log in

http://prosyn.org/YxGsB5N;
  1. Patrick Kovarik/Getty Images

    The Summit of Climate Hopes

    Presidents, prime ministers, and policymakers gather in Paris today for the One Planet Summit. But with no senior US representative attending, is the 2015 Paris climate agreement still viable?

  2. Trump greets his supporters The Washington Post/Getty Images

    Populist Plutocracy and the Future of America

    • In the first year of his presidency, Donald Trump has consistently sold out the blue-collar, socially conservative whites who brought him to power, while pursuing policies to enrich his fellow plutocrats. 

    • Sooner or later, Trump's core supporters will wake up to this fact, so it is worth asking how far he might go to keep them on his side.
  3. Agents are bidding on at the auction of Leonardo da Vinci's 'Salvator Mundi' Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

    The Man Who Didn’t Save the World

    A Saudi prince has been revealed to be the buyer of Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi," for which he spent $450.3 million. Had he given the money to the poor, as the subject of the painting instructed another rich man, he could have restored eyesight to nine million people, or enabled 13 million families to grow 50% more food.

  4.  An inside view of the 'AknRobotics' Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

    Two Myths About Automation

    While many people believe that technological progress and job destruction are accelerating dramatically, there is no evidence of either trend. In reality, total factor productivity, the best summary measure of the pace of technical change, has been stagnating since 2005 in the US and across the advanced-country world.

  5. A student shows a combo pictures of three dictators, Austrian born Hitler, Castro and Stalin with Viktor Orban Attila Kisbenedek/Getty Images

    The Hungarian Government’s Failed Campaign of Lies

    The Hungarian government has released the results of its "national consultation" on what it calls the "Soros Plan" to flood the country with Muslim migrants and refugees. But no such plan exists, only a taxpayer-funded propaganda campaign to help a corrupt administration deflect attention from its failure to fulfill Hungarians’ aspirations.

  6. Project Syndicate

    DEBATE: Should the Eurozone Impose Fiscal Union?

    French President Emmanuel Macron wants European leaders to appoint a eurozone finance minister as a way to ensure the single currency's long-term viability. But would it work, and, more fundamentally, is it necessary?

  7. The Year Ahead 2018

    The world’s leading thinkers and policymakers examine what’s come apart in the past year, and anticipate what will define the year ahead.

    Order now