Nouvelle guerre froide ou simple calcul des risques ?

NEW YORK – Au regard de l’escalade des violences dans le sud et l’est de l’Ukraine, et de l’absence de solution à l’horizon, la crise ukrainienne apparaît désormais comme le conflit géopolitique le plus bouillonnant que le monde ait connu depuis le choc déclenché par les attentats terroristes perpétrés aux États-Unis en 2001. La stratégie de sanction actuellement mise en œuvre par l’Amérique ne saurait ni désamorcer les tensions entre l’Occident et la Russie, ni renforcer un gouvernement ukrainien pro-occidental. Mais bien que les sanctions s’accentuent à l’encontre de la Russie, et que la violence ne cesse de progresser en Ukraine, il est peu probable que nous vivions aujourd’hui les prémices d’une deuxième guerre froide.

L’approche privilégiée par les États-Unis a jusqu’à présent consisté à renforcer les mesures de sanction face à l’agression russe, tout en veillant à ce que les alliés de l’Amérique demeurent unis. Lors d’une récente conférence de presse conjointe, le président Barack Obama et la chancelière allemande Angela Merkel ont annoncé avoir revu à la baisse le seuil au-delà duquel des sanctions supplémentaires seraient appliquées. Jusqu’alors, ce seuil résidait dans une invasion militaire directe de la part de la Russie ; désormais, comme l’a expliqué la chancelière, si la Russie venait à perturber les élections ukrainiennes du 25 mai, « de nouvelles sanctions seraient inévitables. »

Merkel et Obama ont cependant également abaissé la barre de ce que pourront être ces « nouvelles sanctions. » Plutôt que d’infliger des mesures sectorielles radicales à de larges pans de l’économie russe – nouveau franchissement en direction de sanctions « à l’iranienne » contre la Russie – il semble désormais que la prochaine vague de mesures demeure graduelle. Le seuil fixé autour des élections fait de cette nouvelle série de sanctions une quasi-certitude, rendant toutefois possible un renforcement plus modéré et plus progressif.

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