Head For The Bunkers?

Friday, December 16, 2016
By Paul Martin

by Carl Bildt, originally posted at Project Syndicate,
Dec 16, 2016

In August 2015, I tweeted that if Donald Trump were to be elected President of the United States, we would have to “head for the bunkers.”

A Trump presidency was considered highly unlikely back then; but here we are. And while heading for the bunkers might not be the most appropriate response (yet), where we are is undoubtedly a more dangerous world.

Nearly two years ago, former US National Security Adviser and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger warned the Senate Armed Services Committee that, “as we look around the world, we encounter upheaval and conflict.” As Kissinger observed at the time, >“the United States has not faced a more diverse and complex array of crises since the end of the Second World War.”

And what seemed true from the perspective of Washington, DC, was doubly so from a European perspective. To put it plainly, Europe feels as though it were surrounded by a ring of fire, from the revisionist and revanchist Russia in the east, to the multiple meltdowns in the Middle East and North Africa in the south.

Since the spring of 2014, when Russia started fueling the conflict in Donbas and other parts of Eastern Ukraine, ten thousand people have died there, and another two million have been displaced. And, of course, these figures pale in comparison to the humanitarian disasters in Syria, Libya, and Yemen.

Now, NATO is planning to deploy troops to Northeast Poland and the three Baltic States – Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania – while the European Union struggles to manage continuous refugee flows and exert control over its external borders.

Moreover, the security threat from Russia has prompted a gradual increase in European defense spending and security cooperation. Whereas the EU has traditionally made peace and prosperity its primary objectives, it is now being forced to prioritize security above all else. That is a significant change.

The “complex array of crises” has also not spared Saudi Arabia, from whence I am writing. No one seems to have an answer to such fundamental questions as how to restore stability to Yemen and the Levant, but everyone knows that as the conflicts continue, it becomes more likely that the entire region will be destabilized. This is a threat that no one can ignore.

Equally concerning are the voices in Washington calling for renewed confrontation with Iran, just after the nuclear deal between that country and the P5+1 – China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, the US, plus Germany – averted the danger of such a confrontation (if not outright war).

The Rest…HERE

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