William Hague. If we falter the Balkans will explode again (The Times): There are two things I have never forgotten about my first meeting with Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin, alongside David Cameron a decade ago. One was that I thought he had the coldest eyes I had ever seen in the world — and since I have met many of the world’s greatest villains, warlords and tyrants that is saying something. The other was that he simply wanted to sell us a lot of gas.
Nicolas Baverez. L’ombre de Moscou s’étend sur l’Europe (Le Figaro): Vladimir Poutine a ouvert la voie à Xi Jinping en s’assurant du pouvoir à vie. La révision de la Constitution de 2020 l’autorise en effet à exercer la présidence de la Russie, qu’il occupe depuis 1999, jusqu’en 2036. Simultanément, le calvaire infligé à Alexeï Navalny et la fraude massive aux élections législatives de septembre dernier ont éradiqué toute opposition.
Paul Krugman. Headlines, inflation and other tales (The New York Times): Early this year some prominent economists warned that President Biden’s American Rescue Plan — the bill that sent out those $1,400 checks — might be inflationary. People like Larry Summers, who was Barack Obama’s top economist, and Olivier Blanchard, a former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, aren’t unthinking deficit hawks.
Nicolas Baverez. Relation franco-allemande: nuages en vue (Le Figaro) : La décennie 2020 sera décisive pour l’Union européenne. Après les chocs en chaîne de la crise de l’euro, du terrorisme islamiste, des vagues des migrants, du Brexit et de la pandémie de Covid, elle devra tenter de construire une Europe politique à partir de ses acquis – le grand marché, l’euro et l’État de droit – et surtout de la dynamique enclenchée par le plan de relance Next Generation EU.
David Gardner. Arab leaders weigh normalizing relations with Syria’s president (Financial Times): After being treated as a pariah for waging total war on his own people for the past decade, Syrian president Bashar al-Assad is being brought slowly back into regional diplomatic society. Though Syria remains expelled from the Arab League, Arab leaders are re-engaging with a tyrant hitherto deemed toxic by all except Iran, Russia and China.
Kadri Liik. Why Russia isn’t focused on the West (The New York Times): If you looked at Russia’s behavior in recent months, you’d think the country’s leaders were out to disrupt the West. In September, the Wagner Group, a Russia-based private military company, popped up in Mali, deeply angering France.
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