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After Munich, world leaders strive to prevent crisis from spiraling out of control

February 15, 16:38 UTC+3 Zamyatina Tamara
© EPA/DMITRY ASTAKHOV/SPUTNIK/GOVERNMENT PRESS SERVICE

MOSCOW, February 15. /TASS/. This year’s Munich International Security Conference, which ended last Sunday, was a good chance for politicians to take a look at the world situation not from the standpoint of confrontation, but with the aim of devising common approaches to warding off the threats facing the whole of humanity, first and foremost, the threat of terrorism, polled experts have told TASS.

In his statement at the conference Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev emphasized the counter-productiveness of the approach that funnels political actors' energy not against the real evil, but at containing neighbors in various ways, including the imposition of sanctions. "What makes such approaches so risky is that in ten years’ time and in twenty years’ time we will still be discussing the very same themes. If there is still something left for discussion, of course. In the context of a World Caliphate there is no place for discussions," Medvedev said.

The deputy director of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of US and Canada Studies, Viktor Kremenyuk, believes one has the impression the events in the Middle East are pushing Washington and Moscow towards the awareness concerted action should be taken against the global terrorist threat coming from the Islamic State. "There is such understanding now, but neither party wishes to make concessions. Russian and US foreign ministers Sergey Lavrov and John Kerry said after last Friday’s International Syria Support Group meeting in Munich they had agreed their countries’ military would be coordinating action in Syria. The Pentagon at once retorted that the point at issue was not coordinated action but just measures to prevent incidents in the air. Certain political groups have been pulling the blanket to one side, reluctant to cede initiative to opponents," Kremenyuk told TASS.

The same situation can be observed among the regional participants in the Middle East conflict, he believes. "As soon as Kerry and Lavrov unveiled their plan for ceasefire in Syria, Turkey the next day started shelling the positions of Syrian Kurds in Aleppo Province and dispatched several hundred militants there. Saudia Arabia airlifted its troops and warplanes to Turkey’s Incirlik airbase with a view to eventually redeploying them to Syria. Such action may disrupt any search for a peace settlement of the crisis.

"If only the settlement of regional crises, be it those in the Middle East or in Ukraine, depended on the United States and Russia alone, it might be possible to devise a common approach. But these conflicts involve dozens of actors, and each one is trying to reckon one’s own potential gains and losses. In the Middle East Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are playing their own game. Ukraine’s warmongers are determined to decide the future of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics from the position of strength. Gone are the days when one or two super-powers were able to influence their allies," Kremenyuk said.

"Against the backdrop of the soaring terrorist threat to the world Russia and the United States tend to display greater flexibility in devising common approaches to the settlement of crises. At the global level the European Union remains a weak player and follows in Washington’s footsteps. We are doomed to witness a complex, unstable situation in the world for a long time. The good news is the leading countries are determined to keep the situation under control and prevent it from entering a flat spin, a 'third world shake-up', as Medvedev put it in Munich," Kremenyuk said.

The head of the Military-Political Studies Center at the Moscow institute of international relations MGIMO, Aleksey Podberyozkin, says the US-led Western countries and Russia might succeed in devising a common approach to coping with the common threats to security. "Diplomacy is one of the tools of narrowing differences. But there should follow military contacts between Russia and the United States and between Russia and NATO. Politicians have been pointing to this need ever more often these days. The Munich Conference has pushed one and all closer towards the awareness whatever their contradictions the global players should never step beyond the red line to venture into an area where the crisis goes out of control," Podberyozkin told TASS.

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