Sorry, this entry is only available in Bulgarian.
Sorry, this entry is only available in Bulgarian.
Hopefully, this will not be my last Bulgaria Analytica article. But with the current state of media you never know. So I think it’s an opportune time for me to reflect on my time as a correspondent for Bulgaria Analytica and the Center for Balkan and Black Sea Studies (CBBSS), and more so, on the past five-plus years — a period I’ve spent almost entirely outside of my native United States. As necessity is the mother of invention, it could be said travel is the mother of an expanded worldview. I’d like to think my worldview has expanded significantly as I’ve spent most of the past five years traveling and doing a lot of reporting along the way. Journalistically, I typically neither write in first person,
NATO’s London Summit on 3-4 December will enable Alliance leaders to reassert the importance of the Alliance after recent attacks on its effectiveness by French President Emmanuel Macron. Macron’s assertion that NATO is “brain dead” was reminiscent of President Donald Trump’s election campaign statements that the Alliance was obsolete. Trump’s attacks led to a refocus on NATO defense spending and Macron’s dismissal can encourage the Alliance to strengthen its mission. It is important to remember that NATO was formed to prevent Europe’s domination by any expansionist power and is the cornerstone of the trans-Atlantic alliance. A secure Europe is vital for American security and its military presence enables the U.S. to project power to deter threats and respond decisively if common security interests are challenged from any adjacent
Shortly after the October 20th visit of the head of Russia’s Civil Intelligence Sergey Naryshkin, an S-400 division and Panzer rocket-artillery system arrived in Serbia. They are supposed to take part in the second part of the joint military drills ‘Slavic shield – 2019’ that will span October 23-29th. The news generated fresh concerns about a possible permanent deployment of the S-400, leading to widespread geopolitical repercussions. More than 200 Serbian military experts were flown to Russia two months ago to take part in the first leg of the ‘Slavic Shield-2019’ military drills in the region of Astrakhan, which included training and live-fire tests with S-400. This summer, NATO-member Romania banned the river transport of Russian armored vehicles to Serbia. Russia then flew them over NATO member
The US and EU sanctions Both the EU and the US are contemplating new sanctions following the Cyprus-drilling conflict and the purchase of the S-400. Erdogan seems defiant on both counts and further sanctions seem equally unavoidable. Turkey’s armed forces have been planning a major offensive in Northern Syria against the US-backed Kurdish Protection Units (YPG), in defiance of US and EU warnings for possible conflict escalation. A sense of urgency has been added to Erdogan’s preparatory works to invade Syria as Britain, France, Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E have responded positively to US calls to send troops to areas held by the YPG. Russia is tacitly encouraging further cracks in relations with the West by allowing Erdogan a certain range of freedom in Syria, against the
The backstage role of Schroeder. President Erdogan seems intent to further expand the impact zone of the S-400 deal – testing the tolerance of his partners in NATO and the EU. Both are contemplating sanctions which seem too lenient to bite yet indicate a path that has no worst-case scenario beyond the realm of the possibility. Volkswagen’s investments in Turkey, with the heavy lobbying of the key Kremlin asset ex-Chancellor Schroeder, inevitably will face huge and potentially escalating tough-to-mitigate political risks. No immediate collapse foreseen – slowly evolving strategic shift To start with – the nature and the timeline of the risk evolve in time. Although no immediate collapse in Turkey is foreseen as part of Erdogan’s departure from Kemal Ataturk’s European and part of the West identity, the
Istanbul voters dealt Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan a tremendous blow last Sunday when they resoundingly rejected the country’s former prime minister and close Erdogan ally, Binali Yildirim, in his bid to become mayor of Istanbul and maintain the quarter-century grip on Turkey’s largest city that Erdogan and his allies had held. New Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu defeated Yildirm 54 percent to 45 percent in the re-run of a vote in March that Imamoglu narrowly won. The loss amounted to Erdogan’s first major electoral defeat of his political career and a serious blow to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which Erdogan co-founded. The Turkish president and his allies had controlled Istanbul since Erdogan was elected mayor of the Turkish metropolis 25 years ago. A variety of
Western elites are struggling to find common ground between the United States and Europe on matters related to China and trade, yet they have a broad consensus on a pressing defense issue — Turkey’s purchase of Russia’s S-400 missile system is damaging to NATO, and if completed, sanctions against Ankara are imminent — according to a surprise Turkish-language BBC report detailing discussions that took place last week at the secretive Bilderberg conference. Another key takeaway from the Bilderberg group’s conference held last weekend in Montreux, Switzerland is that elites are concerned about what another financial crisis would do to the vulnerable European Union. Western elites see economic growth as a useful tool in their battle against populism and nationalism, but in the case that the European economy were
Some time ago, a Kharkiv-based site hosted a typical Kremlin propaganda piece featuring an ultimatum to the Bulgarian government – either you agree and secure free passage for Turk Stream, ignoring EU and US reservations, or Gazprom will shut off natural gas supply, and Bulgarians will freeze next winter. Such provocative language blended with ultimatums is hardly what the Russian government can afford, at least at the formal level. Neither Maria Zaharova, nor Peskov, nor Putin, nor Lavrov would openly threaten a nuclear first strike. This is where the hybrid Russian “scaremongering” machine comes into play – the radical loose-talk politicians like Zhirinovsky, or media makers like Kiseljov, or the cloak and dagger “knights” like Leonid Reshetnikov. Working in the shade and in halftones, they seek to