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    Russia’s Increasing Influence Isn't a Threat – West’s Attitude is – Scholar

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    Russian involvement in the wider international arena will increase in the upcoming years. This is what the UK Defense Ministry has said in the sixth edition of the report Global Strategic Trends.

    Sputnik has discussed the study with Rodney Atkinson, academic, political commentator and founder of freenations.net website.

    Sputnik: What is your take on the inclusion of Russia into the UK Global Strategic Trends report?

    Rodney Atkinson: Well, I think the report in a sense is looking reasonably objectively to where flashpoints are but, of course, most of these flashpoints have been created by the West and the European Union, and Britain and Washington. After all, Russia does have a legitimate role as a property owner in the Arctic. That's one area, the reaction in the Middle East is a reaction to the Western stirred-up Arab Spring which brought chaos and, indeed, you can see in Syria how the Russian intervention has been positive rather than negative in a sense of bringing more peace and security to Syria.

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    And as regards Africa, another area where apparently they see some threat from Russia, of course, it is China who is the far bigger player in Africa; and China's expansion in the South China Sea has no equivalent from Russia in Europe. So one can understand that these areas are mentioned, but I don't think that most people would see that this was Russian aggression in any of these areas.

    Sputnik: The report does particularly look at Russia's attempt to push for a multipolar order, why is that such a big problem for London?

    Rodney Atkinson: Well, I think it's an irrational reaction to the rebouncing of an economic power in the world; because, obviously, there will be more multipolar orders than there have been in the past and because we have become, in London, part of the European, German-Europe logic of expansion eastwards by the European Union and the accompaniment of that expansion by NATO bases; plus the fact that we are apparently following, even though Mr. Trump is in theory not doing so, the US neocon Russophobia, and we have assumed that any increasing influence by Russia is something which would be a threat to the West.

    On the contrary, I would say that it is the West's attitude to Russia which is the biggest threat to the West.

    Sputnik: What do you make of the UK's condemnation of Russia at a time when it has its own significant domestic problems varying from Brexit to terrorism?

    Rodney Atkinson: Yes, of course, the Skripal affair has not helped matters and that must be resolved and cleared up. But I think there are elements in the Foreign Office that think at the moment that being anti-Russian helps to get a better Brexit deal because we are presumably following the lead of France and Germany, but in fact I think that they're probably wrong with that because there are signs that both of those countries are going behind the UK's back in Russian matters.

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    There's the enormous gas deal with Russia which Germany will not give up. There's been a recent Russo-German technological forum in Sochi, and because of the Iran sanctions there's a certain amount of support in the European Union for countering the power of dollar. So, all in all, I think the Foreign Office in Britain is wrong on a number of counts.

    Sputnik: What goals do you think that London is trying to reach really with this report and with the mood of this report really?

    Rodney Atkinson: Well, I think it's just trying to plan the future on the basis of the present, but I don't think the present antagonism and Russophobia, and attempts to engage aggressively on a worldwide basis are the answer; and as to whether this is going to continue in the future it's difficult to see the West and the UK, in particular, seeking out de-escalation around the world. I mean there are plenty of ways in which that could be done.

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    Obviously, the Skripal issue needs to be resolved, Brexit needs to be achieved so we don't feel we have to be too accommodating of France and Germany; and there are plenty of de-escalation opportunities around the world in Syria, in Korea and in Eastern Europe by speaking against the movement eastwards which has been the pattern of recent years. So I think the anti-Russian rhetoric will continue for some time but I hope to goodness that there's a change of political attitude in London.

    The views expressed in this article are solely those of Rodney Atkinson and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.


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