08:43 GMT27 February 2020
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    Does Europe really believe that Russia poses a genuine threat? Or should the ‘Old World’ give another thought on what its real danger is and what its own interests are? Sputnik Italy sat down with Gianandrea Gaiani, a military expert and the editor-in-chief of the magazine Analisi Difesa on these issues.

    The US could easily play the Cold War strategy as it is located far away. But what if a country has already lost billions after being compelled to adopt anti-Russian sanctions, such as EU-member states Italy and Germany?

    Here is what Italian military expert Gianandrea Gaiani has to say on the matter.

    “Let’s start with the following: there’s no unified Europe. There are some separate elements, which vividly surfaced during the Greek crisis, in the economy and finance."

    "Europe neither exists in the political nor in the social sphere, which has been proven by the migration crisis. Moreover, it neither exists in the strategic nor in the military sphere, which has been proven by the Ukrainian crisis,” he said.

    “There are many Europes — there are the countries of the former Warsaw pact, which are concerned about the “Russian threat” due to their historic analogies with the clashes between Russia and Germany. There is Western Europe: France, Germany and Italy, which are dreaming of restoring their important relations with Russia without any embargos or sanctions."

    "But these countries don’t have any political will to stand against the US.  But we should, as there are no more common interests for the Europe and the US,” he added.

    “We can’t talk about a united Europe. Germany publicly denounces Russia for the Ukrainian crisis, but then, without too much fuss, signs an agreement with Moscow on the delivery of Russian gas via a new Baltic gas pipeline, bypassing Ukraine. Each European country is trying to play its own game, pretending to be a friend to the US, but pursuing its own interests with Russia.”

    The expert also commented on the oft-discussed fight against the Islamic State (IS), which the US has declared one of its gravest threats, alongside Russia.

    “I don’t see any desire from the US to fight against IS,” he said. “It’s ridiculous that they deploy their F-22s to Europe to fight against some Russian aircraft which flew somewhere above Lithuania and play Cold War. Instead, they would be better off sending more of those aircraft to the Middle East to fight against IS.”

    “They should resume their air strikes on IS in Libya, in Sirt, where one more Islamic State is being settled. I don’t see any will, neither among Americans, nor Europeans. They are eager to convince us that our enemy is Russia. Thus I don’t see any capability of fighting IS, as there is no desire to do that. Now they are talking about the peacekeeping mission – the Blue Helmets in Libya. Nobody is going to bomb those terrorists who have already settled only 400 km away from our borders and threaten Italy directly.”

    Gianandrea Gaiani, however, noted that Russia could be an ideal partner in this fight.

    “I think that Russia is an ideal partner in this conflict and its role in the coalition in the fight against IS is a serious one. Unlike the West, Russia wants to bring those countries which really fight IS into this – the governments of Syria and Iraq.”

    “Russians would have been ideal partners not because they are better than Americans, but because Russia fully acknowledges that the IS won’t stop in the Middle East, it would feed jihadists in the post-Soviet republics of Central Asia and the Russian republics in the Caucasus. Russia, like us, is at the forefront of the fight against IS and it is in our common interest to stop it. The US is too far away from it and pursues other interests.”

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    Tags:
    Daesh, political will, anti-Russian sanctions, threat, Gianandrea Gaiani, Europe, United States, Russia
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