"Conflict between Turkey and Russia greatest risk"
As a country and region "we are in the eye of a hurricane, politically and geographically between two monumental crises dramatically changing our way of being."Source: Tanjug
This is what the program director CIRSD - the Center for International Relations and Sustainable Development (CIRSD) think-tank - Nikola Jovanovic wrote in an opinion piece published by Belgrade daily Politika.
According to Jovanovic, "a small world war" is taking place in the Middle East that will affect the balance of power in the region, relations between the United States and Russia, but also an increased number of refugees moving to Western Europe.
However, the greatest risk comes from a potential direct conflict between Turkey and Russia, which have opposing geopolitical imperatives in the Middle East, but also diametrically opposing visions of the world, he said.
"Although the U.S. has reduced the list of priorities to the fight against Islamic State and the wait for Russia and Turkey to mutually exhaust and block each other, the expanding Russian influence in the Middle East, as well as the paralysis of Europe are once again drawing America into the Middle East whirlpool," said he.
The refugee crisis has astonishingly divided and paralyzed the EU, writes Jovanovic, adding that it is "primarily a crisis of mutual trust and decision-making, but also a definitive failure of integration of Muslims into European societies."
"The consequences are devastating for the Balkans: Greece is practically sacrificed and de facto turned into a reception center. Serbia and Macedonia have become buffer zones between Greece and Hungary, which is increasingly perceived as a real EU border guard," he explains, and adds:
"Serbia has experienced more difficult periods in its history, but rarely have we had such a lack of ideas and passivity in the political elite."
According to him, the unfavorable political context should only bring with it an even greater imperative of meeting domestic strategic priorities: better physical connection with the Mediterranean and central Europe, but also turning Belgrade "from a cheap entertainment center into a diplomatically vibrant place, where topics of European security, refugees, as well as dialogue with the Islamic world will be raised without taboos."
"Belgrade, however, cannot become such an open diplomatic platform as long as it is de facto closed to serious international trade, as is the case today. Here we return to our current tragic problem of disconnectedness of foreign and development policies," said Jovanovic.
"One cannot stay long in the eye of a hurricane. To passively wait for it to pass, just means invoking misfortune," he concluded.