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Russia

Why Putin And Xi Must Be More Like Bismarck

Russia and China risk setting off global conflicts for the sake of national pride. A century later, the lessons of Otto von Bismarck are being ignored again.

Chinese navy sailors
Chinese navy sailors
Dominique Moïsi

PARIS – While the world came together in a sincere and legitimate emotion in memory of Nelson Mandela, there is another historical figure – his absolute opposite – whose absence is cruelly felt, at least from Moscow to Beijing. Bismarck, the Iron Chancellor, the man who achieved the unification of Germany around Prussia, is the statesman who knew how to preserve peace in Europe for several decades thanks to a wise policy of restraint. His dismissal by Wilhelm II, who considered him too reasonable, opened the gates of hell.

In her latest book, devoted to the origins of the World War I, "The War That Ended Peace," Margaret MacMillan chooses not to offer conclusions on the ultimate causes of the conflict. For the historian, the only certain thing we can say is that great statesmen like Otto von Bismarck in Germany were badly missing in the Europe of 1914. Nobody really wanted to go on war, but nobody knew how to avoid it.

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Geopolitics

NATO Entry For Sweden And Finland? Erdogan May Not Be Bluffing

When the two Nordic countries confirmed their intention to join NATO this week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan repeated his plans to block the application. Accusing Sweden and Finland of' "harboring" some of his worst enemies may not allow room for him to climb down.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared opposition to Finland and Sweden entering NATO

Meike Eijsberg

-Analysis-

LONDON — When Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared his opposition to Finland and Sweden entering NATO, it took most of the West's top diplomatic experts by surprise — with the focus squarely on how Russia would react to having two new NATO members in the neighborhood. (So far, that's been a surprise too)

But now Western oversight on Turkey's stance has morphed into a belief in some quarters that Erdogan is just bluffing, trying to get concessions from the negotiations over such a key geopolitical issue.

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To be clear, any prospective NATO member requires the consent of all 30 member states and their parliaments. So Erdogan does indeed have a card to play, which is amplified by the sense of urgency: NATO, Sweden and Finland are keen to complete the accession process with the war in Ukraine raging and the prospect of strengthening the military alliance's position around the Baltic Sea.

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