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Italy

Salvini v. Macron: A Battle For The Soul Of Europe

The French president is the populist Italian Interior Minister’s favorite target. But is Salvini attacking Macron to mask his own failure to unite Europe’s nationalists?

Matteo Salvini
Matteo Salvini
Olivier Tosseri

ROME — The campaign for the European Parliament elections in the spring of 2019 has not yet begun, but the main opposing forces have already drawn their battle lines. The elections will see the nationalist-populist axis running from Rome to Budapest squaring off against the pro-Europe progressives centered around Paris.

"There are currently two camps in Europe. Macron is at the head of the political forces that support immigration. On the other side, we want to put a stop to illegal immigration," Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban declared following his recent meeting with Matteo Salvini in Milan. "We will work together to create a future alliance to bring to the forefront the questions of the right to work, healthcare and security. Everything that the European elites governed by Macron refuse to talk about."

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Geopolitics

The Days After: What Would Happen If Putin Opts For A Tactical Nuclear Strike

The risk of the Kremlin launching a tactical nuclear weapon on Ukraine is small but not impossible. The Western response would itself set off a counter-response, which might contain or spiral to the worst-case scenario.

An anti-nuclear activist impersonates Vladimir Putin at a rally in Berlin.

Yves Bourdillon

-Analysis-

PARISVladimir Putin could “go nuclear” in Ukraine. Yes, this expression, which metaphorically means “taking the extreme, drastic action,” is now literally considered a possibility as well. Cornered and humiliated by a now plausible military defeat, experts say the Kremlin could launch a tactical nuclear bomb on a Ukrainian site in a desperate attempt to turn the tables.

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In any case, this is what Putin — who put Russia's nuclear forces on alert just after the start of the invasion in late February — is aiming to achieve: to terrorize populations in Western countries to push their leaders to let go of Ukraine.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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