Le Monde: Ukraine, Iran and off Taiwan… Possible areas for war in 2022
Alain Frachon – a columnist for the French newspaper “Le Monde” – warns that the three great powers (the United States, China and Russia) still maintain the hypothesis of war in the balance of power between countries, and therefore the possibility of war remains this year, If we proceed according to the possibility of conflict between the more fortunate danger zones, we will start from Ukraine, move on to Iran, and then finish off Taiwan.
The writer explained in article To him, Russian President Vladimir Putin is trying to impose his rhythm in Europe, and his message is simple. He says – after annexing the Crimea region and organizing the secession of the Ukrainian Donbass region – that he is ready to go to Kiev and subjugate the entire Ukraine, after demonstrating his country’s new military power in launching state-of-the-art missiles. , destruction in space, and massive maneuvers on the borders of Ukraine.
The Russians publicly displayed their ambition on December 17, 2021, when Putin said he wanted a “new security architecture in Europe”, which means returning as much as possible to the Russian sphere of influence that existed during the days of the Soviet Union, so that the doors of NATO must be closed in He directed any new participant, in order to prepare bilateral negotiations between America and Russia to open on the ninth and tenth of January in Geneva, between the major military powers after Moscow explicitly excluded the Europeans from them.
The writer commented that the word “negotiation” is great in this context, because the Kremlin drew in advance and publicly its “red lines”, to make concessions difficult on its part, but the White House responded that many of the Russian ambitions are unacceptable.
It is not important – according to the writer – that the Russians are right or wrong about the seriousness of the grievances for which they are hostile to the West, and it is not important that they are convinced of them or not, because Russia has realistically put itself in a position that forces it to act if it is not satisfied with The state of its “red lines”, and this is the important thing that brings us closer to the war.
If talks resume between Iran and the United States and European mediators on Iran’s nuclear program, in order to ensure that Tehran does not obtain nuclear weapons, the progress that has been achieved is little, beyond the return of United Nations inspectors to the main uranium enrichment site, and therefore the space for settlement seems very limited, as The writer sees.
Because the Iranians have not forgotten the unilateral withdrawal of former US President Donald Trump in 2018 from the international agreement concluded by the United States in 2015, under the leadership of his predecessor Barack Obama, and subjecting their country to harsh economic sanctions, they are now setting two preconditions, and they want the United States to pledge not to retreat What will be negotiated, and they demand the lifting of a number of sanctions before the conclusion of the talks.
Among the existing problems is that the Iranians broke the limits set for them in the 2015 uranium enrichment agreement, as they raised the enrichment rate to 60% instead of 3.7%, and moving from the 60% to 90% necessary for military exploitation requires only one month, and this short month – according to the writer – It is he who feeds the Israeli or Israeli-American temptation to launch a precise strike at the heart of the Iranian nuclear project.
Iran believes that it has a deterrent arsenal, and therefore such a strike will not go unanswered, and perhaps the Lebanese Hezbollah, under orders from Tehran, will launch a barrage of missiles from Lebanon or Syria on Israeli towns, bringing the Middle East back into war again.
In December 2021, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin presented his diagnosis of the repeated Chinese military exercises against Taiwan, and said that they appeared as a “rehearsal” before the invasion, knowing that the United States, which recognizes the unity of China, pledged in 1979 to supply the island, which has governed itself since 1949 independently, by means of self-defense.
Although this does not force the United States to intervene militarily – as the writer says – US President Joe Biden still prefers ambiguity, so that Beijing remains wondering about the nature of Washington’s response to an attack it might make on Taiwan.
The writer believed that the hypothesis of the invasion does not seem immediate, especially since Chinese President Xi Jinping has an important political date in the fall of 2022 at the 20th Congress of the Communist Party, which must renew his term as President of China, perhaps forever, according to the writer’s comment.
The writer concluded that the United States, China and Russia are powers that maintain the hypothesis of war in the balance of power between countries, while the only power that excludes this option, perhaps because of the structural aspect or because of the deficit if not because of philosophy, is the European Union.