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Russia Should Be France's Ally

Russia is an imaginary enemy of Europe, fundamentalist terrorism a real one  one Russia can help oppose

Jacques Attali was an adviser to French President Mitterand and the first president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

This article originally appeared at L'Express. It was translated by Micheal S. Rozeff at Lew

Once again, we can be dragged into an absurd war against those who should be our allies in other infinitely more important fights.

It is indeed totally absurd to pose as the defender of a Ukrainian government as incoherent as the latter, unable to offer a program for the State’s reconstruction, and that can find nothing better to do than to reaffirm that the Russian language, which is the mother tongue of a significant part of its population, is no longer a national language.

So, must we be indignant to see Russia arising as the defender of the rights of these minorities? Would we oppose the Dutch if they were flying to the aid of the Flemish if a Belgian government had forbidden them to speak their language? And would we, the French, not react if the Swiss government banned its citizens from speaking French?

If Ukraine does not want to give its Russian speakers a decent status, it is normal that they want to get it, and that they call on the help of neighboring Russia, where many of them are already refugees.

Let us not be carried away by those who claim that Russia would then seize Poland and the Baltic countries, actually invulnerable because steadfast members of our alliances. Let us not be carried away by those who, when it suits them, claim Europe’s borders are inviolable, and who do not oppose the secession of Slovakia, the partition of Yugoslavia or even redrawing the boundaries in the birth of Kosovo!

Finally, the conflict which now threatens Russia in order to defend an incompetent Ukrainian government, is even more absurd when we have critical battles to fight in common with the Russians.

Do we not see that fundamentalist terrorism is now trying to organize into a single Islamic state, which would go from Nigeria to Chechnya, through Mali, Libya, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and part of Pakistan? Do not we see that what plays out as terrorism in Europe echoes back to this same battle?

Do not we see that the skills of the Russian army in the fight against terrorism would be very useful in this major confrontation?

France must therefore push the Europeans to shake free from the deleterious influence of those who, in the US and Europe, and especially in Poland, continue to confuse Putin with Hitler. And those who, as in the NATO-led bodies, are pleased to invent an imaginary enemy to justify their existence.

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