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    France will perceive the terrorist attack against the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, one of its journalistic institutions, as Americans perceived 9/11. Islamic terrorists targeted the heart of freedom of expression in France. In recent years, French mainstream media became rather careful on how to report on Islam hoping not to insult its…

The new Warsaw Pact

Russian President Putin relentlessly continues stirring things up in Ukraine in spite of Western sanctions, dropping oil prices and a looming recession. He even sends bomber planes into the airspace of NATO countries. It is about more than just trying to bully neighbors or demonstrate strength. Putin operates on the basis of an offensive concept he himself describes as the ‘new Warsaw Pact’.

In May this year, Putin concluded a gas deal with China solidifying, according to him, ‘true partnership’ between Russia and China. The deal involves an amount of 400 billion dollars. Simultaneously, the Russian and Chinese launched combined naval exercises in the East Chinese Sea. Last year, Chinese President Xi JinPing arrived in Moscow on his first official state visit abroad. Russia and China have become true partners in a political, economic and military alliance. Both countries compose the core in a ‘League of Autocratic States’, according to Putin the ‘new Warsaw Pact’. That alliance should create a counterweight to the West in general and to the US in particular.

Other autocratic countries are keen to join the coalition around the axis Moscow – Beijing, like Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan. Pakistan intends to become ‘candidate member’ and Iran ‘observing member’. Turkey, NATO member and candidate member state of the EU, wants to join as ‘dialogue partner’. Turkish President Erdogan and President Putin get along very well. Recently, Putin cancelled the gas pipeline ‘South Stream’ to Europe, but continues to serve Turkey, after Germany the second biggest recipient of Russian gas.

Philosophically, the autocratic states turn against the West. So far, they did not elaborate a full-fledged ideology, but three components cement their thinking: nationalism, cultural backwardness and political centralism. On issues like free speech, political opposition and women rights the autocrats spend little time. The rejection front says: No.