Historical comparisons with contemporary events are always risky, particularly with regard to warfare. But two historical patterns in the use of mercenaries in Europe can provide insights into the role that private military contractors like the Wagner Group play within the Russian political system, and how that might evolve over time.
Western Europe Archive
Since Brexit, the U.K. has worked to reenergize its ties with Israel, as part of its wider “Global Britain” ambitions. Last month, it launched negotiations to establish a new bilateral free trade agreement—the outcome of which will be shaped by the winner of the Conservative Party’s leadership race.
A suspected Russian intelligence operation on the soil of NATO ally Albania may have been the first direct confrontation between NATO and Russia since Putin’s forces invaded Ukraine six months ago. If so, it could force the United States to act in some manner, given its past promises to respond to a threat on NATO soil.
The ongoing talks to revive the Iran nuclear deal seem to have entered a critical stage in the past several days, with no small amount of optimism that a breakthrough is near. The problem both sides now face is that the deals underlying logic no longer holds, whether as an arms control agreement or as a confidence-building measure.
As energy supplies from Russia to Germany dwindle because of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, Germans are grappling with the prospect of an unprecedented energy crisis that could last months, as well as with the implications it could have for food supply shortages, droughts and security concerns.
A recurring trope in the British media is an opinion piece that ostentatiously praises or condemns Scandinavian welfare policies. This tendency to reduce Scandinavia to a simplistic caricature misses insights into how these societies are adapting to social change—and how the rest of Europe might overcome its own challenges.
In March, environmentalists launched an unprecedented legal case charging French oil giant TotalEnergies with greenwashing. Despite marketing itself as a green company, TotalEnergies has invested heavily in the East African Crude Oil Pipeline, or EACOP, an infamous project in Uganda that’s come to symbolize Western hypocrisy.
A debate is raging across Europe over whether all Russians should be banned from entering the EU. Politicians are debating whether that would unfairly hold the Russian people collectively responsible for the war in Ukraine, and conversely whether it is fair to let them in while Europeans cannot safely travel to Russia.
Peace in Bosnia has been bought at a high price for the EU and the local population. In ignoring growing signs of corruption, the EU allowed structural dysfunction to fester. The system put in place by the Dayton Agreement may have been necessary to end war in the 1990s. But 30 years later, Bosnia is a different place.
In these early days of the global monkeypox outbreak, it appears as though we have failed to take any lessons from earlier disease outbreaks, including the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. This apparent inability or unwillingness to learn is startling, and runs the risk of weakening global health governance.
Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen will run for a second term in the country’s presidential election in October, after five years of leading the country through back-to-back crises. Scandal and tumult are now roiling other parts of the national government, and yet Austrian voters look set to reelect Van der Bellen.
The human suffering and risks of escalation caused by the war in Ukraine are leading many observers to call for the U.S. and NATO to take any steps necessary to strike a deal with Russia for an immediate cease-fire. It is understandable to want to end the war. But calls for the West to do so in Ukraine’s stead are misplaced.
The first ship exporting grain from Ukraine since February left Odessa’s port this week thanks to a deal brokered by Turkey and the U.N. The agreement aims to ease the global food crisis triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but there are doubts as to whether it will hold for long enough to make a difference.
Mario Draghi’s resignation as Italy’s prime minister on July 21 threw Rome into political turmoil yet again. With campaigning ahead of snap elections on Sept. 25 already in gear, the big question now is what comes next for Italy, especially if the elections result in a far-right party taking the helm of a coalition government.