(*This opinion / analytical article was written by Ivan Dikov for The European Views website.)
Take a fun look at a wonderful display of the “strong men” frenemy macho state leaders that dominate the world of today in what might be its last decades.
“Oh, the humanity!”
Behind this article’s wordy title and the borrowing of Herb Morrison’s 1937 exclamation is a Hindenburg-sized concern about the fate of Europe, Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Asia, and everybody, which cannot help but cloud the skies when you witness a group of “strong men” leaders get together for some general or specific hanging out.
Last week there was a get-together of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Erdogan, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in Instabul for the formal opening of the TurkStream gas transit pipeline.
That truly seemed as the ultimate happy gathering of a Brady Bunch of Euro-Asian or Eurasian leaders. “Strong men” – I would abstain from the term “strongmen” but “strong men” fits – ruling a great portion of the World Island (as per Mackinder’s classic geopolitics theory), and many of its most sensitive bits.
Try to wrap your head around the thought that there are entire societies / nations / countries out there, some of them very ancient, some of them very powerful, all of them claiming to be democracies, some even Western ones, and all of them with great claims on the international stage, which are ruled by the said leaders. This is the best that these societies can do.
State leaders don’t spring up from the ground or descend from alien planets (in spite of what might be written “on social media” and “on the Internets”), but emerge from within their own countries so they are the best those societies have to offer. “This is the best we can do, folks!” as the late George Carlin once shrewdly put it.
But before getting immersed into the Brady Bunch atmosphere of the grand pipeline-launching Eurasian leaders, a side note about the pipeline itself.
It might as well be pointed out that, in all fairness, TurkStream, a pipeline for bringing Russian natural gas to Europe via the Black Sea circumventing the traditional Soviet-Era transit routes through Belarus and Ukraine, is way cooler than Nord Stream 1 & 2, its mirror version in the north (which goes straight from Russia to Germany via the Baltic Sea).
First, because TurkStream is a downsized version of the former South Stream pipeline project (yes, there was supposed to be both a “North Stream” (“Nord” to humor the Germans) and a South Stream to reach Italy via the Black Sea and Bulgaria. South Stream was abandoned by Moscow in December 2014 with accusations that EU member state Bulgaria had sabotaged it under pressure from the US and the EU, but in reality because its setup (itself approved by the Bulgarian authorities) didn’t comply with EU energy competition rules.
Second, because TurkStream miraculously becomes “Balkan Stream” when it crosses from Turkey into Bulgaria – at the ingenious insistence of Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, and with the hesitant acquiescence of Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic.
Third, because the Bulgarian section of Turk-Balkan-whatever-Stream – and other parts of its route further up northwest, to Serbia and into Hungary, won’t be operational for a while…
Read the rest of this article on The European Views website here
(497 words cited out of a total of 4,293 words)