Recent years have been witnessing Washington’s active efforts in conciliating unstable – but still important for American interests – regions across the globe. After the Serbia-Kosovo and Middle East settlement processes are finalized, Eastern Europe can be next “on the list for stabilization”
The US presidential race is entering the final stretch. The incumbent President Donald Trump continues his “victorious march” in various regions across the globe, so that the voters can witness his ability to solve complex conflicts between the bitter rivals and contending groups of the countries. Conciliating areas essential for U.S. foreign policy interests has become one of the strategic tasks of the American diplomacy.
Early in September, the White House successfully forced an important tactical agreement out of Belgrade and Pristina, paving the way from economic cooperation to the finalization of interstate relations between Serbia and Kosovo. The prospect of further more tangible financial inflows, which should stimulate Serbs and Kosovars to jointly build up their economic potential, though living apart, may depend on how successful the parties will be in their cooperation.
Meanwhile, the Serbia-Kosovo settlement surprisingly came shortly before a complicated Middle East solitaire, which turned out to be not accidental. A few weeks later, on September 15, yet another historical agreement, dubbed by the press as the Abraham Accords, were concluded in the same place, in the White House, in the presence of the American leader. This is an agreement on mutual recognition and relations normalization between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, and between Israel and Bahrain. Despite the field experts’ skeptical assessments, this Middle East success, one way or another, can also be placed on the record of achievements of the Trump-led American diplomacy.
As experts say, the Middle East is at a turning point when a long-awaited stability can come to the region, favoring a strategic boost to the development of the Arab world countries. For this, proper will and efforts are needed. The Israeli issue has been one of the key problems for many years; however, its possible solution seems to be looming on the horizon. As diplomats say, several more Arab states are preparing to formalize official relations with the Israelis. Certainly, the final say will rest with the most influential among them – Saudi Arabia, and a set of political and diplomatic features shows that it also seems to be inclined towards recognizing the Jewish state.
According to Washington, the emerging stability belt in the region should create the necessary prerequisites for a smooth transition to the next stage – the final settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict on the basis of the two states’ mutual recognition. Moreover, the Donald Trump administration already proposed a “deal of the century” to the parties earlier this year: a comprehensive vision of Israel-Palestine settlement with a grand-sounding title “Peace to Prosperity. A Vision to Improve the Lives of the Palestinian and Israeli People”.
According to experts, if re-elected, the current American president will continue active international efforts of the White House, significantly intensifying processes in some places. So far it is difficult to say which region will be the focus of Washington’s attention, but the North Korean problem complexity and the systemic confrontation with Beijing can most likely prompt the United States to seek solutions in the East European direction. What argues in favor of this option is that the post-Soviet space, unlike other regional problems, is free from deeply rooted intractable historical, religious and ethnic factors, and therefore offers much better chances for sustainable international agreements.
Today, the conditional geographic area between the European Union and Russia is one of the most fragile in terms of security and economic prospects. Constant internal political instability, social disunity and creeping disintegration processes indicate a long-overdue need to conclude specific agreements in this regional space. Otherwise, the “arc of instability” – Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova – risks turning into a big problem for Washington, Brussels and Moscow in the short run.
The Kremlin’s position has long been a common knowledge and doesn’t need any additional clarifications, therefore the American approach to this regional space is of greatest interest. Based on the practice of recent years, Trump’s diplomacy seems to be trying to follow the path of least resistance by documenting the existing reality, as the least expensive in terms of negotiations, time and foreign policy resources. It is difficult to predict Chisinau’s and Kiev’s readiness to agree with such an agenda. However, a clearly public announcement made recently by the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry about its intention to recognize Kosovo passports stands out notably against the background of what is happening both in Ukraine itself and around it.
It is clear that quite controversial steps by Kiev are being made under Washington’s pressure and obviously not by chance. Rather, it is another manifestation of the U.S. multifaceted diplomatic approach (just like linkage of the Kosovo case to the Middle East affairs, which also seemed rather strange at first glance), and also some kind of a signal showing in which direction the focus of American attention is starting to shift. In this case, Kiev and Chisinau should prepare to significantly adjust their negotiating positions with their breakaway regions to build a prerequisite for a qualitative breakthrough in resolving the Transdniestrian and Donbass conflicts. In exchange, the Ukrainian and Moldovan political elites can be offered solid financial bonuses meant to significantly boost social and economic development of these territories.
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