Hot spots near or in Europe

(This was written more than a year ago - before the Euromaidan crisis - thus no special emphasis on the Ukraine conflict.)

There are a couple troubling hot spots in or near Europe, and it would be nice if EU members could mobilise a political effort to put these international security-related troubles to rest. This rather strategic approach would no doubt be smarter than to wait till some flared-up conflict surprises the politicians which then hurry with little knowledge to extinguish the flames.

My personal of such trouble hot spots list (excluding all those Arabs) includes

* The status and relations of Transnistria
* Ukraine's inner division in Western-oriented and Russia-oriented, Ukrainian ethnicity and Russian ethnicity (or loyalty)
* Hungary's slide towards a one party dictatorship
* Belarus' lasting dictatorship
* Estonian-Russian conflicts, which I consider driven by the Estonian psyche
* Turkey's conflict with Kurds
* Abchasia secession (Georgia)
* South Ossetia secession (Georgia)
* territorial conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia
* antipathy between Turks and Armenians (since First World War at the latest)
* division of Cyprus

None of these conflicts are a piece of cake, or else they wouldn't last. 

I suppose the conflicts about Estonia and Transnistria are the easiest ones to solve.
European politicians could tender to Estonia's soul, motivate a bit more than symbolic legislation to accommodate the Russian ethnicity better and motivate a treaty between Estonia and Russia to settle certain issues. The EU also sponsors a modern rail connection through the Baltics to Warsaw to propel the Baltics forward economically.
Transnistria is one of those Russian expatriate issues, in which Russia gets or may get involved to protect interests of ethnic Russians abroad. Its secession from Moldova to the Ukraine makes some sense, given that two thirds of its population are from the Ukraine's two major population groups, Ukrainians and Russians. Once absorbed into the Ukraine it would become part of the Ukraine's troubles, which at least cosmetically reduces the list by one.

Hungary's slide towards dictatorship could be strangled by EU policies because it's land-locked and almost surrounded by the EU.

Abchasia and South Ossetia will probably follow the example of Kosovo sooner or later anyway. The EU should come to a non-hypocritical stance instead of being a force for delay. Then again, Russia itself is even more hypocritical on these issues.

The conflicts surrounding Turkey are tricky. Turkey is big enough and its government self-confident enough to avoid foreign contributions to a settlement of its conflicts (since this inevitably requires a compromise).

The Azerbaijan/Armenia conflict is far from Europe and should be addressed through a UN mission headed by famous and respected politicians to give it more weight, attention and a higher probability of success.


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